Through the course of art history, there have always been artists or projects that defied the norm. I welcome you to this new column, titled ‘And now for something completely different!’, where we will take a look at Chiptune related acts that get themselves out of ordinary boxes and into uncharted territory where they can blossom.
I feel like x Critical Strike x has been criminally underrated for far too long. His 2016 release ‘Never let go of your dreams’ is one of the most quintessentially “Chiptune” albums you’ll find, from the overall message of doing what you love with a smile to the combination of chirpy, harmonic melodies and happy hardcore bass. In the 5-year gap between this and his last release ‘Starfighter’ in 2011, x Critical Strike x must have been busy as this is a 19-track monster! I’ve been lucky enough to see him perform live, as well as an absolutely stellar ChipBattles showing, and I want everyone else to check him out.
Hello beautiful people and thank you for reading The ChipWIN Blog! Today let’s steer clear from technobabble, we’re here to burst Techno Bubbles together with the Marvellous Mizkai! Hailing from her northern homeland in Wales, Mizkai has been sort of a missing link between Japan and the Isles for a few years now, channelling Japanese and Internet hardcore-sugar-pop culture into her stage alter-ego, and distilling it into the strongest, sweetest cuppa teas ever brewed on this side of the globe.
Even though Mizkai has been around in the scene for quite some time already, dishing out some truly tasty jams on her SoundCloud, she never was much of a fan of “big” or “official” releases, nor did she seem to need it to ascertain her musical and visual identity as an artist. ‘Kiss/Corrupt/Kill’ is an updated, enhanced and somewhat more mature version of her EP ‘Nintendork’, previously published on Bandcamp and sadly, no longer available.
But long before these releases already, Mizkai had been a driving force in the UK Chiptune scene, and where she shone the brightest was live. Quite literally so, might I add. Having had the pleasure of sharing a stage with her and witnessing her awe-inspiring, relentless performance, I was very excited when I heard about this EP. As you know, good jams go well with toast, so I had to be the one to review it. Here’s a selection of my personal favourite tracks.
Imagine for just a moment that it’s 1993. Electronic music is still in its early stages, with house, trance, and breakbeat hardcore being some of the EDM movement’s most popular genres. Suddenly, happy hardcore bursts onto the scene; with its characteristic piano usage, spacey synths and stabs, up-tempo and upbeat style, the next phase of this music’s evolution has begun. Now, fast forward to 2017. Numerous happy hardcore labels have shut down and many of the genre’s most popular artists have retired. The scene remains alive through the DDR community, raves, and numerous individuals and collectives in Europe and Asia. One Swedish happy hardcore musician, nanobii, is known for fusing elements of chip into some of his music, and is one of the more active happy hardcore producers to this day. His latest EP, ‘Love Songs’, released on Valentine’s Day, made Bandcamp’s top 40 best-selling albums on release. Let’s dive in and see what this EP has in store for us!
Hey, what’s up, ChipWINners! Welcome to a new column I like to call Kuma’s Hype Train! This one will be in a similar vein to my Quick Shots articles, in that I’ll be picking apart albums for your listening pleasure. However, what will differentiate Hype Train from Quick Shots is content. Because Hype Train is meant to build anticipation for new releases, articles in this column will, at best, only feature teaser tracks and preview medleys of upcoming projects. Don’t let that get you down, though, because as soon as these albums are released, these articles will be updated to feature links in the descriptions for you to get a hold of the sweet, audible candy for yourselves.
Let’s not waste any more time. Sit back, relax and take a trip into the future with me as I gush over new albums from Skybox and S.P.R.Y.!