This year I want to branch out into other areas of music, so what’s better than getting into some electronic J-pop. I recently found, Kawaii Sneakers, an outstanding track by Rick Sakura, whilst rummaging through Hype Machine for funky new music. Opening up with a rhythm of soft kicks, light claps & pops, it’s a relaxing, chilled out track, in which its melodies flow through so easily.
Seeing as we’ve finished with the top 2015 chiptune tracks, let’s finally go onto 2016, and to kick the year off we have the fantastic album, genesis from Chronowolf. Looking back over 2015, the hype had been slowing building for Chronowolf, primarily from being featured on the Chiptunes = Win compilation with his track, ‘Singularity.’
Originally from Syndney, Australia but now living in Washington D.C. Chronowolf creates his music using a mixture of vintage console music, whilst complimenting it with modern hardware. With latest album, ‘Genesis’, Chronowolf creates each track using a DAW with Cubase5 as well as a mixture of different plugins & VSTs. For the hardware, he used Texas Instruments TI99/4A Home computer as well as ATARI 1040STe samples Chronowolf had created years ago.
My first pick from ‘Genesis’, has to be ‘Hyperion’, which begins with a wet yet punchy bass, a sound that’s generally familiar with synthwave. Then at 0.15 it all kicks of with the strong, bright & punchy lead that Chronowolf taken a likening to for his style. You’ll hear it through out the album, especially in his prior track on last years Chipwin compilation. There are also a variety of different leads throughout the Hyperion, with only one being prevalent, the little fill which has the lead run up & down the scale. Hyperion is a high octane song which really defines what Chronowolf’s music is ultimately about.
My next pick is ‘The Dry Run (Cry Wolf)’, namely down to its absolutely killer robotic rhythm going on through out. This track is immediately a stand out track from the terminal speaking software for the Texas instruments computer, to the legato bass that kindly let’s us know that the sound of the 80s hasn’t left us. It gives the feeling as if it’s an exercise run going on, with the voice going through the verses, leads & even the choruses.
I must say even though this is mixture of chiptune against classic music, I’ve been finding myself listening to the electronic tracks, rather than more classical ones. However ‘The Last River’ is one such song, which works fantastically with its strong classical style, weaving wonderfully amongst the electronic instruments. Together they create an extremely chilled solemn atmosphere and rivals the majority of tracks on Genesis.
Overall ‘Genesis’ is a nice blend of classical music against the chiptune we love so much. This is also Chronowolf’s first ever album! It really shows that anyone who wishes to get into chiptune by putting the time & effort can create one fantastic album and show their style. I’ll be keeping an eye on Chronowolf in the late future.
THE DRY RUN (CRY WOLF)
This weeks tune you should listen to is a chiptune Remix of the track, All Star by 90s alternative rock band, Smash Mouth. As with all remixes, they put a different take on the original. However, a chiptune remix takes things a little bit further.
Remixed by Shyabeetus for MAGfest, it features some killer disorted sounds through the drums, as well as incredible lead taking over from the vocals. It also contains some crazy samples, especially during the bridge (although I have no idea what is said).
Shyabeetus created the All Star Remix using LSDJ on a gameboy.
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.
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!
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!
7. .MPEGASUS – Radmarket
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.
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.
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.