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.
What can you say about don’tblinkoryou’lldie (fka DBOYD) that hasn’t already been echoed by the community? Highly skilled with sound design and composition, don’tblinkoryou’lldie is a high-energy experience that puts your body and listening skills to work simultaneously with some of the most lush, fleshed-out detail I’ve heard from a Game Boy. If this is your first introduction to don’tblinkoryou’lldie, buckle up and get ready to never blink again in your life.
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 month, we were graced by a new Cheapbeats release written and produced by UK electronic artist, Gesceap. Released on May 4th, the seven track album is full of glitchy percussion and hypnotic melodies composed with Nanoloop. With a variety of digital elements comes a strong song structure created from from samples and soft synths. Interestingly enough, this was the first Nanoloop iOS album ever released on Cheapbeats, so on top of the sound being sublime, listeners can hear history unfolding right before their ears.
When I listen to a record, just like how when I make one, I tend to listen and check my mixes on both my studio speakers and headphones. I’m currently on the road and, as I write this, I’m limited to my iPhone speakers. Just from hearing it from this extremely limited audiosource, I can say the album’s mixes are done very well. The percussion cuts through perfectly, and the bass holds its own space without creating a centimeter of mud. While an album isn’t just about a great mix, I can honestly say that each track was wonderful to listen to and the album itself was easy to listen to at one time. As a whole, it was unique and beautiful, and I can see why Cheapbeats proudly released it.
It’s my final article of 2017, so I thought I’d write something special that has been a highlight of the year for me. First of all, this reviewis not associated with chiptune, but it’s probably my favourite album of 2017, mainly down to how it made an impact on me during the year. Released jointly by the artist and ‘neon city records‘, ‘わたしのYUME DIARY’ by ‘カヅキBIGWAVE’ is primarily a Future Funk album, and isn’t something I generally listen to. When I first came across the genre, I didn’t really take to it; mainly down to the constant slow downs & over saturation of funky samples. However, that didn’t stop ‘わたしのYUME DIARY’ fromgoing against those cliches that reside in Future Funk, and instead relies upon making great, catchy melodies that stick in your head for most of 2017.