Originally posted on the ChipWIN Blog on January 10th, 2019.
Edited by Joseph Eidson.
Greetings! I’m Pixel Guy. When I was beginning my way on the fantastic world of chipmusic a few years ago, everything seemed to be so surreal. The ambience, the people, the hardware and techniques; it was like an anachronistic dream.
It was back then when I first knew about Chiptunes = WIN and listened to Volume 4 for the very first time. I can say that my life changed after those 3+ hours of music and that was, to a greater extent, thanks to all the marvelous artists on that compilation. One of them, 梅干茶漬け (Umeboshi Chazuke), made a really stunning creation and got my attention from the first second. When the track, and with it the compilation, was over; I was truly amazed with all the music I’d just heard. I wanted more, so I searched and listened to more content from a huge majority of all the artists that were on that Volume, and I kept an eye on Soundcloud to catch up new releases, especially from 梅干茶漬け. That’s how I began my musical adventure.
Today, I’m writing my first album review ever, and it’s something really special for me. That’s why I want to write about one of the artists who inspired me to take the musical way; so let’s take a look over ‘あじたま見聞録’ (Ajitama Kenmon Roku) by 梅干茶漬け (Umeboshi Chazuke)!
Every single track on this album is dazzling, but this one is something special. Back in its day, a short version of this track was featured on BOFU 2015 with a lovely background animation by むらたむうた (Murata Muuta). That’s why the high energy and intensity can be felt all around the three minutes and forty six seconds it lasts.
The catchy arpeggios are an irresistible way to introduce the track before adding upbeat block chords to reinforce that happy mood to finally letting to the lead take us through the song, and giving to it that comfy and cute aura. Just when you think you know what the track is about, is when the travel begins, because then a sudden change in the mood hits us. Right after that, a wild slap bass appears to strengthen the intensity and to describe perfectly the picture of a problem to be solved. The way 梅干茶漬け manages to get the track out from there is just perfect, not just because of the smooth transitions between sections, but because it suddenly becomes into something more minimalistic with just four channels on (which is my favorite part by the way. Even it’s represented by a ‘Madeleine de Proust‘ moment in the animation). Then he goes back to the main melody and adds some new variations to the main theme and even a solo-like section around minute three.
That’s the way the travel continues, because, as the title of the album suggests, not just this track, but the entire album is about this: a meticulously crafted storytelling.
This track could be the quietest from the entire album. A beautiful waltz-like theme creates a really easy to listen to track. Its beauty it’s in its simplicity. It doesn’t need a flaunting instrumentation to make the magic happen. It even has a slow reel section that made me more than happy. The way the song speaks to the listener is so open and pure that for three minutes and fifty six seconds I forgot about everything else in the world. It was great.
One of my favorite things about 梅干茶漬け’s music is the way he’s always taking it to the next level. The detail and technique contained in this track is so streaking, but, at the same time, so natural, like if it had been there all the time.
The thoughtful intro played by music box sets a longing mood, almost nostalgic, deep and touching. It takes you by surprise when the instrumentation has a change to help the ambiance to become into something more energetic without notice, of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean to change the tone of the entire track. The ease in which the melody flows is remarkable. You can feel how the parts interact with each other pushing the melody forward and making every single blip and blop, and space of silence worth. Is just that way how the wish becomes hope, the wandering slowly disappears, and the sensation that everything is going to be ok grows bigger and bigger, but there’s still a hint of melancholy on it.
It’s like witnessing a two really close friends’ farewell; they know they will meet again someday, but they can’t help but be sad about saying goodbye and stay optimistic about the next time they’ll meet again.
This is one of my favorites; I don’t even know where I have to begin. From all the tracks previously released that this album features, maybe this one is the most famous, because, as some of you may know, is part of VOEZ.
Block chords over an arpeggio creating an almost ethereal atmosphere introduce the listener to an exciting experience. Then, suddenly, everything makes silence and the only sound remaining is a tiny pulse wave and a triangle wave bass, then a little of noise joins to the party, and… oh, boy. HERE IT COMES!!! From this point THERE’S NO RETURN; the sound has trapped you and there’s no escape (is not like you need it either). Once you get to the chorus I’m pretty sure you will be banging uncontrollably your head until your neck breaks off or dancing till dismay. This track won’t give you a break, and it will let you asking for more. Anytime I listen to this track I always find something new, it’s just amazing.
I’ll be honest; I could keep writing about this track forever. Write about the wonderful rhythmic layering, the marvelous use of harmony, the fantastic sound design, the majestic use of melody, and how all this elements, among others, blend together to create a splendid example of what I call music… but the track speaks for itself, and there’s nothing I can say that it wouldn’t.
So, for the time being, this is it. Thank you so much for sticking around with me in this my first album review! See you soon!