After a month off to focus on other matters, it feels good to be back reviewing music at ChipWIN. ‘Lost’ by Shortee was an album that slipped under my radar last year, but as soon as I started listening to it, ‘Guten Morgen’ immediately became one of my top 10 tracks of 2018. That said, the album has plenty more songs worth delving into, so I wanted to do a showcase on The ChipWIN Blog and dive into Shortee’s debut album.
It’s last review of the year for me and I thought I’d continue the trend by reviewing absolutely no chiptune. Last year was no contest for me and I reviewed one of my favourite ‘Futurefunk’ albums of the year, ‘Watashi No Yume Diary’ by ‘Bigwave Mikazuki’. It was a wonderful release that I continue to listen to this day. This year however has been harder to choose. Originally I was going to review ‘Moe Moe’ by ‘Moeshop’, an awesome release with a variety of singers. Featuring a worldwide collection of artists from Manchester’s own ‘MYLK’ to Kyoto’s ‘Toriena’, ‘Moe Moe’ was full to brim with character.
However, as the year started to draw to a close, I came across another album; ‘Static Electricity’ by ‘Utsuro Spark’ (released by New Japanese Net Label, ‘Local Visions’). Whilst ‘Moe Moe’ was bubbly and colourful, ‘Static Electricity’ managed to instantly hook me, both through its mystical music and passionate vocals. Ultimately it was the heart of ‘Static Electricity’ that won me over, even when I compared both albums vigorously against one another.
This year has been an excellent year for chipmusic using nanoloop. We’ve had a huge amount of releases ranging from the astounding ‘Geothermal’ by Classic Mistake, to the chilled as hell ‘Vanilla Dome’ by Glooms. This time we have Boaconstructor’s ‘Winds Of Null’. For context into ‘Boaconstructor’, he is a Seattle based musician who also runs ‘The Base bit’, one of the go-to net labels of chiptune. ‘The Base Bit’ have released a variety of accomplished albums such as ‘Refresh’ from Trey Frey, to ‘Steel City Zone’ by ‘HarleyLikesMusic’. It has been three years since ‘Boaconstructor’ has produced an album, with ‘Loop Dreams’ being released in 2015.
Whilst ‘Loop Dreams’ and ‘Winds Of Null’ were produced using Nanoloop, they are vastly different albums. ‘Loop Dreams’ focuses on using modulation to create weird and wonderful noises on a high BPM. ‘Winds Of Null’ on the other hand, focuses more on the bass, as well as detuning the melody and slowing down the music. For me I prefer Boaconstructor’s latest album, as I found it more accessible to listen to. The recording and mastering are also, in my opinion, much higher quality. Everything seems to pop better, with the levels balanced much better than ‘Loop Dreams’.
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.
For those of you from the west coast of the US and those of you familiar with the Philadelphia chiptune scene and/or MAGFest, the name Auxcide is likely a very familiar to you. Armed with several Gameboy Advance SPs, synthesizers and drum machines, his unique blend of electronic music genres within the media of chipmusic have struck deep emotions as much as it has made people dance. During this summer of excellent releases coming from talented composers, Cheapbeats has given us a treat by releasing Bare Knuckle: a 15-minute live-recorded medley full of music from the Streets of Rage/Bare Knuckle/ベア・ナックル series. Yuzo Koshiro has been known for his bouncy, syncopated dance rhythms that combined elements from house, jazz, hip-hop and a variety of EDM genres. Continue after the jump for some good jams.
So now that finals are finally over and I have way more free time on my hands, I decided it would be the perfect time to dive into another segment of What Should I Use!
For those new to the blog, WSIU is a series in which I take a chip-musician’s perspective on chiptune software and give it a review. Its meant to help those just starting out or those looking for something new to start up know what they’re getting into (rather than flailing around like, “ZOMG WTF DO I DO WHAT ARE THESE BUTTONS AAAAAAAA” etc, etc…)