Hey ChipWINners! Welcome back to Quick Shots! I hope Thanksgiving treated you well for those of you who got to celebrate, and for those who weren’t able to I hope this belated musical gift more than makes up for your lack of feasting this year. This time around, I’ll be reviewing two EPs that will pull on your heart strings in ways unexpected. These two albums will not only stir the soul and leave you feeling wistful and introspective, but they will also fill you with the determination necessary to close out the year in a way that’s meaningful to you.
So let’s not waste any time! Sit back, plug in those headphones, and lie down on the ground as I make you feel like garbage with two lovely albums from The Flight Away and Sam_Berrow.
An events page: you’ve asked for it, and it’s something we’ve wanted to do for ages. Well, we’ve finally do-ed it. Chiptunes = WIN is formally announcing the debut of The ChipWIN Events Calendar –>chiptuneswin.com/events
What’s there? How about a constantly updating feed of the latest chiptune, VGM, & nerdcore events and festivals (both online & offline) that we’re aware of? (you can help here!). We’d like to give Michael Carafelli our huge thanks for giving us permission to work from his original events feed code base that he wrote for Arecibo Radio. We’d also like to thank Virdian Forge for renovating that code base to serve our nefariouswholesome community building purposes.
Formalities aside, we hope that this tool will help build the connections that make everyone in ChipWIN such amazing folk. To whit, your help will let us make the Events Calendar the best thing it can be. Right now, the system polls a list of known Facebook groups for upcoming events. We’ve got a good start, but please use the form at chiptuneswin.com/eventsformto tell us about a relevant page that we have missed. You can also use the it to tell us about events that don’t have their information up on Facebook, or aren’t tied to a particular Facebook group. Of course, the ChipWIN team will be vetting these submissions to ensure they’re in some way related to Chiptune, VGM, or Nerdcore music.
You’re in good hands.
Also, what’s this? Viridian Forge has updated The ChipWINdex to look slightly less awful!
He’s still adding albums to this as he learns of them (you can help here!), and trying to find time to add incredibly important functionality to all the things. Things like — visuals that don’t look awful on mobile and maybe a speedier back-end for the WINdex.
To top it off, if you haven’t clicked over to our homepage recently, you should probably do that! It got a pretty good aesthetic update recently, featuring a couple more links + a signup bar at the bottom for our brand new newsletter, The ChipWIN Gazette!
This sign-up bar in particular.
So hold on to your butts ChipRealm, because we’re sure we’ll continue finding new and interesting ways to keep the spice flowing!
Howdy-ho, chipperinos! While I’m sure you spent much of your April 1st slathering our new compilation all over your earholes (and if you didn’t, go read this to understand why you done goofed), elsewhere in the far reaches of the series of tubes we call our home, other musicians dropped new tunes – no doubt sharing our zeal for shenanigans and tomfoolery undertaken on the most foolish of days. So, in the interest of maximum possible face-melting, I’ve rounded up all the other releases I could find that dropped on April Fools. Hold onto your butts, we’ve got a lot of music to cover!
If you look closely, you can see the exact moment where the kids over at ZOOM LENS actually unplugged their brains and snorted a bunch of Pixy Stix, which is the only reason I can come up with as to why POOM GEMS happened. Preceded by and pimped with an aggressive Twitter and Tumblr campaign, POOM GEMS is a bunch of really ridiculous covers, presented for free on the ZOOM LENS Soundcloud. I also recommend taking a look at the release page, which was their prank page, and is a thing of beauty. This album will take you on an emotional ride, leaving you unsure if you need to laugh, cry, or find one of these folks and punch them in the face. I’ll leave that to you to decide. I love these kids. Never change, you guys.
wiki random article
Now this one came from a pretty cool concept – all the artists were told to hit the “Random Article” button on Wikipedia and come up with a track based on what they got. This collaboration features friend of ChipWIN – Solarbear! (Who as we all know, sucks. Just like Primus, get it?) There’s a pretty good mix of styles here, so just like the artists, you’re not entirely sure what you’re going to get, but they’re all pretty great! Plus, a cool bonus is that it doesn’t feature most of the usual suspects we encounter ’round these parts, and finding new artists to listen to is always a good thing! And at the low low price of free, I’m all about getting down on some randomness.
Diode Milliampere released the above track in January on the album he was hinting about in our last interview with him, and while that track is great, that’s not why we’re here right now. No, no no, what brings us here right now is the fantastic team up of Diode and Remute to bring us a single of a brand new fancied-up Aquarius and a remix of that remix. They’re both lovely, and I would LOVE to have an embed here for you to listen to them, but they’re on Beatport, which means you’ve got to go to their site to listen. You absolutely should, because chiptunes and disco don’t often intersect, but yet they have here and now and it is fantastic. If I were Hoodie, I’d probably say something like “LOLOL THIS SONG IS AMAZABALLS ZOMBOCON ROFL,” but thankfully I’m not, and I’m sure we’re all grateful for that.
We conclude on a slightly spooky and somber note – Phantominom VGS comes to us from Alex Cuervo of the Hex Dispensers, which is a horror punk band, and is also one of my new favorite things ever. These tracks are all super spooky sounding, but also contain almost criminal levels of radical. If you like the album, consider buying it – you can read the full breakdown on the Bandcamp page, but all proceeds from the album go to helping one of their bandmembers pay for a very expensive and very necessary surgery they had. Rad tunes and helping people in their times of need = WIN!
That’s all for this time, folks. But there’s a lot of good music popping up this month, so stay tuned! I’ve gone and hunted out primary links for everyone I mentioned here so far, and have linked them below. Check them out when you can!
Hey everybody, Glenntai here again with another round ofhype and opinions loosely based on minor credibility and experience passing off as expertise album review! This time, we’re going to a subject very relevant to most of the internet forum subcultures as a dedication to the shenanigans of old and respectively new… or for those familiar with the term, old/newfa… arts. DAMN IT, those terms are just too offensive to innocent people. I can’t say it. We should be more careful of the words we use these days. After all, this is going on the internet, and the internet is…
Chiptunes = #SrsBsns (Serious Business) is a 22-track compilation comprised half of veterans and half of newcomers to the compilation series dedicating songs to a meme of their choice. That was the only guideline aside from no direct covers (an exception being made for one song in particular… you can most likely guess which one.)
We know you’ve been asking for every artist’s information, so we made sure to add all of their links to each specific song’s info section. If you dig the jam, you can…
Click on the track name on the bandcamp page!
Click on the lyrics/info link for each song to keep it all on the same page!
Google it if you’re too lazy to click links yet somehow not lazy enough to google it! <3
Now enough of my rambling, let’s get onto some reviews and opinions on each track!
Glenntai – FUUUUUUUUUUUU (Apple Day Surprise)
The smooth, alternating jazz chords at the beginning with the monologue seemed appropriately cheesy for a compilation based on memes. What he then brought was something completely different than what we would expect from this fan of funk and swing beats… he broke out his first attempt at chip thrash. wait wait wait, this is about Glenntai?
He gets the award for the only two references to SomethingAwful made throughout this album, though.
coda – PLS GO FAST
A highly-respected musical machine in his own right, as well as a veteran musician from the *chan pre-popularity-peak era (as well as the originator of the 8bit cover of Chocolate Rain… youtube it, you’ll thank him later;) Coda hardly needs an introduction to people who have known him from his soundtracks or some of the finer pieces now stored within the /f/ archive.
If you haven’t, be introduced to his very tempo and syncopation-shifting FM track based off of primarily Sonic-series instruments in only OpenMPT (and as he specifically states in the info section, “No VSTis.” Purists rejoice!) With elements of anything from funk to ragtime and your average four-bar EDM track, coda has proven almost timelessly that he can deliver even some of the hottest jams.
YZYX – I nyaned for hours ( ‘ w’)‼ YZYX has somehow managed to take the monotonous, almost droning earworm associated with Nyancat and made it actually listenable. Nyancat has been a tried, true and tired meme for a few years, and there are plenty of covers that take it towards an EDM route (ahem, guilty as charged, your honor;) but YZYX has offered enough variation to the song to make a tiring and repetitive track into something danceable, not repetitive in nature and playable in clubs that play more than Avicci’s “Levels” eight times in a row and try to bank their money off feigned-nerd clubber culture.
Here Between You and Me – Forever Alone HBYM has rhythm expected from the early 2000’s-era pop rock bands and made a song exceptionally fitting to both the mood and spirit of the Forever Alone meme. Plenty of us can relate to the feelings (not necessarily the tales) within the lyrics while feeling the encompassing NES pulse channels’ vibrato and pitch slides that make one reminiscent of older Anamanaguchi tracks.
Theory of N – Bow Chippa Wow Wow
This electronic slow jazz with two-step percussion by Theory of N will keep you nodding your head the whole way through, especially with that deep square channel bass. It almost sounds like it could be a solid original track until you realize that it shares the same key as Careless Whisper and Sunstroke Project’s Run Away (sigh, yes, the epic sax guy song,) leading into some humorously well-timed licks of the famous sax solos.
Fun fake facts: 89% of people don’t recognize Run Away is Moldova’s only publicly-recognized hit. 99% of the people that did don’t know its originating country is Moldova. However, 100% of the people surveyed could see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I’m predicting 100% of you will also thoroughly enjoy this track.
SingkongBalado – IDOUBLEDAREU SingkongBalado starts off softer with a vocal sampling and duty-cycling arps providing a melody to soft chords right before SingkongBalado went full-force aboard the glitch/grime train to deliver a heavy, tension-focused track; appropriate for the meme. One could even imagine a dramatic scene, suspense building as you await the reaction to someone being double-dared.
Professor Shyguy – Helix Prophecy Any fan of Clipstream (</shamelessplug>) might be familiar with this fantastic artist’s performances both on our web series and at our live showcase at MAGFest, leaving those uninitiated to Professor Shyguy’s golden voice and expertise on the simple pop song (as well as more complicated, not-as-pop songs) to enjoy this fantastic song giving tribute to Lord Helix and the prophecies within.
Maxo – Top Doge
Such Maxo. So doge. Much top. Wow.
On top of using chip elements to comprise the majority of the song, Maxo incorporated a similarly avant-garde and equally-painstaking practice of the K.K. Slider soundfont. In fact, the incorporation of K.K. genuinely puts the meme theme to the song, which is an otherwise light and bouncy, staccato-filled happy jam.
James Landino – lol, Chiptunes
A delightful reference to the only thing that people remember from YTMND except for its constant ripping-off of /gif/, James Landino brought Running in the 90’s back to life by keeping the Running in the 90’s rhythm and incorporating lyrics to replace the verse melody, returning to a simple and pure Running in the 90’s chorus. Although short, it was a fantastic moment to reminisce to times I almost received speeding tickets to this song.
Urizen – Ask Not for Whom the Jimmies Rustle (They Rustle for Thee)
When originally approached, it was expected that one member of Urizen was to do a track. Then I was presented with this track with the entire band portraying the dramatic tale of a valiant hero’s quest to prevent his Jimmies from rustling. The entire track is very reminiscent of a NES era action game, but the part I feel that really takes off in the song is once the rest of the band starts accompanying in lyrics, then immediately everything drops into the trollapalooza known as Guile’s Theme.
Rustle in peace, little jimmies. 4/1/2014 – 4/1/2014. There was no need to be upset.
Also, on a personal note, thanks for the free remaining handle of whiskey at NatsuCon, Urizen. If we cross paths again I’ll try to return the favor. I still don’t know why they scheduled me after you guys. <3
An0va – President Hoodie’s Theme
If you need an introduction to one of Philadelphia’s finest and busiest in the American chiptune scene, go find any of his tracks and prepare to feel silly for being left in the dark.
This track is a delightful little ditty depicting the light-hearted, adventurous follies of a mid-1900’s cartoon character opening tune. A notable difference is that, unlike the rest of the tracks, an0va specifically recorded his track to be at a lower quality. In addition, this track has no specific meme referenced to it, unless you count Hoodie’s typing language to be a walking meme in itself. I could almost imagine Hoodie himself replacing everyone in Steam Boat Willie, if it weren’t for the immediate anxiety of the idea of having more than one of that crazy man around in this world.
Watashimo – tfw no gf
For those of you who knew watashimo under his previous alias, shanebro, you’re in for a wild ride through the inner-workings of LSDJ. A two-channel chorused pulse echo leads the introduction and takes a step back to let the wav channel take lead, interchanging at different points. The song overall brings a reflective, sometimes nearly sad and nearly dreamy atmosphere, as if one was lost in thought absorbed over their own loneliness.
1000 Needles – Lost Lobos
When I was told this was about Insanity Wolf, I had no idea what to expect. Fortunately for all, 1000 Needles doesn’t disappoint. Period. I was pleasantly surprised by a lyrical verse encompassed by heavy guitars and noise that almost felt like it could keep you from being able to concentrate if you let it. The lyrics were humorous in nature by asking about Insanity Wolf’s child-stage history as if he was being evaluated.
K.O.M.H. – Y U NO PLAY 128 BPM Kitty on My Head is a great example of playing with typical electronic music forms and putting them where he sees fit, all while maintaining a smooth transition from one to the other. This is a track filled with deep bass kicks and an infectious sliding WAV channel bass while the two pulse channels compete for which is the catchier melody. Once again a solid track from KOMH! Sam Mulligan – The Coolest Story Bro Sam Mulligan’s delightfully bouncy chip rock has taken on a life of its own in the last few years, but you can hear the polished results of his efforts in this song about a story that went nowhere. The sarcasm may have been lost on him, but his use of other popularized ironic phrases weren’t lost on me nor did they ever lose their charm coming from Boston’s resident Nerd Rock expert.
Shyabeetus – Chiptune Poop
I don’t care what anybody says, Shyabeetus is Philadelphia’s LSDJ WAV channel wizard, and if anyone tries to prove him wrong they’ll be smote by the barrage of custom kit instruments he has put into his tribute to the popular concept Youtube Poop.
Whether you’re all about Japanese Ronald McDonald, Pingas, Spaghetti, Gentlemen, Octagons or countless other YTP references, Shyabeetus has managed to put them all in there and manipulate each sound as if you were watching the video directly on youtube, itself.
Together We Are Robots – Pools Closed A subject closely tied to several good memories of mine, Together We Are Robots manages to take the Habbo Hotel Raids and depict the story of many men’s struggles against MOD-Cleo and her band of (allegedly) racist moderators preventing their enjoyment of the pool, and later on protest due to the high levels of AIDS.
The use of a raspy voice to go along with guitar, wav channel bass, arp pulse chords and a highly effective hybrid between wav sample kits and the noise channel produce a very clean third wave ska element. The track itself is one of the few attempts of Chip Ska that have been made publicly available, period. I certainly wouldn’t mind more of this existing, friends, let’s get on this. 8BitJin – Click Here!
I only wonder what this could be, employing the tactic of click-baiting to reveal– DAMN IT. RICKROLLED AGAIN.
The evolution of the Duckroll, the Rickroll consisted of clicking a youtube link that promised one thing and then led you to the music video of Rick Astley’s pop hit “Never Gonna Give you Up.” This was highly over-popularized after it became not funny, as with every example the mass media has pretended to be “hip” with the “new crazy fads.” However, 8BitJin uses a wah lead that really takes precedence over the remainder of the track, much akin to how Rick Astley’s voice became a bigger focus of the song back in the 80’s. Very well-done cover, would click there again!
DJ McGranaman – Don’t Say His Name! DJ McGranaman has made a hauntingly catchy track out of the famous Freakazoid skit, managing to incorporate custom cricket noises and the noise channel to introduce the track with a deeply syncopated hip-hop rhythm. While this occurs, the melody slowly evolves into an ominous overshadowing of the dire consequences should you utter his name. The end is sure to remind you of a childhood nightmare, and it felt so uncomfortably good.
Michael Zucker – Unstoppable
The one thing I can say, without a doubt, is that Michael Zucker has channeled the spirit of a T-Rex with grabby-claws and put it into music. May it have mercy on your flesh-snack of a body once it finds you.
Extent of the Ham – You Spin Me Around Extent of the Ham (Jam) most certainly gets the award for the most challenging topic to spin a song from. Using VOPMex to bring in the tonal synths and a very funky bass line, it’s easy to get the feeling of an 80’s era pop song that was intentionally created to be too “weird” for audiences to follow. Regardless, Extent of the Ham did a fantastic job singing the stressed pleas of the misunderstood spider. However I will admit, much like the spider, I misunderstood the lyrics of the chorus for the first listen-through. At first I thought he was singing about Meatspin.
I’m incredibly glad I didn’t have to write about an ode to Meatspin. Thank you, Extent of the H/Jam. <3 D&D Sluggers – Slam Jam (of the Year) D&D Sluggers manages to take a tried-and-true Quad City DJs track and throw into it various references from the secretly-required Guiles Theme to Jam of the Year, Storm Blooper’s “Somebody Stole All the Icecream!”, another reference to Epic Sax Guy, to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song, to Trolololololing until halted by President Hoodie in the “production” booth.
Final Thoughts This compilation is surprisingly delightful to all of those who would roll their eyes to all the abundant overusage of memes, a fantastic 22-track soundtrack to cause some shenanigans to, and a delight to all of us reliving days when the internet was a simpler (and easily much more offensive) time. Download it for free off of the Chiptunes = WIN Bandcamp, and make sure you have stairs in your household.
…DAMN IT HOODIE. I DIDN’T ADD THIS PICTURE. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.