December 13, 2010
After months of promising demos, Chetreo's brand new EP "A Year of Change" is finally here. What you'll hear in this five-track release is a unique musical style centered on autotuned vocals and non-conventional GameBoy pop. It's also available completely free of charge, which makes it all the more worth picking up. Noteworthy tracks include the Zelda-inspired "The Boy Without a Fairy" and melancholy "All the Things We Did".
Download or stream the EP for free here: http://chetreo.bandcamp.com/album/a-year-of-change
December 8, 2010
In advance of his upcoming sophomore chip album "Surrender", 4mat offers the new "Starfields EP", a three-track teaser release with two "live" recordings and one track from the new album.
Stream/download for free here: http://4mat.bandcamp.com/album/starfields-ep
December 2, 2010
Equinoxe's "Evolution (8-Bit Girl)" is an eight-track collection of what I'd like to call "easy-listening chip music". From the epic break-down beats of "1984" to the unique danceability of the cleverly-titled "His Name Was SID", this is truly not the kind of chiptune album you'll hear every day. Crafted with a variety of machines including the Commodore 64, Amiga and the good old-fashioned Nintendo NES, "Evolution" is an interesting, if not outstanding, departure from stereotypical GameBoy tunes. In fact, I didn't even see that particular handheld listed out of the many synthesizers that were used.
Below is an embedded preview of three tracks, including a remix of Rob Hubbard's C64 classic "Sanxion". You can download the full release here for 3.50£: http://www.equinoxestudios.co.uk/music/
Evolution (8Bit Girl) Album | Full songs by equinoxe_uk
November 22, 2010
In real life, he's known as Jakob Svanholm, and he graciously took the time to answer several questions I had about chiptune projects from the past and future.
1. In the 1990s, you began writing module chip music... what introduced you
to the idea, and what led you there?
"Not entirely sure how I got started but I remember getting my hands on some chiptunes, and sitting down to study the techniques. One of the first chiptunes I listened to was Lost Scrotum by Paso. What a track :) I think I was immediately drawn to the simplicity of chip music, and to me they served as an outlet for all those naive melodies and pop elements I had growing inside my head, all this in a format which allowed me to get away with it :)
It's funny because I never considered myself a chiptune musician. I certainly composed my share of chiptunes back in the day, but it was mostly for giggles and not my primary objective in the demoscene. Looking back, perhaps it IS the chiptunes that made the biggest footprint, I don't know :)"
2. How did you get involved with the demoscene, and what was it like to be a
"I got involved in the demoscene during the peak of the BBS era in Sweden. Some demogroups around Stockholm were looking for members and I was asked to join. If I'd try to describe my impression of the demoscene, I'd say it was very friendly, it was exciting and underground, and finally I'd say it was very competitive, but in a positive way. I listened and studied the works of other musicians to no end, trying to improve."
3. Your compositional style in your chiptunes was quite unique for its time,
and is now heavily emulated by many other artists such as Malmen and Cerror.
What inspired you to create such happy, emotional melodies in this
"In all fairness, everything is about emulating the work of others. You study, copy, reproduce. You mix up some ideas here and there and the result is something new. Speaking of those two fine musicians you mention, I think they're brilliant and they surpass me in the art of chip music in so many ways. The reason I made happy chiptunes, I don't know but I think that came naturally for me. Some chiptunes that inspired me greatly were happy, playful, charming and fun, and I believed there should be more tunes like that :) If I were to mention some maestros that taught me the ways of the chip, it would have to be Heatbeat, Monty, Supernao, Nuke, 4-mat, wotw, Reflex. Probably many more :)"
4. "Rainy Summerdays" and "Yoghurt Factory" are two of my favorite tracks of
yours. What were your goals while composing these tunes?
"Glad you like them :) Rainy Summerdays was composed on a rainy day in '95 on Amiga. Good times! '93-95 was the highlight of the demoscene for me. I think this particular tune was heavily inspired by a chiptune called "Spring Air" by Sire (one of the best chiptunes ever, in my opinion) used in the classic Lego 40k intro released at The Party 1993. Sire, if you read this, I tip my hat to you :)
Yoghurt Factory, well let's just say that the yoghurt factory in Alsace countryside actually exists, and they have all these clever machines doing all sorts of things :) I wanted to make a chiptune that was simple in melody but also had some interesting mechanical-moving-parts feeling going on at the same time."
5. Would you ever consider returning to chip tracking with a new album?
"Who knows, maybe one day :) When I listen to modern chiptunes, like the works of xyce, malmen, joule, zabutom, 4-mat, I can certainly feel this urge to get back to it. Though, right now I'm trying to focus on my Mosaik project as much as possible, and even that is down to a very casual level. That said, some collaboration work is not out of the question :)"
6. What do you want your legacy in the chip music scene to be?
"Someone once said that my music evokes feelings of limitless potential. Such a great comment, and if I can make one person feel that, then I'm already happy :)"
October 19, 2010
September 23, 2010
September 22, 2010
The man responsible for this masterful release is known in real life as Harrison Lemke. To him, chip music and electronic fans everywhere should be in awe of these tracks. Mr. Lemke, you have successfully crafted one of the very finest chiptune albums of all time.
September 1, 2010
What is a 1-bit symphony? Tristan Perich answers this question with his music. Although every note you hear in this collection of five lengthy “movements” is, in fact, the lowest representation of digital audio, the artist manages to create something that is both unique and beautiful with these “primitive” tones. As you press play on your iPod or flip the switch of the electronic circuit, the symphony and Perich’s talent begin to shine.
The first movement, at five minutes, is also the shortest—though there are only five songs, collectively they add up to a little over forty-seven minutes. “Movement 1” is my personal favorite: it is an epic, symphonic, and solid introduction to the most unique chiptune album ever composed. Led by a racing melody and noteworthy bass line, Tristan somehow manages to form simple 1-bit notes together into something extraordinary, something epic, and something that no one else has ever accomplished.
“Movement 2” picks up where the first track left off, and the first half of the eight-minute song is, once again, epic and beautiful. However, once we hit the 4:00 mark, a change for the worse occurs, and what is possibly the worst moment in the album. It consists of a rough, off-key-sounding bass, though there are some pure harmonies to make things a bit more tolerable.
The third track, “Movement 3”, starts with a rather tense melody which races along like the first movement did, accompanied by a simple bass line which repeats itself occasionally. The tense atmosphere and noteworthy melodies combine for another solid track. Eventually, a pure sequence of harmonies is introduced, playing along with the other notes quite well. The 5:00 mark signifies a change, and at 6:38 there’s a nice sort of bass explosion which accompanies a long, held harmony. Perich strips down the song to its basic elements before closing it off.
Thus we are led to “Movement 4”, during which a lot of things happen. A sequence of note-fading staccato work eventually gives way to different layers of itself playing on a delay at the same time, growing steadily more complex. 2:00 signals a melodic change, and later on some high-octave melodic work is brought in as well. The 3:25 mark introduces a nice bass along with a melodic signal; but 3:47 is where things really heat up with the introduction of a great melody that eventually fades to bass. Later, the melody and main staccato are brought back, and the song is still beautiful even at 6:00. A classic, chiptune-module note-sequence comes in around 6:46, while at 7:11 it joins to the hanging note and strips down to a repeat-melody as the song ends.
“Movement 5” is the final song, and at almost fifteen minutes it is also the longest. As it begins, one note plays for other tones to play along with, which then cut off to give it due presence. A sort of melody is introduced, which grows more filled-in and fades back to the original at 2:10. At 3:40, pure hanging notes fade to a single, pure, long harmony; and by 4:30, harmonic tones are held with a repeating melody for a while longer. At 5:38, another strange moment in the album occurs, and it involves the final act: a single long harmony holds itself for almost the entire remaining nine minutes with a soft melody playing in the background, until the song finally cuts to complete silence at 14:24.
Overall, “1-Bit Symphony” is worth your time, provided you can tolerate more than the modern, noisy GameBoy music that plagues the chip music scene today. There are a few setbacks, but overall the music is extremely innovative and epic despite its limiting hardware. In a way, Perich’s album is a form of art: he takes simple, extremely lo-fi electronic notes and creates a type of symphonic performance. Merely describing the music, however, can’t quite do it justice—do yourself a favor and experience the “1-Bit Symphony” for yourself. You may just be surprised at what you hear in the next forty minutes.
SCORE: 8.5 out of 10 – “Great”
[Tristan Perich’s “1-Bit Symphony” can be downloaded from Cantaloupe Music (http://bangonacan.org/store/product/181), iTunes, or Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/1-Bit-Symphony/dp/B003VCIM8Q/ref=sr_shvl_album_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1283263729&sr=301-2)]
August 25, 2010
August 16, 2010
The music itself is module chip music as it should be--happy, poppy melodies reminiscent of classic Radix tunes. There are ten tracks in total, a fair amount for the $5 price tag.
Stream/download the album here: http://xyce.bandcamp.com/album/un-peu-de-douceur
August 12, 2010
Free download/stream here: http://feryl.bandcamp.com/album/8-bit-magic-a-module-chiptune-collection
Project completed by Feryl in 2010. All music credit goes to the original artists.
May 26, 2010
Earlier this year, SoulEye released his album-length chip soundtrack to the clever retro PC game "VVVVVV", which, incidentally, stands for "Veni, Vidi, Vici" twice. Both game and soundtrack are clever and well-made. For four dollars, you get the album-length soundtrack to the game, including an M3U file and a joke bonus track.
Overall this is a fairly great effort by SoulEye with a lot of effort put into it. Some tracks are marvelous, especially the very high-energy "Pressure Cooker", which begs to be turned up. :)
You can preview the album and purchase it here: http://souleye.madtracker.net/
April 9, 2010
From some one calling himself "Brother Android" comes an unusual, spacey chiptune EP called "Scientific Satellite". This music, I'd say, was not created for head-nodding beats or rock-out anthems... rather, this is a short little collection of songs that sets a clearly space-themed mood, with old sci-fi-style malfuctions and quirky themes. It's a nice little atmosphere that Brother Android creates with this.
The entire EP is free: http://brotherandroid.110mb.com/satellite.html
The artist has a promised new album coming soon as well, so stay tuned.
April 5, 2010
Sievert finally released his new GameBoy album entitled "Beyond the Frontier", and the results are incomprehensibly insane, hopelessly crazy, and strange.
Sievert reprises months-old themes that he originally drafted, and also creates inhumanly insane break-down sequences that caused me to smile and shake my head. This is over-the-top chiptune in the fullest sense of the phrase.
I used to listen to Sievert's 8 Bit Collective draft versions of some of the nine included tracks, and this talented young man basically remixed and remastered them for well-though-out, finalized album versions.
The entire MP3 album is free: http://www.archive.org/details/Hhh-07Sievert-BeyondTheFrontier
April 4, 2010
Comptroller is a relatively unknown chip artist who very recently released his self-titled debut album. The result is ten tracks of GameBoy + Commodore 64 combo music that is both unorthodox and enjoyable. It was created last February for something called the RPM challenge. The album itself is not spectacular, but it's worth a listen to hear some of the better tracks. One in particular--called "Monks", of all things--is based around a dirty and awesome chip-beat.
"Comptroller" was released on CD Baby recently for $9.99, but in my opinion it's not worth that much. However, the artist provides the entire MP3 album on BandCamp for free here: http://comptrolleralpha.co.uk/album/comptroller
February 10, 2010
From young Irish chip musician Chipzel comes a new GameBoy-made album called "Disconnected", which attempts to tell an emotional story through ten high-energy chiptunes.
You can buy "Disconnected" at CD Baby (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/Chipzel) or through iTunes.