Instead of doing your standard review, I thought I’d do something a little different. At the moment I’ve been extremely busy raising the funds for Chip Bit Day 2018. Yes, Manchester’s latest chiptune event is back for it’s 3rd year, and I’m looking to build upon the foundations laid by the last two tocreate an even better night – or shouldI say nights?!?
Hello! It’s my first review of the year so I thought I’d begin with a compilation straight from down under. Released on 18th January, ‘The Great Australian Barbecue Bash’ compilation is the first of its kind featuring an all aussie line up with all the artists, covering an fellow artist from the country. It’s a fantastic line up, with prolific artists such as Ctrix, Tomfoolery and The Family Jewellery, Calavera, and many more!
This month, I wanted to review the recent release by Michigan native, CZOFT. ‘Stratocracy’ was released on October 25, 2017, and features carefully crafted compositions created with lsdj. Featuring 15 tracks fully constructing within one Gameboy DMG-01, the album was released by Utah record label, Catskill Records (the same folks who host Catskill Electronics, a site where Gameboy composers can find their fair share of arduino boys, flash carts, sync components, etc.). This article with contain a review of a new record that I really love, and also share sound design tips straight from the artist for those who want to learn more about lsdj, as well.
Cover artwork by CZOFT, layout and design by Catskull Records.
The chipmusic community has gotten the rare opportunity to watch an artist truly expand technically and stylistically in Nanode. Beginning under the alias Metatronaut, Nanode released his first full-length album ‘Waveform Warrior‘ in mid-2015, and subsequently killed the project to further his musical style. ‘Loopy‘ was released in October 2015 under Nanode, which was an excellently executed Nanoloop EP. He then transitioned towards LSDj as his instrument of choice with the release of ‘Journey‘ in 2016, and each release has become progressively more impressive. Nanode’s talent can’t be denied, and just when we thought nothing could top early 2017’s ‘Voyager‘, ‘Void’ has been announced, teased, and will be released shortly. Having had the pleasure of listening through the album early, I can assure you that the album is his best work to date.
Given his extensive career and the breadth of his library, I’d be surprised if most of our community hadn’t experienced some aspect of the work of Tri Angles (or his previous identity, SMILETRON). If you’re such a reader, it should come as no surprise that ‘Deep Magic’ is a solid addition to the library of any fan of this particular variety of ambient drum and bass. For the uninitiated, I can wholeheartedly recommend this album as a great diving in spot to an extremely mentally engaging artist. Thematically drifting along the spectrum of driven to meditative, ‘Deep Magic’s composition will instill focus and energy into its listeners. Join me past the fold where we’ll take an in depth listen to just a few of the new pieces.
This month’s edition of ‘What’s on Tap?’ combines three of my favorite things into one deliciously awesome cornucopia: video games, breakfast, and beer. VGM veteran Pete Ellison returns to the soundtrack world with #Breakforcist, a breakfast-themed brick breaking collaboration with Kevin John at Lucid Sheep Games. Demonic waffles fall from the sky and your task is to destroy them by any means necessary, augmenting your ball with bacon lasers and pancakes. #Breakforcist is currently available on iOS devices, with an Android port coming in the near future. In addition to the soundtrack, Pete did the artwork for the game and you can unlock iMessage stickers by progressing through the levels. Play this game for ten minutes and the only person more enthusiastic about breakfast than you is Leslie Knope:
Musically, #Breakforcist sits squarely in an uncanny valley between retro gaming and contemporary music production. Soundfonts resembling the SNES and Dreamcast-era classics mix freely with Absynth-like patches and filters, wrapped up in a tight and clean package. Although designed for handheld devices, the #Breakforcist soundtrack plays well through laptops, headphones, and normal speaker setups – a testament to Pete’s solid production skills. The soundtrack has a common theme of uptempo, danceable grooves to keep the player’s energy high, but there are a surprisingly wide variety of sounds from beginning to end. The more ambient tracks function well as both background music and standalone pieces, with several standout melodies and funky basslines to keep the listener engaged. Perhaps the most unique portion of the soundtrack are Pete’s tracks that utilize the sexy vocaloid known here as Cyber Diva. If you are having trouble envisioning this sound, imagine Laurie Anderson’s ‘O Superman’ with a thumping backbeat and lyrics about waffles instead of nuclear war.
Now, let’s bust out the maple syrup and dig into some of these sweet tunes, shall we?