Last week was downright facemelting here on the ChipWIN blog. It all started with Joe’s review of Danimal Cannon’s shredtacular new progressive chiprock masterpiece ‘Lunaria’, and ended with Glenntai’s curated collection of chipthrash that’s enough to make your ears bleed. Well, it’s freaking Monday again. Time to take things down many notches and focus on something much more ambient in nature. This gives me the opportunity not only to highlight a revered veteran of the chipmusic scene, little-scale (Sebastian Tomczak), but also to showcase just how versatile artists within the chiprealm can be, covering every inch of the musical spectrum. If you’re looking to relax, get lost in deep introspection, and otherwise decompress, then look no further than little-scale’s recently released EP, ‘Don’t Be Anxious’.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’re almost certainly familiar with little-scale and his abundant output of quality tunes. Over the years, he has proven himself to be the Ween of the chiptune scene, in the sense that he is able to nail every style and genre that he decides to adopt. This particular collection of soothing lo-fi ambient tracks is taken from his contributions to WeeklyBeats weeks 4 – 7, 2016. The fact that ‘Don’t Be Anxious’ encapsulates a single month of little-scale’s output speaks volumes of his prolific nature. These tracks have the capacity to transport you to another time and place, and to contemplate the vastness of the cosmos. This ambient detour of his has been a highly enjoyable one, and it’s a pleasure to see them all wrapped up in this hypnotic release.
Rather than using the usual bandcamp embeds as I go through these tracks, I’m opting to embed the accompanying video from little-scale’s youtube channel. As you’ll see, little-scale’s artistry goes beyond the musical realm; his video and photographic skills serve as the perfect accompaniment to his beautiful music.
The title track gradually fades into the forefront, using serene notes and reverberating sub bass to create an otherworldly atmosphere. It’s an atmosphere that you can easily lose yourself in and feel the stress and anxiety melt away as one note softly and gracefully leads into the next. little-scale has selected the perfect imagery to accompany his sound with the gently rolling clouds in the above video. What strikes me upon closer listening to this track is the slight hint of dissonance contained within. ‘Don’t Be Anxious’ is calming, but also ominous at the same time. This seems like an oxymoron, yet little-scale has skillfully managed to accomplish this musical feat, blending vibes to create an engaging, hypnotic experience.
In true ambient fashion, ‘Don’t Be Anxious’ seamlessly blends into the following track, ‘Uncatharsis’. There is little to delineate between the two, save for a single sustained tone that is of a higher register than those previously heard. ‘Uncatharsis’ builds upon the established atmosphere and becomes more ethereal in nature. The lead tones ripple and undulate, conjuring up imagery of the concentric circles formed from pebbles in a pond. This effect encourages the listener to recenter oneself in order to reach an absent mindset, free from all clutter and anxiety.
‘Internal Influence’ reinforces the theme that change and improvement comes from within. It’s at this final point of the album that the listener has reached a heightened state of tranquility and inner peace. The lush tones of this track pair beautifully with the imagery of swaying tree branches in the above video, and help to reinforce the outdoor theme of ‘Don’t Be Anxious’. I feel a strong connection with nature while listening to this album in a way that I haven’t felt in a very long time. In this way, ‘Don’t Be Anxious’ speaks to the stillness within all of us in a deeply meaningful manner.
‘Don’t Be Anxious’ takes me back to those late nights listening to the radio program Hearts of Space, and I feel that this music would be a perfect fit there. The way in which each track blends seamlessly into the next encourages repeated listens. Every time I listen to it, I am able to more fully appreciate little-scale’s phenomenal sound design, which can only be achieved through years of music creation. His ambient offering here is full of professionalism and sincerity, and I encourage you to support him by purchasing ‘Don’t Be Anxious’ through his bandcamp for what you feel it is worth to you. Personally, this album will be a mainstay for me whenever I need to decompress and stave off anxiety, and that alone is worth quite a bit.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this calm before the storm. Expect a big announcement later this week, so as always keep it locked to the ChipWIN blog!
Keep your hands and heart held high!