Shadrew’s ‘The Infinite’ EP brims with confidence, and explodes with chip-ferocity.
Shadrew’s ‘The Infinite’ EP is an explorative powerhouse of chip and rock guitar, relentlessly attacking chip anthems in each of its five high-energy tracks. Released on Bandcamp in December of 2014, this little nugget has eluded us no longer. ‘The Infinite’ EP combines intense rock anthems with significant chip and synth compliments to create five rousing tracks you absolutely, one hundred percent need to add to your library. Beautiful, full-fledged, and evocative, ‘The Infinite’ EP will make you smile.
‘Algo System’ rolls out the red carpet with a booming electric guitar, laying the foundation for a bevy of chip tones, soaring with an enrapturing melody only to crescendo into a hard-hitting cascade of stadium-filling sound. The tone set by ‘Algo System’ is one of all-out chip-ferocity: full, enrapturing sounds and rousing swells of rock guitar. There’s a noticeable subtlety in Shadrew’s work: underneath the powerhouse anthems lie intricate electronic compliments that are working in tandem to fill every nook and cranny and create an unforgettable full force experience.
Rockin’ drums lay the groundwork in ‘Shiny Porygon’ under a subtle, brief synth melody. This calm introduction lulls you into a false sense of lethargy, only to slam you with a cascade of electronica in this up-tempo anthem. Regrouping for another hit, twinkling melodies compliment each other in a moment of relief before a final, climactic reprise. ‘Shiny Porygon’ is an overwhelmingly upbeat track that underscores Shadrew’s musicality.
‘Everything Will Be OK’ is as close to a rock ballad as ‘The Infinite’ EP gets, with a slow, lulling melodic opener accompanied by light guitar strumming as the track crescendos to its now signature climax. Every moment is filled with pulsing drums and chip, relaxing back to an ethereal melodic closer. ‘Everything Will Be OK’ transitions from epic anthem to thoughtful rests with a welcome grace and skill.
Shadrew was kind enough to sit down for an interview about creating ‘The Infinite’, and that interview continues below.
Pixel Recall: What did you use to create the album (both instruments and tech/software)?
Shadrew: I use Ableton Live and a number of different plugins and samples. All the “chiptune” is made using plugins, mostly magical8bit from YMCK. I’ve experimented with LSDJ a bit but right now it’s much easier for me to work inside the DAW. The SNES sounds, (like the Harp on ‘Algo System’ and the bells on ‘Shiny Porygon’) are extracted directly from original SNES music files with this amazing plugin called C700. Sometimes the extracted sounds are totally incorrect but I love that about it. Sometimes that leads to discovering new sounds. I also used a few N64 soundfonts at some points. I just run guitar into my interface and use Guitar Rig to cover it with effects.
Pixel Recall: Is ‘The Infinite’ your debut release?
Shadrew: This is my debut official release as Shadrew. I’ve made some completely terrible music in the past under my real name but I try to forget about it. Everyone needs those formative years, haha!
Pixel Recall: Where does your passion for music come from, and how did that lead you toward ‘The Infinite’s unique sound?
Shadrew: When I was really young I hated music and, from what I’ve been told by family, had absolutely no sense of rhythm. I didn’t really like music until I played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on my Uncle’s N64. That’s still one of my favorite video game OSTs. It’s just so timeless. That game made me appreciate music.
From there I started appreciating music in Game Boy games I was playing and that’s probably where I started to love the sound of chipmusic. I was involved in a lot of school choirs and bands and played in a garage band before deciding to start producing electronic music that tried to be Daft Punk. I had no idea what I was doing and left it alone for quite a while, eventually picking it back up when Electro House and Dubstep got really big in 2011 or so. I made some really horrible music. Just awful. Cringeworthy stuff. After a while I got tired of trying to make trendy dance music bangers and I wanted to make something that I could really be proud of. Chipmusic was a sound that I was continuing to love and I decided to try to incorporate it into the EDM type music I was making at the time. I made this track “Retrospective” that’s still up on my Soundcloud. It’s a decently fun little dance track but still nothing that really defined me as an artist. I got really into shoegaze and noise pop music a few months later. The noisy guitars were just super inspiring to me and I started to incorporate that into my music where I was trying to use anything but guitar before. From there I made the pretty amateurish ‘There I Stood’ and decided to take this sound a little further since I was really happy with what I was discovering.
Pixel Recall: Was there a ‘eureka moment’ or a particular challenge you confronted that you were proud to overcome creatively while making this EP?
Shadrew: I really started to come into an original sound when I made ‘Everything Will Be OK.’ I had made these lightning fast pulse wave arpeggios during the loud section that i was just so happy with. It had this bubbly overwhelming texture to it that really inspired me to keep writing music for the rest of the EP. Further than that I think ‘Algo System’ (which didn’t have the loud explosion at the end originally, though I’m glad it does now) led me to really seeing what I could do with texture using the chip sounds and noisy guitar drones and that became one of the main things I focused on throughout the record.
Pixel Recall: Do you have anything in the works as far as future performances or music you can let us know about?
Shadrew: I’ve been working on getting a live show setup together. It’s in really early stages right now and I don’t know when it will be ready. I want to be able to really play live and not just DJ or something like I have in the past. Seeing as there are so many layers and things going on at the same time in my music, I have to figure out what to have prerecorded and what to do live. As for new music, I’m working on a short 3-song EP that is going to incorporate vocals! I’ve wanted to do that for a while but insecurity has been preventing me. I’m excited for people to hear it once it’s to a point I’m happy with though!
Pixel Recall: Any advice for aspiring musicians looking to create chip music?
Shadrew: Just start as soon as possible. This goes for any kind of music really. Just start as soon as you can. There’s an amazing wealth of knowledge on the internet for aspiring musicians now. Try to meet other beginner musicians and start bouncing ideas off of one another. That’s something I wish I had done sooner. Once you get to a point where you’re fluidly translating your ideas into whatever software or tracker you’re using, I would just say to make whatever you would want to hear. If you don’t like your own music, you’ll probably be bitter and feel obligated to create art you aren’t happy with if you get a following, so be true to yourself!
Pixel Recall: Open forum: anything you’d like to say, or make sure readers know about. Whatever’s on your mind!
Shadrew: Thanks so much for listening to my music if you have. I can’t thank people enough for finding some joy in what I make. It’s such an incredible feeling. I’ll use this space to give a shout out to some chiptune/video gamey musicians I know who could use your listen. Vanishes makes some amazing noisy chiptune pop with a really amazing visual aesthetic to go along with it. It’s dark and crazy and Iove it. FatherFake just put out an awesome EP of some more chilled out chiptune accented beats that I’m really digging. Can’t wait to see what he puts out yet. Lastly, R23X uses SNES/PS1 era JRPG menu sounds to make some really textured, dreamy, almost vaporwavey beats. He just put out a new record on Dream Catalogue and it’s gorgeous. Definitely check all these guys out! And thanks for the interview!
‘The Infinite’ EP by Shadrew is available now on Bandcamp.com for “name your price”. High-energy, high-calibur, and highly recommended. Grab your copy and help support Shadrew’s future musical endeavours.
Pixel Recall ~ (R. Morgan Slade) ~ support the artists you love