2xAA – Flow

This week I’ve been ill with man flu so my review is out a little later than expected. However I’ve been sitting on a real banger. 2xAA (AKA Sam Gay4TheWray) has been a huge impact on the chiptune community supplying it with interesting music, intuitive coding, amazing VJ software, Micro collective & finally the almighty Chiptune Bot!

That’s a lot of stuff he’s contributed to the community! So you can be certain that when 2xAA released his highly anticipated album, ‘Flow’ on ‘Data Airlines’, it was a big thing. 2xAA made ‘Flow’ using Nanoloop 2.0 on a Gameboy Advance and has been something he’s working on for a while now. Because much of ‘Flow’ has been recorded and is supposed to be a mix, I’ll be featuring three songs together rather than just two.

The album gets off to a great start, beginning with the party pumping track, ‘Work’. It begins with an incredibly downtempo beat, opting for my staccato melodies & rhythm rather filling the whole scope with sounds. Each sound & instrument sounds tight as hell, both providing a sort cool & elegant style, whist also remaining mysterious. ‘Work’ then morphs into the largely different track, ‘Delta’.

Even though both songs use much of the same instruments & styles, ‘Delta’ & ‘Work’ are totally different. You’re immediately introduced to a pounding tonal sound, until breaking into heavy bassy & soulful keys. To me ‘Delta’ moves better than ‘Work’, mainly due to the keys that seem to take it places, from the epic introduction, to the bassy hook, and finally the rather melancholy lead. It is rather majestic & beautiful.

From ‘Delta’ we go onto ‘Memory’ which begins on a much lowly note, it’s energy used up in both ‘work’ & ‘delta’. This is a good thing though, as it allows ‘Memory to be a completely different track on it’s own, and building up to an eclectic & hook in middle at ‘1:39’, which is both a shock & also highly addictive. It does this by using the pulsating bass & frantic drums to captivate you, whilst the minimalistic keys add a more sinister tone. ‘Memory’ is a very interesting change from what at the beginning with ‘Work’ & ‘Delta’

Overall Flow is ultimately a masterpiece in its own right, giving something that outsiders could definitely get into. I constantly found myself going back to this album again and again, listening to it’s entirety. It’s also a huge milestone for the use of the Gameboy Advance & Nanoloop. Before this I had only seen people use Nanoloop through very minimal House, and not much else. However, 2xAA has shown Nanoloop can be pushed further! Let’s see if anybody follow suit!

(I’d like to add: I’m glad I got the cassette edition of ‘Flow’ before it sold out. It is the only way to enjoy it, without any pausing.)

 ~ 2xAA~ 
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 ~ Data Airlines~ 
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I’ve also released an album! It’s called, ‘E Numbers’! Get it on bandcamp for £2.99 now!
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Joshquery – Galaxy

This album has been on my mind for a while, so I thought it best to do a review on it. ‘Galaxy’ is the debut album from ‘Joshquery’, an LSDJ chiptune artist hailing all the way from Mexico City. I’ve been following Josh for a while now, ever since I did a compilation review on chipwin and included is stella track, ‘Space Shuttle’. It is also featured on ‘Galaxy’.

This track still holds up as one of his best songs of the album in my honest opinion. The whole song is solid from start to finish, with it’s structure being particularly good, due to it’s repetition. I think the instruments are well created as well, with the bass & tone being brought out rather well through mish mash of music. It’s because of this why the addictive sound of the bass & kicks invade your ears. 
Right from the second of ‘Shuttle’ you can tell Josh’s of choice style just listening to his music. He likes to include heavy selection of on techniques relating to hardcore techno & dubstep. You can hear this throughout a number of his tracks, but what stands out the most is, ‘Prismatic Processing’. It’s a collaborative featuring on of my favourite chiptune artists, Chema64.

Immediately from the start of the track, you can tell Chema is featured on this song; his style is so evident that it couldn’t hit your ears anymore clearer! From listening to the track, it seems that Chema handled the leads and Josh worked on the rhythm, drums and bass. The noodling leads that arpeggios weaving within each other are clear trope off Chema’s style, where as thumping beat, complete with good sounding samples, is Josh’s. That’s actually one of Joshquery’s strengths in his music. He can always find a way to make a good beat, and is something I think he should stick to focusing on.  

The majority of galaxy is a good album, but I think Josh released far too many tracks, and a lot of them I’d heard before on his soundcloud ages ago. In the future I think he should release a few tracks, but keep the ones he’s really proud for an EP. That way he’ll always knock us dead with new stuff!

That said though, there are A LOT good techniques in his music, that he should be proud of. I’m looking forward to the next album, I’m sure it’ll be good!

 ~ Joshquery ~ 

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 ~ Chema64~ 

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I’ve just released a track called, ‘Through The Hyperloop from my new ep, ‘E-numbers’ releasing February 3rd. Listen to it here:

L Tron – Voyage

The chiptune music has been racking up for me whilst spending time on holiday, so let’s get back into it, post-haste! This week I’m reviewing the latest 2-track EP from L-tron, featuring the artist known as, ‘Rockman’. Compared to most chiptune artists, L-tron is very ‘house’ orientated, using LSDJ to focus on repetitive & slow changing hooks, instead the conventional means that everyone else follows. L-tron’s style reminds me of Robtka’s house style, as both lend themselves to melodies whilst keeping the same rhythm & hook. Listen to Robtka’s, track ‘Springroll’ & you’ll probably agree with me.

The first track takes it’s name from the EP and is called, ‘Voyage part I’. This is also the track which features L-tron’s, friend, ‘Rockman’. Rockman does a lot of L-tron’s mastering in his tracks, so it’s completely understandable, he’d collaborate with him. As soon as you begin to listen to ‘Voyage Part I’, you’re immediate introduced to some extremely innovative drums. There’s a heavy use of toms used here, whilst also using claps & snares together to really bring the snap together in the track. Some simple yet effective use of the pulse channel is also displayed here as well, merging almost perfectly with the drums & rhythmic square bass sounds that roll right under the melody.

You can easily that the introduction of ‘Voyage Part-1’ is extremely effective, hooking you in with both the drums & melody. However, once the track gets to the ‘1:30’ mark, it kicks itself into overdrive with enhanced use of distortion through both the pulse & WAV channels. All the sounds seem to mash together to create one hardcore symphony. I could go on talking highly of this track, but I think it’s safe to say that you’ll understand my gist of why this is an incredible LSDJ track. So much so that some of my music has taken inspiration from the style that L-tron & Rockman have created here.

Moving on ‘Voyage Part II’ is track featuring just L-tron and is much different in it’s rhythm & energy. However that is not to say that, the track isn’t as good as it’s previous counterpart, far from it. I particularly enjoyed the main melody which ‘Part II’ was structured around, the rolling arpeggios noodling about at ‘0:52’ especially. I also love the subtle use of the sharp pulse channels to create a sort side chaining feel, starting the the ‘1:52’ mark.

I really must say, L-trons EP has opened my eyes to new ways of doing chiptune on LSDJ. It’s caused to look back into some of L-tron’s discography, listen to the tricks he’s used and implement them into my own music. I’d like to see more chiptune house music centered around LSDJ in the future, either from L-tron or someone else.

 ~ L-tron ~ 

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 ~ Rockman ~ 

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Top 10 Chiptune Songs of 2016

So it’s that time once again, the top 10 chiptune tracks of this year. 2016 was full to the brim of talented chipmusic, showing off both creativity and inovation in the genre. I have spent all of this year reviewing and listening to chiptune, so that made I had a good list of epic music. Unfortunately that made choosing my top 10 extremely hard. So anyway let’s have a look at what I chose…

10. Tri Angles – Rebel Soul

Tri Angles has stepped up his game in 2016, releasing much more material than the previous year. He also focused on refining his style, heavily utilising the WAV Channel on LSDJ along with his huge Behringer Mixer. ‘Rebel Soul’ is a true testament his work, being a rather funky track, using the tropes Tri Angles had learnt back in 2015. ‘Rebel Soul’ also has some epic atmosphere to it, using long periods of silence as momentum as well as some rather amazing arps throughout. ‘Rebel Soul’ was definitely a Step up from previously and a welcome addition to 2016.

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9. (T-T)b – Total Vacation

First appearing on the Play it Loud’s Yearly music compilation, (T-T)b’s track, ‘Total Vacation’ was a melodic powerhouse, using the Famitracker software as the energy for their amazing leads. Guitar, Bass & Drums were also used as backing to further boost this amazing track. ‘Total Vacation’ was such a stand out song and ultimately was the first foot steps for (T-T)b in their amazing year.

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8. HarleyLikesMusic – Pigeon Shit

If you’ve read my article on Chiptunes=Win, you’ll know that HarleyLikesMusic’s song, ‘Pigeon Shit’ didn’t immediately hit me like the majority of these tracks. However it quickly grew on me and became one of my favourites of this year. Although, Harley’s Signature track, ‘Super Duper Double Duper’ had a huge impact at the beginning, I felt ‘Pigeon Shit’ kept the energy going, especially with it’s change into ‘half time speed’ for moshing mode!

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7. Villainest – The Machine

Villainest was the first artist to come onto my radar during 2016, with their EP ‘A good day to try hard’. ‘The Machine’ was the most standout track off the album, mainly due to the hardcore style & vocals packed into the song, which was structured over the 32bit Sega Genesis. ‘The Machine was such as powerful song, so much so that it was in rotation for long time in my music.

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6. An0va – GON GET GOT

Just like Pigeon Shit, ‘GON GET GOT’ by ‘An0va’ was another track which took a while to grow on me. However it proved to be an utterly incredible tune, mainly down to its unique focus into the genre, ‘Chicago Footwork’. Embracing this genre along with his Commodore Amiga, An0va created a song which was both very technical & rhythmic. I also loved the use of Homer Simpson in the samples! Doh!

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5. Pixeltune – gemini

I never got into Pixeltune’s Cheapbeat Album last year, but I was adamant that I’d give his latest release, ‘For A while’, a good listen. What I heard blew me away. This was mainly down to the track, ‘Gemini’ which utilised some epically layered LSDJ work whilst balancing out with some sublime dubstep & EDM. Pixeltune’s ‘Gemini’ is such an extremely unique track, both being harmonious & sharp as a sawtooth.

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4. Jamatar – Lepus rising

Jamatar has had a fantastic year, releasing two albums in one year both of which are critically acclaimed. There isn’t a doubt to me then, that one of his tracks would be in my top 10. ‘Lepus Rising’ is the 2nd song from ‘Journeys’ and is a fantastic ride, complete with atmospheric keys, heart pounding leads & so much chill throughout. I feel as if I could fall asleep to this song through the way it’s produced, and wake up on another planet. It’s out of this world.

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3. Skybox – æther (feat. Tobokegao)

The only collaborative track on the top 10, ‘æther’ by Skybox & Tobokegao is tremendous song, which features both artists combining their styles with such creativity and clarity. Skybox & Tobokegao’s styles fit so well with another, it’s as if one was a hand and the other a glove. From start to finish, æther is a brilliant track and one that I regularly played when driving.

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2. City guys – jetski

A new duo from the UK, ‘City guys’ really took me by surprise, mainly down to their fantastic 32bit Sega style, mashing up with the urban lifestyle. ‘Jetski’ was the first track off City Guys’ self titled release and ultimately set the bar for the rest of album. It was almost perfect, from it’s snappy bass lines to the hectic melodies that are heard throughout. ‘Jetski’ is such a good track, that even now after the album’s February release, it’s still in my rotation when I’m listening to my music.

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1. Please Lose Battle – Sunday chill in Cosmos

So here we are, no.1 of my top 10. I decided to give this to Please Lose Battle’s, ‘Sunday Chill In Cosmos’. The longest track on this list, ‘Sunday Chill’ is a really sweetly proggy NES song, constantly changing and moving throughout, it’s leads and melodies both smooth & subtle. The drums and bass are the icing on the cake, providing the extra boost of energy to send the song further through the Cosmos. So much thought has gone into ‘Sunday Chill in Cosmos’; it is one amazing track to finish off this list.

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Well that’s it for 2016! I hope you liked my top 10 list. Here’s hoping 2017 is even better!

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