|Record Label: 8bitpeoples|
|Catalog No.: 8BP139|
|Release Date: July 17, 2018|
Buy on 8bitpeoples
Released last summer, Reviver is Kris Keyser’s, a chiptune artist from Brooklyn, NY, first full length release, featuring tunes worked on over the past five years. This eleven track album, with plenty of retro flair, certainly has a lot of energy, but how is the overall release?
The album opens with “Titan,” a tune that gives a preview into the rest of the album stylistically. Starting with a dreamy chip sequence that certainly packs a nostalgic punch, it quickly moves into an upbeat drum n’ bass style dance tune with a bubbly melody and invigorating sound. This nostalgic air is present throughout the piece, countering the more modern influence. The end result is ripe with great rhythms, moments of build up akin to modern EDM, and an excellent progression. Continuing with the modern dance trend is “OK,” a tune with a sense of determination to it, accentuated by the beautiful and memorable melody, the wonderful harmonies. It’s a vibrant tune with some Daft Punk vibes, at times, in the melody, resulting in a truly exquisite listen. The titular theme, “Reviver,” keeps the dance party going with another electrifying tune with a bright melody. These combine with gritty textures and moments where the melody fades away, allowing the accompaniment to shine. It’s a catchy and memorable tune that also tugs at the nostalgia strings.
“MXMX” is another fantastic tune with a bright melody and a vibrant soundscape full of dance beats. The progression of the tune is also engaging, with fantastic percussion rhythms and changes in tempo to keep interest. Of particular note is the bridge of the piece, adding some mystery and a break from the excitement due to its solely melodic and harmonic focus. “Cutting Ties” also is more dance oriented in approach and features an interesting blend of melody and harmony, although the piece, at times, can sound a bit muddy, and the melody, in particular, isn’t as memorable as much of the album.
Whereas the first three tracks on the album had a more modern approach, “Execution Strategy” sounds quite game-like in execution, while still maintaining the dance feel of the album. It’s a remarkable and catchy melody atop a hard dance beat combining gritty sounds and excellent harmonic elements. Similar vibes are present in “Out of Bounds” and “Classik.” The former blends drum n’ bass with a melody that gives me Mega Man vibes and has a determined sound while the latter drops the heavier dance influence found in many of the tracks on the album, opting for a more game-like structure and progression to complement its melody. It is truly classic, in that sense of the word, and while the tune is well composed, it does lack the same excitement heard throughout much of the album.
“Hi Mark,” a personal favorite, slows things down considerable with its moody soundscape. The melodic aspect of the tune is certainly more avant garde, bordering on ominous, especially when it is taking center stage, with the crux of the piece being the industrial accompaniment. This sound is also present in “Parallax,” another slower tempo theme with an industrial, somewhat grungy, accompaniment with a “cold” atmosphere. The wonderful melody, both moody and dark, really sells the tone of the piece really well. The album ends with “Traveler,” a more subdued chiptune piece with an industrial tone, engaging drum rhythms, and an enjoyable melody. It’s definitely a good “cool-down” piece and an excellent way to finish the album.
Overall, Kris Keyser’s debut album, Reviver, is an excellent album that runs the gamut from pure nostalgic retro game music to energizing chiptune with a modern influence. The overall flow of the album manages to hit the right mix of energy and recuperation. Fans of his music will certainly love this album and anyone looking for a new chiptune album to spin should definitely give this one a listen.
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Posted on May 7, 2019 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on May 7, 2019.