Music of the Week: dong – Go Square / Gone Square
By Andrew Raub Sunday, 29 Jul 2007

Since I (we) missed last week’s MotW, I’m going to make this week’s a bit of a double-whammy. In the world of chiptunes, there are so many artists that it becomes hard to keep them straight. Certain artists become more infamous than others, and some remain in obscurity. It doesn’t help that there is no obligation to stay in the scene. Some chip artists can release one incredible album and then *poof* they are never heard from again. Tie in the fact that a lot of these dudes are Japanese and the on-line resources to find chip releases are scattered. This week I am presenting two albums by a chiptune artists who I feel has remained pretty obscure, but has been a favorite of mine since I was introduced to chiptunes years ago. He (she?) goes by the name “dong” and as far as I know has only released two albums of chiptunes. It wasn’t even until recently that I discovered that he had a second album.

His first album is titled Go Square, and according to the website is “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Square Wave.” It shows, too. It’s easy to strive for perfection, and I think Go Square really shows a true passion for chiptunes. The songs on Go Square are cheery, dreamy, dancy, and varied. “Whitescape” and “Dreaming Snowman” focus on strong melodies, while songs like “Birdman” and “Nu Sunday” really provide a solid dance beat. There’s even some jazz on here with “Faceless Portrait”. For some real techno glitch, check out “Lovers in Metal” and “Straycat”. Overall, Go Square is a load of fun and a great introduction to the world of chiptunes. It was one of the first albums I had heard, and still one of my favorites.

Next is Gone Square, the follow up album to Go Square. If Go Square is an introduction to the scene, then certainly Gone Square is a full-fledged jump into it. Gone Square is a little bit more serious than Go Square, and it features much more jazz influence. It’s interesting to not that almost all of the songs on this album are named after flowers. It’s an odd combination to have something so natural and organic paired with something synthesized and electronic, but it is perhaps a clue that these two realms aren’t so disjointed. After all, electronics are really just a transformation of energy into (hopefully) something beautiful, either audibly or visually, not unlike the photosynthesis of a flower.

Check out these two albums for a glimpse into an artist who I hope doesn’t wind up in obscurity.

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