After a long hiatus I’m back with ChipWIN writing about some chiptune music, and what better way than beginning with the fantastic album, ‘Illegal Street Racing’ by MisfitChris? This was initially released towards the end of January as solely a digital album. However, it wasn’t until June 24th, when ‘Data Airlines’ produced the cassette release of ‘Illegal Street Racing’, did it come under my radar.
Cityfires’ latest release is fire.That pun is too easy not to make, but I really mean it. With buoyant emotional synthpop, some of the most magnetic sound design I’ve heard all year, and fascinating lyrics – this album’s spirit is most deserving of the title “adventure” out of all that I’ve written about. It’s full of surprises and seriously fine-tuned, with tracks like ‘The Tangle’ trimmed down to interesting ideas, while others such as the titular song take the time they need for a core feeling to hit home.
Full to the brim with electric melody lines, immersive sound design, and creative mixing decisions, this fifteen-track masterpiece never sacrifices quality for quantity. Tight vocal tracks are infused with textured electronica, and organic instrumentation as well. Instrumentals are just as diverse: ‘Daybreak Apparatus’ echoes the peppy videogame joy of earlier ChipWIN comps, while ‘Dreamshifting’ feels like some more recent chiptune which draws from mathrock. Alternatively, ‘Mothfold’ defies description. The whole album is kinetic, and really integrated, a trip through clear landscapes and sights to behold.
Many people have different inspirations and perspectives on chipmusic, and the emergence of chip elements in modern production was an inevitable expectation in its rise of popularity. We’ve seen and heard many acts expand and continue making music both in and out of the chip community, and today we’re coming across what I’ve always felt was a gem humbly hanging out. Enter RobKTA with ‘Selfie USA’; released with Hyperwave Records. This album is an album that brings you through a wild laser montage as if you’re walking on and around Dotonbori bridge. If you’re not familiar with RobKTA’s delightfully funky aesthetic, get ready for the middle of your week to get that much livelier.
Ozymandias by ‘Starving GOGO’ (and distributed by Cheapbeats) has been under the radar for a while, being released back in October 2018. However, it is definitely one that people should pick up and get into. Last year I had the absolute privilege of meeting ‘Starving GOGO’ and having him play at Chip Bit Day 2018. Needless to say Starving GOGO’s entire set blew everyone away with his blend of chiptune, electrocore, and attention to detail in LSDJ. As well as playing live, GOGO also faced off against ‘Tekmann’ in a ‘ChipBattle’, playing some fantastic quick tunes that are actually featured on this album.
After a month off to focus on other matters, it feels good to be back reviewing music at ChipWIN. ‘Lost’ by Shortee was an album that slipped under my radar last year, but as soon as I started listening to it, ‘Guten Morgen’ immediately became one of my top 10 tracks of 2018. That said, the album has plenty more songs worth delving into, so I wanted to do a showcase on The ChipWIN Blog and dive into Shortee’s debut album.
It’s last review of the year for me and I thought I’d continue the trend by reviewing absolutely no chiptune. Last year was no contest for me and I reviewed one of my favourite ‘Futurefunk’ albums of the year, ‘Watashi No Yume Diary’ by ‘Bigwave Mikazuki’. It was a wonderful release that I continue to listen to this day. This year however has been harder to choose. Originally I was going to review ‘Moe Moe’ by ‘Moeshop’, an awesome release with a variety of singers. Featuring a worldwide collection of artists from Manchester’s own ‘MYLK’ to Kyoto’s ‘Toriena’, ‘Moe Moe’ was full to brim with character.
However, as the year started to draw to a close, I came across another album; ‘Static Electricity’ by ‘Utsuro Spark’ (released by New Japanese Net Label, ‘Local Visions’). Whilst ‘Moe Moe’ was bubbly and colourful, ‘Static Electricity’ managed to instantly hook me, both through its mystical music and passionate vocals. Ultimately it was the heart of ‘Static Electricity’ that won me over, even when I compared both albums vigorously against one another.