Boaconstructor – Winds Of Null

Boaconstructor-wings-of-null

It’s the first week of October and here I am reviewing yet another nanoloop release. This time we have Boaconstructor’s ‘Winds Of Null’. For context into ‘Boaconstructor’, he is a Seattle based musician who also runs ‘The Base bit’ one of the go-to net labels of chiptune. ‘The Base Bit’ have released a variety of accomplished albums from artists, from ‘Refresh’ from Trey Frey, to ‘Steel City Zone’ by ‘HarleyLikesMusic’. It has been three years since ‘Boaconstructor’ has produced an album, with ‘Loop Dreams’ being released in 2015.

Whilst ‘Loop Dreams’ and ‘Winds Of Null’ were produced using Nanoloop, they vastly different albums. ‘Loop Dreams’ focusses on using modulation to create weird and wonderful noises on a high BPM. ‘Winds Of Null’ on the other hand, focusses more on the bass, as well as detuning the melody and slowing down the music. For me I prefer Boaconstructor’s latest album, as I found it more accessible to listen to. The recording and mastering are also in my opinion much more of higher quality. Everything seems to pop better, with the levels balanced much better than ‘Loop Dreams’.

Getting into why I prefer ‘Winds Of Null’, the best example is the first track ‘Rainier Dub’. It begins with an excellent introduction by detuning the melody. ‘Boaconstructor’ does this by using a slow LFO on the pitch. It’s eerie but very effective as it provides a nice contrast to the main hook that begins afterwards. As soon as that starts, it hits you like rolling thunder, the twisted, bassy notes flow free and sounding dangerous & detuned. The drums are also alive and kicking, complimenting each bass note played alongside. The snare and kick both pack a massive wallop and due to the slow BPM, are only used when necessary. This allows the sharp bass to breathe and be heard more clearly.

For me ‘Winds Of Null’ is a welcome album in a year which already seen  many fantastic releases recreated on Nanoloop. It is well crafted featuring many hell raising hooks that will leave you scratching your head on how it was produced. Those snares in particular will make me re-think on how I create them on Nanoloop.

Boaconstructor
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Thebasebit
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Pool Water – Meltdown

poolwater - total-meltdown

Instead of writing about chiptune, I thought I’d look into something a little more different. ‘Total Meltdown’ is the Acid House album from artist ‘Pool water’ and released with label, ‘DataFruits’. I’ve been following the net label ever since they released Glooms’ album, ‘Vanilla Dome’. Whilst I found a lot of the releases were full of character, Pool water’s ‘Total Meltdown’ was the one album that caught my attention.

Recently I’ve been getting into Acid House, going as far as to buying a Volca Bass to introduce into my music. Pioneered by madman experimenting with ‘Roland TB 303’, the aggressive sound really brings an edge to the music. Yet when I listened to ‘Total Meltdown’, it is evident that there is more to sink your teeth into than just acid bass.

This brings us to my pick track, ‘No Way Back’. Whilst a majority of the tracks really focus on the funkiness of the bass, ‘No Way Back’, instead goes more into other areas. It works more on merging samples together whilst also focussing on the bass simultaneously. A good example of this can be heard at ‘2:00’, where ‘Pool water’ constantly mashes a manipulated sample saying ‘Jack Your Body’. As they’re doing this, we still have the bass pumping along, providing a wet yet powerful line throughout. This part alone, gives ‘No Way Back’ a fantastic rhythm, which is both chaotic and funky.

Although ‘No Way Back’ is one of my favourites, there are plenty other tracks which are great! For instance ‘Jack Your Body’ or ‘Let Your Feet Stomp’ are both head nodders. In fact listen to Pool water’s ‘Total Meltdown’ in one sitting; you’re guaranteed to at least get into the funk a few times!

Other tracks to listen to:

‘Jack Your Body’ & ‘Let Your Feet Stomp’

Poolwater
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Datafruits
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STU – Escape / Return

stu-escape-return

This week I’m looking back on an small EP I missed out on during December/January from the artist known as, ‘STU’. ‘Escape / Return’ is a wonderful dancey album, released alongside ‘Bleepstreet’ and solely consists of two songs, ‘Escape’ &  ‘Return’. For context on ‘STU’, he is an old skool chiptuner from Basel, Switzerland, who specialises in utilising various old modified computers, one being his prized Atari ST. Looking at his style, ‘STU’ focuses on making Dance infused arrangements, instead of producing the usual staple VGM known from chiptune. ‘STU’ has been active for well over 10 years, creating a variety of eclectic beats.

As this is a 2 track EP, I’ll be reviewing both songs instead of picking one and focussing on it. ‘STU’ describes the EP as something that catapulted off into space, only to fall back down in form as a 7 inch vinyl. We start off with the first track, ‘Escape’. It kicks off with a superb rising introduction which is then brought to life by some rhythmic arpeggios, serving as the hook of ‘Escape.’ The sense of sound that is brought here reminds me to that of Henry Homesweet’s album, ‘Luke’s Atari’, which actually also uses the same sound chip. ‘Escape’ also uses some aggressive sawtoothed synths, which are then brought to life through LFO, Cut Off and Filter. The sounds really remind me of the TB-303, due to the excessive use of the Cut Off and acid style it produces.

‘Escape’ really comes into its element at ‘2:16’ where ‘STU’ bring a variety of musical layers to the table. we firstly have an aggressive synth whilst simultaneously being oscillated. We then also hear the staple arpeggio chords, used sparingly as staccato rhythm when required.

Whilst ‘Escape’ has an accessible beat the opposite can be said for ‘Return’. It starts off with a rather peculiar beat, almost sounding as if the song is actually backwards. As ‘Return’ builds up we then has some hard & dirty synths; a bass that is a sharp as nails and melodies that wiggle and wobble rather funkily. Although ‘Return’ is a lot shorter than ‘Escape’, it makes up for this by having some really memorable parts. A good example can be seen at ‘1:47’ where we have aforementioned wobble melody. This part takes the lead as the heaviest sound off STU’s two track album.

I really had fun taking and listening to ‘Escape/Return’ by STU. Whilst it was only two tracks, I felt it was enough to warrant looking further into STU’s music catalogue. This ended with me buying his latest album on cassette, ‘Atari Worx 2003-2008’.

STU
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Bleepstreet
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Gesceap – Novum

gesceap-novum-cheapbeats

I’ve been wanting to review this for while, but due to unforeseen circumstances I was unable to write about it. ‘Novum’ is the first release by ‘Gesceap’, the new venture by chiptune maestro, ‘Mr Spastic’ and released with ‘Cheapbeats’. Whilst the style of ‘Mr Spastic’ is centred around dance and nes/c64/mgb, Gesceap’s music is a lot more different, primarily focussing on creating darker and more sinister beats, using the tablet version of Nanoloop 2. It’s quite an unique choice for a chiptune medium, as I have only heard the mobile version of Nanoloop from a few artists such as, Maru303’s ‘Good Walk Sunday’. Compared to Novum however, Gesceaps’ release seems more eclectic and articulate when comes to utilising Nanoloop on the tablet, as seen on this youtube video below of the 2nd track off the album, ‘Belikeus’:

It’s a good example that shows how ‘Gesceap’ works with Nanoloop, going through the motions, beginning starting with a glitchy, distorted sample, of someone chanting, “Be Like Us”. More layering is then brought to the table, through a selection of TR-808 sounding drums and erie keys. It gives it quite creepy cyberpunk feel to Gesceap’s style, something not seen since Comptroller’s album, ‘Blue Video Romance’, incidentally is another release that utilises unique hardware (Little Piggy Tracker).

Floating over both the ‘Intelligent Dance Music’, ‘Cyberpunk’ and ‘Chiptune’ Gesceap has created a mixture of erie soundscapes structured with a tight selection of percussion. Gesceap’s ‘Novum’ is an interesting and eclectic collection of tracks and another great addition added to the growing selection of Nanoloop created releases. ‘Novum’ is a great change from Gesceap’s previous music as ‘Mr Spastic’ and it’s delightful to hear that he’s already created another EP. I’ll be looking forward to it!

Other tracks to listen to:

‘Blders01’ & ‘Dpbt01’

Gesceap
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Cheapbeats
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