The Unicorn Princess Royally Reviews ‘Reviver’ by Kris Keyser

- Posted July 31st, 2018 by

Happy July, peeps!

It’s amazing to me how much more rapidly summer pushes forward the second I start to think of how quickly it’s passing.  It’ll be August tomorrow, and for some of us, it’ll mean we are moving from the scents of slow summer mornings and freshly cut grass to clean paper and sharpened pencils.  For all us New York City folks, it just means the same routine: Escaping the smell of hot garbage to find refuge in tiny apartments where even DMGs seem too big.  No matter where you are, though, we have all been graced with the return of 8bitpeoples, hosting Kris Keyser’s new release, ‘Reviver’.


Back cover of ‘Reviver’. Artwork by Kris Keyser, mixing by Luke Silas, and mastering by Jeremiah Johnson.

Appropriately named, ‘Reviver’ (Kris Keyser’s first full-length release), not only resurrects his moniker,  but also draws our attention back to the legendary net-label, 8bitpeoples. Founded in 1999 in New York City, 8bitpeoples revolutionizes vintage gaming consoles and computers by pushing them past their regular boundaries to the point of creating something forever lasting out of hardware that is seen as “outdated” by the majority of users. ‘Reviver’ is the latest of an impressive 139 releases to date. With the reputable artistic integrity this label holds, I’m excited to see what’s next.

Released on July 17th, 2018, Kris Keyser’s 11 track album just sounds good. The writing is excellent, the programming thinks ahead, the mixing is fantastic, and the mastering lets it all shine exactly how it’s supposed to.  This record was given all the care it deserved, and its sound kept my attention focused.  The entire time I listened to this record four times and counting, all I could think was, “I should be sleeping, but I don’t want to.” Sometimes, and more often than not, music takes precedence over sleep, and I think those most passionate about it can agree that a lack of good music can make you feel way more tired in life than a lack of sleep.  Listening to this record once, and I’d be good for the week. Four times?  The standards are set higher for music I write.

Track one, ‘Titan’, begins with niche sound design and build ups that let us all know that Kris Keyser is BACK.  Positive energy and hours of time spent programming are evident here.  This track makes me happy. I bounced around on my bed so enthusiastically that I think my landlord will evict me.

Track two’s ‘OK’ is the epitome of NYC grit. I keep changing favorite tracks, and, right now, this is my favorite. Vibrato melodies sway threateningly and Kris Keyser’s skill-set keeps them in control and artistically flavorful.  I’m a sucker for harmonies, and right when I thought the track couldn’t get better, 2:46’s call and response made this one of my favorite records to come out of this scene.

Ok, you just can’t listen to this record without blasting ‘Hi Mark’.  I love sound design but I don’t think I ever heard dark vibes like this come from a Gameboy until now.  This is some of the most insane sound design I’ve ever heard come from a Gameboy, and I’m so inspired to write music right now. Kris Keyser is the Gary Numan of Gameboys.

The title track, Reviver, plays out like a singable melody: It sounds like something cool that sticks in your head during a walk that makes you walk a little faster to record it before you forget.

Who has seen Kris Keyser perform live?  I’ve gotten the opportunity a few times, and had the pleasure of opening for him, Br1ght Pr1mate, and Radlib in Cambridge, MA, circa 2015.  If there are two things I’ve learned from attending Kris Keyser shows and from playing shows with him, it’s that the dude is humble, smart, and all around nice.  People go to his shows because the music is really good.  I remember seeing him play in 2016, and there were a few people in the crowd singing along with his Gameboy. It was one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard.

Every release I’m reviewed via ChipWIN has included a Bandcamp link, until now.  8bitpeoples offers their own downloading service: You can either download the mp3 album for free, or purchase the higher quality lossless FLAC or ALAC name your price, a very fair $5 suggested. Please consider purchasing the record; every bit we donate to our DIY scenes enables us to push art further. I should also note that I was pleasantly surprised to see so many female fitted shirts through 8bitpeoples’ store; I am, personally, so  done with swimming in baggy ass man clothes that I am foreseeing a future wardrobe upgrade in my near future.

Hit me up if you want me to review your record.

Until next time,

The Unicorn Princess

Kris Keyser
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