Published: December 26, 2012
By: Lisa Disinger
Distant echoes of 16-bit memories, filled with the twinkling of golden coins and rewarding level up achievements. A light smattering of crystalline fantasy arpeggios and modal sequences that could have been whistled through an ocarina. Mix those nostalgic sounds of the retro video game craze with current fads in electronic dance music, and you’ll get a solution of crunchy chip tune samples and edgy bass driven synths from Modigs' latest album, Multiplayer. This most recent incarnation of the chiptune genre will make you wish your SNES had a subwoofer.
Overall, the album is dominated by melody, busy and frenzied, textured with creative uses of counter-melody in the lower frequencies. On most tracks, the beat is rather simplistic; hosting a dampened bass kick on beats one and three, punctuated by static snares in between; generating an 80's Casio electronica feeling. Although, it is difficult to be overly critical of this choice since it is fitting to the already established sonic era. Also included are chattering cymbal patterns, and ambient breakdowns, with a snippet or two of hardcore beats in the classic chiptune style. At a length of twenty-two tracks, averaging over three minutes each, there is certainly no lack of material here, but perhaps a contest of quality over quantity: it is important to learn how to sacrifice the good so that the great can shine through.
"Multiplayer," the album's title track, has been crowned my personal favorite. Trademark to this number is a hip-rocking, moombah rhythm that will charm your body to dance the samba. Other standouts include "FUNK ME," which features a swinging cadence and beat sequence reminiscent of hip-hop's golden era, and "Endless Fall" which will instantly transport you to the world of Super Mario, and remind you just how difficult it was to defeat that level. A little surprise comes in the package of the second to last track, "Seventeen," adding a splash of disco that is enjoyably gaudy, courtesy of ABBA.
References to the gaming world past are endless within the titles and samples of this album. The story of a young man from Sweden who is heavily influenced by video game culture, reminds me of the previously famed Basshunter—minus the Eurodance vibe and cheesy pop vocals. Judging by the breadth of his discography, and his youthful zeal, you can expect to hear more of Modigs' artistry soon. Much more.