Sieken – “Tokyo Monogatari EP” Review

Sieken has released a couple of EP’s this year and as my love of chiptune music knows no bounds, this is only a good thing for me. With Tokyo Monogatari, we have more of an evolution of the Sieken hard-and-fast formula than anything substantially different and that’s no bad thing.

“Metro Boy” is crisp, crunchy and bitty – pun intended. The bass line and melody is taut and speedy and with the percussion lacking any reverb either, it means that the production is heavy but never overbearing. Much like a side scrolling bullet hell tune, it straddles disco boss battle themes and a solid beat. “Eccentric Pulses” uses more rubbery sine waves for one of the two main melody riffs and keeps a crunchy 16 bit soundwave for the rest. I really like how Sieken uses panning of sounds effectively to make drum rolls and little embellishments stand out from the tune more – it makes you notice all the layers in this two and half minute epic number. “Monster Mei” is the most interesting soundscape. It’s like Sieken has sampled some real drum loops and then smashed it into a mega drive chip synth. The result is a fuzzy percussive zone over a horror b-movie styled melody that has the levels of the bass, melody, back ups and embellishments all at really unusual levels. There’s a nifty tempo change mid way too. “Ikebukruo Akazukin-chan” rounds out the EP with the lightest track. It’s trip hop beats compliment the higher octave sine waves that act out a cute ever shuffling down melodic bounce. If a chip tune can wub wub – this is the closest I’ve heard for a while.

Sieken has certainly endeared themselves to me as an upcoming chip tune artist that does things in an interesting and complex way – if the songs were able to finish without just stopping, it would round off a great EP.

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Categories: chip tunes, composer, music, review

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