A Square Meal: ‘Mirage Diary’ by scythe

Originally Posted on the ChipWIN Blog on October 17th, 2019.
Edited by Wayne Manselle.

Just lovely, that’s how anyone who has listened to scythe’s music would describe his style if you asked them. His charming melodies and upbeat rhythms enter the ears but go straight to the heart. This quality made his second album ‘Nighty Night Stories’ win the VGMOnline AGMA 2018 for Best Chiptune Album. This time scythe is back with two LSDj and a whole new batch of tunes that will warm our souls and take our minds to explore the wonders and limits of an incredible fantasy. So let’s take a look over ‘Mirage Diary’ by scythe.

‘あさかぜ’ (Asakaze – ‘Morning Breeze’) is a revitalizing work. The clearness and brightness of the melodies create a high contrast picture accentuating the lively mood. The open-space-like atmosphere that the two LSDj create is well balanced and impressive. This sophisticated balance is not just exposed and exploded to add extra dimension and color, but it also highlights the technical capability of scythe – which is masterfully translated into multiple lines playing along without clashing. The delightful conversation between parts moves uninterrupted and cheerfully gives everyone a spot to be heard and shine.  It’s as if the notes were circulating through a large room like a gentle wind blowing through an open window on a sunny morning, refreshing the ambiance and energizing the listener through a sweet draft. That’s more than anyone could ask for to happily start a morning these days.

I won’t take the easy way and say this track sounds like ending music. I’d rather focus on the expressive nature of the music itself. The astonishing blending of sounds makes a powerful emphasis on the longing feeling that, at times, seems to not contain itself and overflows in expressivity – but it doesn’t sound like a lament at all. Slowly and slightly, the melodies weave a delicate curtain that let us glimpse through the layers of the track to find the path to a renewed faith in the future. One of the most beautiful techniques that this song features is the use of the second WAV channel. The emotive melody that the aforesaid channel features strengths the intention and gives depth; enhancing the fragile bond between melodies, finding the perfect harmony and melting with each other reaching the maximum emotional peak when they play together. More than a promise or a reminder, this track has a cathartic aura. The combination between nostalgia and hope with a feeling of profound understanding of the situation, make of ‘忘れないように’ (Wasurenai youni – ‘So I will not Forget’) a powerful incentive to keep going.
Who said that Game Boy Music can’t move people?

This is one of the most interesting pieces that this album features because of the loose sensation that can be felt from the beginning. The catchy rhythm marked by the bass, and vigorously complemented by the drums, rapidly imposes its will and sets the listener into the dancing mood. The way in which every element exudes freedom in a clear example of pure enjoyment makes each melody to move freely but in complete reciprocity with the rest, feeling like a whole, singular unit all the time. It’s like a party contained in one track. It’s like somebody dancing like nobody is watching, shaking their whole body and totally killing it. Of all the little details that can be found in ‘ビルと海岸線’ (Biru to Kaigansen – ‘Buildings and the Shoreline’), probably the arpeggios are my favorite. The unquestionable rhythmic reinforcement that this resource provides is clear enough to perform its function without jumping into the foreground or staying in the back too much. It really boosts the groove.
I’m not much of a sea person, but I have to admit that those landscapes have inspired some of the best music in history.

‘Love Me’ is the classic LSDj banger, but spiced with a zesty hat pattern that adds an interesting flavor and makes it irresistible – giving a complete sense to the prosopopeia in the title. Making use of perfectly defined sections and smooth transitions, scythe builds up a vibrant palette of tones that stimulates the listener. The fast melodic lines accompanied by the bouncy bassline make the perfect couple to catalyze the inherant music energy and unleash all sort of visceral movements upon the listener. It even has a jazzy solo that heightens that vigor and spirit. The constant and brilliant interaction between the Pulse channels are the natural charming point to grab the listener’s attention, but, speaking in all honesty, the percussions comes to the front as a real highlight. Life is too short to not dance to music like this.

There is a lot to say about this album. From the impeccable sound design to the dazzling melodies and fetching rhythms, everything is disposed in way, shape, and manner to make it impossible to ignore. The clear balance between the highly technical side and the human feel of the compositional aspects stand out, reaching the stability needed to create highly memorable tunes. Of course, all of this done in a fine and easy to digest fashion. As if all the wonderful music weren’t enough –and like for other releases from CheapBeats– by purchasing the album you will get all the .sav files for the album. So there you have, go and support scythe and take this fantastic opportunity to learn some tricks from the author of such a delightful work.
Thank you so much for reading, see you next time!

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