If anyone were to ask you what “chiptune” music is, chances are you would probably respond with one word…“What?” Remember those old games you used to play on your NES, Super Nintendo, and all those old systems from the early ‘90s? Think back to the fun sounds that were part of the games that made up some of our childhood afternoons and evenings. Well, chiptune music integrates these vintage sounds with real and modern instrumentations.
Anamanaguchi (ah.nuh.ma.nuh.goo.chee) are the current kings of chiptune. One of their oldest songs, “Jetpack Blues,” is used on the well-known podcast “The Nerdist.” You may have already heard of these guys if you ever played “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game.” They are the ones who composed the music for it. Anamanaguchi also recently released their second LP in May 2013. They successfully funded their $50,000 Kickstarter project, resulting in $277,399 in total fundraised support for their new album, Endless Fantasy. Most records are lucky to see 12 tracks, if not less. Endless Fantasy throws that out the window with a smashing 22 tracks. Try not to step on the broken glass from that window you just broke. But, as we all know, quantity doesn’t equal quantity. So, how is the music?
The track listing is as follows:
1. “Endless Fantasy” – 5:58
2. “Japan Air” (featuring m33sh) – 4:23
3. “Echobo” – 3:13
4. “Planet” – 4:19
5. “Viridian Genesis” (featuring Eimear O’Donovan) – 3:02
6. “John Hughes” – 3:26
7. “Prom Night” (featuring Bianca Raquel) – 3:48
8. “Interlude (Gymnopedie No. 1)” (Erik Satie) – 1:09
9. “Akira” – 3:31
10. “SPF 420” – 2:06
11. “Interlude (Total Tea Time)” (Luke Silas) – 0:59
12. “Meow” – 3:31
13. “Canal Paradise” – 4:34
14. “Snow Angels” – 4:38
15. “In the Basement” – 3:30
16. “U n Me” – 4:51
17. “Space Wax America” – 3:48
18. “EVERYTHING EXPLODES” – 2:43
19. “Interlude (STILL ‘SPLODIN’ THO)” – 1:06
20. “Pastel Flags” – 3:21
21. “Bosozoku GF” – 4:48
Kicking off with the title track, this album reveals itself as one huge, vibrant, sonic adventure. “Endless Fantasy” feels more like something you’d hear out of a house or electro track. With the vibe it gives off, it’s very upbeat, and has a taste of pop thrown in. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting this when I got the album. It’s a nice change of pass, and I hope to see songs like this on future albums.
“Japan Air” also deviates from the 8-bit roots and instead feels like something you’d hear from a Japanese anime. It has that beat and pop, along with some fluff that seems like it came from a J-pop song, and the singer helps to give the listener that impression as well.
With “Echobo,” things felt more at ease. No longer was there a crossover effect from the band experimenting with different sound, but now there were the familiar guitars with the chiptune synthesizer over them.
“Planet” starts off slower than some of the tracks on the album, but soon picks up some speed. A more electronic and “house” type song, you can feel the slower rhythm and more relaxed feeling, and you get more of an electronic-centered song.
You’ll often get a hidden gem in albums like this. With so many songs and so many different types of tracks, you’re bound to find something in the midst of everything. That song is “Viridian Genesis.” With an opening that reminds you of “Planet,” it begins to kick it into gear with a great use of guitar and bass, providing a track that I feel people could dance to. The song has a great rhythm, and something about it makes you want to get up, strap on a neon suit, and warp to the year 2100.
“John Hughes” is where you can tell they wanted to mix rock and chiptunes together to create what would be the perfect hybrid. It’s very upbeat, but not in a dance-type way. The tempo is set to 10, as you hear the guitars and drums sound the sirens for a fight between the forces of good and evil.
In what would be called their “radio-friendly” track, “Prom Night” exhibits that catchy hook and lyrics that make you sing it in your head – or aloud – all day long.
To sum it up, the song is about a prom night. Although this track has been based around the attempt to be more radio-friendly, I think it’s a good track. It isn’t as aggressive as “John Hughes,” but it does have a nice kick to it that makes you want to put it on and just have a good time.
Check out next week’s edition for a review of the remaining tracks.