It’s been a while since I reviewed a Portopak album, but here we are! The last time he was featured was two years during the first start of the ‘Chip Bit Sid’ blog. If you haven’t heard his music, Portopak’s music style is a combination between chiptune & shoegaze music, using a lot of echo on his guitar as well as his voice. For this review I’m looking at his latest single, ‘Bull in the Echo Chamber’. For ‘Portopak’ it’s the first song that’s actually included vocals & lyrics.
The song begins with ‘pulse wave’ arpeggio, running up and down, before going fully fledged into guitar, bass & drums. Whilst the bass & drums are handled by the gameboy, the guitar is fully live, its bright tone masked by wet delay & echo, the sound resonating throughout. This goes on until both the melody & guitar stops, with the bass and percussion going on. At 0.40 Portopak’s vocals kick in and are covered in delay & reverb as like the ‘guitar’. The meaning of the lyrics, the feeling that today’s generation are undoing everything that people have worked hard to build, really struck a chord with me, as I’m going under the same thing at the moment. ‘Bull in an echo chamber’ was a great progression from Portopak’s general style of music, and the inclusion of vocals adds another nuanced level to the song.
As well as ‘Bull in the echo chamber’, there’s another track included in the EP, ‘The unfriendly dreamer’, an instrumental song. Whilst this song doesn’t include any vocals, its music is much more fleshed. The melody is much stronger, the guitar, padded out with so many little different effects, the bass thick and fat, and the drums; recorded so well that they come fantastically crisp. Some of the melody is also coupled with guitar, providing an added emphasis on the sound ‘Portopak’ is trying to achieve. It’s something you don’t usually hear in the chiptune and an intreresting coupling, rather than the traditional pulse & wave being put together. ‘The unfriendly dreamer’ is a nice finisher for the EP to end with and the progressive structure between the guitar & chipmusic, beautifully balanced.
‘Bull in the echo chamber’ was a nice short EP to review and it was a welcoming to listen to Portopak again, after so long since the last review. ‘Bull in an echo chamber is available to buy to as a cassette’. Check it out in the link: https://portopak.bandcamp.com/track/bull-inside-the-echo-chamber
~ Portopak ~
It’s been a while since I last posted a review, and another we only have Two weeks left until Chip Bit Day 18 starts! This years event will be a lot more different as we’ll be including various monitors hooked up to the visuals, glow sticks and tons more LED balloons! Tickets are quickly being sold, so click below to get yours now!
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