This month’s artist is Cyanide Dansen, an avid chiptuner who crafts deliciously catchy melodies. Based on Paris, France, her latest release, “Do no harm”, will have you swinging through the dance floor in no time.
But was Paris where it all started for her? Marie P., whose alter ego is Cyanide Dansen, was born on Epernay, France. She grew up in Rheims, where is where she met the people who encouraged her to create chiptune music for the first time back in 2011.
This month, we were graced by a new Cheapbeats release written and produced by UK electronic artist, Gesceap. Released on May 4th, the seven track album is full of glitchy percussion and hypnotic melodies composed with Nanoloop. With a variety of digital elements comes a strong song structure created from from samples and soft synths. Interestingly enough, this was the first Nanoloop iOS album ever released on Cheapbeats, so on top of the sound being sublime, listeners can hear history unfolding right before their ears.
When I listen to a record, just like how when I make one, I tend to listen and check my mixes on both my studio speakers and headphones. I’m currently on the road and, as I write this, I’m limited to my iPhone speakers. Just from hearing it from this extremely limited audiosource, I can say the album’s mixes are done very well. The percussion cuts through perfectly, and the bass holds its own space without creating a centimeter of mud. While an album isn’t just about a great mix, I can honestly say that each track was wonderful to listen to and the album itself was easy to listen to at one time. As a whole, it was unique and beautiful, and I can see why Cheapbeats proudly released it.
2018 has been a good start for chipmusic, and we can easily thank those who released music in the prior year for that. 2017 had some very high-key releases that managed to overshadow many others due to their surge in popularity and the quality of their music being nothing short of top-notch. As a community this is a great “problem” to have, but from an individual artist perspective it can be very tough for new or less-popular acts. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you might accidentally have slept on Business Pastel’s self-titled debut album, which deserves the attention of anyone in chipmusic that enjoys dance music with vibes of electro, future bass, d&b and hints or suggestions of other genres.
Hi peeps, my name’s Morgan and I’m SUPER STOKED to join the bloggers for Chiptunes = WIN and help get more awesome tunes onto your radar. Pleasantries = DONE. Let’s get to the music!
Can chiptune be integrated with acoustic instrumentals for the betterment of ear-holes everywhere? For the answer, look no further than Breakbeat Heartbeat’s latest release HOLD ON.
Hold On has a chill, funky feel. There are no power ballads, no hard-core wub-wubs. What we have here is an album of 9 uplifting tracks melding together a unique blend of chip-funk with classical elements making for an intriguing release that is absolutely worth your time.
What impresses me the most about HOLD ON is how Breakbeat Heartbeat has delivered a musical bob-and-weave of acoustic with electric that ensures both sounds have their day in the sun, but never at the expense of the other. Make no mistake, the choice to combine chiptune bleepy-bloops with deep acoustic sounds is a risky proposition. Too much chip and the instrumentals sound forced. Too much instrumental and the chip comes off as a gimmicky afterthought. Chiptune has the tendency to sound harsh when forced to play nice with traditional instrumentals, but that’s simply not the case here. The result is a unique mix that is polished, elegant and deserves some serious name-your-price love.
HOLD ON shines in the center of a chip/acoustic venn diagram playing off the lighthearted nature of chiptune and a natural depth drawn from classical instruments that offers a lot of room for exploration. Some tracks do less to innovate than others with “The Time Is Right” and “On My Own” offering a consistent loop of chill beats without pushing the envelope. Tracks “Night”, “Roads” and “Flashback” act as the tentpoles of the album, taking the fusion to its peak with an intriguing use of classical violin, piano and bass guitar respectively for a classical/funk/chip mix that underscores Breakbeat Heartbeat’s ability to combine wheelhouses.
(I just Googled wheelhouse and discovered the term is in reference to the individual swinging range or sweet spot within a baseball player’s strike zone. THE MORE YOU KNOW.)
It’s worth mentioning that if you’re unfamiliar with Breakbeat Heartbeat, there are two previous releases that also explore the fusion of chip with acoustic styles available on Breakbeat’s Bandcamp titled 22:06 (which, interesting fact, was originally released on Andrew Kilpatrick’s blog/label The Waveform Generators) and DELTA. It’s fascinating to be able to listen to those two albums and hear the leaps and strides Breakbeat Heartbeat has made honing this unique style. With such growth apparent from these three releases, Breakbeat Heartbeat is definitely a rising talent.
I love the pay-what-you-want business model, by the way. I personally believe that there should not be a financial barrier between people and experiencing music. Supporting the artist if you have the means is absolutely vital and if you can afford it, you should pay them. But with the pay-what-you-want model, that payment is more than a transfer of funds for a product, it’s a “thank you”. I think that’s an important distinction. Music as “the gift given” instead of “the product sold” bridges the gap between artist and fan.
Breakbeat Heartbeat’s HOLD ON is a gift given. Take a listen below, then go say thank you.
Pixel Recall ~ (R. Morgan Slade) ~ Support the artists you love :)