The ending of one journey manifests the beginning of another. As many of our readers may know, the performance at BRKFest 2013 marked the end of SMILETRON; one of the most beloved and prolific artists in chipmusic. It was an amazing, bittersweet set filled with emotion. But you don’t have to take my word for it, Hoodie and Chip Mom gave an excellent firsthand account in their post-BRKfest interview with Kuma on this very blog.
Shortly thereafter, the SMILETRON archives was curated and released through Noisechannel. It’s an absolutely staggering body of quality work spanning 26 albums over a period of 6 years; an accomplishment that many artists strive to achieve over a lifetime. I can’t speak for all the fans, but as for myself, wanting more felt greedy. Yet it was still so hard to see such a pillar of the chiptune community and beyond come to an end! Fortunately for everyone, it is as much a part of this musicians nature to create and explore as it is for a bee to make honey.
At the time of this writing, we are already 3 EPs in on a new adventure with Tri Angles! And just in case there’s anyone out there with any trepidations about the new project, let me allay them for you right now. Mr. Angles delves further into new realms of sonic excellence, using chip sounds as a launching pad and adeptly blending multiple styles and genres in order to create something magical. But really, was there anyone who thought that their ears weren’t in good hands?
Right out of the gate of his first release ‘STARGAZER’, energetic guitar riffs merge with soaring, high-pitched vibrations to create a track full of invigorated ambience with a side of badass in ‘RENEGADE’. ‘SLIPSTREAM’ follows suit and features 2 leads that ebb and flow from dueling with each other one moment, to working in perfect harmony the next. The album closes on a tranquil note and exhibits a delightfully playful interplay between the leading melodic tones and the bassline of the title track.
Tri Angles takes things down a notch and ups the chillwave in his second EP, ‘OUT THERE’. The title track stirs up an ethereal mixture of wailing guitar and groovy bass. It then promptly ends my heretofore silence on the masterful percussion found throughout this music. The intricate beats are endlessly interesting and form a solid foundation to Mr. Angles’ sound. At the 3:00 mark, they take center stage and encase the soundscape like a shell, forming what feels like (with headphones) an overhead wall of sound that is buckling under pressure. ‘NOWHERE’ featuring Karle Moulden takes us further into new styles with subdued chiptune forming the backdrop to an extremely soulful and plaintive blues guitar. ‘DISCONNECTION’ drifts and recedes into the listener’s subconcious before gently ending the transmission.
The final piece of the trifecta is ‘VENTURE’, and it does just that. ‘AFTERBURN’ blasts off with controlled intensity; a sharp static effect is joined by growling bass and an increasingly frenetic beat, culminating into a glorious glitchfest! ‘BUSINESS’ ventures even further off the beaten path, adopting a world music vibe and incorporating acoustic guitar with click-clack percussion that seriously sounds like sampled kitchenware. Brilliant! In the title track and album finisher, another beautifully rich tapestry of sound is created. Little sonic stars shimmer in the background throughout this piece, creating an atmosphere that is just mesmerizing. Also, there is something about that *pop* sound at the 44 second mark when the song starts to take off that is just so satisfying!
The difficult part about reviewing Tri Angles’ music is that it may be easy to describe, but hard to fully convey. There is still something missing here… You, the listener, are a vital participant in the experience! You must bring your own thoughts and feelings to the journey and form your own meanings. What I can do without hesitation is wholeheartedly recommend that you take the trip and support this treasure of an artist. You can be sure that all of us here at ChipWIN HQ will be locked to Mr. Angles’ frequency for the foreseeable future, excitedly looking forward to his next transmission.