"Roland & The Lamprey" (2009) by glomag

With great power comes great responsibility. As the creator of this ridiculously popular and widely read blog, I sometimes find myself responsible to promote awkward and underground releases. Such as this one. glomag is a member of the genre called “chiptune”, or “8-bit”. This release, as well as all his other releases, was completely composed and recorded on a Nintendo Game Boy (except for an overdubbed guitar on track one, and vocals here and there).

Roland & The Lamprey is full of great melodies and beats that border on braindance. glomag has programmed some truly epic music. Using just four tracks and a very limited array of sounds, the diversity in style and tone is astounding. But, even though this is Game Boy music, it’s not music that you can imagine playing a game to, it really is a work in its own right. In the title track especially, rhythmically and melodically, the track is very complex. The next track, “Bad Therapy”, is one of the most poppy chiptune songs I’ve ever heard, embracing a verse-chorus-verse format with vocals and everything. The fourth track then returns to the complex style, and blah blah. The whole release changes between one idea to the next, as if glomag was trying to force all his ideas out within 20 minutes.

Even though it is typical of chiptune releases, Roland probably should have been longer. glomag released another EP earlier in the year, called DaMaGe, so I personally tend to listen to them in succession. It’s just, everything seems very forced and squished in Roland. As every song is so different from the last, it seems as though he has written a few styles quite well, but nothing really stands out as it should. Chiptune artists generally release a few EPs each year – maybe we’ll see a further exploration of all these styles by glomag, each in its own EP?

Anyway. Roland & The Lamprey is definitely an original chiptune release. While it’s not the best chiptune I’ve heard, it’s a great entry platform into the world of chiptune, and one worth having in your collection. FYI: It is available for free download here, and that site, 8bitpeoples.com, is definitely worth trawling for heaps of free downloads.

6.8
Choice tracks: Roland & The Lamprey; The Ecstasy Of Gold; Bad Therapy; Fan Service
If you like: Video game soundtracks, mainly the retro ones from Game Boy, NES, SNES, possibly N64.

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