Hey there ChipWIN gang!
2017 definitely seems to be shaping up like a good year for chiptune, and the release I’m covering today is about to make it a thousand times better. Kommisar and DBOYD have combined their efforts to create their own collaborative project titled Rock Candy, starting it off with their self-titled EP on Madmilky Records. Let’s see how well they pulled it off!
The first track, ‘Delerium Overture’, starts off with some very basic pulse and wave channel instruments with a touch of glitching (which I’m always a sucker for if that wasn’t already obvious). The melody is very reminiscent of Virt’s work; Shovel Knight’s opening sequence immediately comes to mind. Then almost as if a switch was flipped, we get right into the hardcore trance style solo riffs we’re used to hearing from these two. As the song continues on, the instrumentation becomes increasingly complex without sacrificing or neglecting melodic structure. This is probably the best album intro track I have heard in any release so far this year.
Continuing further down, we get to track 2; ‘Static Hearts’, which is my favorite track on the album, and dare I say, probably the best chiptune song of 2017 (yes I’m calling it this early). In the beginning, the noise channel is doing some amazing glitch work, paired with a very subtle arpeggio, leading into the hook which I still have stuck in my head as of writing. Breakdowns in this track are done very skillfully, and some of the solos seem very reminiscent of Fearofdark. The chorus upon its second round through keeps this hardcore feel going with the main lead being backed by a simple octave arpeggio that adds so much flavor to it. The midway slowdown is very somber, and probably my favorite part of the track, which leads into more solo insanity, that just does not quit. While the outro is a tad sudden in my opinion, it’s astonishing that I wanted to hear more from this track that was already over 7 minutes long. This is how you make great chiptune. Absolutely enthralling, and easily one of my favorites of all time.
‘Electric Supernova’, which is another great hard hitting track. Starting off with the signature Kommisar lead and chords which move into a breakdown that really switches everything up. The hook which first appears at the drop is another well-crafted melody that sticks with you long after finishing the song (a trait all of these tracks seem to have). The instrument programming is top notch, and I especially like the arpeggios in the hook, as well as being used for some flavor towards the opening of the song.
‘Interstellar Retribution’ also follows a very similar structure, with the addition of an awesome tempo and meter change towards the end of the track, that helps with keeping the sound fresh. But this track is special not only because it’s arguably the most popular track the two have ever produced, but it’s also oddly popular with the Undertale fandom due to a fan video of a fake Papyrus fight in the genocide run of all things. Case and point (as of writing) the track has garnered 560,000 plays on Soundcloud, with half the comments screaming about Undertale, and the other half screaming at the former half for associating it with the game. Video games amirite?
To close out the album, ‘Doppelgänger Masquerade’ steps up to bat. It’s very fitting that this follows up the previous track mainly because of theming and similar motifs in the melody and the chord progression in the opening. The song is a bit on the long side, but its pacing is pulled off masterfully by keeping repeated sections fresh with slight variations in the bassline or drums, and several solos. This, of course, goes without mentioning the dubstep and breakcore like drop that kicks in halfway through the track which while simple, is very hard hitting.
It’s clearly obvious that Rock Candy is the collaborative work of Kommisar and DBOYD, especially within the first minute of the opening track. Kommisar’s distinct solos and instrumentation are ever present throughout, and DBOYD’s melodic mastery shines brightly on every single track. And while I’m somewhat biased being a fellow member of Madmilky Records, I am going on record by saying this has to be one of if not the best chiptune EP of the year. Hands down.
10/10. Buy it NOW!!!
– Nanode OUT!!