Skybox – Stardust

‘Stardust’ (released through ‘Madmilky Records’) is the latest album from musician, ‘Skybox’ (formerly ‘Shoujo Kiss‘) and has been creating chiptune music for the over 3 years (cite -soundcloud). Hailing from Kansas City, Skybox’s weapon of choice is the lowly gameboy, relying on LSDJ, to produce love stricken powerpop songs. Following on from that, here’s the synopsis of Stardust and a good look at some of tracks off the album.

The life is on high throughout ‘Stardust’, and just listening to the opening title track, you can really feel this. It opens up immediately riding on some high octane energy, bouncing around with its bass & pulsey leads. It’s extremely funky and reminds me of X Critical Strike’s X music as well as a lot of Kirby. I wouldn’t say it’s the best song off the album however, but it does give you a great of things to come throughout the album.

The next track, ‘Aether’ follows on from Stardust and is a fantastic collaboration, between Skybox & ‘Tobokegao‘, another avid chiptune artist from japan. Needless to say, both artists work together really well, with Tobokegao’s style fitting in beautifully. The main lead is featured countlessly is great hook to entice you into each bit of the song, which then further leads to some proper amazing solos, especially at ‘1.22’. This is a huge strength that makes Aether shine above the rest (Slime girls, even creates a cracking remix, so that must say something).

Although every track off Stardust is full to the brim with energy, the 5th track, ‘Sky Runner’ is literally one song which is ‘boiling over with life’. It starts off with some seriously wet square waves whilst the the clicking beat of the pulse channel adds further ‘umph’ to the track. At ‘0.45’ it reaches a huge crescendo, from where Sky Runner descends into madness, kicking the pulse kick into complete overdrive & quickening the pace of the song. The leads throughout are good, but what sets Sky Runner out from the rest is the drumming fill sequence at ‘2.15’, which features some great use of drum samples & variety of different sounds. It also feels like a great breakdown that mixes things up and gives a bit of variety to an already creative tune.

Skybox’s Stardust was a fun little album to listen to with so much heart, passionate & energy pouring from itself. It feels like Skybox was in his element when lending his creativity to create a one album that is full of life.

 ~ Skybox ~ 

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 ^^ Madmilky Records ^^ 
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A tune to listen to: Blood Code & Graz – Casino Zone

I thought I’d back into a tune to listen to this week, due to being burnt out a bit from the excessive writing I was getting into. I think I’ll just keep them short & sweet from now on. This weeks tune is a fantastic J-pop & Glo-fi inspired tune from Blood Code & (chiptunes very own) Graz, called, ‘Casino Zone’.

It’s astounding selection of wet keys, chippy arpeggios & kicking beat jams are enough to select it as the track to start summer.

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Shadynasty – $hadynasty is dead

‘Shadynasty’ is one of the few chiprock bands who brought such a raw style to the chipscene, and unfortunately didn’t get the recognition they solely deserved. So it’s my deepest regret that they have decided to call it quits with the latest release, ‘poetically’ named ‘$hadynasty is dead’.

Hailing from Sarasota, Florida, Shadynasty (pretty sure it’s pronounced ‘Shady-Nasty’, a throwback to ‘It’s always sunny in philly’) started out back in December 2013, releasing ‘Unpleasant Shade’. Unlike most chiprocks band, Shadynasty always felt very DIY; just a few guys making music, not taking things seriously, something I could definitely relate to.
Getting back to ‘$hadynasty is dead’, although its their final release from the band, the sound & production is vastly different to what they did in their first album, Unpleasant Shade.
‘Rip’ starts off the album as being a fantastic introduction, to what is a great send off to their work. The track builds up quickly from the get-go, going into explosive part with every instrument fighting against each other. At ‘1.24’ Rip changes into a relaxing riff, reminiscent of certain raw & edgy bands such as, Pavement. Rip, is a great intro song which both panders to chiptune as well as the college rock crowd.

Moving on from the track, Rip, ‘Momonosuke’ is a song which further lifts spirits with its brilliant use of LSDJ riffs and raw, jangley guitar underneath. It starts off slow with both gameboy & guitar playing off against each other until the track reaches a crescendo, using a fantastic hook to quicken the pace. There are also some excellent sequences running throughout, with the bridge especially in which the guitar takes over and the gameboy plays underneath, allowing for a experimentation from the band members.

A lot the tracks off ‘$hadynasty is dead’ are produced awesomely, however the best track has to be ‘Shohuku Bicycle Club’. Prior to the release of the album, it was featured on Play it Loud’s annual compilation, ‘Let’s do our best’ as the first track you listened to, and for good reason. It immediately goes into a catchy lead from the gameboy, whilst the guitars play off of each other. The track also radiates energy from it’s rolling drums, to the splendid decisions to use high pitched leads, which scream out above the rest of the melting pot of sound!

Truely ‘$hadynasty is dead’ contains the bands best work from the few years they’ve been playing. It’s just a shame that the party has to be over now.

 ~ Shadynasty ~ 

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JAMATAR – Spacesounds

This weeks review is on Jamatar’s ‘Spacesounds’ and it’s a special one, due to it being ‘HYPERWAVE’ Record’s first Artist to sign with the label! Not only that but the album itself is a blast, being created on a gameboy whilst synced with an arduinoboy. First things first, ‘Jamatar’ is an Artist hailing from the sunny city of Melbourne, Australia, playing progressive music through the use of gameboys, laptop and guitar. Spacesounds is Jamatar’s debut release and already shows signs of musical brilliance.

The opening track, ‘Gravity’ quickly establishes Jamatar’s music style, through the use of drowned out keys & guitar, in which he gets the sound absolutely spot on. The whole track rides upon chilled out good times, feeling almost as if I’ve been transported back to the 80s, to the time when Tears for Fears had brought out, ‘Everybody wants to rule the world‘. Gravity comes off as a fantastic opening track, with its progressiveness, structure use of effects a certain high point.

The next highlight off the Album is ‘Singularity’, and instead of pushing the progginess like Gravity, it focuses more on being a electronic dance track. It does superbly by giving rhythm to the bass and having the beat push forward. The leads also lend a great hand, acting in short bursts, whilst still remaining powerful throughout. 

Jamatar’s Spacesounds rarely puts a foot wrong through the whole album, capturing the feel of the cold corners of space in such a way that I haven’t seen in any other artist. This also made it incredibly hard to pick tracks which best defined of how skillful Spacesounds is.

One such song, is the final track off the album ‘Unity’, features such a funky bass line which fits perfectly with the wet sounds of the pulse lead. It’s also nice to hear the inclusion of other instruments such as the guitar, giving off a mellow yet bright and rhythmic sound. ‘Unity’ has got to be the most melodic track, using so many types of different harmonizing leads. 
Spacesounds is yet another fantastic addition for the ‘best chip album of the year’, in that it brings together what’s brilliant in the gameboy & arduino, but pushes it even further.

Gravity & Unity

 ~ Jamatar ~ 

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 Hyperwave records 
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