Sievert - Beyond the Frontier album release

If you have been hankering for some over the top, upbeat, fast paced chiptune shenanigans, then Handheld Heroes got you covered with their latest release from Sievert. The nine track Beyond the Frontier album drops an array of sound effects, tones, crunches, and bleeps. Starting with Space Captain's Anthem the album starts things off relatively slow, but quickly changes gears into breakneck speed, storming on through to the glitched up sound effect laden song Space Mines Ahead!. Another great tune is the dream like Starblaster!, which plays like a bright and sunny NES adventure game set on fast forward. I also have to mention the stand out track, the credits sounding ending theme, Aboard the X-Infinity. This track pulsates with crunchy beats wrapped inside a high pitched candy coating of blips and chirps.

As you can tell, it is a bit difficult to describe this album, but trust I am getting my words correctly when I say that this is another grade-A release from Handheld Heroes, and I am very glad they have introduced me to the musician known as Sievert. Don't forget to grab the album over at the Handheld Heroes page. Also, you better make sure you got little-scales release while you are there!

little-scale - Nothing Has Been Left Unspoken & I.F.E. album releases

Late last year well known Australian chiptune musician little-scale dropped an album on the quickly rising Handheld Heroes netlabel. The sixth release from said netlabel, Nothing Has Been Left Unspoken is a twelve track collection of amazing ambient chiptunes.

Starting with the album opener, You Have My Dignity, the music washes over you with a mood of listlessness and nostalgia. The song fades out with a simple catchy drumbeat and leads right into the crunchy follow up in Elsewhere. The title track, Nothing Has Been Left Unspoken, is a short and simple, reflective track that reminds one of seeing a beach from an old black and white film. The ending completely reverses this, with a distant beep that builds into the upbeat battle tones of Worldview. The battle is rough but continues to be encased by the same grainy black and white world of the previous song.

A few tracks further in we come to my personal favorite song from the release. Wake Up, Space Cadet! continues the nostalgic quality of the album, and infuses it with chiptune church organs playing a heartening reprise for what one would assume is an awakening astronaut newly returned from a far off world. Another stand out track for me is Recollections at the Edge of Denial. From the same church like atmosphere of Space Cadet, we hear the faint organ like beeps, but this time alongside the granular push of the drums. All in all this is a stellar release that will be getting repeated listens from me for some time. This release also keeps up the high quality of music from both little-scale as well as Handheld Heroes.

Another thing about little-scale I failed to mention is that with last year's Blip Festival, little-scale became the first Australian chiptune musician to perform at said event. Whilst enroute to New York for the mecca of micromusic, a short album was composed to fill the time. I.F.E. is the result. The four track EP is available via little-scale's blog and contains a nice sampling of warped beats and warbling beeps. The tracks, simply titled after their track number, show a nice range of ideas, but 03 is a particular stand out to me with it's clapping drums, monotonous bassline, and uneasily flowing leads. The track puts a slightly discomforting feel in your mind that is hard to shake, but creates an intensive piece of music that forces you to take notice.

So the brief synopsis is, two incredible works of art by our cohorts from Australia. Grab both the albums, lie back, and soak them in.

Wizwars - Gameboy Rock!! EP from Handheld Heroes


Thanks to California based Wizwars I have now heard of plucky young upstart netlabel Handheld Heroes, A label which celebrates their fourth release with Wizwars' own new EP Gameboy Rock!! (or grab the direct Archive.org download).

The album is five tracks of catchy upbeat chip-rock anthems. Kicking off with the title track Gameboy Rock!! we power on and dive right into things with an in your face wall of, well, of Gameboy rock of course. The song hits hard and gets things off to a great start with it's lively rhythms and puts you in the perfect mood for the rest of the album. The EP keeps up this upbeat rock pace, which sometimes frenetic and sometimes a bit slow, but remains strong through out the meat of the album. Like many a rock album though, Wizwars holds the most somber song for last, this is also my favorites.

Right Back To You starts off with a soft piece, but a quick pause and we get some upbeat drum sounds to fill the void with some more energy. The lead instrument seems to tell a serious but heartfelt story for passers by to listen to. With the climax to the story coming in at about a minute and forty seconds. From the sound of the music though it seems to have a happy resolve. As the instruments fade out and we approach the end it feels like perhaps the listeners have learned a lesson from the story, and perhaps the storyteller, in retelling it has as well.