Cognitive Dissonance – the chiptune score!
Spinch is a crazy, colourful and quirky game. It is bold. It is an LSD trip. It is hypnotic. Part of that unhinged insanity is created in no small part from its soundtrack. Thesis Sahib is the mastermind behind the eleven track chiptune set that is purposely composed to throw you into an aggressive off-kilter mood. It does a fine job.
Thesis drops you in gently with the only dreamy track opening the soundtrack. ‘New Ecology’ uses airy synths, rubbery basslines and a little crunch in its percussive step to ease you in. You can hear that there are some interesting off chord motifs hidden lower in the mix but it doesn’t quite prepare you for what is to come.
‘Captured by Colours’ is a hard white noise smashing bass and drum track. It sounds like a mechanical machine has become sentient and slightly evil. Every tone feels like its a minor or seventh chord away from where you’d expect it to be and it catches you off guard. It is this kind of pointed aggression that Spinch harnesses so well. ‘Astral Island’ is a little more melodic but you have several lead riffs buzz sawing over each other in competition. Personal favourite ‘Chemical Canyon’ has a pulsating horror to it that juxtaposes the playful sine waves that evoke b-movie aliens.
Things move towards the euphoric chip-pop for ‘Forest Masters’ where the glorious glee of chaos is unhinged. It is a slightly different genre but it reminds me of the Japanese rock back OOIOO. They too create a hypnotic, almost tribal percussive force that bulldozes you over. Thesis Sahib creates a similar vibe but with hardcore chiptunes instead. Be it the weird hip-hop beats of ‘Cousins’ that sounds like a Metroid California Games or the Iglooghost like ‘Crystal Palace’. If you love chords that are designed to slightly jar and clash together – this is the soundtrack for you.
Spinch will not be for everyone, not even in the chiptune circles, but it is full of direction, poise, energy and nails its quirky execution. Let’s face it, you knew it was going to be bonkers from the cover art. If you dig that and enjoy going down an electronica rabbit hole to impending doom – I urge you to look this one up. Cult following for Thesis Sahib incoming!
Recommended track: Chemical Canyon
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