3-Way Split Album Review

The fantastic netlabel Pterodactyl Squad has released it's fifteenth album to the masses. And for such an event the album is a split between not two, but three amazing artists. The title is simply named 3-Way Split and is available for free download on the Pte Squad release page.

Anyway, Jephso asked me if I would be kind enough to review the album, and so here I am. The album is a fast and fun romp through three different but excellent chiptune styles brought to us by Arcadecoma, Seal of Quality, and L'Homme Manete. The journey through this album is only 20 minutes long and at 9 songs moves very quickly, but still covers a lot of ground and is a great listen. Let us get into the meat of the review now!

Arcadecoma kicks off the album with Ballad of Baldur Bett, a fun track that combines nice gameboy sounding effects and fuzzy melodies into a catchy opener. The track shifts gears a tiny bit in the latter half but remains just as catchy, then ends a bit abruptly, leaving you wanting more. Luckily Arcadecoma delivers more with his second track Mr. Zipper. This song kicks off with a but of a start stop style beat, which gives way to a reflective and nostalgic style song. The final piece by Arcadecoma, and the third track on the album is The View From Space, and does have a bit of standing at the top of a skyscraper feel to it. It's another soft and relaxing track and an excellent end to Arcadecoma's opening to the album.

In these three songs Arcadecoma really shows his skill for making simple tunes that are catchy yet have a good bit of emotion behind them as well. All his tracks have a dirty lo fi style, and are relaxing and well built. An amazing way to open the album as well, with the fuzzy lo fi tones that lead well into L'Homme Manete's robotic tunes.

L'Homme Manete sets off his piece of the album with some crazy robo talk noises, which begins the first piece by him known as End of Sagas. This song is a quick and jumpy travel through space. With lots of clean sounds and a few complicated riffs running around the track. The track closes with a solid ending as if the story this song could be accompanying just came to a close. you can definitely tell when the artists change on the album thanks to the very different styles of L'Homme Manete and Arcadecoma. The next track is Honor The Stew, and kicks off with an aggressive intro. This builds up until about 20 seconds in when a punchy second piece jumps into the song. This song is for those who love glitchy breaks in their chiptunes, but the track shifts to a speedy tune suitable for something like F-Zero, but then changes up one more time in the closing into a spirally end. The final track by L'Homme Manete is Saloon Credits, which is the lengthiest song on the album, clocking in at 3 minutes flat. The song continues Manete's trend of fast complicated tunes suitable for any futuristic sci-fi game imaginable. The song kicks off hard and drives another building intro, until about 30 seconds in when the song shifts into something a little cleaner, and breaks in some mini chiptune solos and strong rocking choruses and even more solos. This is possibly the most rocking song on the album.

From L'Homme Manete we move to Seal of Quality. Another top notch artist who fits right in with the other two on this album. His opening tune, Noise Conductor, starts off with a lengthy and slow intro, but breaks out into a catchy upbeat tune. The chorus is particularly amazing with the effects and vocals. This all eventually leads to a crazy high energy outro. Next up is a song simply called P. A short sweet tune, akin to an acoustic love song in chiptune form. With a nice guitar intro and some more lo fi drum sounds. Accompanied by more of SoQ's soothing synthy vocals. This song is very short but covers a lot of ground, from the soft intro to the hard rocking guitar solo at the end. The song leads right into the final song from the album. Impossible! This is both the name of the song and the feeling you have when you realize the album is almost over. This song kicks off with some wild guitar and chiptune interplay over some quick punk rock style drum sounds. Of course the vocals add a lot to this track as well, utilizing both synth and straightforward vocals to good effect together. The track closes the same way it opened with lots of energy. And this track also finishes off the entire album.

This album brought together three amazing chiptune musicians, yet none of the three had I ever associated with one another until now. All the artists bring their own distinct styles to the table, but all of them are quality tracks and make for a fantastic introduction to each of these individuals. This collection showcases in three musicians the differing styles of where chiptune music is at now and is going in the future. This album is also a fine example that chiptune music doesn't all sound the same, nor is it devoid of fun, energy, and emotion.

Be sure to check out the album from Pterodactyl Squad, not to mention ArcadeComa, L'Homme Manete, and Seal of Quality's backlogs of amazing music, which is freely available about the net.