Published Feb 08, 2017It's difficult to think of a chiptune artist successfully distancing their sound from the genre's videogame origins. Given the very real limits of a 16-bit sound palette, one could even argue that it's impossible. In any event, Montreal chiptune artist Game Genie Sokolov (aka Geoffroy Le Roux) chooses to embrace rather than avoid these connotations. Composed entirely on a Sega Genesis console, and sporting a cover inspired by its games' classic box-art, this brief four-track EP will mostly please retro gaming aficionados, but even for others, its charm is hard to deny.
Things start out strongly with "Pyramid Zone," an obvious nod to Sonic the Hedgehog naming conventions, and one can indeed imagine the jingle of lost rings punctuating the proceedings. Second track and album highlight "Venus Landing" is the most ambitious and fully realized offering here, with a third-act breakdown that elevates it from traditional videogame fare. Repetitious arpeggios and a plodding rhythm make "Jupiter Base" a bit of a slog unfortunately, but the rousing sci-fi melody of "Down Under Zone" ends things on a strong note.
One does wonder if the style could be explored more nimbly and interestingly with the technology of 2017 (for chiptune enthusiasts, this is doubtless a polarizing issue), but if you're looking for music that conjures up fond memories of gaming heroism and childhood rec-rooms, this EP will easily fit in with the rest of your chiptune library. (Independent)