Hey Wassup, ChipWINners, and welcome back to Quick Shots! This time around, in the spirit of the holiday weekend coming up, I’ve decided to do a track by track review of a compilation album that’s like auditory fireworks to go with the magic you’ll see in the night sky this Saturday! Showcasing some of the best the scene has to offer (including several artists that are new to me), this collection is something that’s bound to inspire, make you smile, and bring you closer to your loved ones. So turn up the volume, fire up the grill, and pop open a Bud Light, cause it’s time to fap–I mean, it’s time to review the latest Pterodactyl Squad Compo: Baby Pterodactyl! WOOOOO!!!
My my my, ChipWINers! I see that your eyes & ears are due for their second dose of Chip Treatment the Professor Oakes way! Here, read up!
While I’m sure you’ve all been recuperating from either 8Static Fest or Nerdapalooza, dreaming about MAGFest, or been stuck at work for incredibly long hours with no end in sight, I’m sure you’ve all been auditorily stimulated for weeks to come, am I right? While I’ve felt at the center of a mighty whirlwind of recent chiptune releases these past couple of weeks, I stumbled upon a very Godly late October release by Tampa-based producer Adrian “Zantilla” Shegstad entitled ‘Encounters’ that I’ve been dying to write about!
J. Allen Hynek—United States astronomer, professor, and ufologist who developed the ‘Close Encounter‘ classification system—provides inspiration for ‘Encounters’, a 7-track high-quality album released by Ubiktune on October 25, 2013. Coupled with album artwork by Rufus Blacklock—aerodynamic animator, illustrator and space music follower—Zantilla takes his listeners on a journey through space and time through melodic synths, epic programming, masterful mixing and drum sequences. While ‘Encounters’ screams Ubiktune release, Zantilla’s quality progressive chiptune sound is sure to be a fan favorite for months to come.
Receiving wide support from Dan Behrens (Danimal Cannon), a listening party on Noise Channel (Arecibo Radio), and a review from the crew over at Destructoid, ‘Encounters’ opens with ‘1st Kind’ as Zantilla creates an out-of-body experience within the first minute of album introduction. As he invites his listeners to experience this auditory narrative of communication between humans and extraterrestrial beings, Zantilla uses a wide array of FM sounds and 2A03 additions throughout ‘Encounters’. Through his inspiration from Dream Theater and Jake ‘virt’ Kaufman, Zantilla makes use of exquisite metal recording techniques through live drum sounds, velocity layers and kicks and snares stacked together which gives ‘Encounters’ a very rich sonic vibe. While Zantilla mentions that he makes his own drum samples out of “layering shitty drum sounds together,” I call it absolute chip heaven.
While I could talk about my love for this album for HOURS, two songs in particular really catch my attention…Zantilla, well done. While each of the tracks have their own distinctive sound, ‘2nd Kind’ and ‘3rd Kind’ are all Professor Oakes A+++++ 10/10 certified chip. ‘2nd Kind’ is very reminiscent of a dream sequence. I remember listening to this, very appropriately, right before drifting off to sleep one night.With a hypnotizing key pattern, ‘2nd Kind’ has a very haunting melody that is far from anything I’ve ever heard before. With a drum pattern that kicks up around the 30 second mark, each second of this track is anything but what one can anticipate, as Zantilla blends his Sci-Fi aesthetic into synthesized riffs toward the middle of this track. ‘3rd Kind’, on the other hand, is completely opposite—an ‘evil twin’ to that of its preceding track—heavy, metal, and completely beastly with no time to breathe by the 8 second mark. While I can’t help but head bang, ‘3rd Kind’ is a wonderful whirlwind of chord progression and catchy drum kicks that takes you on a wild UFO ride to the very end as it literally feels as though it dissipates into space.
While the album sure rings sweet bells in my ears, it is also an insane steal and easy on the wallet! While the quality of production throughout is expected in that of a full-price album, ‘Encounters’ can be downloaded on Zantilla’s Bandcamp for a minimum $2 (though I surely recommend contributing more!) You won’t regret it.
That’s all ChipWINers! Until next time on Chip Treatment — Professor Oakes signing off!
Take one small but awesomely dedicated group of folk, a thriving local chipscene, 5 years of monthly chipmusic shows, a successful Kickstarter campaign, and a CRAPTON OF WORK and what do you get?
In a word (two actually…),THIS:
Boasting a SPECTACULAR line-up of 30+ talented chipartists & visualists from various locales, this three day chipmusic festival hosted in the city of brotherly love is going to be ZOMBOFURKIN AMAZEBALLS!!!
Don’t believe me? Then check out the lineup for yourself below!!!
To share a bit of insight on the fest & 8static in general, here’s a few words directly from Emily Feder, the festival curator:
“8static has been something I’ve held close to my heart for the last few years. All the people involved feel the same way; we devote a good chunk of ourselves to make these events special every month. The past year has been amazing and has shown tremendous growth, but it was time to take a stand and plan something larger scale. Our fifth anniversary seemed like the perfect time to break new ground. Philadelphia is an amazing city & October is a beautiful time of year; I hope that people will come and visit for this show and fall in love with the city and scene here the same way that I did.”
Regarding the fantastic line-up, “I wanted it to remove any skepticism about the event. The amazing thing is that, of pretty much all the people invited to perform, no one really knew who else was playing. They just wanted to be a part of this because they trusted us to come through with a spectacular event. The reaction everyone had when they saw the full lineup was inspiring. This lineup is a once in a lifetime experience for a chip music fan.”
Or her tl;dr version here: “Last year we had 30 people perform in one night! Imagine what we can do with 3 days?” Indeed, Emily. Indeed.
Along with some other notable folks (MAGFest, kitsch-bent, & Grassroots Game Conference to be specific), ChipWIN is also very proud to be sponsoring this festival directly. Outside of BRKFest, it’s only the second time we’ve had the chance to directly contribute to a live show, and to be honest it #FEELSGOODMAN!
At any rate, if you’re any sort of chiptune fan & anywhere even near this incredible event when it starts TOMORROW NIGHT (!!!), I’ve only one thing left to say to you:
GET YOUR ASS TO 8STATIC FEST!!!!!!!
P.S. For those who can’t make it to Philly for this but still want to watch live, YOU CAN. Thanks to the dream team of 8bitx, Clipstream, & Arecibo Radio there WILL be a live stream. When the time is right, find it via the magical link HERE.
P.P.S. While you’re there be sure to catch a couple of our bloggers, Kuma & Adam Seats, hanging around the ChipWIN section of the merch booth or in & around 8static Fest in general. Find ’em & say hi/snag some goodies/grab a beer/dance the night away in good company! ^_^
Howdy, ChipWINers! Professor Oakes here to administer the initial dose of Chip Treatment for your eyes and ears! It is a great pleasure to write my first edition on ‘Noisechan & Nugget: Adventures in Chiptunes’ album, which debuted on Bandcamp April 12th, 2013.
Released by Ubiktune, ‘Adventures in Chiptunes’ was a yearlong labor of love that Kris ‘TrueStar’ Kaufman helped catapult into the chip scene through her diligent project management and love for anything chip. Produced and mastered by Jake ‘Virt’ Kaufman, video game music/chiptune aficionado and Kris’s husband of 5 years, ‘Adventures in Chiptunes’ is surely a contribution to this kitschy community to be remembered for years. Gracing Bandcamp with 12 memorable tracks and delightful album artwork by Kabakism, the album opens with ‘Noise Channel Theme (Full Mix)’ composed by Virt, who also makes an appearance later on in the album in the track titled ‘The Artichoke King’. It is revealed in the album credits that the ‘Artichoke King’s’ identity is Nugget Kaufman, Jake and Kris’s 5-year-old Puggle, fan favorite, and Noisechan Radio’s mascot. With a catchy melody and heartwarming lyrics, ‘Noise Channel Theme (Full Mix)’ alludes to Virt’s heavy roots and passion for chiptunes. To no surprise, he was capable of masterfully creating a memorable introduction to the album itself, and of course a track that many listeners of Kris’s radio show ‘Noisechan Thursdays’ on Arecibo Radio are well acquainted with.
‘Adventures in Chiptunes’ continues with TQ-Jam’s track ‘Promise’, whose dreamy rhythm pays homage to his recognizable Famicom craft and quality release titled ‘September Air’. Starting off with a mellow introduction, the track picks up speed around the :14 mark and takes his listeners on an euphoric ride to chiptune land with stunning key strokes and classic 8 bit background buildups that can’t help but make you fall in love. With a soothing melody, ‘Promise’ is certainly a track you’d expect to soundtrack a couple’s first dance, or even one’s dream of flying through the air as its pop-ish sound becomes an earbug that you just can’t help to forget or hum throughout the day.
Coda’s ‘Can’t Stop Our Noise’, the third track of the album, is a perfect segway from TQ-Jam’s ‘Promise’. His kinetic, space-like intro is a great accompaniment to the song as a whole as he brings to life the child in us all with MIDI guitar riffs and foot tapping kicks. With a sensational introduction, ‘Can’t Stop Our Noise’ is a totally tubular release that is very reminiscent of a vintage game show introduction. By the latter half of the track, Coda has done a fantastic job at packaging it all together with the addictive double bass that we all crave as we’re left in a galactic trance bobbing our heads.
Hally’s ‘Bgrusko Meow’ leads you on a cat and mouse chase (pun intended!) through its addictive, frenetic build up to a sudden BPM decrease in the second half of the song. Reminiscent of a classic 16-bit side-scrolling adventure game, ‘Bgrusko Meow’s’ catchy melody and extreme high energy is one of my favorite tracks on this album, as its bright and pop-ish sound brings a new and innovative composition to the album at large. Rekchadam’s ‘Catch That Girl, She Stole My Heart!’ is very reminiscent to Masato Nakamura’s memorable contributions to ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’. I can’t help but think of grinding through each level at warp speed to collect as many rings as I can to be awarded those sweet, sweet Chaos Emeralds because of the track’s enticing melody and double bass pedal kicks that build up your heart rate.
Fear of Dark’s ‘Noisechan Inspection Theme: On the Case’, Norrin Radd’s ‘Rejection’, Surasshu’s ‘Midnight Stroll’, an0va’s ‘It’s Only a Doghouse Right?’, Heosphoros’s ‘Forbidden Hell’ and Blitz Lunar’s ‘Hidden Heaven’ also make appearances on ‘Adventures in Chiptunes’. Displaying the high-quality craft we’ve come to expect from these talented artists, each of these tracks are unique and impressionable as not one sounds like another, but they certainly have one thing in common—a recognizable, addictive sound and a chiptune all star vibe. Ranging from a classic, 1970’s funk-esque feel in ‘Noisechan Inspection Team: On the Case’, to a side scrolling shoot-em-up style similar to that of ‘Contra 4’ in Heosphoros’s ‘Forbidden Hell’, the latter half of this high quality album finishes strong.
‘Adventures in Chiptunes’ can be downloaded through Bandcamp at ‘name your price’ (scroll past the links below to find it at the bottom of this write-up!). All album proceeds are fully given to Child’s Play Charity, which seeks to improve the lives of children in hospitals around the world through video games.
This concludes today’s inaugural edition of Chip Treatment with Professor Oakes! If you enjoyed it, be sure to tune in again next month (or maybe sooner??) as this monthly column continues! And in the meantime, enjoy the rest of this month’s upcoming lovely articles! Professor Oakes signing off!
So it’s been well over a week since 8Static’s 4th birthday bash, and the relaunch of this blog has been stalled a bit by equal parts Philly Flu, busy life business and, of course, procrastination. Sorry, everyone!
It’s honestly a colossal task, trying to recap an event of this magnitude. I mean, really! What can be said about this show that hasn’t been summarized one thousand times better already? Was this 8static legendary? Absolutely. Mind-blowing? Most definitely. Just about THIRTY performers shared that stage on a night that no one in attendance will soon, if EVER, forget. From the open mic to the alumni showcase, and the scheduled performers that followed, everyone gave 110% throughout. Everyone in attendance charged PhilaMOCA with a pure spiritual energy that affirmed and re-affirmed everything that makes this scene, the musicians, visualists, organizers and fans truly the best in the world.
For a few incredible hours, we were all home.
With absolutely zero regret, I roped a good buddy of mine into taking an impromptu roadtrip to show him what live chiptune is all about. That’s my excuse, anyway, and I’m sticking to it. The first 8static I’d been fortunate enough to attend was back in April, during a fairly restless time where I’d been traveling about as much as my wallet would permit. And ever since that first taste of Philadelphia’s incredibly talented and welcoming chiptune community, I had been absolutely dying to return. With 8static’s 4th anniversary coming up, and a slew of incredible acts scheduled to perform, I knew in my heart there was no better time.
But that’s enough expository rambling. You all came here for the music, and I would be honored to serve up my favorite bits.
Starting, of course, with the open mic. By chance and fortune, I actually had the great pleasure of kicking the show off! But more about that later.
There were so many performers that night, so I’ll offer my sincere apologies in advance for skimming over quite a few. Chip Music Chronicle has the entire show documented, as always, and I can’t urge you strongly enough to check the entire 8static 2E playlist. The recordings are very much essential in understanding just how stellar this show truly was.
The first of my highlights for the open mic would include Pixel8ter‘s fantastic Beastie Boy’s cover of “I Don’t Know”. Check out those shades! This track is also featured on the 8-bit Beastie compilation, which I would definitely recommend checking out.
Shyabeetus was a new face for me, and he did not disappoint. Busting out a killer Castlevania medley that was both entertaining and aptly-suited to the atmosphere and approaching Halloween season, he earned himself a new fan that night. I’m very eager to hear more.
And how about Storm Blooper? Definitely in strong form at this event, he delivered a blood-pumping dance-inducing performance that continued to raise the bar for the night ahead. I don’t think anyone was expecting the open mic session to be THIS strong! This kind of material portends a bright future for chipmusic.
The Alumni showcase soon followed, featuring a variety of veteran 8static performers doing exactly as expected: dazzling the crowd with a slew of memorable performances. Personally, I found Joey Mariano‘s speech and performance to be a poignant reminder of the multitude of ways in which a creative and willing mind can approach the chiptune aesthetic and use it to express their own creative spirit.
Bright Primate‘s performance was quite unique this night, but that may owe a lot to me expecting material from their most recent album. Instead we were treated to a new track that brought rays of sunshine and thoughts of summer days to my mind. I should shut up, but seriously, they completely switched everything up in the most welcome way. Very impressive.
Chipocrite had plenty of surprises in store himself, starting with a track I cannot begin to classify. Awe was induced! But seriously, his performance was fun, mesmerizing, and hell if I can find the words for what more! Dude’s one of a kind and it was perfect having him back in Philly for this one monumental evening. So glad he could make it.
I’d just be foolish not to mention the legendary Alex Mauer, who captivated the entire audience with a mastery of composition and execution that is largely without rival. I don’t know what wavelength he operates on, what space he’s occupying, but he continues to blow minds and open ears.
And I’ll close this portion out with Decktonic‘s “chill” performance! Not simply because he was great out there, but because he was equipped with the single best zinger of the night.
The scary thing? All of this: barely scratches the surface!! But it’s all I have the time to write about this go-round, so be sure to check out Emily Feder’s Chip Music Chronicle Youtube channel for footage of everyone else from the show (& SEVERAL other shows).