Posts Tagged ‘shanebro’

Chip Treatment with Professor Oakes: ‘SPACE FUGITIVES’ by TORIENA

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Greetings, readers! Boy oh boy has my life been a whirlwind of craziness lately! If it’s not helping organize the Los Angeles SHADOWTRAVEL tour stop with NullsleepStagediver, Starpause, and Trash80, a free E3 party with Japan’s legendary Chibi-Tech at a local barcade in Downtown Los Angeles with Meishi Smile, Space BoyfriendSpace Town Savior, Timon Marmex, and Trash80, or attending not ONE but TWO Anamanaguchi concerts within the same weekend (at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles and the DNA Lounge in San Francisco) respectively, it’s planning additional 8bitLA events, dreaming about attending out-of-state concerts like BRKFEST, and moving into a new apartment — I swear! I DO work full-time on top of all of this!

Despite all this crazy shenanigans, it’s good to be back writing this album review for this wonderful blog. I’m here to administer another dose of Chip Treatment the Professor Oakes way, and it is with great pleasure that I bring you a review of ‘SPACE FUGITIVES’ by TORIENA — so sit tight and read up!

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Released by MADMILKY RECORDS, a Kyoto Japan-based label founded by TORIENA and NNNNNNNNNN (pronounced as no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no) in 2013, ‘Space Fugitives’ is a REMARKABLE album released through Bandcamp on January 28, 2014. Beginning her career as a composer and a performing chip musician in 2012 (she’s also an illustrator and web designer!), Sae Shimizu (TORIENA) released her first EP entitled “ORBIT” through Vol.4 Records, and later ‘Black Dance Hole’, her first 10-track album, later that year. Exclusively using her front-lit DMGs and LSDJ to create the music and running it through Cubase 6 (she also uses a Behringer Pro Mixer VMX100USB), Shimizu has dug herself a spot in the chip scene as one of the best international acts, as she performed during Blip Festival Tokyo 2012 at Koenji High in Tokyo (alongside AbortifacientAliceffekt, Batsly Adams, Bit Shifter, Chibi-Tech, Covox, and Nullsleep to name a few) and was awarded ‘Best New Artist’ in the World Wide Chiptune Awards, according to her website.

With energizing stage presence (as this video of TORIENA performing at Blip Tokyo 2012 can attest), Shimizu’s passion for music began with her parents (her father is a DJ) and her enrollment in junior high band (Shimizu played tuba, double bass, and bass guitar). Shimizu began her journey in electronic music in junior high after discovering Kraftwerk and Daft Punk, and later Gold Panda and Squarepusher in high school, but remarks her interest in music is “quite fickle because the mood at the time can change.” (ICON.jp, January 17, 2014)

Receiving wide support from Pedro Silva of Slime Girls and Shane Banegas (watashimo), and featured on DJ Cutman‘s ‘This Week in Chiptune‘ on February 19, 2014, ‘SPACE FUGITIVES’ opens with ‘Fetal movement’, as TORIENA creates an memorable, rhythmic introduction to the album at large. The calmer precursor to the latter half of the album, ‘Fetal movement’ is surely the calm before the storm. With BPMs ranging from the upper 110’s to lower 130’s as it starts to take speed, ‘Fetal movement’ is a brilliant example of dreamy, low-fi tracks that produce a sense of nostalgia, as Shimizu includes the Gameboy start-up sound as an element to the track, and a drone element which she pitch bends (which reminds me a lot of the sound the cars make upon accelerating in RoadBlasters and an element that The Depreciation Guild used quite often.) Another stylistic choice (whether intentional or not), is the slight humming her DMGs make throughout the course of the track—if you listen carefully, you can hear panning clicks laid on top of the melody she creates using her pulse channels, and the hi hats in her noise channel. There’s nothing more appealing than the true, natural sound a DMG can make, and I could never understand why artists would ever want to hide that!

‘Call me again!’, very appropriately mastered near the conclusion of ‘SPACE FUGITIVES’, is one of my absolute favorite tracks on this album. Sitting at just about 3 minutes long, the track throws you through a tornado of emotions as soon as it commences. Oozing at the seams with an unforgettable j-pop vibe, Shimizu mimics Mario’s jump and fire flower sound elements, which she very strategically places throughout the track. Leading up to about the 55 second mark, ‘Call me again!’ is a wonderful example of Shimizu’s ability to masterfully build up the emotion of the track using a rather static BPM and glitch-like elements, to then launch the listeners into a whirlwind of adrenaline-pumping elements and a much quicker tempo. Uplifting, hyper, and incredibly fun, ‘Call me again!’ sends me on a wild cat and mouse chase as I truly feel like I’m not able to rest until the conclusion of the track. Unlike its precursor ‘Fetal movement’, ‘Call me again!’ is far from anything calm, soothing, and dreamy (but rather insane and wild!)

‘SPACE FUGITIVES’ can be purchased through Bandcamp digitally for $8. This is an album I definitely recommend buying (if you haven’t already!) as I assure you it’ll make your way to your list of top favorites. While TORIENA has not yet performed in the western hemisphere, she tells ICON.jp that she would very much like to perform outside of Japan in the future—so keep your eyes out and catch her performing when this happens!

That’s all ChipWIN readers! Until next time on Chip Treatment—Professor Oakes signing off!

Toriena
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MADMILKY RECORDS
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PXL-WIN Super Happy Review Special With Kuma!

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Ahoy there, ChipWINners!  Welcome back to the blog!  Now as I’m sure many of you are aware, we’ve recently outdone ourselves again with the release of our second epic annual compilation!  Having enjoyed continued success with it, we danced, drank Cherry Wheat and made merry with all of our friends!

PARTYHARD4Then, as with all great celebrations in life, we woke up the next morning in a state of panic as we realized our terrible predicament: we had 99 problems, and all of them were songs!  (Well, 95 to be exact…but I wanted a Jay-Z joke.)  Needing to do something with at least some of this residual music (which was mostly pretty damn good), we here at ChipWIN made a deal with the devil and agreed to allow our Editor-in-Chief to create a joint release with us to handle some select tunes from the surplus.  In turn, the mighty Kilpatrick, in all his Satanic might, used his silver tongue (by which I mean he spoke plain English with an English accent) to bend the rules (which, technically, did not exist for side-releases!) to allow two additional songs of his choosing that weren’t part of the bundle to be included with album.  We acquiesced, and soon thereafter, Devil Kilpatrick, along with his cohort Alex Kelly (who’s a pretty swell guy, actually) turned out what would be Chiptunes = WIN first joint release with another netlabel: PXL-WIN!

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Now I know what you’re thinking: should I listen to this… bedeviled album?  Is it worth risking my soul to listen to an… abomination these English demons have wrought upon chiptune?

The answer, quite simply, is yes. But don’t fear, for I, Kuma, the bear in a black man’s body, will lead the way through the 17 layers of WIN and prove to you this is a journey worth taking.
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Track #1: Deeksha by AlexOgre

First up to the plate is Alex Ogre, a young man from Russia who busts out some incredible stuff on LSDJ.  Taking full advantage of the program’s capabilities, Alex has become one of several artists whose work has progressed to the point that it has become exemplary chiptune, and that isn’t a bad thing at all.

A nice, steady bass line, strong use of snappy snares and arps, and a simple, dream like melody all combine to make a song that kicks off PXL-WIN in strong, confident fashion.  Put bluntly, this song is a dancer’s dream.  Its the kind of song that, when the chiptune community goes out to a venue like 8static, I/O chipmusic or Pulsewave, we expect to hear, and that’s exactly what Alex Ogre wants.  He wants to keep you on your feet, and quite frankly, if you don’t want to get up while he’s playing this track, well keep listening to this album, because clearly you’re dead inside and you need chiptune to work its magic on you!

alex ogreBleepLove 
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Track #2: C-Side (Tetanus In My Connector Pins) by AutoReMi-PK

Speaking of derpy chiptuners and dickbutts, this second track is one I’m especially fond of as it’s by my friend AutoReMi-PK.  You might know Remy from his blog posts here on ChipWIN, or for his level headed attitude in the ChipWIN group, or, most likely, his derpy antics with Ryn and Hoodie in my interview with them about BRKFest!  Regardless of where you know him from, or if you didn’t know him at all, one thing that you do know now thanks to PXL-WIN is that he’s also an adept chipmusician!

Specializing in Famitracker composition, Remy takes heavy influence from numerous genres, companies and franchises (most notably Megaman, Super Smash Bros, Kirby, and anything Motoi Sakuraba has touched), which he then uses to craft tunes that run the gamut to fun and quick to lengthy and full of emotion.  With its broad pulsewaves, militaristic snares and arpeggios that compliment the melody perfectly, Remy’s “C-Side (Tetanus In My Connector Pins)” is a fine example of the perfectionist lurking inside this affable young man.

autoremy performFacebook | Soundcloud | Twitter
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Track #3: Twisted by irq7

Confession time: I’m a sucker for fighting games.  The button mashing action, visceral visuals and especially the adrenaline pumping music just make me excited in ways I can’t describe but can be seen at MAGFest for yourself.  So when I first heard irq7’s “Twisted”, I couldn’t help but smile the biggest, shit eating grin the world has ever seen!  From the moment the perfectly timed build up leading to the sinister words “I try to scream…GO!” drops into the hook, irq7 drags you into the ring and doesn’t let go until he’s knocked you out.

I’m especially fond of this song as it represents a nice compliment to cheapshot’s “Jambo“, a song I’m fond of as it, too, is evocative of a fighting game theme.  But while “Jambo” is reminiscent of music heard in Tekken Tag Tournament, “Twisted” takes a more Street Fighter styled approach, reveling in its use of aggressive kickers, heavy, pulse pounding bass and rhythm, and a melody that begs to have a Chun-li style “Yatta!” thrown in over it for good measure!

irq7Facebook | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Twitter 
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Track #4: Alien Friendship by AciDnB

Very few artists in the scene live up to their name, as most seem to be puns or names of things from yesteryear, and others are just Solarbear.  Some, however, let you know from the get go what they’re all about, and no one does that quite as well as AciDnB.  Having been inspired after seeing a bevy of Korg synths at an expo in 2010, AciDnB took his love of those sweet, artificial sounds and turned it into a serious passion.  The result is music that combines the decadent sounds of KorgDS10 and the finishing touches of FLStudio to create lush tracks such as the song you’re listening to now.

Replete with perfectly timed snares, a fuzzy ass bass line, and some of the coolest and most refreshing non-wub drops I’ve heard in quite a while, “Alien Friendship” invokes stark imagery of flying saucers as disco lights at the most happening party in the galaxy!  In a scene that is heavy with dance monsters, AciDnB takes his music a step further by embracing that he is part of a community that loves to boogie on down and runs with it, solidifying himself among artists such as LukHash and Whitely as one of the best beat makers to grace lofi music in the past five years.

acidnb

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Track #5: alcaline pizza by Gab Pearson

As we say goodbye to the stylish and funky “Alien Friendship”, we shift our attention to a song that, admittedly, I wasn’t sure I liked at first.  Most of the songs on this album stick out right away and you can tell you’re gonna just be into them the moment they open up.  However, when it came to Gab Pearson’s “alcaline pizza”, I wasn’t so sure what to make of it.

It certainly wasn’t a bad song by any means, I just didn’t have any compelling inclination towards it.  Over time, however, I found that the song’s strength came from its ability grow on you.  Further more, I found that Gab Pearson’s execution in crafting such a song is one of the most deliberate decisions I’ve encountered recently in music, as he’s a musician who switches up his style as often as he eats poutine.  Considering that he’s 1) Canadian and 2) he has a song named after the stuff, that means he changes it up a lot.

Making music that ranges from hip hop to chillout to the kind of funky, lofi new jack swing you’d hear in the genesis Sonic games, Gab may be one of the most versatile and understated artists I’ve ever encountered.

gab pearsonBandcamp | Soundcloud 
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Track #6: The Mysterious Shapeshifting Dog by Jay Tholen

What’s this?  A slowed down tempo?  A dream like rhythm?  All accompanied by a masterfully composed lead that could easily be replaced in a live performance by a trumpet or saxophone?  Oh yeah, we’re definitely back in Jay Tholen territory.  One of a handful of artists to return to ChipWIN on this joint compilation, I don’t think much needs to be said about Mr. Tholen that I haven’t already covered previously in my interview with him.  A talented and prolific renaissance man who excels at both visual and musical art, Jay seems to have done everything from dream like music videos to crafting his own video game.

This time around, Mr. Tholen seems to have channeled his love of the Mother series once again to make “The Mysterious Shapeshifting Dog”: a track that sounds like what would have happened to Boney had he eaten the hallucination mushrooms along with Lucas and the rest of the crew in Mother 3.  The distorted synth noise, steady, droning snare hits and a rhythm that create an atmosphere that simultaneously mimics a bad trip and an endless walk through a desert, Jay Tholen succeeds once again in leading his audience through another bizarre adventure.

jay tholen hairFacebook | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Twitter | Homepage
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Track #7: Far From Home by monotron

Often times, when art is created, its intended message gets lost, changed, or misconstrued because while its creator may have had one intended message, the observer perceives something very different altogether.  

This isn’t possible with monotron’s “Far From Home”.  From the moment the pulsewave builds up like a foreign sunrise on a strange horizon, this song makes it very clear that you’re not where you belong.  More importantly, it reminds you to make haste finding your way back to familiar ground.  In short, “Far From Home” invokes a feeling of fear.

Sure, its got a phat beat and bass line you can boogie too, but if you really listen to your song, it’s very clear monotron is making a statement: that the light of day can only bring comfort for so long, but as soon as the sun sets, a universal fear fills us all.  That fear is the fear of the unknown, and of the dark things in our hearts that we subconsciously fill the void with.

Maybe I’m wrong, though.  Maybe I’ve mistaken monotron’s message and am just talking out my ass.  Why don’t you take a listen and decide for yourself?

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Track #8: K1NG 0V TEH D4RK by DJ-PIE

Following up monotron in masterful form is a chiptune artist from France named DJ-PIE.  A musician who describes himself on his Soundcloud as a “MASTER PEANUS ZDEDEDEDE” (a reference to a ridiculous song he named P E N I S, as well as its various remixes), DJ-PIE busts out with some of the sickest synth play I’ve heard in quite a while!

Having crafted what I deem to be the greatest holiday song ever made for something that isn’t Christmas (even if it wasn’t his direct intent), “K1NG 0V TEH #D4RK” is the perfect Halloween anthem for the chiptune lover in you!  Combining almost warlike drum rolls with yowling square waves and a lead that invokes images of a pixelated interpretation of “This is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas, the song instills a playful sense of devilishness in anyone who happens to be caught in its spell.

dj pie live

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Track #9:  The M Word by Orbital Strike

Much like when I first started listening to Gab Pearson’s “alcaline pizza” I wasn’t sure what to make of Orbital Strike’s “The M Word” at first.  However, unlike Gab Pearson’s jawn, which took a few consecutive listens for me to feel, Orbital Strike grabbed me by the collar, and reminded me just who the hell we were talking about here as soon as they dropped the bass.  I was sold.

A song with a dizzying, almost alien, sounding lead, drum complimenting noise effects, and a club worthy bass line, “The M Word” is a seizure inducing dance hit that’s sure to energize and remind everyone listening that Nate and Nick are the frenetic, dubstepping George and Jonathan of the Seattle chiptune scene!  The wubs are something I have to compliment, in particular, because while wubs are certainly plentiful in chiptune, I don’t think I’ve heard anyone outside of Auxcide, DireHit, and Ultrasyd drop them with this much skill.

orbital strikeFacebook | Bandcamp | Soundcloud
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Track #10:  Thunderlizard by Graz

Following up on the awesomeness that was Orbital Strike is a young man who’s taken the west coast by storm.  Having found a strong niche for himself in Seattle and Portland is Graz: a versatile EDM artist who may have put forth one of the coolest fakebit songs I’ve heard since I last saw Misfit Chris live over a year ago!

An artist I first encountered after winning a copy of RAVECORE MASTERS Vol 1 from Initial P of Diskowarp, Graz takes a little bit of everything, from chiptune to gabber, to bonk to electro, and crafts music that is, quite frankly, a raver’s wetdream, and Thunderlizard is definitely proof of his skill!

A song that — very similarly to irq7’s “Twisted” — works equally well on the dance floor as it does in a fighting game, Graz has made a track that continues his proud tradition of making pure party music.  From remixes of Crazytown’s “Butterfly” to bass heavy eurobeat, Graz has joined the ranks of heavy hitting DJs in the Northwest such as Initial P/Kid Whatever, Jimni Cricket, and J-Mi & Midi-D to keep the raver scene alive and well, constantly infusing it with anything from chipstep to happy hardcore.

grazFacebook | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Twitter 
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Track #11: We Screw Up At The End by Mr Wimmer & Solarbear

Sometimes, when you least expect, life throws you a curveball.  While that odd pitch is normally perceived as a bad thing, this time around it’s absolutely wonderful.  You see, we all know Solarbear sucks.  That phrase is as axiomatic on this planet as gravity.  Or at least, that’s what I thought until I heard this song.  I’d like to think it was Mr Wimmer, with his deep, mournful, distorted crooning, skillful guitar strumming, and beautiful face, is the only person that made this song as wonderful as it is.  In all honesty, though, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this: I think Solarbear actually has talent.

I know, it’s a difficult pill to swallow, but listen to this track!  Listen to it’s sinister noise, sad lead, and pulsing rhythm that seemingly rains down misery on these two poor saps!  It’s almost as if Solarbear is acutely aware of how to craft atmosphere in a piece of music that sounds like someone’s spiral down the drain towards personal oblivion!  These two bastards actually managed to not only enhance each other, but they managed to make a song that’s the embodiment of a strung out heroin junkie coming down from his fourth fix on a hot summer day in what used to be The Prodigy’s apartment complex in their video for “Breathe”!  It’s…It’s…oh wow, they really did screw up at the end.

Never mind.

wimmer and solarbearSolarbear
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Mr Wimmer

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Track #12: Lickwid Lazer by KOOL SKULL

In the time I’ve been in this scene, I’ve heard chiptune be many things.  I’ve heard it be dance music, I’ve heard it be rock; I’ve heard it take the form of folk and I’ve heard it take the form of haunting industrial.  Indeed, I’ve heard chiptune used in many a genre and have heard it described it in many ways, but never before have I described chiptune with the adjective I’m about to use right now.

Sexy.  KOOL SKULL’s “Lickwid Lazer” is sexy.

Not only is it the first song I’ve ever heard in chiptune that I can straight up consider sexy, but it’s one of the most lustful songs I’ve ever heard, period.  Get past the noise, the snares, the static that fills background with dissonant chaos.  Listen to that bass line and kicker.  Listen to what KOOL SKULL did.  Do you hear that?  The man made a thrash song over a reggaeton beat, then sang a carnal, domineering lead over it a la Trent Reznor or Ogre of Skinny Puppy!  You can just as easily mosh to this song as you can grind up against someone or tie them up to the bedposts and — *cough*  I’m sorry I… I got carried away there.

The point I’m trying to make, though, is that surprises such as this are what make me fall in love with chiptune over and over again!  Musicians like KOOL SKULL are the guys that make the work we do here at ChipWIN exciting!  Between his visceral illustrations and guttural, raw music, KOOL SKULL is a talent that continually pleases and surprises.

kool skull

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Track #13: shortcut by unini

Continuing the visceral noise trend that Kool Skull set is unini with his song “shortcut”.  A track that lives up to its name, as it’s only rivaled in brevity by AutoRemi’s “C-Side”, “shortcut” may be short, but it certainly isn’t sweet.  Striking hard and fast with a violent assault on the senses that deftly combines noise, off pitch pulsewaves, and frantic drum and bass, this song is an excellent example of unini’s style.

Interestingly enough, however, despite the fact that unini crafts music that’s a slam dancers dream, the man himself is incredibly quiet and elusive!  In fact, unini is so mysterious that outside of this contribution to ChipWIN, he can only be found on Bandcamp and noisechannel, where he’s only posted on the forums twice!

If this enigmatic newcomer’s style is up your alley, I definitely suggest checking out his debut album on Bandcamp, and, if you’d like to learn more about him, I’d recommend trying to hit him up noisechannel.  Just don’t expect him to say anything back.
uniniBandcamp | noisechan
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Track #14: That’s Fer Sure! by + Let’s Disinfect! +

My mp3 player has a tendency of putting tracks in alphabetical order as opposed to track listed order, so while the album actually starts off with the aforementioned “Deeksha”, my Sansa clipzip decided that + Let’s Disinfect’s! + “That’s Fer Sure!” was the first track on PXL-WIN, and as far as I’m concerned it made an excellent choice!

I say this because while a large part of what ended up becoming ChipWIN Vol 2 had to do with flow from one song to another, PXL-WIN seems to have done the opposite and gone back to ChipWIN’s roots by putting out a release that’s much more dynamic.  That’s not to say PXL-WIN doesn’t have synergy, but when it comes to energy you don’t get much more dynamic than this!

Deftly combining his punk sensibilities and skills as a singer and multi instrumentalist, the prolific talent that is Sean Monistat (who has contributed to ChipWIN as + Let’s Disinfect! +, Sean Monistat, as well as with his bandmates in Thorazine Unicorn!) proves he is a force to be reckoned with in a song that’s not only full of life but catchy as hell!  Between his clever use of the pulsewave being used as a rhythm guitar, his frenetic guitar solo, and mosh pit inducing lyrics, I dare you not to sing the lyrics along with him whenever you hear this jawn!

sean monistatFacebook | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Twitter 
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Track #15: I’m An Idiot by Sam Mulligan

Honest.  Derpy.  An astute awareness of being both.  These are things I appreciate in a person.  Fortunately, Sam Mulligan is all these things and more, as he’s not only a talented musician and a vibrant DJ, but he’s charismatic enough to tell his seemingly never ending stories of failure as well!

Seriously, how can you not love a man who openly admits how damn stupid he can be!  “I’m An Idiot!” is another in a long line of songs that is just quintessentially Mulligan.  Fun, energetic, quick, and laughter inducing, this particular song earns extra points with me for sounding like “punk” groups I used to listen to in the 90s, like early Green Day a la Dookie and Insomniac, Blink182, and Sum41.

Chiptune gets accused of being a cheap trick that cashes in on nostalgia, and because there are people and companies that do take advantage of this I think there’s a sort of uneasiness about nostalgia being used as an adjective in the scene.  While that’s an unfortunate truth we have to live with, nostalgia isn’t something to be ashamed of.  In fact, if done properly, thoughts and experiences that invoke memories of yesteryear can be reveled in, and this does so in hilarious fashion.  Breaking the mold that chiptune only conjures recollection of the late 80s and early 90s era of gaming, Sam’s tale of whimsical dumb fuckery and unfortunate events causes me to recall my asinine teenage years when I used to rip my favorite cds onto mini discs and get into arguments with friends about how they were the future of music.

Oh, what a fool I was!

sam mulligan

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Track #16: Morning Breeze by shakaboyd

As a writer and music reviewer, I strive to put out quality material for you guys to read, because even if not a lot of you read it, for those that do, you know  that I put a lot of effort of into what I’ve produced and that means a lot to both of us in the long run.  But sometimes, there’s not much to say about a song, and such is the case is shakaboyd’s “Morning Breeze”.

Now why is that, you may ask?  Well, sometimes a song isn’t a deep metaphor for darkness in the hearts of man or a moan of carnal pleasure among basement party moshpit.  Sometimes a song is just good and fun because its, well, good and fun.  Filled with a playful melody, cheerful rhythm, wave hits that sound like a steel drum and a beat you can dance or work out to, shakaboyd has made a song that falls into that simply delightful category, along with song’s like chipzel’s “Can’t Stop Us“, Snesei’s “Button Mash” or Brick Breaker’s “Dusk Runner“.

In the end, for all the fancy adjectives I could try to use to describe this song, no amount of words can compare to the fact that, quite simply, it makes me smile.

shakaboydFacebook | Soundcloud | Twitter
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Track #17: The Cloma by Corset Lore

I remember the first time I saw Corset Lore.  She got up on stage to perform a song she was working on during an I/O open mic session and I was thoroughly impressed by what I heard and saw.  I walked up to her and asked her if she’d be interested in submitting to ChipWIN.  Little did I know, being very new to chiptune at the time, just how long she had been rocking the scene.  I would later find out to great surprise and moderate hilarity that not only had she been kicking ass in the community for years, but that she’s one of the great vets of the East Coast chip scene!

Having performed at venues along side other heavy hitters such as minusbaby, Bitshifter, Kris Keyser, Bubblyfish and Glomag, I’m sure you can imagine my embarrassment at this situation!  I like to think childlike enthusiasm must have worked (although I know it was really the work of Devil Kilpatrick) because she submitted the incredible track you’re listening to now!

Wrapping up PXL-WIN with elegance and style, “The Cloma” is a continuation of Tamara Yadao’s proud tradition of crafting music that’s both intricately melodic and easily enjoyable in way that’s accessible to the masses.  With its fun beat, energetic lead and sweeping rhythm that combine in a way that make you want to listen to this song all day, Corset Lore manages to make a song that feels comfortable in any setting, regardless of tastes.

That’s a feat that’s certainly rare in a scene many already consider too obscure to be mainstream.  I just hope that if I ever get to hear her play this live, that she plays a guitar over this incredibly lofi melody, because it’s just begging for some sweet riffs to be layered in with it a la Square Therapy’s “Miracle Max & The Cliffs Of Insanity“!  If Ms Yadao’s music is your cup of tea (and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be) I recommend checking out her home page so you can keep up with and learn about not only what she does as Corset Lore, but the various other audio/visual projects she’s invovled with, including foci + loci, frogwell and tu.

coreset lore

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That wraps up this album review.  I hope you enjoyed taking this journey with me through PXL-WIN and that you’ll continue to stick with both Chiptunes = WIN and PXL-BOT.  PXL-WIN is the 6th album we here at ChipWIN have helped release since 2012, and while we’ve certainly gained quite a bit of momentum over the past year, we don’t expect to stop doing what we do, and neither should you!  So stick around and don’t forget to keep up with us and and all your favorite artists on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr.  I promise you, you guys ain’t seen nothing yet.

Peace!

\m|♥|m/

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Raw Cuts With Kuma Special: BRKFest 2K13

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Hey guys!  Welcome back to Raw Cuts!  This time around, we have a very special edition of RC, as I took the time to sit down with three very special people to reflect on the event everyone is still buzzing about: BRKFest 2K13!  So without further ado, here’s my interview with Brandon “President Hoodie” Hood, Erin “Chip Mama” McQuisten, and Rob Remy “AutoRemi-PK” Pease about the event everyone is calling “The New Blipfest”!
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Kuma:  So, it’s been a while since we’ve all been together. 8 months, in fact.  Jeeze can you believe that?  I haven’t seen ya’ll in 8 months?

AutoRemi-PK (Remy):  That’s nine months too long.

President Hoodie (Hoodie): DEFINITELY way too long.

Kuma:  You guys on the other hand though: ya’ll got to go to BRKFest, which looked awesome from what I saw on Clipstream!

Hoodie:  YES. YES IT WAS.  It seriously felt like a mini-Blipfest, no lie.

Kuma:  That’s actually what I wanted to ask you guys!  You’ve all been to a lot of fests. Blip, PAX, MAG, Nerda.  How did BRK compare to those?

Chip Mama (Mama):  Well it was my first all chip show.  I’d seen a bunch of good chip acts at MAG, Nerda, and PAX, but the amount of awesome at BRK was overwhelming.

Hoodie:  Yeah.  I love Blipfest (or at least the one that I made it to in 2011! haha), but BRK definitely felt like a smaller, more tightly knit Blip.  It was endless good times! And dickbutts.  Lots and lots of dickbutts.

Actually, that’s my one regret: I didn’t get to draw a dickbutt on anything. :*(  Tommy (Thunderfox) brought a shirt that everyone signed and Tony (monotony) had his cast up for inking.

Remy:  BRK is a lot smaller but a lot more closely-knit.

Mama:  I agree with Remy: it seemed like everyone there knew each other either from in person or on the tubes.

Kuma:  Wait really?  That was your first all chip show?  I find that hard to believe considering you’re Chip Mama!

Mama:  I consider myself home-schooled in chiptune by one of the best.

Hoodie:  HAHAHA!

Remy:  Brandon isn’t the president we need but he’s the one we deserve.

hoodie batman hero
Kuma:  I’d hope so!  I think it’d be a disservice to all of us if you were just on the side while Brandon did all this fun shit!

Hoodie:  Real talk: BRK = only my second “all” chip show!

Kuma:  What? Brandon you too! You’re our President!  watrudoin!

Hoodie:  Sure, I’ve been to a handful of MAGs, Nerdas, PAXs, etc., but not too many *JUST* chip shows.  I wholly blame my location for that: BF, Arkansas. >_>
Working on that, tho…

Kuma:  You’d better.  Remy, the close knit feel at BRK, did it feel like 8static?

Remy:  It felt like 8static with southern hospitality. I can safely say that the best bar and the best coffee joint I’ve been to were literally right across the street from one another.

Kuma:  Yo seriously, what was up with that place you guys all went to eat at!  All the pictures of the food from there look like waffle house x9000!

Hoodie:  DAMN. NO KIDDING. Al’s bar & that coffee & donut joint = QUALITY.

Mama:  Oh my lord, the food and the coffee joint were AMAZING.

Remy:  The Institute in Philly is a TOUGH spot to top but Al’s Bar in Lexington really won my heart.

Mama:  Al’s was full of really nice people and a lot of first timers hearing chip that DUG IT and left with stickers and CDs and everything.

Hoodie:  Everyone was talking about the grub from Al’s last year. I expected decent pub grub at best, which would’ve been cool. Not the case, though. FANTASTIC EATS.

Mama:  One random guy even ended up crowd surfing during Trey Frey’s set.

Remy:  Yeah, the food at Al’s Bar puts most dining establishments- forget bars- to shame.

al's bar burger daniel davis

Photo courtesy of Daniel Davis (an0va).

Hoodie:  Damn, I could sure go for one of those Apple Jacks donuts at that coffee shop right about now…

Kuma:  What!  Strangers crowd surfing to chip and a bar that beats out The Institute?  Now I have to make it next year!

Mama:  Hell yes you do!  One of the bouncers went home with ChipWIN CDs!  And the bartenders had a stack!  The music was beyond what I expected!

Hoodie:  More real talk: BRK turned out *EVEN BETTER* than I expected.  The music, the people (locals included!), the food, EVERYTHING = WIN.

Kuma:  Damn it, I really have to do this next year! But, damn: so many things to go to next year!  That being said, you guys have any crazy fun stories you want to share? I’d love to hear about random after party nonsense or travel stories that you may have!

Mama:  Can we talk about the mustache dude that crowd surfed for a second?  cuz WOW!!!

Hoodie:  Hahahahahaha YES!

Remy:  Yes we can.

Kuma:  Mustached dude?

Hoodie:  I totes thought he was a creeper at first. hahaha.

Kuma:  God that alone sounds like half of chiptune!

Mama:  He’d never even HEARD of chiptune before.  I thought he was a creeper at first cuz he was taking pictures, but when folks started talking to him he was totally enthusiastic.

Remy:  Because if anything embodies what makes this collective scene great, it’s the reception he gave all of us that night and the one he got in turn.

Hoodie:  By mustache dude, we mean some random local who came to Al’s to grab a few beers and encountered chiptune for the first time in his life and HAD A DAMN BLAST.

Mama:  Wanted to be able to show his friends “the future of electronic music”

Hoodie:  CUTTING EDGE.

mark thomas the cutting edge

Kuma:  OMG that’s so damn cool!  Was he an older cat?  He sounds like an older cat!

Hoodie:  Totes an older cat.  Leather motorcycle jacket and everything.

Kuma:  NICE!

Mama:  40s – 50s, I’d say.

Hoodie:  Wearing a mustache competition t-shirt. hahaha

Remy:  He actually crowd surfed during Trey Frey‘s set!

mark thomas crowd surf

Photo courtesy of Shane Banegas (shanebro).

Kuma:  WAT!!! We got a possibly 50 year old chiptune fan out there because of you guys! that’s so freaking amazing!

Hoodie:  Seriously, that whole incident finished off the final night PERFECTLY.

Remy:  He won best mustache, both at BRK and in our hearts.

Mama:  He’s friended a bunch of us on FB and wrote a really awesome thank you note on the BRKfest FB page.

Hoodie:  “The Mustache of Our Hearts” <– ALBUM TITLE

Mama:  LOL.  You’re totally right, Remy.

Kuma:  Now I gotta ask, cause Dan Park hasn’t finished uploading all the video to YouTube yet, and I could catch all the sets on Clipstream, but for real: was trey’s set that godly?

Remy:  Yes.

Hoodie:  It was damn fantastic.

Remy:  Plain and simple yes.

Mama:  He got stage rushed on the second song, if that says anything!

Kuma:  D= NO WAI!

Remy:  Solarbear had us bumrush the stage and you don’t say no to that man and his beard.

curtis ware and his beard

Photo courtesy Curtis Ware (solarbear) and Chris de Pew (Storm Blooper).

Kuma:  DOOD, EVEN AUXCIDE AND SHANEBRO DIDN’T GET A SECOND SONG BUMRUSH!

Hoodie:  And I’ll own up to this here too: I’ve always enjoyed Trey Frey’s music, but never caught him live before.  And honestly, just never *quite* understood why people freak out about him *SO* much.

*NOW* I get it. *EXCELLENT* music.  And just an all around quality dude, too.  Super chill, super nice.

Kuma:  Now I gotta hear this!

Remy:  Trey Frey is as great a person as he is a musician, and that’s saying a LOT.

Hoodie:  Agreed 1000% Remy.  You can just tell that with some people.  Just by interacting with them, watching them interact with other people, talking to them a bit.

Kuma:  Yo, speaking of super chill, super nice, that final SMILETRON set, man.  I didn’t catch all of BRK, but that set man…I felt the feels through the stream, man.

Hoodie:  EXTREME amount of feels. Feels overload. 34987sadf654asdf654345.  Almost solemn even.  When the hell does *THAT* adjective come into play for a chipshow? Appropriate though.

smiletron chiptography

Photo courtesy Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

Mama:  There were tears and sniffles.  At least from me.

Hoodie:  I held it in.  Just barely.

Mama:  SMILETRON is significant for me, since it was one of the first artists Bran and I listened to on some long car trips.

Hoodie:  Erin almost screwed that up for me.

Mama:  Sorry, babe.

Hoodie:  Ay.  He was one of the first artists I introduced her to in the chipworld, and just one of our favorites in general.

Kuma:  God, I can only imagine how you two must have felt seeing him. How bittersweet.

Mama:  Just watching his face during the set, it was almost like he was saying goodbye…

smiletron chiptography bittersweet

Photo courtesy Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

Hoodie:  A bit sad to see him close up that chapter in his musical life, but at the same time major props to him for doing that when it feels right vs. continuing to drag it out beyond what is proper.

Remy:  I want to say that Casshern and S.P.R.Y. in particular did such an amazing job keeping that stream going and it is with no disrespect that I say no video could hope to capture the energy in that room.

Hoodie:  Like I said, some solemn heavy stuff, man. But in a *GOOD* way.

Remy:  Very much so.  It was cathartic.

Hoodie:  Agreed. Speaking of those cats, though, + the live sound guy & various visualists, AMAZING ZOMBOFURKIN JOB on *ALL* their parts!

Kuma:  Definitely on both accounts.  That was a solemn show if I ever saw one, but man, did SPRY and Dan kick ass for us at home!  I really wanna do something for them to thank them for all the hard work they did.

Hoodie:  
He did an *EXCELLENT* job, no doubt.  Hell, I didn’t think there even *WAS* gonna be a Clipstream until within the last weekend.  Glenntai stepped up to rock that, and then when he had to bow out because of illness Dan volunteered to take it over.  And he certainly did.

dan park chiptography

Photo courtesy Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

Mama:  I think I gave them cookies. If I didn’t, they deserve some!

Kuma:
  Yeah, the visualists were awesome, too!  I definitely recognized ohhinaifu and datacats work there!  Who else was running viz for BRK?

Remy:  I have endless respect for datacats, both for all that he did to help me get out there, and the hard work he put in on visuals and his (TWO!) performances.  There was a PIXELSEED video used, which is always awesome, and I believe andaruGO stepped up for visuals for a couple of sets!

Hoodie:  And somebody else too, I believe.

Kuma:  Wow, andaru does visuals?  I know he does graphic design and illustration, but I didnt know he does live visuals, too.  Also, I agree: PIXELSEED is the man.

Remy:  PIXELSEED wasn’t there in person, but he very generously puts his work out there to be used by artists, which is very respectable.  I want to say there was one more, too, but the person eludes me.

Hoodie:  Part of what makes chiptune live shows so damn immersive is the excellent visualizations that accompany the music.  And that was there 110% at BRK, for *DAMN* sure!!

Kuma:  Seriously, that timing of Glenn’s pneumonia was unfathomable to me, especially considering all the work and build up he was doing to get there with Lora and Remy!  I’m just glad you managed to make it down there, Remy! Although not without trouble, it seems.

Mama:  Remy’s Great Adventure!

the adventure of remi
Hoodie:  Man oh man, poor Remy’s Great Adventure indeed! XD   ANOTHER ALBUM TITLE!!!

Remy:  Hahaha, when you’re on a long trip like that it’s never smooth sailing.  datacats came through for me in a huge way and I can’t possibly thank him enough.  He’s a paragon of selflessness.  Hahahaha!  Yeah, it really seemed like the universe did NOT want me to go to BRK.

Hoodie:  TAKE THAT UNIVERSE!  You sure showed it!

Kuma:  Dood, at least Remy’s adventure ended happily, unlike Starpilot‘s “Tales Of Being Treated Like A Border Crossing Mexican!”.

Hoodie:  DAMN THAT.  I was *SO* pissed about that shit!!! -flips all the border dickbutts-

Remy:  I’ve got 99 problems and fascism is most of them.

Mama:  Hahaha!

Kuma:  All that spiritual ascension, and yet he himself couldn’t levitate past airport securitah.

star pilot live
Hoodie:  I was so looking forward to meeting him and catching him live too!!  Another time, though, I suppose.  Regardless, he was definitely missed at BRK.  What a bucketload of rotten dickbutts, man.  Ew.

Kuma:  Seriously: that was a load of bs ever heard any, and I work in a public hospital: bullshit is my dayjob.  That being said, you guys did manage to luck out with BSK!  I can’t believe he came all the way from Japan to play at BRK!

Mama:  He melted faces.

Hoodie:  NO KIDDING, MAN.  That… just… I DON’T EVEN

Kuma:  No…no you have to clarify this for me because that was one of the sets I unfortunately missed.

Mama:  I was thinking about crowd surfing up until that point, and then he made the energy in the room go SO HIGH.  I decided that I had to go up.

Kuma:  On a scale of 1 to Killer Instinct, how many faces did he melt!

Hoodie:  Outside of Ralp at Blip 2011, I haven’t had much exposure to Japanese chip (especially live). [writers note: Ralp is from Spain {Hoodie note: OOPS! :3} ].  In general, it has a completely different kind of energy/feel.  So frenetic & hyper & AWESOME.

Mama:  People talk about 4 to the floor, that man was all 8 out the GATE.  As in all 8 cylinders (Bran was looking at me askance from across the room)

Kuma:  D=

Remy:  BSK did Mario at a rave.

Hoodie:  Hahahahaha!

Kuma:  DAN FINISH UPLOADING THE VIDEOS ALREADY!

bsk breaking it down

Photo courtesy of Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

Hoodie:  Even as awesome as he was, I can’t call it my favorite performance of BRK. Mostly because I’m not sure I *CAN* pick a favorite. Everything was SOOOO GOOOOOOD~  And that sounds generic & lame BUT GORRAMIT IT’S TRUE!!!!

Kuma:  No.   No I’m not giving you that excuse.  Serious question time!  Pick a favorite performance!

Hoodie:  I’M THINKING.

Kuma:  DO IT NOW!

Hoodie:  IT’S HARD.

Mama:  HNGGG!

Hoodie:  I TRY NOT TO DO IT TOO OFTEN.

Remy:  No, it really is true.  A lot of BRKFest consisted of once-in-a-lifetime performances, things you just COULD NOT miss.

Hoodie:  HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

Mama:  Can I do a top 3?

Kuma:  No.  While I believe all of you on how amazing these performances are, that doesn’t make you exempt from the question.

Hoodie:  Auxcide.

Something about his music that just *REALLY* resonates with me. And his energy live. Just… DAMN.

Auxcide chiptography

Photo courtesy of Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

Kuma:  Nice.

Hoodie:  THAT WAS HARD!  DAMN YOU FOR MAKING ME PICK!

Kuma:  Your turn rynamom!

Mama:  Since Bran picked Auxcide (and therefore our parental obligation is filled), I’m gonna probably pick SMILETRON, cuz of the feels.  I’m all about the feels.

Remy:  SMILETRON Plays the Feels

Hoodie:  Yeah.  He’d be my favorite for that reason.  I HAVE DIFFERENT FAVORITES FOR DIFFERENT REASONS.  SUCK ON IT.

Kuma:  Remy, that’s a bad album cover waiting to happen, no matter how true it is.  Btw, it’s your turn!

Hoodie:  C’mon Remy.  Man up.  CHOOSE.

Remy:  I really wish I could back my way out of this, hahaha.

Hoodie:  NOPE.  Time for you to pick and have that pick made public for all the world to see.

Kuma:  Here, I’ll help.  Of the performances I did see, I think the one I liked most was andaruGO!  Andrew’s a sweet heart and I love his energy on stage. I just wish he played MACHINDER during his set.  Other than that, he pretty much played his new album live before releasing it was awesome

Hoodie:  HE WAS AWESOME.  His energy was NUTS!!!!  But that’s andaruGO for you hahaha!  Meeting him was great, too.  Meeting *EVERYONE* was so damn great!!!

And yeah, it’s (his new album) gonna be KILLER.

Kuma:  Nice.  Okay, Remy: it’s your turn.

Remy:  I would say Solarbear, because his performance drove home the fact that, holy shit, I was at BRK.  It happened.  How, I do not know.  Plus east coast chip is just so much better than west coast.  Really, I don’t know what meds people are on to think otherwise.

Mama:  Oh jeez

Kuma:  Very true.  On all accounts. Besides, its not like crashfaster is worth half the music they make.  (just kidding, I love Morgan and crew.)

Mama:  DON’T TALK BAD ABOUT MY CRASHFASTER!  Long live chip with words!

Hoodie:  Other favorites: Roboctopus really got me dancing, an0va was amazeballs (my first time to see *JUST* him live vs. w/ Cheap Dinosaurs), SMILETRON (again), Protoflight (he’s 15!!!), SSD Engage (I EXPLODED WHEN THEY PLAYED 1973!!!), shanebro, & Trey Frey.  And everyone else. Because yeah.

AND THE DATATHRASH PRESHOW AS WELL!!!

Remy:  Yeah, I’ll probably take a lot of flak for joking about east/west chip but whatever. Solarbear is ok.  He doesn’t drag us down TOO much.

Hoodie:  …I missed Solarbear’s set…. ;___;

Mama:  I’d like to tip my proverbial hat to Protoflight. Cuz he’s only 15 and ohmigosh he was amazing.

Remy:  Yeah, Yung Cunni’s got mad skillz

Hoodie:  But then again, SOLARBEAR SUX SO WHO CARES.

Kuma:  Dood that preshow!  I feel like the Datathrash crew doesn’t get the love they deserve! how was that?  Did EGR himself play?

ERG datathrash

Photo courtesy Marjorie Becker (Chiptography).

Hoodie:  IT WAS GREAT!!! Having to get up early enough to be there at noon after night one was kinda rough, though.  hahah Coffee shop across the road saved the day once again.  What was that one random band with the drummer that I’d never heard of before (that played the preshow)?

Mama:  Sludge Metal Ice Cream Truck.

Hoodie:  SLUDGE METAL ICE CREAM TRUCK!!  They were badass!!

The hour long open mic they (The Preshow) opened with was pretty sweet too!

Kuma:  I think that’s the most badass name I’eve ever heard for anything ever

Hoodie:  hahaha Yeah, they had me on name alone.

Remy:  The Datathrash show kicked off pretty early and was less hyped comparably but I can guarantee you that everyone gave 100% up there.  Whether you’re playing to ten people or one hundred in that capacity is irrelevant, everyone who took that stage was impressive in their own right.

Hoodie:  ^ THAT.  Remy busted out a couple of jams on the spot for the open mic, too.  IT WAS AWESOME.

Remy:  Plus, The Dutchess’ tore the fucking roof down with his Wish cover, and that was with about twenty people around the stage.

Hoodie:  HOLY SHIT!  I DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE THE DUTCHESS WAS GLENN UNTIL BRK!  HE WAS AWESOME!!!

Kuma:  And that’s the thing I love most about chip: no matter what the skill level, everyone gives what they can and everyone supports with all their heart in return. I love it.  Also, yeah, Glenn Bauer busts out some crazy stuff!  But that’s what happens when you make music around guys like an0va and skgb!

Hoodie:  Haha GOOD POINT.

Remy:  Nothing but love for Philly chip.

Hoodie:  Introducing Dobbins (and a handful of others) to the majesty that is Sam Adams Cherry Wheat on the final night was a highlight, as well.  I apologize to all of you in advance for the alcoholism this is sure to cause.  And props to one of my roomies, Jason Doss aka Square Therapy for bringing that!  Prevented me from being sad once I discovered they didn’t have it at the bar.

Remy:  Pff, you can’t get drunk off Cherry Wheat.

Mama:  Yes you can, I’ve seen it.

Hoodie:  OH YES YOU CAN.

Remy:  Grow a liver.

Kuma:  I think Hoodie’s liver is specifically designed to get drunk off cherry wheat

Remy:  Hahahahaha!

Mama:  And Jason brought goodies from Starbucks! Breakfast bar because of him.

Hoodie:  TRUTH.

Kuma:  But to be fair, a lot of us got drunk off poor man anger juice at blip and you don’t see us complaining.  “Poor man’s anger juice” being Pabst Blue Ribbon.

pabst blue ribbon

Hoodie:  POOR MAN ANGER JUICE LOLOLOLOL!  THOSE WERE ON SPECIAL AT THE BAR.  I drank a few.  They’re still fucking awful.

And Dustin, well… he didn’t really bring anything except himself.  BUT THAT’S OKAY. *BUTT*DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWG~  hahahhahahhahha!

Kuma:  Wait, what about his sax?

Hoodie:  No, he forgot.  NEXT TIME.

Kuma:  Oh, that sucks.  But yeah, Pabst is terrible.  Glenntai and I came to the conclusion that Pabst is armpit juice, cause that’s exactly what it smells like

Remy:  At Blip ’12, 99% of us paid 1% prices for 5% alcohol by volume

Hoodie:  Seriously: good beer has ruined my ability to drink shittastic lager.  At least until I run out of money, and then I can still destroy some Bud Light. XD

Kuma:  Oh man Bud Light!  I can’t remember the last time I had a beer that wasn’t Pabst, a Sam Adams specialty flavor or Brooklyn brewery!  Fuck, now I gotta pick some up!

Mama:  Beer is gross. I found some amazing ginger ale at the bar.  And made it “special” for myself.

Remy:  Hoodie showed me some good picks at Al’s, too. He’s very adventurous with his beer drinking.

hoodie and his beerHoodie:  Yeah, I’m all about tastier brews nowadays. Cheap shitty lager still works in a pinch, though.

Remy:  Beer is SO gross. Fuckin’ love it.

Hoodie:  HAHAHAH YES!

Mama:
Hahaha!

Hoodie:  There were a few local brews that were tasty, but I think that Country Boy Cougar Bait was my fav.

Mama:  I had some peach gin, one of the tiny bottles, and I put it in a big glass of that Ale 8-1. It was divine.

Remy:  The Cougar Bait was hella rad.

Hoodie:  And those nachos.

Mama:  Went great with my bison burger with balsamic and grilled green apples.  The nachos!  Home made tortilla chips!

Hoodie:  Fuck me, man!  If we lived in Lexington, I’m pretty sure we’d all be going to Al’s to grab nachos and beer after this interview. hahahaha!

Remy:  Not even kidding, I could live in that bar.

Mama:  We three would have a booth.  It would have our name on it!

Hoodie:  I mean, seriously, that’s one of those joints that makes a place worth living at. haha!

Remy:  Fuck it Hoodie, let’s just do it anyway.  Let’s go right now.

Remy:  LET’S GO.

Kuma:  Remy, you had Institute tots: how do those nachos compare to loaded tots?

the institute tots

Remy:  Damn, that’s a hard question.  I would have to say the nachos win this round but I’m gonna have to eat that Institute jawn again, doe.

Hoodie:  Yeah, I’m definitely going to have to eat something after this interview. XD  I miss Al’s.

Kuma:  Same, man. I might go to the Mexican spot down the street and get some nachos, myself.

Hoodie:  I think it’s a testament to Al’s greatness that we’ve spent about as much time talking about the bar as we have BRKFest. hahahhaa

Remy:  Spot on, Brandon.

Hoodie:  AND EVERYONE THERE WOULD AGREE THAT IT’S DESERVING.

Kuma:  That being said, BRK sounds like it was incredible in every single way imaginable. So now I gotta ask: what’s next for you guys?

Hoodie:  GOOD TIMES.  Also *VERY* nice to have a chiptune festival that’s in driving distance of where I live. hahaha

Mama:  Next adventure is Nerdapalooza!  Or is it Nashville, Bran?

Hoodie:  Working with some folk on a few smaller local shows, but nothing quite like BRK yet.  NASHVILLE.  That’s one of the shows. hahaha

Mama: Yay! Only 4 hours!

Kuma:  Wait, wait hold up for a second.  Nashville…you wouldn’t be talking about the first of the semi regular show series Roboctopus is looking to host out there, would you?

Hoodie:  YUP!  THAT’S THE ONE!

Kuma:  HNNNNNNNNNNNNNG!!!!!

Hoodie:  He, I, Arnie of Datathrash and a few other cool dudes are making this a thing.  It’s taken awhile (we’ve been brainstorming it since earlier this year??), but it’s gonna be worth it. I’m already sure of that.

Kuma:  YES!  You guys totally need it to be a thing! The Midwest suffers of terrible under representation!  I know kloudygirl tried to do street busks and such in Texas and a few others tried to do the same here and there, but damn you guys need an 8static.

Mama:  Yes it does!  And we’ve got really talented folks in this region.

Hoodie:  MAN OH MAN DO WE EVER!!!

Kuma:  I’m so glad this is finally happening for you guys

Hoodie:  With a little time and effort and WORK, maybe this’ll turn into that.  Time will tell.

Kuma:  I hope so.  Even if its not strictly chip, I know you guys can make something wonderful happen there…as long as you have Amanda Lepre doing everything…which she’s already doing, so it’s gonna be a okay.

amanda lepre

Hoodie:  HAHAHAHAHA!  Her and Danimal do indeed do *ALL THE THINGS*.

Remy:   Yeah, no kidding.

Hoodie: I do enough of the things.  That’s good enough for me.

Kuma:  Seriously. I love what I do in the scene, but I can’t do what they do, let alone what you do, and god help me if I try to do what Kilpatrick does, cause I dunno how he does it.

andrew kilpatrick

Mama:  AK is cray cray

Hoodie:  Fuck that guy. He’s an asshole. ♥

Kuma:  I only know one asshole in this scene, and just like Bigfoot, his existence is questionable at best.

Mama:  ^Thats how Brandon expresses his man-love.

Hoodie:  I put a ♥ after that statement. That clears it all up.

Mama:  Of course, sweetie

Kuma:  What about you, Remy?  What can we expect of you in the next few months?  Same for you, Erin.  I know you and Bran are joined at the hip, but can we expect more Ryn vox?  Also, when can I expect mah cookehs?

Remy:  It’s always up in the air, man.  I never know what events I’ll make it out to or when I’ll have a release so I try not to make a big deal out of anything.

Hoodie:  DEFINITELY!  She’s in the midst of working on some more collab goodness as we speak!  As far as cookies, that’s up to her.  I try to eat all of those I can.  Y’all can get your own damn cookies!!!

Mama:  There is more Ryn vox in the works!  Princesses in Another Castle is working on getting a few songs together, and I’m in the early stages of a 5 track EP in collaboration with NickelPUNK. I’m super excited

Kuma:  Eh its all good, Remy.  I know nothing’s set in stone but it makes me happy that you’re doing your thing. And more Ryn vocals yay!

Remy:  I’m just keeping relaxed and focusing on having some modicum of output. I’m not going to release a Teaching Machine or an Information Chase my first time around and that’s okay.

Kuma:  Like wise: I don’t expect any EP I put out to sound amzing, but I’m happy my newer stuff sounds a little more Decktonic as of late.  I think that about wraps up everything here.  Thanks a lot guys!  This was fun!  We should definitely do it again!

Mama:  Thank YOU. I hope you can make something coherent out of our rambling

Kuma:  Oh, I definitely will

Remy:  If you put an egg in your shoe and beat it, it’ll glue everything right back together.

Hoodie:  Thank you! This was pretty damn fun!  Next BRK? YOU BETTER BE THERE!
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Thanks for tuning for this special edition of RC!  Don’t forget to follow BRKFest on Facebook to keep up with the lastest shenanigans, as well as updates on media uploads pertaining to it!  Special Thanks go out to Hoodie, Ryn and Remy for this interview, as well as the many numerous artists who contributed to BRKFest, to Clipstream for making this a global experience for those who couldn’t make it in person, and to Chiptography for use of her immaculate photos in this article, as well as generally continuing to chronograph the awesomeness that is the chiptune scene!  Peace!

\m|♥|m/

BRKFest:
BRKfest.org | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter |

Clipstream:
Facebook | Twitter | Ustream

Chiptography:
Facebook | Chiptography.com

Hoodie:
Facebook | Twitter

Ryn:
Facebook | Twitter | Chip Mom

Remy:
Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

ZOMFG!!! BRKFest 2013: August 2 – 4 (FULL SCHEDULE)!!! BE THERE!!!

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BRKFEST 2013!!!!!!! ONE WEEEEEEEK AWAY BEGINS TOMORROW!!!!!! ZOMG!!!!!!!!!

975971_10151670154006694_473792069_o

WOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! HERE’S THE GORRAM SCHEDULE!!!!!!!!!!

Full 3 Day Event Schedule

IMA GON’ BE THERE!!!!! CHIP MOM WILL TOO!!!!! GONNA ENJOY DANCING TO LOTSA CHIPTUNE!!!!! AND DRINKING LOTS OF BEER!!!!! WE’LL BE SELLING/GIVING AWAY CHIPWIN MERCH TOO!!!!! GONNA BE AMAZEBALLS!!!!! THO IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT (ya poor SOB…) DON’T WORRY BECAUSE CLIPSTREAM WILL BE LIVESTREAMING THE ENTIRE SHINDIG!!!!!
GUESS WHO WROTE THIS WRITEUP?!?!?
HERE, HAVE SOME EXTRA EXCLAMATION MARKS AND ONES AND WINKY CATFACES TO CONFIRM
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111!111!!!!11!!!!!!111!1!!!!!!111111!!11!11!11!1 ;3 ;3 ;3 ;3 ;3 ;3 ;3 \m|<3|m/

\m|BRK|m/

Gonna be lots & lots of this.

Gonna be lots & lots of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relevant links (with info that’s actually useful :3 ):
BRKfest.org | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter |

TICKETS to BRKFest

BRKFest 2013 Fb Event

Datathrash X BRKFest Pre-show (Aug 3) Fb Event

Clipstream

EDIT: I forgot the most important link of all. FIXED.

Raw Cuts With Kuma #12: Roboctopus

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Hey there, ChipWINners! Glad to have you back with us! This week I sat down with an incredibly talented chipartist in the scene for my interview. He’s known for being a multi-instrumentalist who makes some incredible chipfunk, and has received rave reviews for his recent EP “Disco.txt” released via the netlabel cheapbeats.net. Without further ado, I present to you my interview with Michael Allen aka Roboctopus!

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Kuma:  So, first question: your music is definitely very diverse in terms of style from song to song.  There’s definitely aspects of it that stick out as being certifiably Roboctopus, but it does leave me curious as to your musical background.  Tell me, how’d you get into chip and do you have any experience with music or composition prior to becoming a part of the scene?

Roboctopus:  I have a pretty diverse musical background and play a bunch of different instruments.  Mostly string instruments, guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, etc., but I can get by on piano/synths and do a bit of mediocre drumming.  I have an okay understanding of music theory I guess. Took a class, read a book, haha.

As far as getting into chip, I probably got into it kind of the opposite way most people do.

Kuma:  Oh?  How might that be?

Roboctopus:  I was into the indie/lo-fi/diy music scene in college and I was living in Texas. I heard this band called Tree Wave that had some really unique sounds.  That was Paul Slocum’s band (of cynthcart fame).  When I read that Tree Wave was using C64 for a lot of their synth sounds, I was amazed.

Kuma:  Oh!  So you were in the part of the lofi scene that lofi people consider real lofi but when they look at chip, half of them are like cool, and the other half are like “ewwww that’s not real”!  okay, I gotcha!

Roboctopus:  Haha, yeah!  I was a big analog synth fan, but the commodore sounds were really special, so I bought a commodore and it broke!

Commodore_64_Box
And then I read that other people were using Game Boys, and discovered Bit Shifter, etc. This was 2006.  So I ditched my junky commodore and bought LSDJ and a flash cart

Kuma:  Oh wow!  So you’ve been at this for a while!  Wait…but…does that make you older than me?

Roboctopus:  If you’re 32 or under it does!  I was in grad school in 2006

Kuma:  You’re 33? I…that’s unpossible, sir!

Roboctopus:  Haha!  I’m afraid it’s true.  *holds up 30-something card*

michael allen montage

Kuma:  My god, you’re another one of those deceptively young look people like Hoodie!

Roboctopus:  Bwahahahaha!  Yeah, Hoodie deffo looks younger than he is!

brandon hood phony

I’m 33. #SUCKITKUMA 8)

Kuma:  Speaking of whom, how’d you meet Hoodie, anyway?  I’ve got this gut feeling you’ve known that derp for a while.  How’d he wrastle you up into doing a song for us anyway?

Roboctopus:  I haven’t really known Hoodie for that long. I think the first contact I had with him was right after I released Victory Lapse.  He contacted me about doing a track for the ChipWIN expansion pack.  I guess that was about a year ago.

Kuma:  Yeah it has been about a year. it’s crazy how time flies.  That being said, going back a bit to what you were saying before about your way to chip via lofi.  Now, you’re down south, were in Texas and now you’re Alabama now, if I’m not mistaken, yes?  What’s the scene like out there for both chip and lofi?  Have you found it receptive?  Inclusive? Exclusive?  What’s your experience been like performing and making music where you are?

Roboctopus:  There is pretty much no scene where I am, haha.  If I made alternative-leaning bluegrass or folk I would be gold.

tumbleweed

Kuma:  I’m sure you would be, but we can’t all be Intercept.

Roboctopus:  I can’t even tell if there’s an electronic music scene here, really.  One thing that’s tough about the south is that we’re all so spread out here.  The only shows I’ve played have been in other states, so I can’t really comment on Northern Alabama’s chip scene.  I’ve played in Nashville, and there was some interest there, though.  And the Lexington guys are awesome!

Kuma:  Can’t go wrong with solarderp and his crew!  Will you be performing or attending BRKFest this year?

Roboctopus:  Yes!  I’ll be playing BRKfest this year!  I’m really looking forward to that, because there are some amazing performers coming!

Kuma:  Definitely!  I know among others SSD Engage are gonna be there again, as well as shanebro, both of whom I interviewed previously, and both of whom released new albums this year to be played live at the show!

That being said, lets talk about your newest album, shall we?  Disco.txt is pretty great, man.  It’s really freaking incredible.  How do you feel about it now that it’s out there?  Is it everything you wanted it to be.

Roboctopus:  I’m really happy with how it turned out.  I started working on it over a year ago and planned to release a 5-track EP in October of 2012, but I kept starting new tracks instead of finishing them, and I got to this point where it was tough finishing the older tracks.  So some of the tracks I finished last were the ones I started first, haha!  But I’m glad I took the time to really work on them all and polish them and get them all to a high level of detail, or whatever you’d call it.  I wanted to make a headphones album of chip music, I guess.  But I’m happy with how it turned out

Kuma:  Well having heard all your EPs and LPs recently in prep for this interview, I can honestly say it’s definitely aural candy.  That being said, is there anything about it you would like to change in retrospect, or anything the experience in making it has taught you you’d do differently in the future?

Roboctopus:  Honestly, while I’m happy with how it turned out, right now I’m thinking I’d be happier sticking with more focused, shorter releases like EPs.  I like it when someone drops a super tight 20-minute EP and is done, so I think I’m still aspiring to that.
Not to say I with Disco.txt was 20 minutes long, I just think I prefer an EP kind of format.

Kuma:  I can respect that.  If I remember correctly, I think even 4mat mentioned he prefers making and releasing music like that, as well, so it’s definitely a method that does have its fans in the community.  That being said, aside from the aforementioned performance at BRKFest, what’s next for you, Michael?  Will we see another EP before the end of the year?  More performances?  Planned appearances at large scale events next year like MAGFest of PAXEast?  What’s on your plate, m’man?

Roboctopus:  The future is kind of fuzzy, honestly.  As far as music, I’ve been verrrrrry slowly working on a pretty laid-back chip+live instrument EP that I’d really like to get back into.  I’m also working on a collaboration or two, so I definitely would like to release en EP or something before the year’s out.

As far as shows, that’s really dodgy.  I’ve been working with some people to start up a bi-monthly chip show in Nashville (which is just 2 hours away from me) so hopefully I’ll be playing that by summer’s end.  I don’t have any other shows lined up in the near future.  It’s pretty hard to get gigs when getting to them is a considerable monetary investment! (That being said…if anyone has a gig they want me to play, hit me up, haha.)

Kuma:  Fair enough.  Michael, it was definitely a pleasure taking the time to interview. You’re surprisingly charming and funny.  I’m still taken aback by your deceptive appearance, as well.  That being said, is there anything you’d like to say in closing to your fans and to the readers?

Roboctopus:  I’d just like to say a big thanks to the chip scene in general.  The chip scene is so friendly and receptive, and it’s amazing that you can live in Alabama and have people all over the world interested in music you made on Game Boys, so thanks to the chip scene and everyone who has listened to my music.  I hope to get to meet more of you at BRKfest and any shows in the future.  I think it’s a pretty exciting time to be a chipfan.

Kuma:  It definitely is a wonderful time to be a chiptune fan, especially with artists like you in the scene.  Michael, once again, thank you for the interview.  It was a pleasure.  You have a good night and I look forward to interviewing you again

Roboctopus:  Likewise, this was fun. Have a great night!

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Thanks for checking out this weeks interview.  As always, don’t forget to check out Roboctopus’ links & latest album, all posted at the bottom of this article.  Also, if you’re in the vicinity of or can get to Lexington, Kentucky August 2 – 4, do yourself a BIG favor and hit up BRKFest, where you can catch Michael doing his thing live alongside a slew of other amazing chipartists, including next weeks interviewee: Solarbear, the very founder of BRKFest!  Peace!

\m|♥|m/

michael allen black white roboctopus
Relevant Links:
Facebook | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Twitter

BRKFest 2013 Facebook Event Page

Andrew Kilpatrick: Whilst I Was Gone

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Due to my (at the time of writing this) extended period of absence from reviewing, I decided to do some sort of wrap up; a review of ten releases that had come out in my absence. So, here are all ten, assembled into a single blog post for your viewing pleasure! Originally written for my Blog (TWG, links found here), it’s my pleasure to be cursing Chiptune=Win with it too. Enjoy! PS, links to the releases are on the titles!

DESUMATE- SELF_TITLED

Having started releasing EPs January of this year, DESUMATE is a bit late to the chipthrash party. Moreover, as the genre has surpassed its peak of popularity, the releases of last year from titans such as Kool Skull and shitbird have long cemented a certain bar of quality to be aspired to and judged against.

DESUMATE is, overall, almost a definition of chipthrash. Focus on drums, dissonant warbling melodies, glissandos into the deepest recesses of pitch and capital letters. However, whilst DESUMATE does get a lot right, for instance the drums are frequently brilliant, especially on ‘COMBO BREAKER’, he’s yet to achieve full effectiveness through his apparent inability to sense when boredom might set in. The three tracks total nine minutes, but the release would be far harder hitting if it were cut down to five. ‘MAXIMUM THRASH’ and ‘GRANNY BASHER’ just never seem to end, made further painful by the truly disgusting melodic instruments.

Overall, whilst the drums are outstanding (the beats on ‘GRANNY BASHER’ are truly remarkable too), the release falls flat due to a trait all too familiar for new chip composers; a lack of eclecticism. Some focus and meticulous attention to detail and DESUMATE’s next release could quite easily reach the bar of quality set by his forefathers, or, if the quality of track ‘COMBO BREAKER’ is anything to go by, even surpass them.

 

Dark Oyster- Wizard EP

The words ‘LSDJ’ and ‘debut release’, when put together, strike fear into my heart. With that dangerous combination usually comes an excess of connotations; badly produced, blandly written, and weakly melodic, all wrapped together in a sound as thin as a squashed cracker. Luckily Dark Oyster raised a middle finger to this norm.

Relief washed over me within the first seconds of ‘Something is Amiss Pt. 1’. The melodies throughout this entire release are, honestly, gorgeous. ‘Something is…’ creeps along like a cut from Infinity Shred, ‘Short Break’ has so much melodic swagger KODEK would be jealous and ‘Let’s Go To The Graffiti Festival’, mixes beautiful croons with Russian melodies to form what the offspring of a Solarbear and Dorothy’s Magic Bag collaboration would sound like.

It’s not all plain sailing of course. Final track ‘The Machine’ is expendable, some of the instrument choices, most of note the sliding instrument in the opening track, are weakly conceived, and sometimes staccato is used in such abundance the pace slows to a stuttering halt. That being said, if this is a debut, there can only be bigger on the horizon. I predict we have another Auxcide on our hands.

 

SMILETRON- APOLLO

Prolific rarely holds as much meaning as it does when being applied to Smiletron. Known as much for his frequent and quality output as the chilled EDM expanses within these expulsions, Smiletron has become a staple figure in the chip scene. With so many releases under his belt and the recent announcement of dissolution, is this a fitting tribute, as one of his last exports, to his vibrant career?

Apollo’ is nothing revolutionary, though that never felt like the point of his work. The first thing you’ll notice is familiarity. ‘High quality chilled chip-tinged EDM jams are the manifesto, and it’s one he’s been preaching for years. As such, by now not a second feels forced; it’s like music flows from Smiletron’s fingertips at the will of his psyche. He manages the ludicrous task of making electronic music sound genuinely organic.

The title track is gorgeous; the familiar mixture of memorable micro-melodies and huge beats over warm analog tones settles the atmosphere quickly. ‘Eclipse’ follows a familiar pattern, and ‘Yours’ mixes an 80s vibe with modern day EDM and some relaxed breakbeats. The three tracks coast along without force; sometimes with too little force in fact (moments of ‘Eclipse’ are SO dynamically flat the song almost disappears if you’re not paying attention). That tiny qualm aside, this is another fantastic Smiletron, another notch in his great discography. At least when he leaves us there’ll be a surplus of tracks to remember him by.

 

EGR- DeathMurderGo

EGR, aka Arnie Holder, is the owner of Datathrash Recordings, THE home of chipthrash. When he releases something the chipscene should take notice; this man played a huge part in shaping one of the scenes most recent stylistic explosions. He’s chipthrash’s godfather, if you will. He also doesn’t release much, so his few expulsions should be lapped up with haste, and his most recent, ‘DeathMurderGo’, is by far his most destructively brutal.

‘DeathMurderGo’ was recorded through a microphoned practice amp and sounds as such. Raw as fuck. If Kurt Ballou produced a chiptune album, this is what it would sound like, a bludgeoning mixture of aggression, understated groove and noise-distorting walls of sound. ‘Death’s beats hit like a charging bison, ‘Go’ sounds like the death of an albatross and ‘Murder’ blends the two atmospheres into a forebodingly swaggering cement mixer of noise and violence.

The production really is perfect for this release. Whilst it may not be for everyone, anyone even remotely interested in noise or chipthrash genres will find themselves captivated by the concrete slabs of produced perfection (through nonchalance). Whilst moments of ‘Murder’ and ‘Go’ could do with being opened up a bit (they tend to dissipate into pure sound experiments, but that might be a bad thing), this is still a fantastic release. I think, for the good of chiptune, we should collectively sign a petition stating EGR must write a full-length. We deserve it, and he has clearly got the talent for it.

 

Xyce- papillions

Cheapbeats, the Tokyo based label/ event organiser, recently released their third offering, xyce’s ‘papillions’. Xyce are an amalgamation of Dutch chiptuners xylo and cerror, and this is their 5th release to date. Picking up where their previous works left off, ‘papillons’ continues the xyce tradition of using Atari, Amiga and old PC sounds to create demoscene styled chiptune with a huge focus on melody, whilst delving slightly into multiple other genres.

The first thing that jumps out from ‘papillions’ is the melodies throughout are absolutely fantastic. ‘avonture au japon’ sounds like a beach personified in audio, the motif for ‘ombres’ is pure sublime, as are the arps that speak it, and ‘grecque’ sounds like hyperactive plush; marshmallow dripping from speakers.  Also, the demoscene theme expands to include collaborations with demosceners Radix and Malmen. Malmen’s contribution takes place on the title track, with twinkling instruments and melancholy in abundance. The Radix collaboration ‘rainbow dash!’  is the albums real highlight however, towering over surrounding tracks with a ferocious sense of dynamics and melodies, dipping into modern house and EDM with unrepentant ease.

Such a focus on melody comes at a price however. The notion of dynamics and timbre are often glazed over, and as such a few tracks, like ‘samedi’, ‘bequille’ and ‘feuilles’, stumble by inoffensively and forgettably. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t bad tracks, they just get lost in the crowd. Less a detriment on xyce’s composing as on their awareness of effective album structure.

That being said, with tracks like the aforementioned ‘rainbow dash!’ and the Miami-house and polka swag-rife ‘subsonique deux’, xyce have another hugely successful release under their belt. Whilst it doesn’t sound like their definitive statement quite yet, it is still another example of chiptune’s continuing statements of quality. And when their definitive statement does come, and it will, we can be assured we’ll have the European 4mat fully realised.

 

Peaches The Wale- Lovely

Godinpants’ alter ego/ nautical hand puppet Peaches has released ‘her’ third EP recently. Featuring the familiar Peaches sound, sampled glitched up breakbeat with drill n bass, jungle and dips into seapunk, ‘Lovely’ cements this alias as one of the highest quality ‘jokes’ the scene has ever witnessed.

The title track has an infectious hip hop gleam, ‘Australia Exam’ uses samples to form a party-rife rave cyclone and ‘Jungle Jungle’ features a formidable fall into jungle mayhem which is, in two words, fucking astonishing. Also, moments of ‘Grumpy Wombat Tantrum’ go full Aphex Twin mode, and when it does it’s captivating.

‘Grumpy Wombat Tantrum’ is nowhere near the quality of the other tracks though, and the Taylor Swift cover is diabolical (though there is definitely a sense of purposeful awareness attached), but apart from that the faults in this 5 track opus are insignificant. I regularly found myself dancing statically and throwing my hands up like it was Detroit. Long live Peaches, both the best animal and the best jungle producer in chiptune.

 

Blitz Lunar- Triptunes

Produced in Logic and utilising sounds from various trackers, released on Ubiktune and with fantastic cover art by the hugely talented ‘ui’, this had all the markings of pure quality.  It doesn’t disappoint. I often steer away from making comparisons between chiptune and VGM, as to do so feels descriptively weak and lazy, but Blitz Lunar’s debut full length honestly encompasses a soundtrack to the last 20 years of video game history.  The industry is doing itself a disservice by not coaxing a soundtrack from this fantastic composer.

The first three tracks, ‘You (and a prefix)’ sound exactly like the releases’ title implies; insane psychedelic chiptune melding elements of 80s electronica and breakbeat into jazz prog; Zan-Zan-Zawa-Veia crossed with C-Jeff through Dillinger Escape Plan. The end of ‘You Universe’ leads nicely into the rest of the album’s calming embrace, spiralling into psychedelic ambient space jams at the drop of a hat, a further manifestation of Blitz’s incredible composition prowess. ‘Honest Truth Zone’ flirts with more familiar chiptune sounds whilst displaying hints of Flying Lotus, and ‘Hidden Heaven’ and ‘Comfort Zone’ have a contemporary Nintendo vibe about them.

There is dip in the album’s quality between ‘Comfort Zone’ and ‘Ego Bubble Zone’ though. Whilst all the tracks sound fantastic (I’d like to in particular note ‘Holyday’s audio personification of cute quaintness), there isn’t much that keeps the tracks memorable; they flitter by with incredible grace but with little emotional substance. But there is more than enough to keep fans of chiptune, video game scores or electronic music in general ecstatically happy. One of those debuts that really was worth the wait. Nintendo, take note.

 

Ralp- Petaxer

Known as much for his huge back catalogue of chip as for running Spanish label Low Toy, Ralp returns with another bruising manifestation of club-ready tunes and complex LSDJ/Nanoloop programming, this time in the form of the 24 track progressive monster ‘Petaxer’.

Following the similar trait of previous albums, ‘Petaxer’ almost plays as a single, uninterrupted song. Couple this with the fact the release is only 30 minutes long, those swayed by the huge track count should not let themselves be put off, as what lies within is a tour de force of bite sized LSDJ and Nanoloop mastery.  Ideas are dropped instantly at their peak of quality, flitting to something new , giving the release an unmatched urgency and pace. There is also a huge amount of diversity; ‘Lubra’, ‘Utoh’ and ‘Mitical’ all explore swaggering hip hop beats and melodies.  ‘Psudasco’, ‘Oblea’ and ‘Pungo’ are all gut punches of bass, Monodeer via KODEK, and every track from ‘Toeph’ onwards cranks up the melodic mastery leading to a euphoric and urgent climax on ‘Statoplax’.

You’d thinks with so many tracks there’d be a fair few undesirables. There aren’t. There is nothing but quality here.  Whether you want driving dance floor destroyers like ‘Daxa’ or glitched out melodies in tracks like ‘Virtua’, ‘Petaxer’ shows quite efficiently how versatile both LSDJ and Nanoloop can be in the right hands. One of the best releases of the year, if not ever, in chiptune.

 

shanebro – When Hearts And Minds Collide

Relatively new to the scene, LSDJer shanebro recently put out his first full length and second release overall, ‘When Hearts And Minds Collide’. With a fantastic track on last year’s ChipWINter compilation, it was with enthusiasm that I began listening. However, it quickly became apparent that shanebro would have been much better off releasing another EP or two before tackling a full length.

The theme seems to be balance, as every moment of euphoria is almost instantaneously marred by bad composition or instrument choices. The build in opener ‘The Ballad of the Electric Tigers’ is tense and thick, but the peak is half-hearted and limp. ‘Hakai’ has some wonderful orient-tinged melodies, but they feel underdeveloped, and when the track does find its feet it’s abruptly ruined by a horrid bridge.  Also, both ‘One World, Two Different Axels’ and ‘Semopnume Kashiwazki’ have great melodies but suffer from over-repetition, and ‘Our Final Moments’ is just an exercise in blandness.

It’s an honest shame, as the guy clearly has a shed full of talent. Moments in ‘It’s Happening’ are brilliant, the staccato semi-quaver sections especially, and after the track speeds up it’s highway cyberpunk at its very best. ‘Akarin Is Love’ and the title track are both rife with great melodies and the track featuring Auxcide, ‘Threat Level Midnight’, takes the best of both artists and blends them into an emotive whirlwind of melodic nuance and killer beats. That being said, for a release titled ‘When Hearts And Minds Collide’ there isn’t much heart or apparent thought gone in to detail. There is so much potential here, it’s just unfortunate it hasn’t been fully realised yet.

 

Yerzmyey- Brutal And Aggressive

ZX Spectrum powerhouse Yerzmyey is returning after 6 years to 8bitpeoples to deliver a collection of Spectrum tracks. His 2nd release this year, and another chance for Yerzmyey to prove again to the newer generation who were enlightened by the success of last October’s ‘Strange Light Under My Bed’, that there is a reason he’s still around.

Opening with the epic ‘Dark Galactica’, a string of brilliant melodies and slow-shifting atmospheres, made only more effective after being considered in retrospect. Album closer ‘Alone’ also delivers fury with borderline metal melodies, staccato and kicks the size of houses. The opening of ‘IM35’ swiftly moves from Tubular Bells homage to crunchy, thick bass thuds, sounding like a sledgehammer being dragged along concrete.

Elsewhere however, the mood is starkly different. ‘Get Mad’ tastes oddly like Europop (cheesy trance influences and all), and ‘STandard Crap’ is an 80s dance number heaving under the weight of its own percussion and melodic interplay. There are some duller moments; past the two minute mark ‘IM35’ gets nigh-on unbearable due to jarring instrument choices, and ‘Get Mad’ and ‘Haunted Mansion’ constitute a dip in quality over other tracks, but overall? Another Yerzmyey release, another slice of chiptune gold and another example of how he is one of the few from the ‘2006-8’ generation that has managed to stay relevant, interesting, and dazzlingly exciting.

Favourite track: Alone