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.
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 year has been an excellent year for chipmusic using nanoloop. We’ve had a huge amount of releases ranging from the astounding ‘Geothermal’ by Classic Mistake, to the chilled as hell ‘Vanilla Dome’ by Glooms. This time we have Boaconstructor’s ‘Winds Of Null’. For context into ‘Boaconstructor’, he is a Seattle based musician who also runs ‘The Base bit’, one of the go-to net labels of chiptune. ‘The Base Bit’ have released a variety of accomplished albums such as ‘Refresh’ from Trey Frey, to ‘Steel City Zone’ by ‘HarleyLikesMusic’. It has been three years since ‘Boaconstructor’ has produced an album, with ‘Loop Dreams’ being released in 2015.
Whilst ‘Loop Dreams’ and ‘Winds Of Null’ were produced using Nanoloop, they are vastly different albums. ‘Loop Dreams’ focuses on using modulation to create weird and wonderful noises on a high BPM. ‘Winds Of Null’ on the other hand, focuses more on the bass, as well as detuning the melody and slowing down the music. For me I prefer Boaconstructor’s latest album, as I found it more accessible to listen to. The recording and mastering are also, in my opinion, much higher quality. Everything seems to pop better, with the levels balanced much better than ‘Loop Dreams’.
It is funny how plans can be altered within a second. Originally, I was going to review something else.However, just as I was about to put fingers to keyboard, I got an email: ‘Paladin Shield’ had just released a new album; ‘Many Blessings’! ‘Hot damn’, I said as I spent more money on yet another album. Below are three tracks that I loved off ‘Many Blessings’ and why I think it’s top notch.
Previously on the ChipWIN 51 artist writeup, you got to read a little about 4mat; always a pleasant experience, second only to listening to 4mat of course. ;) Today… eh, think I’ma let someone else awesome handle this fantastic write-up. TAKE IT AWAY, AutoRemi PK!!! (hey! that rhymed! ;3 ). ;D
So here we all are at track #4, where we shift gears into some serious zen. No joke. This here’s a Chiptunes = WIN exclusive, and a damn fine one at that:
The moment Wake hit my ears, I knew this song was going to be powerful. Many will agree that this particular track takes home a prize for being one of the most beautiful contributions to the album. In a compilation with so many standout tracks, that’s no small feat. Simply put, Daniel Capo delivers the goods.
Of course, Daniel Capo has already released one of this year’s must-have chiptune albums in the form of O.S.T., an album made in tribute to classic NES games but with additional elements intended to provide increased depth and musical development to the songs.
That same approach is present in Wake, but it’s very clear his intent is not to emulate past success.
In Daniel’s own words, “After my last album, which was essentially a video game soundtrack, I wanted to do something very different. I was striving to do something much more atmospheric than before, but still capture a lot of movement underneath. To add to the atmospheric nature of the piece, I added some record noise samples throughout to give a nice ambience. There is also a nice smooth synth lead that I modeled myself in Max MSP. The title Wake comes from the way the piece sort of bubbles to life.”
Needless to say, mission accomplished. Wake is a deeply introspective and meditative composition, with mesmerizing ambience that builds throughout. But if you’re not sated by this great piece (seriously?!?), check out O.S.T. for ultra-fine tracks such as this funky beast:
You feeling that dark city-of-the-dead kind of vibe? The whole album’s a fantastic voyage and a credit to the way Daniel Capo is able to take a concept and spin it into a song that resonates with the listener. His contribution to the Chiptunes = WIN is no exception and by fortune, segues wonderfully into the next track:Can’t Stop Us, by Chipzel. PURE WIN.