When we think of what sounds make up quality, memorable chiptune albums and songs, the SNES is probably one of the last systems we think about. However, when you think of the most memorable songs from the 16-bit era, the SNES, at least for me, is near the top of the list.
Sleepytimejesse aims to close that discrepancy with Spacious Anxious, which he describes as a “first-person space odyssey; episodes of awe and agoraphobia.” If you recently picked up Chiptune = Win vol 2, you heard his stand-out track, Riparian Woodlands, arguably the quietest song on the entire compilation, this delicate track recalled the mystical feeling of every 16-bit RPG you ever played. He’s also the author of the massive, Earthbound Soundfont. To my knowledge, it’s the most extensive SNES soundfont out there.
With Spacious Anxious, we get an album that’s both beautiful and menacing, spacious and claustrophobic, it all depends on the track. Using sounds from the SNES, N64 and GameCube, sleepytimejesse constructs an album that mostly sounds like boss battle music from Super Metroid interspersed with slower, soaring pieces that give you rest from the action and make me think of exploring some sort of foreboding alien temple.
What also sets this album about is the composition influences, it’s not a dance album, so don’t expect that. It’s clear that Radiohead is an influence with the track, “Anthem For A Plutoid”, which sort of sounds like Massive Attack remixed “National Anthem” on an SNES. The heavier tracks also have a bit of chugging Djent converted to 16-bit guitar samples. It’s great to see someone taking a fresh approach to chiptune music, not only with their platform choice but also with their style. Support this excellent effort and pick up a copy.