Hey everyone, Clipstream’s Resident Fearless Leader here with yet another new and exceptionally cool chip act’s EP that I want to share with you today. This time around, I’m bringing out Please Lose Battle‘s ‘Bedroom EP’. I’m just going to say this first and get all the silliness out of my system…
Ahem… Alright, back to business after the jump.
Please Lose Battle, a chiptune project coming from France, started off in 2013 as a solo project experimenting in Famitracker. While it has progressed a year later into a band including both a drummer and bassist, Please Lose Battle has managed to prove there was not a single moment (nor shred of talent ) lost from this change in direction with their release of ‘Bedroom EP’.
To give you a better understanding of what to expect; Please Lose Battle’s last self-titled EP was an album of Famitracker music based off of the original 2a03 chip and a combination of either the VRC6 or N163 modules while ignoring the DPCM channel until the very end of the final track. For anyone not familiar with Famitracker, this is a very good example to get familiar with the program’s capabilities.
Overall, ‘Bedroom EP’ has a varied emotional landscape, so expect to feel some fluctuation between happier vibes and really energetic tension. It feels, almost, as if we were witnessing the breaking point from elation into a very confrontational experience; leading towards a very violent resolution. Of course, it maintains this atmosphere while focusing on a hyper-melodic rock concept that one could easily associate with Anamanaguchi’s early success. Which, let’s be honest, is certainly a good inspiration to have if you’re focusing on making a hyper-melodic chiptune band.
All of that can be seen through ‘Rocket Shoes.’ It’s happy and has aesthetics reminiscent enough of early ‘Guch that you almost completely forget the seemingly-out-of-place four-bar staccato chord progression placed at the very beginning. The bridge, on the other hand, brings some tension back into perspective. On the first listen, you could even perhaps consider it as a cool bass-centric breakdown, before it begins its reprisal verse. It’s not until its fluid transition into ‘Versus’ where you get a proper understanding of the harder and heavier rock atmosphere this album is heading toward.
‘Versus’ is where you get to feel that early-NES-centric hard rock vibe that got commonly associated with boss battles and other tension or panic-filled moments. With well-timed staccato and other various accentuation to the melody, you’d think the most impressive part would be that deep bass line (as many people had commonly felt that the 2A03 chip or any of its modules would provide as deep and clear of a bass as its handheld counterpart, the Game boy.) What I found more impressive was the clear and very talented use of triangle and noise channels to provide a really heavy and impressive seven-second sequence (starting at 0:38) that puts skillful knowledge of drum programming on display.
In some ways, ‘Valve Dysfunction’ conceptually is very similar to Versus. It’s still very NES-centric metal and goes from heavy tension to a faster-paced battle of staccato notes. However, it is also a wonderful example of how the 2a03’s noise channel can bring such atmosphere to almost any track through the use of changing up the duty cycle and experimenting with the arpeggio section within the instrument editor. (Unless, of course, this was written out entirely at speed 1 and tempo 255. Then I’m going to be thoroughly impressed with the tracking done within for someone who has only been using the program for one year.)
When it comes to ‘Sharks are Back’, I mean, what else do you want to know? The sharks came back, they were hungry, shit got real. Oh, also it’s an interlude that almost feels more like it was built up to be the beginning of a song, (or to perhaps loop back at a certain frame) but was given a fade-out ending to move on towards the next song. It seems like the weak link of the EP, as it felt like it was mostly an unfinished track more than what I have always perceived as an actual interlude, but that still in no way suggests a drop in quality. It simply felt out of place and the ending forced, provided the first two songs haven proven they know how to transition exceptionally well from one track to another. Even so, this has a lot of promise if they add in live elements.
I expect a really sweet live version of that, PLB, because you certainly have the live elements to provide a stellar transition into ‘Eleven O’Clock’.
‘Eleven O’Clock’ came by, reminding everyone that the witching hour has begun, as the form gives a very manic change much akin to a System of a Down track. However, at the point it brings you into the first pulse lead solo, it finally suggests a transition from its slower pace to a more hectic, melodic state; leading into plenty more of the harder staccato bars before finally building up to a louder, melody-driven hard rock that continued the feeling of a struggle that just seemed to never end, or perhaps have long-lasting consequences.
‘Restrain From Entering My Bedroom’ returns to the hyper-melodic happy bouncing rock we were introduced to. While occasionally returning to the tension we had visited previously, the overall atmosphere returns to the ‘Guch-esque form to give almost an effective reprise to the atmosphere, and not the actual songs, that were involved in the rest of the album. I will say, that was a very interesting twist to end the song on a key change that felt unresolved. It almost feels, perhaps, as if it is foreshadowing a continuing theme!
If so, I want to make sure everyone that reads this knows I’m absolutely fine with that.
Please Lose Battle’s ‘Bedroom EP’ is a fantastic album from an upcoming chip act. You can tell that there has been plenty of time spent working on composing these songs to have a decent variety in form (and let me tell you, the changing up of form is strong with this album.) You can hear many different techniques used within Famitracker, from channel pitch phasing, chorusing, fading note slides, repeating duty cycle patterns, and more. Together, they bring a heavier atmosphere than a single-channel presence would normally bring. It can easily be said that this is a very effective measurement of ways you can use 2a03, VRC6 and Namco’s N163 chip simultaneously to bring out a more effective, lower tone to your harder rock or metal tracks through Famitracker.
For those unaware, the 2a03 chip (native to the Famicom/NES) has been synonymous with not being “bass tone friendly” for years. This apparently was something noted even in the height of the console’s success, since Konami created the VRC6 module with includes two more pulse channels and a sawtooth channel for more bass tone potential. Famitracker goes a step further and includes VRC7 (an FM Synthesis module made by Konami) and Namco’s n163 module. With that in mind, please note that in this case “simultaneously” means using the native 2a03 chipset with one other module. So you would expect either 2a03 and VRC6, or 2a03 and N163. This is why certain tracks will include certain sounds and instruments versus others.
Of course, that’s only unless you mess around with the Famitracker application’s coding, then you can quite literally combine every module under one instance for ultimate ridiculousness. But that’s an entirely different article for another time.
Keep in mind, while Please Lose Battle is now an ensemble, this album was created using just Famitracker. The live elements were something that was added after the album was created. So if you already like this album, get excited, because you can only expect it to get even better! Make sure you’re prepared by checking out this music video of Rocket Shoes!
Courtesy of our rad friends at Pterodactyl Squad, you can download the album for free HERE. It comes with some rather cool cover art, and I promise that opinion has nothing to do with the fact that there are boobs on the cover. On the other hand, I think there’s an album by The Bloodhound Gang that states my opinion on that topic…
But enough of my rambling, go download that album, go see them as they tour England, and hope they come play your home town soon!
Until next time, friends… keep making music, share the love, and get awesome.