Ever the procrastinator, (sorry, Chris and Hoodie!) I sat down just after the turn of July to figure out what exactly it was I wanted to review this month for my scheduled entry on the sixth. I had done a review of Brother Android’s Pastoral II just a few weeks prior, and, late last week, followed it up with an illuminating interview of said artist for my new podcast, the 8 Bit Road Trip. I left both of these experiences with a better understanding of a particular way of writing music, but I wanted to do something completely different this month. Browsing through the recent releases posted on The ChipWIN blog, I came upon ‘Space Force’ by Rymdkraft. I had seen the album advertised on Facebook previously, and decided to give it a go.
Similar to Brother Android, I was not familiar with Rymdkraft going into this listening experience, although I have been following the CheapBeats label for quite some time and respect their curators enough to know that whatever they release will have been held to high standards. What I got was very different from my experience last month. Rymdkraft shows strong EDM roots here, in a style that I would call Breaks/Breakbeat or perhaps Chipbreak. That said, I think this release would fit into a more traditional Breaks tempo and feel versus the more frantic “Chipbreak” releases I have heard in the past. This genre collection is typically defined by kicks that don’t necessarily fall only on the downbeats, (although they can,) and a snare or hit of some sort that takes place on beat three in the measure. Almost all of the tracks in ‘Space Force’ stick with this formula.
After a brief intro via the track, ‘Wake Up, Mr. Roboto’, ‘Corvegubbe’ kicks it into full force in what I feel is this EP’s floor filler. The bassline stabs away with staccato eighth notes while a square wave melody carves its way over the top of it all, full of rapid note embellishments, an appealing flair. Occasionally Rymdkraft sends the melody on a downward portamento spin, cutting out the rest of the track as if to emulate a DJ cutting the motor on their turntable, letting the note spin and slow, lowering in pitch.
‘Cloudstomper’ finishes out the EP well, the longest track on the release and also the closest to the four on the floor percussion many EDM writers would consider their bread and butter aka their guaranteed crowd mover. Nothing drives quite like a build that opens up into a clear set of instructions with a kick drum as your teacher: “Put your foot down… now and now and now and now.” As such I feel Cloudstomper was both aptly named and deftly placed in relation to the other tracks. It makes for a powerful farewell.
This album has very high production quality, just as I knew it would. I think this release is a solid EDM EP that manages to differentiate itself from the rest of the dance crowd due to well placed and sometimes unpredictable, non-formulaic key changes, masterful melodic embellishments, and atypical break rhythms. As for myself. I’m looking forward to hearing more of Rymdkraft’s works in the future, and I intend to start digging for older works too. Who knows, chip citizens? Maybe I can even set up a podcast interview with him soon!
Stay [chip]tuned. (Sorry, I know that was a terrible pun.)