Classic Mistake – Geothermal

Seeing as I’ve been reviewing a lot of the albums I missed out on last year, let’s instead look at an album in 2018. ‘Classic Mistake’ is a an artist I’ve only recently come across, beginning with a cover of 0F Digital’s, ‘Mesh’ and featured in ‘The Great Australian Barbecue Bash’ compilation. What I liked about ‘Classic Mistake’ is that he almost exclusively uses ‘Nanoloop 2.0’, creating some fantastic hooks which are reminiscent to early techno. ‘Geothermal’ is Classic Mistake’s first album released under ‘Cheapbeats’.

We begin with Classic Mistake’s opening signature track, ‘Geothermal’ and starts very strong, featuring eclectic beats complete with tantalising a snare & cymbal combination. The drums are complimented with some colourful group of keys & bass, that shimmer and shine as the track continues forward. Both the percussion and keys are Classic Mistake’s strong points, feeling creative and effective. A good example of this in ‘Geothermal’ is during the build up at around the 1:00 mark. It features a fantastic, tight fill of the drums as the keys slowly build up in volume until hitting the crescendo. It really gives off the that late 80s / early 90s techno vibe and continues throughout the track. ‘Geothermal’ is a smooth, tight track that uses strong foundations and builds upon perfectly.

Whilst ‘Geothermal’ is more about building around the piano keys, my next pick, ‘Loose Unit’ focuses upon tight bass lines that slightly remind me of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’. However, unlike Blue Monday’s funky attitude, ‘Loose Unit’ is more darker in its tone and nature. Its main hook -the bass line- feels more heavier than anything else off the track listing, yet the minimalistic tone makes ‘Loose Unit’ the most catchiest tracks off the album. Again Classic Mistake’s drums are on point, tight as the hell, complimenting the minimalism of ‘Loose Unit’ but sizzling on it’s own as well, through unique instruments such as, its cymbals and rides.

‘Geothermal’ was a great listen for a new chiptune album of 2018 and I loved Classic Mistake’s tight style using Nanoloop 2.0, so much so that I ended buying the CD version of the album (it’s constantly on rotation in my stereo). It’s similar to 2xAA’s however, ‘Classic Mistake’ relies on using the piano, along a mixture of major and minor melodies. ‘Geothermal’ was a great introduction to ‘Classic Mistake’, and after seeing his venture into ‘Nanoloop Mono’, I’m looking towards his future material!

 ~ Classic Mistake ~ 

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Graz – Monolith

Hey guys. It’s been a while since I last published a review, mainly down to getting the funding secure for Chip Bit Day 18, but I’ll talk about that later. For now I’d like to review an album that I’ve been sitting on for a while now. It’s ‘Monolith’ by Graz and was released with ‘Ravertooth Tiger’.

The last time I review a Graz album was back in 2016 with ‘Ravepunk’ and that released by ‘Cheapbeats’. It was a great listen whilst feeling incredibly boppy & funky. ‘Monolith’ however is a lot different compared to ‘Ravepunk’, sounding more heavy whilst feeling darker & grittier.

The best example of these themes can be heard in the opening track, ‘Death Becomes’, which features some sinister sounds from the furious WAV channel, accompanied by the dark & deadly melody made by the Pulse channels. This melody in fact is probably one of the catchiest hooks off the album and it immediately captures you, engulfing you in a aura of death & hysteria. It’s also referenced a fair bit throughout ‘Death Becomes’, with ‘Graz’ using pieces of the melody, improvising and leading to quiet some variety in the song.

Whilst death & darkness are heavy themes throughout, ‘Graz’ also brings dubstep into the mix, heavily using the the Wav Channel to issue some great break downs. This can be heard in the track ‘Burst (Bit By Bit)’ which uses frequent ascending & descending ‘WAV voice sounds’. It’s a great unique little hook in the track, and without it ‘Burst’ wouldn’t be what it was.

Sampling is another technique used to a great extent, leading to some interesting sequences that lend themselves to the dark themes produced. Monolith’s signature track is a great leader in displaying this, with the introduction showing some fantastic techniques merging percussion and voice samples with each other. The samples are so quickly used that you’re unable to understand the meaning behind them, yet provide the necessary kick to ‘Monolith.’ Whilst the sampled sequence is interesting in ‘Monolith’, I cannot forget the WAV’s produced in the song, as the sounds & tones created are by far some of the most intriguing and deadly hooks off the album.

Graz’s album ‘Monolith’ is yet another album from 2017 that I failed to review quickly. Thankfully I made by for that and giving it the necessary words it deserves.

 ~ GRAZ ~ 

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Monotony – Eternal Slumber Party

The first review of 2018 just so happens to come from the prior year. Monotony’s ‘Eternal Slumber Party’ was released during the middle of december 2017 and kindly shared by Paul of ‘Pain Perdu’. Like 2xAA’s album last year, ‘Eternal Slumber Party’ was recorded as a house set in Nanoloop 2.0, influenced by various genres; from juke & footwork, to dub, trap & progressive. Samples are also heavily used from a variety of different rappers and anime.

The majority of tracks merge seamlessly together and because of this, I’m going to do short reviews of a few tracks from a select part of the album.

We begin this review by starting on the well-named opening track, ‘Intro (Vert)’. The track instantly creates energy getting into the mix of things, with a variety of tasty arpeggios thrown about and rap samples peppered in. The strongest part from the get-go is monotony’s skill building sweet fills in the percussion. You really get feel of the footwork & trap genres here and they fill the majority of the album is colour and character.

The 2nd track ‘SiK YoShi’ acts more as a bridge between 1 & 2, as it’s very directionless. However IT contains elements of both ‘Intro (Vert)’ and the third song, ‘Fated 2b Faded’.

‘Fated 2b Fade’ is a lot more melodic in its leads, whilst being extremely rhythmic in its percussion. Both parts play off against each other nicely; the lead warm, inviting & full of attack; the cymbals & ride, always shuffling and sizzling. ‘Fated 2b Faded’ ends up by mixing into the 4th Track, ‘Attacking The Corners’ with samples of character ‘Sayuki’ from ‘Initial D’.

I’ll end this review by talking about one of my favourite parts off the album, the awesome tune, ‘No Comply til you die’, as it contains some of heaviest Nanoloop bass I’ve heard. I thought you’d wouldn’t be able to get a sound like that from the cart, however it seems ‘Monotony’ proved me wrong. I love the crunchy grind every time the track hits a peak of the bass as it really tries to tickle your ears. Due to this ‘No Comply til you die’ has pushed me to investigate this particular trick more in Nanoloop, and whether I can reproduce it.

It was ashame I didn’t have enough time to get into Monotony’s Eternal Slumber Party as a lot of the track had potential to be in the top 10! At least I’ll have the CD to blast out in the car though.

 ~ Monotony ~ 

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Top 10 Chiptune Tracks of 2017

Well who’d have thought 2017 would’ve been an interesting year! Probably a lot of us considering Trump made office, but even more so for the chiptune genre. Although 2016 had a quite few notable tracks, 2017 has seen an explosion of new and awesome tunes to dive into. So without further ado, let’s dive into it!

10 – Nuage De Lait – Pain Perdu (Bubu Remix)

We kick this countdown off with no.10 and I’ve already broken my own rules. I try not to include remixes or copies of songs, but this one by ‘Bubu’ was too good to pass up. Having already seen ‘Bubu’ play at ‘Chip Bit Day’ last year his music blew me away, so to hear this song sets a new precedent towards well produced LSDJ music. It’s fantastic blend of music which fills the void that ‘TREY FREY’ has unfortunately left.

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9 – 2xAA – Delta

‘Flow’ by ‘2xAA’ came out almost a year ago, but still it’s making waves in the chiptune scene. Although you need to listen to the whole album to understand its beauty, Delta is a great example of how to really use ‘Nanoloop’ to create good music. Through its use of synthy bass, warm keys and melancholy lead, ‘Delta’ shows how create a groovy house track with great results.

 ~ 2xAA~ 
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8 – Monodeer – Particles

Coming out towards the end of the year, ‘Particles’ is the signature track off ‘Monodeers’ long anticipated album. With its sublime use of dubstep, humble volca beats hooked up to LSDJ, it’s amazing end to an album which lives up to the hype it built up. Slow & sinister, Monodeer’s ‘Particles’ is definitely deserves to be in the top 10 tracks of 2017.

 ~ Monodeer ~ 

7 – Chibi-Tech – Tense Max Beam

For No.6 we have ‘Tense Max Beam’ from the long awaited EP ‘A mutal promise’ by ‘Chibi-Tech’. What makes this track insane is down to the fact it was made entirely on a NES, something we rarely hear people do (which is sad). Featuring a killer parts such as breakbeat drums & a screeching lead, ‘Tense Max Beam’ is a song that has made itself known throughout 2017 and is probably at the top of most people’s favourite tracks of the year.

 ~ Chibi-Tech ~ 

6 – Roboctopus – Waste LAN

Using probably the most intense & craziest LSDJ programming techniques I’ve ever seen from an artist, no.7 is ‘Waste LAN’ by ‘Roboctopus’. Just listening to this track, you can tell the amount of passion put into creating this song, making sure every little bit is absolutely spot on. What makes it even more on point is the fact that ‘Waste LAN’ uses two gameboys to give the impressive style you hear.

 ~ Roboctopus ~ 

5 – TRUTHR – Earth II

Back when ‘TRUTHR’ was released ,l ‘Brandon L Hood of Chipwin’, cited this track as one he could listen to all day. I second that. ‘Earth II’ by ‘TRUTHR’ (AKA ‘Henry Homesweet’) is soothing blend of all things ‘Commodore 64’ & ‘Gameboy’. Earth II’s main strength is its focus on sound & tone, going into realms of soundscape & chillwave. Because of this, almost every play through of ‘Earth II’ gives a feeling of euphoria, rarely heard from songs of any genre (let alone chiptune).

 ~ TRUTHR/Henry Homesweet ~ 
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4 – L-Tron & Rockman – Voyager pt1

No.4 is kinda of cheating. Technically released the very end of 2016, I never really got to listen to this track, -‘Voyage pt I’ by ‘L-tron & Rockman’- till the literal beginning of 2017. That said, it’s still a big track I constantly listen to even after over a year. It begins with one of the strongest introductions of this list, immediately feeling the pump of the beat created, before going into hysterics with the ‘V cmd’. Being part of the house genre, ‘Voyage pt I’ is one of the few tracks which creatively pushes itself forward, constantly coming up with an addictive hook to keep you in the swing of things. Definitely one track I’ll gladly allow in 2017!

 ~ L-tron ~ 

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 ~ Rockman ~ 

3 – DBOYD – Brightsided

I was quite late to the party with No.3, having forgotten all about DBOYD’s album, ‘Paradise’. This is all changed when I found out ‘DBOYD’ was playing ‘Squaresounds Tokyo’. So I quickly dived into DBOYD’s album ‘Paradise’, and became in love with its style and substance. ‘Brightsided’ is the standout out track off the album for me and my No.3, mainly because of DBOYD’s hectic style, which shines more than anything off ‘Paradise’. The constant go of its cheeky melodies really keeps mood up, almost as if you’re at the center of a party. ‘Brightsided’ is definitely one song I didn’t forget off my top 10 list.

 ~ DBOYD ~ 

2 – Chrome Cobra – Mocktail

I really had a hard time thinking what song I should pick off Chrome Cobra’s album for my No.2. I knew he’d be my penulimate track of the list, but every one of the songs off Mobile Swarming could actually be there. In the end I chose ‘Mocktail’. This was mainly because even though it’s the longest track off the album, it makes the most effort to keep your attention. Everything from start to finish has been crafted perfectly; the bass, melody, sound of the drums; literally EVERYTHING! As with ‘L-tron’, ‘Chrome Cobra’ has been another artist that I’ve been constantly going back to.

 ~ Chrome Cobra ~ 

1 – Pain Perdu – Balsamique

Okay No.1. The ‘piece de resistance’ I if do say so myself. ‘Pain Perdu’ have been making huge waves through the chiptune scene for the last two years and in turn creating so much hype for the album that was to come. So naturally, when ‘Nouvelle Lune’ was released, it came with huge praise. There were quite a few standout tracks, however one that pricked my ears especially was the final song, ‘Balsamique’. The melodies were spot on. The percussion was impeccable. The bass was killer. Everything was created to perfection and in doing so made my No.1 track of 2017. Well done guys!

 ~ Pain Perdu ~ 

Phew that’s the end of that! I hope you liked my top 10 for 2017 and are looking forward to what 2018 holds for us. Perhaps an album from Kojin? Only time will tell, he has to get his arse in gear first!

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