halc Releases Zero-G3: Homeworld

Following the release of halc’s first chiptunes album, Legitimacy, we now have another release from the talented composer.

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Following the release of halc’s first chiptunes album, Legitimacy, we now have another release from the talented composer.

Zero-G3: Homeworld is his latest effort, consisting of eight tracks of new, original — and awesome — material.

The album incorporates retro sounds and heavily modulated, futuristic synths and effects, supported by loose hip-hop and broken-beat influenced grooves and a twinkly chiptune aftertaste.

The album is available on halc’s Bandcamp page. And, if it leaves you wanting more of his music, you can check out halc’s OCReMix profile, as well as the site for his 9-bit Records label.

halc Releases Chiptune Album Legitimacy

Nothing but pure chiptune goodness! halc releases Legitimacy, his pure-chiptune album. You can get the 6-track EP on Bandcamp now.

The last time we talked about him, we were announcing pre-orders for halc’s Pixel Perfect. And, now, we’re announcing his newest album!

This time, though, it’s no whistles, no bells, no effects — just pure chiptune goodness. This is his latest effort, Legitimacy. About his goal to create a true chiptune album, he says.

I’m proud to finally present my first true chip album, “Legitimacy”! This entire EP was composed in MIDI using trash80’s awesome mGB interface, and recorded line out from a single prosound DMG Game Boy with no external EQ or effects.

A chiptune/electronic composer and arranger, halc is also the founder of 9-bit Records, a non-profit netlabel for electronic music.

You can buy halc’s Legitimacy on Bandcamp, and check out more of halc’s video game remixes on ReMix:ThaSauce, as well as on his OCReMix profile.

Pre-orders Available for halc’s Pixel Perfect Complete

Drew Wheeler, also known as halc, has started preorders for his first full-length album, Pixel Perfect Complete, to be released on June 15th. With only fifty physical copies of the album available for pre-order, we would urge you to definitely purchase a CD before they’re all gone!


Drew Wheeler, also known as halc, has started preorders for his first full-length album, Pixel Perfect Complete, to be released on June 15th:

Pixel Perfect Complete is the final entry in the Pixel Perfect saga. It features remastered versions of the 13 original Pixel tracks, two all new tracks (and a remix) composed by myself, and a handful of remixes by various members of the VGM and indie music communities. It is my first full length, production ready album with over 20 tracks, ~70 minutes of music, and full color artwork designed by yours truly.

Only fifty physical copies of the album are available for pre-order for ten dollars, with digital copies available as well as a free (or pay-what-you-want) digital download upon release. While you preview Pixel Perfect Complete on halc’s Bandcamp (sounds amazing thus far!), we would urge you to definitely purchase a CD before they’re all gone!

halc Continues to Defy the Chiptune Genre

Even though he is known to reign within OverClocked ReMix’s judges panel, halc is definitely on a roll. Following his January release of the wonderfully ambient album Zer0-G that could single-handedly define the chiptune genre even further, halc has bestowed upon us yet another EP chock-full of electro-house goodness.

 

Even though he is known to reign within OverClocked ReMix’s judges panel, halc is definitely on a roll. Following his January release of the wonderfully ambient album Zer0-G that could single-handedly define the chiptune genre even further, halc has bestowed upon us yet another EP chock-full of electro-house goodness:

No Song Left Behind is a collection of newly polished and remastered chiptune-house style tracks produced over the course of 2010-11. These were all written for various albums which never saw the light of day (a testament to my inability to write house music, and more importantly, to stick with it :P).

Rather than let them continue to stagnate on my hard drive, I’ve decided to release them together as a free 3 track EP. A token of thanks for the amazing support and response towards Zero-G. As always, all donations are lovingly appreciated! Enjoy!

Previewing some of No Song Left Behind briefly, we have to say that halc’s work takes the ‘chiptune-house’ style to another level, proving how much he has progressed as an independent artist over the course of the last few years. Although deviating from Zero-G’s chill vibes and Trending Topic EP‘s dubby in-your-face presence, halc’s unassuming yet fluent transitions in “Bicycle Rights” get will get your head bobbing involuntarily. As you preview some of the EP below, you can get No Song Left Behind for free on halc’s Bandcamp (be sure to check out his other albums while you’re at it!).

It’s a halc-stravanganza!! Double Review Number Two!

It’s another double review, this time all about halc! Well, not all, since other people worked on The Sound of Speed as well, but close. And the day I post this happens to be his birthday, so even better! Read this awesome review of two phenomenal albums!!

How fitting that the second double review, possibly in existence, contains halc just like the first. And that it’s the Pixel Perfect LP, the follow-up to the EP that was in the first. And one that, looking back at the review for the EP, that I had in fact wished for. As for the second album, it’s The Sound of Speed, halc’s OCR directorial debut. So get ready for the halc-stravaganza, as this double review is dedicated to him!

PIXEL PERFECT LP

1. Recovery     1:01
Pretty mellow track, fitting the title quite aptly. More beats at 0:37 or so. It just keeps building and building until 0:57, when it stops.

2. Next Headache     2:32
The disc flows right into this track. Chippiness kicks in at 0:11. More instrumentation at 0:28. This is a pretty jazzy fun track. Slight breakdown at 1:08 or so and again at 1:23 or so. 1:54 or so brings in happy chippy fun time. Then again, that’s pretty much this whole disc if I’m not mistaken. The finale begins at 2:20 or so.

3. Human Eyes     3:13
This effect sounds like a guitar. Chippiness confirmed at 0:18. Slight breakdown at 0:48 or so. The main melody is pretty hypnotic. Back to the norm at 1:20. Another breakdown at 1:50 or so. Nice little piano solo at 2:12 or so. Return to regularity at around the 2:20 mark, and nice little chipsax at 2:37 or so. I like the sound of that, the chipsax. I’m using that from now on.

4. Floating Higher    2:00
The sequel to Floating Away from the EP? Probably, and it does feel ethereal and floaty. The main melody is pretty mesmerizing. Switch-up at 0:50. Not much of a sequel when it’s a minute shorter than its predecessor. Breakdown at 1:36 or so heralds the impending finale, which occurs at 1:53.

5. Shoot & Spin     2:09
What a jazzy track, upbeat and happy, as chiptunes are wont to be. I think. More instrumentation at 0:32. Slight mix-up at 0:51. Some chipkeys at 1:08. Okay, chip is my new prefix when dealing with chiptunes. Some chipchimes at 1:30 or so. I feel like I’m spinning. Floating and spinning… guess I’m now a helicopter. Finale starts at 1:58 or so.

6. Higher Reasoning     4:18
Slow start, but it works. Still slow and calm at the minute mark, but picks up at 1:19. Has some instrumentation reminiscent of some of bLiNd’s work at around the two minute mark. Breakdown at 2:25 heralds more to come, and it builds up until 2:56, when something big is on the horizon of the soundscape. Sure enough, the impending event takes place at 3:09. Slowdown for the last 30 seconds.

7. Pixel Perfect     2:07
It’s title track time, people! And it’s apparently party time too, judging by the start. Melody at about 0:28, leading up to the inclusion of more percussion at about 0:45. Instrument change at around the minute mark. Change back to the original sound at 1:32 or so, leading up to both at once at 1:44, and then the finale at 1:58.

8. On + On     3:08
How haunting of an intro here; well done with the chipambience. Chipchimes at 0:32, and some percussion in the background. More instrumentation at 0:52. Breakdown at 1:08, interspersed with various effects until 1:42 when instrumentation returns. This song feels like a dream. It keeps building and building until 2:16, when it explodes into what can only be its final form. Slight breakdown at 2:32, which signals the coming end of the track, and subsequently the album. Fades out to nothingness. I am sad now.

THE SOUND OF SPEED

1. halc, OA – A, B, C, Start!     0:33
A simple take on the short title jingle, an idea taken from SnappleMan‘s Project Chaos title mix. Well done!!

2. OA, Scaredsim – The Sound of Speed     3:21
And one of the most familiar tracks in gaming gets a rockin’ facelift yet again. Guitar comes in at 0:18. Dual guitar tones at 0:27 or so! At least this song doesn’t start out with HEY IT’S THE PARTY SONG!! PARTY’S OVER HERE!! Just kidding, I love that part. Anyways, pretty faithful mix. Or at least, it is until 1:54 when the mixage begins. OA and Scaredsim did great on giving this a tropical feel while keeping it rocking. Throughout the solo, the crescendo plays continuously in the background. Back to source at 2:49.

3. halc, Insixfour, ProtoDome – Shifting Islands     3:38
Now my favorite Marble Zone remix happens to be Metamorphic Rock, but this take on it… well, it’s in its own league, and I mean that in the best way possible. Source comes in at 0:18 or so. Violin comes in at about 0:49. Classic halc chiptuna mastery comes in at about 1:25. More violin at 1:53. Breakdown at 2:27 or so, pure chiptunage follows until 2:46 when it all comes back. Simplicity from 3:22 or so until the end.

4. GaMeBoX – Subsonic Sparkle     3:21
And here I was thinking I’d never be able to review a GaMeBoX mix… Silly me, guess I was wrong. With the first of three Special Stage mixes, GaMeBoX puts his trademark style on this classic track. Source comes in at 0:20, with wah guitar at 0:27 and 0:34, and many other places throughout. Nice guitar usage from 0:54 or so until 1:12. The ring loss sound effect is put to good use in this song, along with several other tracks. Some chimes in the background at 1:44, and a breakdown about ten seconds later. Breakdown from about 2:52 until the end, with some elaboration starting at 3:02 until the end.

5. halc – Spring Junkie     3:45
I wonder if the duo of junkie-titled names was intentional… Anyways, pure halc here, just like in the above album. Except for the fact that those are original and this is not, and a mix of Spring Yard Zone. Some source comes in at 0:48 like a flying saucer. Listen and you’ll understand. More source at 1:11 or so. Slight breakdown at 1:30, with some awesome chiptuna at 1:40 or so. Great sound effect usage, a technique that seems prominent with this entire album. Slowdown at 2:25 or so, with source at 2:44. Simplicity reigns from 3:02 until end, with sound effects interspersed throughout.

6. Benjamin Briggs – Bubble Junkie     3:32
And now for everyone’s favorite stage, Labyrinth Zone. With its deadly waters and awesome boss fight, how can you not love this zone? Okay, so the stage itself sucks, but the music is phenomenal. As is chth’s take on it. Nice magic-box effect at 0:42 for the source to come in with. Also, I don’t care if he’s going by his real name now, he is and always will be chth to me. Spring sound, among others, at 1:11. Bubbly take on the source at 1:55 or so, and mixes with the wah effect afterwards. Remixage begins at 2:30 or so. Nice take on it to coast to the finish, and slowdown for the final seconds, with a sudden end at 3:28.

7. Joshua Morse – Fifty Rings to Ride     4:11
JM takes the second Special Stage mix, with a title that doubles as a game hint. Source comes in at 0:27. Sounds like he slowed the tempo down a bit; it works quite well. Classic Morse instrumentation and jazziness. Sexy guitar, ethereal instruments… it’s beautiful… Ahem. Brief breakdown at 2:05. 2:51 brings in some DO-DO-DO-DO-DOOOO… fits in perfectly with the track. More source usage at 3:17. 3:50 heralds the end of the track.

8. DrumUltimA, Harmony – Under Construction     5:30
And for the longest track on the album, we’ve got the Star Light Zone remix. And it starts simply with acoustic guitar and some chimes. Chimed source at 0:35 or so. And guitar source at 1:14 or so. What I never got was why it was Star Light Zone and it took place in a construction zone. Shouldn’t it have taken place in space or a planetarium or something with that name? Eh, no matter. Da-da-da-da-daaaaa at around the 2:40 mark. 3:20 brings in some remixage, queued up by Doug’s mixer name being sung. And then more guitar and singing queued up with Harmony’s name being sung. With epic drums continuing. I have to say, this song is like ten times more awesome in headphones than via my crappy lappy speakers. It calms down at 4:35 or so, and remains calm until the end.

9. Brandon Strader, Rexy – Hogtied     4:43
Epic boss mixage right here. By the way, last time I checked you could find a midi version of this on VGMusic under Newly Submitted Files, and it’s by Rexy, so that’s pretty cool. It doesn’t take long for the source to start, and Brandon rocks the guitars in this. Main source at 0:54 in epic guitar. The percussion in this keeps a fast beat that makes me move to it. 1:41 brings Rexy in to the main picture with some jazzy guitar. 1:58 has Brandon take his own version of the mix, and it’s pretty sweet. It’s also a segway into Rexy’s awesome take with more guitar over it. 2:49 brings in the start to one of the more epic parts of the song, building and building until it explodes at 3:22 with more guitar source usage. 4:12 brings the start to the finale with rising notes that culminate in brief source usage that fades to silence.

10. José the Bronx Rican – Caos     4:34
And now for the final take on the Special Stage theme. In my opinion, this is the most meticulously detailed one of the three, fitting for OCR’s resident rapper and media man. Source comes in at 0:34 or so. If you listen carefully, you can hear so many things at once it’s insane. More source usage at 1:22 or so. 2:00 brings in the start of José’s remixing of the source, filled with various jingles and brief snippets other tracks from the game as well. 2:46 is the start of an epic piano solo, lasting for an entire minute!! Listen carefully for the aforementioned aural allusions. Background source usage at 3:30 or so. The last minute is very toned down, but it works. After that piano solo, you need a cooldown period.

11. WillRock – Clockwork Criminal     3:28
Starts out with sound effects, and source comes in at 0:30. Trademark WillRock sounds come in at 1:01. Sound effects are in the background throughout the entire song, but are most prominent as the bookends, so to speak, for the track. 1:47 brings in the genesis of what we all know Will loves to do, and that’s rock out like a Brit. And judging by past British bands, they rock out quite hard. 2:17 has his synth guitar squeal that we all know and love. And again at 2:46, albeit briefly. 3:20 takes the sound effects and ends the track.

12. Jewbei – Final Progression     4:36
Ah, bLiNd’s disciple… good guy, good mixer. He’s learned much, and that’s blatantly obvious with this take on the Final Zone theme. Hints of the source come in at 0:31, and the full source begins at 1:41 after a breakdown at 1:11 and buildup at 1:28 or so. Trance-tacular!! Nice usage of ethereal chimes at 2:18 or so for more source. This just builds and builds and builds, kind of like Robotnik’s wrath I suppose. This is Sonic 1, so he’s being called Robotnik. It’s only fitting. 3:38 or so brings a slowdown and gradual removal of parts, until 4:20 when it becomes obvious that this is the progession to the final seconds of the track.

13. Brandon Strader, halc, WillRock – A Hog in His Prime     5:36
The credits medley, always a classic. Starts out with Special Stage usage, and sound effects. What else? Guitar comes in at 0:24. Awesome bass at 0:46 or so. Green Hill Zone at 1:04 or so, and more guitar courtesy of Brandon at 1:22 or so. More Special Stage at 1:49. Marble Zone, with wah, at 2:24 or so. Star Light at about 2:40, with chimes. Guitar starts at 2:52. WillRock’s synth at 3:23 goes wild. This is the solo that wasn’t in Clockwork Criminal. Breakdown at 3:52. 4:06 brings in epic finale, and 4:18 has Brandon showing off his recorder skills. For your information, these were previously seen in Monkeys Disarm Their Kremlings, from Serious Monkey Business, back in 2010. The recorder continues until very close to the end… but unlike most final tracks, this one doesn’t end with a peaceful fade. 5:17 brings in Brandon rocking the OUT OF BREATH jingle that closes out the album.

CONCLUSION

Well, truth be told I’ve reviewed three albums this night. First was DjjD’s Uprising, which you can read about elsewhere on this site. This double review was created to quickly shrink my backlog of albums I need to review. And I think it went well. Pixel Perfect LP was great, albeit brief. But mixed with the EP and you’ve got a damn near complete album. halc’s chiptune skills are definitely improving with age, and practice no doubt, something evident in his recent singles and in his work on these two albums.
As for the others involved with Sound of Speed, they’re pretty awesome too. A lot of love went into all of these tracks, and it shows. WillRock did a phenomenal job with his tracks, and Brandon rocked the holy hell out of what he was tasked with. Jewbei is starting to show signs of matching his sensei’s skills, if not surpassing him, with the potential shown in his, and chth gave Labyrinth Zone a nice spin. I’d request a mix of that from Insert Rupee, but since both Ben and halc have mixed that track on their own, I don’t think I need it. And the three Special Stage mixes were all beautifully done, created by three masters of their style. And the others involved did great as well. Next time I’ll be reviewing ProtoDome’s BLUENOISE album, followed by Benjamin Briggs’s Attention Deficit EP. Until next time, game on!!

Double Review!! Genuine LP by JH Sounds and Pixel Perfect EP by halc

One of the only double reviews in existence, to my knowledge. Two albums, two artists, one article. It’s the perfect set-up! Be sure to read it and decide if you want these albums.

You should. They are free, and a lot of love went into making them. Read on!

Well this is a new thing. Behold, the double review! Glorious, isn’t it? I’ve been meaning to review JH Sound’s Genuine LP for a while now, and once halc released his Pixel Perfect EP I knew I’d be reviewing that too. What better time than now than to do so, and why not review both in the same article? I regularly review double-disc albums anyways, so this is basically the same. Except that both discs are standalone albums and only related tangentially through the artist’s connections in the remixing community, and me. So here goes nothing!

JH SOUNDS – GENUINE

1. Genuine     3:00
A pretty mellow track, with the title repeated for a while until about 0:47. At 1:03 it comes back, all chopped up. At this point, it becomes apparent that the word itself is used as an instrument unto itself. Drumwork is nice. At 2:38 the word fades out and JH’s trademark chime comes in to end.
2. Piana     3:08
Fittingly enough, it begins with piano. And synth. A good combo, too! This track has a good melody to it. It switches up at about 1:04 and returns at 1:18 or so. 1:28 brings a breakdown that sounds sweet, and totally gives the song a new feel. Rhythm returns at about 2:20. Fades to end at 3:05
3. Globalization     2:56
Sounds like a broken sound chip on an SNES at first; at 0:18 the beginnings of a pattern form and at 0:26 they come into full effect. A fun melody comes in at about 0:40. 1:25 brings a new instrument in, and like the other songs here, it adds to the ambience of the track. It ends to whistling at 2:30. The whistling itself ends at 2:50.
4. Creepers     3:03
Funky track; sounds like it would work with the Munsters or something similar too, which rocks. The main melody ends for a brief time at 1:04 when a voice clip comes in. The music returns at 1:27 or so. The melody tunes down at 2:13, and returns at 2:22.
5. AOTD     2:52
Interesting vocal clip from injury… the drums are solid again. The music jumps around a tiny bit, but it’s very enjoyable. As the song goes on, injury’s voice clip works as another instrument, like Noah Ludington’s voice clip from track one. It dies at 2:48 in humorous fashion.
6. Flatline feat. bill cakes     3:02
Starts out with a flatline, naturally. Guitar here courtesy of bill cakes, and it’s done beautifully. At 0:49 the main track comes in, and it’s awesome. I really like what the two did here; it’s a beautiful collab. Then again, JH is great at collabs soo… yeah. Anyways, bill breaks down the guitar at about 2:00 in grand fashion. The song winds down at 2:52.
7. Ambush     2:59
This sounds like a menacing track… I like it! Sounds like something big’s about to go down! Drums come in at 0:36 and add to the intensity. Mix-up at 1:26 doesn’t change the feel, and the drums returning keep it as tense as before. I want this song to play before I go to do anything, just to make it that much more dramatic. The sirens in the background starting at about 2:00 or so help too. It winds down starting at 2:30. It ends with a voice clip.
8. Infamy     3:05
This song starts with FDR’s famous address to Congress after Pearl Harbor happened. Fitting, since the song’s name is infamy and FDR says it in said speech. I’m sure when FDR was alive, he never dreamed his voice would be used in a song like this. It’s actually a bit humorous. I like this track; it’s nice, and at 1:45 more of the speech is used a bit. Voice clip is chopped up starting at 2:25 or so. Breakdowns on this CD are quite regular and well… genuine. Voice clip chop to end.
9. Cheeky     2:58
White Stripes sample start the song out, and it’s nice. The drums and melody in the background are calming and fit the song. Trippy voice sample echo effect at 1:45 or so. This continues until 2:12 or so. Echo is used again every time the voice clip is used thereafter. A nice peaceful track.
10. Fishy     3:55
This track starts out quiet and builds up in grand fashion. Fittingly enough, this track contains a sample from the song “Echoes” by Fishy, alias Cain McCormack. The melody is beautiful and the mood is big. The sample comes in at 1:50 or so. It’s a bit strange, but it works. There’s a nice rhythm from about 2:30 until the end that works fantastically. Song starts to end at 3:43 and ends at 3:52.
11. Motorway     3:13
I just want to drive slowly listening to this song, even though I don’t know how to drive. It’s a fun track, with a nice moving rhythm. It’s calm and peaceful too. The melody goes basic at 2:50 and this plays until the end.
12. Prayer     4:04
For the final main track of the album, JH decided to go religious a bit. A voice clip of a prayer begins the track, albeit a bit delayed. The melody plays throughout this voice clip, which plays throughout the entire track. Bass comes in at 1:12. Everything stops at 1:58 and resumes at 2:00. This entire speech is quite hilarious in it’s nonsensicality. There is a very defined rhythm, and the speech ends at 3:30. The melody continues until the end of the track.
13. Piana (RoboRob SpaceShip ReMix)     3:12
Ah yes, a remix… Very groovy and electronica-y. Some orchestral-like instrument comes in at 0:30. 1:01 brings about more of the main melody. 1:30 brings a voice clip, and 1:38 showcases a pretty slick effect. Sounds like the instruments in the source were sampled here for a more electronic sound. It’s a great mix, and fun to listen to. Everything continues as normal until 3:07 when it all suddenly stops.

HALC – PIXEL PERFECT

1. First Headache     2:16
This sounds like the Game Boy Zelda fairy music at first. It’s very peaceful and relaxed. More chippiness comes in at 0:30, showing the main melody. It is also reminiscent of old Kirby music. It slows down at about 1:10. This is a very catchy track, and doesn’t incite a headache at all. It calms down at 1:58 or so.
2. Floating Away     2:56
Great choppy chips of Cthulhu! This song is more ethereal than a cloud! Was that a Mega Man sound effect I heard? 0:43 brings in some melody aside from the rhythm. 1:24 brings a breakdown, and the music slowly lowers it’s volume. At 1:44 it comes back. Looks like halc learned much from chthonic… err… Ben Briggs, in their time working together! Everything goes quiet at about 2:20 until the end, as it all slowly fades away.
3. 17-bit     2:17
The melody comes in almost immediately. There is a very… not quite victorious or triumphant, but close… there is that sort of feel to this track. Like you’ve just done something monumental, but it’s not really a big deal… It quiets down at about 1:20 and returns at 1:38. Awesome chippiness at 1:54 or so. At 2:08 it begins it’s final descent.
4. White-Out     2:15
Funky, groovy, nice bass. 0:10 brings in some melodious awesomeness. 0:28 shows off some echo-like chimes. This song has created it’s own ambience, and feels like an old cavernous dungeon theme from a game of yesteryear. 1:08 brings in another melody, albeit faint, and 1:28 mixes it up a bit. It returns at 1:45 with new beats. Bass to end.
5. Bad Decisions     3:20
I don’t think this song was a bad decision at all! Sure, it starts out slow, but it is building up to something epic. It keeps going, and by 0:30 there is some rhythm. 0:52 adds more rhythm, and 1:09 kicks off the melody. 1:28 adds some drum effects, with some bass effects. Main melody returns at 2:00, with some mixage of it incorporated. Now this sounds like some sort of infiltration theme for an old game. It fades out starting at 3:00 until the end. And a great end it is!

CONCLUSION
First off, JH’s album. It’s a great freshman effort, and it’s beautful. I would expect to see this on store shelves or something. It’s a highly enjoyable collection of average-sized tracks, perfect for someone on the go!
halc’s album, Pixel Perfect, shows off his champion chiptune skills masterfully, and is a great example of how old sounds can sound fresh and exciting. Each track is bite-sized, and full of nostalgic effects. Highly recommended, and highly advised for download. I hope he releases an LP of this soon; I must have more!
All in all, both albums are fantastic efforts by both artists, and are but the beginning of what they have in store, I’m sure. You can find more from JH at his website, jhsounds.com, and more from halc at his website, halc9bit.com. In our next thrilling installment, we’ll have a new album by that guy who has the perfect gigoquotes. If you know what that means, then I’m surprised you’re reading this. Until next time, game on!!