A glorious soundtrack to a Sega Mega Drive adventure game we never had.
Popskyy has been creating joyous uptempo chiptunes for many years now, to the point where he is a cornerstone of the chiptune community. Between taking commissions for streamer themes and his sound effect work, ‘It’s All cake’ is a welcome return to full album releases for his music fans. Free of constraints, Popskyy is able to bring levity and charm to the simplest of tunes.
‘It’s All Cake’ is largely a cross over of SNES/Genesis (Mega Drive for Europeans like me) styled chipsets but Popskyy doesn’t feel the need to keep to just a specific sound set. Using dramatic tom drums of ‘Eons’ and hushed piano too against the SNES synth strings means that often you can’t quite define the exact era. I personally love that as it lets you play with expectations. That is certainly true of the title track which is a brassy jazz swing track with chip undertones. After its speedy first half, it slows to a porn-like sultry slink using the same melody but now with sexually charged and dangerous intent. It is great fun whilst genuinely switching it up.
Elsewhere Popskyy bread and butter joy explode from pizzicato strings and tuned percussion in ‘Build Mode’. ‘Always Has Been’ and ‘Wish are dancefloor bangers whilst ‘Frosting’ is a bendy spring of percussive wheels of sound and wavering bass synths. Drum N Bass gets a chilled out touch with the blissfully serene ‘Embers’ where quick beats and slow synth pads collide. ‘1up’ is a fantastic crossover of classic Eurodance, chiptune and cinematic percussion as the theme of 1UpOnCancer which feels suitably dramatic and emotive. Also a standout is closing track ‘Initialize (Electro VIP)’ which is one of Popskyy’s most Metroidvania action-driven tracks in some time. Beefy is what I’d describe it!
The only mild detraction is that ‘It’s All Cake’ feels like a collection of disparate songs pulled together under a name rather than feeling like they were all made with the intent of forming a single body of work. That doesn’t take away from the fact that most of the songs are absolutely superb and shining examples of the lighter side of chip music. If you ever need a pick me up, Popskyy has you covered.
Recommended track: Always Has Been
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