About True Chip Till Death
herr_professor on 08/04/2009 at 07:42AM
Existing as a subculture within the larger chipmusic ghetto can have interesting side effects. The multi artist collective AY Riders, many whom operate in Eastern European countries like Poland and Russia, have developed a strange divergent chip culture, platypus-like, around the ZX Spectrum computer.
The ZX Spectrum, developed as an affordable competitor to the Commodore64 computer, is relatively obscure even to chip music fans here in the West, but has seen itself cloned aplenty in the black market. Its storage medium was cassette tapes, and by default it only had a single voice beeper (think the sound your computer makes when it boots) but later versions had the utilitarian ay-3-8910. Not exactly the video game music equivalent of banging rocks together, but close. Having easy access to these affordable machines in the Eastern bloc states led to them being widely adopted, favored instead of the more expensive Commodore 64, and eventually becoming the subject of its own innovative demoscene.
The music on AY Riders’ comp is a mash-up of various styles from industrial, to Italo disco, to the most chippy of gaming style chiptune. Perhaps due to the simplicity of its sound chip (even more so when they stick to beeper-based tunes), melody and rhythm is heavily emphasized over fancy sound effects, although it can be pretty amazing what sounds the users squeeze out of even the lowly beeper. This is a great intro to this scene and one you can dig deeper into on TCTD's recent podcast that focuses on the Russian artists behind the chips. Next week we will be upping another FMA web exclusive, so see you then!