Welcome back to Chip Mom‘s Kitchen – come my young’ins and gather ’round! Some of you may have seen my Rabite cookies on the Chip Mom facebook page.
Well I didn’t use a traditional cookie cutter for this project, I made my own. And soon, you will be able to do the same! I present to you for your consideration:
Newb | Apprentice | Journeyman | Master
Pretty much anyone can do this with enough patience.
Stapler with staples
You start your project by making a sketch of your shape on the piece of paper, paying close attention to your outside edges. Try to keep in mind that you’ll have to bend something into this shape in a minute. Because of its high level of potential adorableness, I chose a Mario mushroom for this time around. It also helps that the outer shape is pretty straight forward.
I also like to fill in some basic details to give me an idea of the finished product, but ultimately its the edge that’s the most important. When you’re finished, go ahead and set this aside, because its aluminium foil time!
Cut a sheet of aluminum foil off the roll that’s about a foot long. Just like folding paper, the more folds you put in the aluminum foil, the more sturdy your cutter ends up being. Feel free to spend the extra buck or two for heavy duty (/snicker – “duty”… sorry, I just watched Wreck-it Ralph).
Fold up about two inches from the bottom, then fold that in half so you have about a 1″ fold. Continue to keep wrapping and folding until you have a sturdy, 1″ length of foil. You then start to mold the foil around the outside of your sketch. I used the edge of my scissors to help me get sharp 90* corners, and my pencil to help me shape curves.
It’ll take some trial and error and some patience to get it matched up with your drawing, but when you’ve got it the way you want it you’re pretty much done! And its so pretty! Staple the ends together and cut off the excess aluminium foil.
Now you can use your cookie cutters to create nerdy cookies of your own design. Inspiration can come from any game, any song, any comic, any fandom.
If you make your own cookies, go ahead and post them to the Chip Mom facebook page! Mama wants to see what you worked so hard to create. :) Until next mission!
Hey everyone! Welcome back to Raw Cuts! Before we get started, last time I know that I promised you all that I’d be dropping a Solarbear interview next time I posted! That baby is still on its way, but due to conflicting schedules surrounding BRKFest, that interview’s been postponed to a later date. That being said, I’ve got an awesome interview for you with a rising star from Virginia! Taking a cue from Danimal Cannon, this dude combines sweet guitar skills with precise LSDJ composition and is definitely someone you should pay attention to you! Without further ado, I present my interview with Jason Doss aka Square Therapy!
Kuma: So tell me, Jason: I don’t know everything about you, but what I do know is that you’ve been making music for quite a while. Furthermore, you’ve shown yourself to be quite an eclectic artist. What first brought you to chiptune and how long have you been musician in the first place?
Square Therapy (ST): Well, if we’re getting technical, I started playing piano around three or four. My mom and her side of the family have always been musicians so I kind of fell into it by default; but, as far as chiptune/8 bit music goes, a lot longer than I make it out to be. I remember when I was about 10, I asked for this specific keyboard for Christmas because it had a “square wave” tone on it. I would sit and “write” what I thought to be music for my own little video game for hours. Though it wasn’t much more than me playing simple chords that I knew at the time haha.
Kuma: That’s rather cute, actually. I can see little you on a Casio just playing simple stuff at that age. That being said, your “own little video game”? Was it something imaginary you were doing or were you at the time planning on making a game? Do you still feel like that sometimes when you’re making music? Do you still approach it with that sense of childlike wonder?
ST: Haha It was a Casio, actually! And well, my dream ever since I was a kid was to write and compose music for video games! Which is also still a goal that I will continue to push for the rest of my life. In every little solo project I’ve done it has always contained a sense of chiptune, even before I knew what chiptune actually was.
Kuma: Have you had any luck pursuing that dream so far? I know guys like Jay Tholen, James Therrien of Br1ght Pr1mate and virt seem to have found success, or at least opportunities, in making music for games. Have any come up your way yet?
ST: Actually yes! Nothing major, but I’ve written for some college students that needed music for their projects and other small indie developers just for fun. It’s nothing I ever really plan on making money off of. Just a passion I really want to pursue.
Kuma: I’m actually glad you mentioned money, because money is always an issue that comes up eventually when it comes to music, or any form or artistic expression. When it comes to your music, your craft, are you passionate enough about it that you don’t care about making money off it or is it something you’d love to make your life professionally?
ST: Well, I will never charge for my music. I will stand by that no matter what. Every album that I produce will always be free for a digital download. Always. Now, for other formats such as vinyl and tape, then yes: that’s something I would charge for. And as far as writing music for someone else, I would say you would be paying more for my time than my actual work. Everything I write comes from my heart, and it’s something that I feel I’m just thankful for someone to listen to, money or not.
As far as shows go, a little gas and food cash never hurt anyone, but playing in front of a crowd is like a drug to me. Every time I get on stage it’s like getting a fix. So if I have to dish out cash for that fix, I would be willing to do that if it meant getting to play for people.
Kuma: Thats friggin beautiful, man. I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone describe their music making or performing experience in that way in my interviews. Its quite touching.
That being said, you’ve been making music for a long time, and I remember you’ve been in a few bands before, particularly Zatsesuken (am I spelling that right?): a djenty, sorta metal band you were a vocalist for that was pretty damn awesome. Is making and performing chip compared to, say, metal like comparing a happy drug like E to a hard drug like Coke? Is each musical genre like a different high for you? And is there one high you prefer more than any, if so?
ST:Zantetsuken! ;D and actually yes! I’ve played/toured with metal bands more than anything else I’ve done, so it really is a different world and emotion. Playing metal is much more aggressive and anger focused, which is really not me at all. But then again, I have metal influenced songs that I write as Square Therapy, as well, so I guess I still go back to my roots from time to time. I never try to limit myself to any specific genre, though, which is why I love electronic music so much. I can do anything I want to with it.
In fact, I’ve already started working on my second EP which will contain many different genres. Some of what you’ll hear will include orchestral, rock, and ambient electronica, as well as singing in most songs. I’ve always felt that limiting yourself as a musician is one of the worst things you could do to yourself. It would be like living off nothing but pizza. Sure, I fucking adore pizza, but if I had to eat it every day and night, my body would hate me, as I would hate myself for never knowing anything other than pizza.
Kuma: It certainly would; although, if it were space pizza, I think I might be able to get by for centuries!
Kuma: Speaking of space pizza, let’s talk about your track you submitted for ChipWIN! First off, congrats for being one of the chosen artists to be represented on our second volume! How did it feel knowing you got selected out of nearly 150 entries?
ST:I can honestly say it was extremely rewarding. And after hearing the other tracks, I feel even more fortunate. I don’t think I’ve ever been more impressed with a collection of artists before. So many different influences and styles as well as production. You can really hear a lot of personality in each song and I feel thankful to be a part of it! Also, on a side note of the whole Chiptunes = WIN community, I’ve never felt more welcomed in my life! A lot of music “nerds” can really come down heavy on you as a newbie to a community, but not at ChipWIN. I felt like everyone was instantly a friend, and it’s awesome to be a part of such a welcoming community, even if we are nothing but a bunch of shitty dickbutts!
Kuma: Hey hey hey! Dickbutts are not shitty! Butt tacos are! And they’re delicious!!!
ST: Okay, okay! I’m sorry! You’re completely right
Kuma: You’re forgiven…but I won’t forget. *salutes* I’ll never forget…
ST: It’s okay Kuma: I could never forget you, either! Not after MAG XI at least…
Kuma: Shhhhhh! Those are things people must never find out about!
ST: AND THEY NEVER WILL!
Kuma: Getting back on topic, though: the song you contributed was definitely full of energy and wasn’t anywhere near the angry or aggreissive energy you had with your metal at all. If anything, a lot of us were joking and complimenting at how Anamanaguchi the song sounded! Was that what you were going for at the time or was this just based on a fun, happy feeling inside and you decide to let it spill forth?
ST: Haha Well, even though I am a fan of the older Anamanaguchi, I wouldn’t say that was really a focus while writing the song. That song changed so much through out the writing process that I honestly don’t even know where the original idea came from. I wanted to bring out a lot of my personal feelings with 8 bit, as well as my love for other styles like post rock, as well. Which in all honestly, I probably listen to post rock and emo more than anything else. That and video game OST’s. But I am very pleased with the way the song turned out. I really wish I could go back and add guitar to it, which there is guitar on all the tracks in my upcoming EP except for an interlude. But I put a video up on YouTube of that song with guitar so I feel a little more content now. haha.
Kuma: Oh did you? I’ll definitely have to check it out! That being said, lets talk about your newest album, shall we? How long have you been working on this baby?
ST: That’s a funny question, actually. This EP is really some songs that I’ve written in the past 2 years and just brought back and added to. I was tired of releasing song by song and not having an actual product out there for people to download and listen to. But since I’ve decided to make it a release, I would say a couple months.
I’m also lucky to have been able to make the songs flow as well as they did with each other. I’m a firm believer in writing an album/EP as an entire piece or work rather than random songs on a track list, which is why I also feel that I will never release a full LP. I am extremely A.D.D., and find myself getting bored with my own work at times. So I figured the best thing for me is to just constantly release 3-5 song EP’s, each being a nice piece in its own. It will help me stay involved with my own music, and hopefully some listeners as well.
Kuma: Of what I’ve heard so far, I think its a good gamble. You know yourself well enough to keep yourself going and when to stop, and both are important. I must say, I do appreciate your view of wanting to make albums that flow and have a shared meaning to them, even if its not a concept album. That means a lot to the listener, and I think of what I just heard, not only have you done that well, but your post rock influences definitely shine brilliantly in this EP. Is there anything you, in putting this together, felt was a maybe or an almost you’d still like to put out there, but just weren’t ready to do yet?
ST:I think this EP is a great kick off to whats going to be an awesome chapter in my life. I’m very happy with this release, but I know there is a lot more that I am capable of on a personal level that will be featured in future EP’s. As I mentioned before, my next one contains a lot more elements than just chip and guitar. I also plan on doing a few remix EP’s, as well. I love to cover material as much as I love writing my own. It’s a lot of fun to take someone elses mind of music and turn it into your own little creation.
Kuma: Speaking of covers, should I take your love of chip and guitar as a hint at a possible Danimal Cannon cover? Huh? Hmmmm?
ST: Haha as much as I would love to do that, I don’t think I could ever be as satisfied with recreating something as awesome as he does. It’s funny you mention him actually, because I would honestly like to extend a shout out his way. Danimal Cannon has probably been one of my biggest inspirations in not only chiptune, but music in general. A lot of chiptune tends to run together for me, as I am not particularly a fan of dance; so when I happened to stumble upon him, I was blown away. He made me want to do what I do now: play guitar over chiptune and make it sound fucking bad ass. I still see him as a huge inspiration and look up to him very much. I’m a Danimal fanboy all the way. Consider him my chiptune Justin Beiber. In fact, I think my biggest goal for this ep would be to hear his personal feedback on it haha.
Kuma: Hopefully he gets around to reading this and is able to let you know. That being said, regardless of what comes of this album, I know we can expect great things from you. Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers in closing?
ST: First off, thank you! Thank you thank you thank you! If you ever decide to listen to even one minute to any of my songs, thank you! On that note, my new, self titled EP is out now! Name your price on Bandcamp and all that jazz. (EDIT: Scroll to the bottom of this interview to listen to it! =D ). This will also be followed by a livestream show I am having on 08.16.13 for my birthday!! It’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun and I hope everyone tunes in for the party!
Kuma: I hope they do, too! Jason, Square Therapy, it was a pleasure getting to interview you, my friend! I hope we get to do this again sometime! Peace!
Thanks again for tuning in with us here on ChipWIN! Don’t forget to keep up with Square Therapy on your preferred method of social media, as well as listening to his tunes on either Bandcamp or Soundcloud! Tune in next time as I provide you guys with a very special post BRKFest interview with some very cool people you all know! Ciao!
Original Vol.2 artwork by Nate Horsfall; Pxl-Win revision by Alex Kelly.
Introducing the joint efforts of Pxl-Bot & Chiptunes = WIN, Volume 2’s companion compilation: PXL-WIN!!!
Featuring 15 of the 146 Volume 2 submissions + 2 special guests (17 tracks total), revised album artwork, & mastering from Cincinnati’s S.P.R.Y, this release’ll be another one guaranteed to please your chiploving earholes!
PXL-WIN releases next Saturday, August 17th on the Pxl-Bot Bandcamp after the 7pm EST Nerd Rock Radio listening party on 8bitx.com!
The three EPs Canadian Dan McLay, aka, The J Arthur Keenes Band, released thus far have been collectively revered by the scene as pinnacles in chiptune composition. However, TJAKB seemed to be adrift in a sea of influences; each release encompassed a different approach to a similar sound, though none cohesively linked to the next part of his canon. That is until ‘Mighty Social Lion’. Acting as a collision catalyst for most of his previous reference points, ‘Mighty…’ also signals a further expansion; this time into the realms of 90s alternative and britpop nuance.
‘Mighty Social Lion’ also marks a significant dip in the reliance on chiptune. This isn’t a bad thing, as whilst these elements are understated, this lends the release an undeniable maturity, where chips are an instrument rather than a gimmick, undeniably aesthetic rather than foolishly crowd-pleasing (not that Keenes has ever practiced this). In ‘Cardboard Box’, chiptune only comes to the forefront after a drawn out tease, marking the track’s shift from confined tension to bombastic euphoria. Chiptune carries the early 90s Radiohead ambiance of ‘Dumb Jokes’, every staccato arp complimenting the scaling guitars and swooning voices.
Maturity is also prevalent in the composition, with songs feeling less like the work of a teenage Robbie Shakespeare and more like that of a mature Win Butler. ‘Trials’ focuses on slightly sinister undertones, with staccato guitar and piano accenting the Beta Band vibe flowing throughout. ‘Worth Keeping’ keeps restrained in the first half and then lyrically whimsical in its closing. Elsewhere, Wild West themed ‘Old Dusty’ manages to traverse around the edges of tortuous superfluity and instead plants itself somewhere between emotionally immediate and musically ingenious. Also, the line “You gave me dirty looks” seems destined to become as iconographic as “This ain’t your home”.
Arthur also harks back to the grapefruits of old; single ‘Congratulations’ has an instantaneous hook, baring its sugar coated fangs and sinking in early, and ‘Under Construction’, is a welcome return to hook-laden abrupt bubblegum sweetness, sounding like a cut from ‘The World’s Smallest Violin’. It’s hard to point out real negatives on this release, though, apart from the odd moment of lyrical cringe (see ‘Cardboard Box’ and ‘Mr. Radiator’ for the worst offences). In fact, ‘Mr. Radiator’ is the only track that really misses the mark, featuring both the album’s worst lyrics and most uninspired music. It’s not a terrible song, it’s just a rock in an ocean of diamonds is incredibly hard to ignore.
Overall? Well, the final track, ‘The Doors’, aptly explains the release as a whole. This track is epilogical in almost every sense; it encompasses almost all previous sounds on the album, forming a six minute dash of irresistible baroque pop chip with more hooks than a fisherman’s cloakroom. It jumps from sweet and pop-heavy to drawn out and controlled affection, winding its way to a grandiose finale. If last year’s EP turned you off J Arthur’s new direction, ‘Mighty Social Lion’ won’t amend your position. However, by featuring sublime maturity alongside emotional cognizance, J Arthur has never sounded better.
You’re all pretty hip to the cool stuff going on in the chiptunes world these days – ‘course you are, or you wouldn’t be here, reading this, would you? So of course you know that Anamanaguchi has been on tour promoting their swagtacular new album Endless Fantasy, and you probably know that they’ve had a bunch of fantastic folks on tour with them. For the Richmond stop, they featured none other than the rap stylings of Kitty Pryde and fellow chiptune/rock dude Paul “Chipocrite” Weinstein (now featuring Roger “Rekcahdam” Hicks on drums!).
A collection of shots from Strange Matter’s website.
The last time these guys were in Richmond, they rocked the house at Strange Matter, so it was no surprise they’d return. Strange Matter’s a pretty rad place, and lends itself to being a haven for most of us nerdy-types and/or hipsters: there’s an arcade in the back stocked with classics (I will personally wreck your face on the MvC2 cab, that is an open invitation to everyone unless you’re actually tournament level in which case you’ll make me cry and run home), there’s all sorts of custom videogame art on the walls, they’ve got a decent selection of beer, and they make a DAMN good hamburger. Point being, this place is literally equipped to be the perfect place for this kind of show. The only “downside” to the venue is the fact that the standing/thrashing/moshing audience space is mildly limited – but I mean, if you’re doing any of those, you probably don’t care that you’re all up on people.
Chipocrite and Rekcahdam, photo credit Kira Wilhelm.
The pre-show energy was really high, which given the small space inside the bar, seemed magnified. There couldn’t have been more than fifty or sixty people, but it felt like two hundred. Most of the performers were out mingling with the crowd – Chipocrite was grabbing a beer, Rekcahdam was posing up on the wall and relaxing, Kitty was outside doing a photoshoot, but the ‘Guchi boys must have been hiding (or maybe they just blended in really well). The bar was swamped with people prepping for the show, and the arcade was hopping with people grinding other peoples’ faces to dirt in Mortal Kombat and Marvel vs Capcom 2.
The show got started when Chipocrite and Rekcahdam took the stage. Now, I’ve seen Paul perform on his own before (anyone remember 8-Bit Invasion 1?), and Rekcahdam was at PAX backing up Disasterpeace, but this performance was well beyond anything that I’ve seen them do before. As such, I think it was a great introduction to Chipocrite for newcomers – and I’m hoping that Rekcahdam becomes a permanent part of the act, because a live drumset adds so much to the music. Also, he played one of the tracks from his Big Lebowski cover album, which was an instant S+ Gold Rank performance, so I’m fairly sure if anyone in the audience was not yet won over, they had no choice but to abide and jam along with everyone else.
Kitty Pryde: Still unsure if she can phase through walls, but she can definitely rap and fight off the haters.
Then we have Kitty Pryde. Kitty wasn’t what most people were expecting as part of this gig, but that being said, I know a good handful of the audience were there specifically to see her. I’d certainly never heard of her – not that I’m the end-all be-all reference for modern music or anything, but her turnout left me rather surprised. Musically, I feel Kitty is the rap version of Lily Allen – her raps are mildly humorous, even when they’re about being spurned, and it was a good chillmode intercession between two high-energy acts. If you’re not familiar with her, here’s the one song that all my friends who knew her were waiting for.
And then the main event. Their set design was fantastic – if you saw the Jimmy Fallon performance, you should be familiar with the basic layout: Two projector-cubes, a bunch of lights, and a screen in the back. The visual effect was quite striking, having things being projected in so many places at once – if you had even a touch of ADD, it was almost a nightmare, but in such a good way, with so many different stimuli going all at once. I also feel that unlike some of their previous albums, their live performances sound a lot more like what you get on Endless Fantasy, which is awesome – I really enjoy when the live performance enhances that what you’ve heard on the album, instead of being entirely different. The only song that deviated wildly from the album was Meow, which they didn’t seem to have the cat keyboard for – but that didn’t matter after the entire audience sang along the missing meows in sync (it was simultaneously hilarious and scary, but more the former than the latter).
Anamanaguchi, photo credit Stephen Roberts
To explain the title of this article, though: at one point, right around when they were passing around their glowtube into the audience, I felt some water trickling down on me. I looked up, and it seemed as though water was materializing and dropping from right above the ceiling. And that’s when I realized – people were rocking out so hard that the humidity in the room had raised to such a level that there were literally rainclouds forming from sweat evaporating off of everyone. It was a surreal (and honestly, mildly gross) experience, but I guess the boys can say they rocked so hard they quite literally made it rain on the crowd.
It looks like there’s still one more stop on their tour, so if you haven’t seen them, and you’re going to be in New York now’s your chance!
And remember kids: Haters gonna hate, playas gonna play, and rhombus gonna rhomb.
Oh thank heaven, et cetera. Volume Two keeps its momentum going with none other than…
Track #7: 505 – Dataride
The best tracks always leave you wanting more. No stranger to crafting epic journeys, 505 exhibits the same songwriting qualities on Chiptunes = WIN Volume 2 that made his 2012 release Interlude an absolute gem. Taking just the right amount of time to introduce the key elements, 505’s track shines even brighter at the 1:02 mark, stuttering into a perfect stride as the kick drum drives everything home. At two minutes in, a great melody starts to overlay the foundation of this one while an amazing solo closes out the final sixteen seconds. Dataride could go on for twice as long without overstaying its welcome…but that’s what the repeat button is for.
Track #8: James Landino – Blue (Dj CUTMAN mix)
Boston chip artist James Landino, a.k.a. KgZ, serves up his own wicked brand of house alongside a very special guest. Stepping out from behind the curtain, Dj CUTMAN puts his own spin on an already-solid work. CUTMAN’s presence is notable here, adding a whole new dimension of sound and definitely bringing the bass. The minimalism present around the 1:42 mark is welcome and while this segment closed out the original version of the track, CUTMAN wisely uses it to build upon and reprise the opening melody. Which, really, is a testament to the quality of James Landino’s composition. Excellent collaboration.
Track #9: Twistboy – Springs
Relative newcomer (to chip, anyway) Twistboy supplies one of the few LSDJ tracks on Volume Two, but it’s here for a reason. A delightfully funky work with some amazing spacing, allowing it to breathe, Springs is aptly-titled. Perfectly suited for the dance floor, it’s somehow both soothing and energetic. If you dig this be sure to check out his On Vacation EP. This dude’s going places.
Vince Kaichan…There’s only one Vince Kaichan. While Iskloo Dandruff strikes me as a very Kirby-esque song, the swirling melodies add a unique touch. There’s not many composers that can pull off something this impressive so seemingly effortlessly. The subtle pitch bends and notes add a lot of flavor. If I’m at a loss for words, it’s only because this is one of my absolute favorite tracks. Vince Kaichan has a natural gift for composition and I’m always excited to hear what he produces. This is an essential listen.
Track #11: Zackery Wilson – Ain’t Got Time to Bleep
At a brisk 1:39, who am I to argue? This track tears out of the gates with furious purpose and MINDBLOWING technical prowess. With no disrespect intended, you could tell me Yuzo Koshiro himself wrote this and I would ACTUALLY believe you. Zackery Wilson has more raw passion, ideas and skill jam-packed into this amazing 99 seconds than many artists can muster for an entire album. Not exactly a surprise, though! As a trained (read: professional) composer, pianist and old-school Nintendo enthusiast, with numerous awards and accolades to his name, Zackery knows his craft VERY well. His influences are especially notable from the :40 mark on, as a Jun Ishikawa-like segment flows magnificently from this point. Simply put, Zackery Wilson has mastered brevity as an art form.
That’s it for our second round of artists! Stay tuned for next week’s coverage of Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 2! (OH AND MAYBE BRKFEST)