‘Abstraction’ by Razerek & CheeChee returns chiptune to its minimalistic roots with simple melodies, hypnotic loops, and deliciously quirky ambience.
‘Abstraction’ is incredibly minimalistic in its presentation, relying on twists of melodic variation and harnessing silence as a note of its own to make the most of its humble composition. Razerek and CheeChee together successfully avoid the trap of over encumbrance, delivering direct, pointed melodies without needless clutter, allowing the album to stand tall on the merits of its purposeful minimalism and not on unnecessary bells and whistles.
‘Relaxation Can Kill You’ is a fantastic example of “a lot done with a little”:
‘Relaxation Can Kill You’ rocks a simple looping melody over an energetic chip-bass kit. That it, and that’s all it needs to become a diabolical tune perfect for a classic 8-bit era boss fight. At the halfway mark, ‘Relaxation Can Kill You’ makes an immediate left turn into opposing territory with a single melodic echoing chime, offering the sense that perhaps you may have fallen to an insurmountable foe, but your continue is a click away…
‘Eternal Potato’ has a regal feel, relying on a focused, prideful melody over a droning harmony to convey its sense of presenting royalty. The absence of a kit or bass track feels refreshing here; its absence allows notable silence to lend a certain commanding gravitas, until the mid of the track in which everything ramps up for an unexpected yet fleeting moment of speedy beats during a tempo build, only to relax back into a reprise of its formerly chill, regal self.
‘Eternal Potato’ has an immediate sequel in ‘Eternal Tomato’, but takes a much more energetic approach:
Unlike the unassuming nature of ‘Eternal Potato’, ‘Eternal Tomato’ loads up with all the sour cream and bacon it can muster: up-tempo swingin’ harmonies and kickin’ bass accelerate ‘Eternal Tomato’ right off the start, getting down and dirty in the mid section with some deliciously grungy rumbling bass under its high-energy melody. An ominous undercurrent slithers throughout ‘Eternal Tomato’, adding a layer of tension that sets it apart from its potato counterpart.
‘Abstraction’ revels in its own simplicity, and succeeds in delivering some serious chip-earworms. Razerek was kind enough to sit down for a quick chat about the album, and that mini-interview continues below:
PixelRecall: What programs/devices did you use to create ‘Abstraction’?
Razerek: We used Famitracker, a NES/Famicom sound tracker, and we collabed on the songs by using a program called “Teamviewer”. We communicated over Skype voice chat while we worked on the songs.
PixelRecall: What inspired the creation of the album?
Razerek: Mainly just the fact that we both made chiptunes, and after looking at other collaboration albums, we agreed to create our own.
PixelRecall: Did you have to overcome any interesting creative challenges while creating the album?
Razerek: Working over Teamviewer was a bit of a challenge, because sound quality was not so great, as well as not being able to hear the notes as they’re placed in, for some reason. Another challenge was if I composed something and liked it, sometimes CheeChee wouldn’t agree, and vice versa.
PixelRecall: Any shout outs you’d like to give, events or releases you’d like us to let our readers know about?
Razerek: Well we would like to say that it is very likely in the future one or two more songs may be put on the album, and that it may be taken down for a short time to add these new songs, etc. Also a thanks to another chiptune artist, Baycun for letting us know how the songs sounded, and what could have been fixed in some of them.
If you’re a fan of minimalistic chiptune music, ‘Abstraction’ will hug your heart. ‘Abstraction’ by Razerek and CheeChee is available right now on Bandcamp as a free download.
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