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Monomania – “Robot Flowers” Review

Taking chiptunes to the dancefloor...

Monomania is a chiptune artist I discovered through the collections feature on Bandcamp. Who knew there were so many awesome chiptune artists out there?! Monomania certainly counts as one of the best, as his LP “Robot Flowers” can demonstrate.

Opener “Fuzz” sets the chiptune tone firmly in the fuzzy and warm chiptune set of the C64 era. It’s got catchy hooks, plenty of intricate breakdowns and percussive solos. It also feels like it’s pushing outside the chiptune set with some clever effects but they enhance the track and sound very natural. “Tmrw” piles on so much low bass in the main melody and bass line itself, it really is a room shaker. The pounding beat and rolling arpeggios fill the background whilst a more rubbery main synth note dives and pitch bends around a funky melody. “1964” then uses a phaser effect which turns the chip set into a metallic dance floor of disaster. The actual main melody itself when it explodes into is actually quite discordant as the warp and repeat bass feels in a different key to the melody and it creates a really unique flavour. It’s dance… but it’s slightly foreboding at the same time.

“Wurm” continues with a warping dub effect behind a usual chiptune as the track evolves and builds into a meshing of several melodies into one. “Blue” is a real mini beast because it has an unusual drum and melody pattern that is lacks any huge tom drum. It’s all sticks and kick drums and because there’s a really strong melody pushing through quite fast, it has an angry brood to it. “Pool” is an old skool dance anthem in waiting with its simple but effective drums and melody. It also features synth voice rapping just like the old 8k buzzing noises. It all fits together perfectly for the albums fun track. The album then closes with the title track and “Robot Flowers” goes for the dramatic and progressive building blocks effort. It feels like a complete unwinding of tons of loops and bloops as they kick-start themselves off into the song. It’s impressive and rousing – you want to go into battle after it’s done!

A delight from start to end, Monomania’s album is a chiptune jewel. Recommend for any fan of the genre – I’ll be snuffling up more for more mania!

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