Archive for December, 2013

The ChipWIN-tern Unofficial, Hella Real MAGFest Survival Guide

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Salutations, fellow beep-booping nerds. Hopefully, your holidays went as you hoped – and now that you’ve gone through the labors of hanging out with your family, you can prepare for the REAL reason for the season – MAGFEST!

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With MAGFest almost upon us, it’s time for everyone to start gearing up and girding your loins – because let’s be serious, you haven’t started packing yet and neither have I. Now, if you’re like me, you’ve been spreading the good word about MAGFest to your friends, and hopefully you’ve been able to recruit some of them to become more members of the MAGFamily. But maybe, just maybe, if you’re like me, you’re running into people who’ve never been to anything like this before – no conventions, no music festivals, no weekend-long parties. And we pity these friends, for they lack wonderful life experiences – but they should not despair, for they have YOU to introduce them to the wonderful world that is a four-day long party filled with music, videogames, and various enebriative consumables! But even the most seasoned veterans forget things to tell their rookie friends to watch out or prepare for, and so, as my Giftmas present to you, I’ve crafted a survival guide of all the things I’ve learned over the years, both for general conventions, as well as MAGFest – for as any veteran will tell you, MAGFest is not just a convention, and you shouldn’t treat it like one. But first, a disclaimer:

The views expressed within are those of myself, Adam Seats, and mine alone. This blog post is in no way officially affiliated with MAGFest, nor should you expect that the views expressed within necessarily reflect those of people otherwise affiliated with The ChipWIN Blog. And stuff.

That said, I’m gonna break this dude down into four main chunks – Staying Healthy, Lodging and Transportation, Food and Drink, and MAGFest Particulars. As a final note, I’m gonna do a tl;dr Cost Analysis, just to be sure that you’re preparing for all of your expenses and making smart decisions. Woe betide the person who plans out their budget, only to fail to realize they would need to pay for parking, or food.

STAYING HEALTHY

First and foremost, get this into your heads: Keeping healthy at any sort of long gathering like this is crucial. It’s easy to fall into a trap to get sick – you’ve got a bunch of people around each other for four days straight coming from everywhere imaginable, not eating properly, drinking heavily, not staying hydrated, maybe not keeping up on their personal hygiene, and WHAM you’re bedridden for days with the MAGFlu.

But there are people who’ve learned to beat it. DJ Cutman has a little treasure chest of healthiness he takes with him everywhere, and I asked him what was contained within, and what his secrets on beating the Con Crud were. His advice was as follows:

“I buy green vegetables and keep them in my room fridge – a little bit of broccoli and baby spinach can go a long way when you’re eating Dominos pizza for the third day in a row. I also bring hand sanitizer (magic shield) and Emergen-C/Airborn (Ether/Elixir) because fending off germs is a big deal.”

If something SHOULD happen, and you should find yourself deathly ill while at MAGFest, there’s a CVS within easy walking distance. I don’t know if they’ve got Emergen-C or Airborn, but there’s a pretty high chance they’ll have something to cure what ails you.

LODGING AND TRANSPORTATION

As I am writing this with such a short period of time before MAGFest, many of you have already settled your housing situation. Some of you have not, however, and some of you have decided to only come for one day. This section is for you. Now, I’m not gonna bore you with travel agent crap – anyone with an internet connection can look up what hotels are in the area. To that end, you should know that if you have a chance to book at the Gaylord, AKA MAGFest headquarters, you should do so. It is, however, quite pricey, but thankfully you have two hotels within easy walking distance. (Also, while I cannot speak for what any hotel’s prices may be, as they are always changing, remember that while booking the Gaylord with the MAGFest discount does get you some money off and the convenience of being but an elevator away from MAGFest, staying at the other hotels will almost certainly save you money, and might let you skip some of the more serious cost-cutting measures found within this guide.)

LOOK UPON ITS GLORY AND WEEP

The problem with having a gathering at a hotel, however, is that hotel parking fills up almost instantly, which means that if you’re commuting, or if you have more than one car to your room, you’re looking at parking in the only deck in town, which can be pricey. Be sure to plan for that in your travel expenses.

To cut down on expenses, however, you need to know how to be smart.  Look for roommates…many roommates.  And don’t feel like you have to have them all lined up before you book your room.  Numbers change. Yes, the hotel will charge you depending on how many people are in your room, but really, how does anyone know if someone’s just coming by to visit or if they’re actually staying in the room? And if someone coming by to visit should happen to drunkenly pass out on a bed, well, certainly no one planned on that, right?

Air mattresses are a good idea if you have six or fewer people who just so happen to be in your room – any more and it takes up way too much room. And speaking of room in your room, remember that you drove to MAGFest – all your luggage fit in the car on the way up, and it’ll still fit while you’re there. If there are things you can leave in the car until you need them, such as cosplay, or extra food (we’ll get to that soon), you’ll only be taking up room you could be using for sleeping room if you keep it all in the room.

You should try to bring your own towels too – I’ve found that while hotels do in fact have industrial washing and drying machines, the load a massive gathering such as MAGFest can generate may find the hotel short on towels. Extra soap and shampoo are also good – and BE SURE THAT YOU USE THEM. Let me repeat that: SHOWER ONCE A DAY, MINIMUM. No one wants to be around someone smelling funk-ass nasty because they got crazy at a concert the night before and decided to marinate in their own juices. This goes doubly true if you’re sharing beds – no one wants to wake up crusted in someone else’s grime. Personal hygiene, people.

As a followup to the previous note: If you should request the services of the hotel, be it to get more blankets, towels, or what have you, please remember to be kind. We are taxing them to their limits, and they will try to help us as best they can. They might forget things – and that sucks, but remember to be polite but firm in reminding them, so that things get done. Getting bitchy with the staff is a perfect way to make future dealings with them in future years suck. Likewise, BE SURE TO KEEP YOUR ROOMS AS NEAT AS POSSIBLE. At the very least when you’re leaving. The more work you leave for housekeeping, the more they’ll hate us. Plus, they might charge you for damages, and ain’t nobody got time for that. Damages could be for anything as small as makeup rings on the sink or in the tub (lookin’ at you, Homestuck kids), excessive trash, up to and including the big stuff like breaking mirrors or windows. Don’t do that.

FOOD AND DRINK

Staying happy and healthy in National Harbor is hard to do on a budget. There are very few cheap restaurants, and the few that are there often sell out of food by the second or third day, which might leave you at the whims of delivery drivers a town away in Oxon Hill. If you can, you should stop by a Costco or Sam’s Club and stock up on bottled water, Ramen, and granola bars. That’s not necessarily the most healthy way to do it, but reasonably speaking, that’ll help you out so you won’t have to rely on restaurants except for maybe once a day. You really should try to eat one good meal a day, you know.

Cheap restaurants near the Gaylord are Baja Fresh (fake Mexican food), Potbelly’s (subs and soup), Elevation Burger, and…well, that’s about it. There IS a McDonalds, which is on the edge of town and thus not within easy walking distance, especially when it’s below freezing, at night, and you’re drunk, but it’s good to take note of. Also, there’s that CVS I mentioned earlier – they have lots of pre-made wraps and sandwiches, as well as sodas, water, wine, and so on. Aside from those options, everything else you’re looking at is going to be about $20 for a normal human sized portion of food. There IS a great deal of variety in the area – but only if your wallet is prepared to take the hit.

Pictured: A stock photo of my wallet after one meal at the fancy Chinese restaurant in National Harbor, just across from the Gaylord.

There are many delivery restaurants based one town over, in Oxon Hill, which will deliver to MAGFest. I caution you against this unless you are in the most dire need, as they have many problems. For one, many of the places will wait until they have received several orders before setting out, which means that if yours was first, yours may be cold when it arrives – and at the Gaylord, there are no microwaves. Also, just in general, this means that you will likely be waiting for as long as an hour to receive your food – which can feel like an eternity if you’re ordering when you’re hungry. For two, many places will not let you split your order over the phone, meaning that if you do a large order with your friends, you’d better make sure that everyone has cash to pay you back, which can be difficult since the ATMs often run out.

As to drinking – let’s not mince words, many people who come to MAGFest are 21 or older, and many of them enjoy drinking 20 out of the 24 hours in a day. As National Harbor is in Maryland, there are numerous things available to you that are often banned in other places, like Everclear! Remember to stock up before you get to the hotel, because there’s nowhere to buy alcohol nearby except the hotel, and…well, I don’t know about you, but I’m not spending 12 dollars for a rum and Coke, thank you very much. (Hoodie swears to me that there is a grocery/deli in the area, but I’ve never found it. Maybe you should go hunting for it! Make it part of your MAGQuest. It’ll make your life easier, I’m sure.) However, I shouldn’t have to remind you, but if you’re bringing booze, remember to be responsible with it, stay hydrated (especially if you’re pregaming the concerts), and don’t accept drinks from people you don’t trust. Personally, I bring my own liquor selection (usually Kraken, Fireball, Jägermesiter and Malibu) and my own metal thermos that I keep my mixed drinks in – that way, nothing’s going in that I don’t know about, and if I get too crazy, I can’t drop the container and have it spill everywhere.

MAGFEST PARTICULARS

There’s not enough space on the internet to go over everything that you can do at MAGFest. There’s just so mu- oh, wait, no, there totally is such a place. It’s right here. Look at it, burn it into your brain. Seriously. There are lots of things to do, and lots of different tracks – you can just do the music track, you can go see famous YouTubers, you can mix and match, but if you don’t plan very, very carefully, you’re gonna be out of luck. If you’re a cool kid and have a smarty-pants phone, you can also download the schedule via the Guidebook app, which is awesome and lets you set alarms so you don’t miss things.

The main point is, you really need to sit down with the schedule, and I mean really get intimate with it – buy it a nice dinner, take it home to meet your parents, and then sit down and study it in all of its bare glory and figure out exactly what you want to do. Generally, I have a plan for what I want to do, and that plan changes about fifty times throughout the weekend. The major thing is to have SOME kind of plan, because if you go in there aimlessly wandering, you’re just gonna drift from thing to thing – which isn’t a horrible way to do it, mind you, and you’ll still have a lot of fun unless you’re some sort of anti-fun monster, but you will miss out on some of the more crazy things just by virtue of not knowing where they are, or getting to them after they’ve filled up.

Thing is though, you don’t really HAVE to plan on doing anything. There are enough games, either of the arcade, console or board varieties, that you could literally just spend a weekend trying everything and still miss out on half of the games they have. As I mentioned earlier, room parties are a big thing – no one will begrudge you missing a concert or a panel because you were having a good time with friends, because that’s literally the reason why we’re all getting together. Just figure out what suits you!

One final thing particular to MAGFest that might save you some money is how to properly approach the Dealers Room. The Dealers Room, located right near the videogame areas, is open 24 hours, though certain booths may not be. You’ll find all sorts of things, from modded Game Boys to collectible videogames to handmande crafts (I once bought a girlfriend of mine a Katamari which was themed like a Companion Cube – you can get ANYTHING there). Remember that everyone there is trying to turn a profit, so you should be extra wary with the collectible game vendors – always be sure to check prices online before you buy to be sure you’re not getting swindled. I’m not saying that people who vend at MAGFest are out to get you, because they REALLY aren’t, they’re good people, but they also make good money on impulse buys. If you see a super rare import game, just hop on Amazon and eBay to make sure there isn’t a vast price discrepancy – or if there is, it’s in your favor! Also, if you’re buying import games, make sure they’ll work on your system -lots of systems are region-locked. Most vendors will have information about what is and isn’t region-locked, though. Also, and this is truly just personal preference, but I’m all about haggling with game collectors if you know your stuff – but maybe don’t haggle so much with the people selling their own arts and crafts. Those people put a lot of time into making a quality handmade product, and deserve to be compensated – even the people who just do a quick two minute sketch in your sketchbook.

FINAL COST BREAKDOWN

When planning your budget, remember to account for the following:

-Travel expenses, including to/from MAGFest as well as if you need to get things from nearby towns, and the parking costs associated with it.

-Food, be it pre-bought food you bring with you, or food you buy in National Harbor. Remember that the latter means you’re going to be blazing through green(backs) faster than a pothead at Woodstock, and you probably want to avoid it unless you’re just made of money (in which case, hi, have you met me? We should talk.)

-Hotel expenses, which in addition to the actual quoted room cost may also include parking fees, resort fees (if you’re at the Gaylord), and tax

-Your ticket to MAGFest – you probably already have it, but if you haven’t paid, you shouldn’t forget!

-MONEY FOR THE GODDAMN DEALERS ROOM. Unless you are a champion of self control, you will spend more than you think you will, so be sure to watch yourself carefully here.

-An extra fifty bucks – because you never know what’ll happen. Keep it in your sock, if you have to.

THE-uh TH-THE-uh TH-THAT’S ALL, FOLKS. I, as well as many of the other Chiptunes = WIN bloggers will see you at MAGFest – feel free to come say hi! We don’t bite. (Except Kuma, but he’ll stop if you ask nicely.)

SEATS OUT.

MAGFest:
MAGFest.org | Facebook | Twitter | MAG 12 (Fb Event)
Full Event Schedule | Full Chiptune BRKDown

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Chip Treatment with Professor Oakes: MAGFest Noob Special Edition

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Your pulse quickens… your eyes begin to dilate. Your breath becomes labored…faster and faster. Your palms sweat—knees weak, arms are heavy (MOM’S SPAGHETTI). What could it be?! Anaphylactic shock? Nope. Someone slipped you something? Nah. Steam sales? Praise Gaben, but it’s not that either. With that said, that can one mean one thing:

MAGFest 12

Saran wrap those loins (wait, what?), hold on to your butts (don’t let go), and bring a plate for all that spaghetti you’re going to be spilling all over yourself…. oh, and don’t forget the parmesan cheese. MAGFEST 12 IS COMETH.

With all this excitement spewing from the tips of my fingers, you’d think I’ve been rockin’ the Gaylord since MAGFest 10? Think again. MAGN00b here! However, this professor right here has her Pokédex on hand to catalog all the nerds, her personal trading cards to share, and Nurse Joy on speed dial should she catch the MAGPlague. While it’s been an eight month process—the first three spent deciding whether or not MAGFest is worth the trek from Los Angeles—it all became a reality when I booked my first solo flight back in November and I haven’t looked back since. Preparing for MAGFest, on the other hand, is totally out of the question. With my only solidified plans being my transportation to and from the event, a floor to sleep on, friends to FINALLY meet, and cash to spend, I’m letting the MAGFestivities take me on my own journey.

Not going to lie, writing this article has me feeling a little jittery, as I’ve caught myself daydreaming about the adventure that awaits: dancing the night away at MAGProm to The OneUps and Love Canon, playing a mad game of Cards Against Humanity in my hotel suite, playing some free vintage arcade games, and cuddling in the middle of the Chipspace floor. However, my excitement for the amount of quality chip acts performing at this year’s MAGFest can never be expressed through words on a screen—such quality, such chip, such A+++, wow.

Speaking of music, HOT DAMN is there a solid lineup. While the main stage hails acts such as Bit Brigade, Urizen, The X-Hunters, The Megas and Super Guitar Bros, and the second stage being paid visits from Eight Bit Disaster, Triforce Quartet, ARMCANNON and LONELYROLLINGSTARS, plenty of ear rocking will be had. And please, don’t miss the forsaken DJ battle!

On top of all that, there’s also PLENTY of weekend chip performances that I KNOW will blow your socks off. My top four do not miss picks (among so many excellent chipartists!) are as follows:

A_Rival: Performing January 3rd at 1:30 p.m.

Bay Area based chip hop producer Luke Esquivel, also known as A_Rival, launched his newest release ’Truthcannon’ on May 21, 2013. With cameos made by bLiNd, Abducted By Sharks, and TRASH80 on the latter half of the album, ’Truthcannon’ is a fantastic, fist-pumping album infused with dubstep drops, dreamy chip melodies and lovely Trance-like vocals to transcend its listeners on a ride through a 16-bit space shooter game.

Auxcide: Performing January 3rd at 12:00 p.m.

Having just dropped two consecutive 8static net label releases on December 18, 2013, Bryan Dobbins, also known as Auxcide, has captured my heart (Morgan and Kilpatrick’s as well) with ‘Speck’ and ‘Pixel’. Auxcide’s ability to produce not one but TWO danceable albums reigns from his precise electronic underscoring accompanied by the harsh soundchips of his Gameboy AGS and DMG running LSDJ. Created using a plethora of hardware including Roland Gaia, Yamaha PSR-500, and Arturia MiniBrute, ‘Pixel’ is the calm predecessor I imagine to soundtrack the victory of war, where ‘Speck’ is an explosion of energy that can’t help but grab your attention. The cool thing about these albums? Auxcide covers ‘The Moon’ from Ducktales Remastered (released by WayForward with music composed by Jake ‘virt’ Kaufman) and ‘Fire and Ice’, the Game of Thrones title sequence track.

Danimal Cannon: Performing January 3rd at 2:00 p.m.
Zef: Performing January 5th at 4:05 a.m.

With a recent TEDxBuffalo appearance about chipmusic, Dan ‘Danimal Cannon’ Behrens is making his way to MAGFest 12 to rock your faces not once but TWICE. Performing under both Danimal Cannon and ARMCANNON this year, Behrens released ‘Parallel Processing’ alongside Zef on January 15, 2013 under the prior. (NOTE: One of the two artists will be releasing a new track on the upcoming MAG=WIN comp! Listen to the teaser HERE to guess who!) With that notable progchip sound, ‘Parallel Processing’ is another stellar Ubiktune release, and is an album quite like none other. The two technically skilled artists combined forces, smashed their noggins together, and went to town to create an album whose INSANE level of musical engineering is accompanied by their love for Gameboy processors.

That’s all for this month’s Chip Treatment! I’ll be seeing all you Carbon based lifeforms at MAG! If for whatever reason you can’t make it, be sure to tune in to clip-stream.net as my awesome friends  Casshern and Glenntai are manning the livestreams so you don’t miss out!

MAGFest:
MAGFest.org | Facebook | Twitter | MAG 12 (Fb Event)
Full Event Schedule | Full Chiptune BRKDown

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8-Bit Banter with DjjD: ‘A For Amiga’ by cTrix

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Yo, yo, yo. DjjD here.

Before we begin, let’s just look at a couple of the comments I’ve found on the internet whilst listening to this amazing piece of work:

“I’ve been freaking out about how good ‘A for Amiga’ is. Jammy yet musical, bouncy yet methodical, calculated yet playful…” – Phonetic Hero (Pete Lepley)

“this album is fucking GOOD” – Luke Keever

Mordecai

Classy statements, for a classy album. However, this fantastic Bleepstreet release does for me what I have not been able to find in other recent collections: pure, unadulterated vehemence. In a number of ways, cTrix manages to conceive extreme twists and turns in an immensely enjoyable and thrilling expedition down memory lane back into the early 90s. How he manages to pack such nostalgic, complicated rhythms and such wonderful, prodigious leads in each song, off of an Amiga 500, is just beyond words. The radical melodies generated from this machine (and its user), are just incredible.

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When I saw this first, I had flashbacks of After Burner.

To really understand what the background of ‘A For Amiga’ was, I asked Chris Mylrae (cTrix) for a few moments of his time to explain how he got to this concept and how he carried out his project:

A for Amiga is a project which started life as an “album-on-a-floppy” Amiga musicdisk. The Amiga’s tracking system was what had launched me into the world of digital music production when I was a kid. The aim was to make tunes using samples from the original floppies which came bundled with “The Ultimate Sound Tracker” which was one of the first Amiga trackers (late 80’s). I also decided to use some of the samples I spent weekends of my childhood finding at computer swap meets. Pre-internet / pre-sampler that’s how I got my sounds!

Best part?

“…I’d love to give you a philosophical reason to why I made these tunes – but it was mainly a technical challenge purely for fun. Once I got going I spent a long time on some of the melodies and chordal structures… but it all came down tunes that were fun to make.”

No deeper meaning than that, folks. He did this because he wanted to test his limits and make something badass. Personally, I can’t stop listening to “DX Heaven”. It’s super smooth, has some really great dynamics, and this is probably just me, but it totally reminds me of Epic Pinball.

I can’t speak highly enough of this album; it’s just THAT good. Each track is a descent farther and farther into a simpler, far more pleasant past. You’ll be thinking about those good ol’ days where all you had to think about was games, sipping on lemonade, and occasionally treading outside of your dungeon/castle/fortress (yes, your house) to hang out with friends. You owe it to yourself to listen to some damn good music, Christmas was tough.

…and no I’m not just saying that because I waited until the day before Christmas to buy gifts. (don’t judge me)

Stay classy. :)
-DjjD

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cTrix:
OLD HomepageFacebook | Twitter | YouTube | Soundcloud

BLEEPSTREET Records:
Homepage | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Soundcloud

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Sladerfluous: Auxcide’s double release ‘Speck’ AND ‘Pixel’

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Bryan ‘Auxcide’ Dobbins has just released two albums through 8static’s net label.

Two.

Together.

Simultaneously.

Both at the same time.

You’re going to love both of them.

‘Speck’ and ‘Pixel’ by Auxcide are together a masterfully compelling collection of electronica underscoring Auxcide’s crystal-clear passion and desire to break beyond.

Both ‘Speck’ and ‘Pixel’ showcase Auxcide’s ability to select and reign in the potentially harsh sound of the classic gameboy soundchip, masterfully employing its power throughout alongside an alluring flow of synth. Auxcide’s style is uplifting, explorative, intricate, and meticulous. ‘Speck’ hits you with an explosion of creative energy unleashed, and ‘Pixel’ invites you to stand in the eye of the storm.

Accompanying Auxcide’s original tracks, ‘Speck’ and ‘Pixel’ also each include several covers which are available free to download, with highlights including the cover of ‘The Moon’ from the Duck Tales classic NES title, and ‘Fire and Ice’ on ‘Pixel’ from the iconic Game of Thrones. There’s something for everyone, but the real treat comes from Auxcide’s original works, each of which deserve your undivided attention.

Auxcide 'Speck' album

 ‘Speck’ by Auxcide – released Dec. 18th, 2013

‘Speck’ is powerful, massively energetic, and composed with a palpable spontaneity to evoke anthems that will captivate from start to refreshingly off-beat finish. Auxcide is a master at crafting hypnotizing transitions that keep you guessing while drawing you into completely new progressions with a welcome clever stealth.

“Nitrous” in particular astonishes with an ability to start immediately at what would be kindly considered a powerful climax in an average electronic track, only to continuously reach even higher, building upon its own shoulders with dedication through unexpected shifts, breakdowns, and re-imaginings, culminating in a height that will tower above your expectations regardless of whether you are listening to Auxcide’s work today for the first time, or if you are already a die-hard fan. “Nitrous” and other original tracks within this collection have the compositional weight to have easily been split, repeated and stretched into two separate tracks which would have been well received. Auxcide’s commitment to his work reveals itself in spades with his refusal to compromise and a willingness to give everything he has with each and every track on these twin albums. Very impressive work.

Auxcide - 'Pixel' album

‘Pixel’ by Auxcide – released Dec. 18th, 2013

‘Pixel’ pumps the brakes to allow for a more introspective sound than its rock-the-stadium companion ‘Speck’, and succeeds with charming explorations like “Creation” and “The Planet Is Asleep”, which are both unique and absolutely beautiful expeditions into the soothing corners of electronica, blending with Auxcide’s uplifting style to create an intriguing hybrid of energetic-tranquility. ‘Pixel’ is by no means “low-energy”, however, saving the heavier beats for “Morphine” and “Pixel”, two irresistibly magnetic tracks that absolutely put the elated in pixelated.

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Bryan ‘Auxcide’ Dobbins was gracious enough to take a moment to answer a few questions about ‘Speck’ and ‘Pixel’! His thoughts on these triumphant releases are below:
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Pixel Recall: How did the idea to release 2 full albums simultaneously come about?

Auxcide: Originally I wanted to release them a couple days after the other but scheduling conflicts with the label and future releases made me put them out on the same day.

Pixel Recall: Why 2 albums and not one giant album?

Auxcide: I originally was going to make it one album but I kept writing new songs and when I posted that on Facebook, people demaded I put all the songs on 2 albums as a sort of double album. I like it ’cause I got to go with the whole yin-yang, light-dark motif.

Pixel Recall: What has your experience been like working with 8static?

Auxcide: Prior to these, I had almost no experience with 8static. I used these albums to rectify that. I met EmFed at BRK and she was interested in working with me for a show. When I recently decided to move outside of Philly, me and Emily talked again at 8staticFest. We later decided it was only natural to release these albums with my new home. I have nothing but good things to say about my experiences with 8static.

Pixel Recall: What about Speck and Pixel are you particularly proud of?

Auxcide: I’m especially proud of the way I blended some of these synths with the gameboy’s soundchip. Most notable in Creation and The Planet is Asleep with their multiple pad sections but also with Pixel with it’s leads and Yung Lyfe with it’s dance chords.

Pixel Recall: Is there a technique you either discovered or experimented with during the creation of Speck and Pixel that you’d like to share with your fans/aspiring musicians?

Auxcide: I was really proud of this crazy high pitch bent patch I did. I used a couple different versions in Nitrous (prominent at 3:12) and in SPECK. I also experimented with a lot of higher kicks. Like putting an 18 and 0C in the start of the table on a C7 or C6 wav kick.

Pixel Recall: Can you describe a “eureka” moment you may have had during a difficult moment while creating Speck and Pixel?

Auxcide: I had a couple songs that I had trouble imaging extra synths for. Yung Lyfe only has that Gaia chord but it took a while to find something that fit well sound-wise. Other songs were a constant “Eureka moment”. Pixel, Catalyst, Creation, Source, and The Universe Fights Back were written in a day each.

Pixel Recall: For those who may be unaware of the work that goes into a live performance, could you describe your stage setup and how you recreate your music onstage?

Auxcide: The thing I take self satisfaction about is my music doesn’t have to be recreated, all of the hardware I use is tangible, real and, in most cases, able to automated. Besides the gameboys, it consists of 3 synthesizers (Gaia, MiniBrute, Microkorg), 1 drum machine (ES-1 MKII), and 3 effects processors (KP3, KP4, mini KP). That’s not to say my music will EVER sound the same. Sometimes I’ll play the synths live, edit effects, etc. The song New Hope is me playing the MiniBrute live over the gameboys on loop.

Pixel Recall: Do you have any advice for those who are inspired by your work and looking for a place to start creating electronic music like yours?

Auxcide: Go out and get a cheap synthesizer.  I started physical hardware on my Microkorg and I still love that thing. It will open your eyes to sound when you can actually shape the sounds yourself.

Pixel Recall: How would you most like people to describe your music, and your musical style?

Auxcide: Recently, Andrew Kilpatrick called my music “emotive”. That’s all I really want from it. I really just want things uplifting with deeper meanings. This mostly comes back to my love and wonder of space, where I draw a lot of influences.

Pixel Recall: Who inspires you?

Auxcide: There are so many artists that do. There’s so many young artists who don’t know music theory and are showing up the people that do. That type of innate ability to understand music at a young age is inspiring. There are so many older artists who are humble and love sharing the stage with new talent. That ability to put aside pride or prejudice gives people like me a chance to have a moment.

Pixel Recall: Is there a technique or style that you’re itching to experiment with, and if so, what about it intrigues you?

Auxcide: I really want to go with more cinematic atmosphere stuff. I think I really excel with harmonies and used to mainly write big string sections. It’s harder to do with the gameboy’s limited polyphony but the Gaia mixes so well with the pulse channels. My first test of this was Creation. I expect to turn out an album soon.

Pixel Recall: Can you elaborate on the extended title for The Padstow Missile Crisis on the album ‘Speck’ that reads, “Solarbear is a grade-A Noob tier LSDJ user on the seventh plane of terrible”?

Auxcide: Hahaha. Me and Solarbear have had our rivalry for over a year now. I covered this song for him at BRK. It’s a play at his original title: The Padstow Missile Crisis (IDevourStatic is a 78th level LSDJ Necromancer) while still showing how much he sucks.
[Editor’s note: Solarbear sux.]

Pixel Recall: Finally, is there anything about you, about your music, about your upcoming events that you’d like our readers to know? 

Auxcide: Just that whatever happens in 2014, know I plan to make it better than 2013.
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Huge thanks to Auxcide for his time and insight into his process creating ‘Speck’ and ‘Pixel’. Both ‘Pixel’ and ‘Speck’ are available on Bandcamp, each for a well-deserved $5. Highly recommended; supporting this veteran will only raise the bar of the music you love.

Have a wonderful holiday everyone. Merry Christmas. Hug somebody :)

Pixel Recall ~ (R. Morgan Slade) ~ Support the artists you love

Auxcide:
Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp | Soundcloud

8static:
Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp | Soundcloud8static.com

Chip Mom’s Kitchen #7: Molasses Cookies for DAYS

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So many cookies… so… many… cookies…. SO MANY COOKIES!

I will eat them all!     \(^-^)/

Molasses Cookies

Difficulty level:
Newb          |         Apprentice         |         Journeyman         |         Master

Its a pretty basic cookie recipe, but it makes a metric poop-ton of cookies. Plan for some quality time with your oven.

Quest Items:

Flour
Brown Sugar
White Sugar
Butter
Molasses
Eggs
Baking Soda
Salt
Cinnamon
Spatula
Bowls
Cooling rack
Cookie sheets
Storage for your legion of Cookie Multitudes

Musical Accompaniment:

and then

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Illustrated Guide:

Your food parts, get them!

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Preheat that oven to a toasty 350 degrees.

Now to make sure your cookies get a smooth, chewy, delicious flavor, start by sifting your dry ingredients with a wire strainer.  If you’re lucky enough to have one of those fancy sifting gadgets… use that.  Chip Mom is not that lucky.

IMAG1842Put 4 1/2 cups flour (!), 3 tsp of baking soda, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1 tsp of cinnamon into the wire strainer and, over a medium size bowl, shake the strainer until all the ingredients have passed through.  Be careful not to shake too hard… it WILL be a mess if you get too enthusiastic!

 

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Set that bowl aside and in your larger bowl place 1 1/2 cups of softened butter, 2 cups brown sugar, 2 eggs, and 1/2 cup of molasses (I did mention that this makes a BUNCH of cookies, right?). Beat these ingredients until smooth and fluffy!

 

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Add the dry mixture a bit at a time, blending them together gradually.  This avoids the whole 4 cups of flour exploding all over you and your kitchen.

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A note about softened butter:  Cold-out-of-the-fridge butter is NOT the same as softened/room temp butter is NOT the same as melted butter.  Cold butter stays in clumps; soft butter beats in smoothly.  Since you want the butter to be evenly distributed throughout the cookies, make sure it is softened.  If you forgot to take it out of the refrigerator, microwave the sticks of butter in the wrapper for 5 seconds.  See if they are squishy when pinched.  Repeat microwaving in 5 second bursts until the butter is soft.  Don’t microwave for longer intervals or your butter will melt and the cookies will not bake the same! Here’s a picture showing the change in textures.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

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This is the fun, get your fingers messy part.  Place a generous amount of white sugar on a plate.  Taking chunks of dough in your hand, roll them into walnut-sized balls and then roll them in the sugar until coated.  Place these delectable little bites onto your cookie sheet.

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These little darlings will bake in a quick 8 minutes in my oven (the recipe called for 10, but did not include the scorch potential of being sugar coated!), so keep a close eye as they bake. Also: breathe deeply because these things smell AMAZING!

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When they come out of the oven the bottoms should look only slightly browner than the tops.  They will be chewy and delectable and plentiful.  My batch made nearly 100 cookies (a personal record for cookies-at-a-time).

So bake, share, gift, and above all remember that Mama loves ya! <3

Merry Chipmas!!!

Stoking the Forge: Corset Lore (ST)

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Greetings and salutations my fellow ChipWINNERs!

Viridian Forge here, and I am honored that you’d feast your eyeballs upon the first installment of “Stoking the Forge”, where I plan to take a look at a recent sliver of the chiptune world that especially fueled the fires of my imagination.  The inspiration for this idea is simultaneously my first topic of examination: ‘Corset Lore‘ by Corset Lore.   This self-titled EP, her debut album, was released through 8Static to her “absolute delight” this very October. It was similarly my delight to get the chance to indulge in her self-described “fantastical sound constructions”.

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