349 posts tagged chiptunes
Danimal Cannon talks chiptunes at TEDxBuffalo ⊟
Many of our readers are already somewhat familiar with chipmusic/chiptunes, but if you’ve been meaning to learn about them or teach someone just why they’re really cool, this 16 minute TEDxBuffalo talk by Danimal Cannon (Dan Behrens) is a good introduction. Dan also discusses how learning to make the discrete sounds used in chipmusic has made him a better (non-chip) musician, something I hadn’t really given much thought to until now.
There is also a fantastic documentary on chipmusic called Reformat the Planet by 2 Player Productions, the same crew that made Minecraft: The Story of Mojang and is currently working on the Mighty No. 9 production documentary.
Crying • Get Olde
Weeks after writing my Get Olde review, I keep coming back to this song for so many reasons: The first, tentative beeps. When singer Elaiza Santos confesses, “All I care to do is sip on beer and chocolate milk,” stretching that last word into two syllables somehow.
How Santos sighs, “I’m just ES,” and it sounds almost like an admission of an affliction (something like SAD), instead of an affirmation of identity (her initials). And that it’s not just a great chiptune track; it’s a great song without any need for qualifiers.
It’s a fantastic closer to a wonderful EP — download and listen to Get Olde here. Crying will be playing shows in Purchase, New Brunswick, and Philly in a few weeks. Go to those shows and tell them to keep making music.
Breezesquad • City
One of the beautiful things about a global music platform like Bandcamp is that you don’t have to submit things to a specific region’s store or be a slave to the locales a store is present in. I was pretty surprised and incredibly glad to come across Breezesquad from Fukuoka, Japan while going through some forums.
The label “bitpop” is actually quite appropriate as City contains all of the catchiness of a top-charting album with all the flourishes I enjoy from the Commodore 64’s sound palette. And yet, the whole time I can’t shake the feeling that this is more than just pop muzik, it’s a grander adventure by the artist down perhaps their own life until this point. I wanted to say “the past” but there is nothing solely “the past” about this musical experience, the bass-heavy breakdown in “Point of Purchase" is clearly from this decade as are many of the electronic beats.
"Boomtown Blues" has so much of what I love about this album in a single track, if you check out only one track, please make it this one.
BUY the whole album
Rhythm Core Alpha 2 Demo
What happens when a chiptune artist makes music with an eShop app?
A while back, we received a review copy of SoftEgg’s DSiWare music app Rhythm Core Alpha 2. While I don’t make music, I do have several friends in the area who do, so I handed my 3DS to my good buddy Kris Keyser and asked him to give me his view of this excellent but somewhat advanced music-making software.
I should say that I didn’t show Kris the manual or point him at the excellent tutorial videos on their YouTube channel; I wanted his impressions jumping into it cold.
This track is what Kris managed to make in a week. He sent it along with these Rhythm Core Alpha 2 impressions:
chibi-tech • MoeNES vol.1: the idol composer's groove
Apparently this collection of tracks started out as a joke, but after the performance this past Saturday, chibi-tech finally released a long-awaited LP. chibi-tech is one of those musicians making chiptunes that everyone in the know will recommend.
MoeNES vol 1 includes many of the tracks you may have come to hear if you have heard chibi-tech throughout the years from live sets and so forth, this includes Moe Moe Kyunstep, if you hadn’t already picked that up.
You can catch chibi-tech perform live in a couple weeks at 8static Festival in Philadelphia! It’s worth the road trip, trust me.
No More Nights
Portopak • Reasonably Priced EP
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I have a particular weakness for noisy punk that uses speech samples. Specific? Yeah, a little, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from making rad music that I will enjoy on repeat.
Portopak seems to be one such band, or more specifically, one such dude. Recorded in a bedroom in Pennsylvania, Portopak combines that noisy punk feel with a Game Boy and some public domain samples to make something quite special. At a little under 14 minutes, the EP is a little on the short side, but that’s only left me wanting much more, much like another short EP that has a special place in my heart.
The Annexation of Puerto Rico
Square Therapy • Square Therapy
I’m not sure how I came across Square Therapy's self-titled EP but I'm really glad I did. The intro track was definitely intriguing enough for me to give the rest of the EP a further listen, but by the time “The Annexation of Puerto Rico" hit off its first few notes, I was all in.
The whole EP actually hits a very sweet spot in music listening for me, sweeping strong melodies accompanied by excellent guitar riffs and paced unlike a lot of collections of tracks that presume to call themselves EPs. At times it will sound like it was ripped straight out of one of many futuristic platformers in the best possible way.
LISTEN/BUY Square Therapy, by Square Therapy
Crying • Get Olde
Get Olde is my favorite chiptune release of the year, and I don’t want you to miss it — not like Dannel and I almost did, when someone sent us a link weeks ago and we forgot to check it out. Absolutely play through the entire thing, then do it again and again and again.
I struggled in deciding whether to declare this 2013’s best chip album so far, or dull my praise by qualifying it as my favorite. I don’t want to burden Crying’s debut release with impossible expectations and undeserved resentment from fans of other groups, so I’ll settle for the latter statement.
My tastes in the genre are very specific, and this surprise release from the Purchase, NY trio hits them all — chirpy Game Boy tunes paired with traditional instruments (Ryan Galloway on guitar, Nick Corbo on drums), servicable vocals, playful but personal lyrics, and catchy choruses.
Crying’s frontwoman Elaiza Santos goes far and beyond servicable, though, lending the kind of female voice to a video game life’s soundtrack that I haven’t heard much outside of Leeni on "Nice Young Man" or Jane Pinckard on The 1UP Show’s theme song (not actually a chip track, but I always imagine her singing over this cover).
8static • POW!
I appreciate the times when we can hear some of the non-Nintendo consoles in chipmusic synthesize their unique flavor of sounds. theDutchess makes tunes with the Sega Genesis, a Casio CZ-1 and his bass guitar. Off of his debut EP POW!, theDutchess weaves some great tunes throughout the whole thing, including collaborations with Animal Style and Dino Lionetti of Cheap Dinosaurs, performers at the upcoming 8static Festival.
Speaking of which, 8static Festival has a Kickstarter currently in the works to fund their festival costs. I encourage everyone who can to donate and/or make it out to the festival itself, the rewards are pretty great and you can help out the Philly chip scene in a big way. The performer list is impressive to say the least, showcasing talent from Tokyo to Boston and pretty much everywhere in between, including blog favorite, chibi-tech. It is happening October 17th through 19th in Philadelphia, passes are available now!
Looking For Sasquatch (Furry Pants mix)
Sam Mulligan • Big Hand Band Van Man
Only a few tracks can consistently put a big, goofy grin on my face the way Sam Mulligan's “Looking For Sasquatch” can. Sam Mulligan makes excellent chip-rock with just his guitar and a Game Boy in and around the city of Boston (shout out to Boston8Bit!).
You can listen to (and buy!) the rest of his EP Big Hand Band Van Man on Bandcamp.
New YMCK album October 2 ⊟
Eric brought up YMCK yesterday, reminding me that I hadn’t listened to the Famicom-inspired trio in what seems like forever. I went to their website to see what the band was up to, and AHHHHHH there’s a new album coming out next month!
Family Days is their first in about four years, and it’ll releas worldwide on iTunes on October 2. If you’re not familiar with the group, feel free to go through our previous YMCK posts and enjoy some bouncy, happy chiptunes with great vocals.
BUY YMCK music, upcoming games
Shirobon • Back Tracking
An amazing electro-house track by Shirobon, the production quality on his new Back Tracking EP is superb. Coming back to the Game Boy and the Commodore 64, Shirobon, much like Infinity Shred and Anamanaguchi, decides to push their sounds into the future, ultimately making
incredibly severely catchy tunes. The rest of the EP features brilliant vocals, a trend I hope to see continuing in chiptunes.