Posts Tagged ‘Vegas Diamond’

‘Anti-Chiptune Chiptune’ Compilation via The Waveform Generator

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Sup y’all? Prez Hoodie here. And Viridian Forge. And Chris Krogsgard. And FirstLadyRyn. Yup, that’s right: all four of us are tag-teaming this 19 artist/track review of The Waveform Generator’s wonderfully quirky debut compilation ‘Anti-Chiptune Chiptune‘ (ACC for short). Teamwork, BOOYAH!

And on that note, time for me to get things rollin’ with a review of the first five jams.
Here goes!

1. ‘Synergy’ by Kubbi

Ever the master of the immersive chiptune soundscape, Kubbi kicks this compilation off with an epic ferocity. ‘Synergy’ brings something a bit stylistically different than his “usual” however — a bit more frenetic & minimalist, particularly at the start. It harkens back to earlier Kubbi-tunes, yet manifests his current more experienced compositional chops throughout. Very complete, emotive, beautiful; in a word, Kubbi.

2. ‘King’ by Vegas Diamond

‘King’ is yet another fine example of Vegas Diamond’s signature hard driven, experimental hip hop styled chiptune. Even for him, however, this dark track goes damn hard; potentially moreso than even anything on his sophomore EP ‘Hyper‘. Punishing rhythms + grimy basswork + gritty layers of melodic leads = maximum #SWAG. Or at least I think that’s what the kids would call it as they headbanged while twerking (jk no one do that, please…).

3. ‘Polar’ by Nappes

Completely changing the pace, Nappes’ ‘Polar’ comes in with a nice downtempo vibe. But not too “nice”; it’s an altogether haunting track, especially as the unsettling, somewhat dissonant melody interweaves its way in and out. It leaves me feeling quite unsettled, and I really, really dig it. The lush, pulsating textures and sense of depth & space in this song are very appealing. On a side note, this is the musical alias of of Pxl-Bot & Weekly Treats‘ Alex Kelly, of whom I didn’t even know made music until this point, hot damn! (moar music pls alex kthxbai).

4. ‘Superball’ by Alex Mauer

This very aptly titled jam with its delightfully whimsical sound design from notable chiptune & demoscene composer, Alex Mauer, is quite jarring on the heels of the previous more ethereal piece. And it’s on that note that I start to really feel the “anti-chiptune chiptune” quirk of this compilation kick in. As soon as you think you’re settling in with Kubbi, Vegas Diamond, & Nappes, you get hit smack in the face with a handful of musical bouncy balls. Gotta love it.

5. ‘alcaline pizza [remix]’ by Gab Pearson

Gab’s contribution to ‘ACC’ is an absolutely fantastic remix of his previously released ‘alcaline pizza’ (original can be found on the ‘Pxl-Win’ compilation). The significant tempo change and altered instrument selection gives it a completely different feel from the original; definitely more of a jazz & swing feel to it. There’s a fair deal more gravity to this remix as well. While I enjoyed the original, I thoroughly love this rearrangement. It’s easily one of my favorite tracks on this compilation.

Up to review the next five tracks is Viridian Forge! Go for it, bud!

6. ‘death trebuchet’ by sandneil

Tempo, volume, pitch, feel, varying any of these is fair game during this two-minute foray into the experimental. The big surprise? It is good. To the chagrin of stereotypes everywhere, dissonant instruments, plus slightly creepy backmasked voices, and random explosions of noise have been combined into an enjoyable musical experience. Someone ought to give sandneil a medal.

7. ‘farming hand’ by wailord

The dissonance doesn’t stop there though, as wailord hovers at the threshold of hearing, whispering a distressing melody in the ear. Multiple tempo changes only serve to heighten the alarm. With environmentals like this, just where is this farming hand? On the outskirts of Lavender Town?

8. ‘NEVER LOG OUT///////NEVER SURRENDER’ by AndaruGO

Recent adventures have proven that Andrew Gould will never quit in the pursuit of chiptasticness. This track is an auditory embodiment of that attitude. A hard, mind-focusing grunge noise dominates the track, but the melody can never be fully swallowed by it. Its energy is always there with a clear message: No matter the odds you face down, No matter the opposition in your path, Never give up, Never surrender.

9. ‘jan{  {  {{  { 3’ by Fauxhound

With his entry to the compilation, New Zealand native Jos van Beek’s is retiring his alias, Fauxhound. This track is fitting capstone to the identity’s run. Solid compositional skill takes otherwise repetitive noise samples and turns them into a toe-tapping track demanding some chill danceage.

10. ‘NES CPU Jam Special Vol, Side A (Take 1)’ by DJ NORTON ANTIVIRUS

Standing head, shoulder, knees and toes above their namesake, DJ NORTON ANTIVIRUS’ showing on the compilation is nothing short of jaw dropping. This piece of semi-experimental excellence is, in a nutshell, the product of arcade wizardry. Using an unspecified recording device, NES emulator, HEX editor, and that sheer insanity required to play around in the HEX editor in real time, this track is a shining example of good art from good hacking.

And now I pass the ball onto Chris Krogsgard! Take it away, good sir!

11. ‘LIPPSTIKK’ by KOOL SKULL

The multi-talented artist KOOLSKULL contributes an excellent glitch house track to the compilation. An ominous lead works in tandem with some severely glitched-out bass to create a track as dark as it is danceable. Remarkable mixing/mastering is at work here as well which brings different elements to the forefront at wisely chosen times. I like to imagine that ‘LIPPSTIKK’ is what the nurses from Silent Hill groove to in the club after-hours, and you can’t take that away from me.

12. ‘miamiflush’ by spaceaser

Always-experimental spaceaser serves up ‘miamiflush’, containing a delightful little earworm of a melody that asks the question: “Why not glide?” While it’s a brief track that gets its job done quickly, it sticks with you and remains as one of my favorites of this compilation’s many wondrous oddities.

13. ‘Rattata’s Moment’ by Love Through Cannibalism

Chipbreak master Love Through Cannibalism offers up ‘Rattata’s Moment’, a challenging track that emphasizes the percussiveness of the lead repeating note over its own wickedly intricate breakbeats. This seemingly unintuitive approach to song composition is what makes it a perfect addition to the ‘Anti-Chiptune Chiptune’ compilation. Give it a few listens, and your “WTF did I just hear?” will quickly change to “I see what he did there.”

14. ‘OKdumpster.com’ by HunterQuinn

There are no two ways about it, ‘OKDumpster’ is an absolute showstopper. In it, HunterQuinn dispenses with all the frilly 8-bit woo-woo elements of chipmusic and cuts straight to the good stuff. Grungy, gutteral bass and powerful builds combine with the rolling sting of the noise channel and a multitude of additional glitches and samples to create a rousing ACC. The white hot energy of this track is most effectively paired with imagery of galaxies being created and destroyed.

15. ‘You Gotta Go’ by Guardia

Coming off the heels of such an intense track, we are deftly caught by the graceful tones and pillowy percussion of Guardia’s ‘You Gotta Go’. Guardia is no stranger to TWG. Having released his impeccable experimental album ‘Imprints‘ with them, his reputation precedes him here. Guardia further displays his skills and crafts a cool, dreamy, melodic landscape. Equally soothing and eclectic, the track provides a delightful and warm respite to the listener before the compilation’s further twists and turns.

Last, but certainly not least, in comes FirstLadyRyn to review the final four tracks!

16. ‘golden’ by MrWimmer

There is something wonderfully off-putting about this track.  The feel is somewhat like that of a topsy-turvy circus.  The place is well beyond its hayday, the banners are tattered, and the good performers have moved on to bigger and better things.  Left behind is the lonely circus clown, desperate to entertain the few circus-goers, but the unsettling, layered textures of his song only succeed in convincing the young children that, ‘No, Mommy, I don’t want to go hug the clown’.

17. ”v’;;)_–==T’ by ilkae & meek

Continuing the ambiance of the previous track, ilkae & meek create an intricately layered piece with this entry.  Clocking in at over 10 minutes, this song borders on the repetitive. However, by varying the samples and tempo, the track’s experimentation makes it worth the time spent listening all the way to completion.

18. ‘numb’ by aaceeprss

‘numb’ is aptly named.  The drone of the static is eerily similar to the background noise recorded in the emptiness of the universe. As your mind grapples with the vastness of that void it would be easy to let it disconnect, to unplug for fear of being overwhelmed. If you’re not careful you could become numb. Don’t let yourself wander too far, though, because then you’ll miss out on the subtle melody hidden in the deep beyond.

19. ‘Activation Theme [Bit Shifter Cover]’ by +LET’S DISINFECT!+

Without +LET’S DISINFECT!+’s punk rock aesthetic, this classic from Bit Shifter would have been just too damn happy for this comp.  But its not too happy!  Up tempo? Yes. But, it’s up tempo the way that your local Irish Pub is after a rowdy soccer game.  It’s just flipping perfect.  Somewhere between the gritty cymbal crashes and the plucky acoustic guitar, this track just screams, ‘F*ck this, lets go get a pint’.  A perfect closing to the album, Mr. Monistat gleefully rounds us all up to dive into our favorite beer hole and celebrate the brilliant project that he and the rest of these artists brought together.

The Waveform Generator:
Blog | BandcampFacebook

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Raw Cuts with Kuma #17: Vegas Diamond

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Sup ChipWINners!  Welcome back to Raw Cuts!  This time around, I got the chance to sit down and talk with a remarkable young man from Belgium who’s been making the Eurochip scene grind all nice and slow to some of the sickest chip hop beats you’ve ever heard!  Having found success in his craft to the point where he’s been featured twice in local newscasts, this artist continues to push the envelope with each album, and I was lucky enough to catch up with him to talk about his new album, most recent performance, and what got him into the scene in the first place!  So hold onto japanties and put on your thinking caps as I take the time to delve into the mind of Stephan Tul aka Vegas Diamond!

vegas diamond

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Kuma:  So Stephan, first off, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to sit down with me and conduct this interview.  I know you’re a busy guy, but it makes me happy knowing I was able to get you for this.

Vegas Diamond (Vegas):  My pleasure, I’m glad to be interviewed by you!

Kuma:  I’m glad to hear it.  So, let’s start with something basic.  What got you into into chiptune in the first place?  How did you get wrapped up in this world of making music with Game Boys?

Vegas:  Well, I’ve always had a fascination with ‘game music’, so to speak. I used to play a lot of Mega Man and Chrono Trigger on SNES emulators, well into my teens actually.  I’d always wanted to try stuff like that myself so in 2007 or 2008 I tried my hand at MilkyTracker.  I tried to make some hiphop/dubstep stuff on there but that kind of failed.

I then switched to Renoise which is really nice but that also didn’t really work out.  It was then I decided making music on a computer wasn’t really it for me.  There’s too many options, plug-ins, samples, whatever.  So I started making music on a Game Boy and it’s been a nice ride so far!

I guess this also explains what I love most about music on Game Boys/consoles: the minimalism.  You have very few tools to work with and that makes you focus on composition and sound design.

Kuma:  Wow!  I had no idea you had been making music for that long!  I only know you through what you’ve been making on your Game Boys, so it’s a bit of a shock to hear you’ve been making music for that long!  I do agree with you on what you said, though: options lead to indecisiveness, and when you’re trying to find your sound, your niche, options can be a detrimental factor to self discovery.

Have you always gone by Vegas Diamond, or did you make your work under another name?  And what’s the story behind your name, anyway?

Vegas:  The Vegas Diamond name has so far been used exclusively for my Game Boy output.  The story behind the name is actually pretty bland.  I had a track finished and I wanted to upload it to Soundcloud and Facebook, but I needed a name to go with it.  At the time I listened to a lot of Rustie and Hudson Mohawke, two musicians I really love, and they have a kind of nonsensical, gangster style going on.  I chose the name Vegas Diamond because it is over the top and points towards the music I love most: hip hop and beat influenced music.  It also allows me to get away with using a lot of gold and glitter in artwork so that is nice.  Although I must say I do take my music pretty seriously so maybe taking such an over-the-top name was a bad idea. I still like it though!

shiny stephan

Kuma:  I do too, and I’m glad you brought up Hudson Mohawke because I wanted to address something you said before.  About how you said you had tried making dubstep on trackers before getting into making the music you do now with Game Boys. You? Dubstep?  Really?  I’m sorry, but I have trouble believing Belgium’s premiere chip hop beat maker tried making dubstep at one point!  Tell me, what made you transition to the music you do now and why?

Stephan:  When I say dubstep I think I should clarify that this was before Skrillex and the genre that would become known as “brostep”.  The ‘earlier’ dubstep (I don’t know a good name for it) had a pretty chilled out vibe to it, lots of reggae influences and more ‘space’ in between sounds.  For me, hearing dubstep was the first time I realized you could make ‘slow’ electronic music that wasn’t your typical 4-to-the-floor fare.  I think it progressed fairly naturally beyond that.

When dubstep started getting really loud and ‘drop-focused’, I stopped listening and started listening to hip hop influenced music more and more, Hudson Mohawke specifically.  I think the same thing happened with me and ‘trap’ music.  I like trap music or trap-influenced beats in general.  I do not like the gigantic-sounding drop-focused approach to it.  Although I do have to admit I am guilty of putting ‘drops’ in my own songs.

Kuma:  Oh shit!  So when you say dubstep, you’re one of those rare people that means real dubstep, and not squirellex!  Mad respect, my friend!

As far as drops go, there’s certainly nothing wrong with using the technique so long as it’s not the main point of your music. That being said, since you’ve already mentioned Hudson Mohawke a couple times already, who are some of your biggest influences aside from him?  Which artists make you want to push your art even further?

Vegas:  In the chipscene, I’d say Boaconstructor and NNNNNNNNNN are a definite ‘goal’ for me in terms of production value and sound design.  On the other end of the spectrum you have Guardia, who makes the most chilled out hip-hop influenced songs ever.  The sheer sparseness of his music is something I go for but never manage to achieve. I always go for one more layer or sound or part.  Oh!  I should put in a good mention for ABSRDST, too!  I love his albums and the atmosphere.  I’m not sure if you can consider him someone in the ‘scene’ anymore but I love his albums.

Looking at other music, I really don’t know. I like listening to piano music, jazz, almost all forms of music.  I think if I’d have to pick something I’d pick stuff that is influential to me right now.  That means it probably won’t be influential to me next week, I’ll probably have moved on to another album. I always run into this problem when having to put together lists, I love (and have loved) so many different things I can’t really put together an album top 10 or things that influence me most.

Kuma:  Yeah all those artists are legit, and ABSRDST deserves mad love. Scene or not, he’s one of the more driven talents I’ve encountered and I admire his enthusiasm and determination for what he makes and what he does.  And I also agree with you on shifting influences, but I feel that’s only natural for people to constantly move from one outlet to another, both in terms of both intake and output.

That being said, let’s talk about about how your style has evolved over the years.  While there’s certainly no escaping some of the unique tones produced by chip tune, I’ve noticed your music, not only stylistically, but tonally, has become less chip.  It sounds smoother, and admittedly, more accessible.  Was this what you were talking about before when you said you wanted to achieve a production level akin to Boaconstructor?  A sense of accessibility to your music despite the method in which you produce it?

Vegas:  When I talk about Boa specifically I’m not referring to his music being accessible. I do think his music is very accessible up to the point where you could mix it in with normal EDM and it wouldn’t sound out of place.  I’m actually specifically referring to his impressive sound design, to how much ‘power’ and different sounds he can squeeze out of that little chip.  Sometimes you hear things on other tracks that make you wonder how they were achieved, I’m all like: “how did he do this?” “is this 1 lsdj?” etc.etc.

Kuma:  Ah okay.  Yeah there are definitely guys out there that make me wonder how they do what they do what they do with their equipment.  Guys like Auxcide blow me away with their stuff all the time, and when I find out tracks like “Realms” are only 2 lsdj, I just feel like quitting. XD

Regardless, you seem to have enjoyed a fair level of exposure doing what you do, and I know because this isn’t your first interview. Tell me, how did Deredactie find out about you for their news segment on you?

Vegas:  This was actually a chain of events that started because I was playing Bitgrid in Antwerp.  A journalist from the local paper called the organizer and wanted to talk to an artist.  Because I was the first one they could reach I was interviewed and got an article in the paper.  A few days later I got an E-mail from Belgian National TV saying they would like to do a feature on me.  I guess this was a ‘chain of events’ kind of thing which started out fairly small but turned out to be pretty big (and very fun!).

Kuma:  Awesome!  I love hearing stories about things that just come together like that! And to think it started out as something simple like you just playing a show.  Speaking of shows, you recently played a show last week Petra’s Place alongside guys like I Am Legendary Robot and Sporozoite + Grand Aigle!  How did that show go?  Did you treat the guys there to your newest album?

Vegas:  Yes I did!  I just made a new set so I played every song on the new album.  It went over pretty well, I even got to do an encore!  It was great to see part of the Belgian scene again.  I’d never seen I Am Legendary Robot or Sporozoïte before and it was cool to see their approaches to chipmusic (which is chipmetal and laptop chiptune/breakcore respectively).  Roccow was supposed to come as well but he had to cancel which is very unfortunate because AFAIK he turns floors into fire.

Kuma:  Yeah of what little I’ve heard of RoccoW’s music, I could only imagine the guy is a beast live!  And I’m happy to hear that you got such a warm response to your music! That’s very cool!

Are you happy with the way the new album–‘Hyper’– has turned out?  Are you surprised by people’s responses to it in anyway?

Vegas:  Yes!  I am very happy with the response to the album.  I really didn’t know what to expect since this is my first release made with LSDj and also because the chip hop style may put some people off.  I got a lot of nice responses from a lot of people, which I didn’t really expect.  The most surprising response was the review by Remy on the Chiptunes=WIN blog!  It was so positive it made my heart bleed (but in a good way!).  I’d never expect someone to call my EP “one of 2013’s top chiptune albums”!

Kuma:  Remy’s a very honest guy and I’m proud to call him a friend and colleague, so when he says something, he genuinely means it.  I have to say, we’re usually in agreement on a lot of things musically, your album being one of them!  ‘Hyper’ is one of the nicest surprises of the year, and anyone who doesn’t enjoy your music because it’s chip hop can go jump in a well, ’cause your music is legit.

Is there anything working in LSDj taught you about yourself and your method for making music after years of doing so with nanoloop?  Has your preference changed now that you’ve put out this album?

Vegas:  I prefer LSDj over nanoloop and I think I will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  I had to really get used to working with it (especially the tracker interface) but now it works better than nanoloop for me.  Working with lsdj/nanoloop has taught me that melodies aren’t my strong point.  I think if you listen to ‘Hyper’ you will see that the album actually contains very little melody, most of it is bassline and harmonies, which I am fine with and I think suits my music.  Also, I love samples (808 snare YESS) and nanoloop doesn’t have those.

Kuma:  Nice. I’m glad to hear you’ve found something that works for you, and having been someone whose used piggy tracker for a while, I can definitely say having samples at your disposal in a tracker is very fun!

Well Stephan, it seems we’re nearing the end of our time together.  I’ve asked you everything I’ve wanted to ask and you’ve provided some very insightful answers.  Is there anything you’d like to say in closing before we wrap things up? Any final words you’d like to leave our readers with?

Vegas:  I’d like to thank you for having me, it was fun!  I’d also like to thank everyone who is reading this and everyone who has ever listened to my music!

ALSO! I’m still looking for other chip hop artists.  I’d be very interested in hearing other artists’ approach to the style.

Kuma:  Anytime, Stephan!  I definitely look forward to talking to you again and hearing more music from you!  Peace!
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That’s it for this edition of RCwK!  Tune in next time as I bring you a very special edition of Raw Cuts pertaining to an awesome upcoming event you guys should be hella excited about!  Don’t forget to follow Vegas Diamond on Facebook and check his newest album ‘Hyper’, which was distributed by our friend Andrew Kilpatrick and the rest of the team over at The Waveform Generators!  Peace!

\m|♥|m/

Vegas Diamond
Facebook | Soundcloud

The Waveform Generators
Bandcamp | Facebook

stephan gettin down nigga

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ReMi-ReViews: ‘Hyper’ by Vegas Diamond

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Let it never be said that Vegas Diamond is unwilling to defy expectations. ‘Hyper‘, with all the implications of its name, would be a bullet train of sugary melodies and four-on-the-floor dance beats in anyone else’s hands, but Vegas Diamond is not nearly so predictable. It might be just a BIT pretentious to imply that the album’s title rings true in a more cerebral sense, but something about that theory just… clicks.

Apparating seemingly out of the blue with his debut chip album Sea in mid-2012, Stephan Tul, a.k.a. Vegas Diamond, has stood tall alongside fellow Netherlands-based chiptune artists in creating what I can only describe professionally as “some seriously mindblowing shit”. The Waveform Generator‘s eleventh release, Vegas Diamond’s ‘Hyper’, may not initially give off the feel of a concept album. That’s understandable. It’s only through repeated listens that this meticulously crafted collection of tracks truly reveals itself, as each one satisfyingly builds off of previous ideas while maintaining a sense of individuality unique to each of its four parts.

“Visor”, for example, shifts in a bold tonal direction away from the opening track “Ion”, yet retains enough hints of its predecessor throughout its own structure to be sensationally rewarding when noticed… and somehow this feat is performed with the right degree of subtlety for these two songs to FEEL completely different. It’s impressive, especially considering Vegas Diamond’s tendency to induce a trance-like state upon his listener through ridiculously dense sonic tunnels and phenomenally layering.

“Real” continues to showcase Vegas Diamond’s unique approach to the chiptune medium, almost in an ironic fashion, delivering the EP’s most ethereal and mystifying melodies, unorthodox to the extent that I nearly hesitate to classify them as such. Much of the songwriting seems to eschew instruments as simply being means to convey melodies or rhythms, each individual one instead being an atmospheric storyteller… having a voice, so to say, that carries the various threads throughout ‘Hyper’ to their conclusion. If I’m gushing or going a little too far into space here, allow me to break things down: I absolutely love this album and my words are insufficient to describe it.

So despite having no less than a million things going on simultaneously, what’s perhaps ‘Hyper’s’ single greatest accomplishment is how paradoxically tight the whole thing sounds. Every single element of this release complements the last, unifying in what is one of 2013’s top chiptune albums. This is a must-have release among what I’m sure are many to come. Thanks, Vegas.

Vegas Diamond
Soundcloud | Facebook

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Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 2 (Tracks 47-51)

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Hey there, guys and gals! We’ve made it to the final five tracks of the Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 2 compilation, and what a journey it’s been. I had the honor of writing about the first tracks on the album, and now I also have the honor of providing a (hopefully) fitting closing set of track reviews. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Track #47: Drop – [GUN], Equip – [COOKIES] by Ethan Rex

Ethan Rex’s ChipWIN debut is one of those tracks that just makes you smile as you listen to it. The mood is set at the beginning of the track with a bright melody and skillfully accentuated percussion. Static-sounding effects feel like waves crashing on a shore, and helps the listener experience a kind of euphoria that would be experienced on a long-needed vacation. The song transitions into a more excited swing close to the end while still maintaining the overall vibe of the song. My favorite part of ‘Drop – [GUN], Equip – [COOKIES] would have to be the calmer midsection; it provides a pretty big contrast to the other parts of the song, and provides a really nice segue into the ending.

Track #48: Prom Fight by Weird Bananas

Swedish chipartist Weird Bananas has been producing music for some time, but ‘Prom Fight’ marks his entry into the ChipWIN community. A quieter percussion lets the hard-hitting leads develop throughout the song, although I thought at times the percussion was maybe a little bit too quiet for my tastes. The melody is incredibly catchy; I found myself humming along to it without even realizing I was doing so at first. I really enjoyed the differences in rhythm between the solos and the main melody of the track. Weird Bananas’ other works can be found on both his Bandcamp and has previously maintained a presence on 8BC; I’d highly recommend checking out some of his other tracks.

Track #49: Atomic Jill by Kommisar

If I had to pick one track on the compilation that could be considered my personal favorite, it would be this one. Yet another fellow member of the FlashFlashRevolution community, Kommisar also makes his ChipWIN debut in ‘Atomic Jill’. A heavy kick, intricate drum patterns, and absolutely phenomenal melodies are the bulk of the first half of the track. In the second half, Kommisar crafts a blistering solo that transitions seamlessly into a key change, and ends on a sudden, exciting note.

Track #50: Horus by Vegas Diamond

Vegas Diamond’s ‘Horus’ has an extremely distinct feel from the other tracks on the compilation. A majority of the songs on ChipWIN: Volume 2 are energetic and fast-paced. ‘Horus’, on the other hand, takes it down a notch and adds a layer of complexity in its peculiar, progressive-influenced melodies. Hip-hop inspired percussion also helps to give the track a truly unique sound. The track was, admittedly, a difficult listen for me the first time through. However, after having listened to it a second time, I realized just how much I appreciated its strange and mysterious tone.

Track #51: FM Galactic Girl by PROTODOME

The Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 2 compilation closes in a similar manner to Volume 1 – with a short, calming track by chiptune artist PROTODOME. This track, in my opinion, is a perfect ending to a marvelous album. The bouncy bassline to the track complements the main melody, and PROTODOME’s construction of arpeggios is something that I particularly enjoy throughout this track. Strangely enough, ‘FM Galactic Girl’ and ‘Four Color Hero’ – the closing track from Volume 1 – both run for 1 minute and 36 seconds. Coincidence? I THINK NOT!

This concludes The ChipWIN Blog team’s review of the Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 2 compilation. On behalf of the CWB, I’d like to extend our thanks to both everyone who made this compilation possible and to all of the members of the Chiptunes = WIN community for being so fantastic. I would personally like to thank each of the ChipWIN blog writers for the hard work they put into reviewing this compilation and keeping a steady stream of content for our wonderful readers like you, who deserve the biggest thanks of all! Stay tuned, as there’s plenty more goodness to come!

Much love!

\m|♥|m/

Ethan Rex:
Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

Weird Bananas:
Bandcamp | Soundcloud

Kommisar:
Soundcloud | Twitter | FlashFlashRevolution

Vegas Diamond:
Facebook | Soundcloud

PROTODOME:
Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

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Cosy By The Fireside With Andrew Kilpatrick: A ChipWINter Track-By-Track Breakdown

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SO PURDY. <3Ho-Ho-Holy Shit. If the holiday season wasn’t exciting enough, the wonderful/not-workshy/probably mentally unstable people over at Chiptunes = WIN have graced the world with the first in a series of promised themed compilations, starting with the theme of winter. Sounding like a condensed audio personification of Christmas, if this doesn’t get you in the mood for mince pies, roast dinners and eggnog (is that actually a thing or have years of US Sitcoms been lying to me?), then nothing will. You utter Grinch. So without further ado, here is where we break it down:

BR1GHT PR1MATE – Linux and Lucy
Returning for their second bout on a Chiptunes = WIN comp, James and Lydia start proceedings with a sweet and sour swirl. Delicate melodies and jazz/funk fm influences swamp the track, and coupled with sampled voices which narrate, the track jumps between sugar and spice repeatedly; the sugar hook will stay with you for eons.

Having appeared on Fox News, released the acclaimed ‘Night Animals’ earlier this year and been credited for countless game OST’s, the Br1ght Pr1mate freight train appears to be doing the very opposite of slowing. Frequent live performances and an e-performance on the upcoming uber-web-show ‘WWCW 12’, keep a look out for this duet’s fantastic live show too.

Vince Kaichan – Midnight Snowflake
Soft and subtle seem to be the thematic qualities of this compilation, and if so then ‘Midnight Snowflake’ is the template. No jarring dynamic shifts or unannounced jolts, just blissful frolicking through winter tundra and the feeling the melodies could be icicle tendrils. Harmonically robust and beautiful, this track can be added straight to Vince’s long catalogue of fantastic tracks.

With releases as VCMG on Pxl-Bot and others on Noisechannel, Vince has shed his newcomer badge long ago and has since become a well-established name in the chiptune scene. If this is your first experience of Mr. Kaichan’s work, you’re in for an early Christmas treat.

Professor Shyguy – We Three Kings
Convention frequenter and pedlar of pop rock chiptune, Professor Shyguy brings his rather nice (trying not to sound emphatically romanticised here) to a cover of ‘We Three Kings’. How Christmassy does this sound? All of the Christmas.

Not one to do things simply, the climax breaks from the mould to provide a darker and far more Pink Floyd take on the classic carol, with screeching distorted guitars and acoustic fiddling aplenty.

With a full length and a new single both released this year, you’re more than spoiled for material to keep you happy(er than you would otherwise be) over the Christmas period.

Mark ‘TDK’ Knight – Sunrise
The prolific game music composer and BAFTA winner (!) TDK is returning to grace the chip world with his masterful compositions. With a single coming out soon on the deity house that is BleepStreet Records, Mark reintroduces himself here with a chilled and icy jam that melds eastern melodies and jazz elements into a consistently surprising and enjoyable track, with frequent nods to his previous soundtrack work.

With more skills, projects and awards than I can ever hope to cover in this short passage of text, it’d be wise of you to check out the huge repertoire of this brilliant composer and sound wizard. 20 pounds if you don’t see a game you recognise.

Storm Blooper – The Stellar Dendrite
Having been around originally as Sub-Woofer Special since 2008, the reincarnation as Storm Blooper has thus far brought with it two full lengths, a single earlier this year and plenty of live performances, morphing to a more standard chiptune affair to his present day dub inspired grooveathon. And here we arrive and Blooper’s magnum opus, The Stellar Dendrite.

You’ll have noticed the emission of anything even slightly wobble-influenced (now that I’ve pointed it out) and not one to displease, Storm Blooper handles the job solo and with gusto. Whilst not a wobble track per se, the grooves and dub flirts will have you chomping at his hyper sweet bit through the pieces duration and beyond.

Glenntai – Snowfall and Snowballs
With the fondly remembered EP ‘Silly Hats Only’ from 2010 and a new EP in the works and his hands full with the planning and leader of the newly formed and already respected ‘Clipstream’, a monthly online chip festival (it is as brilliant as it sounds), seeing Glenntai’s name appear on this compilation will likely have excited many.

And here is why: complex and experimental melodic tinkering laced into an upbeat and wintery socket, carefully crafted to the smallest degree. Feeling fuller and longer than its mere four minute play time, this masterfully conceived track is a refreshing take on the hyper-happy chiptune of ye olde.

ABSRDST – Let Me Freeze
Since July ABSRDST has released the mammoth-sized ‘Home Sweet Home’, the brilliantly received and diverse ‘Sugar Blossom and the Space Cadets’ and most recently his albumette ‘Rigby Wearing Shades’. Definitely a busy fellow.

Lending his expert meanderings to chipWINter, ‘Let Me Freeze’ takes six minutes of your time to lead you through multiple genres and styles, coaxing out memorable and tightly constructed melodies at every intersection, giving the track an unparalleled flow. Building to an incredible climax with one final violently adrenaline-coaxing twist, ABSRDST sure knows how to do ‘epic’ as well if not better than most.

Daniel Capo – Frosted Over
Featured on multiple compilations including a past Chiptunes = WIN and the fantastic Perelandra Records compilation ‘Tide’, Daniel, has been carving himself a name for professional sounding and presented chilled chiptune. ‘Frosted Over’ is no different.

Mixing EQ manipulation with subtle breakbeats and sporadic melodies, ‘Frosted Over’ has an almost glitch-like quality to its wintery demeanour. The rising a falling of the backing synth’s pitch and volume help add the dreamlike qualities of the understated piano and unimposing harmonies, creating a track that truly embodies the term ethereal.

Jay Tholen – Justice Delivers Its Death
There is a lot to say about Mr. Tholen. The prolific progressive rock and chiptune connoisseur has graced labels as respected as Pause and Ubiktune, with plenty, and I mean plenty, of self-released pieces in between. With his game Dropsy in development under the Tendershoot studio name, Tholen is truly a man of many talents.

And creating catchy chipfolk is one of said talents. Backed by female vocalist(s), the slow crescendo of chiptune and acoustic builds to a tightly woven and emotional end. The lyrics, whilst at times slightly unsettling in an obviously deliberate way, work cohesively with the music to create Tholen’s truly unique and remarkable atmosphere and style.

Vegas Diamond – The Ghost Of Christmas Dance
Featured on the Spanish equivalent of 8bitpeoples, LowToy, Vegas Diamond’s bittersweet jams having begun to tease the ears of chiptune fans everywhere, and here is no different.
Scales flow over each other jumping from major to minor to create that bittersweet tinge of sweet and sour. Starscream (Infinity Shred/Whatever) influenced chords rain from this, sending astral snow into your speakers (I’ve always said the line between space and ice themed is only a contextual one). Featuring one of the most memorable melody and chord progression dualities on this compilation, Vegas Diamond has continued their thus far unblemished record for great music.

The Bitman – Next Stop, Detroit
Visitor on the release pages of Noisechannel and with two other Eps under his belt, Bitman’s dance LSDJ boogies this time go for winter’s thorax. Pulsating drums and scales carry the first half of the track gracefully, before the mid-break switches up the formula into a wide-eyed melodic call and response as scales dance around each other in a hypnotic cycle. Memorable 3/4 hooks and dragging drums help the track stand out from the LSDJ pack, and dissonant bleeps help create and uneasily sub-zero atmosphere. Apparently Detroit is cold this time of year.

shanebro – A Chipwinter Stroll
Winter drum pumps fill the space left between the rising and falling scales of the tracks beginning. Flowering into a melodic to and fro with the beats, Shanebro spends the rest of the track experimenting with constantly shifting melodies and brief motif reprisals. The mid-drum break has a real 80s ad-vibe about it, primed to tug at the nostalgia toggles on anyone’s hearts.

With the release ‘The Sky Is Ours’ over on Noisechannel and a full length in the works, look out for this up-and-comer taking over this place.

an0va – Christmas Time Is Here
Frequenting stages in the US and teasing the general populace with only one released EP thus far, the fantastic ‘The Teaching Machine’, an0va is already a well-known name and unique talent in the chiptune field.

‘Christmas Time Is Here’ starts, sounding eerily similar to a lost song from The Snowman soundtrack, an0va uses a blend of chiptune, guitar and expert atmospheric control to create an audio personification of the festive season. Even before the jazz guitar begins, the track’s slow lounge croon carries the listener, only heightened by the presence of lucid and fluid guitar playing.

Kubbi – Polar Bear Rides
Chiptunes = WIN’s very own Master Of The Tracklisteh provides another track for another compilation in the wake of his fourth full length release, ‘ Circuithead’. With a progressive twist to the melodically founded chiptune, these 80’s-esque synths bring to mind Drive during the winter months, snow drifting and cold stares. Melancholic and with the spirit of the festive months etched into its psyche with great force, this winter paradise stands out starkly in Kubbi’s extensively eclectic as another choice cut.

If you enjoyed this track, definitely check out his other release from this year, ‘Sleet’, and last year’s full length ‘Transmittance’.

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chipWINter TEASER MIX FTW~ 8)

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Thanks to a last second favor of BADASSERY by the always awesome Andrew Kilpatrick, WHO WANTS A QUICK TEASER MIX OF ALL 13 chipWINter TRACKS TO TICKLE YOUR EARHOLES WITH??!?!? ;DDD

To hear the *ENTIRE* delightful release, be sure to join us for the chipWINter release party on Monday night, December 10th, at 9pm EST on the 8 Bit Power Hour on 8bitx!! The frosty compilation will be available shortly thereafter to download on the ChipWIN Bandcamp!!

chipWINter is near!! GET EXCITED~!!!! ^_^

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