Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Track-By-Track: Chiptune=Win Expansion Pack

With Volume 1 out of the way, time to discuss last year's Expansion Pack! Based tunes from huge names, if you're a goon and haven't checked it out yet do so now!!! ::::::~~Information Overload~~::::::

nordloef - Do What You Want

Sweden’s most exported chiptune artist opens the expansion pack as only he could. Hyper fast happy hardcore draped chiptune in a minute and a half burst. With a back catalogue consisting of only a sporadic collection of tracks dotted around the many recesses of various chiptune compilations, nordloef’s real claim to fame is the popularity and energy of his live shows. Having played live all across the world, if you ever get the chance to see him, sell internal organs if you have to.

animal style - pls wrng mod

With releases on 8bitpeoples and Pause, this guitarist/chip artist probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. The track itself is exactly what you’d come to expect of AS, pounding beats and jazz infused future-jams with an unrelenting urgency. Mixing those unmistakably ‘animal style’ aesthetics with frantic melodic layered mayhem, this track continues his trend of high quality chiptune created with meticulous detail. For more of his great tunes check out his bandcamp and website, or failing that, try and catch him live!

Electric Children - Pills & Needles VIP

One of 8bc’s final success stories, Ex-‘Circles’ and Seattle’s LSDJ dance guru provides the compilation with another killer club-filler. Melding elements of trance, house and chiptune ‘unce’, EC formulates tracks ready for dropping on the DJ decks. Following that strain, ‘Pills…’ features euphoric highs bridged with UV expanses of late-night raves, traversing from the opening electronic jazz piano all the way to the sample-scattered throes of four-to-the-floor mayhem. With four releases already under his belt, including the vocally-focal ‘All Night Party’, Electric Children is surely one of the chiptune’s most understated prodigies.

Disasterpeace - Cycles [feat. Stemage]

Disasterpeace; composer of soundtracks for games as prolific as Fez, owner of the Pause netlabel and with multiple well-received and loved releases under his belt. Stemage; composer of game soundtracks, former of the Metroid Metal project and with multiple well-received and loved releases under his belt. Both influenced by game music and progressive rock/metal, together they’ve created this behemoth of a track; lucid Gameboy tones alongside funky prog rock guitar. Ying and Yang at its most explosive.

Skip Cloud - Tape

Despite being one of the lesser known artists on this compilation, Skip Cloud doesn’t stop providing one of the compilation’s best tracks. Delivering a high energy LSDJ power-house dance track, Skip Cloud shows off his assets flawlessly through this cut taken from his most recent release, ‘Helix’ . With only 2 EPs and a collection of spare tracks released since his genesis in 2009, this elusive but talented artist has promised he “…won’t wait this long before releasing music again”, so hopefully that’s good news for the rest of us! Definitely an artist to watch out for.

Roboctopus - Lights Out for the Invisible Girls

Multi-instrumentalist and composer extraordinaire, Roboctopus, submits to the compilation a track dripping in hooks and euphoria. With several LSDJ releases already out, Roboctopus provides any naysayers a reminder that his ‘chip + live instrument’ is coming together, and when it finally does we’ll all be in for one hell of a treat.  Mixing LSDJ sounds similar to a happier Infinity Shred with a multitude of instruments to form a progressive rock/indie pop chiptune hybrid, this is for sure one of my favourite tracks from this comp. Also, look out for the forthcoming DISCO.txt on Cheapbeats!

Solarbear - Shortcomings

If you’ve listened to Solarbear before, this track is exactly what you’d have come to expect. If not, let me summarise for you: LSDJ chiptune powered by progressive and math rock, with a tight and eclectic focus on melody. Using a whole heap of sounds and pushing them out of a single Gameboy, Solarbear’s meld of the experimental and the familiar provide some of the hugest melodies on the compilation. Owner/curator of the quickly expanding US chip fest BRKfest, he’s also recently [read: finally] released his debut effort, ‘Solarbear Daisuki’, so go and check those out!

The J. Arthur Keenes Band - Tommy Did The Walkin’ (feat. Crayona & The Colorettes)

With highly acclaimed releases on 8bitpeoples and Pause, both of which are considered by many to be chiptune classics, as well as a recently self-released effort, J Arthur Keenes is one of chiptunes brightest artists. Ditching his previously trademark meld of reggae, indie pop and chiptune, this time round, in the vein of recent release ‘The World’s Smallest Violin’, J Arthur has gone all baroque pop with a 50s swing twist. Backed by a female vocal group, the melodic tones and harmonies add that familiar hook-laden addictiveness which is so prevalent in the back catalogue of this truly fantastic artist.

OxygenStar - Gravitate

The Talented Mr. Ripley of chiptune, Carl Peczynski, has decided to grace this compilation with what is probably his best known and loved alias, OxygenStar. Scatting drums and melodic swagger are the order of the day on ‘Gravitate’, so cocooned in its own surrealist atmosphere that its main motif threatens to disrupt your very mental processes. With nods to Daft Punk –esque disco house melodies and enough booty-shaking swing to get even the biggest minusbaby fans arseache, OxygenStar has once again scored a winner. A fan of his work? Well there is plenty of it to check out, as well as Miami-House project Rolly Mingwald, one man rap crew Steady C, party animal Radlib and probably hundreds more I’m not aware of.

Stern Fucking Zeit - Bahamoot

Chiptune’s newest [and now defunct] hardcore punkster SFZ delivers metal tinged noise with lyrics begging to be screamed out. Whilst not as brutal as most chipthrash, this metal/chiptune meld does deliver on the ferocity front, providing screamed vocals and an off-kilter breakdown sure to get those necks craning. For more music by SFZ be sure to check out his nearly year-old debut album Pathoscillator, which acts as a quite stunning tribute to both the range and the compositional strength of this fantastic artist. 

Auxcide - Chain Reaction

With one of the most explosively received chiptune debuts in recent times, Auxcide materialised on the scene only a year ago, yet he’s fast become one of the chiptune scene’s most essential artists. Auxcide pumps out spacey jams and high octane melodies mixed with a dashing of euphoria and urgency, something started on his debut ‘of Atoms and Stardust’ and continued on recent sophomore EP ‘Dimensions’. Sounding like the end of times through a trance-tinged kaleidoscope, Auxcide is chiptunes most recent supernova.

Slime Girls - Space Fold Romance

Coming out of absolutely nowhere last year with their debut, Vacation Wasteland, Slime Girls VERY quickly established themselves as one of chiptune’s best powerpop bands. Following in the footsteps of the Gooch, Slime Girls meld those two irresistibly compatible genres together to form one monolith of summer vibes and shoutable melodies. One part cartoon theme tune, one part pop punk, one part garage rock and three parts chiptune, if this doesn’t get you jumping and screaming whilst lathering yourself with suncream then NOTHING will. Hibernate.

Beta To The Max - Time

Chip duo ‘Beta To The Max’ release one of the sparse tracks since 2011’s EP release, ‘From Tomorrow, With Love’.  Having been going since 2009, the duet’s ear for dirty dance jams is fine tuned. Sounding like the epitome of cyberpunk, a dirty neon alleyway of attitude and futuristic aggression, the ‘Beta…’s sound production give the compilation a nice dose of dynamic difference. Whilst melody may not be the focus here, it’s more than made up for in the beats and swagger.

SingkongBalado - Spank

Member of the Indonesian chiprock band ‘Super Danger Casper’ gone solo, ‘SingkongBalado’ delivers a melody-centric pumping jam to Chiptune=Win’s expansion pack. Throwing in dubstep stylings, and not the Skrillex bullshit but some actual substantial bass lines, ‘Spank’ melds countless genres into a dub|electro|pop|chip|trance hybrid. If this is what he’s got in store for us then we’re in for one hell of a ride, SingkingBalado is just another piece of evidence that amazing chiptune can be found ANYWHERE in the world!

Derris-Kharlan - Sol

The Australian chiptune guitarist gives us an 100% chip jam to get us in the mood for astral flight. Epic melodies and layers of thick countermelodies roll past each other as titanic hooks claw their way through the track’s duration. With a heavily freeform structure and plenty of variation, this is definitely on the compilation’s best composed pieces. ‘Derris-Kharlan’ has plenty of releases elsewhere, including a Western themed split with Disasterpeace and a live album released on British label CDK. Another reason why Australia is fast become chiptune’s new epicentre.

Marshall Art - Papercut You Into Little Pieces

A collaboration of titanic proportions, one half Canadian chiptune mastermind’ jmr’ and one half Russian guitarist and VGM-er ‘Streifig’. The two go an unsurprisingly overwhelming direction with their track; dark dingy chiptune with a hellish beat combined with Dire Straits through Clapton guitar work. The middle section mixes unrelenting guitar solos with a slightly dark and constantly shifiting chiptune element beneath, sounding an awful lot like Genesis or early Pink Floyd. Having only officially released two songs thus far, this being one of them, there is not an awful lot of Marshall Art out there. Hopefully soon we’ll be graced by their brilliance in full!

Zio and TEH LOLZ - Horse Force

‘Zio…’has been active since 2008, creating metal-infused dark chiptune for a good few years now. Dissonance and heavily foreboding atmospheres combine to make a menacing two minute slab of aggression and fury. The ever constant drums add force whilst the huge sounding chords strike an undeniably powerful resonance. For more of his stuff be sure to check out his bandcamp for his 5 other releases!

subPixel - Brown & Red

Another track another progjazz chiptune legend. With tracks on compilations released on Ubiktune and the composer of the hugely acclaimed album ‘The Wave’ among others, subPixel’s grandiose ‘ZZZV’ styled progressive jazz chiptune is a sight to behold (for your ears). ‘Brown & Red’ shows off exactly why subPixel is so revered, mixing spacious jams by blending emotive and freeform melodies with flexible beats and tempos into a consistently changing mass of jazz genius. Check out sub’s bandcamp for countless more great releases!

Andrew Kilpatrick - Bearclaw

Not going to say much about this handsome gent/ best person/ top guy, other than check his bandcamp/ numerous projects (TWG, Pxl-Bot, WeeklyTreats). Short story shortest: math rock meets chiptune through grindcore and prog metal.

AndaruGO - Bokura

The busiest man in Cincinnati delivers another notch to his cyberpunk back catalogue for his C=Win submission. The pounding, complex meld of space-infused dance and chiptune unce you’ve come to expect from AndaruGo is here in all its 2006-throw-back glory. Hard-hitting sounds and atmospheres have always been a mainstay in AndaruGo’s career; both releases on Pxl-Bot and the Noisechannel released sophomore solo release emphasise this point quite concisely. Check everything he’s done out if you fancy dancing the night away in a star-fuelled furore!

Optimus Chad - Spike Brothers Fight Anthem

Doing what he does best, Datathrash’s right hand man and ex-resident thrasher for Pxl-Bot, Optimus Chad, delivers another pounding fist of chipthrash mayhem. With multiple sample-laden chipthrash releases, a split with Thunder Face and a recent vocal reincarnation release called ‘Riley Rust’, Chad’s music is quite simply brutal, emotive, and heavy as fuck. Highly recommended for anyone in need of an ear-battering, pissed off at the world or just wanting to thrash the fuck out!

C-Jeff- The Hearts of Everyone

Owner of the prestigious ‘Ubiktune’ netlabel and composer of prog jazz chiptune gold, the prolific C-Jeff delivers the perfect ending to a quality-rife compilation with his beautiful atonal masterpiece. Having been releasing  music since 2000, unsurprisingly C-Jeff’s back catalogue reads like an ‘essential chiptune’ through the ages, with most recent release ‘Preschtale’ blowing the minds of anyone who came within a 10 foot radius of its magnificent and grandiose prog rock jazz funk.  Pay the great man his dues and head to his bandcamp for more Grade A chiptune!
Until Volume 2!