After a few years of writing record reviews for ChipWIN, I’ve decided to take a prolonged break from writing articles here to focus on wrapping up records of my own, my career, life, and travel. Life has been super good but extremely busy, and while I may return on occasion, this article will be the last for a while, so I wanted to make it a good one.
This month, I wanted to push some attention towards game audio created by a friend of mine, Peter Brown, also known as peaksound. On the 22nd, Anisoptera Games released the Fields Expansion version of Reassembly on Steam, and with that, peaksound released some incredibly beautiful music on his Bandcamp. I had the pleasure of checking out the record prior to the release, and seeing it days later with gameplay did not disappoint.
I turn 28 this month, in fact a week from today. At this age, I find myself wishing I had the ability to go back in time and change a number of things that led my life to be the way it is today. And honestly, not only that, but there are certain parts of my life I wish I could live over again, like the parts of my childhood I spent playing my Super Nintendo and my friend’s Playstation 1 after school, jamming out to the Castlevania: Symphony of the Night OST.
This will never happen, of course. I don’t have some kind of time machine to go back, and I’ll never be able to experience Michiru Yamane and Koji Igarashi’s masterpiece again for the first time. What I do have, however, is the next best thing: Timespinner, the first game by Lunar Ray games with an amazing soundtrack by Jeff Ball of Tiny Barbarian DX and Steven Universe fame (among many others), which follows the story of Lunais – a woman who must travel between the ancient past and ruined present of her world to put an end to the tyranny her people face from an intergalactic empire. Funded on Kickstarter back in 2014, this was one of those games I backed and hoped and prayed it would actually come to completion, having been burned by a number of other very promising retro-inspired campaigns in the past – and lo and behold, at the end of September of this year I got my hands on my pledge and devoured the game immediately. Instead of my normal “music only” review column this month, I’d like to actually talk about the game as well – and as with my occasional event coverage, I’ll give you the handy #MUSIC and #GAME tags to Ctrl+F back and forth to if you only want to read one of those reviews.
Back in November of 2015, I had the pleasure of talking with Joshua Faulkner and Daniel Romero of the Salt Lake City super synth duo known as Conquer Monster. Their album, ‘Metatransit‘, had just been released the previous month in October, and on top of being incredibly sound design savvy with a variety of instruments, synthesizers, and a C64 on their album the group also performs live and focuses a good portion of their time on reeling listeners in with visuals. Debuting on December 11, 2017, the group has taken one of their tracks ‘Posthuman’ from ‘Metatransit’ and created a retro video featuring the artists in a 90s point-and-click inspired video game.
Last March I wrote that “…we should be so lucky to get a follow-up album in the future” from Marissa Hapeman after reviewing her chiptune debut ‘Pretty in Pixels’. Forget luck. Marissa Hapeman returns with explosive fervour with her second major chip-release ‘Solstice’.
Tease your musical palette with ‘Waiting For Good News’–
–then dive into the full ‘Solstice’ review continued below!
Welcome to 2017, ChipWINNERS! What better way to break into the new year than with some quirky chip-swing tunes delivered from their hearts to your ears by none other than the legendary YMCK!
‘FAMILY SWING’ by YMCK is a deliciously unique chip-swing album packed with heart, quirk, and unabashed adorableness. This bright album takes swing and runs with it, folding the classic genre into the chip-sphere with a level of polish that will make you wonder how you’ve never heard music quite like this before.
Check out ‘Glory in my hands…’ and fall in love with a little chip-swing with YMCK!
Welcome to the inaugural edition of ‘What’s on Tap?’, a monthly article combining chip music and an exquisite craft beer pairing. Contrasting with President Hoodie’s Beer & Chip Manifesto series, we will talk about a general beer style to pair with the album, along with several recommendations for specific brews. The musical main course this month is a new release by Prof. Sakamoto, a Japanese VGM composer whose wonderful work has not yet been reviewed here on The ChipWIN Blog. In addition to composing soundtracks for (real) video games, Prof. Sakamoto is working on chipmusic inspired by imaginary retro video games. The most recent entry in the series is ‘INSERT vol. 3 – NINJA or DIE’, featuring a ninja protagonist in contrast with previous themes of action/adventure and a space shooter.