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Hello ChipWIN readers!
With an amazing start to 2016, chiptune is rising in popularity (as demonstrated by the over 4 thousand members of the Facebook community alone), and it’s safe to say things are looking better and better by the day, with more listeners and creators comes more great releases.
Speaking of great releases, brought to us by the good folks over at Cheapbeats, Pixeltune’s newest release ‘A Coherent Fix’, is just such a great release, and that’s why we’re taking a look at it today! (And DAMN look at that artwork!)
Pixeltune is a rising chip musician who has a total of 7 releases (including this one) varying in length and quality (both in terms of instrumentation and post production). His initial 4 albums seem to be a bit generic; a sort of general LSDj chiptune fare. But his style starts to spark in his appropriately titled ‘2013’, which compiles a gathering of tracks produced in… (you’ll never guess) 2013.
His artistic growth and talent truly begin to show in his second most recent release, ‘Glitch’. It was there wherein he first showcased his usage of 2 Gameboys in tandem via LSDj. ‘Glitch’ was an album that begged for a follow-up release, but unfortunately for fans of his work, he then went on a 2 year hiatus.
Luckily for us, “A Coherent Fix,” (ACF from this point) was worth the wait. With its beautifully curated songs that perform well in terms of instrumentation, and structure, Pixeltune’s artistic advancement is readily apparent.
ACF opens with a graceful fake bit song titled ‘Galaxies’, which while totally unexpected, cleverly uses earthbound sound fonts (and let’s be real, who the hell doesn’t like some good SNES sound fonts?) in a sort of ambient night setting. With crickets chirping, and the wind blowing, its as if you’re looking into the stars from the earth below. It’s one of the few songs out there that has really moved me, and big ups to Pixeltune for making this as elegant as possible before immediately transitioning into some amazing banger tracks.
Speaking of transitions, hoo boy does this album perform in that department. Smooth and perfect transitions in and out of songs bring the entire album together, and never takes you out of the very enjoyable listening experience, on top of its common theme of graceful leads, melodies, and chords, which take on almost classical feeling roots at times, or even going into unconventional or unexpected melodic patterns, mixing it all in with amazing use of drops, breakdowns, and hard future bass beats.
A great example of this motif is in “Sleepless II,” an amazing track brimming with varied solos, great use of kits, wave channel bass, wave channel glitching, and pulse chords. These melodies lead into some of the most breathtaking slow drops and stutters you’ll find in chiptune. The alternating beat patterns cohesively create a thrilling and head bobbing track that certainly got me a few looks while I rock out furiously. (Hey, don’t judge, I see you over there with that look. Don’t pretend like you don’t do it too).
Segueing immediately into the next track which is an absolute banger if I’ve ever heard one; “System Crash.” What easily makes it my favorite track on this release is that you think you’re going to get going into the track, but instead you get blown off your feet by the sweeping drops and glitch chords. Yes, this is a glitch track. The use of pulse channels paired very well with V commands really make this shine. You may be thinking, “Okay? What’s so special about this track if it’s just got a little glitchy dro—”
Starting from 4:00 into the song, the most technically stunning drop in chiptune history makes its way in with astonishing results. If anything, you should just stop reading, listen to this section, and then immediately give this man all of your money. I mean all of it. As a chiptune artist myself, these kinds of things keep me driven to keep working harder and make better, heavier tracks.
If I did have any criticism for this release, it would be that some of the song structures of these songs. With 15 tracks, 13 of which are drum and bass heavy, there’s bound to be repetition. I feel that this is a similar issue with what happened in releases like “2013,” where there was more of a push to get more tracks in rather than having a short but sweet release. Not to say that the songs in this release are bad by any means, but things start to get predictable by the time you reach ‘Forwardspace.’
To sum it all up, Pixeltune’s latest release deserves more recognition than what it’s currently getting. The driving melodies and bass centered drops keep this album ahead of the hungry newcomers to the chiptune scene. To be honest, it’s a breath of fresh air to hear someone new delve into the world of 2+x LSDj and do it so well. The technical aspects are astonishing, and although the structure of some songs can get a bit predictable, it’s certainly worth some of your precious hard drive space.
Pixeltune’s “A Coherent Fix,” gets a well deserved 9 out of 10.
– Nanode OUT!
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