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The first of the three, and by far the “purest” (in chip terms) is BLUENOISE, a fun and free, but short, collection of tunes, almost all capable of instantly instilling smiles upon fans of chip music no matter their moods, but especially if they enjoy jazz. Within the seven tracks contained on the album are some of the smoothest tunes that I have laid my ears upon in the realm of chip. Of the album, the indisputable highlights are Bitmap_Blues., a wildly flowing piece that perfectly captures the essence of improvisation, and Her #0000ff Eyes… The only distinctly negative point on the album is its brevity. While all three BLUE albums are fairly short, BLUENOISE is by far the smallest, clocking in at just under sixteen minutes, leaving you wanting more.
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The second of the trilogy, BLUESCREEN is one of the most perfect musical follow-ups that I have seen. To put it simply, it is just more. Better art, more music, more complex melodies, greater variety, and the addition of real instruments catapult Protodome’s sophomoric far beyond its older sister. Released seven months after BLUENOISE, the growth shown in between is astounding. Bridging the first and final albums, it begins a transition from jazz-inspired chiptune to chiptune-inspired jazz, adding great amounts of depth to Protodome’s sound. From the high energy and movement of JPEG_Jive., to the fantastic live saxophone featured in There’s Always Next Week., to the slow and reflective tone of Grayscale., BLUESCREEN cannot be recommended highly enough. Just like BLUENOISE, it’s available at a “pay what you want” designation over at Protodome’s Bandcamp page.
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Wrapping up the trilogy, BLUESHIFT takes another step higher, adding more instruments, more variety, and, for the first time, vocals. Listening to BLUESHIFT, it’s truly incredible to see just how far the trilogy has evolved from BLUENOISE. Expanding even further to include big band music, 80’s synth funk, and, as mentioned earlier, vocal accompaniment, BLUESHIFT is an incredible conclusion to the trilogy, built high upon the groundwork laid by the two previous albums. Even with its dramatically expanded scope, it still retains the same sense of playfulness and joy that was present from the very beginning. Both New York Cheesecake and Oh I Feel Just Fine… (Because I’m Making Macaroni) exemplify this aspect, featuring the fantastic vocal work of Alissa Thompson singing about (what else?) comfort foods. Like the foods described, they’ll put a fantastic grin upon your face. Furthermore, until you listen to Here’s One I Made Earlier…, it’s impossible to comprehend just how well chip fits in with horns, piano, and all the other trappings of a Big Band. Also of note is a bonus remix of Four Color Hero, Protodome’s contribution to the first Chiptunes=Win album. Available, of course, on Protodome’s Bandcamp page, BLUESHIFT has a minimum price of £1, but is well worth the price, especially considering the mac and cheese recipe included within the album’s .zip file. I mean, how great is that?