Top 11 chiptune songs reviewed in 2015

GOODBYE 2015, FOR CHIPTUNE YOU WERE JUST SWELL.


So it’s finally come to this. A top chiptune list. C’mon you knew this was coming! After all the fantastic music we’ve heard from genre, I don’t see any reason not to! However, 2015 was bursting at seams with music from community, and I couldn’t cover every single brilliant song. Instead what you see below is MY LIST from music I have reviewed, handed picked out of the 50 posts I have made over the last year. Now, you may think, why 11 songs? Well there were too many tunes to choose from (obviously), so enjoy the list, comment what like, what you hate and what you think 2016 will be like!

11. Zabutom – Initiate 


Kicking this List off is first song off Zabutom’s album, ‘Redux34’ and is called, ‘Initiate’. As soon as you start listening to this, you’re surrounded with fantastic gameboy arps, pounding bass and extremely proggy drums. I am huge fan of progressive music, and Initiate was no exception. There’s always a different hook going on through the song whether its the crawling arpeggio from the synth or the resonating sound of the guitars near the end. The best song to listen to whilst driving.

Buy Redux34 by Zabutom on Bandcamp for $6

Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

10. J3WEL – Acid99

This track was originally going to be a ‘Star Wars day special’ from J3WEL so thank god he saw the potential and left it for his latest album, Sick of This. The brilliant glitchiness that comes out from ‘Acid99’ is enough to make you stomp your feet to the beat. The awesome use of certain Star Wars samples is astounding, from Han admitting that he’s “got a bad feeling this”, to Yoda’s babbling glitch! A great window wobbler!

Buy Sick of This by J3WEL on Bandcamp for $4

Facebook | Twitter

9. COMPTROLLER – Desperate Clear

Speaking of Window Wobblers, at no.9 we have Comptroller’s distorted cyberpunk track, ‘Desperate Clear’ and was created on LPGT via a PSP. As soon as you start to listening to this song, your ears are covered in so much distorted bass. It’s so bloody gripping, that it has you on edge when the drum fill comes in! The real gold part however; the breakdown at the end of the track, which works with glitched out Japanese female voices, it’s extremely harrowing but incredibly beautiful! 

8. PALADIN SHIELD – Silver Gates

Time to get into some chiptune surf rock with Paladin Shield’s Silver Gates at no.8. This is the first track off their debut self titled album, and opens up brilliantly with washed out guitar, distorted bass & beautiful gameboy leads. Not to mention watery vocal from members, Jesse & Tiaday, harmonizing with poetic & heavenly lyrics! It’s a pleasant introduction to a truly formidable album!

Incidentally, 2016 will see their followup album released on Data Airlines, complete with remixes. I for one cannot wait!

7. .MPEGASUS – Radmarket

I thorroughly enjoyed Mpegasus’ debut album, Quixotica when I first started out with Chip Bit Sid, so it’s not surprising to see one of his songs on the list. Quixotica 2 saw a huge progression from the previous album in 2015, both showing off his confidence and finesse. This is ever more apparent with No.7, Radmarket, in which I found myself constantly returning back to listen. It’s fresh funky beats & leads make it an easy one to groove to whilst showing off Mpegasus’ distinct music style.

6. SHIROBON – Meteor

At No.6 we have Shirobon’s ‘Meteor’. This artist has been in my music rotation constantly, since I first saw him play live at the HYPERWAVE LAUNCH PARTY in London. Shirobon’s music is the most defined in all chiptune, but with ‘Meteor’ he went the extra step, taking inspiration from 90s rap & Garage music, and creating one face melting track. I was sincerely blown away by it’s main hook, the raunchy & gritty sound really becoming the driving force of the track. 

5. TRI ANGLES – Orbitals

Short but sweet, Tri Angles’ Orbitals EP was a very welcome addition to the chiptune music genre, creating some excellent drum & bass beats through gritty sounds and even featuring the spectacular ‘AMEN’ drum samples. So it’s no wonder that at no.5 we have its Title song (Orbitals) on the list, containing some of the best chaotic drum making I’ve seen in music so far, something I think will be difficult to top in the future.

4. TIMID SOUL – Yankee Rose

When I started playing this during ‘Gameface‘, it’s hosts (Graeme Booth) first reaction was, ‘this is bloody good!’ He was not wrong. ‘Yankee Rose’ by Timid Soul is a fantastic & bouncy track containing, many, many sample whilst playing over some cheerful chiptune synths & eclectic drum beats. The sound is such a fresh & funky disco feeling that one could listen to over & over! I still find myself coming back to this song and loving every bit of it.


3.  CHEMA64 – s u n s e t チェイス


Another track I keep coming back to time & time again. At first glance of ‘VIZIERS’ by Chema64, you’d expect a more subtle tone. Instead what you find is the complete opposite and probably some of the best grime & dubstep done on LSDJ. No.3 is the first track off VIZIERS, ‘s u n s e t’ and features a number of seriously cool tricks, from heavy kick ass beats, to incredible use of the WAV channel; you would not expect those sounds to come from a lowly gameboy!


2. HARLEYLIKESMUSIC – Get The Bleach


This would’ve been no.1 if had not been for the dark horse in december; but let’s forget that. Harley has been having a god damned amazing year, from releasing ‘game changing’ album, ‘Game Changer’, to everyone finding out the entire album was composed on a ‘single Gameboy Advance SP’. Prior to that Harley composed his music on Korgs software for the Nintendo DS, so when he changed over to the SP, he was the envy of every LSDJ Artist. I still haven’t figured how he does his music. 

At No.2 ‘Get The Bleach’ is one of the signature tracks off ‘Game Changer’. It’s definitely a huge raver to listen to, and it feels like as if an old skool rave is going on inside your headphones. I haven’t really come across anything like it, especially in terms of sound design!


1. BOY WITHOUT BATTERIES – Homeward Bound


I had completed this list in the days leading up to the end of December, and during that time I was listening to Boy Without Batteries’ latest album, ‘Young’. Although Young was an awesome album, I was adamant I wasn’t going to list to him, due to be the list being complete. How glad I feel that I changed my mind. 

After listening to this album god knows how many times, I think it’s safe to say that Boy Without Batteries deserves no.1, not just with the jaw dropping track, ‘Homeward Bound’, but how he managed to make pop punk music on a gameboy! You can tell that there’s been some serious thought been put into to making it, using every channel of LSDJ to its fullest potential (and without crashing the damn thing), just like what Harley’s amazingly done. However due Boy Without Batteries putting further limitations by using a lowly DMG, I have to give it to him. Apologies Harley! 🙁


Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Facebook

WOW, THAT WAS A BLAST.

That’s the end of the list! I hope you like it. Obviously some people will not agree with it, so I’m going to put a poll up soon to give you guys the chance vote which artist you loved the most! Of course, there were so many bands that I can’t put them all on them so below is an Honourable Mentions list.

Honourable Mentions:

If you want to follow for more chiptune music see below:

A tune you should listen to: Neri – The Girl With The Android Eyes

For 2016 I’ve decided that I’m going to do a short post each week on a selected track. This can be anything related to chiptune or synth, past or present, or even…THE FUTURE!!!

Jokes aside, here’s the first track sent in on Facebook from an Artist known as, Neri. Neri has only just come onto Soundcloud, with the first track recently released called, ‘The Girl With The Android Eyes’. It has already garnered some attention from chiptunerds and has been well received.

As soon as you begin to listen to the track, you’re instantly captured by its combination of leads, arpeggios & soulful, atmospheric vibes that run along throughout. The soft sound of the drums come in at 0.43 and immediately cultivates a welcoming sound through the use of the snares and kicks. It’s a nice relaxing layer to an already chilled out track. Neri’s track, The Girl With The Android Eyes is a breath of fresh air and feels like a beautiful song to put on whilst you’re flying, in love or even both!

The Girl With The Android Eyes is free to download on Soundcloud.

If you want to follow for more chiptune music see below:

Poly Pines – The Perfect Frame

2015 has been an absolute blast for chiptune, with so many artists releasing fantastic material. It’s totally unreal! But now it’s 2016 so what better than starting with an artist from last year?

Poly Pines was one hidden gem that I found towards the end of December, with his latest album The Perfect Frame, released on the 18th. As Chip Bit Sid has grown, I have constantly been on the look out for chiptune music which is unique in its sound and nature; This artist is a prime example of this. Poly Pines (real name; Nash) hails from Springfield, Missouri, USA and creates his music fusing chiptune with certain chilled styles such as, Dreamwave & Dreamgaze. I haven’t heard much dreamy music since the futurecop days, so it was welcoming return for me.

The introductory song, ‘Awake’ fantastically shows off Poly Pines music style, firstly by going into the warm & restful waters of Dreamwave, but then changing up following with a chiptune styled hook. All this is then complimented excellently with drums which bring out the lead as well as some samples taken out of the ‘book of Nintendo’. I really liked ‘Awake’, as it’s a great track that introduces you to Poly Pines’ style whilst still being extremely engaging.

The next song from my featured list is, ‘Knee Deep featuring Akacia’ and really makes an impact as the second track off the album, mainly due to its shimmering keys that echo & resonate powerfully at the beginning and middle of the song. The main hook is also utterly brilliant, working well with Akacia’s dreamy vocals to provide a harmonising and powerful sound that goes beautifully with the chords.

My final song, was a hard choice. ‘Swordsplay ft. Koloda’ was a fantastic song with beautiful lyrics and outstanding vocals from Koloda, however I liked ‘Forget’ more, due to its mixture of droned out, mysterious, fuzziness through out. ‘Forget’ is very different from the rest of the album, instead focusing more on the rhythm between the lead, the fuzzy keys & the slow formulaic drums. I love how the chords have been subtly composed into a trap-like rhythm. It gives the rest of the track room to breathe and let its listeners get into the groove.

Needless to say, these are just my favourite songs that I picked, and I urge you to listen to the whole of The Perfect Frame as one. The dreamlike tones, the wet, shimmering leads & the resonating drums can be heard across the whole album, making ‘The Perfect Frame a great album to chill out to in 2016.

The Perfect Frame by Poly Pines is available on Bandcamp for $3:
https://polypines.bandcamp.com/album/the-perfect-frame

PICK TRACKS:
Awake & Knee Deep ft. Akacia

Poly Pines:

If you want to follow for more chiptune music see below:
Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Soundcloud Group | Hypem

(Outside of my blog, I have also started creating chiptune music! I’ve released my first song as a try out. [link] Please listen to and tell me what you think! Appreciate the feedback! Thanks! :D)

Boy without Batteries – Young

If you want to follow for more chip bit sid see below:

Holy sweet Christmas. I’m already beginning to wrap up the end of 2015’s chiptune, when this little beauty came along during December. ‘Boy Without Batteries’ is an artist who resides in Lakeland, Florida, with his last album, the digital age, released way back in 2013. That’s quite a while for chiptune, but we’ll forget that, because his latest album, Young, is one fantastic sequel, bragging 11 tracks, 10 of which were made on one single gameboy!

What’s so good about that you ask? Well, once you starting listening to the music, you’ll be astounded at how amazing each song is put together.

Let’s start off this review with my first pick off ‘Young’ and it’s the 2nd track, ‘Homeward Bound’. This song immediately kicks in with some well crafted drums followed by a snare fill before going into the hook. Right off the bat you can tell that Boy without Batteries takes a lot of inspiration from pop punk bands, such as Blink 182 & Sum 41, as it totally comes off this song alone. All these songs, have been excellently done in melody, but Homeward Bound comes in at the top, with the most addictive lead of them all, and ultimately a great track to hook you into the album.

The next song ‘Destiny Gang’ starts off with a mind blowing drum fill, working to together with the distortion which gives the feeling as if a guitar is playing. The intro itself is enough to love Destiny Gang. But that’s not just the only thing that’s mind blowing, with so much going on (with the kicks especially spot on), this is one song not to be missed.

The final song of my pick is, ‘Pop Heart’ which is the most unique track off the entire album. This is down to the huge mash up of samples being used as beats, which serve to give it a completely different style from the ‘pop punk’ style that BWB had been going for. It’s more of a funky dance track that uses a moderate beat to push things, with a fresh 90s feeling coming from the choice of samples, as well as its beat. It’s also one of the tracks which has a strong structure.

Young is a well crafted album and is one I have constantly enjoyed listening to over the past few weeks, more so than my standard selections (trey frey, henry homesweet, sabrepulse etc), which is definitely saying something. It’s nice to see other genres like Pop Punk getting introduced into chiptune, without the use of guitar, as shows creativity & skill in sound design. Young will definitely be kept in my music rotation for the months to come.

PICK SONGS:
Homeward Bound & Pop Heart