Bandcamp find: Chipzel

My experience with the chiptune genre is pretty limited. I think the only music I had really listened to before now, besides actual “chiptunes” back in the day on old console and computer games, was the chiptune version of Nine Inch Nail’s Pretty Hate Machine, Inverse Phase’s Pretty Eight Machine. I think I was browsing the bestsellers on Bandcamp when I came across Chipzel‘s chiptune album for the popular rogue-like game Crypt of the NecroDancer, Chipped of the NecroDancer. While I enjoyed that album very much, it was listening to the rest of her catalog that I kept coming back to the album/soundtrack¬†Interstellaria. As blasphemous as it sounds, I really like this album because the chiptunes sound is not quite as in your face, and the other work Chipzel has put into this album makes for quite an experience.

Monochrome

A little less than a year after Klayton’s synthwave debut, Scandroid returns with its sophomore release¬†Monochrome. If you’re a fan of the debut album, you’ll be pretty happy with this release. I can’t say you’ll find much growth and evolution on this album, and it is definitely still on the upbeat and peppy side of synthwave, which is by no means a bad thing. The standout track for me is certainly Rendezvous; it is dripping with sexy synth sounds, whispering female vocal accents, and a pulsing drum track. Covers for Thriller and Star Wars are OK but I’m not the biggest fan. Overall this is a solid release for Scandroid, but I hope the next album takes a little longer and we get something just a little more evolved.

The Space Tapes

Syntax is back with his fourth release, The Space Tapes. I am a huge fan of his first two releases, while the third just didn’t wow me. I admittedly had high expectations, and I also think it was just a little too similar to what he had done before. Well, what a difference a year and a half makes! Now this is still Syntax, so you’re gonna hear his signature sounds. But in contrast to his third release, on The Space Tapes we get a bit more evolution, and on a few tracks there’s even a bit more “soul” (as much as you may think electronic music can have and/or evoke). The highlight has to be Bellatrix, a collaboration with Droid Bishop. The album is reasonably-priced at $10, and that’s for 19(!) tracks.

Devil Electric

As much as I like doom, I’ve come to realize that I really like old-school doom, which is basically what Black Sabbath gave birth to. Blues-based and adding a bit of psychedelic rock, that is the sound that I really like. Modern doom, with few exceptions, is not what I’m really into. It’s gotten too much with excess down-tuning, incomprehensible vocals, and more that has driven me more to actual psychedelic rock, which can still have a heavier edge. One of those bands is Australia’s Devil Electric. After their debut EP came out in June 2016, they have recently released their self-titled debut album. I think I’ve already stated my affinity for female vocals, and with this music it fits in beautifully, having those angelic mid-highs and highs soaring over the great fuzzed guitars and booming bass. It would be hard not to compare them to Ruby the Hatchet, but I’ll say that I’m hearing a bit more guitar and heavier sound overall. That’s not meant to slight Ruby the Hatchet at all! It’s just a variant in their sounds, and that’s a good thing; if they were the same, I’d have no reason to write this entry. I’m very happy I discovered Devil Electric, and I really look forward to digging more into this genre and finding more new bands.

Thangorodrim

I am very new to the genre of dungeon synth. The little bit I have listened to reminds me of Glen Danzig’s Black Aria, with its sombre tones and almost choking atmosphere. That’s not to say all dungeon synth is like that. One of the albums that I’ve had on rotation quite a bit is Thangorodrim’s Gil-Estel. While there are still some signature undertones of possible danger, this album has lightened up just a little bit, and it makes it that much more versatile as both a listening experience and practical background music for an RPG session, writing, or anything else. For more information on dungeon synth, check out this article on Bandcamp.