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Review of In The Year 20XX, originally published on  Written by Alex Baia.

Every once in a while, LOTD sends me an album that comes seemingly from out of nowhere by a band that is both weird and wonderful.  Well, today’s my lucky day, because Chromelodeon is the newest weird and wonderful band that you and I have never heard of until just now.

They self-describe as an “8-piece epic rock group” fromPhiladelphia.  They’re epic alright; a mixture of, among other things, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Mr. Bungle, and old-school Nintendo music.  I make those comparisons only as attempts at reference points.  Chromelodeon actually sounds nothing like any of those bands individually.  Rather, their album sounds like the soundtrack to an epic battle of superheroes and robots.  It exudes triumph and sadness, exhilaration and defeat.  It is lyrical and romantic without ever using words.  The album name, In the Year 20XX, seems to stand for anything and everything futuristic.  A story is being told here, but which one?

The epic feel of the album is accomplished not merely through a diverse range of instruments but also through a diverse usage of the instruments.  Staccato drum marches, shimmering guitar atmospherics, and walls of radiant synths create a feeling that ranges from melodic and dreamy to pounding and jagged.  The synths mimic violins, accordions, droning machines, and the wails of ghostly robots.

The album clocks in at just less than 30 minutes.  I could talk about the individual tracks, but that doesn’t seem necessary, and it might even be counterproductive.  The album feels like a continuous composition.  It may not have been a concept album by intention, but even so, the execution tells a story.  Melodic and rhythmic themes from the beginning of the album are revisited near the end.  Instrumentally, the members of Chromelodeon are talented and able.  Despite the fine individual performances, there is no showing off here.  The instruments sound unified; everything contributes to the whole.

In the Year 20XX is an album that, whether they like or not, will make all listeners grin and take note.  Not everyone likes theatrical, instrumental rock music.  For those that do, this album is golden.  Few bands are unique.  Chromelodeon is one of the few.

-Alex Baia

Originally published on in November 2003.  Written by Megan Curran.

Notes From the Underground
Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the keytar.

In keeping with the keyboard theme, the Chromelodeon CD blew my mind. Chromelodeon is one of the quintessential bands of the rising subgenre of Nintendocore. Sixteen-bit melodies are fleshed out into an eight-member band that is really doing something different in the local scene. I will definitely be checking these guys out live soon. I also suggest hitting up Scooter’s on November 28, where Ryan from Chromelodeon will be spinning 80s and other electropop while the indie kids skate in circles. Sounds super fun.

Originally published on Written by Chris Ayers.

Philadelphia’s Chromelodeon are a mostly instrumental progressive-rock octet (!) that almost defies belief. Part C Average, part Queen’s Flash Gordon, and part King Crimson’s In The Wake Of Poseidon, In The Year 20XX straddles the fence between prattling cartoons and prodigious artistry and ends up creating a sprawling epic for the Micronaut universe – yep, Time Traveler, Acroyear, Baron Karza, and the whole crew of that obscure ’70s toy line. “Wily’s Castle” is a prologue of sorts to a mounting battle of good and evil, with sweeping synthesizer passages and snare marches. The six-minute “Mysteriousness: Outer Space” continues the rising action à la Crimson’s Starless And Bible Black, then slips around Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. “Voder” is a terse, synth-driven piece that approaches but does not encroach upon IV-era F**king Champs. Like Rush’s “Hemispheres”, the twelve-minute closer “Eloquence Is Dead” is divided into movements: the first part is pure metallic rock peppered with death-metal vocals and melodic vocoder-delivered lyrics, the latter of which is surely inspired by Time-era Electric Light Orchestra; the second reprises the battle march as a prelude to war; the third is a quiet, Yes-styled interlude, followed by a Mr. Bungle-like accordion episode; and the finale includes said march and a big violin finish. Prog rock for the Nintendo generation, Chromelodeon are a true find and are everything you need for galactic battle adventures with old Star Wars figures.

Originally published on in December 2003/January 2004. Written by Alex Llama.

Chromelodeon is an 8-piece Philadelphia group that plays mostly-instrumental rock. Their fondness for science fiction comes through in their work, from the cartoonish cover art to the spacey keyboards and sound effects. They take the grandiose and epic feel of power metal and channel it into outer space. (AL)

Originally published on  Written by John Venvertloh.

One of the things I like to do when I review an artist’s music is get to know them as much as possible. Different bands have different information available in their press kits and on their web sites. It’s both interesting to see the artists and find out what they are thinking. Chromelodeon made that nearly impossible because of the limited info they made available. So I can tell you they’re an 8 piece epic rock group from the Philly (PA) area. (If this sounds like a complaint, I’m sorry. It’s not meant to be.) Based on what is on the web site, if Weird Al played epic rock, his band might look like these guys. They even have an accordion player!!

With so little to go on, the music will have to, er, “speak” for itself. Which is interesting because the CD has four instrumental songs on it. Still not much to go on… The sound is definitely epic rock: lots of big soundscapes, tempo and key changes, different instrumentation, and so on. It’s really very good and I like it a lot. I hear some similarities to Todd Rundgren’s Utopia in a couple of the songs although I wouldn’t say they particularly sound like Utopia. The fact that it’s all instrumental forced me to interpret the music myself. In one sense it’s like a lot of electronica, where the listener has to infer from the title and the sound what the artist might be trying to say. In another sense, and this is really what I came away from the CD feeling more deeply, it’s a lot like listening to a movie soundtrack album when you haven’t seen the movie. I can tell when things are changing but I can’t tell what’s happening. It’s not an altogether bad feeling. I guess I’m just not used to getting it from an epic rock CD!

Did I mention I like the music? I did? Okay, good! I think the CD will appeal to a fairly large audience, not just epic rock fans. Fans of most styles of rock should be able to get into it. Theatrical metal fans could find this CD enjoyable as a change of pace from their normal listening. The band offers a sample on the web site. Check it out.
Key track: mysteriousness: outer space

Originally published on on January 9, 2004.  Written by Mike Baker.

We all remember the final battle of Transformers: The Movie, don’t we? Orson Welles’s star-turn as the all-powerful Unicron, a force so terrible the Autobots and Decepticons most join in battle to save the world? Ringing any bells? The guys in Chromelodeon don’t need to be reminded — they seem hell-bent on scoring and re-scoring the final battle sequence with their brand of instrumental space rock. The not-so-futuristically named “Wily’s Castle” could be offered as evidence to support such a claim.
But wait. Maybe it’s not a Transformers fixation — could it be that these guys have their Rush albums in the disc-changer on permanent repeat? “Mysteriousness: Outer Space” seems to fit the bill, though it eventually turns into balls-out rocker that would make Voivod proud.

Nope. It’s a Transformers thing — the synth-charged “Voder” is all the proof I need. And the meandering “Eloquence Is Dead” is just icing on the cake. (Watch for the Pink Floyd-inspired choir of voices — it’s way cooler than it should be.) Thanks, Chromelodeon — you’ve just given me and all my film geek friends a new alternate soundtrack to our Transformers collections. “Destruction to Autobots!”
— Mike Baker

Review of In The Year 20XX, originally published in Punk Planet issue #60, March / April 2004.  Written by Tim Kuehl.

Memories of sitting at home in the basement for hours playing Mega Man and Zelda come rushing back after hearing these songs. The first, “Wily’s Castle,” is an instrumental that I swear could be a video game theme: dramatic, epic keyboards and crunchy distorted guitars. The second and third songs are also instrumentals, but with a slightly different feel to them. The fourth song is a 14-minute rock opera with processed, spacey unrecognizable vocals. This eventually leads to my favorite part of the song, at about eight minutes, where they add an accordion with a trumpet, violin, humming and some cadence-style drums. This explaination is pointless, because to understand how cool this is, you have to hear it. This is highly recommended.

-Tim Kuehl

Originally published in Origivation Magazine volume 3 issue 4, March 2004.  Written by Robin Parry.

It is a Wednesday night and feels about 30 below in Old City.  At the Khyber, in spite of a four-band bill, the “crowd” consists of employees, band members, those screwing the band members and me.  I am one moment from pulling a Houdini escape act when I glance, empathetically, at the overly exposed stage area and see 8 men appear before a crimson backdrop.  It was not the towering Oscar Wilde like accordion player center stage that glued my feet but instead the hoody cloaked figure sitting on the edge of the stage with a milk crate filled with light effects and finger triggers.  His “play station” was soon to become the master control of a “mystery science theatre” stage sideshow for a band named Chromelodeon.

Suddenly, out of the fridged stillness, like thunder from the Holy Mountain of God, Chromelodeon tore apart the garments of the evening’s common threads with a velvet sword.  Want a visual?  Think Ed Wood.  Campy strobes and frenetic pulsing spots tapped out as in divine trance by a mental whirling dervish with a box.  Opening with a 20-minute song named, appropriately, Adventures in a Haunted House, Chromelodeon created a frighteningly dark, yet comforting dance of divinity.  At it would have been a divine comedy indeed was the music anything less than breathtaking.  But breathtaking it was.  The air was soon filled with harmonic convergence and divergence, microtonal chutes and ladders that guided you on the 43 tone trip to the spheres.  This was hard and gothic in nature.  You could not help but get lost in your own thematic interpretation of the tales being spun by this music.  The multitude of harmonies was more like the sounds from an orchestra than a club band. This was rock opera.  The majesty of the compositions combined with the campy humor of the visual presentation was more than inspired.

Chromelodeon is named after one of the instruments created by Harry Partch.  “We collectively decided on the name and this project itself about 2 years ago, with much respect to the inventor and the instruments conventional use juxtaposed with its creative retooling. The chromelodeon itself is hard to come by (or create), and though we’ve considered acquiring one, its practical use in such a large sized band is somewhat limited, haha.” Say’s one Chromelodeon member who chooses to remain nameless.  The chromelodeon is a keyboard capable of creating four part harmonies with just one key.  Some present day avante artists are known to create chromelodeons by rigging two accordions to achieve the 43 tones per octave.  This band, through use of an accordion, several keyboards, theremin, violins, and guitars appear to create the magic as a unit.  I fear that this band may often get lumped into the “jam band” category though they truly transcend this and most other musical genres. They have been described as “epic” or “soundtrack rock” but still they are more.  My best comparison would be to opera.   This music is intellectual and demands participation from its audience.  I want to study the language with which it was written so as to better appreciate it.

I tried to get the band to give me some information about themselves and this is all I got from my conversation from the nameless one:

“As far as information about us goes, we like to keep relatively mysterious in a humble sense. I appreciate you grasping the fact we desire people to pay attention to the music, and not the musicians themselves, the irony of which for an 8 piece band without vocals is heavy indeed. We all more or less met in a south jersey arcade in the late 80s, and eclectic tastes congealed after many years practicing together.”  

Chromelodeon is, more specifically, Denny Barron, David Chapman, Vinnie Corda, Dino Lionetti, Chris Singer, Ryan Soloby, Danny Tarng, and Eddy Tsang.  They are currently performing shows from Boston to NYC supporting their current CD, “In the Year 20XX”.  This 4 song, approx. 30 minute CD, will astound all but the Justin Timberlake fans amongst you.  Listening to this CD after seeing this band live I would hope to see them next at the Kimmel Center.  They are this large, this extravagant.  This is high art at its finest.

When their ritual performance was complete and their magic well formed in the stale beer ether of the Khyber, the eight holy men seem to slip back into mortals and exit the stage as if nothing extraordinary had occurred.  But we, the small group of witnesses, walk away profoundly changed.

You can find out little more as well as purchase a copy of their masterpiece CD, “In the Year 20XX” from the Chromelodeon web site at

-Robin Parry

Review of In The Year 20XX, originally published in Clamor Magazine issue #26.  Written by Jason Kucsma.

The wack-ass cover art for this CD doesn’t betray the genius of Chromelodeon’s debut CD (unclear… is this the debut?).  I almost passed it off as a half-assed attempt to endear the CD to the hip-hop and graf culture with its cartoonish caricature raising his fist in the air over a pile of industrial rubbish.  Truth is, this is pure gold.  Chromelodeon is an instrumental powerhouse (with some minimal vocals) that creates epic tracks from rock and new wave roots – creating something that sounds like Godspeed You Black Emperor! facing Mr.Bungle in a Nintendo Gameboy songwriting competition.  This is truly an example of a book that should not be judged by its cover.  I consider myself schooled.
-Jason Kucsma

Originally published in Aiding and Abetting #251 in March 2004.  

Damn, I think this set of reviews might end up being some sort of 70s tribute. In a good way, which isn’t exactly something I ever expected to hear myself saying. Nonetheless, Chromelodeon channels 70s prog cheese excess into four songs of epic grace and power.

Not unlike a sci fi-nerd version of the Fucking Champs, these boys play synth-drenched mini-operas full of martial beats and sweeping melodies. This stuff is so excessive that it comes almost all the way back to the mainstream.

Yeah, the stuff is silly, but I think the eight members of the band know that. They’re just having fun. And that’s why this album soars. There’s no pretension to be fond anywhere. Just a few folks getting as loopy and geeked-out as possible.

So by now you oughta know if Chromelodeon might be your bag. If you dig music made on a grand scale, I haven’t heard better stuff in ages. I haven’t had an album thrill me and make me laugh out loud in sheer bliss in ages. Quite the package.


Originally published on Written by J-Sin.

A self-described 8-piece epic rock group based in Philadelphia, Chromelodeon puts together what could be easily described as prog-rock minus the usual lame high-pitched vocals. They’re certainly good especially on the frantic “Eloquence is Dead” but not precisely memorable. Perhaps it’s the lack of a real frontman (or woman) but I doubt that. They’re probably better live as they claim to have a spastic lightshow that accompanies their live performances.

– J-Sin

Pamphlet and Voting Sheets:

Media Coverage:

A night of music at the Cove
Originally published on April 29, 2004 in The Temple News ( Written by Andrea Reich.

Fans and friends filled the Owl Cove on Tuesday night as Temple’s student-run radio station, WHIP 91.3, sponsored their first annual Battle of the Bands. Nearly 30 bands submitted CDs and the station narrowed that number down to 13 bands who were then asked to perform.

Bands were judged on originality, stage presence, timing, lyrics (originality), vocals and overall sound. The judges were WHIP’s own rock director, Alexander Rosenkreuz, technical director, Roy Brown, and Rock DJ, Justin Biasi.

The show was delayed a half-hour, but the bands – when they finally made it onstage – more than made up for it.

The band Orphans offered a rap beat backed up by awesome instrumentals, including a full drum kit and bongos. They won over the audience, forcing the crowd to its feet and to the front of the stage. It would seem they moved the judges as well, because Orphans won second place in the battle.

Temple’s own kept the fun and the music coming when Mini Band took the stage. The group was comprised of a mini guitar, mini bass and mini drum kit.

Other Temple favorites also put in appearances. When Fat City Reprise walked onstage their fans went crazy. There was a lot of love for FCR as fans snapped pictures and sang along. The band’s energy and stage presence was great; it was obvious that they were enjoying themselves.

One of the last bands to play was disqualified when they played over their allotted time. Screams were heard from all over as several band members gave the finger to the judges.

The night switched direction (literally) as the crowd was directed to the wall adjacent to the stage where the next band, Chromelodeon was tuning up.

“Stages are for rock bands and lyrics are for poets,” said the band’s accordion player David Chapman.

This was proven true as Chromelodeon took over the area near the stage and wowed the audience.

Chromelodeon consists of Vinnie Cordd on drums, Ryan Soloby and Dino Linonetti on synthesizer, Dan Tarng and Eddy Tsang on guitar, Denny Barron on bass, Chris Singer on lights, and David Chapman on accordion. Chromelodeon came quipped with their own flashing colored lights, claiming it must be dark when they play. They were a band that truly proved they were musicians. Their sound was genuinely unique, even when compared to the diverse group of bands chosen to play that night. And they lived up to their philosophy; Chromelodeon didn’t need lyrics to win or a stage to prove they knew how to rock.

As the first place winners, Chromeolodeon won $150 to Sam Ash and 8 hours of recording time at the Music Training Center with one of Philadelphia’s top producers. The band was in shock when they heard they won. They were actually still cheering for the second place winners, Orphans, who took home 2 hours of recording time and $75 to Sam Ash.

Chromelodeon’s good news doesn’t stop here. They recently found out their next CD will be put out by Blood Link Records.

With a stellar lineup of Temple bands, WHIP’s first annual Battle of the Bands was a success. Hopefully, Temple students can look forward to its return next year.

Originally published on Written by Travis Yarak.

It’s the final countdown as hosted by Svenghoulie. Dio and King Diamond are thrown obvious props in this recording. Keyboards accompany guitars on their galloping rhythmic horses of slaughter that would scare Martha Stewart back into marriage. She would need a man to protect her from the drummer’s pounding rolls and emphatic cymbal crashes.

Using sparse vocal collages laid over certain segments of songs, Chromelodeon crank out instrumental metal ballads that mix sentiments of space, nerd melodrama, and guitar riffs reminiscent of early ’90s metal grunge acts such as Alice in Chains and Prong. This CD is incongruously fascinating. Also very kitschy for those indie rockers who like to buy Black Sabbath vinyl from Reckless Records in Wicker Park.

Metal-heads would probably hate these guys, but then again metal is pretty serious. Chromelodeon’s music mixes sarcasm with musical wit to deliver a genuinely crafted book of music.

Mysteriousness: “Outer Space” really brings home the early-’90s Alice in Chains guitar riffing. Perfectly complementing the guitars are stabbing violins and an almost inaudible high-pitched vocal track. Almost three minutes into “Outer Space” lurks a harmonic symphony and a ribbing Black Sabbath-esque bass. Noisy cymbal crashes typically heard at any arena rock show mar the end of this part of the song, only to bring back the rhythm section in fuller effect than before.

“Voder” features what very little vocals there are on this album. King Diamond would be proud to hear the “ooh’s” and “eeh’s” by Chromolodeon’s members.

“Eloquence is Dead” is the last track on this release. Influences of Man or Astroman?, Naked RayGun, and the Descendents rip through the sound of this song’s first few minutes. Topping even Mars Volta in their quest to include as much prog sensibility as they can into one song, Chromolodeon rage back with a tense rope of swinging guitars and vocals that sound like they are modulated by the same instruments used by Britney Spears and the like. You know, the ones that transform your vocals into certain vowels to create a compressed effect.

Although Chromelodeon’s format has only lasted the test of a four-song EP, I would like to see how they evolve as a band, and am looking forward to an LP from these guys. This epic-sounding music builds from space to earth burning all atmospheres in their way. Even Kool Keith could get with the Chromelodeon.

Originally published on Written by Andrew Raub.

It’s not often that a non-videogame cover band will cover some videogame tunes, let alone a full album. The Dark Sword of Chaos is the result of a band full of Ninja Gaiden II fans getting some free recording time. While the covers contained on this album are not typical Ninja Gaiden II covers, they are some of the best around.

The Dark Sword of Chaos is heavier, more epic, and packed with loads more of everything that made In the Year 20XX awesome. These guys do a great job at blending their own style in with synths that closely resemble the NES soundtrack. The entire album is cohesive and never breaks the style.

If you are a fan of videogame covers then this is a must-have. There are samples on their website, please check them out. For those of you who aren’t into the VG cover scene, it’s still enjoyable.

Rating: Classic


Originally published on Written by Andrew Raub.

Without even listening to the album, a seasoned gamer should be able to tell that Chromelodeon has some degree of videogame influence. This is very much true, and it helps make a solid and quirky rock album.

Chromelodeon, in my best description, is prog-rock to the nerdth power. Eight members fill the band, using instruments such as guitars, bass, keyboards and synth, drums, and most importantly: accordian. Each instrument by itself is quite simple, but when combined they create a sonic mastery of textures that titilates the ear.

Starting off with “Wily’s Castle”, we are treated to an epic, yet solemn, cover of the Wily’s Castle music from MegaMan 3. Woah. Talk about influence. Moving in quietly, “Mysteriousness in Outer Space” quickly bursts like a supernova and continues on a rollercoaster of energy. Next is “Voder”, featuring repeating guitar riffs with weaving keyboards and lots of effects. The chorus effects add ambiance and the result is quite spooky. Finally we reach “Eloquence is Dead”, which in all of it’s 13 minute glory is by far the pinnacle of the album. Taking the best elements from each previous song, “Eloquence is Dead” fuses them all together creating a perfect ending.

With only four songs it still clocks in at almost 30 minutes. No point in the duration does the album falter or get boring. Ultimately In the Year 20XX gives me great hope for future releases.

Rating: Great


Originally published in Montreal Mirror, Volume 20 Number 18, October 21-27 2004.  Written by Rupert Bottenberg

Chromelodeon: Hailing from Philadelphia, this crazed collective fuses together metallic guitar action, howling synths, grinding accordion and circular motifs to fashion a bold, catchy, proggy instrumental mélange that I think can best be described as “spaceship rock.” Genuinely impressive – they had my attention from “hello” to “goodnight.”


Tour Journal:

Our tour sendoff show! With a lineup of other friends, and a massive crowd, we couldn’t have asked for a better tour launch. Although, things got a bit out of hand when numerous family members were introduced to Sparks, which eventually flowed like water. As usual. A heavy snowstorm started right after the show ended, lets hope its not a terrible omen….

Press Coverage:

Originally published on on December 22, 2004. Written by Doug Wallen.

So you’ve picked up all the tattered wrapping paper and drained the last of the eggnog. It’s the day after Christmas, and now what? Allow me to make a rather offbeat suggestion: Chromelodeon. I know, I know–a Philadelphia-area instrumental octet isn’t exactly the stuff of holiday tradition, but these guys have a lot going for them. Like what? Well, they’re about to embark on a national tour with oddball extraordinaire the Evolution Control Committee. And they were totally ahead of the whole classic-video-game-music trend–the first song on their In the Year 20XX EP is called “Wily’s Castle,” a Mega Man reference. But that’s nothing compared to their loving renditions of tunes from Ninja Gaiden 2, captured on a new EP. This show coincides with the release of both the EP and the band’s first proper album, Heart of Sawdust, on West Philly’s own Bloodlink label. It’s a booming battering ram of disparate riffs, epic synth atmosphere and every-instrument insanity. In other words, you’ve never heard anyone rock an accordion this hard.

Press Coverage:
Originally published on on April 6, 2005. Written by Emily Brochin.

Listening to Chromelodeon, an eight-piece band whose members grew up together in southern New Jersey, is akin to climbing inside a videogame programmed by members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mr. Bungle. Working with a plethora of instruments ranging from the typical guitar-and-drums combination to violins, an accordion and a bank of synthesizers, Chromelodeon put on a hell of a show. The band is preparing to embark on a third national tour to promote their two latest albums, The Dark Sword of Chaos and Heart of Sawdust. Though it’s obvious their sound is heavily influenced by Nintendo, the band is more than a gamer’s dream come true. They produce heavily composed sonic tapestries with an epic flavor that evokes princesses and dragons duking it out in the heath. In a town overflowing with bands, Chromelodeon is one of a kind.

Originally published on on July 7 2005.

Late last year, my friend Scott added a Philadelphia-based band called Chromelodeon to the roster on his Bloodlink record label. The band initially piqued my interest with a nine-song ep called The Dark Sword of Chaos, which was dedicated exclusively to the music from Ninja Gaiden II, the second installment in the greatest video game series of all time. It was clear that these guys shared my enthusiasm for the game, and they brought its music into an epic rock context that served it quite well. But since video game cover bands with limited appeal have been coming out of the woodwork for the last couple of years, I didn’t bother to look into what else Chromelodeon had to offer, even though I knew they had original material. Seeing them play with the Minibosses this past weekend changed my mind. And then some.
I sized them up as they started setting up onstage. Eight guys in the band, none of whom look much older than twenty-one or so. Two guitars, bass, drums, violin, accordion, an array of analogue synthesizers (including a keytar), a lo-fi lighting rig, and two projectors for visuals. This was either going to be a formless, cacophonous art project, or something really special. Whatever the outcome, I was already impressed by its ambition.
Given the band’s numbers, it is not surprising that Chromelodeon’s sound is huge. What is surprising is just how unique that sound is, encompassing punk ethos, prog atmospherics, and gamer geekery. Its guitars channel Godspeed You Black Emperor’s symphonic grandiosity, replacing the cynicism with a sense of wonder and adding a touch of metal bravado; fantasy-tinged synth lines recall a decidedly 8-bit Nintendo aesthetic; and the accordion and violin peppered throughout provide a subtle European folk texture.
Throughout the show, though, it was that aforementioned ambition, that potential, that really struck me. Once they started playing, I wasn’t just excited about what they were doing at that moment—which was awesome—but what I could imagine them doing in another year or two. Between their ostensible youth and their distinctive melodic sensibilities, it’s not hard to imagine their material evolving quickly, producing ever more sophisticated arrangements. I could already see it happening at the show—the as-yet-unreleased material they played was that much more invigorating than the great stuff they’ve already recorded.
The future looks bright for Chromelodeon. I am anxious to find out what they have in store.

Originally published on in October 2005. Written by Erik Thomas.

I hate to bring the metal throes of this website to a screeching halt, but this odd little album found its way into my stack and review it I must. Is it metal? Debatable. Should it be reviewed here? Arguable. Do I enjoy it? Somewhat. Is this one of the oddest and hardest albums I’ve ever had to review? You fucking bet.

The only vogue point of reference I can throw out here to at least try and give you some idea as to Chromelodeon’s odd sound is an instrumental Estradasphere, maybe mixed with the The Doors, The Mass and Nintendo game music. Heart of Sawdust is composed of six unnamed movements that flow into each other in one undulating, accordion based, synth pop, orchestral combo that’s sure to please users of illicit substances. At times it comes across like a 70s B movie horror soundtrack with guitars and an accordion. Obviously with such a quirky style and delivery, Heart of Sawdust isn’t an album of songs or moments, but more of an atmospheric trip into psychedelia and a kaleidoscope of swirling sounds that confound confuse and sometimes amuse.

Admittedly the first two ‘songs’ did little for me, with the second song serving as a sort of instrumental rock opera type track, but the dramatic third movement is an eerie, spooky sort of track that would seem to fit the Phantasm movies. The accordion, while normally associated to upbeat, folky bands like Finntroll, is used as a haunting off key backdrop to the guitars and brass instruments. The fourth movement is an ‘epic’ wailing guitar solo backed by the cacophony of instrumentation while the fifth act is a more metal upbeat, cosmic sort of number that showed some chops amid the plethora of oddball instrumental antics. The closing track shows that Chromelodeon can structure an instrumental album with the correct pacing as it is a fittingly “closure” sounding track.

If it seems like I’m flailing like a blindfolded kid at a review piñata, it’s ‘cos I am. Few albums have left me verbally challenged as this, but at the same time, in an era on metalcore plagues and death metal staleness, Chromelodeon comes as an oddly refreshing change, though not an outfit I will seek out voluntarily.

Only recommended for the most opened minded, non blinkered, challenge loving or flat out fucking wasted or high listeners.

Originally published on on November 2 2005. Written by Doug Wallen.

Class of ’05
The Philly indie scene is stronger than ever.

It’s been a big year for Philly. The Eagles went to the Super Bowl. The New York Times dubbed us the “sixth borough.” National Geographic named us the country’s “Next Great City.” Beanie Siegel got off. The Real World invaded Old City. And the quasi-chick-flick In Her Shoes showcased everything from the Rocky steps to the Jamaican Jerk Hut. At long last, it’s not hyperbole to say the world’s eyes are on our city. And its ears, for that matter.

This was the year Diplo and Hollertronix became a global phenomenon, party boy Dave P remixed Bloc Party, folkie Amos Lee toured with Bob Dylan, at least four different compilations chronicled our music scene, and Buried Beds and the Spinto Band each had songs featured in national TV commercials.

Even sticking to the narrow margins of underground rock, we had trouble keeping track of all the key players in Philly music this year. It’d take at least a few more cover stories to address the jazz-heads, the hip-hop scene, the avant-garde, the punk and metal enthusiasts, and those countless singer/songwriters.

 So here, for starters, is a cheat sheet. A Cliffs Notes version of the Philly bands that got national-and international-attention in the last 12 months, from Dr. Dog and Mazarin to Hail Social and Espers, plus the handful that couldn’t survive the year intact.

Sitting on such a musical hotbed, we surely missed a band here and there. So do us a favor-for every new band we tell you about, tell us about another.

You’ll be telling the world.


Sound like: Instrumental epics informed equally by film and video-game soundtracks.

Latest record: Heart of Sawdust.

Label: Bloodlink (Philadelphia).

Toured with: Evolution Control Committee.

What we said: “A booming battering ram of disparate riffs, epic synth atmosphere and every-instrument insanity.”

What Punk Planet said: “You have to hear it … highly recommended.”

Band highlight: Capitalized on trend of playing video-game music; performed special encore at First Unitarian Church alongside the Minibosses.

What’s next: Recording more and learning music to more games.


Press Coverage:
Originally published on on 2006-11-16.
When was the last time I saw a guy rocking out on a piano-tar and a double deck of keyboards, another guy on accordion, a guy on another double deck of keyboards, two guitars and a full set of heavy metal drums? Oh yeah, Saturday night at The Khyber. I rocked out to the tunes of Chromelodeon, a group of rockers inspired by soundtracks to video games. I’m not talking about the new ones with songs from the Top 40 stations. I’m talking about the 8-bit systems with some serious MIDI sound.

Lady goes to grad school with the piano-tarist and suggested we head out to see them and I’m glad we did. I have a flickr set of fourteen photos from their performance. I just noticed that Flickr has now enabled commenting on a set of photos and not just the individual ones, cool.

I wasn’t able to identify the songs nor the obscure games they came from except for one which I’m confident was the theme to the original Zelda for NES. I must say that the most rocking-est performer was the Kevin Smith lookalike accordionist. He showed up late, they announced from his own wedding, and just jumped on stage with his overcoat and flopping hair. He gestured to someone to hand him a case and out popped the accordion. The crowd went wild. Especially wild all throughout the forty minute set, blue glasses superfan #1. He was rocking so hard, his glasses fell off his face, but not before he caught them with his own hair. The piano-tarist reminded me a lot of Arty Ziff from The Simpsons – the same hair. The double keyboardist very much reminded us of the guy from Wayne’s World who was about to spew in the Mirthmobile.

I would be remiss in posting on a video game music inspired band without mentioning Minibosses introduced to me by that 1L Heller, AK.

Feature and review originally published in Amplifier issue #52, January-February 2006.  Written by Brian Baker.


Those of us who came of age in the 1970s (and have the gray hair and memory lapses as proof) would never have bet the rent that progressive rook would experience a resurgence and reinvention in the new millennium. Once you’ve ingested monkey tranquilizers and gone coma at a Yes concert during “Bales of Psychotropic Doldrums” or whatever the hell they called that drivel, the sheen sort of peels off the genre.
Thankfully, there’s a new generation creating music that swells and soars with the same visceral energy that the best prog had to offer in the ’70s. A good many Of them, particularly Philadelphia’s Chromelodeon, are creating this new symphonic rock without the benefit (or onus) of being influenced by the genre’s forefathers. “We’re more of an epic instrumental thing,” says Chromeiodeon synthesist Ryan Soloby between teaching assignments in audio production as a graduate student at Temple University.
“We’re all obsessed with video games and that’s what really influences us. We didn’t set out to do video game music, but its almost inevitable.”
Chromelodeon began when its members were high school students, but the octet’s roots go back further. “It’s a classic case of almost growing up together,” says Soloby. It helps with the dynamics, because we’re unbelievably used to each other. There’s not really any surprises.”
Although the band’s members have been friends for over a decade in some cases, Chromelodeon came together under its current banner about four years ago, after testing material under a different name, and then doing a demo as Chromelodeon in 2001. Two years ago, the band released its compelling debut EP, In the Year 20XX, and they’ve recently followed up with Heart of Sawdust, a more streamlined execution of their musical vision. “The first one had vocoders and theremins and all kinds of stuff on it,” says Soloby.
Although any number of sonic parallels could be drawn with Chromelodeon (including Yes, King Crimson, Kansas, and Curved Air), Soloby’s credit to video soundtracks remains steadfast; the band has recorded an unreleased front-to-back cover of the Ninia Garden II music bed and Chromelodeon has been able to tour nationally through monetary sponsorship offered by the underground gaming/recording community. “We don’t have a huge national following, but everywhere we go there are always a couple of kids who have been waiting to see us for the longest time,” says Soloby.
For Heart of Sawdust, Chromelodeon stripped away as much excess as possible in an effort to approximate the band’s visceral projected-lights-and-video stage presentation.
“We also went for a slightly more live feel as opposed to a track-by-track layering. The way we recorded 20XX, with over-dubbing and overlaying, gave it this prog feel and that’s not what we really were going for. Heart of Sawdust has a more orchestral feel. People see us live, then head for the merchandise. The feedback we get is that they love it, but they love our live show more – which is a compliment, because so many times groups can’t play what they played on the album because of Autotune and overdubbing.”
In a similarly reductionist attempt to distance itself from the often imagery-dense prog perspective, the only titles that have been assigned to the songs on Heart of Sawdust are their corresponding track numbers, “One” through “Six.” “That came about because the songs were written before any context was applied to them,” says Soloby. “We felt like giving them titles after the fact wouldn’t do them any justice.”
As an instrumental outfit, Chromelodeon also deftly avoids the prog trap of having a showy singer performing bad conceptual poetry tarted up with overly dramatic music. It’s a pitfall of whitch the band is all too aware. “We’re trying to avoid that singular musician aspect,” says Soloby. “It’s always a part of a whole, not separated.”

Heart of Sawdust Review

On their 2004 debut, In the Year 20XX, Philly octet Chromelodeon showed themselves to be brilliant students of prog rock, extracting the passion and restraint and excising the overarching dramatics and unnecessary bombast of the form. With their sophomore release, Heart of Sawdust, Chromelodeon wisely follows suit with another succinct disc of orchestral rock delights. Once again eschewing the need for conceptually grandiose lyrics (epic storytelling is how most prog bands of the ’70s eventually disappeared up their own asses), the music is left to do its work. The band fills every available space with a virtual symphony of electronics and the standard paraphernalia of classic rock without the accompanying cliches. The songs on Heart of Sawdust avoid any implied meaning that could be found in actual titles, and are instead named numerically from “One” to “Six”. It’s a daring gambit, but in this vacuum of association, the soaring music is free to swirl around the listener’s conscious mind without the baggage of specious sword-and-sorcery contextualism to distract from the enjoyment of the music in its purest form. If the thought of prog rock leaves you cold, give Chromelodeon a fair shake; you’ll be surprised at just how punk their prog can get.

Written by justincharlesharlan, published on on January 11 2006.

Recently, Philadelphia based Nintendo-rock octet, Chromelodeon decided to create an alterego to release their arrangements of music from video game classics. To the average listener, one may think their original music was composed for video games in the first place, and whether or not this may be true, Chromelodeon came to a point where they decided their original music and their covers needed separate identities, this article focusing on their new creation Sprite Slowdown. My only concern in choosing them for an “Under the radar” piece was whether or not they were signed, because I knew they had recently done some work with local label, Bloodlink Records. They reassured me in choosing them:

We’re in a gray area. Still working with Bloodlink on the ongoing press we’re getting for albums through them, but we have no further agreements on projects. In fact, we just finished a new DIY album on our own we’ve very happy with…

We begin with a few questions for the band…

CF: Who is Sprite Slowdown, meaning who is in the band and who plays what? In what way are you related to the band Chromelodeon? Side project?

SS: Its a mirror image of Chromelodeon: same players, but different concept.
We’re trying to differenciate between our original material and video game arrangements. We’ve got four albums, two from each area.

CF: Name a few unsigned bands that you think should be featured in upcoming editions of “Under the radar”.

SS: Harris! I think we still owe them after all we’ve put them through the past couple years, all the more reason to prove their good intentions overall. Very rarely do we sense that type of sincerity and devotion they show, while also making great music. [They were featured in Someone sign these guys” and will undoubted be featured here soon.]

CF: What was the best show you’ve ever played and/or favorite band you’ve played with?

SS: This is a toss up… we played before Yo La Tengo at Culture Shock Fest, in front of a couple thousand. We had a movie theater sized screen behind us with all our video game visuals projected onto it, it was incredible. But, the other best overall show had to be our 3rd US tour homecoming show, headlining the First Unitarian Church here in Philly. Our friends The Minibosses came back on stage to do a dual-band encore, it was ridiculous but epic. The crowd was close to sold out, and there’s still some audio/video bootlegs floating around the internet somewhere…. [The Minibosses are also AWESOME! Readers need to check them out at]

CF: Besides music, what else are you interested in?

SS: Would video games sound redundant? Video games, yes.


Before I unpause and go back to the interview, I’d like to conclude with a few words about Sprite Slowdown. I have worked with both the boys of Chromelodeon/Sprite Slowdown on several occassions and have seen them countless times. In both instances, their live performance is epic. Most recently, I did a show with them as SS in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. I was very impressed by their wide array of video game covers. Who knew that the them from Echo the Dolphin 2 could sound so damn good? Make a point to visit their web page:


CF: I hear that as a band you enjoy drinking (Sparks). Is this true?

To the question above, there only response was this:

CF: Kiss up to the writer of this column. Who was the coolest promoter you’ve ever worked with?

SS: Of all the ground we’ve covered, we look forward most to hitting Denver, Colorado. Josh from Monkeymania Warehouse always takes care of us, the shows are consistently amazing. He’s also from the band Friends Forever, a 3 piece that tours guerilla style by playing shows outside of venues literally within their open van, while shooting fireworks at the audience. Also,
“sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!”. [Sound like a great guy, but you missed the point, this question was STRICTLY for my ego, I was an awesome promoter guys… C’MON!]

CF: We here at The Filter, pride ourselves on covering important breaking world events, with that in mind what do you think of the news that Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards are getting divorced?

SS: Weird Al’s portrayal of Rambo in “UHF” totally beats out Sheen’s impersonation in “Hot Shots”. [Agreed]

CF: And finally, if you were trying to sell your band in 10 words or less, what would you say?

SS: Mike Tyson’s Punch Out.


Thanks for reading, and remember to email me at with the subject “Under the radar” if you are interested in being featured.

Originally published on on February 19, 2006.

Remember the golden 80/90’s videogame age where game music was all about electronic pop/rock sounds? Where whole instrumental tracks could fit a midi? Well, Chromelodeon is one of the bands that brough us some of the music we heard on Ninja Gaiden II, Megaman and Transformers. Sprite Slowdown, a side project from some former members of Chromelodeon, brough us tunes from Ecco The Dolphin, Doom or Sonic & Knuckles…
Chromelodeon is an eight-piece instrumental rock band from Philadelphia. The instruments used by the band consist of: guitars, bass, drums, synths, accordion and an electric violin. So, you get to hear cool videogame covers with some great instrumentals? You sure do… And gosh, they sound so great! The keyboards accompany guitars so well on their galloping rhythmic horses of slaughter that would make some people freeze. Chromelodeon’s music mixes sarcasm with musical wit to deliver a genuinely crafted book of music. Topping even The Mars Volta in ‘Eloquence is Dead’ from “In The Year 20XX” album in their quest to include as much progressive sensibility as they can into one song, Chromolodeon rage back with a tense rope of swinging guitars and vocals that sound like they are modulated by the same instruments used by Britney Spears (yeah, that bitch) and the like. You know, the ones that transform your vocals into certain vowels to create a compressed effect, like Imogen Heap or Daft Punk. Sprite Slowndown is a remastered tribute cover to some videogames, and sure sounds as good as Chromelodeon.
For sure, they are a mark in the experimental indie rock market, something that’s quite easy to hear and mellow enough to stay in your head for a long time! And if you ever have the chance to hear either bands live, don’t waste it! At stage, they’re perfect… Give it a listen, you won’t dislike it.