Greetings ChipWINners! If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’re likely already familiar with the Japanese chiptune prodigy TORIENA (Sae Shimizu). Since she began composing and performing chipmusic in 2012, and then co-founding MADMILKY RECORDS with NNNNNNNNNN the following year, TORIENA has become an international chiptune sensation. Well-known for her densely detailed chipdance music and high-energy live performances, TORIENA is right up there with Chibi-Tech, representing the pinnacle of raw talent and professionalism within the chiptune scene. Her music consistently impresses and inspires her many fans around the world by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within the genre, and her latest EP ‘POP NEGA POP’ is no exception. Hit the jump to get the lowdown on why ‘POP NEGA POP EP’ deserves a permanent home in your collection.
‘POP NEGA POP’s title track enters the fray the moment you press play with an infectious mix of bitpop and trance music that serves as the EP’s anthem. We’re treated with TORIENA’s beautiful vocals in this one, whose sweet but also commanding tone grabs your attention while being complimented by bright staccato melodies. This catchy bitpop tune sinks its hooks into you quickly and exhibits TORIENA’s signature blend of bubblegum pop with a blisteringly intense and hard-hitting electronic edge. Its repeating refrain of “Sweet, ACUTE, POP NEGA POP” is tailor-made for her legendary live performances. Seriously, I would have loved to have been a member of the crowd at TORIENA’s recent performance at Square Sounds Tokyo Festival, and hope to one day experience such excellence for myself!
‘4D RAVE ON’ starts with a stripped-down LSDJ melody at a slightly slowed tempo. This lasts for about 15 seconds, at which point TORIENA unleashes layer upon layer of banging dance beats, gutteral groovy bass, and frenetic pulse waves that are given free reign to rise to enthusiastic heights in a quick, searing solo. The initial stripped-down melody returns but quickly becomes dissonant, steadily rising in speed as multiple samples are injected into the mix. The pace quickens faster and faster, until the entire track explodes into a frenzy of BRK!s, rapid kick beats, and sweat. It’s at this point that ‘4D RAVE ON’ reaches its titular fourth dimension and kicks the lively party atmosphere into overdrive and does not let go until its final moment.
‘NEGA POP NEGA’ keeps the rave alive with a driving dance beat that propels the track forward and gets the crowd jumping immediately. What I really love about this track is the way in which the ascending bassline that scoops the low end is mirrored by the descending melody on the high end. The effect of this juxtaposition is a clamping effect that hits your ears squarely in the center in a way that’s extremely satisfying. Midway through as the beat continues, we’re showered with an array of quick blips that feel like little sonic raindrops, doing their best to keep the listener cool in the midst of this white-hot banger of a track. There’s an incredible mastery of the noise channel on display in this track as well; its seething hiss sounds and feels like the resulting steam from ‘NEGA POP NEGA’s hot and cold elements.
‘POP NEGA POP EP’ reminds us all, in case there was ever any doubt, that TORIENA is at the top of her game and represents the absolute cream of the crop of chiptune artists out there. Her mesmerizing and intricate music brings chiptunes to the dancefloor with ease, and one can’t help but fall for her incredibly fun sound and charismatic stage presence. Sure, it’s only a 3 track EP, but not one second is wasted here in melting your face and showing you just what chipmusic is capable of. ‘POP NEGA POP’ is an experience that you’ll want to put on repeat for multiple spins and is the perfect appetizer for her full-length albums. It’s absolutely worth the 5 dollar asking price on bandcamp, as it has the transformative power to turn any social gathering into a full-on rave! New music from TORIENA is out now, and all is well in the chiprealm. Grab ‘POP NEGA POP’ for yourself ASAP, you’ll love every second.
Keep your hands and heart held high!