herr_professor on 06/15/2010 at 08:41AM
It's a rough time for imperialism, as most of the world's nationalistic tendencies are forced to be subsumed in the interest of global commerce. Perhaps then, the World Cup can be seen as the ultimate release valve by the unseen hands at large to check that fever and keep things running. In the spirit of this, I hope to spend the next few weeks focusing on global scene clusters within the chip music community, the first of which is The Square Wave Conspiracy, an compilation of Italian chip musicians covering and remixing each other, brought to you by CalmDownKidder Records.
While not representative of the entirety of the Italian chip scene (missing the excellent Rocktone Rebel for one), it does feature heavyweights arottenbit, Buskerdroid, Kenobit and Microman. The tracks are raw, unmixed, and on the fastest end of the dance floor tempo matrix. Having the artists remix one another gives the release a cohesion that can be lacking from other compilations, but it is obvious that all the artists have similar intentions on a dance floor wreckage sale.
Let this be the first salvo in TCTD's little part in diffusing international tensions, and let us meet back here in seven for round 2.
herr_professor on 06/08/2010 at 09:00AM
Since introduced to the FMA a lil over a year ago, Richard Alexander Caraballo, aka minusbaby has been very active here (and elsewhere) with various FMA uploads, and an appearance at the Manhattan Highline a few weeks ago on DJ Trent's show along with DJ/rupture. Keen FMA watchers might've missed his most recent upload, however, Strong Arctic Winds Take Terns: Fourteen Songs Written and Recorded Between 2003 and 2004.
The songs skirt the definitions of what make chip music chip, but deliberately engage the pleasure center of the brain, and make a great early summer soundtrack for those looking for an audio chill-out from hot June nights. Check out them, and the rest of the tracks minusbaby has added in the last year. and catch you guys next week.
herr_professor on 06/01/2010 at 11:24AM
It is perhaps a sign of the times that a movement, or style, or whatever, isn't really established until someone declares it is over. It has happened a few times before in the chip music world but it didn't always result in such heated discussion as this post on the LSDJ mailing list. Other than being just another internet debate, it resulted in the Chip Music is Dead comp, released on the manifesterer's own netlabel Gainlad.
Considering the source post came on the LSDJ mailing list, it shouldn't be a surprise that most of the songs are LSDJ tracks made on a Nintendo Game Boy, but what was surprising is how many chip music heavyweights came forward with awesome and inventive songs. I have mentioned Overthruster, Starpause, and Bud Melvin, before on the FMA but there are also great tracks from Jellica, Nestroyer, and Gijs Gieskes .
So whilst you ponder whether it be dead or alive, enjoy the thirteen tracks above. and see you guys next week!
herr_professor on 05/25/2010 at 08:55AM
With summer just around the corner, its time to get less aggressive with these chip music things, and get into good old fashioned summer jams. Perhaps the earliest US chip music artist to embrace the idea of creative commons releases was California's Timothy Lamb, aka Trash80. As a member of the 8bitpeoples collective he has released a number of online recordings, including this weeks featured EP, Icarus.
A bit of a Renascence man, Lamb not only is a talented musican, with his smooth dance flavored tracks, but a programmer, graphic artist and hardware designer. Projects like his "Prosound Mod" to improve audio output on the Nintendo Game Boy opened the door on on a whole slew of mods to make the corporate toy more suitable for the trenches of club warfare, and his software and hardware projects like Arduinoboy, OKi Computer, and ChipSynth has made it possible for all kinds of crazy chip sound integration into the "pro" producers setup.
Above all his music is the most impressive, as showcased below on Icarus. Check out why TCTD picked it as the best release of 2008, and we will see you again in seven.
herr_professor on 05/18/2010 at 12:51PM
Gremlins have infiltrated the TCTD media empire, causing mass technical blahs in the bloop matrix so this one will have to be quick. Binärpilot was featured on the FMA blog before but he has since taken control of his FMA profle with more uploads for your enjoyment, including this wonderful ep from 8bitpeoples. Enjoy it, and catch you guys in seven.
herr_professor on 05/11/2010 at 09:32AM
At times the chip music community can seem a little insular at a distance. Fiercely protective from exploitative outside elements, many feel that they cannot break in from outside, but the fact is that many chip music insiders are themselves huge music fans, eager to hear infinite variations on the chip music concept. This week we bring you the work of Nathan Meunier, and his ep The Beacon.
Like many chip artists, he comes to chip based production after writing and performing elsewhere, in Nathan's case it was indie rock. The tracks here reflect that, with a series of moody instrumentals punctuated with jangly guitars and soft squares. Nathan's path to chip came through his other focus, writing, He is currently working on a nonfiction book entitled Geek Beat Manifesto, which explores the rise of spazzy subcultures like Chip Music, Video Game Cover Bands, and Nerdcore Rap. Take a look at the EP, and check his writings on his website, and we will catch you in seven.
herr_professor on 05/04/2010 at 09:22AM
Chip music has long had a love hate relationship with gamer culture, an the internet in general. Is chip music hipster kitsch or is it something more? The issue becomes further cloudy when it comes to the now ubiquitous 8-bit Cover comp concept, where chip music artists attempt reworkings of popular hits as chip music soundtracks. The successful ones, such as ones dedicated to Kraftwerk, Weezer, Tron, and even Miles Davis, succeed largely due to the arrangements of the chip music artist, and of course with the strength of the source material. The danger with such compilations however is the consumptive nature of gamer culture, and it's relentless search for the novelty factor. Sure covers will get you noticed on the blogs, but will it get you noticed for your skills as an artist, like Wendy Carlos, or will it date you as an object of kitsch, like Rolf Harris?
One artist who seems to be able to toe the line between the two extremes is New York City's 8bit Betty. Stating with a picture perfect cover of the theme to "Reading Rainbow", he keeps up the energy up with his original compositions and an exciting live set. The challenge now for chip musicians is to find ways for their original music to capture Internet mind share, so your legacy as an artist is your own, and not simply "THE DUDE WHO COVERED THE A-Team"
The version uploaded on the FMA is missing the Reading Rainbow cover, but you can find that over on archive.org. See you in seven!
herr_professor on 04/27/2010 at 10:11AM
Let me start with a big thank you to the kind judge at Hudson County Circuit court who let me out of the trial that prevented me from last week chip music update. The check is in the mail. Looking back at the last few weeks of entries, I have noticed a certain skew toward the brutal, and the profane, and this week is going to be no exception. A few weeks back, notable chip music label Pause released arguably the landmark "Chip Music/Death Metal" record (yea, it's a genre) with Norrin Radd's "Anomaly"
The process is remarkably faithful to the specs of the NES, with one exception, all his death grunts are vocalized through the lowly NES sample channel (fans of the classic sports romp BLADES OF STEEL will know what this sounds like). The result is epic and brutal, and quite good even outside the "for a video game" handicap. Check it out above, or visit the Pause website for the files in .it format with additional songs (windows users can play these files natively in program like Winamp), or a chance to buy the music on CD.
Also some of you may remember Timeheater from a few weeks ago. He sent me his Fuck Life EP, which is some more awesome tracks from another fearsome practitioner of chip assault. And with that, we will leave it, but check back here next week when i try to find something happy to post instead. See you then!
herr_professor on 04/13/2010 at 10:15AM
This week's post was inspired by a chance encounter trawling the chiptune uploads here on the FMA. I found an upload released by Mexico City Dubstep collective Nimbo, the artist was named Kupa. The tracks, in particular, Peach Bitch, are nicely produced, and reminded me that there is a huge subset of chipmusic dedicated to dubby wobbles. We have covered the J Arthur Keene's Band before, and Jason did this article on quarta330, but there are two other great collectives you should check out as well.
The first is newish upstart Metrodub, a singles focused label with releases from the aforementioned JAKB, Canadian mystery man ??? (I pronounced it as CONFOUNDED GRUNT) and label head Minikomi. Metrodub has been hot with its last few releases,but the biggest name in this space would have to be Jahtari, a label with both physical and online releases and an eclectic roster of electronic dubdudes like fan favorite Disrupt, as well as chip music artists like Dubmood and overthruster.
Fans might pick up on me only having a casual knowledge of this end of the chip music pool, so let me know in the comments if there is anything I am missing, and see you guys in seven!
herr_professor on 04/06/2010 at 10:25AM
Back in the initial early LSDJ boom around the early 2000's. some of the most impressive tracks where from a bedroom producer under the name Logic Bomb. As his tracks grew in scope from Game Boy only projects to full blown electro freakouts, he ditched that moniker and Became David Sugar.
His other material was similar in style to his Game Boy tracks but benefited greatly by the enhanced sonic palette. You can read more about his other stuff in this BBC interview.
Appearing on a number of compilations as raised his profile, but he still finds time for his little DMG, with tracks like this for the 8bitpeoples label, and a performance at the 2009 Blip Festival. Enjoy his track Boss Man, and see you in seven!