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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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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