Are You Afraid Of The Dog – Twilight City

Twilight City is the first album created by artist, Are You Afraid Of The Dog (real name, Travis) and is based in Ottawa Canada. This is a lot different than most of the chiptune eps I generally review. What perked my interest mainly was that Twilight City was described as Conceptual album, a sort of sound track to one big idea. Other things which interested me was that Nintendocore had been a inspiration towards the sound.

Before I properly get into this review I’d just like to clarify that I can’t truly single out songs like I usually do, as this is conceptual and in some ways it can be seen as a one huge song.
As Twilight City, it opens up with a fantastic intro which slowly builds up with slow eerie keys arpeggiating up and down, but explodes when it enters the second song, soaring. Throughout this song, (and the album) the percussion are done absolutely fantastically, and you can tell that AYAOTD knows what he’s doing when it comes to the drums. It reminds me back to Rekcahdam’s drummage in his latest album as his skill went above and beyond.
AYAOTD’s style in his keys should also be noted as being very strong. For a conceptual album it can be very hard to keep the listeners entertained, without having a proper structure. I certainly can’t say that for Twilight city, as every song is varied changing in its composure, but keeping the overall structure which comes with the album.  His style is also a nice blend of Nintendocore drums, dream like leads and chilled out vibes, a welcome edition in the chiptune genre.
That is not to say there aren’t any bad things. On contrary, one huge problem that I noticed immediately was how tinny it sounded whilst playing it on my macbook pro. That said, my pro doesn’t have the best sound system in the world, but you can tell that these things weren’t taken into consideration. To hear it the best you need good speakers or headphones. The drums sound is also not right, feeling way to bright and also taking the energy away from the keys, This however can be easily changed through use of the EQs on the stems.

Aside from that however Twilight City is one great conceptual album and it’ll be interesting to hear more from AYAOTD in future.

Arcadecoma – In The Snow EP released by PTE RECORDS

I came across Pterodactyl Squad a while back when they released some music from a band called, somewhere something incredible, way from America. It was so good that it kept them on my radar. Pterodactyl Squad are a net label based in Britain and release some of the best small chiptune artists around at the moment.

Their latest release is by Arcadecoma, a chiptune, bitpop band who are based in Edinburgh, made up of two musicians called, Ross Murdoch and Martin Smart. Cited from their facebook page, they play melodic yet melancholic LSDJ tunes, backed with some fuzzy guitar and driving bass. They also bring so much more Energy to their songs, especially their latest release, In the Snow EP.
Their EP opens with Twenty Two, with fantastic melodies and cool ass grooves on LSDJ but is sadly extremely short as its stopped almost suddenly (I was wanting more 🙁 ).
This is however carried on through out the rest of the EP with  ‘Summer is Over’ bringing a lovely short ballad describing  the themes of coming to terms with something so awesome is suddenly over!

As well as that, there are some other good songs such as, short but sweet ‘I haven’t left the house for days’,  the epic ‘Heroes in the snow’ and ‘The Ghosts of Christmas Presents’.

My favourite song on the ep however, is Road Avenger. It’s a massive epic tune which knocks up the energy and pace, but it also feels so much awesome than anything else. The solos towards the end also packs a punch giving Road Avenger the hard hitting style it desires (finally, the fact that it relates to MAD MAX is mind blowing).

There are some songs which I feel could have been a bit longer such as, ‘don’t go (out of the windows) as I felt they were really going places. Maybe something to think about for the future.

However, barring that Arcadecoma’s ‘In The Snow’ is a great EP that brings the genres of pop punk and chiptune together.If you want to follow for more chip bit sid see below:


Ultrasyd – who cares

Ultrasyd is a chiptune artist that I’m not familiar with. I have heard of him and have seen that he is playing everywhere (Liverpool, Manchester and London to name a few), however I’ve just never made the attempt at listening to his music.

So when I saw his latest album, ‘Who Cares’ was out and staring at me on the screen, I had nothing to say but, SHUT AND TAKE MY MONEY.

To sum this up in a short synopsis, Who Cares, is a very dancy and bouncy album. It begins straight away without giving a damn for build up, its first song sharing its name with the album. It is a fantastic short song at 2.29, and introduces Ultrasyd’s style extremely well, with his use of melodies through leads, arps and bass work just like the power of cookies, milk and cream (mother trucking OM).

Its second song, ‘Robot song’ gives you the build which who cares had left off, quickly picking up and hitting hard with some cool ‘rob synth trap, drum and bass’.

Gravitational collapse continues on from where Robots Song left off with the Robotic synth drum and bass. Although it contains less of a catchy lead than the others, its a nice bridge between Robot song and the next song, Hyper Space, from which, I could see elements of such bands, Justice and Daft Punk, as well as on the flip side, some hardcore dubstep rave, as does Happiness is Cancelled, which delivers the same energy.

The final song, aptly named, 🙂 is a very upbeat and happy and bipolar song, going straight into hardcore dubstep. This is an cool mashup and works very well. It also is the most upbeat song here.

Overall I’d definitely really rate Who Cares as a fantastic EP!

It grooves extremely well with it both beginning and ending in the most spectacular way possible. It reminds me of Sabrepulse’s earlier work in ‘First Crush’ way back in 2008, and is a very welcome addition to my chiptune collection.


Ultrasyd will be playing Superbyte 2015 in Manchester!

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Tokyo Chipped Manchester – J3WEL & HARLEYLIKESMUSIC

This week Tokyo Chipped came out of no where, but couldn’t come at a better time for me and chiptune, due to having a week off from work.

But before I go, let me talk about what’s coming Today I will be going back onto Gameface with the brilliant Graeme to feature the latest the chiptunes I’ve found over this past month. Below You’ll find the official set list:

  • Paladin Shield – Silver Gates
  • Timid Soul – Yankee Rose
  • Melt Channel – Lite Brite Frite Nite
  • Izioq – Blow into the Cartridge
  • Trey Frey – Airglow

I hope you’re looking forward to hearing all these great artists as much as I’m looking forward to playing them! I’ll be on tonight at 6pm on Fab Radio. Link below:

Anyway, as I said, Tokyo Chipped came out of no where, and I had to quickly get the gang together to head to Fab Cafe. This time the newest musicans playing were, J3WEL (based in Southampton) & HARLEYLIKESMUSIC (based in Sheffield). 
Although I came during the showing of Studio Ghibli’s, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, I was luckily to get interview both of them, whom were fantastic to talk to and gave a great insight on how to get into the chiptune scene.
Me: How did you get into chiptune music?
J3WEL: I got into chiptune music when I started really listening to Sabrepulse and Knife City. After a while, I started getting into more artists such as, PROTODOME, and eventually I decided I wanted to make chipmusic, so I slowly began getting all the gear and gameboys. 
ME: What sort of consoles do you work with for your music?
J3WEL: I solely use modded Nintendo Gameboys along with a Micro Brute.
ME: Finally what is your favourite old school pixel game?
J3WEL: Oh, that’s definitely Dragon Warrior Monsters. It was a branch off from the old Dragon Quest series, and was more about capturing monsters and taming them, a bit like pokemon.

Me: How did you get into chiptune music?

Harley: Before I got into chiptune I used to play guitar, and whenever I tried to get a band together however, it generally fizzled out. In the end I gave up and instead decided to do electronic music and began to make it on a program tracker on my computer. During this time I found out about using Nintendo DS to make music and it worked out so well, especially for gigs. This snowballed out of control, and I found myself playings all over the world such as, Japan.

Me: How did manage to tour in Japan?

Harley: I just generally booked my flight tickets and flew to one gig in Kyoto, but I ended up doing a few others due to word of mouth getting across Japan. From then on I ended up going onto Australia due further word of mouth.

Me: Okay finally, what is your favourite old school game ever?

Harley: This is an extremely hard one to think of…I would say Dig Dug just down to its awesome sound track.


Both J3WEL and HARLEYLIKESMUSIC were fucking epic, playing above everyone’s expectations. If you wish hear more of J3WEL and HARLEYLIKESMUSIC at Tokyo Chipped, listen to me on Gameface at 6pm on fab radio, as there will be an recorded interview as well as a live set recording! Link below:

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