Monday night, the world got to hear 51 brand new chiptune songs for the first time on the 8bitX 8-bit Power Hour. Out of 146 different artist submissions, these colorful tracks made the cut. The listening party was well attended, not only by fans but by a huge collection of the artists as well. This review is actually going to talk about EVERY SINGLE TRACK!
It was clear by the reaction in the chat to every new track that there was not a bad song on this compilation. They’re all incredible upbeat and unique. Obviously a lot of time went into each and every one of them.
There is a huge amount of variety on this release. Talkboy, SubPixel and Apoc all contributed excellent Famitracker songs. There are also some great Genesis-styled FM Synth tracks from Snooglebum, Jameson Sutton and The Flight Away really bring back some Sonic the Hedgehog nostalgia for me.
What I was really impressed with are the LSDJ tracks. The Gameboy has become the most common chiptune instrument. That’s not a bad thing, but on some compilation tracks, the LSDJ tracks are often the weak links. That’s not the case here. Every LSDJ track stands out and holds its own. Auxcide and Zef both contribute totally epic LSDJx2 songs as well.
The slower tracks really stand out as well, sleepytimejesse’s SNES inspired Riparian Woodland, Viciosul SID’s and Foil Variant’s tracks also provide a nice break from the constant thump of awesomeness without sacrificing a moment of quality.
I really like how a lot of people are using new tools to create the classic sounds. I know some won’t agree, but I see this as a good thing. It keeps things fresh. No new synth is going to exactly match the NES or the DMG, but this adds new dimensions to the classic elements we all know and love. There is nothing here that suffers due to the fact it was created in a DAWs and not on hardware or a tracker.
I normally highlight just a few tracks when I review a compilation, and usually when I buy one, I end up deleting a few songs that just don’t do it for me. This is not the case with Chiptunes = Win Vol 2. There really is not a bad track on this entire album.
So I’m going to do something crazy and write a small review of every song on the whole thing (except my own, because that’s just tacky). Read on to get a quick look at each track!
Starpilot – Just The Right Amount of Whelm – A great way to start out the album and set the pace for the awesomeness to come.
Theory of N – Buttdawg Funk – Definitely the funkiest thing on the album, reminds me of a Sonic hedgehog track in all the right ways!
Petriform – Heliofluid – Brimming over with energy, captures tons of great classic video game feelings in a shimmering NES remix type track.
Mark TDK Knight – Hoovering With A Hangover – This one sounds like it came straight out of a classic NES Megaman cart. More for it’s melodies than its excellent sounds.
The One Electronic – ♥∞ – The first LSDj track on the album and it does not disappoint, bubbly and happy with just the right amount of craziness.
Monomer – Dastardly Deeds – Oh man those crazy gliss notes in the solo toward the end are just amazing.
505 – Dataride – Love the way this one builds up and then takes off. Last 30 seconds are just awesome.
James Landino – Blue (Cutman Mix) – Cutman adds his great thump to this soaring dance track.
Twistboy – Springs – Another great LSDj track. Avoids the usual clichés and keeps things interesting and fresh. I love all those microscopic sounds that pop in and out.
Vince Kaichan – Iskloo Dandruff – A very nice LSDj track that reminds me more of a demoscene piece than the more standard LSDj stuff. That’s a compliment!
Zackery Wilson – Aint Got Time To Bleep – This song does not take a break! There are more changes and breaks than you hear in 5 normal songs. You gotta love the attention to detail.
Sleepytimejesse – Riparian Woodland – A welcome respite from all the action! One of the lone SNES-based tracks on the album. This captures the amazing Secret of Evermore sounds of 16-bit RPG era. Someone in chat said, “This is the song that plays in every town before it gets destroyed.”
Joshua Morse – SNES meets the Genesis with this FM Synthesis heavy piece that’s jazzy and fun and has Josh’s signature sound all over it.
Square Therapy – Miracle Max & The Cliffs of Insanity – This is my new heroic, jogging like a maniac theme track! Great combination of an LSDj track augmented with some great synths.
Auxcide – Realms – The longest track on the album, but you really won’t notice. Replete with tempo changes, breakdowns and all kinds of great LSDJ x 2 that of course have that dark moody sound that Auxcide is loved for!
ArcticMetal – Distress Signal – Crunchy Gameboy goodness with a nice breakdown and an all around great sound.
Phonetic Hero – SUPER MANLY BROS X – Love the SNES synth-rock sound here. It’s like every Megaman X and Street Fighter track you know and love! Had me air guitar chugging.
Zef – Onyx – Zef delivers a quality track that you’d expect from him. I love what happens around 2:35 mark too! I have a hard time believing this is just two Gameboys!
S.P.R.Y. – Face Nation: A Nation of Faces – A Solid LSDj plus some effects. Love those beats and the ending!
Snooglebum – Silverfish Riot – Lots of classic Sega bass sounds here couples with some great 8-bit sounds. Gets you slow head-banging.
Masikus – Miami Lights – Epic atmospheric chip reggae. Why isn’t there more chiptune reggae!
YZYX – Gravity Distortion – Pretty sure this has the highest bpm of anything on that album. It’s a gabber spaz out that actually works great and never crosses the line into becoming annoying.
Dreamscar – Another slow track to let you catch your breath. Best use of arps on the album in my opinion.
Mr. Foetus – DEADPAN DA – A nice down-tempo piece with some great melodies. Love this sort of softer section of the second half.
Brick Brker – Infinite Overdrive – Love that key change near the end, really brings the melodies out.
Jameson Sutton – My Pet Hedgehog Jamayma – Lots going on in this Sega-inspired track. There are so many changes, it keeps you guessing on what’s coming next.
Laffe the Fox – Sloth Machines – This slower tempo’d track still rocks out and keeps a steady thumping rhythm going throughout. Very smooth synths here!
King Keytan – Mystic Gear – A low and crunchy LSDj track with some excellent flavors, I really love the last minute best.
Joseph Eidson – The Sea Will Bleach Bones – Love the way this one builds and finally takes off. Great mood in these melodies too.
Buskerdroid – NU (SUMMER) – This would make the best boss battle song ever, love the intro too. Excellent full sound for a LSDJx1 track.
Decktonic – NEStonic – Bouncy and spacey and just generally awesome.
The Flight Away – Take A Look – Another brilliant sega-emo song from Flight Away. Really like the vocals on this one.
Dire Hit – Reasons – This dubsteppy piece gets credit for keeping things interesting. Love that bass!
Ayoshutduff – By the Bit – Amazing mood on this one! Makes me think of someone preparing for an epic quest.
Talkboy Arcade – The Longest Distance – A great famitracker piece that reminds us just how awesome the NES’s sound chip really is.
subPixel – Tiny Fungi – The shortest track on the album, but a good one. Another great famitracker track with some gorgeous effects. Love those little decaying notes.
SSD Engage – Floating Space Toast Void – I’m a huge fan of SSD Engage and this track does not disappoint. Brilliant use of chip sounds with effects to create a great airy atmosphere on this one.
Ryuno – Wub Dub De Club – A nice chill-step dubby piece that will definitely go on my ‘programming background music’ playlist. Nice melodies and arps too.
Pieces of Eight – Rescue Drama – So eighties!! It would be a good theme song for almost any exciting show or video game. Some awesome arps around 1:30.
Nestrogen – Torpedophile of Wonder and Joy – A fun, bouncy, arp-filled adventure full of some wonderful echoing sounds.
National Boradcast Network – Guantanamo-A-Go-Go – Punk rock vocoder adventures! Love that bass and guitar.
Viciosul SID – The slower pieces really stand out on this album. I think this would be the perfect song to wake up to in the morning.
The Syntax Sin Tax – Shadow Mainframe – Another great LSDj track that sounds like it comes out of Gameboy shooter. Excellent melodies and very full sound here, especially toward the end.
DjjD – Journey Through Galaxies – DjjD has been around doing remixes for a while now, and this track is a nice Sega/SNES-ish original that has a great vibe.
Ap0c – Under the Moon – An audio assault of 8-bit drums backs some solid melodies and a great mood on this Famitracker piece.
Ethan Rex – Drop -[GUN], Equip – [COOKIES] – My favorite song title on the whole thing. Let us all put down our weapons and solve our problems with Cookies to this peaceful anthem!
Weird Bananas – Prom Fight – This Famitracker tune is backed by live drums and guitars, but they don’t detract from the expert use of NES sounds.
Kommisar – Atomic Jill – I remember Kommisar from his stand out track on the Midwest Comp. This one delivers as well. Excellent full sounding 1xLSDj track with great bass and those awesome little Megaman II solo bits!
Vegas Diamond – Horus – A trippy beginning coalesces into a beautiful and slightly erie soundscape ending.
PROTODOME – FM Galactic Girl – It’s the ending of every NES game captured in one song! And a great way to close out the album.