Smattering of chiptunes, synthpop, and EDM feels pulled from a different era.
Remember the 80s? The decade of new wave, synths, and inexplicably a very cyberpunk-ish feel? Well, Robyn A1200 does! Her album Formula Maintained is absolutely drenched in the sound that is undeniably 80s — and yet somehow modern. It’s part chiptune, part synthpop, and all very catchy. Standout tracks include 1985, Trace, and Fantastic Ways to Jazz it Up, though truthfully each track is stellar by their own right.
You can stream the album free here, or buy it for a couple of bucks.
The album starts off strong with a 1-2 punch of Augmentation, which transitions nicely into Trace, a tune that seems plucked from video games and Eddie Murphy flicks of the era. Augmentation sounds like something you might hear in a delightfully 90’s side scroller game, fighting your way through a gritty, dirty city street. A lovely synthesized flute spices up the track as it churns and bloops its way through 3 1/2 minutes of pure fun.
Moving down the tracklist to 1985, the track someone manages to sound exactly what I’d imagine 1985 would sound like in song format. Delightfully retro synths and appropriately cheesy drum machines play off of each other, and strongly remind me of something you’d find in an early NES game. The sampled lyric mixes the formula up a little, too, and adds a welcome change.
Fantastic Ways to Jazz Things Up lives up to its name, as the artificial horns and saxophones fall into an undeniable groove. Rounding out the album is a trio of remixes, which, while technically fine, don’t add a whole lot of new material. Ultimately, I felt they could be skipped without missing out on anything.
Overall, the album offers a fun romp through 8 good tracks (and 3 forgettable remixes) of wonderfully retro chiptunes mixed with synthpop. Each track manages to be different enough to be memorable in their own ways, and with a runtime of roughly 30 minutes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. A sample track (Fantastic Ways to Jazz Things Up) can be found below.