Space Candy – Soft Circles

This week we’re looking at the latest album from the London based hyperpop artist, ‘Space Candy’. I first found out about Space Candy when they released their first album, ‘Forest’ with ‘DeskPop’ last year. Whilst the consistent changes in ‘Forest’ through the beats & grooves threw me off a little, it wasn’t until ‘Space Candy’ played ‘Chip Bit Day 17’ and showed off their unique & and hectic style in amazing form. I was blown away at how solid their set was as well as how cheeky the style was.

Fast forward a few months down the line and ‘Space Candy has released their 2nd album, ‘Soft Circles’ (released again with ‘Deskpop’) and for me it’s a huge step up from their previous album, ‘Forest’.

I kick this review off with the opening track, ‘Enchanted Textural’, and is a perfect song to begin an album with. It immediately kicks off with a heart pounding beat, whilst a flourish of claps & bent-like effects roll off fantastically together, with a signature hard saw-like riff acting as the hook and go between link. I feel ‘Enchanted Textural’ is a stronger than any of the tracks from ‘Forest’, mainly due to there being a sense of repetition and similarity in the samples & sounds that are used. It also helps that there being a solid groove & beat that’s easily addictive to dance to.

The same can be next pick track, ‘Bloop Arms’ which actively tries to be dancey as hell. Albeit shorter than my first pick, I found the arpeggios at the beginning mesmerising, and as soon as the track hits the 25 second mark, I feel they come into their style, complimented with a simple yet heart pounding beat. ‘Space Candy’ then changes up it yet again by adding a upbeat, going into a hugely funky bassline. It then ends in what is the general way to finish final tracks of album; with a slow, soft & sublime outro with warm, soothing keys. What I liked about ‘Bloop Arms’ is mainly down to ‘Space Candy’ making everything work with the beat. The arpeggio, bassline & even samples melded wonderfully with groove, with nothing was changed too much with the rhythm.

In terms of direction, ‘Soft Circles’ is completely different when compared to ‘Space Candy’s’ previous album. ‘Forest’ felt more experimental in its use of grooves & rhythm, but ‘Soft Circles’ feels more accessible as an album, with the beat easier to pick up. ‘Soft Circles’ is a welcome addition to my long Bandcamp catalogue and I look forward to they bring next time.

 ~ Space Candy ~ 

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 ^^ Deskpop ^^ 
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Pain Perdu – Nouvelle Lune

This is week to try and keep up with the weekly reviews, here’s an album from the highly hyped duo, ‘Pain Perdu’. I’ve been following ‘Pain Perdu’ for a while now, ever since they came onto the ‘Chipwin boards’ offering help with ‘LSDJ’ as well as having delightful discussions. Their first epic release was last year on the ‘Chiptunes=win compilation vol.5′, with ‘Artefact’ and showed some mesmerising programming as well as unique jams only seen from a few artists. It also comes as no surprise that ‘Cheap Beats‘ is helping to releases Pain Perdu’s 1st album!

So it is a real pleasure to jump right into what is probably one of this years best albums; ‘Nouvelle Lune’.

There’s a huge pick of choice tracks on, however I have to start with, ‘Tournesol’. It begins with some great use of arpeggios & a needling lead which quickly transcends into a powerful sequence of chords, before going into probably one of the best hooks off the album. Words cannot describe how gut punching it is to hear; it almost sounds like the track has just gone around the world at the speed of light, only to smack you square in the jaw. Quite powerful indeed. I also can’t forget to mention the unique & almost carousel like sequence; it’s rolling feel & arpeggios running up and down the board. Whilst not the most danciest (the change in pace sees to that) ‘Tournesol’ has a lot of character, namely through it’s melody work, chords & structure.

‘Balsamique’ is the final track (aside from the remixes) from Pain Perdu, and it’s big one, through its vastly strong leads which are 100% solid from start to finish. The energy is constantly pushed around and flowing, from 0:00, 0:35, 1:15, 1:35 and onwards till finish. Those points were probably the parts that hit me the most, with the best bit 2:15, when a fill of breakbeats enter the ring, providing a fantastic and breakdown into the next part.

Nouvelle Lune is a fantastic album to break out with and from a duo who have already shown what they’re made of! However I doubt this will be the their best material, and I’m expecting even better things to come in the future of Pain Perdu.

 ~ Pain Perdu ~ 

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I’m finally back from my holiday from Japan, and this time it’s EP called, ‘RUN DCPM’ from ‘2A0X’ (AKA Henry Homesweet). Henry has been quite busy this year having already released a 4 track album under the moniker, ‘TRUTHR‘, experimenting using the C64. ‘RUN DCPM’ is the 3rd album Henry has released under the name, ‘2A0X’, and it continues the same style heard in, ‘Ambush’, using the sublime ‘midines’ and cool ‘TR-808’.

This unique style can be immediately identified whilst listening to the opening track, ‘RUN DCPM’. It’s literally almost synonymous with Ambush, as it’s borrows a lot of sounds and parts from the track, ‘$4020’. Even the tempo & drum patterns is pretty similar. The song however is just as creative, bringing an array of rhythmic arpeggios, subtle samples and electro vibes to the table. It almost feels like a more hardcore version of fatboy slim’s earlier work, through the clever use of programming on more than one part. There’s also no easy structure leading the way, allowing ‘RUN DCPM’ to be its own track.

Another fantastic track to listen to is the 3rd song, ‘Midnight Commander’ which a lot more progressive than the opener, featuring more of a focus on the sounds of TR-808, with the snares & symbols leading the forefront (The toms were also a close favourite, especially during the chorus). Lately, I’ve been really digging the unique sounds of the TR-808, so hearing one meld perfectly with the soundchip of the NES is very much welcome. Instead of attacking the ears like ‘RUN DCPM’ did, the NES sounds are instead more laid back and are used more as leads & effects that ripple & pulsate throughout.

Although ‘RUN DCPM’ doesn’t have the same impact as ‘Ambush’ did, it’s very well made album that shows 20AX/Henry Homesweet can utilise almost any console he can get his hands on; be it a Gameboy Advance, a NES or a C64.

 ~ 20AX / Henryhomesweet ~ 
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Windows彡96 – Plume Valley

Here’s something that’s quite outside my usual means of music. Whilst not staple gameboy chiptune, the essence of the Snes is captured perfectly in soundfonts & midi, along with every aspect of chill & vaporwave. Windows彡96 is an experimental vaporwave artist from Sao Paulo and relentlessly makes electronic music whilst keeping it sounding fresh. I’ve been following Windows彡96 for a little while now, ever since I found some of their music on Business Casual. However, it’s because of their dabbling into the chiptune genre they got my attention, namely through the album, ‘Plume Valley’.

Getting straight into the review, the opening track, ‘Yujia Forest’, sums the entire style for what’s to come in ‘Plume Valley’; Soulful, Chilled out, Minimalistic but full of passion & wonder. It begins fantastically through the use of bright & tinny sounding drums, using some light delay, whilst whimsical keys are played underneath. That’s when the staple horns of vaporwave are played, but not as to rely on them too much (they are in the track for about 20 seconds. The minimalistic style is more focused upon, and is one that ‘Windows彡96’ achieves, building upon sounds & instruments strengths throughout. The only thing absent from the ‘Yujia Forest’ is the bass, which is used very sparing. This allows the song to flow freely, not allow a beat to form that would disrupt the mood.

Although ‘Yujia Forest’ was a great opening, The third track, ‘Kylin Forest’ is a more prominent, albeit only just a little. ‘Kylin Forest’ is different namely in Windows彡96’s creative use of drums, using a mixture of bright, hard snares & toms, as well as one electronic snare thrown in for good measure. The drums don’t just stop there though; ‘Windows彡96’ rolls out some killer fills as well, almost sounding like they’ve come straight out Phil Collins song, ‘In The Air Tonight’. Apart from the percussion, ‘Kylin Forest’ is also much more melodic in its leads & tune, utilising a variety of different instruments, from Peruvian Flutes to wet clavs. All in all, ‘Kylin Forest’ is an uplifting & spiritual song that out does ‘Yujia Forest’ in very aspect.

I found Plume Valley very enlightening and great addition to my bandcamp collection & probably one of the most chilled albums I have to date. Although I came across ‘Plume Valley’ by chance, it will be one of my go-to albums for my holiday to Japan next week!

 ~ Windows彡96 ~ 

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