Chipmusic Heroes veteran Square Punch brings us a little bit of the sentimental and a lotta bit of the fresh with his late October release ‘Hurrigwen‘. The album is three tracks of excellent collaborations, and six fresh new tracks to tantalize cochlear nerves and move feet. A couple of these collaborations appear on previous Chipmusic Heroes releases of which I’m a big fan. You should check them out, but today we’ll be honing in on Square Punch’s newest tracks down past the fold.
‘Epic Lewt‘ leads both the review and the album off with a combination of sunshine bright arps and quiet noisy snares that, in fifteen seconds, lay a foundation of anticipation for the rest of the album. Popping off into a full run with a throaty kick and swelling overtones, the music quickly builds to a sustained danceable piece. With a couple of Speak n’ Say powered ‘Epic Lewts’, you’ll need to be off your duff and moving your legs for a solid two minutes. The pace breaks toward the end for the briefest respite, a sudden skip that almost immediately returns to speed. A quick footloose encore before fading out.
The tonal flavor of ‘Hurrigwen‘ keeps that sense of beginnings going, making it an excellent title track choice. I would argue that it also would have been just as strong a choice for first track of the album, as it shares the bright hopefulness of ‘Epic Lewt’, and mixes in warmth, friendship, and hope. With its inviting pulses, tickling arps, and even pace, ‘Hurrigwen’ positively gives off the vibe of the opening of a cute anime involving some combination of magic, monsters, high school, and adventure. Its an enjoyable listening experience that also loops well enough to leave me wondering who will pick it up for the title card of an indy game.
‘Jump & Run‘ is a nice shift in the character of the music. Digging into the lower octaves enhances the bassline, giving the track a deep jazzy vibe. The perky clipped arps that Square Punch has shown such proficiency with in the previous tracks become highlights here, allowing them to highlight their ability to compose primarily with drum and bass. All of that said, the music stays just as energetic and driven as the rest of the album as reviewed thus far. Personifying its own title, ‘Jump & Run‘ takes that energy and channels it into what clearly deserves to be the backdrop to your next gym mix or action level.
An intriguing choice to close the album with, ‘Heart of the Iron Dragon‘ throws all the previous dance floor energy to the wind for something much more pensive. Looking just at the surface, the arrangement highlights the breadth of Square Punch’s compositional talents. His go-to bright and rapid arpeggios and swelling duty cycles remain everpresent, but the tempo slows and the tone becomes apprehensive. The drums have a harder attack, giving the occasional slight pause to one’s breath, accented by the cutting mechanical screech of what I presume is the eponymous Iron Dragon. Mixed together, the diverse instrumentation and composition produces a whole that just barely dares to dream. A slow, careful progression against danger and certain death.
This is a solid release, and each track has a little something worth listening to. As a whole, it is ample evidence of Square Punch’s solo and collaborative talent, and I look forward to seeing what he brings us in the future. I highly encourage all of our readers to pop on over to Square Punch’s Bandcamp page and check it out. He’s asking an insanely reasonable $3 USD for a downloadable copy, and if you’re as into supporting your fellow chip artists as I am, that’s hardly a bridge too far.
So get over there, spread the love, and enjoy yourselves some Chiptune!