It's Chiptune Album Time, and This One's For SEGA Fans
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Oh, the sweet beats
We may be called Nintendo Life, but ever since the Wii Virtual Console came into being it's given us a viable excuse to talk about a lot of other systems, including Nintendo'a arch-nemesis of the early-mid '90s, the SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis. Which is no bad thing, the games industry, past and present, is about a lot more than Nintendo, even if the big N is most often our favoured choice.
It won't surprise you that a fair number of our staff, past and present, have an affection for SEGA's hardware days, even if Sonic and Mario were engaged in a battle of the gaming superpowers. The Super NES may be considered by some to be the finest game console of all time, but it was perhaps driven to such excellence by the high standards of its direct rival from SEGA, which made the early running in the 16-bit wars. Titles on SEGA's machine often had another flavour to them, with a different graphical setup and a sound-chip catered to different beats than that of the SNES. Both have pros and cons, and comparing the two directly will start an argument that may never end, but SEGA's machine certainly carried a distinct sound from its Nintendo rival.
Naturally, chiptune artists often pay homage to both iconic consoles; a debut seven-track album from Ario, called Vurgon, seems to do this, with a sound often being imagined as coming straight off a Mega Drive game — courtesy of the use of FM synth. Ario's been composing for around six years, including work on some indie games in that time, and below is what he says about his album.
Vurgon is an assembling of songs I've written in the past year or so that I feel are tied together in apparent and not-so-apparent ways. This makes it something of a fragmented timeline for my own compositional development. It's my first completed album, too. Six years ago, I started making music on a computer as a naive hobby, alongside my education and career as a visual artist. Today, composition is just as personally vital as drawing or painting, if not moreso — although I've preferred to stay quiet about it.
Like any creative work, "Vurgon" is also an aesthetic statement; but it's a statement that folds back into itself and can't really be written out. It is, in part, this wordlessness — this sensuous "irrationality" — that draws me to pure, instrumental music. What is more mysterious in art than the emotions, narratives, scenes, and everything else these non-denotative tones can invoke? Along such lines, each track title on the album is nonsense that somehow, for me, correlates with the song's character.
You can stream the album for free on the Vurgon Bandcamp page, and if you so desire you can download in a variety of formats at a price of your choice.
We certainly recommend a listen, and let us know what you think in the comments below.