Sup, ChipWINners, and welcome back to Quick Shots! This month, I have two very cheerful, funky albums from two very different parts of the globe to help kick off your summer right. One is from an artist who’s ready to go out with a bang, the other is from someone whose career is like a juggernaut: it just can’t be stopped! With that in mind, I cordially invite you to sit back, relax, and join me as I review music by veterans Super Robotic Encounters and Svetlana.
This edition of Office Hours will be my first opportunity to review an artist that I have previously covered, which is exciting for me to see their development and revisit some old favorites. Gors follows up his 2015 release of ‘Brave New World’ with ‘Limitless’, a 10-track album exploring the endless facets of creativity. The sounds and styles of this release are widely varied but form a cohesive whole, and the Famitracker work is top-notch. From retro action-platformer jams and bouncy Nintendo-esque textures to chippy pop-punk inspired tunes, you will surely find something to satisfy your aural palate with this album!
Welcome back to the August edition of Office Hours! My classes begin next week so I need to finish up lesson plans and a syllabus before the big day on Monday. Thankfully, an album came to my attention that serves as perfect background music for work or studying, and I will definitely be recommending it to my students as the semester begins. Put on your sailing caps and don’t forget to pack the vitamin C, because we’re going ’round the world with this one!
A recipe; the ingredients; the cookware — all crucial to preparing your meals and satiating your growing hunger.
The very same analogy holds true for chipmusic: the personality that a musician puts into their work; the level of composition the song yields; and the success of mixing which helps to amplify the song. In this sense, the composition is the recipe; personality the ingredients; and the method the musician is producing their album on and the song mixing is the cookware.
You’re probably thinking why I’m making all of these silly analogies to food and food prep, am I right? Without further adieu…
Tiny Fungi? More like Famitracker Masterclass, if you ask me. subPixel’s contribution to ChipWIN is demonstrative of the same qualities that made The Wave, along with his slew of prior releases, so good to begin with. Starting off minimally with great use of Famitracker’s tri channel, subPixel doesn’t waste any time before laying down sweeping arpeggios alongside his magnificent use of the FDS synth. Tiny Fungi is a WORLD of melodic bliss, and subPixel’s use of note cutting and triangle channel alone is reason enough to appreciate this fantastic piece. It’s always inspiring to hear an expert Famitracker composer at work. And subPixel, as always, delivers the goods.
Track #38: SSD Engage – Floating Space Toast Void
I have seen the Floating Space Toast void… and it is immaculate. The trio of SPRY, Disabletron and Sp00ked stand tall on their own, but together they are a force that destroys universes and invites you along to the mayhem. SSD Engage frequently conveys the feel of three great musicians coming together to jam out, with always-spectacular results. While there’s certainly a steady rhythm and beat to be found, the amount of aural space and melody present establishes an atmosphere of cosmic chaos. It crunches like toast, yeah…if toast had the propensity for universal contemplation. Maybe it does, though. These guys have vision.
Track #39: Ryuno – Wub Dub De Club
Wub? Check. Dub? Check. Club? Check. I really did consider dedicating this whole blurb to how much I love the kick drum but that would be a disservice to the rest of this composition. Representing the more melodic side of chipstep, the Brazil-based Ryuno has already established himself with a Soundcloud presence chock-full of standout dubstep, chillstep and dnb tracks. With Wub Dub de Club, Ryuno has distilled these influences into a 2:45 manifesto that any DJ would be proud to unleash upon the unsuspecting masses. And seriously, can we talk about that kick?
Track #40: Pieces of Eight – Rescue Drama
Utilizing the oft-overlooked OpenMPT that composers like Fearofdark have used to such great effect, Pieces of Eight a.k.a Adam Lankford, serves a mid-tempo rocker that is by far one of this compilation’s strongest tracks. The beginning section’s angelic synths are portentous of the building storm, with the first kick at 0:24 confirming what you knew all along: This is going to ROCK. Through an enviably catching melody augmented by some great accidentals and scale-defying arps, my favorite bit is the breakdown at the 3:34 mark where I swear he’s channelling the great Motoi Sakuraba. This dude knows how to build and maintain, further proven by the wailing melody that sets this beast to rest. If you didn’t know the name Pieces of Eight before, you damn sure do now. Respect.
Track #41: Nestrogen – Torpedophile of Wonder and Joy
Questionable (but awesome) title aside, it’s a bit rare that you get a chance to see the pop side of Nestrogen. This is, after all, the same Nestrogen that just recently the FUCKING AWESOME EP, Famithrasher, through Datathrash Recordings. I’ll give you a moment to adjust. Aggression is still an omnipresent factor, though the blastbeats are traded in here for a more conservative percussive approach. Which is fine, since Nestrogen has a grasp for sick drums. The melody throughout is hella catchy, definitely encapsulating that sense of wonder buried beneath the unrelenting instrumentation. But the major standout is the change-up and quick breakdown at the 1:43 mark along with some really nice panning. Really solid track.
Make sure to check back in next Wednesday for continued coverage of Chiptunes = WIN Volume 2! Until next time~