Posts Tagged ‘Chiptunes = #SrsBsns’

Aydan Appreciates: ‘Phantom Beach’ by Here Between You Me

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Hey there, ChipWINners! In case you don’t recall their Chiptunes = #SRSBSNS track ‘Forever Alone‘, Here Between You Me is a hype-fueled chiptune/rock/pop group whose releases are generally few and far between. Over the years, they’ve released tracks to the public through their Bandcamp in the form of singles, or on Soundcloud in the cases of covers, rough cuts and demos. Now, with the release of their first EP, ‘Phantom Beach’, the polish that these Los Angeles based champs have put into their music really shows, and this has quickly become one of Brandon’s and my favorite releases of this year thus far. So what’s all the fuss about, anyway? Let’s dive into this sonic ocean of a release and find out!

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Aydan Appreciates: ‘Transition EP’ by James Landino

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Hey, ChipWINners! I’m sure that you’ve heard of James Landino by now if you’ve listened to ChipWIN: Volume 2 or if you’ve just finished rocking out to #SrsBsns. What you might not know about him, however, is that in addition to his contributions to the chipscene in particular, he’s done musical work on a number of projects, including Aces Wild, the super-popular RWBY animated series, and Final Fantasy XIII-3, among many others. Landino has also produced songs under his previous alias, KgZ, many of which have been songs used for files in the FlashFlashRevolution game online. His incredible works have previously been featured on Kotaku, Destructoid, and ScrewAttack. In late March he released his ‘Transition EP’, and it’s definitely worth a listen or ten. So let’s check it out!

Four out of the six tracks on Landino’s ‘Transition EP’ are collaborations with other musicians. The first track, ‘Synced – Snesei (James Landino Remix)’, is a house/dance track that proves right off the bat that Landino is far ahead of a majority of modern EDM artists. A catchy melody, hard-hitting bass, and all of the other smaller, more intricate touches Landino brings to the track make this more than just a club-worthy jam. The third track, ‘Dot Hacker – James Landino VS Kommisar’, features Kommisar’s signature sounds – a very aggressive kick, a unique voice for the main melody, and “insaneous chiptune solos”. Combined with Landino’s rhythmic chops, this definitely stands out from the crowd. Landino combines Kommisar’s incredible sound with his own and produces an off-the-chart awesome track.

‘Hold My Hand feat. Andy Tunstall’, the fourth track, takes things a bit more slowly than the aforementioned songs. ‘Hold My Hand’ has a funky, almost R&B feel to it, and the vibe is expressed between Landino’s melodies and Tunstall’s guitar playing. I feel that the song ended a little bit abruptly, and personally wanted to hear a little more from it, but it’s a phenomenal track nonetheless. The last collaboration on the album, ‘Another Sunday feat. The One Electronic’, doesn’t try to hide its influence from the bossa nova and lounge music of yesteryear. The One Electronic is credited as having written the solo for this song, and the marvelously composed solo hits around the 1:30 mark. The calm, rhythmic nature of this song makes this one of my personal favorites.

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Landino’s two solo tracks on the EP are as phenomenally produced as the other tracks on it. ‘Gray’ in particular makes great use of panning from right to left, and the use of octaves in the chip-based rhythm are one of my favorite small details of the EP as a whole. The voice for the bass is a little bit rough when heard at full volume, but the only time this happens is during the song’s build-ups, and as a result it fits in perfectly. At lower volumes – post build-up – it helps to bring out the beat. ‘Drag Me Down’ is the only non-chip track on the album, and as a result it might seem out of place to some listeners. The production level of this track is exactly what one would expect of Landino, however, and it can be said that his skill at creating house music is on the same level as that of musicians such as deadmau5 and Madeon.

Each song on this EP brings something different to the table; the variety in Landino’s ‘Transition EP’ is a remarkable thing. It’s available as a name-your-price download on his Bandcamp, so even if you don’t have the money to donate to this on-the-rise artist, be sure to pick it up; this isn’t a release to be missed.

James Landino
Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

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Guest Review w/Glenntai: Chiptunes = #SrsBsns… Damn it, there goes the Internet…

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Hey everybody, Glenntai here again with another round of hype and opinions loosely based on minor credibility and experience passing off as expertise album review!  This time, we’re going to a subject very relevant to most of the internet forum subcultures as a dedication to the shenanigans of old and respectively new… or for those familiar with the term, old/newfa… arts. DAMN IT, those terms are just too offensive to innocent people.  I can’t say it.  We should be more careful of the words we use these days.  After all, this is going on the internet, and the internet is…

a1582250240_2…Serious business.

Chiptunes = #SrsBsns (Serious Business) is a 22-track compilation comprised half of veterans and half of newcomers to the compilation series dedicating songs to a meme of their choice.  That was the only guideline aside from no direct covers (an exception being made for one song in particular… you can most likely guess which one.)

We know you’ve been asking for every artist’s information, so we made sure to add all of their links to each specific song’s info section.  If you dig the jam, you can…

  • Click on the track name on the bandcamp page!
  • Click on the lyrics/info link for each song to keep it all on the same page!
  • Google it if you’re too lazy to click links yet somehow not lazy enough to google it!  <3

Now enough of my rambling, let’s get onto some reviews and opinions on each track!

Glenntai – FUUUUUUUUUUUU (Apple Day Surprise)
The smooth, alternating jazz chords at the beginning with the monologue seemed appropriately cheesy for a compilation based on memes.  What he then brought was something completely different than what we would expect from this fan of funk and swing beats…  he broke out his first attempt at chip thrash.  wait wait wait, this is about Glenntai?

FUCK GLENNTAI.  -11/10 “BEST INTRO EVER BUT #FUCKGLENNDUBOIS .”  – IGN

He gets the award for the only two references to SomethingAwful made throughout this album, though.

coda – PLS GO FAST
A highly-respected musical machine in his own right, as well as a veteran musician from the *chan pre-popularity-peak era (as well as the originator of the 8bit cover of Chocolate Rain… youtube it, you’ll thank him later;)  Coda hardly needs an introduction to people who have known him from his soundtracks or some of the finer pieces now stored within the /f/ archive.

If you haven’t, be introduced to his very tempo and syncopation-shifting FM track based off of primarily Sonic-series instruments in only OpenMPT (and as he specifically states in the info section, “No VSTis.”  Purists rejoice!)  With elements of anything from funk to ragtime and your average four-bar EDM track, coda has proven almost timelessly that he can deliver even some of the hottest jams.

YZYX – I nyaned for hours ( ‘ w’)‼
YZYX has somehow managed to take the monotonous, almost droning earworm associated with Nyancat and made it actually listenable.  Nyancat has been a tried, true and tired meme for a few years, and there are plenty of covers that take it towards an EDM route (ahem, guilty as charged, your honor;) but YZYX has offered enough variation to the song to make a tiring and repetitive track into something danceable, not repetitive in nature and playable in clubs that play more than Avicci’s “Levels” eight times in a row and try to bank their money off feigned-nerd clubber culture.

Here Between You and Me – Forever Alone
HBYM has rhythm expected from the early 2000’s-era pop rock bands and made a song exceptionally fitting to both the mood and spirit of the Forever Alone meme.  Plenty of us can relate to the feelings (not necessarily the tales) within the lyrics while feeling the encompassing NES pulse channels’ vibrato and pitch slides that make one reminiscent of older Anamanaguchi tracks.

Theory of N – Bow Chippa Wow Wow
This electronic slow jazz with two-step percussion by Theory of N will keep you nodding your head the whole way through, especially with that deep square channel bass.  It almost sounds like it could be a solid original track until you realize that it shares the same key as Careless Whisper and Sunstroke Project’s Run Away (sigh, yes, the epic sax guy song,) leading into some humorously well-timed licks of the famous sax solos.
Fun fake facts:  89% of people don’t recognize Run Away is Moldova’s only publicly-recognized hit.  99% of the people that did don’t know its originating country is Moldova.  However, 100% of the people surveyed could see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  I’m predicting 100% of you will also thoroughly enjoy this track.

SingkongBalado – IDOUBLEDAREU
SingkongBalado starts off softer with a vocal sampling and duty-cycling arps providing a melody to soft chords right before SingkongBalado went full-force aboard the glitch/grime train to deliver a heavy, tension-focused track; appropriate for the meme.  One could even imagine a dramatic scene, suspense building as you await the reaction to someone being double-dared.

Professor Shyguy – Helix Prophecy
Any fan of Clipstream (</shamelessplug>) might be familiar with this fantastic artist’s performances both on our web series and at our live showcase at MAGFest, leaving those uninitiated to Professor Shyguy’s golden voice and expertise on the simple pop song (as well as more complicated, not-as-pop songs) to enjoy this fantastic song giving tribute to Lord Helix and the prophecies within.

Maxo – Top Doge
Such Maxo.  So doge.  Much top.  Wow.

On top of using chip elements to comprise the majority of the song, Maxo incorporated a similarly avant-garde and equally-painstaking practice of the K.K. Slider soundfont.  In fact, the incorporation of K.K. genuinely puts the meme theme to the song, which is an otherwise light and bouncy, staccato-filled happy jam.

James Landino – lol, Chiptunes
A delightful reference to the only thing that people remember from YTMND except for its constant ripping-off of /gif/, James Landino brought Running in the 90’s back to life by keeping the Running in the 90’s rhythm and incorporating lyrics to replace the verse melody, returning to a simple and pure Running in the 90’s chorus.  Although short, it was a fantastic moment to reminisce to times I almost received speeding tickets to this song.

Urizen  – Ask Not for Whom the Jimmies Rustle (They Rustle for Thee)
When originally approached, it was expected that one member of Urizen was to do a track.  Then I was presented with this track with the entire band portraying the dramatic tale of a valiant hero’s quest to prevent his Jimmies from rustling.  The entire track is very reminiscent of a NES era action game, but the part I feel that really takes off in the song is once the rest of the band starts accompanying in lyrics, then immediately everything drops into the trollapalooza known as Guile’s Theme.

Rustle in peace, little jimmies.  4/1/2014 – 4/1/2014.  There was no need to be upset.

Also, on a personal note, thanks for the free remaining handle of whiskey at NatsuCon, Urizen.  If we cross paths again I’ll try to return the favor.  I still don’t know why they scheduled me after you guys.  <3

An0va – President Hoodie’s Theme
If you need an introduction to one of Philadelphia’s finest and busiest in the American chiptune scene, go find any of his tracks and prepare to feel silly for being left in the dark.

This track is a delightful little ditty depicting the light-hearted, adventurous follies of a mid-1900’s cartoon character opening tune.  A notable difference is that, unlike the rest of the tracks, an0va specifically recorded his track to be at a lower quality.  In addition, this track has no specific meme referenced to it, unless you count Hoodie’s typing language to be a walking meme in itself.  I could almost imagine Hoodie himself replacing everyone in Steam Boat Willie, if it weren’t for the immediate anxiety of the idea of having more than one of that crazy man around in this world.

Watashimo – tfw no gf
For those of you who knew watashimo under his previous alias, shanebro, you’re in for a wild ride through the inner-workings of LSDJ.  A two-channel chorused pulse echo leads the introduction and takes a step back to let the wav channel take lead, interchanging at different points.  The song overall brings a reflective, sometimes nearly sad and nearly dreamy atmosphere, as if one was lost in thought absorbed over their own loneliness.

1000 Needles – Lost Lobos
When I was told this was about Insanity Wolf, I had no idea what to expect.  Fortunately for all, 1000 Needles doesn’t disappoint.  Period.  I was pleasantly surprised by a lyrical verse encompassed by heavy guitars and noise that almost felt like it could keep you from being able to concentrate if you let it.   The lyrics were humorous in nature by asking about Insanity Wolf’s child-stage history as if he was being evaluated.

K.O.M.H. – Y U NO PLAY 128 BPM
Kitty on My Head is a great example of playing with typical electronic music forms and putting them where he sees fit, all while maintaining a smooth transition from one to the other.  This is a track filled with deep bass kicks and an infectious sliding WAV channel bass while the two pulse channels compete for which is the catchier melody. Once again a solid track from KOMH!

Sam Mulligan – The Coolest Story Bro
Sam Mulligan’s delightfully bouncy chip rock has taken on a life of its own in the last few years, but you can hear the polished results of his efforts in this song about a story that went nowhere.  The sarcasm may have been lost on him, but his use of other popularized ironic phrases weren’t lost on me nor did they ever lose their charm coming from Boston’s resident Nerd Rock expert.

Shyabeetus – Chiptune Poop
I don’t care what anybody says, Shyabeetus is Philadelphia’s LSDJ WAV channel wizard, and if anyone tries to prove him wrong they’ll be smote by the barrage of custom kit instruments he has put into his tribute to the popular concept Youtube Poop.

Whether you’re all about Japanese Ronald McDonald, Pingas, Spaghetti, Gentlemen, Octagons or countless other YTP references, Shyabeetus has managed to put them all in there and manipulate each sound as if you were watching the video directly on youtube, itself.

Together We Are Robots – Pools Closed
A subject closely tied to several good memories of mine, Together We Are Robots manages to take the Habbo Hotel Raids and depict the story of many men’s struggles against MOD-Cleo and her band of (allegedly) racist moderators preventing their enjoyment of the pool, and later on protest due to the high levels of AIDS.

The use of a raspy voice to go along with guitar, wav channel bass, arp pulse chords and a highly effective hybrid between wav sample kits and the noise channel produce a very clean third wave ska element. The track itself is one of the few attempts of Chip Ska that have been made publicly available, period.  I certainly wouldn’t mind more of this existing, friends, let’s get on this.

8BitJin – Click Here!
I only wonder what this could be, employing the tactic of click-baiting to reveal– DAMN IT.  RICKROLLED AGAIN.

The evolution of the Duckroll, the Rickroll consisted of clicking a youtube link that promised one thing and then led you to the music video of Rick Astley’s pop hit “Never Gonna Give you Up.”  This was highly over-popularized after it became not funny, as with every example the mass media has pretended to be “hip” with the “new crazy fads.”  However, 8BitJin uses a wah lead that really takes precedence over the remainder of the track, much akin to how Rick Astley’s voice became a bigger focus of the song back in the 80’s.  Very well-done cover, would click there again!

DJ McGranaman – Don’t Say His Name!
DJ McGranaman has made a hauntingly catchy track out of the famous Freakazoid skit, managing to incorporate custom cricket noises and the noise channel to introduce the track with a deeply syncopated hip-hop rhythm.  While this occurs, the melody slowly evolves into an ominous overshadowing of the dire consequences should you utter his name.  The end is sure to remind you of a childhood nightmare, and it felt so uncomfortably good.

Michael Zucker – Unstoppable
The one thing I can say, without a doubt, is that Michael Zucker has channeled the spirit of a T-Rex with grabby-claws and put it into music.  May it have mercy on your flesh-snack of a body once it finds you.

Extent of the Ham – You Spin Me Around
Extent of the Ham (Jam) most certainly gets the award for the most challenging topic to spin a song from.   Using VOPMex to bring in the tonal synths and a very funky bass line, it’s easy to get the feeling of an 80’s era pop song that was intentionally created to be too “weird” for audiences to follow.  Regardless, Extent of the Ham did a fantastic job singing the stressed pleas of the misunderstood spider.  However I will admit, much like the spider, I misunderstood the lyrics of the chorus for the first listen-through.  At first I thought he was singing about Meatspin.

I’m incredibly glad I didn’t have to write about an ode to Meatspin.  Thank you, Extent of the H/Jam.  <3

D&D Sluggers – Slam Jam (of the Year)
D&D Sluggers manages to take a tried-and-true Quad City DJs track and throw into it various references from the secretly-required Guiles Theme to Jam of the Year,  Storm Blooper’s “Somebody Stole All the Icecream!”, another reference to Epic Sax Guy, to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song, to Trolololololing until halted by President Hoodie in the “production” booth.

Final Thoughts
This compilation is surprisingly delightful to all of those who would roll their eyes to all the abundant overusage of memes, a fantastic 22-track soundtrack to cause some shenanigans to, and a delight to all of us reliving days when the internet was a simpler (and easily much more offensive) time.  Download it for free off of the Chiptunes = WIN Bandcamp, and make sure you have stairs in your household.

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DAMN IT HOODIE. I DIDN’T ADD THIS PICTURE. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.