Posts Tagged ‘indie music’

Meaning in Chaos: Cityfires – ‘CCL Dive’

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Cityfires’ latest release is fire. That pun is too easy not to make, but I really mean it. With buoyant emotional synthpop, some of the most magnetic sound design I’ve heard all year, and fascinating lyrics – this album’s spirit is most deserving of the title “adventure” out of all that I’ve written about. It’s full of surprises and seriously fine-tuned, with tracks like ‘The Tangle’ trimmed down to interesting ideas, while others such as the titular song take the time they need for a core feeling to hit home.

Full to the brim with electric melody lines, immersive sound design, and creative mixing decisions, this fifteen-track masterpiece never sacrifices quality for quantity. Tight vocal tracks are infused with textured electronica, and organic instrumentation as well. Instrumentals are just as diverse: ‘Daybreak Apparatus’ echoes the peppy videogame joy of earlier ChipWIN comps, while ‘Dreamshifting’ feels like some more recent chiptune which draws from mathrock. Alternatively, ‘Mothfold’ defies description. The whole album is kinetic, and really integrated, a trip through clear landscapes and sights to behold.

It is also a story of hope in moving forward.

Art by Alex Spivey
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Rhyphte Reviews: ‘We Were Once Called Spring’ by Azuria Sky

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It’s finally summer, and I’m finished with college and coming out of hiatus. The last few months have been crunch, and I’ve had much less time to produce or review, but I’ve still been able to hear so many of the great new titles that have been dropping this year. Among them is yet another excellent indie-chip hybrid, a subgenre of a subgenre I’m starting to notice I have a weakness for.

We Were Once Called Spring‘ is Azuria Sky’s experimental and significant expansion into the constantly blending realm of folk and indie. It’s an eclectic assortment of LSDJ riffs, folksy chord progressions, and poignant, sentimental lyrics backed by acoustic guitar.

Album art for ‘We Were Once Called Spring’
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Rhyphte Reviews: ‘.​-​-​. .​.​- .​-​.​. .​-​.​.’ (pull) by null

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Back in 2011, before I had been formally introduced to chiptune, I listened to a lot of folk and indie artists. Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, Tree People, and AJJ (then Andrew Jackson Jihad) dominated my playlists and YouTube history. I listened to that music so often that as I got older I had to start taking breaks from it because it felt too familiar. But nevertheless, those records maintained their value to me over the years, acting as my go-to answer when asked about the kind of music I like.

So what does all that have to do with ‘.​-​-​. .​.​- .​-​.​. .​-​.​.’ by null? Well, there’s a special feeling you get when you hear a song that sounds enough like your favorite band to make you do a double take. When you find yourself wondering if you didn’t get the memo about their early-years alias. When you realize you’ve discovered something completely new, but so similar to what you’re fond of. It’s a good feeling – and when you hear chiptune in it, it’s an even better feeling. And here’s where I tell you all about it.

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Kuma’s Quick Shots #25 ft nanobii and Taylor Eruysal

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Yo, wassup, ChipWINners, and welcome back to Quick Shots: the monthly album review column where I take aim at the latest the scene has to offer and determine if it’s worth jamming out to or if you should just walk on past it. This month, I’ve got music from an exciting Swedish composer who imbues all his music with radiance and positivity, as well as introspective, complex arias from an artist who’s new to the scene.  Both producers bring records to the table that are worth dissecting, so let’s not waste any more time. Sit back, relax, and join me as I pick apart new releases from veteran chip artist nanobii and neophyte Taylor Eruysal.

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Kuma’s Quick Shots #22: Libla, Mint℠, & SemiProcastinator

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Welcome back to Quick Shots: the monthly album review column in which I seek out some of the newest music the scene has to offer and do my best to help you determine if something is worth your time.  This month, I have three albums from some lesser known artists who offer unique listening experiences from one another.  One wants to see you get down on that dance floor and strut your stuff. The second wants to share a moment in time in with you as they reflect on their life in relative solitude. The last wants you to indulge in some work they’ve contributed to an upcoming game that is just as easy to groove to as it is to zone out to it.  With such a wide offering of experiences on the table this month, I think we should jump right in.  Join me as I dissect sophomore releases from Libla and SemiProcastinator, and take a closer look at Mint℠’s third LP.

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Kuma’s Quick Shots Special: Nanode

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Hey ChipWINners, and welcome back to Quick Shots: the monthly album review column that helps you determine if some of the latest offerings from the scene are worth diving into.  This month, I’ve decided that instead of presenting you with work from a splattering of artists across the spectrum, I’m going to focus on just one artist: Nanode.

Nanode is a young, jovial composer who has made quite a splash since joining the scene.  From his pulse pounding, stylish music to his reputation as a purveyor of memes; his contributions to The ChipWIN Blog to his role as a panel host at MAGFest, Sam Sher is representative of the longevity and potential chiptune has a scene and as a medium.  Combine these with his entrepreneurial spirit in founding Circuitpulse Records and his hunger for improvement and recognition, and it becomes clear that Nanode is a presence that can’t be ignored because he’s done more than many of his contemporaries have at a much younger age than them.  Recently, Nanode stated that he would be moving away from chiptune towards more traditional music composition, but that before doing so, he would release a few more pure chip albums as a sort of farewell to the scene that helped raise him to new heights.

Do these two albums do the young composer justice? Will they leave a mark on the scene worth remembering? Let’s not delay any further. Join me as I dive deep into ‘Voyager’ and ‘Paradise’ to discover if there is truly treasure waiting for us within these new waters.

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