Ahoy and well wishes citizens of the ChipWIN Nation! Up in my neck of the woods, the August sun is burning with a ferocity that will melt the skin off a person’s bones. Why am I mentioning that random weather related factoid? Aside from breaking the ice with something we can all understand, that’s the best gauge I can give you folks on how potent Vince Kaichan’s latest release is. CheapBeats has been dropping amazing releases all summer, and ‘Power Tricks‘ earns its place among them in spades. If you’re looking for some of the best LSDJ work I’ve heard in a long while, you’ve found the right album.
President Hoodie sent me a copy of Robotprins’ new release through CheapBeats. I really respect Hoodie’s taste in music, and that alone would normally be enough to catch my attention. However, Robotprins is someone I had never heard of before.All I had to go on from was the bright cover art, with its happy blonde dude riding a snowmobile with a snowy palace in the background. Still, I’m all about finding hidden gem artists, so the mystery was enough to spark my interest. I love digging through an unknown artists’ records to see how, what, and why they create. I also hope that these reviews encourage them to keep doing what they love. (more…)
Howdy, ChipWINers! Professor Oakes here to administer the initial dose of Chip Treatment for your eyes and ears! It is a great pleasure to write my first edition on ‘Noisechan & Nugget: Adventures in Chiptunes’ album, which debuted on Bandcamp April 12th, 2013.
Released by Ubiktune, ‘Adventures in Chiptunes’ was a yearlong labor of love that Kris ‘TrueStar’ Kaufman helped catapult into the chip scene through her diligent project management and love for anything chip. Produced and mastered by Jake ‘Virt’ Kaufman, video game music/chiptune aficionado and Kris’s husband of 5 years, ‘Adventures in Chiptunes’ is surely a contribution to this kitschy community to be remembered for years. Gracing Bandcamp with 12 memorable tracks and delightful album artwork by Kabakism, the album opens with ‘Noise Channel Theme (Full Mix)’ composed by Virt, who also makes an appearance later on in the album in the track titled ‘The Artichoke King’. It is revealed in the album credits that the ‘Artichoke King’s’ identity is Nugget Kaufman, Jake and Kris’s 5-year-old Puggle, fan favorite, and Noisechan Radio’s mascot. With a catchy melody and heartwarming lyrics, ‘Noise Channel Theme (Full Mix)’ alludes to Virt’s heavy roots and passion for chiptunes. To no surprise, he was capable of masterfully creating a memorable introduction to the album itself, and of course a track that many listeners of Kris’s radio show ‘Noisechan Thursdays’ on Arecibo Radio are well acquainted with.
‘Adventures in Chiptunes’ continues with TQ-Jam’s track ‘Promise’, whose dreamy rhythm pays homage to his recognizable Famicom craft and quality release titled ‘September Air’. Starting off with a mellow introduction, the track picks up speed around the :14 mark and takes his listeners on an euphoric ride to chiptune land with stunning key strokes and classic 8 bit background buildups that can’t help but make you fall in love. With a soothing melody, ‘Promise’ is certainly a track you’d expect to soundtrack a couple’s first dance, or even one’s dream of flying through the air as its pop-ish sound becomes an earbug that you just can’t help to forget or hum throughout the day.
Coda’s ‘Can’t Stop Our Noise’, the third track of the album, is a perfect segway from TQ-Jam’s ‘Promise’. His kinetic, space-like intro is a great accompaniment to the song as a whole as he brings to life the child in us all with MIDI guitar riffs and foot tapping kicks. With a sensational introduction, ‘Can’t Stop Our Noise’ is a totally tubular release that is very reminiscent of a vintage game show introduction. By the latter half of the track, Coda has done a fantastic job at packaging it all together with the addictive double bass that we all crave as we’re left in a galactic trance bobbing our heads.
Hally’s ‘Bgrusko Meow’ leads you on a cat and mouse chase (pun intended!) through its addictive, frenetic build up to a sudden BPM decrease in the second half of the song. Reminiscent of a classic 16-bit side-scrolling adventure game, ‘Bgrusko Meow’s’ catchy melody and extreme high energy is one of my favorite tracks on this album, as its bright and pop-ish sound brings a new and innovative composition to the album at large. Rekchadam’s ‘Catch That Girl, She Stole My Heart!’ is very reminiscent to Masato Nakamura’s memorable contributions to ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’. I can’t help but think of grinding through each level at warp speed to collect as many rings as I can to be awarded those sweet, sweet Chaos Emeralds because of the track’s enticing melody and double bass pedal kicks that build up your heart rate.
Fear of Dark’s ‘Noisechan Inspection Theme: On the Case’, Norrin Radd’s ‘Rejection’, Surasshu’s ‘Midnight Stroll’, an0va’s ‘It’s Only a Doghouse Right?’, Heosphoros’s ‘Forbidden Hell’ and Blitz Lunar’s ‘Hidden Heaven’ also make appearances on ‘Adventures in Chiptunes’. Displaying the high-quality craft we’ve come to expect from these talented artists, each of these tracks are unique and impressionable as not one sounds like another, but they certainly have one thing in common—a recognizable, addictive sound and a chiptune all star vibe. Ranging from a classic, 1970’s funk-esque feel in ‘Noisechan Inspection Team: On the Case’, to a side scrolling shoot-em-up style similar to that of ‘Contra 4’ in Heosphoros’s ‘Forbidden Hell’, the latter half of this high quality album finishes strong.
‘Adventures in Chiptunes’ can be downloaded through Bandcamp at ‘name your price’ (scroll past the links below to find it at the bottom of this write-up!). All album proceeds are fully given to Child’s Play Charity, which seeks to improve the lives of children in hospitals around the world through video games.
This concludes today’s inaugural edition of Chip Treatment with Professor Oakes! If you enjoyed it, be sure to tune in again next month (or maybe sooner??) as this monthly column continues! And in the meantime, enjoy the rest of this month’s upcoming lovely articles! Professor Oakes signing off!