It’s that chiptastic time of the year again! The long-awaited ‘Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 8’ has finally arrived! Newcomers and veterans from across the globe unite to bring us some of the best chipmusic of the year! Join us as we review the compilation in its entirety!
Greetings ChipWINners! If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’re likely already familiar with the Japanese chiptune prodigy TORIENA (Sae Shimizu). Since she began composing and performing chipmusic in 2012, and then co-founding MADMILKY RECORDS with NNNNNNNNNN the following year, TORIENA has become an international chiptune sensation. Well-known for her densely detailed chipdance music and high-energy live performances, TORIENA is right up there with Chibi-Tech, representing the pinnacle of raw talent and professionalism within the chiptune scene. Her music consistently impresses and inspires her many fans around the world by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within the genre, and her latest EP ‘POP NEGA POP’ is no exception. Hit the jump to get the lowdown on why ‘POP NEGA POP EP’ deserves a permanent home in your collection.
Just 7 months since his double-album release of ‘Pixel’ and ‘Speck’, the incredibly talented and prolific artist Auxcide has done it again! Released via the Japan-based netlabel CheapBeats, ‘Omnia’ is structured as an epic 2-disc soundtrack to a fictional (read: should be funded and developed immediately) video game. Within its 28 tracks reside lush and cinematic atmospheres in which Auxcide (Bryan Dobbins) further refines his signature style of spacechip electronica, using 2 x LSDJ as a launching pad that’s further enhanced with additional synths and effects processors. What results is a sonic experience that’s ripped straight from the heart of the universe.
Auxcide performs at BRKFest 2014.
In the 2 years since his debut ‘Of Atoms and Stardust’, Auxcide’s sound has solidified itself as a cathartic force to be reckoned with, and ‘Omnia’ is no exception. The opening trio of tracks merge with and build upon one another, climaxing in ‘Deep Space Dreaming’ to form an intense intro befitting of such a grand collection of tracks with vast soundscapes. ‘Miranda (World’s Theme)’ combines skittering percussion with a heartbreaking and harmonizing melody that evokes imagery of barren planetary surfaces. The pace is then quickened in ‘Starship Nova (Outrun the Universe)’, a frenzied and hypnotic jam that perfectly exemplifies Auxcide’s uncanny ability to move feet while simultaneously melting faces.
Elsewhere on Disc 1, ‘Horizon Lines’ is bursting at the seams with white-hot energy and soaring arpeggios. ‘Spectrum (Decisive Battle)’ musically relates the struggle of a boss battle, complete with a fist-pumpingly triumphant refrain. ‘Heavy Cannons’ continues the theme of hard-hitting and foreboding battle music where the fate of the universe hangs in the balance, but this then gives way to the lighthearted, “You’re winner!” vibe of ‘Riviera (Victory)’. The title track ‘Omnia (End)’ gracefully closes the main musical narrative with a bittersweet melody that is both peaceful and contemplative.
Auxcide rocks the Kaoss Pad.
Disc 2 offers a more stripped-down, pure LSDJ collection of tracks including new originals as well as compelling demakes of choice tracks from Disc 1. Notable highlights include the blissfully serene opener ‘View From Above’, the hard-hitting, growling bass of ‘Oblivion’, the beautifully paced and composed chillout track ‘Nihil’, as well as the dreamlike rise and fall of ‘Echoes’ main melody. Some tracks, including ‘Urbem’ and ‘Ublique (Space Mall)’, can be taken to be quick and delightful interstitials meant for menu music. Auxcide wisely bookends the ‘Omnia’ opus with a de-synthed rendition of its godlike intro, which is one of ‘Omnia’s finest moments.
Overall, ‘Omnia’ is a trip that I highly recommend you take but keep in mind, it isn’t something that you just jump into, but rather strap in for. Auxcide’s sound can characteristically be a slow burn (his ChipWIN Vol. 2 track ‘Realms’ is a perfect example of this). This plays in ‘Omnia’s favor; uncovering its many layers of nested climaxes is part of the fun. ‘Omnia’ ranks amongst the most cerebral releases to fall under the chiptune banner, and has to potential to infuse the attentive listener with a higher level of cosmic understanding. In addition to all of this, it is CheapBeats’ first pay-what-you-want release, though I think you’ll agree that the high production quality and value of such a huge album is hard to deny. Auxcide’s ‘Omnia’ definitely deserves your love and support, and if you aren’t sold on the album by now, here’s an image of our dear President Hoodie at the height of Auxcide’s blisteringly kickass BRKFest 2014 set, need I say more?