Greetings and salutations, all! The world of chiptune had a fairly hectic weekend, what with Superbyte happening in the UK, Freq.Fest.Norcal happening in…well, northern California, and MAGFest Classic happening in the beloved Mark Center Hilton in Alexandria, Virginia. While the chipfam was in high supply elsewhere, MAGClassic, being a much smaller event than the primary MAGFest event, had a much smaller attendance both of folks here from the blog (only myself, VP Swackhammer and our Art Czar Nate were in attendance) as well as space for actual performances by chiptune acts. That’s not a bad thing, of course – the VGM acts were face-melting, but this isn’t the VGM = WIN blog, so I figure you’re not here to hear about them.
Welcome back to the regular edition of ‘Office Hours,’ where school is in full swing and fall weather is finally just around the corner. A great deal of quality chip music has released over the past six weeks, and today I have the privilege of reviewing a brand spankin’ new release from For Astronauts and Satellites titled ‘Then, By the Light of Our Own Creation.’
Released on September 12th via chipmusic netlabel extraordinaire Cheapbeats, ‘Then, By the Light of Our Own Creation’ is an ambitious blend of traditional chip sounds combining seamlessly with guitars and live drums to create a lush, inviting sonic landscape. Formed in 2013, For Astronauts and Satellites [F.A.A.S. henceforth] are a post-rock trio from London whose members have been playing together in various incarnations since 2002. One of my favorite things about this album is the way that the Game Boy and Commodore 64 blend seamlessly with the live instrumental elements in all six tracks. Many musicians who blend chip sounds with live instruments attempt to give equal attention to each layer, but often end up with somewhat unbalanced textures, such as ‘guitar solo + Game Boy percussion’ or ‘chip sounds crazygonuts + one guitar chord.’ F.A.A.S. appear to have mastered (no pun intended) a true balance between these disparate elements, and I would love to hear how the group handles these challenges in a live setting! Rest assured that the next time my wife and I are in London, we’ll be looking these lads up and hoping for a show.
So I got sucked into this Pinterest thing a few months back in the wind-up to my upcoming nuptials. Overall it seemed to be a harmless place full of avocado dip, centerpiece ideas, and cute school-room bulletin boards. Just when I was setting into a comfortable pin-it-and-forget-it routine, I happened upon the following recipe which screamed “THIS WEBSITE YOU TRUSTED IS A BED OF SWEET, SWEET LIES”. I mean, there is absolutely no way that you can combine two simple store-bought items and come up with delicious, creamy fudge. Just none. So your intrepid Chiptune Mother set forth to expose this pin for the deceiver it is. I give you…
Imagine, if you will, a world where Cease and Desist orders don’t exist. Independent game developers make their own fan projects, and are able to share these homages to their favorite classic games without fear of the original company taking them down or threatening lawsuits. A place where talented fans work together to keep the fandoms alive when they’ve been abandoned by the original game creators. We call this place… The Twilight Zone, Act 1.
Was that a hidden level in the game? YOU’LL NEVER KNOW NOW!