Zio and TEH LOLZ - Chemicaldyne & Subfusion: Ice Light Army remasters, Face Stomper album release

There are lots of LOLZ happening in the land of Concatenation Records. Looks like chiptune composer and The Shizz regular Zio and TEH LOLZ has been hard at work getting his albums out to the world. We begin our journey with their first release...

Released back in the ancient times of 2008, Chemicaldyne is a short EP of chiptune video game remixes from some obscure titles such as Chex Quest, and The Itchy and Scratchy game. There is also more well known fair such as the amazing cover of Donkey Kong Country">Industrial Fear. This track recreates DKC in the style of an ominous NES beat em up. There is also the much liked but rarely rearranged Mega Man Zero. Oasis of Sand is Zio's rendition of the Scorching Desert theme from this GBA classic. Another ominous tone mixed with some pulsating beats combine to give a dry desert feel. Listening to this song, it's easy to imagine looking around and seeing nothing but a sea of sand as far as one can see in every direction.

Chemicaldyne is a short EP of chiptune video game remixes from some obscure titles such as Chex Quest, and The Itchy and Scratchy game. There is also more well known fair such as the amazing cover of Donkey Kong Country. Through out the EP's 15 minutes you are taken to an ominous world of video game re-enactments and re-imaginings that are both dark and surprisingly melodic. You can grab the remasters of this album over at the Chemicaldyne page on Concatenation Records

Now we come to an album that hasn't been remastered (having been ably mastered by Shawn Phase of Temp Sound Solutions). Face Stomper. Starting up the first track, Face Stomper, of this eleven song album will take some hard rocking chiptunes and shove them right down your ears. From here we are lead into the somber tones of The Event. This is a listless track that creates a tense mood of unease and loneliness. Imagine if you were walking down an empty stretch of highway with not another soul or vehicle along this seemingly endless path, and this song would be the soundtrack playing in the background to that mood.

We skip ahead a few tracks now to the thumping rhythms of Pressure Vessel. This would fit in as a great boss fight track on any classic NES game. Most likely from some type of airborne villain that comes swooping in at you as you dodge and try to get in that perfect position to aim and attack. A few tunes later we come to the penultimate track Staff Roll, which is one of the most foreboding Staff Rolls I have yet to hear. This track doesn't let up on the dark moods of the album, making you even consider if defeating the game was the best course of action. Then the Game Over music, Failure, because apparently you just went from Face Stomper, to Face Stompee. Unfortunate.

You can grab this album either via MP3 or now in CD form (I got mine yesterday) over at the Face Stomper page at Concatenation Records.

Next up we have what I think is my personal favorite ZoTL album, Subfusion: Ice Light Army. Things start off in 1645 with a solemn Gregorian chant like intro. This leads into the driving tune A Fate So Errant, an energy filled and surprisingly upbeat track from a musician who names an album Face Stomper.

A few tracks forward we get to one of my particular favorite tracks Omnidemon. This desperate and dark track takes a slow approach of impending doom that makes things feel less like the boss fight that the title implies, but rather a battle you are clearly destined to lose. Following this up is the awesomely titled Pain Engine Sun, another ominous track that creates an atmosphere of cavernous ice tunnels and ever incoming enemies that can only exist in the cold, dark world that the Ice Light Army has invaded. Now at this point, I simply have to stress that this album has some of the coolest song titles ever. Each one of them is simple but intriguing and basically totally awesome to read.

Anyway we are on to our two final songs of this short look at the album. We skip ahead to the final two tracks. Giveth Ogre Beam is built in the style of a headbanging end boss battle tune. The hard hitting drums, and heavy chips throw down some angry music to start fights to. You are practically demanding that ogre beam be giveth to you. Now we finish off this album with the final track, and probably my favorite song on this album and maybe ZoTL in general, Spine Gun Annie. We start off with some of that chanting we started the album with, but this mood quickly shifts with a pulsating chip beat that slowly spirals up and envelopes the chanting, giving way to an over the top track. Fast paced chirps, heavy beats, and an over the top mood of fear and adrenaline build this track into a realm of it's own. As if each track preceding this was building up to this final daring showdown. The song bangs shut with an ever piercing sound of toll bells and abrupt halt.

So basically this album is awesome in a ton of ways, and I highly recommend it. Now that this post is completed, I think it is interesting to look back at all the music of Zio and TEH LOLZ over the years in one sitting. It is interesting to see how the writing style has changed and how he has found his niche of incredible dark and solemn, but still driving and catchy tunes. I think that style has been very much mastered in the Subfusion: Ice Light Army album. Although who knows, he may just take another significant leap forward upon the release of his next album, and I personally can't wait to see if he does.

You can grab a free download of Subfusion: Ice Light Army at the Concatenation Records Page.

A Chip off the Shizz Block, Volume One compilation release

Netlabel Concatenation Records is back with a new all star compilation of artists from The Shizz Minibosses boards. That album is an indescribably epic 25 track collection of chiptune music brought to you by the dozens of incredible musicians who inhabit The Shizz, and goes by the quite clever name of A Chip off the Shizz Block. As with some prior releases, A Chip Off the Shizz Block is another compilation that is using all donations to contribute toward the MAGFest fund to help many a shizzie make their way to the hallowed halls of MAGFest this January.

The album is available in both digital as well as physical form. The 320kbps MP3 files will run you a minimum $5 donation, whilst the fancy pressed copy will only set you back a meager $8 ($9 Canada, $10 Worldwide). Oh man that's about 32 cents per song! Let's see iTunes beat that price! Not to mention that they are all quality arrangements. From Shnabubula's jazz infused Virtigo to Alex Mauer's fast paced I Guess Your Face Fell Off. Not to mention temp sound solutions' grimey A New Dawn, and even chiptune star Neil Baldwin with his adventurous tune Trapped. That is just a mere handful of the quality tracks on display here. I plan on discussing them in greater length soon as this is an impressive album which I would certainly like to expound on further.

Finally, I hope you are sufficiently prepared to have your own face fall off at the amazing full track list I am including below!

01. MetalBishop - Famiclone Beatdown
02. M-H - Welcome To...
03. Mystic Nova - Fury of the Cyborg
04. bucky - The Exorcist (Final Area BGM)
05. Disasterphase - Ascend
06. temp sound solutions - A New Dawn
07. virt - Turbonugget
08. Wizwars - Fly Away
09. Phlogiston - I Was in the War, Damnit!
10. Zio and TEH LOLZ - Soul Snob
11. Norrin Radd - A Barrage of Hostile Abstractions
12. Alex Mauer - I Guess Your Face Fell Off
13. cacomistle - Blue, Brown, Pink, Grey
14. Alex Atchley - RUFFTRADE
15. Bit_Rat - Sunbeam
16. Prizmatic Spray - Desert Dilemma
17. temp sound solutions - Psionic Blast
18. RushJet1 - Boss9
19. Norrin Radd - Paradoxes Are Unveiled
20. Bit_Rat - Gimmick
21. Mystic Nova - Aerosaga
22. optomon - Hysteria
23. Shnabubula - virtigo
24. Neil Baldwin - Trapped
25. virt - Sorcerors Battle

Concatenation Records album releases - Nevar Say Die volumes 1 and 2, The Wonderful World of Willow

A place I have rarely mentioned until now, a wonderful, magical place that helps dreams come true (well if your dream is to get help for going to MAGFest at least). Anyway, this place is known as Concatenation Records and is home to many great releases. A few I am highlighting here as a crash course in the website with the following releases.

From a collection of the best minds in video game inspired music, all concentrated in the pure awesomeness of The Shizz Minibosses boards comes Nevar Say Die! Compilation, Volume One. Released October 9th, 2007 for $5 to get hopeful shizzies out to MAGFest, the album boasts impressive original tunes and incredible video game covers from the endless talent in the minibosses boards community. The album is still available now to continue providing money for the ever helpful Shizzie MAGFest Fund. Check out the incredible list of artists below over the 19 tracks. Still an incredible buy even today.

01. xoc - Magic Johnson's Fast Break
02. Wizards and Warriors (featuring Spamtr0n) - Grim Bleeper
03. Ashane - Cyrinite
04. Spamtr0n - Water Dripping in the Metvl Cave
05. Temp Sound Solutions - Room Temperature
06. Disasterpeace - Death Satellite Evasion
07. TheoConfidor - Into the Depths
08. Mustin - Serenity (Final Fantasy VII)
09. pingosimon - Metroid Symphony (performed by the San Diego State University Orchestra)
10. Phlogiston - Ture and Yoru
11. atomic-guy - Double Dip
12. The OneUps - Bomberman
13. M-H - Blue Knight of Ballacetine
14. Kodiak Attack - Motörbear
15. Metalbishop - FPS
16. weener and Tender Lad - Battleaxe Babes
17. ansgaros - How?
18. mercatfat - That's So Ironic!
19. Temp Sound Solutions - Rotten Fruit Msgboard Apology

On November 4th, 2008, just about one year after the initial release, Concatenation brought us Nevar Say Die! Compilation, Volume Two. This time compiling 17 tracks of refined shizzery for the same goal of getting people out to MAGFest, we see a lot of new additions along with old favorites and staples of the community contributing incredible works. Available as Either a $5 download or $8-10 for a ritzy pressed copy of the amazing album (I have my copy by the way). Once again check out the tracks below and get prepared, as Nevar Say Die 3 is on it's way soon!

01. neu cetera - Never Say Die (Outsourcing My Use of Profos)
02. ansgaros - Dolls' Night
03. small child david - TranceSexual
04. The Sticky Situation - Nice Graphics
05. Temp Sound Solutions - All I've Got, I Had to Steal
06. Cyanidic Rapture - Cold Open
07. Brian and Josiah Tobin - Transmission
08. Kevin Hagge - Breakdown
09. TheoConfidor - Ensis Obitus
10. M-H - Union Alpha
11. Analog Wizards - Master Blaster
12. The Tendonites - Paradijs bij het Köttfärslimpa
13. streifig - Honey, you ate the onion pie again, didn't you?
14. cacomistle - The Funnyz
15. weener and Tender Lad - The Ferryman
16. XMark - Cyanide Overdose
17. Vegeroth & Battlerager - Nevar Say Die

Our final album started as a humble request to bring some Christmas cheer to some kind folks grew into another behemoth collection of stellar work from The Shizz Minibosses community. Taking the amazing, but overlooked soundtrack to the NES game based on the movie Willow, over a dozen artists organized and released The Wonderful World of Willow. This 18 song collection covers the entire soundtrack to Willow, and is amazing whether or not you are familiar with that particular games soundtrack. This is also another album which puts money into the MAGFest fund of which I have mentioned many times. Five dollars nets you the 320kbps MP3 files, while a measly $8-10 will hook you up with the full fancy CD Package. Just like the above two, this album features a who's who of amazing VG inpired musical talent and then some.

01. norg - The Journey Begins
02. Cide Projekt - Das Kennwort ist...
03. Mystic Nova - When the Mist Becomes Dew
04. ShawnPhase - Endless Frost
05. TheoConfidor - A Royal Catastrophe
06. Cide Projekt - Kempf
07. Josiah Tobin - Dark Walls
08. Ryan8bit - Put Aside Strife
09. Amaranthine Skies - The Lords of Nockmaar Will Fall
10. NESTERBABIES - Cheef Up the Helium
11. ShinerCCC - Beautiful Lake Cheef
12. Ryan8bit - Zhena, Warwick Princess
13. Battlerager - Another Challenge Yet To Face
14. cacomistle - WILLOW'D
15. ShinerCCC - Corner of Tir Asleen and Sandwich Street
16. Vegeroth - Assaulting the Fort
17. xoc - Xocmaar Castle
18. The Powerful Shizzards - We Willow Ways Remember

I hope that was a sufficient introduction to the many amazing releases from Concatenation Records. Be sure to check them out at concatenationrecords.com and keep an eye on them for new and fresh releases of original and VG inspired works, many of which are free to download!

Quarter Circle Jab - Kickbutt.exe album release and mini review

Fresno, California based rock group Quarter Circle Jab have released a megaton 37 track album! Okay calm down, maybe not really 37 tracks. The free to download, endlessly anticipated, and awesomely titled Kickbutt.exe is actually 7 amazing medleys broken down into different sections.

The 52 minute album kicks off hard with some Street Fighter II. First the title theme, then we get some character select and finally into Ken's theme. The sound effects from the game are also added in accurate key places to add that extra tinge of nostalgia whilst rocking out. Sadly Ken suffers a crushing defeat it seems and we end up at the jazzy RPG shores of the Soul Blazer medley. With plenty of keyboard along with crashing drums and guitars to keep you rocking out as you take on dungeons full of monsters. After Light Shrine brings Soul Blazer to a close we take a step further into the past for Zelda 2! Sound effects are used brilliantly here again to shift between pieces of this hulking medley which busts straight into some Zelda: Link to the Past at the end with a metal rendition of the Hyrule Castle theme.

Once Zelda hits the dust we switch allegiance to that other 16 bit console with some fantastic jazzy upbeat Sonic 2 tunes. This fast paced romp takes us through Casino Night, Mystic Cave, the Special Stage, and finally Chemical Plant which ends the medley on a much more metal note than the piece kicked off on, and shifts from genre to genre very smoothly. Now QCJ hits us with their biggest medley of the album, an intense romp through the many worlds of Final Fantasy. Starting off with a soaring rendition of FF4, which breaks into ominous tones of FF6. We aren't even half way done though as we enter the hard rocking Lava Dome of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, which segues into the bulk of the piece, which is dedicated to some of the overlooked gems of the FF7 soundtrack, with Oppressed People and Cait Sith's Theme making taking a slow very circus like jazz tone until QCJ pulls out all the stops on Still More Fighting. The medley finally comes to a close with the organ fronted fanfare of the FF6 victory theme.

We round out the album with more RPGs, first off the almost Pink Floyd-esque stylings of Lagoon, which take us into some broad sonic territory which builds up to the epic final battle music. This crash lands us in QCJ's Earthbound medley and closing piece of work on the album. with crazy synths, rocking guitars and jazzy tones spaced throughout the song is a fantastic closer and Coffee Break brings the entire album to a close very well.

I have heard of this band many years ago upon my entrance into the VGrock scene back when this site started, and I am glad they have finally released the fantastic album I and many others have been waiting so long for! Remember to download the album via Concatenation Records, and even though the album is free, definitely take the time to leave a little tip in their paypal link.

Temp Sound Solutions - the new era of 8 bit traditionalism album release

Maryland based Temp Sound Solutions, best known for their hard rocking video game covers, have decided to take quite a different approach with their newest release. the new era of 8 bit traditionalism from Concatenation Records is that release. The album mixes chiptune ambience with glitchy chunks of noise and Shawn Phase's signature drumming.

The album is heavy on the experimental side, but is still ambient and quite catchy. As with any TSS album this one comes highly recommended of course. Pay particularly close attention to Shimmy, which is my favorite track from the album at the moment, but all the tracks are so interesting, my favorite song from this new release can change any moment really. Head over and download the 12 track (including one remix from Starpause) album free through this link.

XOC - The Beginning of the End album release

the ever amazing XOC, a game musician's musician if there ever was one, has released an amzing and extremely limited edition album entitled The Beginning of the End. You can order the album from the Concatenation Records page for the very awesome price of only 6 bucks. I just ordered my copy! and at last look it appears about 60 of the 100 albums are sold. So don't hesitate on getting a hold of this one, It's sure to be a very prized item for any vg rock fan!

Like XOC said himself, Zach of Good-Evil explains the album best.

"Here at Good-Evil, were are proud to announce our first album release on own Good-Evil Records imprint, as part of the Concatenation Records family. And what better way to start our mini-label than with a brand new Xoc album? Xoc, who you may remember as "that dude who covered all of Super Mario World" or that guy who blew you away with his Kirby cover album, has produced one of the most ambitious albums he's put out to date. Containing 100 video game themes covered in less than 20 mins, this project has been a labor of love for Xoc since 2004.
We've collaborated with Jason Vincion at Concatenation Records to bring you this album on a 3" mini-CD, each lovingly created in the Good-Evil CD production factory (which may or may not be my computer room in my apartment). This is a limited issue release, with only 100 copies being produced.
And while I would never release an album I didn't absolutely love, I have to say that this album is truly some of Xoc's best work. It mashes together nearly every type of music he's done before and dozens of instruments into one rollercoaster of a medley. It's got slow, lighthearted parts, weird, wacky sections, straight up rock and metal parts, and with 100 themes, it's pretty impossible to get bored here. If I were reviewing this, it would be a Classic easily. Take a minute to purchase one while you can, they are reasonably priced and worth every penny."

Also, if you do order the album, be sure to take a picture of it and send it to XOC for his 100 copies sold mural!