Continuing this enjoyable ramble-fest (for me at least!), today we’re on to Year Three of ChipWIN comp story-time! If this is your first read in the series, feel free to check out parts 1 and 2 and then continue after the break.
You could remember Hypnogram, aka Noah Deck, from his self-titled debut EP released through chiptune netlabel Smoking Mirrors. You could also remember him from his contribution to µWIN, ‘Ephemeral Emerald’. Maybe you’ve seen him live at Little Sound Assembly among the likes of Tri Angles, Saskrotch, PANDAstar, or numerous others. Or, maybe this article will be the first you’ve heard of the man at the forefront of chiptrance music, in which case you’re in for a delectable aural treat. Hypnogram is a newer face in the chipscene and has seldom released music, but the few tracks this artist has revealed establishes his style and the sheer amount of polish that goes into his craft. With the release of his first full-length release, ‘Eye’ (again through Cincinnati-based netlabel Smoking Mirrors), this chiptrance master is ready to unveil his latest masterpiece to our beloved scene!
Hey, what’s up, ChipWINners! Welcome to a new column I like to call Kuma’s Hype Train! This one will be in a similar vein to my Quick Shots articles, in that I’ll be picking apart albums for your listening pleasure. However, what will differentiate Hype Train from Quick Shots is content. Because Hype Train is meant to build anticipation for new releases, articles in this column will, at best, only feature teaser tracks and preview medleys of upcoming projects. Don’t let that get you down, though, because as soon as these albums are released, these articles will be updated to feature links in the descriptions for you to get a hold of the sweet, audible candy for yourselves.
Let’s not waste any more time. Sit back, relax and take a trip into the future with me as I gush over new albums from Skybox and S.P.R.Y.!
Happy New Year ChipWINners! Welcome back to my column, So You Wanna Make A Chiptune! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Normally, I’ve reserved SYWMAC for the review of hardware and software related to the production of chiptune to help you determine what would be best suited for you. However, with this being the first article of the new year, I thought I’d talk about something just as important: motivation.
I’m sure a great many of you have made resolutions to become more active, steadfast and prolific with your creative endeavors. Just like with any other resolution, I know you’re going to need help staying focused. It’s okay: concentrating on new goals, New Year’s resolutions or otherwise, can be a daunting task. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources within the scene to help you stay motivated! If you’re willing to work towards your larger goal by doing smaller goals, you’re guaranteed to make your dreams a reality in no time. Let’s not waste any more time. Come along with me as I guide you beautiful unicorns to pristine waters that I hope you will drink from!
Robot Unicorn Attack is TM and C of Adult Swim Games
[Turtle Princess] Hey guuuuuuurl. [/Turtle Princess] I know you guys are itching to get through more of these dope chiptunes, so let’s not stall any longer, hmm?
Track #17: SUPER MANLY BROS. X by Phonetic Hero
First up we’ve got Super Manly Bros X by Phonetic Hero, AKA Pete Lepley! You may remember his previous work with us, or perhaps his jamming along with other ChipWIN contributor Theory of N, but if not, you should definitely get out there and check his work on Bandcamp (handy links provided for you at the end of the article!).This track is reminiscent of the first Mega Man X title – which is good because Mega Man X is amazing and had a soundtrack that everyone wishes was the soundtrack to their own life.* I could honestly imagine this being Idris Elba’s theme, were this for the soundtrack of a Pacific Rim SNES game – it’s badass-flavored, with a lot of drive pushing it forward.
Track #18: Oynx by Zef
Oh man Zef! You know, Zef AKA Chris Penner! Another return ChipWINner Zef continues to bring the pain. And by pain, of course, what I mean is sick beats. Zef is known for good dance music, and good dance music is what you get with Onyx. He eases you in, gets you headbobbing, and then suddenly you’re po-going and you have no idea why but you’re sure as hell not going to stop. It’s a nice mix of low and high energy music all in one track. It’s a song that conveys motion: while some songs are just kind of there, as an ambient cloud, Onyx makes the listener feel like they’re traveling – like they’re moving along towards the end of the song, instead of just waiting for it. And at four minutes, the track is long enough to suck you in and make you a part of it without feeling like you’re left unfulfilled and wanting.
Track #19: Face Nation: A Nation of Faces by S.P.R.Y.
S.P.R.Y. (AKA Narayan Choudury) is a newcomer to our compilations – but he’s already become part of the family, having been responsible for mastering the Pxl-Win album. Back to the track, though,the percussion usage here is really fun – S.P.R.Y. makes heavy use of what I like to call “maniac drums,” by which I mean the kind of drums that if you were watching a live person do it, you’d think they were a maniac because their hands would be flying all over the place. This is a perfect example of one of those songs that has both fast parts and slow parts functioning at the same time which makes the song almost seem like clockwork, with each speed functioning as a gear to move the others. You’ve also got a repeated loop as the head, but it ends up changing voicing every few repeats, so the song actually ends up having a lot more depth to it. It’s fried gold, it is.
Track #20: Silverfish Riot by Snooglebum
The mysterious entity known as Snooglebum may be a newcomer to ChipWIN but he’s been quite busy when it comes to making chiptunes – his Bandcamp boasts quite a few albums, which you should go apply to your eardrums. Silverfish Riot is super fun – it’s simultaneously slow, but high energy. I’m not really sure how that works, but it’s quite good. Strong, punchy bass drums always make a song feel tough, and while the melody is a mid-length loop, it ends up being punctuated with a few variations. The song exudes the purest extract of danceyness – while some songs are labeled “dance music,” it takes a lot for a song to actually move someone to move themselves along to the beat more than just tapping their feet, and this song’s got it.
Track #21: Miami Lights by Masikus
The final track here, Miami Lights by Masikus (AKA Angel Hernandez), is nice and trip-hoppy. I love trip-hop. I love chiptunes. So getting them both in one go is pretty fantastic, in my opinion. It’s great chillmode music, and serves as a nice counterpoint to the past several more high-energy tracks. With much slower beats, it’s got this soothing groove going on, and with the nice airy section starting ~1:10, it’s got this nice, wide-open and relaxed feeling to it. It’s just…soothing. Soothing is not normally a quality I ascribe to chiptunes, but this track is just that.
That’s all for this time! Tune in next time, where we will all be covering this album on Brandon’s assorted collection of jaw-harps.** And keep an eye here on the blog, because big things are coming! I know that sounds like the normal blog rhetoric, but I actuallymean that!
*Don’t sass me, boy, you know it’s true.
**I’m joking, we’re not going to do such a horrible thing to you!