WARNING: This month’s Sladerfluous is chiptune-adjacent. :)
I stumbled across ‘Amicitia’ during my monthly Scrooge McDuck-esque swim through my vault of yet-to-be-reviewed chiptune albums AND MY WORLD CAME TO A HALT.
I was swept up in afterimages of my own teen angst, driving around Winnipeg, Manitoba in my trusty RAV4 (named Rollie, obviously) listening to J-Pop and singing words in a language I don’t understand as loud as I possibly could while keeping my hands at ten and two (“But PixelRecall, ten and two is dangerous! If your airbag deploys, it’ll blow your thumbs off!” WRONG, gullible, concerned stranger! Mythbusters debunked that, so there.)
‘Amicitia’ is the latest from Indonesian group SYUBIDUPIDAPAP, and it’s pure heart.
‘Amicitia’ is unbridled joy wrapped in a pop/rock sound with sparse, deliberate chiptune elements interspersed throughout the album. SYUBIDUPIDAPAP uses chiptune as an instrument instead of as its core, which is why this review comes with the aforementioned adjacent warning. Some will cry foul, others will bemoan the lack of chips in this particular tune, but my only goal since joining the ChipWIN team two years ago is and always has been to share music that moves me.
It’s that simple.
‘Amicitia’ by SYUBIDUPIDAPAP moves me. I want you to hear it, and I hope you find joy listening to this album the way I do, or more specifically, the way that you do, uniquely and personally. :)
Jump into ‘Amicitia’ with me right now by hitting play on the track below:
…and see why ‘Amicitia’ is my pick this month! Then, if you’re intrigued, read on!
Do you have a friend who insists they don’t listen to songs for the lyrics, but just enjoy the sound? Are you that person? I obsess over lyrics: placement, meaning, double-meaning, lack-of-double-meaning, every syllable of it right down to word choice.
‘Amicitia’ reminds me to let go and enjoy music for its feel over its message. I personally don’t know what SYUBIDUPIDAPAP is singing about, and I like it that way. For research purposes, I have since translated the lyrics, but knowing what they mean in a disassociated version from the spoken words maintains a separation that allows me to retain my blind enjoyment.
Some of the tracks on ‘Amicitia’ do not employ chiptune as an instrument in any relevant capacity. ‘Kecewa (Feat. Aldy Ramadan)’ is one such example; an acoustic piece featuring a full and thoughtful harmony of SYUBIDUPIDAPAP’s two lead vocalists. Translated, ‘Kecewa’ means “disappointed”, and a breakdown of the lyrics reveals what the evocative vocals insinuate: the pangs of a “will-they-won’t-they” relationship.
So much of what we understand through language has nothing to do with the words themselves, but how they are presented, and represented. You can tell ‘Kecewa’ is about love on the rocks through the intentions delivered by the vocalists: through deliberate harmonies, through conveyance, through held notes and dropped breaths. For me, at least, ‘Amicitia’ is a test in interpretation, and SYUBIDUPIDAPAP sing their messages with a focus that goes beyond the spoken word. Power, inner truth, hope, determination, defiance, and loss are all colours painted onto canvas with adamance.
‘Untuk kita bersama’ rips into high gear with a focused chip undercurrent beneath its rock guitar and drum kit elements, all built to support SYUBIDUPIDAPAP’s strong vocal duo’s harmony.
SYUBIDUPIDAPAP feels right at home in its angst-full cheers and devil-may-care sing-song style. Everything about SYUBIDUPIDAPAP screams that they know who they are, and they celebrate it with powerful hooks and anthem-builders that bring the house down and leave you wanting more, only to swing you right into the next track on the album, ‘L.I.N.E’, which happens to be the only song on ‘Amicitia’ that features complete english lyrics.
‘L.I.N.E’ is an interesting quirk within ‘Amicitia’. The choice to sing with English lyrics seems to decouple the words from the strength of the melody in a way that betrays what the album has built up to this point. Though ‘L.I.N.E’ transitions itself well through sweeping rushes between refrain and power-ballad with a professional level of control, I can’t help but know in my heart of hearts that I would love the upbeat power of this song so much more if I didn’t know that the lyrics sung by these well-meaning musicians include disappointing groaners such as “how can I breathe without oxygen?” followed shortly thereafter by the cringe-worthy “how can I walk without my feet?” My guess would be that this is the track chosen to be translated from an original Indonesian set of lyrics in hopes of connecting with English-speaking fans, but as I’ve experienced with the rest of ‘Amicitia’, it is not the words, but the music itself that delivers the message, and with ‘L.I.N.E’ aside, that message comes in loud and clear.
With unbridled heart and an infectious pop/rock core, ‘Amicitia’ is a diamond in the rough for anyone looking to venture beyond their preconceptions and explore one vibrant exploration of chiptune music from the other side of the world.
‘Amicitia’ is available on Bandcamp.com for $7 (or more) and comes highly recommended.
PixelRecall ~ (R. Morgan Slade) ~ Support the artists you love