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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Warez Waldo – Portable Sound System

‘Warez Waldo’ is an artist who mainly specialises in 16bit chipmusic. Dabbling in a variety different technologies, from ‘MS-DOS PCs’ to ‘Commodore 64s’, Warez Waldo’s main aspiration is to create music which throws back to the soundblaster 16 music, such as Sam & Max and Duke Nukem. His latest release, ‘Portable Sound System’, was entirely created using the ‘Yamaha PSS-680’, a portable keyboard from the 1980s, which uses FM Synth & PCM drums.

Warez Waldo starts his album with the weird & mystical track, Dream Sequencer, which begins with a rather psychedelic trumpet introduction. After just over 30 seconds however the weirdness is increased with the introduction of a kooky percussive instrument. The highlight of the Dream Sequencer for me is the bridge which brings a rather catchy tune into the mix. Not the best song off the album, but for me Dream Sequencer easily shows off the power of the Yamaha PSS-680 and 16bit music.

Although, the opening song doesn’t exactly hit the hardest, the 3rd track, ‘Rhythm Control’ however does, capturing exactly what the soundblaster music was like back in the 80s/90s. It’s funkiness also really helps, with the lead running up & down the scales.

The same can be said the next track, ‘Aquashock’ which is the most accessible track on the album, featuring an extremely catchy hook straight off the bat.

Portable Sound system finishes off the album with the last track, ‘In a Minute’ and the longest song, running at over 4 minutes. It’s completely different from the other tracks, instead building up the song with layers of instruments which compliment each other, such as the 16bit piano sequence. The bass is also relaxing running throughout the track and creating a chilled out mood.

After listening to the album plenty, Warez Waldo’s Portable Sound System has shown the power of the Yamaha PSS-680, and how the keyboard is better than the 16bit synth of the sega mega drive.

 ~ Warez Waldo ~ 

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 Planet Zaxxon

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The Kevin Gnartinez Band – Splash of Summer

This weeks review is through record label, Play it Loud’s latest release by ‘The Kevin Gnartinez band’, ‘Splash of Summer’. Before I begin this party, let me give you a run down on who this band is. The Kevin Gnartinez band is fronted by Kevin himself and was started up in Los Angeles, along with band members, Jesse Avila, Devin Nixon & Alex Wimmer (with Jesse already fronting in Paladin Shield). For the band’s chiptune source, they use the Famitracker to produce fantastic NES sounds relatable to Power Pop, Pop Punk & Vacationware.

Splash of Summer opens up with its self titled track, immediately feeling as if you’ve jumped right into the season, with the use of its harmonizing famitracker synth & and trill of guitar leads. It also helps that the leads are insatiably catchy, hooking you in quickly from the start. Finally to the top it off, the whole band all shoutout in unison, ‘SPLASH OF SUMMER’, pushing the atmosphere of the track even further. One epic tune to open up with.

Splash of Summer is undoubtedly the best song on the album, however ‘The Night We Met’, is a close second, sounding like an evening teen romance. You can instantly feel the passion & love coming off from ‘The Night We Met’, with the famitracker taking over most of the work, whether through its rhythmic arpeggio or its heartfelt lead.

Splash of Summer is wonderfully put together and feels like the ultimate vacation album to chill to, whether you’re on holiday or about to be.

However I wish Kevin had put some lyrics to his music, like his song, Beach City Punx from Play It Loud’s latest compilation, perhaps in future material?

 ~ Kevin Gnartinez Band ~ 

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 Play It Loud

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The crowd funding may have ended, but you can still get a ticket! Check out the link below to the Kings Arms to book your ticket! http://goo.gl/VqJ0vx

IAYD – Self Titled

At the moment I’m quite ill so i’ll be just doing a short review this week. The past month I’ve been listening to so much ‘IAYD’ (I am your destruction) that I’m pretty sure it’s been annoying my neighbours, and for one good reason. IT’S HEAVY AS SHIT.

One track that I’ve been really listening to extensively is the ‘City of Mediocrity’ from IAYD’s self titled album, and it’s one of the heaviest songs I’ve ever listened to (although you could say that for a lot of IAYD’s songs), with heavy use on tables & the ‘WAV Channel’. The midpart especially, you wouldn’t believe that it’s done entirely on one Gameboy with LSDJ! I kid you not, it sounds as if he’s firing a load of bullets from his system!

But that’s not the only track off IAYD’s album which is utterly fantastic. ‘Kurai Heya’ is a track which features some real killer drumming at the start only to turn into a real funky & heavy through the midpart. It’s mainly because of this ‘Kurai Heya’, I’m trying to use more of the toms instead of solely relying on claps & kicks.

I love IAYD’s style he’s brought to electronic music & chiptune, so it’s ashame to say that shortly after his debut at Superbyte, he retired from chiptune music. In a vice article, he cites his reasons as being, chiptune music doesn’t have room to grow (something that I don’t agree with -and I will write an article explaining this). Sad news, but at least he’s leaves chiptune on a high note, having created one of the most ground breaking albums in the genre.

Check out the rest of the album here!
Check out IAYD’s soundcloud here!

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