Chiptune is, for me, one of those styles that presents a particular tightrope when it comes to writing about it. That’s because I’m drawn to artists using 8-bit sounds in an interesting way and…see, there it is! “Interesting ways,” as if lots of methods aren’t just that. But even though I know this can teeter on the dismissive, I ultimately find the stuff rising above easy nostalgia and trying something different — even if it still hits those familiar fuzzy feelings — really noteworthy.
Breezesquad has long ticked those boxes, releasing chiptune going off in all kinds of directions and always open to exploring new terrain. Fantasma is a step further for the Fukuoka producer, from the use of space and tension on opener “Maboroshi” to the rave-up of “Legit Fun.” Running through this is an interest in traditional Japanese music, putting it in a similar zone as Omodaka, but Breezesquad doesn’t just lean in on that, exploring chugging tempos (“Sell Yr Phone”) and floor-eyeing release (“Muéstrame”). Get it here, or listen below.