Capital Steps - I'm Not Listening album review

Matthew Kenall, better known as Capital Steps, was kind enough to send over an advance copy of the soon to be released album I'm Not Listening from Go Midnight Records. The album is set for release on April 10th of this year.

Matthew Kenall is a Seattle, WA native who has been creating 8-bit music for several years. He began performing very involved sets as Capital Steps in 2005 and has been doing so ever since. He creates his music using several gameboys running 3 different versions of nanoloop. He even talks to the crowd with a type and speak during concerts to create an even more retro experience for fans. Capital Steps has also been an organizer of chpitune shows in his area lately, and has even opened for nerdcore act MC Chris. Enough about the man though, Let's get into the album!

The album is a mix of catchy dance music rhythms and easily recognizable gameboy-synth sounds. The album will remind one of traveling through any of their favorite classic gameboy games, and at the same time sound completely modern and able to stand out all on it's own.

The first track, Barbara, starts off with music that can be attributed to a gameboy game, but that notion quickly disappears as the bass comes in, then the intro builds up slowly until it finds itself in the middle of a bass fueled dance song. The song ends with a hypnotic outro, then, like any good dance album, dives right into the next song. Broke Toe starts off with a disparate intro that gives way to the true rhythm of the song about 15 seconds in, where the song is kicked off with a rapid fire lo-fi drumroll. The songs all lead into one another quite nicely, and all have a nice catchy rythm. A particularly notable track amongst the goodness is the song Sure, Sure, Sure which has a most beautiful riff come in about two minutes through the song, and uses the melody again to make a very memorable outro.

My personal favorites are the tracks that have a bit of a harder edge on them such as the songs Real Classy and the excellent ending song Who Can Say?. The final track Who Can Say? comes right on the heels of the forementioned song Sure, Sure, Sure, and with the driven intro to this final song you know this is quite a different song from the one preceding it. The song is one of the most intricate sounding on the album. Just past the half way mark begins this ever building rhythm that seems to find a happy plateu, just to have everything come crashing down at the end which closes the album with a very well done and memorable finale.

The art direction is also well done (as seen on the shot at the beginning of the article), with a classy black and white style and gun's symbolizing the "L's" that reminds me of Reservoir Dogs if they really enjoyed Gameboys.

(That's money he's throwing.)

Though I may just be unaware of the truly mob lifestyle of the gameboy musician, and these pictures are actually depictions of true behind the scenes chiptune goings on.

All in all the album is a great one for anyone who likes music that is lo-fi, minimalist, dance, synth, micro, or, of course, gameboy and chiptune. You can find out more about Capital Steps, and even hear some of his forthcoming music from the album at myspace.com/capitalsteps or check out his bio at gomidnightrecords.com.