Many people have different inspirations and perspectives on chipmusic, and the emergence of chip elements in modern production was an inevitable expectation in its rise of popularity. We’ve seen and heard many acts expand and continue making music both in and out of the chip community, and today we’re coming across what I’ve always felt was a gem humbly hanging out. Enter RobKTA with ‘Selfie USA’; released with Hyperwave Records. This album is an album that brings you through a wild laser montage as if you’re walking on and around Dotonbori bridge. If you’re not familiar with RobKTA’s delightfully funky aesthetic, get ready for the middle of your week to get that much livelier.
While if you read the description on his Bandcamp page, you would be aware this album is a chiptune, synthpop, disco and jazz fusion; for those that haven’t, the intro track brings a solid statement of what to expect from the rest of the album. First, it frames you out of a state of being ready to listen by throwing you a saxophone solo drowning in reverb and delay. Behind that, there’s ambiance related to various camera sounds; ranging from the ones typically found on smart phones all the way to the high-pitched whine of the disposable cameras that are slowly fading from existence. Soon after that, we’re treated to an energetic and funky FM bass interlude that leads into a very upbeat and catchy jam that brings in more FM sounds from the Yamaha chip along with backings from older synths. What we have is a mix of funk and disco aesthetic popularized in the 1970’s and 1980’s Japan, synth instrumentation ranging from the YM2612 to sounds from late-80’s/early-90’s synths that bring on pads, swells and sustained chords with varying levels of processing, and a wide array of talented vocalists from all over the internet. On top of that, we hear RobKTA flexing his acoustic instrument muscles in songs like ‘L’Oiseau Dan L’Espace’ and ‘Stronger Than Before’.
Everything is made to a pace that you’d hear inside of a club or discotheque, but the vibe can sometimes take on different energies. For instance, while the latter half of ‘Snapshot’ and ‘Baby Boom’ are higher energy jams, songs like ‘Data Entry Boy’ and ‘Red Flag’ take on a slower and dreamier vibe. They provide time to emphasize slower effects, deeper synth swells, more emphasis on the emotional value of the album. Meanwhile, tracks like ‘See the Sun’ stand out and (dare I say) shine. ‘See the Sun’ is an excellent example of how to properly balance emotional energy with dynamic energy. While starting off slow, as the dynamic picks up, it brings the emotional value until both are so high that it allows it to transition its rhythm to the pace of d&b and making it feel even more exciting. Give it a listen if you need a morning pick-me-up along with your waking routines of choice.
Whether you’re looking to expand your music library with something out of your usual or looking for a future funk aesthetic that’s original (as in not stolen, previously-released-through-major-labels Japanese disco at higher BPMs and pitches;) ‘Selfie USA‘ is a treat you need to collect before you’ve missed out. While RobKTA has been consistently good over the last four years I have known of him, ‘Selfie USA’ stands out as an excellent new addition to his ever-expanding discography. You can pick it up from Hyperwave Records’ bandcamp page today.