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herr_professor on 12/15/2009 at 09:31AM
The mighty Blip Festival comes ashore THIS WEEKEND. Even if you are unable to attend in person there are plenty of vicarious methods you can use to enjoy the Festival from afar. First is the official Blip Blog, with posts, pictures and audio from artists, fans, and weirdos all week. Second, you can stream the entire festival on WFMU.org, hosted by Sound and Safe's own Trent (who was kinda enough to host some Blip performers last night on his Program.)
Finally, we have compiled a mix of all the FMA artists who will be appearing in some function at this years festival. Check out the mix below. The Free Music Archive will be bringing you sets from the festival in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
herr_professor on 12/08/2009 at 09:59AM
For those who follow such things, you'll find in the chip music as genre discussion lots of hand wringing about authenticity and the place chip sounds have in modern music. The weight of these arguments grow weakest when faced with the output of a significant artistic voice, whose results outweigh any semantic discussions of the source and the tools used, and just focus on the results. Swedish performer Psilodump has enough ammo for both sides of the debate. Having been involved with trackers and the demoscene since 1991, he has also crossed over doing remixes for Kraftwerk, Slagsmålsklubben and Bodenständig 2000, and has performed with Neil Landstrumm, Chris Liebing, Cari Lekebusch, Thomas Krome, Infected Mushroom, Slagsmålsklubben, Bit Shifter and Kleerup.
His 2005 release "You Sick Little Monkey" finds the typical chip arpeggios and blips mixed in with found audio and deep electronic percussion into a hard hitting blend of the two eras where one can longer tell where one starts and one ends. US fans are in for a treat as he is perhaps one of the most unheralded performers at next weeks Blip Festival, so check out this release and his extensive Archive.org catalog.
Speaking of Blip Festival, it starts next week! Check in next Tuesday for a special mix of Blip artists, or tune in next Monday to WFMU for a special edition of "Sound and Safe With Trent" with live performances, interviews and all that junk from some of the Blip Performers. See you in seven!
herr_professor on 12/01/2009 at 11:46AM
For chip music aficionados, the Blip Festival anticipation is reaching unbearable levels. Mere weeks away, the full lineup has been posted and amongst those announced, and coming back for their second year, is NYC's Starscream.Their last release on the 8Bitpeoples label, "Future and It Doesn't Work" is a masterful mix of perky Game Boy post-rock anthems, driving drums and a sense of futuristic humor.
Despite their youthful appearance, the duo of Damon Hardjowirogo and George Stroud , themselves barely out of high school, have become a crack live performance engine, playing dozens of shows in the last year. Check out "Future, And It Doesn't Work", and try to contain yourself for next weeks Blip Festival feature.
Until then, check out the official Blip Blog for more news and tunes you can use. See you in seven!
herr_professor on 11/24/2009 at 08:47AM
"The X68000 was a short lived ('87-'93) home computer released by Sharp in Japan. The sound engine is the Yamaha YM2151, programmed using the x68's MML language. Anyone looking for a similar sound might want to try the Yamaha FB-01 which uses a virtually identical sound chip.
Many fans in Japan still make music on the Sharp x68000, one such group is Ground Zero, who compiled this release. FM Ongen (meaning "sound source") Super Maniacs is a fairly old compliation dating back to around 1999-2000. Originally only an extremely limited numbers of CDRs were produced so were are very proud to be able to share this collection with you. A couple of names are probably familiar to old school fans of the Japanese scene and the rest might be less well known. Either way, its just under 45 minutes of awesome tunes with an FM driven Gabber feel.
And speaking of Blip, we have announed a video contest for a chance to get free passes and to have your video screened at the festival. More details here! Enjoy this hally track, and see you in seven!
herr_professor on 11/17/2009 at 10:08AM
One of the biggest such events of the year, The annual Chip Music fest, Blip Festival is quickly approaching a collision course with NYC Dec. 17th, 18th, and 19th. Furthermore, fans of WFMU and the FMA will be happy to known that both a live stream and archived recordings will be made available to fans and interested observers of chip music, so stayed tuned here for more details.
One of the more interesting performers on this years bill is The J. Arthur Keenes Band. In reality the brainchild of a single infuriatingly multi-talented composer Dan Mclay, the recently released Pamplemousse may be one of the most inventive and diverse chip release of 2009. Combining chip music sounds and melodies with various forms of electric and acoustic instrumentation along with an acerbic and poppy singing style shows Mclay at the height of his powers, and his listeners deep in the sway of his magical blend of Brian Wilson, Weezer, and whatever gear your roommate found in the alleyway this week. Enjoy Catfish Lagoon, and join us next week for another Blip artist from the 2009 roster.
herr_professor on 11/10/2009 at 09:48AM
Monotonik, the ur-netlabel, is not only one of the earliest netlabels, but it has roots going back to the Amiga Mod scene. Founded 1996 by Simon 'h0l' Carless as an "outlet for talented electronic musicians who weren't getting the attention they deserved", the label has since gone on to release over 300 releases in a rainbow of genres. And while the music they covered have expanded far beyond the constraints of chipmusic, its artists should be recognized as an early success of chipmusic crossing over from its demoscene roots into the more general audience focused chip music style.
One of these early crossover artists, VIM, probably arrived a little too late to be a heavy demoscener, but he did contribute on a number of music disks, basically compilations meant to be distributed on floppy disks or over dial-up connections to various bbs and ftp sites. His style is all over the map, dabbling in various electronic genres, pushing the limits of the mod format with breaks, unique sound design, and catchy heartfelt melodies. Check out "A Random Collection Of Consonants", and join us next week, as we start our march to the biggest US chip music festival, Blip Festival 2009.
herr_professor on 11/03/2009 at 10:05AM
If last week's Heosphoros release left you thirsting for more audio evil, or perhaps you missed this brutal chip metal mix from the weekend, or maybe you just have a jones for the spooky left in your veins, I think you will get a kick out of this weeks upload from Burnkit2600. This live focused audio assault unit features three dudes in goggles rocking out electronic music by hand on an array of synthesizers, game systems, drum machines, and more. Their style, a mix of proggy, breaky, synth punkery has them delighting audiences as diverse as the Bent Festival, Pulsewave, and the occasional Pinball Expos, all with definitive nerd rock groove. Check out B00, from last year's This is the Sound!, and see you all in seven.
herr_professor on 10/27/2009 at 12:00PM
Brutal chip fiend Heosphoros would like to remind you that metal is not just tone, but groove. With his NES rom release Embered Recollections, he takes the sound of the Nintendo 8bit system, and plunders it for purpose of squarewave slaughter. The ROM, playable in any NES emulator features the disturbing and detailed imagery of Finland's Keff. The artwork makes me harken back to my own misspent youth staring in wonder at metal records on giant 12" sleeves Coconut records in Chicago. The smell of sweaty denim jackets mixing with the dying leaves of fall...
Heosphoros' style is intersting to me because it is influenced by both Konami metal classics like Castlevania, and Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles, but also by the thrash and progressive rock metal that inspired Konami. Whatever the geneology, the results are tight as they are extreme, so give the ep a listen, or better yet, fire up the ROM on your nes emulator of choice.
herr_professor on 10/20/2009 at 12:00PM
This week's chip music artist is the avant traditionalist, The Hardliner. His main output has seen release on a number of netlabels in the mid to late 2000's, although he remains active to this day. To me, he always been a sort of bridge artist, connecting the early demoscene style to the later tech innovators with his releases for labels like starpause's 20kbps records. The label focuses on low-bit encoded releases from lofi electronic producers and is not limited to chip music, with a eclectic array of noolders and bedroom producers.
These types of low-bit rate focused lof-fiedlity netlabels suited the early Internet when storage wasn't as cheap as it is today. The problem with that, however, is the persistence factor, and as these free services fall off the net there is the risk of the material being lost, especially when the artist doesn't have a strong netpresence, which is one of the reasons I've uploaded this weeks release by The Hardliner, something like bitter-bitter symphony. The Hardliner's catalog is poorly known, even within the greater chip music community, so give the ep a listen, check out his mental music video for his Relax Beat single Zoloft Blues after the jump, and catch you guys in seven.
herr_professor on 10/13/2009 at 09:57AM
When one thinks of progressive music, "stripped down" doesn't easily come to mind, but in the music of chipmusic proggers like this weeks featured artist, Zan-zan-zawa-veia, the barebones sound of raw NES sound chips are infused with the intricate compositions of an prolific and accomplished performer. A member of the II Music roster along side such artists as Disasterpiece, Animal Style, and Alex Mauer, ZZZV fits nicely within their vision of finite sounds with infinite melody. Often working without post-production and on strict hardware limitations, prog-chip'ers often are free to focus on one of the main columns of Progressive music, excessively exuberant voicing and melodic riffing.
ZZZV is a mysterious presence online. From what little information available, I THINK he hails from Alexandria, Egypt, and is as much as a fan of this style of music as one of its more accomplished voices. He has contributed to dozens of compilations and recently made his spring debut for the II label, Mole Soul EP, which i've upped to the archive. Prog safely, and catch you guys in seven.