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.

Beep City Presents: Love Songs From The Future Vol. 1 album review

You may know Beep City from an earlier trek through the local 'burb. But if you haven't visited lately, you'll notice that things have changed quite a bit!

Beep City has released their first compilation to rousing success. The lovingly titled free download known as Beep City Presents: Love Songs From The Future Vol. 1. The album includes many heavy hitters as well as incredible surprises from up and comers from the scene. Let's hit the road to Beep City and find out what this "Love Beam" is all about then!

We drive up and down the streets to hear 12 incredible, brand new tracks from the town denizens. Starting off with it's smallest of creatures, the lowly but noble mouse, or Bit Rat as it were, and his show starter Warm Green Something. Things start off with a fuzzy step to it, as if heading into early traffic on the way downtown amidst the fog and noise. Things start to clear up though and a star like pulse infiltrates the song creating a more childlike atmosphere of beeping cars and breezy open roads. The song holds it's upbeat blips until the very catchy fading ending. This leads us right into a demon! No wait. Daemon. Daemon9623 no less, and his track Battle For Bifrost. Yes it seems we have stepped right into a climactic battle for the unclaimed souls of the city. A foreboding drum/lead riff quickly break into an over the top RPG like battle theme. With swirling highs and heavy lows all moving at an ever increasing pace. We hit a break of glitching riffs and double drum pedal badassery that builds into an ever escalating tension. This comes crashing down in the last 30 seconds of the track, as the music suddenly takes another turn. As if Daemon9623 has taken on another form, and makes his escape to battle another day.

The town slows down for a bit thanks to local highly respected citizen Alex Mauer playing the laid back Nicole Shippo. The song has a nostalgic windswept quality to it, reminding one of those hot summer days gone by in Beep City. Crunchy drums along with a relaxing lead and many small flourishes create a wonderful song to just purely enjoy. And now that you are nice and relaxed, let Nario tell you The Tale of A Pirate. The thumping bass/chip intro quickly throws you into the tale, with it's manly melodies and ship swaying rhythms. This song is certainly one of many highlights of the trip, especially as we get about a minute in and things get a bit fishy, and very funky for this band of pirates. This is one of the longer legs of our journey, but the song remains varied and entertaining through to the fantastic ending of this tale.

Enough dawdling though, time to get back to work! Who's work? Moldilox of course! What work? why he's a beekeeper at the Honey Hive! This song is quite fast paced, and upbeat, just like one of many buzzing bees zipping around. Perhaps my favorite track here as well. Things start smple enough with a catchy riff, that much like a hive, continues to gather layer upon layer to it's well made foundation. At about the 40 second mark, in comes a great wailing bit of chiptunery that that continues to build and wrap around itself as ever more layers are added throughout the song. Everything comes to a halt in the end though, save for that lovely little riff we started off with, but even that heads out too, and work is done for the day.

Looks like we aren't done with our labors yet though. We reach the longest part of our day with the lengthiest track on the album. This is Temp Sound Solutions, and it is time for Infernal Shell. Things start out glitched out and scratched up. an ominous cacophony of sounds that may catch you off guard at first listen, but as you descend further into this cave of sounds, you rely less on your eyes, and every one of the many complex sounds starts to find it's place among the others as we head further along the song's path. At about a minute and a half we reach a relaxing cave of crystals and open air, and are surrounded by a mellowing silence. This does not last for long though, because it's as if the cave wanted to give you a breath before the darkest depths are plunged. Two minutes in and things have taken on a deeper more sinister tone. The song ebbs in and out of it's foreboding moods until we make it to the other side of the caves.

Here we run into the intrepid explorer Norrin Radd to escape and Never To Return. Somehow evoking both a cosmic race through the stars and an old western shoot out and train heist, the track really blends an incredible amount of thoughts, ideas, and elements into one short, fast paced chase song.

Now that we escaped though, where are we? This is a part of Beep City I have never seen before. We need some help. We need Captain Tortilla. He'll help us escape with the power of Kludge. This track evokes the feelings of a classic NES side scrolling platformer taking place in an urban cityscape well past dark. Captain Tortilla takes us across roofs, through back alleys, and over chain link fences in this track. The low ends of the song, along with the meandering highs evoke a dark mood, as if seeing the seedier side of Beep City most folks try their best not to acknowledge. As the song continues things kick into a faster, more fearful tone. Like we have run into an end of stage boss in this alley's dead end, and judging by the track, we lost.

Now it's as if we are in a dream, brought to us courtesy of Prizmatic Spray. It appears to be the Flight of The Peacock Lords, and we are an observer to this rare spectacle. Starting with a droning buzz of sounds that quickly wrap around each other, shortening and taking form as more elements come together and create shapes and twists and tones. Things continue to build until the drums really kick in at about the one minute mark, and turn a dance like, dreamy atmosphere into a rocking out soundscape of bleeps and bloops battling it out. The song comes to close with an amazing breaking down of sounds, as if slowly stirring in and out of sleep.

We finally awaken, and take a look around. Appears we are once again in familiar territory. The dim atmosphere and glowing screens tell us we are at the ever popular Beep City arcade. We see a group surrounding one cabinet in particular. It appears that it's Zio and TEH LOLZ, and he is going for the world record in the classic game Air Raid The Ocean! He plunks a quarter in and we hear the familiar monotonous bass kick in, a woosh of jet fighters, the kick of drums, and we're off. The song hits home for fans of classic Shoot-em-ups with it's great use of sound effects, and driving, but continuously threatening sounds. Enter the final boss at about the two minute mark, and the song kicks into high gear for the maddening ending. HIGH SCORE! Enter Initials: Z I O

Stepping out into the now dark Beep City night, we take a longing look to the sky. THere is something you catch in the corner of your eye. A UFO? Nah, of course not. Beep CIty regulars notice your confused glance and assure you it is simply Wizwars launching another Sputnik. The launch starts with a scratchy lo fi beat that quickly kicks into a catchy soaring rhythm carrying a fast moving beat. Adventurous riffs define this ever changing track, like the sporadic movements of an alien craft, you never know quite where this song is heading. The song hits a very funky lead at about 2:15 which is impossible not to enjoy, before picking back up. As if the rocket just ran out of fuel and took a short slowing breather before making it's freefall towards earth.

It's almost midnight in Beep City. It's time to say goodbye to all the friends we have made today, and as the crowd gathers, who is here to see us off but one of Beep City's very founders, Djinnocide along with Jungle Jim's Jelly Bean Jamboree. Starting off a little somber as we wave goodbye, the song gets a kick in it's step as we set off towards the horizon. the soft upbeat tones and clapping drums create a fantastic, almost credit sequence like mood that create a perfect closer to this album, and to this fantastic day in Beep City. See you next time!

All kidding aside, This album is simply fantastic. All the tracks are of the highest quality, and make for a fantastic listen when heard all the way through. Beep City has been a great site for not only top notch tunes, but also a method of chiptune creation that is very original and always interesting. Head over to Beep City and grab Beep City Presents: Love Songs From The Future Vol. 1 right now! Here's to looking forward to Vol. 2!