Archive for February, 2014

Stoking the Forge: ‘Space Junk’ by BitBurner

Posted by

A fine February day to one and all of my fellow Chipthusiasts!  Clouds blot out the sky, and the rain is heavy, but with the Oregonian winter returning to normal, I can finally rouse myself from my torpor and stoke the forge yet again. This month, my attention is drawn to a free release from a musician with a love of arcade sounds, BitBurner!

I’ve had an ear on BitBurner’s work since discovering a few of his tracks during a random traipse through SoundCloud a few months back.  His arcade sample fueled stomping beats lit up the nostalgia center of my brain, whisking me back to a place of dim lights, odd smells and empty change pockets.

arcade_large_verge_medium_landscape

(more…)

Inside The Daякcнip Mind of SBSM

Posted by

[WARNING: Video & album cover in this article NSFW! (full frontal nudity)]

BACK AGAIN!! And this time I’ve a few goodies in store for everyone! This new trip of “Inside The Daякcнip Mind” brings us to a group from Spain called Super Busty Samurai Monkey. The first physical copy I got from them is this SD card below with their first three albums on it. I really liked that idea a lot because of all the time you can tell they put into drawing on this & think it’s a great way to showcase their work. I’ve been talking to one of the members (Victor Vs) for some time now & we formed Kitten Paw Recordings together so our “madness” ties together quiet well.

SBSM SD

Their newest album called ‘7‘ and is releasing on a nice fat vinyl – like we all love – on March 15th! If you haven’t seen any of their prior physical releases their last album, ‘6‘, was a clear square. The debut track for this album is called “Haai Hoer” which also appeared on ‘KP Compo Issue#1‘. It’s a blend of grimy/dark beats that are layered with drone leads & great vocals that fade in and out in mega good timing. ‘Haai Hoer’ caught my ear the moment they dropped it for the compo so I was very happy they were making it their debut track & also putting a video to it which is a new goodie that’s dropping today (link to video at the bottom).

This is the part where I’d normally say which tracks I like and so forth but I’d like to honestly leave the element of surprise of this album. I feel a lot of folks are going to have as hard as a time as I’m having deciding a favorite track. Having said that, I will talk about the whole over-tone/feel that I got from this album. The main word that won’t pop out of my head is SPOOKY! Got the crazy arp’s then out of nowhere it just hits mega hard with those grimy chip bass drops that we all love. Whenever I choose a album for this I test them by surround sound & by walking around with a pair of Skull Candies on. For this one I chose to walk around the random trail’s of Northwest Indiana at night, since it’s been so cold out I think it made that spooky vibe pop more! I strongly advise surround sound or earphones on this one! The main thing I can’t wait for is to hear that natural grain the vinyl will give it!

I got the chance to ask a few questions to SBSM & also like I said above, they are releasing their debut song’s video today for all of you! The album ‘7‘ comes out March 15th & you can pre-order the album starting today! 
_________________________________________________________________________

Frank So when did SBSM form & also was there any beginning projects you both have done that people may know of or is still currently active?

SBSM – [2] Our first song was called “song written without headphones, screens and stuff”. One day, 1#  told me “record some random phrase and send it to me”. Afterly, he mounted it over a Gameboy basetrack without hearing what he was doing. When we heard it, we couldn’t stop it. Maybe we did more stuff in the past, but I’d have to kill you if I told you.

Frank What would have to be some musicians that are a major influence or what random things inspire you guys while writing?

SBSM – [2] I’m inspired by women who can scream, mostly, from Kat Bjelland to Poly Styrene, but the stuff that I’m influenced the most is andalusian flamenco and cante jondo.

[1]- I steal most of the riffs I write. I surely don’t give a shit about which genre it comes from as long as I like it. I don’t even care about music that much. I’m on a blackmetal+techno era nowadays, but I kind of like Stockhausen as well, and the early works of Manuel de Falla. I’m also pretty much into anyone stealing samples from 8bit artists and making stuff with it.

Frank Looking at your guy’s past physical releases they have been quite unique (definitely the clear square 6’). Will this next upcoming release also be strictly vinyl (if physical)?

SBSM – [1] Yeah, we be releasing 7, a 7” with six songs on it next 15th March. Its a co-release between Datathrash from ‘Murica, V Waeve fron Madrid and The Bloody Dirty Sanchez from Andalusia. We hired a guy and a model for the video teaser and artwork, which I think turned out pretty sick.

[2]- For us, there’s no reason in publishing a record if it has no value as an object, if it doesnt communicate a thing, because, what we do aint only music and you can’t fully grasp it with another plastic cd. Our next work is a threat in the shape of a red 7”, people either loves us or hates us deeply, and this is our logical response.

Frank My final question is what do you prefer to use while live gigs & also do you guys have any upcoming events happening?

SBSM – [1] Oh, we’re playing on the records release. And planning to do a small tour on summer, wich Is something we can’t talk about yet.

We’re just Gameboy+vocals live. #2 sings thru a KaossPad3 and I shoot the music on a Timbob Gameboy. Sometimes I use a monotron delay for fun and kicks, but thats it. Most of the time I cant even pay attention to the Gameboy, let alone use more gear. I’m more focused on jumping and shit.

[2]- I just scream and I worry about being in focus well on stage. A good lightbulb and being told when the mic test is over is everything I need.
_________________________________________________________________________

Super Busty Samurai Monkey:
Bandcamp | Facebook | SoundCloud

(WARNING: Video & album cover NSFW! [full frontal nudity])

Debut of music video for ‘Haai Hoer’

[Note: Currently pre-order. Full album/embed will unlock once album goes live on 3/15]

Darkchip Tattoo

CW-logo-redux-larger

8-Bit Banter with DjjD – ‘Motorway’ by Fearofdark

Posted by

Yo, sup all. DjjD here.

a4060552750_10 (1)

Yes, this album did come out in 2012.

It always astounds me how much one can do with older software. Originally called ModPlug Tracker in 1997, it allowed users to listen to several music modules from file extensions such as .it, .s3m, and .mod. For its time, it was one of the most unique and well optimized audio trackers released. In 2004, the source code for the ModPlug was released and maintained under an open license; eventually, paved the way for OpenMPT: a newly designed, Windows interfaced tracker with VST plugin compatibility and ASIO support.

Amazing.

From the first track, you imagine a vivid sunrise from the deck of your futuristic Corvette. Top down, you stare at the glare in the rear view mirror and look forward to see the city approaching, hundreds of miles ahead. The road is long, but your mind is clear. The city moves closer. What this composer does, he does incredibly well. and every song gives you a calm uncertainty. Just know that every melody is filled with a unique complexity that will challenge the headphones of even the most high-tech audiophile listener. It has that power.

You might say that the album qualifies as dated but, I say it’s a just a damn good album. Before this review was even written, Hoodie and I discussed if it was too late to talk about; it ultimately came down to: it’s never been reviewed here at ChipWIN HQ. As confident as I am to say you’ve probably all heard it, this album is worth discussing again and again. Fortunately, we were able to contact the man himself and ask a few questions!

…a.k.a. Steve.

——————————————————————————————————————–

DjjD: I think I first heard your tune, “Pancake Department” back in 2012, but how long have you been composing and producing for?

FoD: I guess there’s technically more than one answer to this question. I started sharing and releasing my own compositions in public as “Fearofdark” in 2009; nearly 5 years ago! However, I’ve actually been making music on trackers since 2004 or so, tho I never shared them over the internet. In addition, I’ve been studying the piano on and off for longer than I remember.

DjjD: I’m really quite impressed how much you get out of trackers, what do you normally use?

FoD: My first and most common tool of choice is OpenMPT, in addition to several sample packs and things I can find. I’ve also been using Famitracker a lot since 2010. Other than Those, I use things like Beepola for making 1-bit Beeper tunes, and occasionally dabble in other things like Raster Tracker.

DjjD: About the album, I remember hearing a couple of tunes before ‘Motorway’ was released, such as “Surfing on a Sine Wave” or “Rolling Down The Street, In My Katamari”, were they always meant to be part of the release?

FoD: Yeah, pretty much. I made “Surfing on a Sine Wave” initially as a stand-alone track, but then once I started planning the album I decided to include it. “Rolling down the Street” was going to be an opening track but once I got really stuck into the album, the track order went through several changes, things got cut and so on.

DjjD: ‘Motorway’. These tunes certainly are the driving type but did you have any sort of theme in mind when writing these?

FoD: Not particularly. To me, as a whole, “Motorway” will always remind me of the idea of leaving home and traveling. Some songs were written with that idea in mind; “Fast City” was inspired by a trip to New York, for instance, and the final track itself. Others really weren’t, like “An Age of Planetary Pride.”

DjjD: Sort of an odd one but I’ve always wondered, why the name fearofdark?

FoD: It’s a username I came up with when I was really young. Since then, I’ve kinda stuck with it. It has nothing to do with Iron Maiden, as some people might be disappointed to know.

DjjD: To switch things up, I was kinda curious about the S3XMODIT Mania Entries. How did those all come to be?

FoD: S3XMODIT Mania was a weekly knock-out competition held by the Battle of the Bits community, which I took part in. Samples were provided by the members of Botb and each week we’d be given a random (and often ridiculous) sample pack, and then we’d be given about 4 days to submit an it/xm/mod/s3m. It was a pretty fun thing to take part in.

DjjD: Simple one: What are your influences?

FoD: Aha, a lot of things.. too many things probably. I suppose in chipmusic terms, I’ve been heavily influenced by the likes of Kulor, Blitz Lunar, virt, a lot of the regular Famicompo Mini entrants, a lot of the people from Botb and who were on 8bc before its demise (in other words, too many to name). As far as non-chipmusic is concerned, I like listening to and studying a fair amount of classical music – my favourites are J.S Bach, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky and Beethoven. I also used to listen to a lot of Funk and Prog-Rock (Tower of Power, Frank Zappa, King Crimson, ELP, Funkadelic and so on), but I’ve started looking at electronic music a lot more as well (again, far too many to name). I also get sidetracked by pop music from time to time too.

DjjD: Do you have anything planned for the future of fearofdark? Exciting new projects?

FoD: Hmm, maybe ;) I’m working on a couple of solo projects, which are slowly getting there and might not see their release until late 2014. I’m also working on a couple of things for compilations too. That’s really all I can say.

DjjD: If you had one bit of advice to give to future composers/producers aspiring to use trackers, what would it be?

FoD: Keep practicing, don’t be afraid to take part in competitions and community projects and most importantly, throw love, flair and passion into whatever you make.

DjjD: If you were a genie and a person asked you this wish, “I wish you would not grant me this wish” what would you do?

FoD: Divide by zero… or give them a cat; who doesn’t love cats?

avatars-000009897423-qqbxro-t500x500

——————————————————————————————————————–

Steve manages to keep my attention throughout this whole album with little effort, but there’s more than meets the ear. You can listen to this album casually no problem, but listen a little closer and it will seem as if the song is yielding more notes than before. Layers upon layers, verses upon choruses ensures that this album never gets boring. Two weeks ago, I was on a trip that took me from here in Arizona, to Alaska (by flight), to Indiana (by car) and FoD was a most popular choice among the 3 MP3 players my friend, Jesse and I had.

This is an amazing album. By far, my favorite track was: ‘Funknitium-99’.

First off, I’m all about the journey tracks. If it’s longer than six minutes and sets you on an adventure, that to me equals perfect. I can’t speak highly enough of this one, guys. It’s super good ‘n funky.

Sure this album is a couple of years old, but why not give it some more attention. I love you, Ubiktune. Yes, that’s a personal statement of love. I come to you, looking for music and you kindly in return deliver things of the highest quality I couldn’t have possibly imagined.

Fearofdark is one hell of an artist, and if you’ve already heard ‘Motorway’, check out his latest creations on Bandcamp which include his S3XMODIT Mania Entries hosted by Battle of the Bits. A little different than ‘Motorway’ but equally as awesome. So diverse. I can only stand by and watch this guy perfect his craft. Highly recommended. All of it.

Stay classy,
DjjD

Fearofdark:
HomeFacebook | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Twitter | YouTube

Ubiktune:
Home | Facebook | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Twitter | YouTube

CW-logo-redux-larger

The President’s Manifesto: Beer & Chip Vol.6

Posted by

It’s time to get classy tonight on The ChipWIN Blog! And by that I mean, of course, I’m going to do my first “manifesto” with a focus on booze & chip from Great Britain. Aren’t you thankful you can’t hear the extraordinarily terrible British accent that I’m absolutely affecting on this entire article as I write it? Because I totally am. In my head. Jolly good show & all that rot. Sounds just like the beer fox actually (don’t worry; you’ll meet him soon).

At any rate, Beer & Chip Vol.6 is going to be all about…

Morland “Old Speckled Hen” Ale & Mark ‘TDK’ Knight

I initially picked up a sixer of Old Speckled Hen on my brother’s suggestion. While we don’t always see eye to eye on beer choices, this one was a pretty good call!

Old Speckled Hen is a smooth, easy drinking, refreshing ale with some tasty malty flavors. Just the slightest bit of sweetness, but not enough to “ruin” it in my mind. With that rich amber color, it’s a beautiful looking beer as well, especially poured into a tall pint glass and left sitting in the window for the sun to shine through (which is a terrible damn idea; your beer will get warm way too gorram fast!).

classy classy hoodie

Classy, classy Hoodie.

This could easily become a go-to beer for me, particularly in the warmer months; except as an import it’s a bit too pricey to be a regular grab (around $12 for a sixer in my neck of the woods). I expect I’ll still buy it on occasion, and would definitely be willing to try its counterparts (“Old Golden Hen” & “Old Crafty Hen“) were I to run across them.

But nevermind what I think about this tasty ale! Why should I waste words talking about it when you can listen to a fox puppet tell you all about it?? (brilliant advertising campaign).

Truth be told, while I like this English beer pretty well I mostly purchased it to assist in making a smooth segue to my UK chipartist, the demoscene legend Mark ‘TDK’ Knight
(nevermind the fact that his chosen alcoholic beverage isn’t beer of any kind…).

If you’re unfamiliar with that name (or have only seen it popping up around the intertoobs within the last year-ish), don’t feel bad. TDK has only recently returned (2012) to making chipmusic after a considerably lengthy hiatus (approximately 19 years!!!). And while I could delve into his considerable back story of early chipmusic creation (he began in 1984), in depth demoscene involvement (google Anthrox and Melon Dezign) & subsequent video game music composition (skim his Bandcamp bio for that impressive list), I’d rather focus on his current efforts! In particular, his aptly titled full length album ‘Reawakening’.

This excellent 11 track chip album is a combination of brand new jams & revisited tracks from his past, all created using a mix of his well established Commodore chip savvy and modern music production skills appropriated in more recent years. As a whole ‘Reawakening’ screams of compositional experience and refined talent; covering a gamut of musical styles, every single track is an engaging and addictive listen. Were I forced to choose a favorite from the release, I’d likely go with ‘Erethism’; there’s something about the crazy, happy energy of that jam that gets me grinning like an idiot every time!

In addition to this powerful comeback album, TDK also managed to lock-in Henry Homesweet to do a killer remix of his track ‘Nicotine Pang’, which is released separately via Bleepstreet Records here:

To complement his return to chipmusic, TDK has begun performing it live as well, incorporating his talented & frenetic fiddle playing. This unique addition enhances what is already a quality live set. In a short time, TDK has performed at a solid handful of European events over the past year, up to and including SuperByte 2013, with a spot at NINTENDOOM 3.0 coming up the last weekend of February.

mark tdk knight Superbyte 2013 performance

TDK chip-fiddling up a storm at SuperByte 2013.

To top it off, Mark’s a genuinely delightful character (sorry to out you, bro! <3 ). The 8 Bit Power Hour release party we held for ‘Reawakening’ is still one of the most enjoyable shows we’ve had to date (as well as one of the snarkiest; damn Brits!! ;). And working with him on both ‘chipWINter’ & ‘Volume 2‘ was an absolute honor & a joy. Check out the most excellent end result of both of those contributions below:

I say, I suppose that wraps up this unusually British edition of my beer & chip review! Here’s hoping you get a chance to sample the tasty brew, preferably while listening to TDK’s excellent jams. If you need more British-ness for the night, just go watch a Doctor Who marathon or something, I dunno. Cheers!!

Much \m||m/,
President Hoodie

Mark ‘TDK’ Knight
flitkillsmoths.co.uk | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | YouTube

Morland “Old Speckled Hen” Ale | Ratebeer.com Entry

CW-logo-redux-larger

Chip Mom’s Kitchen #9: Chicken and Dumplins feat. Chip Nani

Posted by

For this episode of Chip Mom’s Kitchen we have a special guest! My very own mommy, known as Mary or “Chip Nani”.

IMG_4783

I keep telling people that’s she’s even cuter/more awesome than me.  Well, there’s your proof! In honor of her visit, we decided to make a Hoodie family favorite:

Chicken and Dumplins

Difficulty level:
Newb          |         Apprentice         |         Journeyman         |         Master

While also on the savory side of life, this version of chicken and dumplings, unlike Taco Soup, requires quite a bit of prep, quite of bit of attention, rue, and scratch made dumplings. This is not for first timers or the faint of heart!

Quest Items:

Chicken Thighs
Olive Oil
The ‘Holy Trinity’ of vegetables (carrots, celery, and onion)
32 oz. of Chicken Stock
White all purpose flour
Cornmeal
Milk
Poultry Seasoning
Curry Powder
Cayanne Pepper
Salt/Black Pepper
Medium Stock pot
Spatula
Tongs

Musical Accompaniment:

Illustrated Guide:

Oh man, you can just look at this pile and know its going to be a good one.

IMG_4781

To start off, get your pot on the stove over medium high heat. In the pot, pour two tablespoons of olive oil. Don’t push your heat over medium high, as olive oil actually burns at lower temperatures than a lot of other cooking oils.

IMG_4785While the oil is heating, sprinkle both sides of your chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and some poultry seasoning.

 

 

 

 

 

Place your chicken skin-side down in the hot oil.  Flip after about 5 minutes to crisp up both sides.  This gets the rich, fatty juices out of the skin, adding wonderful flavor for later.

IMG_4788

IMG_4787As the chicken is browning, get to dicing up your carrots, onions, and celery.  I used about half a bag of carrots, four stalks of celery, and a large onion.

 

 

 

 

 

Once the chicken is golden brown on both sides – not all the way cooked, just crispy looking – use tongs to pull them out of the pot.  Into that same pot, place all of your good veggies into the oil and fat to saute.

IMG_4789

Make sure to keep a close eye on the veggies. Don’t let them burn. You must continue stirring. Be vigilant. Do not allow yourself to become distracted.

IMG_4791Once the veggies are softened and the onions are starting to turn translucent, its time for the rue. A rue, as the linked video in the light blue description tells, is a thickening agent made of equal parts flower and fat. We have a bit over two tablespoons of fat in our pan from the chicken and olive oil, so you need to add two healthy tablespoons of white flower to the pan.  Turn your heat down to low and do so gradually. Plopping it in all at once will cause lumps.

IMG_4792

After all the flour has been smoothly incorporated into the fat, a smooth off-white paste should be in your pan with your veggies. Stir the rue until it starts to brown and smell nutty, this adds extra flavor. Once toasty brown, add your stock: slowly at first, and then gradually increasing the amount. Again, this prevents lumps!

 

IMG_4793

This is when the reserved chicken thighs go back in the pan to finish cooking and make sure all the delicious chicken-y goodness is in that broth! Bring the heat back to medium and let this simmer for about 20 minutes.  Have a glass of wine, a beer, or your favorite soda as the house fills with tantalizing aromas!

 

The finished chicken is taken out of the pot, shredded, and put back into the pot. This is also the best time to customize your seasoning.  I personally added a pinch of curry powder and cayenne pepper for a kick. I would also suggest a dash of your favorite hot sauce.  Don’t forget to salt and pepper to taste!

IMG_4794

And now for – arguably – the most important part of the meal: dumplins.  I have seen dumplings made in a drop cookie style, where the dough is balled and thrown in to puff into massive tribble-like objects.  I have seen long, noodle like strands.  I was convinced by President Hoodie’s family to try it the “old fashioned southern way”.

IMG_4795

This involved mixing 1/2 cup all purpose flour with 1 tablespoon of cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning.  After mixing the dry ingredients with a fork, mix in 1/3 cup skim milk.  If the dough is too sticky, gradually had a bit of flour until the dough is easy to handle.

 

IMG_4796Sprinkle the counter with flour and roll the dough out until it is about an eighth of an inch thick.  Don’t worry about that being too skinny, they will puff and stiffen in the pot!

 

 

 

 

 

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into bit-size rectangles. Toss these delicious noms into the pot.
IMG_4797IMG_4799Cover the pot with a towel and place the lid on top. This captures more of the steam so less moisture is lost from the pot (At least that was our theory. We did it because the directions told us to!)

 

 

 

 

 

After about 10 minutes of steaming, stir the chicken and dumplins.  Pick out a dumplin and test to make sure they are cooked through.  I like mine al dente, where you might like yours softer.

IMG_4801

This recipe made enough to serve three people.  If you’re cooking for yourself there will probably be leftovers. If not, feel free to double up on this Hoodie Approved recipe!

IMG_4805

Enjoy!  And always remember, Mama luvs ya!

CW-logo-redux-larger

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link

 

 

Chip Treatment with Professor Oakes: Rockage 3.0 Recap

Posted by

Someone once told me, “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”  It’s funny, really — I grew up in the middle of the Coachella Valley where all we had were snow birds during winter, Coachella Music and Arts Festival, and sand. Sand everywhere. In high school, I never dreamt of the life I’m currently living; no foreshadows, no inklings — and certainly no fun times to be had. I certainly didn’t foresee myself falling absolutely in love with a culture and scene so tight knit like the one I’m currently a part of — a culture in which every time I leave an event, I always feel so amorous, like I’m experiencing everything for the first time. Rockage 3.0 gave me this epiphany.

Looking back, Rockage 3.0 was just the adventure I needed. While MAGFest and Frequency 3.0 were events strategically placed in a particular point of my life when I needed them most, Rockage was a complete soul cleanse. In a matter of 39 days, I lost my two best friends (‘Pollock’, my Havana rabbit, and ‘Carma’, my childhood Dalmatian), which left me feeling like an absolute wreck.  I lost both of my pets before major travel events — very coincidentally being MAG and Rockage. While I am still grieving, I believe Rockage was a whatever-deity-you-believe-in-or-don’t-believe-in-send, and I am grateful for being around so many supportive and loving friends to help get me through it, because damn did my losses hit me like a metric ton of bricks.

But anyways, enough about all the melancholy! No one likes a mopy Prof. Oakes, amirite? DON’T WORRY Y’ALL, I STILL GOT MY SPUNK.

The plans for Rockage weekend were simple: Attend Rockage. That’s it. No expectations — just be open to the idea of the weekend taking me wherever it wanted me to go. Very similar to my MAG article, the only solidified plans I had for Rockage was how the hell I was getting there, the floor I was sleeping on, and the crew to roll with (I certainly made new friends, too!)

1780014_722050214496187_205249816_o

Some of the crew I rolled with.

I could never possibly conceive concrete ideas and plans for this weekend as it was certainly the first time I was in San Jose; I felt like a fish out of water.

The drive? 324 miles. 5 long, excruciating hours through a barren, cow-filled wasteland with some sporadic rain to keep it fun.

 

The tunes to keep my passengers and I entertained?

Seriously, I must have listened to this album on repeat like a gazillion times. Such chip. Such mastery. Wow.

We finally arrived at SJSU with backs stiff, tummies growling, but wide-eyed (well, at least 2/3 of us in good ol’ Starscream.) We devoured a very mediocre meal at Carl’s Jr. (diet? what diet?!) then booked it over to SJSU to help set up the Clipstream broadcast. As expected, the Rockage staff was friendly, approachable, and very accommodating, and it was nice to see familiar faces (Eric Finali, Rockage 3.0 event organizer, and Dom Cerquetti, Executive Director of MAGFest) there! Without a hitch, the streams were up and running, and the show started. While it’s certainly difficult to choose my favorite performances (SERIOUSLY WHO CAN DO THAT?!), below are my top 9 picks from Rockage (in no particular order because THAT’S HARD) split up into the three primary categories of artists that performed: chipmusic, VGM, & indie.

1. Danimal Cannon

-2

This totally happened.

With his ‘Total Destruction Tour‘ accompanied by Mega Ran and Brentalfloss right around the corner , Dan ‘Danimal Cannon’ Behrens made his way to Rockage 3.0 this year to melt the faces of those in the crowd completely off. Opening with ‘Logic Gatekeeper’, Behrens’s stage presence goes far from unnoticed—energy pumping, white Carvin lefty guitar in hand while donning a Mr. Tame triforce custom t-shirt. Despite technical difficulties, Behrens’s untouchable guitar skills melded with dreamy progchip melodies drove the crowd wild—Prof. Oakes included. Performing his title track from ‘Roots’, his super secret track with Jake ‘virt‘ Kaufman from an upcoming game, and among countless other awesome tunes including ‘Danimal Across America/Beat It’, Behrens’s shoulder-riding-guitar-playing-shenanigans was by far a highlight to my weekend. To top it off, Behrens presented a chip music panel (with powerpoint transitions, because why not!) highlighting what chip music is, creations from the demoscene (a computer art subculture that produces A/V presentations that run real-time on hardware), and demonstrated NOTE‘s newest release, ‘Color Mechanica‘, live on the Sega CD.

2. Space Boyfriend

Sending their fans on an intergalactic adventure into the depths of space, Jami ‘Space Boyfriend’ Carignan’s low-fi, idol punk, synthpop tunes had me jiving during their ‘Watermelon Party’. To accompany me during their performance? Watermelon flavored Four Loko. Collaborating with knife city in the past on the Heads Up! Hot Dogs soundtrack, and just recently performing at 8bitLA’s Frequency 3.0, Jami brought their notable electronic sound to San Jose during their Rockage appearance, and many familiar faces as well! Performing tracks such as ‘Give Me Your Whole Heart’, Carignan’s interactive performance and interaction with the crowd left us wanting more.

Couldn’t make it to the show? Don’t fret! Check out ‘Bug Spray (Never Give Up)’, Carignan’s newest album, being released on 2/25/14 by Zoom Lens.

3. Together We Are Robots

Formerly known as ‘Xombie’, Mike Ackman, frontman and only headman of ‘Together We Are Robots’, blended his experimental, acoustic sound in his Rockage performance accompanied by his Gameboy soundchip. Gaining inspiration from his spooky apartment in San Francisco, Ackman is no stranger to pulling in his fans with his haunting melodies through inspiration from The Postal Service, LCD Soundsystem, and Uncle Outrage. While no carbeers ensued, Ackman’s Rockage performance was just as strong as his Frequency performance, proving that a performer can still rock their crowd even if they’re performing after Slime Girls… or performing in a small, quaint lounge space. Don’t believe me? See above crew picture! If you’re in the San Francisco area February 20th, be sure to head over to the DNA Lounge and catch Together We Are Robots perform alongside Doctor Popular and Cartoon Violence.
——————————————————————————————————————–

1. Bit Brigade

By way of Georgia, Bit Brigade (composed of Bryant Williamson, Jace Bartet, Luke Fields, Mike Albanese, and Noah McCarthy) made their way to Rockage to speed run *not just* Legend of Zelda, but Mega Man 2 as well! No strangers to the VGM scene, Bit Brigade rocked the MAGFest 12 crowd this past January, and left me in absolute awe. If there’s one thing their performances have taught me, it’s certainly that I wasted a whole bunch of my childhood playing LoZ and MM2 as McCarthy can speedrun them in around 45 minutes. With meticulous attention to detail, Bit Brigade performed EVERY cue, cut scene, and boss battle melody in PERFECT synchronization with McCarthy both nights, truly showing up my skills as a gamer in that extra lives were totally not needed! The (tri)force was strong with these ones..

2. Super Soul Bros.

Performing a hard-hitting FOUR times, including a special request show Sunday afternoon, Super Soul Bros. (composed of Robbie Benson on keyboards, Brian Sheu on guitar, Lionel Briones on sax, Luke Borello on bass, Chris Haman on percussion, and Alfredo Vega on drums), Super Soul Bros. blends OUTSTANDING jazz, funk, and soul melodies and accompanies it with recognizable game and TV show tunes, including Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, and Pokémon. With special cameos by Danimal Cannon, Mega Ran, and Dom Cerquetti (GET TO WORK, DOM) over Rockage weekend, Super Soul Bros. is surely a powerhouse of musicians that takes video game music to a whole other level, and left me jiving in my seat days after!

Here’s a rad video of Danimal Cannon playing with Super Soul Bros.!

——————————————————————————————————————–

1. Boboso

Jumping on stage after playing a game of JS Joust in a yellow coat Star Trek uniform, Boboso combines fresh, flowing hip hop beats and catchy nerdcore anthems very similar to that of MC Frontalot, Schaffer the Darklord, and MC Lars while throwing in vintage, tongue in cheek infommercials in his performances. Born in Mexico City, and having lived in Japan, Boboso’s rhymes resonate with me on a very personal level in that his lyrics are the retelling of his awkward, relationship experiences intermixed with a soulful presence of food, popular culture, and butts. With my favorite track being ‘Chillin Like Krillin’, Boboso’s tracks have a chiptune, low-fi surf-like undertone very similar to that of Slime Girls which I ADORE.

2. Curious Quail

Starting as a solo project by singer/songwriter Mike Shirley-Donnelly in 2008, Curious Quail is a five-piece alternative/indie/orchestral rock band from San Jose oozing at the seams with an electropop/chiptune undertone. Nearing their 5-year anniversary, Curious Quail is currently working on ‘After the Lights Failed’, a sucessful Kickstarter project which raised over $10,000 in which they’re recording at the Dirt Room with Jon Devoto and Brad Dollar, names the indie rock scene are knowledgeable of through The Matches, Bird by Bird, Mr. Kind, The National, The Stone Foxes, and Finish Ticket. As a treat, the very devoted Curious Quail Kickstarter funders received a very special and exclusive chiptune remix album by none other than Petriform, who recently released ‘Veneer‘ on February 1st and also performed at Rockage 3.0.

3. Jean Baudin

Holy. Hell. I’m still in absolute shock. Finding a place for Jean Baudin in this post was absolutely necessary. Making use of his 11-string bass, single takes, and no overdubs, Baudin performed many video game covers alongside his own personal work at this year’s Rockage. Hailing from Redwood City, Baudin’s boundary breaking instrumentation and ambient sound was enough to stop me in my tracks—it was enough to sit me in my tracks. Known for his unique, dark, melodic compositions and versatile techniques, Baudin was primarily self-taught and later received lessons from Megadeth’s guitarist Marty Friedman and Jason Becker of the David Lee Roth Band. Coolest thing ever? I got to touch his bass. a2788502482_10

4. Picture Atlantic

Forming in early 2006 in Santa Clara, CA, Picture Atlantic was founded by John Tran and Ryan Blair, which according to some good ol’ handy dandy Google search, are ex-members of a San Jose metalcore band ‘Dance Floor Murder’, and Patrick Chu of ‘October Sky’. Sharply dressed, the Picture Atlantic’s aesthetic is known in the Bay Area as being inspired by ‘mod’ fashion including polo shirts, Chelsea boots, Weller haircuts, and an overall ‘ivy league’ style of dress. Releasing two albums, a single, four EPs, the Picture Atlantic has a tentative release date of 2014 for their newest album, whose title is unannounced. Their sound, however, is unforgettable—the Picture Atlantic is an indie alternative band with a very warm, welcoming, and a very honest approach to the art of songwriting.
——————————————————————————————————————–

While I was happy to pick my top 9, they certainly weren’t the only artists worthy of seeing perform! Be sure to check out Rockage SJ on FacebookTumblr and Twitter to see the complete list! Couldn’t make it this year? Don’t fret! There’s always next year. Hope to see you then!

That’s all folks! Professor Oakes signing off!

Rockage
FacebookTumblr | Twitter

Bit Brigade
Bandcamp | Bit Brigade.com | Facebook 

Boboso
Bandcamp | Facebook | Website

Curious Quail
Curious Quail.com | Facebook | Twitter

Danimal Cannon
Bandcamp | Danimal Cannon.com | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

Jean Baudin
Bandcamp | Facebook | Jean Baudin.com | Twitter | Youtube

Picture Atlantic
Bandcamp | Facebook | Picture Atlantic.com | Tumblr | Twitter

Space Boyfriend
Bandcamp | Facebook | Space Boyfriend.com | Twitter

Super Soul Bros.
Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

Together We Are Robots
Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

 CW-logo-redux-larger