Hi peeps, my name’s Morgan and I’m SUPER STOKED to join the bloggers for Chiptunes = WIN and help get more awesome tunes onto your radar. Pleasantries = DONE. Let’s get to the music!
Can chiptune be integrated with acoustic instrumentals for the betterment of ear-holes everywhere? For the answer, look no further than Breakbeat Heartbeat’s latest release HOLD ON.
Hold On has a chill, funky feel. There are no power ballads, no hard-core wub-wubs. What we have here is an album of 9 uplifting tracks melding together a unique blend of chip-funk with classical elements making for an intriguing release that is absolutely worth your time.
What impresses me the most about HOLD ON is how Breakbeat Heartbeat has delivered a musical bob-and-weave of acoustic with electric that ensures both sounds have their day in the sun, but never at the expense of the other. Make no mistake, the choice to combine chiptune bleepy-bloops with deep acoustic sounds is a risky proposition. Too much chip and the instrumentals sound forced. Too much instrumental and the chip comes off as a gimmicky afterthought. Chiptune has the tendency to sound harsh when forced to play nice with traditional instrumentals, but that’s simply not the case here. The result is a unique mix that is polished, elegant and deserves some serious name-your-price love.
HOLD ON shines in the center of a chip/acoustic venn diagram playing off the lighthearted nature of chiptune and a natural depth drawn from classical instruments that offers a lot of room for exploration. Some tracks do less to innovate than others with “The Time Is Right” and “On My Own” offering a consistent loop of chill beats without pushing the envelope. Tracks “Night”, “Roads” and “Flashback” act as the tentpoles of the album, taking the fusion to its peak with an intriguing use of classical violin, piano and bass guitar respectively for a classical/funk/chip mix that underscores Breakbeat Heartbeat’s ability to combine wheelhouses.
It’s worth mentioning that if you’re unfamiliar with Breakbeat Heartbeat, there are two previous releases that also explore the fusion of chip with acoustic styles available on Breakbeat’s Bandcamp titled 22:06 (which, interesting fact, was originally released on Andrew Kilpatrick’s blog/label The Waveform Generators) and DELTA. It’s fascinating to be able to listen to those two albums and hear the leaps and strides Breakbeat Heartbeat has made honing this unique style. With such growth apparent from these three releases, Breakbeat Heartbeat is definitely a rising talent.
I love the pay-what-you-want business model, by the way. I personally believe that there should not be a financial barrier between people and experiencing music. Supporting the artist if you have the means is absolutely vital and if you can afford it, you should pay them. But with the pay-what-you-want model, that payment is more than a transfer of funds for a product, it’s a “thank you”. I think that’s an important distinction. Music as “the gift given” instead of “the product sold” bridges the gap between artist and fan.
Breakbeat Heartbeat’s HOLD ON is a gift given. Take a listen below, then go say thank you.
Pixel Recall ~ (R. Morgan Slade) ~ Support the artists you love :)