It’s that chiptastic time of the year again! The long-awaited ‘Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 8’ has finally arrived! Newcomers and veterans from across the globe unite to bring us some of the best chipmusic of the year! Join us as we review the compilation in its entirety!
Hey folks! It’s ya boi rhyphte here with some more great summer tunes to talk about. In the midst of V8 submission prep, a very special member of our community was working hard on his first feature length release with his new label! I meant to put this out sooner (closer to the album release and farther from V8), but moving sucks (Editor-in-chief’s note: 100% AGREED), traveling sucks, and doing both in the same week is a gigantic pain in the ass.
I like Catskull Records because of its position as the nucleus of the Midwestern scene. There’s a lot of action on the coasts but the great interior of the states is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Toasterpastries, aka Jack Danial Young, has officially been inducted into the same cabal as the likes of Immortan and ChronoWolf, and I’m glad to see it because he’s definitely been on the come-up for a hot-ass minute now.
I also want to point out the awesome fucking album art. Jack took a picture of the solar eclipse (you know the one) with a GAMEBOY CAMERA. What a badass power move, am I right? The font chosen is very recognizable to the LSDJ goonsquad, of which I am a card-carrying member.
Normally I’d say it’s a little late in the game to be bringing out a “Game Boy/LSDJ-themed” album (it’s INSERT_YEAR_HERE, after all), but Jack has a strong argument for reminding us what these tiny old computers are really capable of. Not that any of us here at Chiptunes = WIN have ever actually forgotten. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
Long ago, deep in the archives of the 8bp community, there was an experimental, Japanese chiptune duo by the name of Kplecraft. Utilizing a wide variety of percussive instruments and a saxophone to name just a few, Kplecraft’s sound is complex in theoretical scope and instrumental diversity. After an eight-year hiatus, they’ve released a new album titled ‘Klingsardry’. Having been released through the Cheapbeats label and recommended to me by Brandon himself – not to mention, its teaser being a fully animated video set to a portion of each track – it’s safe to say that this album was destined to blow my mind.
Chiptunes4Autism has been going for 4 years strong now, and another spring season brought us what may be their most exciting compilation yet! 28 tracks showcase a varied, fun, and hard-working collective that will take anyone who wants to help. All proceeds go to charities proud of neurodiversity, supporting autistic self-advocacy, mental health resources, and networks for marginalized groups. It’s really great. Also, the music kicks ass, and the people involved will steal your hearts.
By ‘steal your hearts’, of course, I mean I’m going to try and cast them in a heist movie.
Happy Pride Month, everybody! To fit the theme, I’d like to cover a very special release from Business Pastel that is quite literally a rainbow of expression.
With a vast array of technical styles and moods, this album is just jam-packed with content. All of the tracks flow into one another seamlessly, and serve as little windows into the depth of the character of Billy Murphy, better known as business pastel.
Cityfires’ latest release is fire.That pun is too easy not to make, but I really mean it. With buoyant emotional synthpop, some of the most magnetic sound design I’ve heard all year, and fascinating lyrics – this album’s spirit is most deserving of the title “adventure” out of all that I’ve written about. It’s full of surprises and seriously fine-tuned, with tracks like ‘The Tangle’ trimmed down to interesting ideas, while others such as the titular song take the time they need for a core feeling to hit home.
Full to the brim with electric melody lines, immersive sound design, and creative mixing decisions, this fifteen-track masterpiece never sacrifices quality for quantity. Tight vocal tracks are infused with textured electronica, and organic instrumentation as well. Instrumentals are just as diverse: ‘Daybreak Apparatus’ echoes the peppy videogame joy of earlier ChipWIN comps, while ‘Dreamshifting’ feels like some more recent chiptune which draws from mathrock. Alternatively, ‘Mothfold’ defies description. The whole album is kinetic, and really integrated, a trip through clear landscapes and sights to behold.