Chip Music, Game Music, Reviews

Chiptunes and Chiptars – Marshall Art Timeline EP (Review)

December 20, 2017 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Chiptunes and Chiptars – Marshall Art Timeline EP (Review)on Twitter


The combination of chiptunes and live instruments may not be a new thing these days, but the duo of Jeffrey “jmr” Roberts and Mikhail “streifig” Ivanov that make up the band Marshall Art helped to master the the concept in the past handful of years. Having released albums of both original compositions as well as arrangements of game music and even live performances at MAGFest, the chiprock team has created a synergy that sounds both retro and fresh at the same time.

With the recent release of their newest EP, Timeline, Marshall Art continues that trend while also bringing in the talents of post-rock musician Cory Johnson to craft a small tribute to old and new game music. The four-track album features arrangements of tracks from The Legend of Zelda, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound and Undertale that take a low-key progressive rock flavor interlaced with chip music that does homage to the roots of the track’s origins as 8 and 16-bit soundtracks while also keeping things sounding modern.

Being the horrible video gamer I can sometimes be, I confess my lack of familiarity with Chrono Trigger and Earthbound‘s soundtracks, thus I am missing the personal connection with the music of those games. That being said, both “But Your Still Hungry” and “Towns 1” come off as enjoyable even without nostalgia goggles (Or, in this case, nostalgia earphones.) The former is a mellow, slow build up with a satisfying crescendo, while the latter drives home the “towny” feel that has a strong Anamanaguchi vibe.

“Fairy Fountain” is a chill piece from The Legend of Zelda with a fun punchiness to it, while also having a a lot of melody to it between the guitar work and chip music. At times it can sound a bit sharp in places, but overall it delivers a solid representation of Zelda relaxation.

My favorite of the EP goes to “MGLV: The Easiest Enemy”. The Black Sabbath opening melting into slow build up of Undertale‘s “Megalovania” that evolves into a rhythm more in line with the original piece is a nice transition to an already fun tune. The ending just puts the cute cherry on top of the chiptune sundae.

Timeline EP is currently available digitally on Bandcamp for $4USD as well as a vinyl release on The Yetee for $20USD and a worthwhile investment for those who enjoy hybrid VGM arrangements. You can also check out Marshall Art performing live with Cory Johnson and Erich Beckman (Kirby’s Dream Band) at this upcoming Super MAGFest in a few weeks for the possibility to hear these tunes and more from their library.


Disclosure: The writer affirms outside friendships with some arrangers on this album, unbeholden to the scope of this review.

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