Hey! Listen! Pause
Pause is not a band, but rather an amazing chiptune label with a roster of some of the most talented and original musicians I have ever had the chance to hear. Let’s take a brief look at their catalog together.
Pause (iimusic.net) was established in 2006 by musicians Eirik “Phlogiston” Suhrke and Rich “DisasterPEACE” Vreeland. The duo quickly rounded up some amazing names in chiptunes to gather alongside them, including Temp Sound Solutions, Shnabubula, alex mauer and so many more. The label contains all amazing and mostly free to download chiptune albums (not to mention indie video game soundtracks, but that will be saved for a different story). They are also planning many new releases in the future as well so it is definitely recommended you keep an eye on them at all times for their next release.
Well with this post I am going to highlight three Pause albums for all you folks to check out. Although I feel like that is a great injustice, as I have been amazed by every one of this labels releases so far, and they are all worth a listen. I will certainly have to return to these fine folks and give them more attention soon, not to mention each of these individual artists are definitely deserving of their own articles as well!
We’ll start things off with the album Level 2: No Power Ups (iimusic.net/catalog/2007/11/level-2-no-power-ups) by Seal of Quality. The album is not just chiptunes, but a smattering of synthesized vocals, guitars, and catchy riffs. Seal of quality is a French chiptune composer and guitarist who specializes in short catchy bursts of what can be best described as chiptune punk rock. Level 2: No Power Ups is 8 songs and clocks in at a miniscule 13 minutes, but in such a short span Seal of Quality is able to speed through an amazing array of styles and themes. This is a must listen album for folks who like their music in quick catchy bursts. Seal of Quality also shows one of many sides of chiptunes that Pause brings to the table.
The next album comes via Shnabubula, a well known musician in VGM circles. His EP Controller 1 (iimusic.net/catalog/2008/02/controller-1) takes us an a musical journey through every button of an NES controller. The album is very high concept with songs about each direction on the D-Pad such as DOWN in the Dumps and LEFT behind. Not to mention tracks for the Select and Start buttons. The album culminates with the epic chip orchestral track Beee Ayyy which brings the album to a dramatic and catchy end. I have been a big fan of this album and it’s very complicated and dynamic sounds. Shnabubula has a wide range of styles and it definitely shows on this EP. Controller 1 should be a cult classic of chiptune albums someday.
The last album I will talk about is the latest compilation from the crew of musicians from Pause. Big names in the chiptune scene including Animal Style, temp sound solutions, DisasterPEACE and ten more artists all come together to create a memorable and ambient tribute to winter known as Sea of Ice (iimusic.net/catalog/2009/02/sea-of-ice). For a compilation album the music is very cohesive and yet each artist is able to show off their own particular styles very well. The album was released during this past winter, and made for an excellent theme to the season. This album also makes for a great showcase of many of the talented folks who contribute to Pause.
So that concludes my short walk through of the Pause record label and a handful of their amazing albums. Definitely check out these three albums along with all the other gems in their library. Also be sure to check the site often as they always have amazing and original albums in the pipeline.