I saw Paul “Chipocrite” Weinstein multiple times at MAGFest X. He’s part of a chip-ish collaborative band called AutoScroll (it’s Chipocrite + Animal Style). He’s also a new/touring member with Cheap Dinosaurs. But my favorite experience with this man was seeing him perform his solo set live at the Saturday noon chiptune show. It was so good that I decided to pick up a physical copy of his album “Hit and Run” (released last year) even though I had the digital version already (note the digital version has two bonus tracks not found on the CD).
After seeing the live show, I figured it was about time I spoke up about Chipocrite’s album of chippy goodness on OSV. So, here goes. After the jump, that is.Right out the gate, Chipocrite certainly hits listeners with a completely unpretentious smack of 8-bit joy with the track “Positron.” The first few seconds are a well-connected melodic and harmonic descent, followed by a slow build laying the foundation for the song, and then finally the bouncy melody comes in before the end of the first minute. From this point, the piece turns into this incredible loop of layered awesomeness. Using a slow-change (4 measures each) IV-V chord progression, listeners are held in suspension while little bits of decoration are slowly tacked on. By the track’s end, at about 4 minutes, Chipocrite exhausts his options with what can do with the chords and finally does a modular shift to pull us out of the beautiful monotony. Then, after a quick resolution phrase, the ultra-sugar-high “I Quit” starts up.
Do you like 32nd notes? Yes, so do I. Everyone I know who likes chiptunes finds themselves more impressed by the fast-paced crazy stuff as opposed to the idyllic drones of the slower tracks. If that sounds like you, “I Quit” will likely be your favorite track on the album. As an opener for his set at MAGFest, Chipocrite made the right choice with this tune. As for me? I like it, but it’s not my favorite track on this album.
Up next is “Love Department,” the longest track on the album. (It’s OVER NINE MINUTES!!! Okay, not really, it’s just over seven minutes.) For me, this track proves that Mr. Weinstein is likely to remain a major force in the chiptune scene, and I have my fingers crossed that he’ll be composing for high-profile games in the near future. You’re looking for serious compositional skills? Look to this track. It’s like Goonies II got the best facelift ever and ditched the Cyndi Lauper cover. If you’re lookin’ for love, look no further.
Another lengthy track, “Mr. Knight Is in the Building” runs to just under seven minutes. The force of the swing syncopation is strong with this one. That choppy percussive sound goes great with all of the melodic sounds (be they low, mid, or high in pitch). This is the ultimate party track. Bounce your heads, tap your feet, etc.
Track 5, “Divemaster,” slows the tempo down to something a little more manageable, but this merely allows for Chipocrite to fit more complex patterns into every single beat. And finally, “Lemonade Stand Tycoon” runs on a great mix of neckbreak-speed percussion and a simple high-pitch melody, with arpeggiated madness happening in the song’s B sections.
Those who pick up the digital version will also hear “Buck Fu” and “Free High Fives to the Face.” That latter one is a great track, and it’s worth it for its name alone.
So I’d say this isn’t hit-or-miss, it’s a full-on smash hit. Go get this album (digital version is pay-what-you-want) and start paying attention. And to those that were paying attention before me, thanks for promoting such a great artist with your dollars and with your voice.
PS – If you’re looking for a city that embraces chiptunes, get your rear-end out to Philadelphia. Guys like Chipocrite and Animal Style are tearin’ it up. It’s only a two-hour drive east for me, yet I hardly get out there. What is wrong with me?!Tags: Bandcamp, Cheese'N'Beer, Chipocrite, Chiptunes, Hit and Run, Paul Weinstein, Philadelphia, Reviews