Having been a long-standing member of the FlashFlashRevolution community, Kommisar was a name I had commonly encountered betwixt his music and simfile charting. Kommisar has contributed to ChipWIN in the past on more than a fewvolumes, with each track containing his legendary, patented jazzy ‘insaneous chiptune solos’. Recently he’s re-released a number of tunes in the form of an EP titled ‘Mercury’; each piece on the EP is impressive in its own right. The most impressive facet to his compositions is the fact that all of the pieces on ‘Mercury’ were written on 1xLSDJ; this is quite hard to believe considering the depth of each track on the EP! Now that we have the ability to listen to this in its entirety as intended, let’s revisit some of these amazing tunes!
2017 definitely seems to be shaping up like a good year for chiptune, and the release I’m covering today is about to make it a thousand times better. Kommisar and DBOYD have combined their efforts to create their own collaborative project titled Rock Candy, starting it off with their self-titled EP on Madmilky Records. Let’s see how well they pulled it off!
Of the many unique bullet hell shooters available to players of this niche, arcade-style genre, none are more iconic than ZUN’s completely self-published, long-running Touhou series. Lovable characters, simple controls, and phenomenal boss fights are just a few things that make these games so popular among their thousands of players. However, almost more iconic than the characters themselves is the music. Over time, many tracks have made their rounds through the ears of countless listeners and have become beloved by many. Chiptuners such as Kommisar and HertzDevil have covered a large amount of Touhou music on LSDj and FamiTracker to great success. However, +tek takes these covers to a new realm by porting the music over to an FM synthesis chip and putting their own twist on it. So let’s see what all the fuss is about this phenomenal new release!
Let it be noted that these tracks all loop once; at about the halfway point of each song, you’ll notice that the song restarts smoothly. I suggest that the tracks be listened to in their entirety. During boss fights in the Touhou series, the music would continue looping until the very end of the stage. Keep that feeling and hold it close!
Reimu poses for ‘Highly Responsive to FM’s’ album art…how sweet!
Interpretation of Universal Transmissions is a chipmusic netlabel that has quietly released four albums since August 2014. The label was fairly active between August and October of 2014 and spawned three delightful albums including the ‘Summer Soda Comp 2014’, featuring artists ChipWIN fans will recognize, such as Kommisar and DBOYD. A year after the release of the ‘Soda Comp’, Imaginary bursts back onto the scene with ‘Unnatural Flavors’, a carbonated album all his own. Let’s take a look at what’s in this assortment of aural refreshments!
Good afternoon Chiprealm, this is Viridian Forge, coming to you live from Internets with our continuing coverage of the Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 3 epic release of epicness. Today we’re delving into tracks 12 through 16 of the compilation, continuing with a numerical order that has no organizational value whatsoever. Know going in that each of these tracks is amazing in its own way, and each is worth your ear’s attention.
Hey, ChipWINners! I’m sure that you’ve heard of James Landino by now if you’ve listened to ChipWIN: Volume 2 or if you’ve just finished rocking out to #SrsBsns. What you might not know about him, however, is that in addition to his contributions to the chipscene in particular, he’s done musical work on a number of projects, including Aces Wild, the super-popular RWBY animated series, and Final Fantasy XIII-3, among many others. Landino has also produced songs under his previous alias, KgZ, many of which have been songs used for files in the FlashFlashRevolution game online. His incredible works have previously been featured on Kotaku, Destructoid, and ScrewAttack. In late March he released his ‘Transition EP’, and it’s definitely worth a listen or ten. So let’s check it out!
Four out of the six tracks on Landino’s ‘Transition EP’ are collaborations with other musicians. The first track, ‘Synced – Snesei (James Landino Remix)’, is a house/dance track that proves right off the bat that Landino is far ahead of a majority of modern EDM artists. A catchy melody, hard-hitting bass, and all of the other smaller, more intricate touches Landino brings to the track make this more than just a club-worthy jam. The third track, ‘Dot Hacker – James Landino VS Kommisar’, features Kommisar’s signature sounds – a very aggressive kick, a unique voice for the main melody, and “insaneous chiptune solos”. Combined with Landino’s rhythmic chops, this definitely stands out from the crowd. Landino combines Kommisar’s incredible sound with his own and produces an off-the-chart awesome track.
‘Hold My Hand feat. Andy Tunstall’, the fourth track, takes things a bit more slowly than the aforementioned songs. ‘Hold My Hand’ has a funky, almost R&B feel to it, and the vibe is expressed between Landino’s melodies and Tunstall’s guitar playing. I feel that the song ended a little bit abruptly, and personally wanted to hear a little more from it, but it’s a phenomenal track nonetheless. The last collaboration on the album, ‘Another Sunday feat. The One Electronic’, doesn’t try to hide its influence from the bossa nova and lounge music of yesteryear. The One Electronic is credited as having written the solo for this song, and the marvelously composed solo hits around the 1:30 mark. The calm, rhythmic nature of this song makes this one of my personal favorites.
Landino’s two solo tracks on the EP are as phenomenally produced as the other tracks on it. ‘Gray’ in particular makes great use of panning from right to left, and the use of octaves in the chip-based rhythm are one of my favorite small details of the EP as a whole. The voice for the bass is a little bit rough when heard at full volume, but the only time this happens is during the song’s build-ups, and as a result it fits in perfectly. At lower volumes – post build-up – it helps to bring out the beat. ‘Drag Me Down’ is the only non-chip track on the album, and as a result it might seem out of place to some listeners. The production level of this track is exactly what one would expect of Landino, however, and it can be said that his skill at creating house music is on the same level as that of musicians such as deadmau5 and Madeon.
Each song on this EP brings something different to the table; the variety in Landino’s ‘Transition EP’ is a remarkable thing. It’s available as a name-your-price download on his Bandcamp, so even if you don’t have the money to donate to this on-the-rise artist, be sure to pick it up; this isn’t a release to be missed.