STU – Escape / Return


This week I’m looking back on an small EP I missed out on during December/January from the artist known as, ‘STU’. ‘Escape / Return’ is a wonderful dancey album, released alongside ‘Bleepstreet’ and solely consists of two songs, ‘Escape’ &  ‘Return’. For context on ‘STU’, he is an old skool chiptuner from Basel, Switzerland, who specialises in utilising various old modified computers, one being his prized Atari ST. Looking at his style, ‘STU’ focuses on making Dance infused arrangements, instead of producing the usual staple VGM known from chiptune. ‘STU’ has been active for well over 10 years, creating a variety of eclectic beats.

As this is a 2 track EP, I’ll be reviewing both songs instead of picking one and focussing on it. ‘STU’ describes the EP as something that catapulted off into space, only to fall back down in form as a 7 inch vinyl. We start off with the first track, ‘Escape’. It kicks off with a superb rising introduction which is then brought to life by some rhythmic arpeggios, serving as the hook of ‘Escape.’ The sense of sound that is brought here reminds me to that of Henry Homesweet’s album, ‘Luke’s Atari’, which actually also uses the same sound chip. ‘Escape’ also uses some aggressive sawtoothed synths, which are then brought to life through LFO, Cut Off and Filter. The sounds really remind me of the TB-303, due to the excessive use of the Cut Off and acid style it produces.

‘Escape’ really comes into its element at ‘2:16’ where ‘STU’ bring a variety of musical layers to the table. we firstly have an aggressive synth whilst simultaneously being oscillated. We then also hear the staple arpeggio chords, used sparingly as staccato rhythm when required.

Whilst ‘Escape’ has an accessible beat the opposite can be said for ‘Return’. It starts off with a rather peculiar beat, almost sounding as if the song is actually backwards. As ‘Return’ builds up we then has some hard & dirty synths; a bass that is a sharp as nails and melodies that wiggle and wobble rather funkily. Although ‘Return’ is a lot shorter than ‘Escape’, it makes up for this by having some really memorable parts. A good example can be seen at ‘1:47’ where we have aforementioned wobble melody. This part takes the lead as the heaviest sound off STU’s two track album.

I really had fun taking and listening to ‘Escape/Return’ by STU. Whilst it was only two tracks, I felt it was enough to warrant looking further into STU’s music catalogue. This ended with me buying his latest album on cassette, ‘Atari Worx 2003-2008’.

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