This summer has been crazy for chiptune with releases like our own ‘Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 5,’ Cheapsh0t’s ‘Influx,’ and Shirobon’s ‘Pleasure Island.’ But this album is something I really couldn’t ignore writing about. We finally have a new album from the amazing folks at Thebasebit Recordings with Tri Angles’ ‘REBEL SOUL,’ which is the first they’ve put out in over a year. Let’s take a look at what Tri Angles has brought to the table this time!
The first track on this album, ‘VOID DREAMS,’ is a very slow and calm, spacial intro. Mostly using simple instrumentation and the addition of stops and fades in the melodies, the song creates a calm yet empty feeling. The track itself isn’t very notable until you come to the realization that it’s one long, but very well produced intro to track 2.
‘VOID DREAMS’ leads directly into the title track; ‘REBEL SOUL,’ providing an excellent setup for a gruelingly nasty bass made entirely with samples. It’s in this track where we learn why this album earned a spot in Basebit’s discography; sample-work. LSDj has a very simplistic way of dealing with sampling, but through using some tricks with distortion, pitch bending, and length, you can create really interesting and mind-blowing sounds such as basses or kicks that build upon what you’re initially given in the program’s sample library. Here, Tri Angles is able to push these techniques to the max, creating drum and bass beats that really show off his technical abilities. The track itself is very simplistic, but it’s an amazing banger to start off one hell of an album.
After this we come to a personal favorite of mine, ‘DEEP BLUE,’ which starts off beautifully with probably one of the catchiest melodies on this album. Technical work on this track is absolutely superb, and while there’s not much in the way of sample based basslines like previous songs, the sample work for the drums drives the song really well with the exceptional drum and bass style beat. This paired with swelling arps and leads leaves you with one amazing banger that you’re sure to come back to every time you listen to this album.
‘DARK MATTER,’ immediately follows up with a blaring triangle/saw lead that leads into an amazing sample based bassline that kills. You can tell that the pitch shifting with just the right amount of distortion was what really made whatever sample Tri Angles used really stand out. And while this track does seem very minimalistic much like the rest of the tracks on this album in terms of extra instrumentation, the simplicity really highlights the skill that went into crafting the sample based instruments and kits. Definitely one of my favorites on this release.
Now we get to (in my personal opinion) the best track on the album, ‘FREEDOM.’ The starting melody really gets you ready for some glitch and bass heavy stuff, with stutters and a slowly progressing drum and bass beat that really gets you moving. When everything freezes for a few seconds, and you can here a slow building pulse instrument layered with a sample of someone yelling “FREEDOM!” you know shit’s going to go down. And boy is that an understatement. The sample work with the bass in this track almost makes you think it’s some external instrument, maybe FM, but you’re listening to 100% LSDj produced tunes using custom samples. This is Tri Angles’ magnum opus, and while the rest of the tracks on this EP are gold, there’s nothing that can touch this track. Fading out into some simple pulse based chords, we transition to an oldie, but a goodie…
‘PIRATE KING’ makes a return from Tri Angles’ last release ‘ORBITALS.’ This was the best track on that album, and I’m extremely happy to hear it again on this release. Like ‘DEEP BLUE,’ there’s little to no use of samples for anything other than drums and vocal chops. That being said, even without them it gives off a really awesome glitchy feel to the track on top of the growling bassline and soft but oddly complimentary pulse blips.
Finishing off the album is a beautifully produced track titled ‘INNER LIGHT.’ Short and sweet, the pulse instruments compliment the opening pitch bent bass, and lead into a sampled monologue. As it progresses, the bass becomes less and less prominent, as the speech progresses, ending the album in style.
Overall, I absolutely adored the album. It’s absolutely one of the best The Basebit Recordings has put out in recent memory, and really shows why they are one of the biggest names in chiptune. They are among the best, and they won’t accept anything less, and ‘REBEL SOUL’ is a testament to that.
10/10. Hands down one of the best chip albums I’ve ever heard.
– Nanode OUT!~