December 10, 2011

8 Bit Weapon Announce New Album

Seth and Michelle Sternberger, collectively known as 8 Bit Weapon, haven't released a full studio album of new material in quite a while. That's going to change in January with the release of their latest offering, "Bits with Bytes". Although details are scarce, the new LP will likely feature some more quirky, bouncy vibes from the long-standing chiptune band. "Vaporware Soundtracks 2.0" from 2006 was actually the first chip music album I ever got my hands on, so it'll be interesting to see what these two have come up with in the mean time.

You can read the original announcement here:!/8bitweapon/status/144883247191568384

November 22, 2011

Daniel Capo - "O.S.T.: Original Soundtrack"

Music student Daniel Capo's "O.S.T." is a video game-inspired, fifteen-track album composed with the help of Plogue Chipsounds. Gentle and thoughtful in the approach, he provides a fairly nice and unique collection of chip-style music. Top picks include the melancholic "Sickness" and catchy "City Under Fire".

Stream/download the album here: The release is available from iTunes as well.

Daniel's website, which includes background information on the album, can also be found here:

October 16, 2011

Cheap Dinosaurs - "Cheap Dinosaurs"

8-bit rock group Cheap Dinosaurs just released their self-titled LP, which contains nine tracks of progressive chip-rock. Highlights include the melodic, catchy "Stroll" and nicely happy "Gnip Gnop". The album is available from Data Garden on BandCamp, in both digital and limited edition "seed paper" versions.

Stream/download the release here:

October 8, 2011

Xyce - "Biscuit"

Retro Amiga pop duo Cerror and Xylo are back, together known as Xyce, with a brand new album. "Biscuit" is a twelve-track collection of pleasant Amiga and Atari ST tunes, available for a scant two Euros. In an interesting move, the album also includes a dubstep-influenced bonus track entitled "Rundown", which, while not strictly 8-bit, provides a notable close to the happily-styled chiptune release.

Stream or download the album here:

August 27, 2011

Feryl - "Aware"

"Aware" is a brief chip music EP with five tracks, pleasantly styled and thoughtfully composed.

Stream/download the release here:

August 12, 2011

Review - "Zeta Force" (Zabutom)

Niklas Sjosvard, commonly known under his music handle Zabutom, has been writing chip music for a good number of years, and has finally unveiled his debut album "Zeta Force" for chiptune fans everywhere. The seven-track, demoscene-influenced collection of mixed modules turns out to be a pleasant and melodic trip that is well worth taking.

The release starts off strong with "The Legend of Zeta Force", which sets the stage with a strong main theme and enough variance throughout its three-minute running time to keep things interesting. "Blast Off Into Space" is another gem, and even includes some hard-driving rock instrumentation along with the riveting melody. "Zeta Force (GameBoy Version)" takes the old conceptual theme that I remember from Zabutom's old titular module and revisions it as a solid GameBoy tune, even if it is an interesting change from the other tracks, which are all module chiptunes.

"Final Blast", while a bit long and perhaps not the artist's best effort, closes off the album in style. Overall, Zabutom's debut chip music release is a very solid and well-composed work, with enough oldschool module-tune influences and high production values to make it a worthy purchase.

The mixing is nice, the melodies are enjoyable, and the brief length gets the job done. Niklas makes a very nice return to form with the 8-bit journey through space which comprises "Zeta Force".

SCORE: 8.5 out of 10 - "Great"

June 17, 2011

Minusbaby - "BIAS"

Minusbaby's new eighteen-track release features remastered and extended versions of his previous EPs "Left" and "Derecha", which were originally released on the 8 Bit Peoples label in 2009 and 2010. The album is up for stream and download on BandCamp, with a physical release also available.

His music is highly unique, intelligent, and definitely worth checking out. Stream or download the album here:

June 10, 2011

Review - "Bunnymajs" (Bunnymajs)

The opening five tracks of Kristian Caldwell's self-titled album "Bunnymajs" serve to introduce a relatively unknown artist with style and energy. Despite not being a household name or going for typical dance vibes with LSDJ, Bunnymajs has clear talent when it comes to writing solidly composed, plugin-based chip music. Consequently, it's a bit of a stroke of misfortune that the rest of the album simply doesn't measure up to the laudable intro that Kristian provides.

The initial track "Blippblipp" is quite adequate with its lighthearted melodies and clever arpeggios, while the subsequent "Dreams" is more of a melancholic, trance sort of a track with memorable bass and drum work. "Reminder" is another solid effort with its dance-floor beats and staccato-based compositional style. Track five, simply titled "Reason", includes a fantastic buildup and solid vibe to keep the album rocking.

The next two tracks, however, usher in a bit of a change. Both attempts at being playful and lighthearted, they simply don't deliver on the high production values of the preceding tracks; but neither are they terrible songs in their own right. From there, it's a bit of a so-so journey with a couple standout tracks, including the bass-progressive "Masked Devil".

Kristian's debut release, while not flawless, is nevertheless a fairly firm step in the right direction. Though the majority of the album can't quite match the brilliant five-pronged opening, Bunnymajs has sufficiently proved his competence as a songwriter. His musical journey is worth a listen for those interested in unique and catchy chip music from a talented new musician on the rise.

SCORE: 7.3 out of 10 - "Decent"

May 14, 2011

Syphus - "pro.tect"

First announced nine months ago, British chip musician Syphus has finally unveiled "pro.tect"--a fourteen-track album which acts as a sort of pleasant love letter to tracker and chip music fans. Highlights include "Pennies", "Returns", "Minimammal", and the awesomely epic "Horizontal". The official description is listed below.

"pro.tect is a lovingly prepared collection of Syphus' work from 2007 to 2011 - almost entirely unheard, outside of his live shows. Though the tracks have been mastered for more ear-friendly and mp3-friendly listening, they were all made using AHX (Amiga), HivelyTracker (Amiga), Protracker (Amiga) and FastTracker2/MilkyTracker (PC)."

Stream or download the release here:

May 11, 2011

Interview - Falling for a Square

Jason Sposa, commonly known by his music moniker Falling For A Square, has been crafting gentle chip music releases since 2010 with "XO", his unique debut. Since then, he has continued to broaden his musical horizons by employing the use of the GameBoy, vocoder, and even a bit of electric guitar for good measure. His musical style is soft and easy on the ears, with each new album ushering in a clever and innovative listening experience for chiptune fans.

Jason recently took the time to participate in a brief interview I conducted, in which he discusses his passions and love for the genre.

1. Tell us a little about your unique compositional style. What convinced you to write gentle chip music in a world full of noisy GameBoy tracks?

"To be honest, when I first started to write chipmusic I tried composing for a more elaborate or what you term 'noisy' sound, and simply am not capable of doing it.  Thus,  have a great deal of respect for fellow chiptune artists that can pull it off and pull it off well.

"Sitting down and writing songs for Falling For A Square is oddly enough pretty formulated. Whether I am writing songs on a Gameboy or using my iPhone, I tend to have an idea or a story I want to tell and use this as a template for how I want to mold each song. I have been writing music since high school and now am a father in my 30’s so, you can imagine I have seen my own musical style and preference change with age.  These days I seek to write and listen to simpler, mellow tunes to complement my current rush of city life and juggling of fatherhood, marriage and personal interests.  When I was younger, I engrossed myself and my songs with varying modulations since life was a bit more carefree - I suppose I was subconsciously seeking something to juggle."

2. “Compute for You”, the second track from your first release “XO”, is one of my favorite songs of yours. What was the inspiration and process behind this track?

"Thank you for your kind words - I believe there is something very special about 'xo'.  The album was 95% accident.   I was just starting to learn how to compose with the tracker style of Nanoloop for iPhone, and I was pumping out these little songs that seemed to carry a lot of emotion so the album came together rather quickly. 'Compute For You' is about a crush.  It is also the first song I composed that uses a vocoder for vocals.   At first I thought it was a really cheesy idea, but putting words to some of these songs is exactly what they needed for true completion.  The vocoder has definitely become a staple for my particular set-up and I am really glad.  The inspiration for this particular song and all of my 'love songs' are about my wife.  She definitely puts up with all the 'bleeps and bloops' in the house, on commutes, and late at night.  Her patience for my passion is amazing."

3. What do you think is the biggest problem facing the chiptune community today, and how can it be most easily rectified?

"You know, I generally like the community.  I like that it’s a bit obscure, separated from the mainstream and not trying to become the next big genre. It’s almost like the bridge between my own generation before the internet, GarageBand’s, and phone apps and the generation today – and that’s a pretty big gap with varying age ranges.  The best part of it is sharing this secret gem with anyone who is willing to listen and learning that they enjoyed it, too – whether on a lounge-y/club level for sheer ambience or on a more nostalgic level for the more ‘old school’ console-type styles."

 4. Tell us a little about your new full-length studio album that will be hitting BandCamp later this year.

"The new album, which is currently untitled, will be out this Fall and I am really excited about it!  It's going to be a Nanoloop for iPhone driven record.  I will include a couple of guest appearances on vocals, but overall, it's pretty upbeat compared to my last full length release. I will be using some electric guitar, real drums, loads of neat iPad and iPhone applications; however, do not be fooled - it will still  have a very nice 'fakebit' feel to it.  I am in the process of recording in my little home studio and later will have it shipped off to Atlanta to be mixed and mastered by a good friend of mine.  In addition, I will be releasing various EPs over the course of the year.  I find it very therapeutic to release EPs of similar mediums just to keep the flow of this project active for me and hopefully for others."

5. What are some of your favorite chip musicians and albums, and why?

"Here is a list of my current chiptune crushes:

1. I Am Still Breathing by Little Scale  

Little Scale is a constant inspiration to Falling For A Square's material.  I love the sounds he obtains on these very simple cartridges and he makes me want to push harder in this genre continuously. 

2. Fake Music by Computerization

I have been collaborating with Derek of Computerization on some vocal work for my new record.  I love Derek's style and vocoder usage. His lyrics and storyline are just terrific.

3. 101030 by Coova

If you're into Nanoloop v.1.1 - 1.5, then Coova will definitely inspire you.  Her compositions are very soft and complex. Admittedly, I am super jealous every time I spin her records.  

4. Information Chase  by Bit Shifter

I actually heard this record after recording a couple of my own releases and remember saying to myself:  'What the what?!'. In my opinion, Information Chase is like the Pinkerton of chipmusic.  It is well thought out, innovative, and an essential to the scene as well as to any beginner who wants to get into composing this type of music.  Finally, he is a local New Yorker, is constantly at shows, and an overall very humble and nice guy." 

6. Lastly, what is the number one message you’d like to bring the chip music community through your music?

"I would hope that people who stumble across Falling For A Square would be inspired enough to learn more about this genre of music and start creating similar sounds.   To me, this genre and the way it is growing is one of the best kept secrets around and I would be honoured to have played a small part in that. xo"

Falling For A Square's website and music can be browsed here:

April 25, 2011

Feryl - "With All My Heart EP"

"With All My Heart" is a ten-minute EP of minimalistic and catchy chip music.

Stream/download the release here:

March 17, 2011

Chip In: Japan

Pixelh8 and True Chip Till Death have banded the chip community together to create the "Chip In: Japan" project, which is one of the most commendable things I've ever seen the community do. Over two thousand dollars have already been raised to assist the still-struggling earthquake and tsunami victims over in Japan, with a target goal of five thousand. In addition, music is being contributed for an accompanying compilation by many artists, including 8 Bit Weapon, Peter Swimm and Comptroller. Please consider donating and contributing music by visiting the link below.

March 7, 2011

Interview - Pixelh8

British chip musician Matthew Applegate, otherwise known as Pixelh8, has been one of my favorite artists since 2009, when I first listened to his commendably original release "The Boy with the Digital Heart". Holding a special place in my heart, Matthew's sophomore album was programmed completely from scratch and in code on the original machines. That references his unique philosophy of the genre: take it where no one else will, stay faithful to the original ideas and programming, and just have fun being yourself with the music. There is truly no one else in the community quite like him.

Mr. Applegate graciously participated in a brief, six-question interview with me today, through which he manifests his continually evolving style and outlook on the remarkable world of 8-bit music.

1. Though you got started with chip music pretty modestly with a bottle of milk spilled into an old Nintendo, you’re now an internationally-recognized chip musician with three full studio albums and a fourth in the works. What has been the driving force behind your constantly evolving style, which is usually quite structured but also very unique?
"I have always simply wanted to do interesting things, I learned early on I didn't want to be a famous musician on a major label, I wanted to have freedom above everything else. Freedom to sometimes to not make music and teach, to do workshops to study, get back to music when I was ready, not when a company wanted a new product. All of my heroes have evolved  over their careers Aphex twin, Schoenberg, John Cage I think you have  to eventually or you run the risk of boring yourself and the listeners if you don't. I love chip tune music, I want it to stay and that is why I am prepared to evolve it, instead of serving up another album that  sounds a lot like my old one."
2. Your 2007 release “The Boy with the Digital Heart” is a personal favorite of mine. Besides being written entirely in code, the music itself is also particularly recognizable with its varying emotions and quirky beats. Can you tell us a little about how the sad-themed track “A Party without You” came about?
"The whole album is based around the relationship of me and my girlfriend when we were teenagers, they are all stories from when I was around 16 years old and people do feel the emotion in them even though they are very electronic, probably because they were real stories. I used a Commodore 64 for the main melody I think it was a sine-wave variation it gives it that sweet sad feel to it. With 'The Boy with the Digital  Heart' I consciously wanted to show various emotions and genres in chip tune as I thought chip tune at the time was sounding a bit samey, I did want just dance related pop-ish music[;] I wanted a story."
3. Your numerous workshops and lectures have kept you quite busy over the years. What gives you the greatest pleasure while teaching a room full of kids about computers and video games?
"That they go away and make and break stuff and they tweet me with how they are progressing, I love to hear that they have taken something small that I have taught them and put it with their other knowledge and  have used it to progress what they want. It is just another way of ensuing that chip tune isn't just a passing fad. I am quite happy to talk about chip tune music in person and I think a lot of people are shocked when they do find out I'll teach them, via email is another matter[;] though I get maybe just under a hundred emails a day about 'how do you do this' in chip tune music and I just can't answer them all."
4. What do you think of the chip music community as a whole right now?
"I think I am generally concerned that a lot of them aren't getting involved in computer programming, that is fine, you don't have to be a programmer to be a chip tuner but it helps. It really helps to design individual sounds, learning about the quirks and limitation of different machines often help me write the music. If not [you're] gonna use the same sounds as everyone else and the same presets and then things might run into trouble. The greatest game composers people like Rob Hubbard were also amazing coders[;] I say it's a 50/50 music/coding thing for me. Make and break is what I always say."
5. “The Schematic”, your new double-album, is set for release later this year. How are you continuing to evolve your compositional style with this record, and what is your number-one goal with it?
"Instead of having one large album with a schizophrenic happy/sad feel I am splitting them up. 'Software' is happy pop chip tune, 'Hardware' is avant garde noise chip tune, both I feel or at least hope will progress the genre albeit in very different directions. I am using a special recording technique on 'Hardware' which is both expensive and time consuming but hopefully it will make people think, 'wow I didn't know you could do that with those machines' and maybe even freak people out a little."
6. Lastly, what does the future hold for Pixelh8?
"Well I have just finished my Masters Degree and [I am] planning out my PhD, when that gets the green light I will have a few months to finish all the demos for the album and hopefully finish 'Obverse' (non-chiptune) which is an album about drumming, and two game soundtracks are already in production (chip tune / electronica), so yeah as always busy."
[Pixelh8's work can be viewed at his official website:]

March 1, 2011

Feryl - "Before the Day Fades"

After over two years of chip music composition, Feryl presents "Before the Day Fades", one of his finest efforts to date. Written in the familiar XM format, this brief, nine-track album will whisk you away to a simple and melodic landscape in the form of accessible module chip music. From the happy tunes of "Raindrops and Sunshine" to the heavy, dance-floor beats of "Irreversible", Feryl's album is a pleasant step forward from the typical music of the genre.

February 20, 2011

Review - "Surrender" (4mat)

4mat is a genius.

Just check out "Surrender", his sophomore chip music album. Listening to this work of art for the first time, I was blessed with the single most powerful experience I've ever had with an 8-bit album. Throughout the eleven magnificent tracks of the record, you'll discover that this humble genre can become something simply masterful in the right hands. Matthew Simmonds, commonly known under his artist handle 4mat, knows exactly what he's doing here in the fullest sense of the phrase, and provides lo-fi electronica fans with an exquisite form of musical bliss to "Surrender" to.

The album opens with the beautifully-titled "La Pluie Tombe Dans Mon Coeur" (French for "Rain Falls in My Heart"), which introduces the record on a uniquely symphonic note, with ethereal saw waves playing in harmony with subtle, yet effective, orchestration in the background. From there we are led directly into "Montreux"--a brilliantly danceable tune with heavy drum beats and a riveting bassline that sounds best when played loudly.

"Porcelaine", track four, is another winner with its beautiful melody and harmonic work, while "Surrender", the title track, left me thoroughly impressed with its mesmerizing intro and wondrous main theme that serves the title well. In addition to his thoughtful melodies, Simmonds has always striven for a remarkably high level of polish and coherence with his work, and "Surrender" is no exception. Tracks lead intro subsequent tracks quite cleverly, such as with the mellow "Starfields".

"Chipmusic Is Dead" should be regarded as one of the finest chiptunes ever composed. The bold, yet somewhat true, title serves to enhance the tune's beautiful recurring theme, which is played loud, low, high, and soft at different intervals, to great effect. After the heavy beats of the first eight tracks, Simmonds tones the album down to a mellow level with tracks like the fittingly-titled "Pretty Prairie", which includes a well-chosen sample of birds chirping. The record closes off with "Vilette", a short track that, while not 4mat's best, does include some further polish and high production values to enjoy.

Overall, "Surrender" is an excellent album that is not to be missed by the true chip music fan. The production values are high, the mastering is expertly handled, and the polish is extraordinary. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy as soon as you can--you may find yourself pleasantly dumbfounded by just what your hear in the next half-hour.

SCORE: 9.4 out of 10 - "Outstanding"

[4mat's "Surrender" can be purchased from BandCamp here:]

February 16, 2011

Brother Android - "Hero Core OST (Expanded)"

If you had the pleasure of playing Daniel Remar's excellent "Hero Core" last year, you undoubtedly noticed Brother Android's distinguished soundtrack, which compliments the experience with simple and catchy retro vibes. The artist has just released a revised, reworked, and stereo-expanded edition of the official soundtrack, now available in its entirety, complete with spiffy new white cover art. Even if you didn't played the game, there are plenty of solid tunes here to satisfy your lo-fi adventure cravings. Highlights include "Light Factory", "New Caves", and "Tetron".

The seventeen-track release can be downloaded for free here:

January 31, 2011

Brother Android - "I Wish I Were Your Derivative"

Brother Android's long-overdue "I Wish I Were Your Derivative" EP has finally been released in both free and three-dollar bonus versions. The six-track concept record marks a departure from the artist's gentle, ethereal music in favor of a mathematics theme and simplistic palette of lo-fi samples. Although not among Brother Android's finest works, "Derivative" still provides a uniquely charming look into the world of conceptual chip music. Highlights include "Vector Sum", "Polyhedral Funk", and "Slowfade (Bonus)".

Download/stream the release here: The free version is available here:

January 25, 2011

The Greatest Bits - "Mega Man 2"

From the official press release:

"Back in the late 80‘s and early 90‘s, The Greatest Bits blistered his thumbs haunting Dr. Wily and his evil 8-bit companions like Airman, Heatman and Bubbleman. But it’s quite hard concentrating on the levels when the music is so bloody brilliant... The music of the game inspired The Greatest Bits so much that he released a tribute album to the game in 2010. The Greatest Bits combines 21st century top class sound production with the unique sound and feel of the original 'chipsounds' from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The result is the sound of the year 200X - to say it in Mega Man terminology."

The thirteen-track album is available from Amazon and iTunes. You can get a preview at the artist's website:

January 18, 2011

Chipocrite - "Hit and Run"

GameBoy music newcomer Chipocrite has just released his debut EP, "Hit and Run", on BandCamp. Included in the standard edition are six fun, melodic LSDJ tracks, available on a pay-what-you-want basis. Chipocrite doesn't rely on standard GameBoy "UNCE UNCE" as much as he relies on creativity, which makes this EP worth a look-see. My personal favorite is "Mr. Knight Is in the Building", with its groovy bassline and strangely accurate title.

Stream/download the release here:

January 13, 2011

Review - "Today" (Freezedream)

How many chip music albums do you know of that have been released on an original cartridge? One of the very select few in existence happens to be Freezedream's "Today"--a mellow, ambient exploration of the limited 16-bit sound chip of the SEGA Genesis.

Using absolutely nothing outside of the Genesis' musical features, Freezedream has created an interesting and highly unique chiptune experience through nine brief tracks of IDM-style music. Though it may not be particularly impressive from a compositional standpoint, the release is nevertheless a rewarding and interesting one to listen to, taking into account Freezedream's interesting take on what a chip music album can be.

"Winter in July" opens up the album on a soothing and ambient note, while "Realtime Love" introduces listeners to more conventional chip music with distinct bass, melodic, and percussive layers rendered through the Mega Drive's scant six channels. "See You Next Tuesday" and "Cardioid" don't do the album any huge favors, but the atmospheric vibes of "Luer" and "Iridescence" succeed pretty well in creating a downbeat style of music that you wouldn't expect from the unusual hardware used.

"Today" is a short record, consisting of nine two-minute tracks; but that actually turns out to be for the best in the end. Freezedream's foray into the rarely-used sound chip of the SEGA Genesis won't revolutionize the way chiptunes are composed, but it does do a decent job of setting a dreamy and atmospheric tone that is too often missed in the modern chiptune scene.

SCORE: 7.5 out of 10 - "Good"

January 4, 2011

Review - "Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar" (Disasterpeace)

Over four years ago, Disasterpeace began writing a song called "Jump Error"--a song which, in due time, would be the first he would compose for a twelve-track, Nintendo NES and demoscene-style album that would mark a turning point in his continually evolving musical style.

Known in real life as Rich Vreeland, Disasterpeace has aimed for an uncommon style of chip music composition since he began writing his 8-bit tunes around 2005. "Level", his previous release, was a melodic and even symphonic kind of effort, that combined emulated tones with interesting canned drum samples as percussion, such as you'd hear coming from the Nintendo Entertainment System's WAV channel.

Rich's new album "Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar" continues that trend, but for this record, Disasterpeace has pursued a style more reminiscent of old demoscene music, with recognizable square and saw waves somewhat similar to the pleasant tunes of Radix and Cerror. The effort is a solid one, despite a couple mediocre melodies or slightly uncomfortable changes of pace from time to time.

"Prologue" quickly introduces us to Disasterpeace's latest musical journey, with an ethereal, staccato-based melody and slow drum beat, before launching into "Jump Error", a happy and catchy tune with a Radix-like feel and head-bobbing bassline. "Club Wolf", track number three, isn't the best of the record, with an occasionally dissonant melody; however, the intro is fun regardless.

"The New Formation", my personal favorite, is where things start to get really interesting. First comes a pleasant, recurring theme that sounds reminiscent of Martin Galway's filtered melodies of old, and then the tune launches into a nicely dancable bassline with a cool beat and enough style for its lengthy running time. "Beta's Brilliancy" begins as a soft, harmonic track that eventually grows louder and louder before--very cleverly--leading directly into "Ensis", a rather hard-driving track that, while opening well enough, soon gives way to a less-than-perfect melody and six-minute duration. Nevertheless, the track does recover for the final two minutes before giving way to "Day of Reflection": a soft, soothing melody that successfully provides a respite from the previous upbeat material.

In a few instances, Disasterpeace does resort to blending dissonant notes with his sometimes understated melodies--for a certain period--in both the ninth and tenth tracks. Still, he also treats his listeners to moments of melodic reward and pleasant themes that help the album remain a solid effort nevertheless. The penultimate track "Submerciful" has a nicely mellow feel to it, and "Constellations" ends the record with a mysterious lo-fi rendition of a theme that I'm pretty sure I've heard somewhere before.

Overall, "Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar" is a sufficiently rewarding, but not entirely flawless, chiptune experience, that thankfully manages to warrant more than a few listens with its solid selection of unique tunes. Several melodic hiccups and slightly awkward changes of pace do mar the experience somewhat, but Rich's remarkably high production values and demoscene-style musical cues ultimately win out in the end. If you're a Disasterpeace fan, you'll most likely be very pleased with this release; if you aren't, I would suggest checking out full preview tracks on the BandCamp page before deciding whether or not to make a purchase.

SCORE: 7.6 out of 10 - "Good"