A chiptune disco gets dramatic in your face
‘Phlox’ is one of those chiptune albums that reaches the top tiers of the genre not through innovation but through cohesiveness. Klirre, a chiptune artist I discovered a few months ago, makes sure that every track they create has a drive and focus. Most importantly, it has a dramatic and pulsating soul.
Across its eight tracks, Phlox is always driving forward. It’ll hook in some catchy riffs, throw in some cinematic tension but it’ll always keep pushing forward. That drive becomes infectious from the beat to the bass and from the bleeps to the curvy synth bends. In general, the album sticks with a C64 to 8bit era sound and these razor-sharp clean bursts of noise really help the vibe the album goes for.
On the title track, the thin bass needles its way into your rhythm. ‘Protostator’ sounds like a penultimate platform game level anthem. It evokes the final climb before the boss. ‘Golagaad’ is a hyperactive lightspeed anthem full of raving basses and cute squeaks to pitch out the main melody. This is something ‘Technosiris’ picks up on but with a more kaleidoscopic tune. There is so much here that feels effortlessly pumped with steroids without resorting to pure bass ear assault, it is impressive. The collaboration with Tobokegao is also a great piece too as the album breaks from its usual sound.
Cohesion and finesse count a lot in a genre where you are using the same tools as everyone else. You only have style, melody and passion to separate you out. Klirre certainly does just that with a stellar album. Let’s hope there is a back catalogue to gobble up!
Recommended track: Protostator
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