It’s time to get classy tonight on The ChipWIN Blog! And by that I mean, of course, I’m going to do my first “manifesto” with a focus on booze & chip from Great Britain. Aren’t you thankful you can’t hear the extraordinarily terrible British accent that I’m absolutely affecting on this entire article as I write it? Because I totally am. In my head. Jolly good show & all that rot. Sounds just like the beer fox actually (don’t worry; you’ll meet him soon).
At any rate, Beer & Chip Vol.6 is going to be all about…
Morland “Old Speckled Hen” Ale & Mark ‘TDK’ Knight
I initially picked up a sixer of Old Speckled Hen on my brother’s suggestion. While we don’t always see eye to eye on beer choices, this one was a pretty good call!
Old Speckled Hen is a smooth, easy drinking, refreshing ale with some tasty malty flavors. Just the slightest bit of sweetness, but not enough to “ruin” it in my mind. With that rich amber color, it’s a beautiful looking beer as well, especially poured into a tall pint glass and left sitting in the window for the sun to shine through (which is a terrible damn idea; your beer will get warm way too gorram fast!).
Classy, classy Hoodie.
This could easily become a go-to beer for me, particularly in the warmer months; except as an import it’s a bit too pricey to be a regular grab (around $12 for a sixer in my neck of the woods). I expect I’ll still buy it on occasion, and would definitely be willing to try its counterparts (“Old Golden Hen” & “Old Crafty Hen“) were I to run across them.
But nevermind what I think about this tasty ale! Why should I waste words talking about it when you can listen to a fox puppet tell you all about it?? (brilliant advertising campaign).
Truth be told, while I like this English beer pretty well I mostly purchased it to assist in making a smooth segue to my UK chipartist, the demoscene legend Mark ‘TDK’ Knight (nevermind the fact that his chosen alcoholic beverage isn’t beer of any kind…).
If you’re unfamiliar with that name (or have only seen it popping up around the intertoobs within the last year-ish), don’t feel bad. TDK has only recently returned (2012) to making chipmusic after a considerably lengthy hiatus (approximately 19 years!!!). And while I could delve into his considerable back story of early chipmusic creation (he began in 1984), in depth demoscene involvement (google Anthrox and Melon Dezign) & subsequent video game music composition (skim his Bandcamp bio for that impressive list), I’d rather focus on his current efforts! In particular, his aptly titled full length album ‘Reawakening’.
This excellent 11 track chip album is a combination of brand new jams & revisited tracks from his past, all created using a mix of his well established Commodore chip savvy and modern music production skills appropriated in more recent years. As a whole ‘Reawakening’ screams of compositional experience and refined talent; covering a gamut of musical styles, every single track is an engaging and addictive listen. Were I forced to choose a favorite from the release, I’d likely go with ‘Erethism’; there’s something about the crazy, happy energy of that jam that gets me grinning like an idiot every time!
In addition to this powerful comeback album, TDK also managed to lock-in Henry Homesweet to do a killer remix of his track ‘Nicotine Pang’, which is released separately via Bleepstreet Records here:
To complement his return to chipmusic, TDK has begun performing it live as well, incorporating his talented & frenetic fiddle playing. This unique addition enhances what is already a quality live set. In a short time, TDK has performed at a solid handful of European events over the past year, up to and including SuperByte 2013, with a spot at NINTENDOOM 3.0 coming up the last weekend of February.
TDK chip-fiddling up a storm at SuperByte 2013.
To top it off, Mark’s a genuinely delightful character (sorry to out you, bro! <3 ). The 8 Bit Power Hour release party we held for ‘Reawakening’ is still one of the most enjoyable shows we’ve had to date (as well as one of the snarkiest; damn Brits!! ;). And working with him on both ‘chipWINter’ & ‘Volume 2‘ was an absolute honor & a joy. Check out the most excellent end result of both of those contributions below:
I say, I suppose that wraps up this unusually British edition of my beer & chip review! Here’s hoping you get a chance to sample the tasty brew, preferably while listening to TDK’s excellent jams. If you need more British-ness for the night, just go watch a Doctor Who marathon or something, I dunno. Cheers!!
Welcome back, ChipWINners! It’s good to be back at the blog after a short hiatus. That being said, I hope you’re ready for another interview! This week, I managed to get a hold of one of the most versatile talents in the scene! Using a bevy of tools over the course of his career, this artist took the time to sit down with me to talk about his new album, weapons of choice, and his recent performance at Toy Company Festival! So without further ado, here’s my interview with Canada’s very own bryface!
Kuma: So I got to listen to a large part, if not all of, your musical catalog, and I have to say, you are one of the more versatile talents I’ve ever had here on rawcuts! How’d you get your start in all this? Where does your journey begin?
bryface: Good question. I like to begin the story at the age of 9. It was the early 90’s, my brother and I just recently got a modem for our 486 PC, and we had started foraying into the world of dialup BBS’s (which served as the precursor to the internet). Some of these bulletin boards held collections of all kinds of files, including 4-channel and MODs. Somehow I stumbled onto one written by 4mat, and I was blown away by his style of composing! That’s pretty much the earliest influence I can recall on my style.
bryaface: Haha not quite that old! Those guys had lives and careers to live while I was still trying to learn how to do long division. But I’d consider myself maybe just above median age as far as the current chip community Is concerned, if that means anything at all. Too young to be oldschool, old enough to be cantankerous about juvenile chip tastes.
Kuma: Ah, so you’re Kuma age. Good. I thought my brain was going to explode again, the way it did when I found out Glomag has a 17 year old son.
bryface: Anyway, fast forward a few years and I find myself writing tracker music in impulse tracker. Then, I stopped writing in that program because I found it too unwieldy and couldn’t finish anything. It wasn’t until 4 years ago that I got started again, via a copy of KORG DS-10 and focused on short little ditties.
I think all the while, I found myself really connected to the demoscene/tracker chiptune aesthetic because of its uniqueness and focus on melody and harmony more than instrumentation, so stylistically I try to champion that ethic as much as I’m able to.
Kuma: I’m glad you have, and I’m especially glad you’re doing it with DS10, because while there certainly talented DS10 people out there, I find the ones I’m most familiar with don’t carry that aesthetic the way you do. kloudygirl makes noisey, dank industrial, and decktonic focuses on using it it the way a club DJ would use a synth to make disco, so when I got to hear your work, especially on “how to dodge lasers” I creamed my pants a little.
bryface: That’s very kind and horribly disgusting of you to say. But yeah, I mean I _could_ do music on those styles, but I feel like it’s a waste of time to trod where others can tread easily, you know? (not that it’s NECESSARILY easy
but yeah I like a challenge.
To clarify, I feel like, ‘why waste time covering territory that others are covering ably already?’. What excites me is the discovery of new things, and that desire is best met by me doing composition that is challenging.
Kuma: Very true. There’s nothing wrong with making similar music, but I definitely enjoy that, as far as DS10 is concerned, you’re walking your own path. That being said, the Korg isn’t the only program you use to make music with. Tell me, of the tools listed on your WAVEFORMTOWN page, which is the one you like most outside of DS10?
bryface: Impulse tracker, Famitracker, Sunvox, korg m01 and LSDJ all have their strengths and weaknesses as far as sound shaping is concerned. The DS-10 was a great portable platform as far as portability and control over sound is concerned, but over time I felt it was too restrictive compositionally. 16 notes x 16 patterns was not enough for the complexity of the songs I really wanted to write. I hate to be cliche, but LSDJ has become a favorite because it combines the familiar tracker interface with portability and a degree of sound control. (at least, control within the confines of the hardware)
Portability is super important to me because I can’t stand sitting down at a computer to write music anymore. too solitary, and too remote to capture musical ideas that flicker to life in a short moment. I haven’t touched a DAW in years lololol
Kuma: Really? That’s surprising, as I know a lot of artists, even if they’ don’t perform using DAWs, they’ll use them to refine and touch up their songs for album releases. Are you saying you don’t master your music at all? That all the stuff I’ve heard is raw DS10 or LSDJ?
bryface: All the DS-10 and LSDJ stuff i released before this newest album has not been enhanced with a DAW. I simply lacked the knowledge/perspective to consider post-production a big deal. ‘VARIOUS TOPICS’ marks my first use of a DAW (Reaper) for legit EQ/mastering.
Still though, the post-production is quite minimal as far as altering the spectral content of the music is concerned because i believe in maintaining a kind of verisimilitude whereby i didn’t resort to underhanded tricks to make my music sound unnaturally impressive. I want to be more or less on the level with how i present my music. It’s more impressive that way.
Kuma: I respect that. I respect that a lot, especially because it’s clear how much effort you put into making a high quality production. So much so, that it seems to have paid off for you in a big way, seeing as you got to play at Toy Company Festival earlier this year! Talk to me about that, man! Were you nervous? Excited? Was this your first time playing a large scale fest like this?
bryface: It definitely was my first experience playing a multi-day show on that kind of scale! As far as the “exclusive opportunity” of getting to play the show was concerned, I do want to clarify that by pointing out that there aren’t nearly as many chiptune artists in Canada, even less so in Vancouver where i am. So when i heard about the festival, i figured, hey, if ever there was a +30% chance of me getting involved, why not?? So I got in touch with XC3N and the Toy Company guys and they were like, ‘yeah let’s make it happen!’!
I was definitely excited to play. I wasn’t really nervous though, because i believed that my music was worth sharing, and also because a lot of the artists I had met previously at other events (Blipfest 2011 being the first of them).
To me it was more about the excitement of getting to hang out with all these awesome peers/heroes/brothers-in-arms again (which doesn’t happen often at all for me, given how remote I am).
Kuma: Oh c’mon! You’re not that remote! Vancouver may be far, but it’s not like you’re in the middle of nowhere like jmr in Newfoundland!
Regardless, I do get that feeling. Festivals are often the only time a lot of us get to see each other in person, so being able to take advantage of the opportunity to attend means a lot beyond just being able to play. Was there anyone in particular you were happy to see?
bryface:Haha i feel for that guy, being where he is. On a related note, jmr was hanging out at Toy Company Fest too, so i got a kick out of meeting him in person and seeing the same thrill he had in meeting IRL peoples! (previously only knew of him in IRC channels and whatnot).
Hmm… in general it was great to see some artists from the Ontario chip scene, and the Wuebec chip guys, all in one place. Twofer! Saved me a bunch of flight money for sure. Btw, I gotta hand it to the Quebec artists: I was really impressed with how they banded together to make this show happen, and it was evident that they’re genuinely excited artists who are able to put personal ambitions and politics aside to have a good time. They deserve praise and continued support.
bryface: I wanna offer kudos to Danimal Cannon. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him play live several times and I’ve always wanted to return the favor to him and many of the artists that were at TC fest. We always seem to run into each other a lot, too, and for a guy who has every reason to be all “pssh i don’t need to talk to you” chip star style, he’s always been very generous with his time and attention. I’m thrilled that we’re labelmates, but more so that I can just call him “Dan” and not by some contrived pseudonym.
Kuma: Huh, that’s cool, but honestly that’s the first time I’ve ever heard such. That being said, let’s talk about your new album, ‘VARIOUS TOPICS’. What were you looking to create when you set out making it? Was there a certain sound or change within yourself you were looking to make when crafting it? What was the bar you set for yourself with this LP?
bryface: Well, I originally had never set out to make an album proper, but as more unfinished music became closer to being done, it seemed a more viable goal. But no, there was no “thematic core” or imagined story behind the album. The music’s album is basically me going, “what’s the kind of music that I personally would like to hear more of from the chipscene?”, with the added guiding principle of “try not to do anything that’s been done before.” So the music I’ve written is very much my reaction to trends and norms that I see in chipmusic today and trying to challenge them.
If I’m to be honest, I kind of feel that the average person’s interest in chipmusic could stand to be less myopic, stylistically. Sometimes I feel that “current chiptune” is more about recreating mainstream music tropes rather than carving out unexplored territory, so my goal here is to try and provide some demonstration of what that unexplored territory could look like.
Kuma: While I’ll admit part of why I fell in love with chip was because I was initially blown away with how lush and similar to traditional instrumentation this music could be, I have to admit I do admire your creativity in wanting to venture off in the other direction. It takes dedication to do so, even in a scene as small as this. Will you be doing anything special to promote this EP? An album release party or a concert?
bryface: Oh yeah! Of course I’m not knocking anyone’s taste in chipmusic per se, but if there is any statement that I would want for my album to make, it’s that there is indeed even more headway to make in this territory! One thing I’ve tried to do specifically was to imbue an organic/human quality so as to almost make people forget they’re listening to chiptune. I’ll be interested to see if this actually ends up ringing true with the general public.
While I suspect this conversation will get published after the fact, this Thursday (Sept. 19th) Noise Channel Radio is hosting a Listening Party! I’ll be chatting it up with TrueStar and anyone else who happens to be on IRC at the time about the album.
I don’t really have any other plans for a release party, as there aren’t many people I’d celebrate proper with here in Vancouver. It’s more likely that i’ll get right to sharing the album with people, maybe making supplementary content for it, BUT, a mere week after the release, i’ll be heading to japan to party with the Square Sounds crew in Tokyo! I also have a few shows lined up there, in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka! So that’ll be my “release party” so to speak! Hard to top that!
Kuma: God damn, that sounds awesome! I’m incredibly jealous, but I’m sure you’re bound to have a great time! That being said, I’d like to thank you for your time, bryface. It was a pleasure interviewing you and getting to know you better, as well as listening to your music. Do you have anything you’d like to say to our readers before we wrap things up?
bryface: I would just like to ask for you all to listen to my work and to share it with others. But to be clear, I wrote this music not because I necessarily want to be “known” or anything. I wrote this music because I have a love for the process and for the result. I wrote this music to continue and celebrate a proud tradition of being invested in your craft and finding fellowship with those who similarly understand the relationship between sweating technical details and the creation of a product that is more than the sum of its parts. That is what I feel is at the heart of the chipmusic community, even all the way back to my days as a nine-year-old, and it’s important that we continue to cherish that.
That and, if we meet in person, and you tell me you like my music, you get an automatic beer.
Thanks for doing the interview, Kuma, this was indeed super fun. I also wanted to give a shout out to C-jeff for allowing me the opportunity to continue Ubiktune‘s fine tradition of musicianship and hopefully not run it into the ground!! (tugs at collar nervously.)
Kuma: Run a netlabel into the ground? I doubt anyone could do that, especially someone as talented as you! bry, once again, it was a pleasure talking to you. Take care and good luck with your future ventures. I look forward to doing this again with you.
That’s it for this week’s edition of Rawcuts! Don’t forget to tune into NCR tonight to be a part of bryface’s listening party for his new album, as well as heading over to bandcamp to not only pick up his new album, but to check out his older stuff, as well! ‘Til next time!
HEY EVERYONE. It’s been quite a while since I did my first guest write-up on this blog, which was a review of Kola Kid’s “Afterparty” EP. Since then, a number of fabulous chiptune albums and compilations have come into being. However, I’m certainly not afraid to say, as a long-standing fan of chiptune, that Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 2 is quite possibly the GREATEST CHIPTUNE COMPILATION EVER RELEASED. I’m going to be discussing the first six tracks from the album, so bear with me as I find the words to describe the sheer amount of excellence contained within each of them!
Track #1: Starpilot – Just The Right Amount of Whelm (Qubert Dancing The PaisleyUnderground)
Ah, Starpilot. Your unique take on chiptune music has always amazed me. Ever since listening to “Experimentalist” , I’ve known that there isn’t anyone else who can quite do what Starpilot can. This track is upbeat; “Just The Right Amount of Whelm (Qubert Dancing The Paisley Underground)” is one of the many tracks on the compilation that just makes you want to get up out of your seat and dance. It’s a track that makes you feel like you’re at a rave in space. As the opening track of the compilation, it’s the introduction to another fantastic chiptune journey.
Track #2: Theory of N – Buttdawg Funk
I didn’t know about Theory of N before listening to the strangely-yet-aptly titled “Buttdawg Funk”. The track has a very bouncy sound to it, and as a listener it’s almost impossible NOT to tap your foot to the beat. The solos in the song stand out quite a bit; they’re all incredibly well structured. Having checked out Theory of N’s Bandcamp after listening to “Buttdawg Funk”, I can say that each one of his tracks are definitely worth a look. I also discovered that Theory of N is an OCRemixer who’s been around for quite a long time!
Track #3: Petriform – Heliofluid
“Heliofluid” is catchy, and makes great use of non-chip sounds as a support to the leads. Exciting and fast-paced, the music switches flawlessly from exciting to mellow and really entertained me as a listener. The minimal use of kick in the opening focuses the listener on the chip leads. Given Petriform’s hard-hitting, modern twist on chiptune, I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits it BIG in the future. Petriform has also delved into writing music for a number of different genres, including noise, drum ‘n’ bass, and IDM; his talents aren’t only seen in the chip community.
Track #4: Mark ‘TDK’ Knight – Hoovering With A Hangover
Mark ‘TDK’ Knight isn’t a stranger to the ChipWIN community; he previously appeared on chipWINter with his brilliant track “Sunrise”. “Hoovering With A Hangover” sounds like it could be a custom file you’d see in a rhythm game such as In The Groove. Mark’s masterful command of chiptune melodies really shines through in this song; the main melody is incredibly composed , and the build-up in the intro is extremely well done. Additionally, his musical composition skills haven’t gone unnoticed; he has been employed by a number of large companies, including Konami, Warner Brothers, and Crytek, just to name a few. To top all of that off, he has received a number of awards from BAFTA; his first was awarded to him in 2000, and he has continued to shine since.
Track #5: The One Electronic – ♥∞
A fellow member of the FlashFlashRevolution community and a notable artist within the Piko Piko Detroit community, The One Electronic (aka iPatcH) makes his ChipWIN debut on the Volume 2 compilation. His song, “♥∞”, feels slower and calmer than the previous tracks, which sets it apart from many other songs on the compilation. It’s mellow and happy, and the melody is quite catchy. The common changes in lead sounds are a welcome addition and really give the track its own unique feel.
Monomer’s presence in the chiptune community is not long-standing, but the quality of the music he’s produced is wonderful. His most recent album release, “Quite Operational”, was released through the massive chiptune netlabel Ubiktune, and garnered a massive amount of attention. His track, “Dastardly Deeds (feat. Yoann Turpin)”, feels funky and improvised, with a similar sound to fellow Ubiktune artist Shnabubula. The solos in the song are phenomenal, fusing perfectly ideas from chiptune and funk, whilst adding his own twist.
Keep your eyes peeled next week for the next installment of The ChipWIN Blog Volume 2 coverage! Stay classy, everyone.
Ho-Ho-Holy Shit. If the holiday season wasn’t exciting enough, the wonderful/not-workshy/probably mentally unstable people over at Chiptunes = WIN have graced the world with the first in a series of promised themed compilations, starting with the theme of winter. Sounding like a condensed audio personification of Christmas, if this doesn’t get you in the mood for mince pies, roast dinners and eggnog (is that actually a thing or have years of US Sitcoms been lying to me?), then nothing will. You utter Grinch. So without further ado, here is where we break it down:
BR1GHT PR1MATE – Linux and Lucy
Returning for their second bout on a Chiptunes = WIN comp, James and Lydia start proceedings with a sweet and sour swirl. Delicate melodies and jazz/funk fm influences swamp the track, and coupled with sampled voices which narrate, the track jumps between sugar and spice repeatedly; the sugar hook will stay with you for eons.
Having appeared on Fox News, released the acclaimed ‘Night Animals’ earlier this year and been credited for countless game OST’s, the Br1ght Pr1mate freight train appears to be doing the very opposite of slowing. Frequent live performances and an e-performance on the upcoming uber-web-show ‘WWCW 12’, keep a look out for this duet’s fantastic live show too.
Vince Kaichan – Midnight Snowflake
Soft and subtle seem to be the thematic qualities of this compilation, and if so then ‘Midnight Snowflake’ is the template. No jarring dynamic shifts or unannounced jolts, just blissful frolicking through winter tundra and the feeling the melodies could be icicle tendrils. Harmonically robust and beautiful, this track can be added straight to Vince’s long catalogue of fantastic tracks.
With releases as VCMG on Pxl-Bot and others on Noisechannel, Vince has shed his newcomer badge long ago and has since become a well-established name in the chiptune scene. If this is your first experience of Mr. Kaichan’s work, you’re in for an early Christmas treat.
Professor Shyguy – We Three Kings
Convention frequenter and pedlar of pop rock chiptune, Professor Shyguy brings his rather nice (trying not to sound emphatically romanticised here) to a cover of ‘We Three Kings’. How Christmassy does this sound? All of the Christmas.
Not one to do things simply, the climax breaks from the mould to provide a darker and far more Pink Floyd take on the classic carol, with screeching distorted guitars and acoustic fiddling aplenty.
With a full length and a new single both released this year, you’re more than spoiled for material to keep you happy(er than you would otherwise be) over the Christmas period.
Mark ‘TDK’ Knight – Sunrise
The prolific game music composer and BAFTA winner (!) TDK is returning to grace the chip world with his masterful compositions. With a single coming out soon on the deity house that is BleepStreet Records, Mark reintroduces himself here with a chilled and icy jam that melds eastern melodies and jazz elements into a consistently surprising and enjoyable track, with frequent nods to his previous soundtrack work.
With more skills, projects and awards than I can ever hope to cover in this short passage of text, it’d be wise of you to check out the huge repertoire of this brilliant composer and sound wizard. 20 pounds if you don’t see a game you recognise.
Storm Blooper – The Stellar Dendrite
Having been around originally as Sub-Woofer Special since 2008, the reincarnation as Storm Blooper has thus far brought with it two full lengths, a single earlier this year and plenty of live performances, morphing to a more standard chiptune affair to his present day dub inspired grooveathon. And here we arrive and Blooper’s magnum opus, The Stellar Dendrite.
You’ll have noticed the emission of anything even slightly wobble-influenced (now that I’ve pointed it out) and not one to displease, Storm Blooper handles the job solo and with gusto. Whilst not a wobble track per se, the grooves and dub flirts will have you chomping at his hyper sweet bit through the pieces duration and beyond.
Glenntai – Snowfall and Snowballs
With the fondly remembered EP ‘Silly Hats Only’ from 2010 and a new EP in the works and his hands full with the planning and leader of the newly formed and already respected ‘Clipstream’, a monthly online chip festival (it is as brilliant as it sounds), seeing Glenntai’s name appear on this compilation will likely have excited many.
And here is why: complex and experimental melodic tinkering laced into an upbeat and wintery socket, carefully crafted to the smallest degree. Feeling fuller and longer than its mere four minute play time, this masterfully conceived track is a refreshing take on the hyper-happy chiptune of ye olde.
ABSRDST – Let Me Freeze
Since July ABSRDST has released the mammoth-sized ‘Home Sweet Home’, the brilliantly received and diverse ‘Sugar Blossom and the Space Cadets’ and most recently his albumette ‘Rigby Wearing Shades’. Definitely a busy fellow.
Lending his expert meanderings to chipWINter, ‘Let Me Freeze’ takes six minutes of your time to lead you through multiple genres and styles, coaxing out memorable and tightly constructed melodies at every intersection, giving the track an unparalleled flow. Building to an incredible climax with one final violently adrenaline-coaxing twist, ABSRDST sure knows how to do ‘epic’ as well if not better than most.
Daniel Capo – Frosted Over
Featured on multiple compilations including a past Chiptunes = WIN and the fantastic Perelandra Records compilation ‘Tide’, Daniel, has been carving himself a name for professional sounding and presented chilled chiptune. ‘Frosted Over’ is no different.
Mixing EQ manipulation with subtle breakbeats and sporadic melodies, ‘Frosted Over’ has an almost glitch-like quality to its wintery demeanour. The rising a falling of the backing synth’s pitch and volume help add the dreamlike qualities of the understated piano and unimposing harmonies, creating a track that truly embodies the term ethereal.
Jay Tholen – Justice Delivers Its Death
There is a lot to say about Mr. Tholen. The prolific progressive rock and chiptune connoisseur has graced labels as respected as Pause and Ubiktune, with plenty, and I mean plenty, of self-released pieces in between. With his game Dropsy in development under the Tendershoot studio name, Tholen is truly a man of many talents.
And creating catchy chipfolk is one of said talents. Backed by female vocalist(s), the slow crescendo of chiptune and acoustic builds to a tightly woven and emotional end. The lyrics, whilst at times slightly unsettling in an obviously deliberate way, work cohesively with the music to create Tholen’s truly unique and remarkable atmosphere and style.
Vegas Diamond – The Ghost Of Christmas Dance
Featured on the Spanish equivalent of 8bitpeoples, LowToy, Vegas Diamond’s bittersweet jams having begun to tease the ears of chiptune fans everywhere, and here is no different.
Scales flow over each other jumping from major to minor to create that bittersweet tinge of sweet and sour. Starscream (Infinity Shred/Whatever) influenced chords rain from this, sending astral snow into your speakers (I’ve always said the line between space and ice themed is only a contextual one). Featuring one of the most memorable melody and chord progression dualities on this compilation, Vegas Diamond has continued their thus far unblemished record for great music.
The Bitman – Next Stop, Detroit
Visitor on the release pages of Noisechannel and with two other Eps under his belt, Bitman’s dance LSDJ boogies this time go for winter’s thorax. Pulsating drums and scales carry the first half of the track gracefully, before the mid-break switches up the formula into a wide-eyed melodic call and response as scales dance around each other in a hypnotic cycle. Memorable 3/4 hooks and dragging drums help the track stand out from the LSDJ pack, and dissonant bleeps help create and uneasily sub-zero atmosphere. Apparently Detroit is cold this time of year.
shanebro – A Chipwinter Stroll
Winter drum pumps fill the space left between the rising and falling scales of the tracks beginning. Flowering into a melodic to and fro with the beats, Shanebro spends the rest of the track experimenting with constantly shifting melodies and brief motif reprisals. The mid-drum break has a real 80s ad-vibe about it, primed to tug at the nostalgia toggles on anyone’s hearts.
With the release ‘The Sky Is Ours’ over on Noisechannel and a full length in the works, look out for this up-and-comer taking over this place.
an0va – Christmas Time Is Here
Frequenting stages in the US and teasing the general populace with only one released EP thus far, the fantastic ‘The Teaching Machine’, an0va is already a well-known name and unique talent in the chiptune field.
‘Christmas Time Is Here’ starts, sounding eerily similar to a lost song from The Snowman soundtrack, an0va uses a blend of chiptune, guitar and expert atmospheric control to create an audio personification of the festive season. Even before the jazz guitar begins, the track’s slow lounge croon carries the listener, only heightened by the presence of lucid and fluid guitar playing.
Kubbi – Polar Bear Rides
Chiptunes = WIN’s very own Master Of The Tracklisteh provides another track for another compilation in the wake of his fourth full length release, ‘ Circuithead’. With a progressive twist to the melodically founded chiptune, these 80’s-esque synths bring to mind Drive during the winter months, snow drifting and cold stares. Melancholic and with the spirit of the festive months etched into its psyche with great force, this winter paradise stands out starkly in Kubbi’s extensively eclectic as another choice cut.
If you enjoyed this track, definitely check out his other release from this year, ‘Sleet’, and last year’s full length ‘Transmittance’.