Hi there! Welcome to this new space in which I, Pixel Syndrome, will be reviewing and digging into the albums and music creations of different chiptune artists! In this occasion, I will be listening to ‘The Unrealist’ by Stig, which is a collection of several tracks that were written for chiptune compilation albums, most notably Chiptunes 4 Autism and our very own Chiptunes = WIN yearly compilations! However, and amazingly, it still holds out on its own as a cohesive unit.
Stig is a musician with a very unique view, and as such, it was very refreshing listening to this album, since it takes some very familiar chipsounds but really makes them his own. Like a familiar, comforting dish that receives a twist or improvement that you never thought could exist.
From his liner notes it is made clear that Stig was fixated on creating entire concept albums. However, as none of his many concepts were coming to fruition, he realized that he needed to change his way of facing the music, so to speak, and went back to the idea of making one song per concept. In my opinion, his vision is pretty powerful and so well executed in this so-called ‘meta chiptune compilation’, that it doesn’t matter if the concepts were individually manifested or not, he still manages to transport you into his world.
Just by closing your eyes and listening carefully, the sonic landscapes that Stig wanted to paint for the idea at hand are present in each of the songs, like an undying mirage.
The first track, ‘Whistleblower, in a Carnival of Science’, may sound noisy at first, but within it, the sound unravels in waves, accompanied by a dynamic percussion, filled with bells and whistles (pun intended). Suddenly taken over by noisy echoes towards the end of the track, it’s as if the carnival was manifesting right in front of you, breaking up and then rearranging itself towards the song’s buildup.
About ‘The Unrealist’, the fifth track, Stig itself says, contemplating his dogma:
“I dream big, I go big, I dance everywhere – I am a sensory seeker, but I crash hard and I burn out. It’s like a sine wave sometimes, arcs of joy and activity followed by the inevitable valleys of malaise, overthinking and rumination. I have always placed unrealistic expectations on myself, creatively, financially, socially, romantically, not the least of which were the many different album concepts that eventually led me to this particular pivot point in my musical journey.”
You could say that this song is as big as his dreams, as the color accents within the cover mimic the dynamic mood of the track, which feels extremely organic even though it was made through MIDI sequencing, especially on the carefully arranged drum sounds.
The spirit of dance can be felt all over the record, but most notably on the seventh track, ‘Ceres Sol’, which is enticingly kinetic. You could say this track transports you to the dance floor, which could be greatly therapeutic if any sudden urge to dance presents itself. I also very much like the planetary and gaming references, related to the dwarf planet Ceres, the Sun (Sol) itself and to the Ceres Space Colony from Super Metroid, which is one of Stig‘s all time favorite video games.
In fact, countless experiences of dancing under the sun are retold within this track, as Stig boldly proclaims that this is just the beginning of his journey into interstellar dance music!
The closing track, ‘No Mask’ feels very much like an encore after this restless journey, with the continuous claps spread thoroughly, as the melody spirals around your ears, carrying pleasant notes, and then bounces back within this contagious rhythm that resembles keygen style music.
I would recommend this album to any sonic traveller that might want to be transported to a playful, but adventurous journey into dance music, wherever he or she might be.
I hope that you can join into the discussion! Did you liked this record, have you been following this artist or bumped into these tracks on any of the compilations from the various collectives that he collaborated with? Feel free to leave your comments below! Until next time, stay chippy!