Goto80 – 80864

goto80-80864

This week I’m sharing an article I did a few months back for ‘Chiptunes=win’ (you can find the original article here) on ‘GOTO80’s latest album, ‘80864’. This is also a great time to check out his music, as GOTO80 will be playing ‘Space Cassette‘ in Manchester June 2nd, Friday. Check it out below:
https://tickets.partyforthepeople.org/events/3018-space-cassette

These past couple of weeks I’ve been listening to GOTO80’s latest album, ‘80864’, released via ‘DATA AIRLINES’. This was the first release from GOTO80 that I have listened to. Honestly, I never really got into his distorted, glitchy style of music, however with ‘80864’, GOTO80 brought the iconic ‘Roland 808 drum machine’ into the mix, so I thought I definitely should pick this up and give it a listen.

For those who don’t know what the 808 drum machine is, it was one of the first and most popular programmable drum sequencers, released in the early 1980s. The reason why it is popular was down to mainly how incredibly realistic Roland managed to get the 808 to sound like actual drums. Nothing was sampled, everything was done through analog. The 808 was also the first of its kind to allow you to create your patterns actively.

808-drum

Due to it’s popularity, the 808’s unique style has been frequently used in music such as, ‘Marvin Gaye’s  Sexual Healing’ and it’s sounds have become a major staple in today’s electronic music.

Getting back to ‘80864’, the first track to really prick my ears up was the 3rd track, ‘Videohaters’. This was mainly due to its sharp and distorted sound, which hooks you almost instantly. Both GOTO80’s signature Commodore 64 and the 808 compliment each other fantastically. The sharp tones of the c64 scream out aggressively, whilst the the 808’s clicks, clavs and claps build up the driving force behind the raunchy sound. GOTO80 also uses the repetition of the track to his advantage, through a variety of variations of the main hook. ‘Videohaters’ is one of the most driving songs off ‘80864’, but due to its repetition & and fantastic blending of music, it comes off as one of the catchiest.

Even though ‘Videohaters’ is unforgettable, the next track following on is even better. ‘Karix’ is the complete opposite to ‘Videohaters’, being rather chilled out and relaxing. It begins with just the simple, mellow sound of the c64 synth and the 808 kick, slowly being built up through layers of drumming. The 808 sounds in ‘Karix’ also come out more strongly over the spacey synth of the c64, allowing you to hear the signature of the kit more clearly. There’s not much variation in terms of the overall structure, but that’s because GOTO80 relies on the impact that the ‘Karix’ creates, giving the track a huge euphoric feeling.

Although there are a lot of unique sounding tracks on 80864, there are still some tracks which are very easy to get into. My last pick, ‘Duplexor’ can be put into this category. This is due to GOTO80’s use of the vocalised synth through ‘Duplexor’, as it’s incredibly rhythmic and the choice of lyrics are rather funny & idiosyncratic. The snappy bass also compliments the vocalised synth, following it very tightly, as the voice goes into its main hook/chorus. As for the 808, it blends into the background of the track. You don’t really hear the distinct sound, due to number of different layers of synth built up by the c64. That’s not to say ‘Duplexor’ is a bad song, far from it. It’s the most unique and funky tune of ‘80864’, and really keeps you glued to listening, from it’s cooly crafted vocalised synth to it’s c64 claps.

80864 is a great introduction into GOTO80’s glitchy music, as well as hearing that iconic sound from the 808 drum machine, with both styles coming together rather excellently. House music is generally not really my thing, but GOTO80 has managed to make album that is both experimental and accessible.

 ~GOTO80~ 
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 ~Data Airlines~ 
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Dubmood & Zabutom – Bad Television

Although I’ve still got heaps of music to go through on my list and review, I keep finding myself looking towards more of the latest chipmusic. Hence why this week I’m reviewing Dubmood & Zabutom’s collaborative EP, ‘Bad Television’. The EP initally started off in late 2014 as a game by Bitslap,(click the link and play the game) and created in only 6 hours for the Ludum Dare 31 Competition, a video game developing competition. The drums throughout were created by D.H. Peligro.

Both Dubmood & Zabutom are well established in the chiptune community, so hearing that the both of them had teamed up to make an EP was pretty sweet. However, after hearing the preview tracks of ‘Bad Television’, I was so enticed that I ended up buying the super cool red vinyl, just because.

The opening self titled track, ‘Bad Television’ is a very impressive introduction to a really solid EP, packing the punch to your ears. Its distinct & iconic style is already set up in the first 30 seconds and quickly says what ‘Bad Television’ is about; fast, melodic, punk & full to the brim with all things surf & chip. The leads throughout ‘Bad Television are shared between Dubmood & Zabutom, with both of them showing their talent & prowess in playing their choice of instrument. I particularly loved the thumping bass near the beginning of the track, which serves as the hook & glue holding the track together. To sum it up, ‘Bad Television’s’ self titled track, is the most stand out song off the EP. It really hones in the themes & genre’s that are cited as inspiration, on Data Airlines; Hardcore Punk, Surf Music & Arcade style of chiptune.

My second pick track is a hard one to choose from. ‘Rising Wave’ is an extremely bluesy track, whilst further keeping to the surfing vibes. However. ‘Astro Surfing’ is more a balance of both chip & guitar, whilst also being longer & solidly sticking to it’s themes! In the end I decided to choose ‘Astro Surfing’, mainly down it’s fantastic usage of leads in both in the chip & guitar department. Although, ‘Rising Wave’ is a truly beautiful bluesy tune, I feel ‘Astro Surfing’ goes an extra mile in its ever melodic leads, whilst also containing a ‘spacey yet surfery’ flavour throughout. The strong creativity of Astro Surfing is also extremely easy to hear, with each lead & riff given enough flare to set fire to your speakers.

‘Bad Television is truly a fantastic EP, that is it’s easy to see why Dubmood & Zabutom won the award for best music soundtrack at Ludum Dare 31. To collaborate on something with so little time, yet come out with music this inventive & inspiring is rather awesome.

 ~Dubmood~ 
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 ~Zabutom~ 
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 ~Data Airlines~ 
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Chronowolf – Meet At The Gazebo

Hello all, it’s good to be back after a long hiatus. The reason for this was that I had to divide my time up between Chip Bit Day, work & video games (haha) and I couldn’t give any time to the blog. So I took a break. But I’m back and have a whole load of reviews to get through. Let’s start with one that’s been on my list for a while.

I reviewed Chronowolf’s previous album, ‘Genesis’, last year and while it was a well produced, I felt it focussed too much on the orchestral aspect. However his latest release, ‘Meet At The Gazebo’ feels more rooted down to his chiptune style. This 7 track album was both written and performed during Magfest, with the title taking inspiration from the iconic gazebo, situated at ‘Gaylord National Resort’ in ‘National Harbour, MD’.

‘Meet At The Gazebo’ is a great album, however whilst each track packs a punch, I can only pick two, so here they are!

Starting with my first pick, ‘Meet At The Gazebo’s’ self titled track is by far one of the songs that strikes a chord with me. It feels like a the perfect balance of Chronowolf’s chiptune style and his orchestral style. Whilst the majority of the tracks feature a blend of tight & fast solos, as well as heap load of arpeggios, I feel with the track ‘Meet At The Gazebo’ proves that less is definitely more, certainly in this case. The longer sustain on each note allows other elements to speak more, with a good example being the break fill made through the sound chip. The epitome for me however, has to be it’s heart pounding hook, which first begins after the ‘1.00’ mark. It seriously brings ‘Meet At The Gazebo’ into a song of it’s own, upping the ante and standing apart from the rest of the songs in this album.

Next up is a track, which a few people heard before, ‘Singularity’. I talked about this track previously in my ‘Chiptunes=win compilation review’ a long while back (just under 2 years if I’m not mistaken)! Immediately from the start of this wonderful track, you’re greeted with a heart pounding hook which quickly serves as the crux of the whole track, being used quite often to link parts from one to another. However it’s not just the hook that’s enticing, it’s also the amount of face melting arpeggios & racing snares which keep pushing this track to the unique delight that it is.

‘Meet At The Gazebo’ by Chronowolf is wonderful surprise that made my long hour car journey from Manchester to London and see Hyperwave that much more enjoyable. His style is both bright and refreshingly unique, whilst making each part of the album extremely enticing to listen to.

 ~ Chronowolf~ 
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Pulsing – Skyrunner

This week I was given Pulsing’s latest EP ‘Skyrunner’ to review via uk based net label, ‘Pterodactyl Squad’. Pulsing is an artist who is based in Cedar Falls, Iowa and has been new to the chiptune music since September 2016, with his first single ‘Beach House.’ His music style tends to be centred around, punk rock & EDM, featuring tight melodies & heavy bass grooves. Ultimately however Pulsing’s music is really about having fun, much like Mizkai’s & x Crtitical Strike x’s style.

Getting to the mix of things, The opening track, ‘Moonside’ sets the happy tone for the EP. It immediately kicks things off, featuring a whole array of crazy, noodling melodies upon each other. It’s gives it a great touch of personality and suitable to Pulsing’s overall style. The groove at the start however, feels a tad too early for me, and I can’t hear the kick’s come through due to the focus on melodies. This all changes however at ‘0.45’ when an fantastic lead comes in, kicking ‘Moonside’ further into the stratosphere. The track also really reminds me a lot of ‘Skybox’s music’, due to the use bright arpeggio’s, as well as it’s creative use of the pulse channel. ‘Moonside’ is a very energetic & crazy track, but I feel it’s slightly let down by the intro. I think it could use a bigger drop, but that’s just me.

The track that really picked my ears up however was ‘Attack Slug’. It really peaked interests thanks to it’s extremely intuitive use of LSDJ’s pulse, WAV & noise channels. The intro alone is proof of this; it feels like a mixture of easycore & dubstep, and the pulse channel serves as it’s strength in fills & texture. The breakdown however at ‘01.35’ is even more incredible, down to the heavy focus on the WAV channel, whilst the pulse & noise channels plays 2nd fiddle, providing fills & further sporadic mania, to what is already an stand out track.

Although Pulsing’s ‘Skyrunner’ is very creative in its use of melodies & the pulse channel, I feel it can be quite overbearing at times, when I’m trying to enjoy the bass & drums. That said, Skyrunner is Pulsing’s 2nd EP, in under a year so expect his style to be more awesome & refined in the months to come.

 ~ Pulsing~ 
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 ~ PTE SQUAD ~ 
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