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
Bandcamp | twitter | SoundcloudWebsite | Youtube

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
Release | twitter | Facebook | Website | Youtube

Cheapbeats
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Back to Business!

censorship-shit

It feels good to be back! Sorry that I haven’t posted in a while, but I was having problems due Facebook banning my site off the platform. They cited that it was because they recognised it spam and therefore it broke the TOS. I reckon it was probably done to using ‘bit.ly’ links, as goo.gl links are being phased out. In coming months I started moving the website from blogger to tumblr. This turned out to be a big mistake as GDPR made sharing anything almost impossible. In the end I decided it was best to create the site that you see before you. I could’ve just given up with my hobby instead of push on, however due to the amount of satisfaction that I get from people reading my blog I decided to keep at it. Chip Bit Sid has been something that has helped my find friends, help my skills but above all help me with my mental health.

I’ve been a major pusher of freedom of speech and censorship, and whilst I may not like people’s opinions shared, I’d much rather challenge those ideas instead of shutting them down. I knew censorship over the internet would be coming, however I didn’t expect it to come so quickly and mercilessly.

My next review will be shortly coming out over the weekend, and it’s been something I’ve been write about for a while. I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am.

HarleyLikesMusic – Steel City Zone

For this week, I have the distinct pleasure of reviewing the newest album of one of my biggest influences – HarleyLikesMusic’s new ‘Steel City Zone’ as released on Thebasebit. I’ve known Harley for a few years now, first meeting him just before he got into making music on LSDJ and to say his music leaves an impression would be an understatement. After two wildly successful albums released on the Cheapbeats label, Harley is back again with his old tricks – and some new ones too. As someone who cites Harley as a major influencer of my own techniques, I think I’m quite lucky that I get the chance to talk about this with you – it’s not often one gets to discuss someone who has brought so much to the LSDJ game.

This year instead of going along the same road Harley has developed a four track EP, poignantly named ‘Steel City Zone’, after Harley’s hometown Sheffield, known for making the famous Sheffield Steel. For the whole EP, Harley has focussed his efforts on adapting the sounds of Sheffield’s underground music and making something new in his own style.

Moving into the crux of things, here are three tracks off album that really captivated me

The first track is the song, ‘Hello’, which immediately hitting off with some thumping drums, bass and lead. I love this intro as the hollow tones really ring out and set a direction as to what the rhythm will be. It then proceeds into some odd and funny samples from one of Harley’s friends calling out, saying; ‘Hello’ and ‘Harley, you there man?’ Whilst sounding slightly out of place, they feel more as if they’re an in joke against one of Harley’s mates. This is something Harley usually does quite a bit, as heard on, ‘Super Dooper Double Dooper’, in which he uses a excerpt of James York’s (of Cheapbeats fame) daughter when asked, ‘how hot is the centre of the earth’. The main hook of  ‘Hello’ is something that utilises both the pulses channels as well as the WAV, to create a frankenstein combination of epic proportions. This whole sound and tone seems to be crux of ‘Hello’, as Harley constantly uses it as well as building upon, to great effectiveness.

Moving on we next have the second signal track, ‘Steel City’, which uses continues the same tricks and techniques of, ‘Hello’. However unlike ‘Hello’, it features a heavier pulsating beat, helped along by the heart pounding bass. The hooks of ‘Steel City’ serve as the high addictive driving force of the song – each melody and hook is eclectic, bouncing off the sampled drums and working with the rhythm to produce a mixture of frightening combinations. For me ‘Steel City’ has to be my favourite track off the album as nothing at all seems to let up, firing on all cylinders and giving a banging track one could immediately get hooked onto.

‘Infinity Tricks’ is probably one of the bounciest tracks I’ve heard in some time. It instantly kicks off with a extremely funky and melodic hook, before announcing itself with a ‘yeaaaah!’ sample, which incidentally was taken from Harley’s YouTube intro. Whilst ‘Infinity Tricks’ centres itself around the main the hook and its sound, it is constantly shuffled about going as far as to making a complete new song just before the 2:00 mark. This is especially more true around 3:00 when a new hook, more captivating than the first is introduced, with Harley changing the sound from a pulse to wav sound. One final thing before I finish reviewing this track; we can’t possibly forget the impromptu melody at 1:36 sounding a lot like 2 Limited’s ‘Unlimited’, because reasons.

At just 20 minute run time over 4 tracks, ‘Steel City Zone’ was a great listen. Harley’s previous albums have usually been longer, but I feel the culling of tracks for this EP, allowed him to focus on refining a small selection. I’ve always said that instead of producing a quantity of an album, you should instead focus on the quality of one. It’s also one of the reasons why I’ve been taking a while to release my material! Maybe this year…I hope.

HarleyLikesMusic
Bandcamp | twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Website | Youtube

Thebasebit
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