Hey y’all! =) For this month’s interview, I’m reprising a 2014 blog chat that I had with a very talented Norwegian friend of mine whose music you’re very likely familiar with. Unsurprisingly, the man has accomplished more than enough in the four years since then to warrant yet another sit down with me here on the blog.
Everyone welcome back to the blog, Vegard Kummen aka Kubbi!
Not entirely sure what’s going on here, but it sure makes for a pretty sweet picture.
Weeeeelp, looks like it’s that time of the month again! Of course, I’m talking about some good ole beer & chiptune commentary with me, Prez Hoodie! =D
So turn up your speakers & grab your favorite drinking glass, and let’s get on with my seasonally appropriate December selections:
Dansk Mjød Viking Blod & Kubbi.
Yup. That’s right. This month I’m deviating from my normal selection of a beer type to review and instead featuring a Nordic honeywine (aka mead). All in honor of the Norwegian wonder Kubbi, of course (more on that cat further in).
In all truth, my quest began not for mead but for a bottle of akvavit/aquavit, a traditional flavored Scandinavian spirit often imbibed around the holiday season, which Kubbi recommended that I sample. Whilst I had no luck finding that imported drink in my region of Podunk, Arkansas, I did fortunately stumble upon a bottle of Dansk Mjød’s Viking Blod in the search. A more than worthy substitution to incorporate in this Skyrim-esqe pairing.
The front label describes Viking Blod as “Nordic honeywine with hibiscus and hops added”. If this seems like an interesting combination of ingredients, it’s because it is.
I’ve sampled a couple varieties of mead before, but never one with a gorram flower added to it! As one might expect, it adds a notable floral element to the already rather complex flavor. Combined with the hops and honeyed sweetness, it brings an almost ginger like aftertaste to the drink. It’s certainly… different, but undeniably quite nommy!
Seeing as how this is a fairly unique beverage, I for once followed all of the back label’s suggested methods of imbibing (which also includes an interesting, albeit brief historical account of mead!). Quaffing both on the rocks and in a slightly chilled glass served it well (with chilled glass being the superior method), although my #1 recommendation would be to drink it thoroughly heated. It turns Viking Blod into a delightful winter beverage akin to something like wassail, perfect for warming the insides as Jack Frost howls fiercely outside (or, in my case, maybe stirs up a chilly little breeze here and there…). I could also see it used to great affect in cooking, particularly a reduction with pork or a really tasty ham glaze. Heeeeeeeey Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip Mooooooooooooooooom!! ;)
The internet is quite fond of Viking Blod as well! For instance, Ratebeer.com gives it a 92 overall score, accompanied by a multitude of favorable reviews. My summation would have to be something along the lines of, “YOU CAN TASTE THE FORESTS OF NORWAY IN EACH GORRAM SIP.” Yup, that’ll do. ;)
Kubbi sez, “Gi meg mjød!”
Moving onto the equally complex & delicious chipartist known to the internetz as Kubbi, we find just as delectable a sonic treat for the ears.
Quite the prolific artist, Kubbi has both a thorough & musically diverse discography spanning the past three years. While his initial forays in 2010 were primarily found on cm.o & the now defunct 8bc, the bulk of his releases can be found in the form of singles on Soundcloud and EPs and full length albums on Bandcamp. And just so you know, every single gorram track is worth indulging in.
To give a little background on his compositional methods, Kubbi uses the tracker inspired DAW Renoise to create his chipmusic, and employs a solid library of samples that he’s collected & tweaked over the years. His goto plug-ins include YMCK’s Magical 8bit Plug, Plogue Chipsounds & U-he Zebra, all of which he highly recommends. Although on his more recent releases he also incorporates the talented guitar-work of Jonas Dam (featured on ‘Gas Powered EP’ & ‘Something New’) & the beautiful vocals of Live-Andrea Rasch (on tracks “Concrete” & “Circuithead”), further fleshing out the already dynamic soundscapes found in his music.
It’s no secret: 2012 was definitely the most prolific year of Kubbi’s career thus far, during which he released three different full length albums (‘Transmittance‘, ‘Sleet‘, & ‘Circuithead‘). While all three merit a good solid listen/download/purchase, ‘Circuithead’ is probably the most standout among the three (note the “probably” snuck in there, as dammit, they’re all quite standout!). It’s the most cohesive release among them, sounding almost like a concept album of a sort. Although to be honest, there’s an overarching theme/feel of wistful melancholy and driven determination interwoven into most of his music. Maybe it’s natural by-product of drinking mead & practicing dragonshouts in the snowy mountains of Norway all the time, I don’t know. ;)
Regarding recent singles of note are his fantastic Renovation Mixes. They’re essentially re-instrumentations of some of his previous works, and really do breathe new light into the tracks. There are only three at the moment, but I have a feeling that’ll change in the coming months.
Kubbi’s latest single “Something New” does an excellent job of displaying the current state of his musical evolution & where he’s aiming for; it combines his signature chip stylings with an even more grand & ethereal, almost orchestral sound-set. Check it out right here:
To kick off 2014 with a MAGnificent bang, Kubbi is debuting his first live performance with both Jonas & Live at MAGFest 12. If you’d like to catch a very rare treat (and who wouldn’t?!?) make sure to get your ass to MAGFest & come down for the Saturday Midnight Chiptune Blowout! That alone is gonna be worth the trip to MAG this year!
Seriously, I could write endlessly about this exceedingly talented young chipartist. Everything he composes is simply extraordinary; each track takes you on a fantastic journey as you listen to & experienceit. All that and the fact that, well… HE’S DONE A LOTTA STUFFS!! :O All the same, whether you’re a fan of chipmusic or not, Kubbi has something to offer you.
And this finishes up yet another edition of my monthly beer & chip specials! Here’s hoping you’ve enjoyed the read, the delightful Kubbi-music referenced in it (a handful of his music embedded below!), and are fortunate enough to stumble across a chance to sample this very tasty beverage (maybe I’ll bring a flask to MAGFest 12 for this very purpose. Who knows? ;).