Sup y’all? =) Hoodie’s back with another fun interview for everyone to enjoy! w00t!! =D
While I’ve finished up with the V.3 judges interviews, & had a blast talking to
Rekcahdam as well, I’m going to take this chance to chat with a regular ChipWINner who’s been involved in the project since Volume 1! Of course I’m talking about everyone’s favorite merch fairy (& one of my favorite people, period), Pixie Maddie, who is currently happily buried in the midst of a pile of Vol. 3 merch prep! Enjoy!
Hello everyone! It is I, Danny Pryor, here to take you on another random adventure!
As you may or may not know, I am a co-host on a show called geekbeatradio (*cough* Mondays 10pm-12am EST on geekbeatradio and wemfradio*cough*), where we talk about everything geek and nerd.
I am very lucky to be able to host some fine events in the wonderful city of Boston and this month has been no exception. Three great events happened in the area and after I tell you a bit about them you will most likely want to live here FOREVER…or at least want to come and visit!
The month of July started off right with an event hosted by geekbeatradio, leaguepodcast, and WEMF’s own Dave Crespo at McGann’s Irish Pub. Now you might ask, “Danny, why do you need THAT many people to host one event?” I’d answer you that when you have Skyblew, D&D Sluggers, AND Mega Ran come to your city, you better call in the cavalry. With the help of some of the best talent you can find in the city, we helped to make the Boston stop of the Odds ‘N’ Ends Tour a total success!
The night started off strong with a force..of Will (Sorry, Force of Will) a nerdcore rapper out of Salem, MA. His music spoke about what is like growing up a nerd and how the people in the nerdcore rap scene have influenced him. One of my favorite songs he performed used a beat by K-Murdock and Mega Ran called Forever which he called “RPGography” which is about his first experiences with tabletop games and RPGs.
As soon as his intro song went out over the speakers, his coveted luchador mask was donned. In full character, he blasted into his first track, “Robot Man“.The crowd moved to the front to join into the festivities once he started “Power Walking the Agro Crag“. He is the only man who can get through “The Legends of the Hidden Temple” with 60 seconds still on the clock.
Sam Mulligan was next in line, who is one of those guys you need for literally EVERY show. He always makes me smile with his catchy, funny tunes about hunting for Sasquatch or getting abducted by aliens. One song, even though it was a cover, was my personal favorite of the night, asking the audience, “What is your Fantasy?” In true to life Sammy Sam form, he nailed every single verse, top to bottom (head to toes?). Don’t forget, he is one of the founding members of HYPE$QUAD, so this is just another one of many talents he is capable of performing in almost any situation.
It was my first time seeing SkyBlew take the stage, and I was not disappointed. Forging a connection with the gamers in the crowd through songs like HM 2, a Pokemon reference to the Hidden Move called “Fly”, while still remaining loyal to his campaign of bringing substance back to hip-hop with tracks like “The Theory of C.O.L.O.R.S.“. It is only a matter of time before this lyrical genius becomes a major player in the hip hop scene, with his heartfelt yet true to life words of wisdom.
D&D Sluggers, to put it bluntly, brings the party. After getting the chance to talk to Soultronand learning a bit about how he uses a Nintendo DS and guitar to make the people move, I was instantly hooked. The song that really got me moving was, “I Will Not Be There“, which brought together this amazing combination of chip and rock that kept me hyperventilating throughout the entire performance.
*BREATH IN, BREATH OUT*
And of course, I can’t go without mentioning the headliner, Random AKA Mega Ran. Since I first heard Mega Ran’s song “Grow Up” I have been following his every move. His brilliant insight into the minds of video game characters, clean lyrics, and all around fun mentality, makes him an amazing act to see live. Some of his instrumentals were played from an original Famicom system and with a custom cart which only added to the nostalgic feelings filling the room. He played a great combination of songs we all know and love, to new tracks that were just recently released, specifically “Infinite Lives” featuring Soultron of D&D Sluggers. Getting the chance to hear the two of them play this live was a sure fire way to get the song stuck in my head for the rest of my life! I even fell victim to his freestyle majesty when I handed him my Legend of Zelda wallet and was called out for not having any money in it. Obviously, chants for an encore ensued so he sat us all down for story time. The fact that he got everyone to sit down on a dirty bar room floor because we all wanted to be good listeners just proves that he is one of the best hip-hop artists around!
A huge thank you to all the artists for coming out and giving it your all, you were all truly inspirational in your performance!
BUT WAIT! THAT’S NOT ALL!
On July 4th geekbeatradio was fortunate enough to help run our first ever BBQ at the HorrorHaus here in Boston. Hosted by the magnificent Mega Mega, we set up a projection screen with Super Nintendo games, speakers for live musicians, and even held a costume contest judged by Cosplay aficionados Harley Bean and Knives Jones.
Live acts that included the multi-talented duo of Seventh Gear, playing solo sets as Best Defense and Robotsexmusic, Diamond Machine (who me?), and of course the super sonata songster, Bifflecup! Between the sweet jams playing from geekbeatradio.com, amazing burgers, fantastic friends and a glass of whiskey (neat), made it one of the best 4th of July celebrations I have had in a long time.
YES! THERE’S MORE!!!
July 12th was another big first for geekbeatradio, as we held our first ever video game tournament at Comicazi! We held a Super Smash Brothers Melee tournament, as it was the game being played at EVO 2014 that day, and we had plenty of dedicated players there to compete. We handed out cash prizes to the first and second place winners, had live chiptune music playing, and Mega Mega even brought cookies and brownies for everyone. What a guy!
Although it was a bit more of a casual tournament there was still a hunger to win from the competitors as it was a single elimination tournament. The final battle for first was a Captain Falcon mirror match which was a great surprise to me as I usually expect a Fox or Falco to end up being at the end. The game was played on a CRT TV and projected onto a screen for everyone to watch!
The always loyal crew of chip artists came out to perform and keep a fun atmosphere the entire night. Diamond Machine started off the night, followed by Bifflecup, Best Defense, and Robotsexmusic. Everyone played their heart out that night, and we even got a visit from our good friend James Johnson, local entrepreneur and one of the creators of the game “Thief Town“. Go and vote for it on Greenlight since local multiplayer is the future of gaming!!!!
Whew! That is a lot of stuff going on in just a couple of weeks, but we are NOT stopping there!! We still have some AMAZING guests coming on the radio show in the next few weeks, a couple more shows to plan and a few tricks up our sleeves. Make sure to tune in so you are not left in the dark!!!!
In the past, I have helped write a couple FAQs when dealing with different levels and bosses, but once you have become a seasoned player, you might be looking for a more tailored experience. There are many methods for achieving this, from button combinations to sound test codes, but my personal recommendation is finding the closest warp zone to you and navigating through the mayhem! My recent adventure led me to the realm of PAX EAST, located in world Boston-MA. Although I kept a detailed log of all my encounters in this mysterious yet familiar land, sadly I only collected 3 OUT OF 20 pages, which detail some of my exploits.
JOURNAL ENTRY #1
Boston 8 Bit has collected some of the finest artists for both the Jamspace and Chip Stage as they have done in the past, and the talent here is insurmountable! Sam Mulligan started off the day playing some of his famous hits and then OMG! SHARK PARTY! I didn’t think I would make it through until The World Is Square told me to “let go” and a fight broke out between myself and the flying shark boss. I managed to defeat it with my remaining flame rounds and a quick visit to what I like to call Knife City a.k.a. circling around it and swiping my combat blade. Note to self: Save more ammo.
I have finally arrived outside the city, at a location only known as Comicazi. Here I met the honorable Bifflecup, composer extraordinaire. My companions Astro Logic and Best Defense arrive with me, each of us carrying the sacred songs of our ancestors. We know we must all perform, each at a different time, in order to complete the quest and send the dragons/demons/evil things back from whence they came. Surrounded by ancient books and artifacts of days of old, I hope to find the courage to display my strength as I begin to slowly make my way towards fulfilling my destiny. I am nervous as I stand among everyone and I hope that…oh I’m sorry… They want me to stop writing now and play the songs. Nope…Nope…Seems a bit too late now…Demons everywhere…Stupid journal.
Hmmm…well then… I should probably get more than three journal entries next time. It’s those collectible achievements…I swear you can NEVER get them all in one go. You have to play the same game like 20 times in some cases.
Wellllpppp… GUESS I SHOULD HIT PAX EAST AGAIN NEXT YEAR!!!
Ahoy there, ChipWINners! Welcome back to the blog! Now as I’m sure many of you are aware, we’ve recently outdone ourselves again with the release of our second epic annual compilation! Having enjoyed continued success with it, we danced, drank Cherry Wheat and made merry with all of our friends!
Then, as with all great celebrations in life, we woke up the next morning in a state of panic as we realized our terrible predicament: we had 99 problems, and all of them were songs! (Well, 95 to be exact…but I wanted a Jay-Z joke.) Needing to do something with at least some of this residual music (which was mostly pretty damn good), we here at ChipWIN made a deal with the devil and agreed to allow our Editor-in-Chief to create a joint release with us to handle some select tunes from the surplus. In turn, the mighty Kilpatrick, in all his Satanic might, used his silver tongue (by which I mean he spoke plain English with an English accent) to bend the rules (which, technically, did not exist for side-releases!) to allow two additional songs of his choosing that weren’t part of the bundle to be included with album. We acquiesced, and soon thereafter, Devil Kilpatrick, along with his cohort Alex Kelly (who’s a pretty swell guy, actually) turned out what would be Chiptunes = WIN first joint release with another netlabel: PXL-WIN!
Now I know what you’re thinking: should I listen to this… bedeviled album? Is it worth risking my soul to listen to an… abomination these English demons have wrought upon chiptune?
The answer, quite simply, is yes. But don’t fear, for I, Kuma, the bear in a black man’s body, will lead the way through the 17 layers of WIN and prove to you this is a journey worth taking.
Track #1: Deeksha by AlexOgre
First up to the plate is Alex Ogre, a young man from Russia who busts out some incredible stuff on LSDJ. Taking full advantage of the program’s capabilities, Alex has become one of several artists whose work has progressed to the point that it has become exemplarychiptune, and that isn’t a bad thing at all.
A nice, steady bass line, strong use of snappy snares and arps, and a simple, dream like melody all combine to make a song that kicks off PXL-WIN in strong, confident fashion. Put bluntly, this song is a dancer’s dream. Its the kind of song that, when the chiptune community goes out to a venue like 8static, I/O chipmusic or Pulsewave, we expect to hear, and that’s exactly what Alex Ogre wants. He wants to keep you on your feet, and quite frankly, if you don’t want to get up while he’s playing this track, well keep listening to this album, because clearly you’re dead inside and you need chiptune to work its magic on you!
Track #2: C-Side (Tetanus In My Connector Pins) by AutoReMi-PK
Speaking of derpy chiptuners and dickbutts, this second track is one I’m especially fond of as it’s by my friend AutoReMi-PK. You might know Remy from his blog posts here on ChipWIN, or for his level headed attitude in the ChipWIN group, or, most likely, his derpy antics with Ryn and Hoodie in my interview with them about BRKFest! Regardless of where you know him from, or if you didn’t know him at all, one thing that you do know now thanks to PXL-WIN is that he’s also an adept chipmusician!
Specializing in Famitracker composition, Remy takes heavy influence from numerous genres, companies and franchises (most notably Megaman, Super Smash Bros, Kirby, and anything Motoi Sakuraba has touched), which he then uses to craft tunes that run the gamut to fun and quick to lengthy and full of emotion. With its broad pulsewaves, militaristic snares and arpeggios that compliment the melody perfectly, Remy’s “C-Side (Tetanus In My Connector Pins)” is a fine example of the perfectionist lurking inside this affable young man.
Confession time: I’m a sucker for fighting games. The button mashing action, visceral visuals and especially the adrenaline pumping music just make me excited in ways I can’t describe but can be seen at MAGFest for yourself. So when I first heard irq7’s “Twisted”, I couldn’t help but smile the biggest, shit eating grin the world has ever seen! From the moment the perfectly timed build up leading to the sinister words “I try to scream…GO!” drops into the hook, irq7 drags you into the ring and doesn’t let go until he’s knocked you out.
I’m especially fond of this song as it represents a nice compliment to cheapshot’s “Jambo“, a song I’m fond of as it, too, is evocative of a fighting game theme. But while “Jambo” is reminiscent of music heard in Tekken Tag Tournament, “Twisted” takes a more Street Fighter styled approach, reveling in its use of aggressive kickers, heavy, pulse pounding bass and rhythm, and a melody that begs to have a Chun-li style “Yatta!” thrown in over it for good measure!
Very few artists in the scene live up to their name, as most seem to be puns or names of things from yesteryear, and others are just Solarbear. Some, however, let you know from the get go what they’re all about, and no one does that quite as well as AciDnB. Having been inspired after seeing a bevy of Korg synths at an expo in 2010, AciDnB took his love of those sweet, artificial sounds and turned it into a serious passion. The result is music that combines the decadent sounds of KorgDS10 and the finishing touches of FLStudio to create lush tracks such as the song you’re listening to now.
Replete with perfectly timed snares, a fuzzy ass bass line, and some of the coolest and most refreshing non-wub drops I’ve heard in quite a while, “Alien Friendship” invokes stark imagery of flying saucers as disco lights at the most happening party in the galaxy! In a scene that is heavy with dance monsters, AciDnB takes his music a step further by embracing that he is part of a community that loves to boogie on down and runs with it, solidifying himself among artists such as LukHash and Whitely as one of the best beat makers to grace lofi music in the past five years.
As we say goodbye to the stylish and funky “Alien Friendship”, we shift our attention to a song that, admittedly, I wasn’t sure I liked at first. Most of the songs on this album stick out right away and you can tell you’re gonna just be into them the moment they open up. However, when it came to Gab Pearson’s “alcaline pizza”, I wasn’t so sure what to make of it.
It certainly wasn’t a bad song by any means, I just didn’t have any compelling inclination towards it. Over time, however, I found that the song’s strength came from its ability grow on you. Further more, I found that Gab Pearson’s execution in crafting such a song is one of the most deliberate decisions I’ve encountered recently in music, as he’s a musician who switches up his style as often as he eats poutine. Considering that he’s 1) Canadian and 2) he has a song named after the stuff, that means he changes it up a lot.
Making music that ranges from hip hop to chillout to the kind of funky, lofi new jack swing you’d hear in the genesis Sonic games, Gab may be one of the most versatile and understated artists I’ve ever encountered.
Track #6: The Mysterious Shapeshifting Dog by Jay Tholen
What’s this? A slowed down tempo? A dream like rhythm? All accompanied by a masterfully composed lead that could easily be replaced in a live performance by a trumpet or saxophone? Oh yeah, we’re definitely back in Jay Tholen territory. One of a handful of artists to return to ChipWIN on this joint compilation, I don’t think much needs to be said about Mr. Tholen that I haven’t already covered previously in my interview with him. A talented and prolific renaissance man who excels at both visual and musical art, Jay seems to have done everything from dream like music videos to crafting his own video game.
This time around, Mr. Tholen seems to have channeled his love of the Mother series once again to make “The Mysterious Shapeshifting Dog”: a track that sounds like what would have happened to Boney had he eaten the hallucination mushrooms along with Lucas and the rest of the crew in Mother 3. The distorted synth noise, steady, droning snare hits and a rhythm that create an atmosphere that simultaneously mimics a bad trip and an endless walk through a desert, Jay Tholen succeeds once again in leading his audience through another bizarre adventure.
Often times, when art is created, its intended message gets lost, changed, or misconstrued because while its creator may have had one intended message, the observer perceives something very different altogether.
This isn’t possible with monotron’s “Far From Home”. From the moment the pulsewave builds up like a foreign sunrise on a strange horizon, this song makes it very clear that you’re not where you belong. More importantly, it reminds you to make haste finding your way back to familiar ground. In short, “Far From Home” invokes a feeling of fear.
Sure, its got a phat beat and bass line you can boogie too, but if you really listen to your song, it’s very clear monotron is making a statement: that the light of day can only bring comfort for so long, but as soon as the sun sets, a universal fear fills us all. That fear is the fear of the unknown, and of the dark things in our hearts that we subconsciously fill the void with.
Maybe I’m wrong, though. Maybe I’ve mistaken monotron’s message and am just talking out my ass. Why don’t you take a listen and decide for yourself?
Following up monotron in masterful form is a chiptune artist from France named DJ-PIE. A musician who describes himself on his Soundcloud as a “MASTER PEANUS ZDEDEDEDE” (a reference to a ridiculous song he named P E N I S, as well as its various remixes), DJ-PIE busts out with some of the sickest synth play I’ve heard in quite a while!
Having crafted what I deem to be the greatest holiday song ever made for something that isn’t Christmas (even if it wasn’t his direct intent), “K1NG 0V TEH #D4RK” is the perfect Halloween anthem for the chiptune lover in you! Combining almost warlike drum rolls with yowling square waves and a lead that invokes images of a pixelated interpretation of “This is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas, the song instills a playful sense of devilishness in anyone who happens to be caught in its spell.
Much like when I first started listening to Gab Pearson’s “alcaline pizza” I wasn’t sure what to make of Orbital Strike’s “The M Word” at first. However, unlike Gab Pearson’s jawn, which took a few consecutive listens for me to feel, Orbital Strike grabbed me by the collar, and reminded me just who the hell we were talking about here as soon as they dropped the bass. I was sold.
A song with a dizzying, almost alien, sounding lead, drum complimenting noise effects, and a club worthy bass line, “The M Word” is a seizure inducing dance hit that’s sure to energize and remind everyone listening that Nate and Nick are the frenetic, dubstepping George and Jonathan of the Seattle chiptune scene! The wubs are something I have to compliment, in particular, because while wubs are certainly plentiful in chiptune, I don’t think I’ve heard anyone outside of Auxcide, DireHit, and Ultrasyd drop them with this much skill.
Following up on the awesomeness that was Orbital Strike is a young man who’s taken the west coast by storm. Having found a strong niche for himself in Seattle and Portland is Graz: a versatile EDM artist who may have put forth one of the coolest fakebit songs I’ve heard since I last saw Misfit Chris live over a year ago!
An artist I first encountered after winning a copy of RAVECORE MASTERS Vol 1 from Initial P of Diskowarp, Graz takes a little bit of everything, from chiptune to gabber, to bonk to electro, and crafts music that is, quite frankly, a raver’s wetdream, and Thunderlizard is definitely proof of his skill!
A song that — very similarly to irq7’s “Twisted” — works equally well on the dance floor as it does in a fighting game, Graz has made a track that continues his proud tradition of making pure party music. From remixes of Crazytown’s “Butterfly” to bass heavy eurobeat, Graz has joined the ranks of heavy hitting DJs in the Northwest such as Initial P/Kid Whatever, Jimni Cricket, and J-Mi & Midi-Dto keep the raver scene alive and well, constantly infusing it with anything from chipstep to happy hardcore.
Track #11: We Screw Up At The End by Mr Wimmer & Solarbear
Sometimes, when you least expect, life throws you a curveball. While that odd pitch is normally perceived as a bad thing, this time around it’s absolutely wonderful. You see, we all know Solarbear sucks. That phrase is as axiomatic on this planet as gravity. Or at least, that’s what I thought until I heard this song. I’d like to think it was Mr Wimmer, with his deep, mournful, distorted crooning, skillful guitar strumming, and beautiful face, is the only person that made this song as wonderful as it is. In all honesty, though, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this: I think Solarbear actually has talent.
I know, it’s a difficult pill to swallow, but listen to this track! Listen to it’s sinister noise, sad lead, and pulsing rhythm that seemingly rains down misery on these two poor saps! It’s almost as if Solarbear is acutely aware of how to craft atmosphere in a piece of music that sounds like someone’s spiral down the drain towards personal oblivion! These two bastards actually managed to not only enhance each other, but they managed to make a song that’s the embodiment of a strung out heroin junkie coming down from his fourth fix on a hot summer day in what used to be The Prodigy’s apartment complex in their video for “Breathe”! It’s…It’s…oh wow, they really did screw up at the end.
In the time I’ve been in this scene, I’ve heard chiptune be many things. I’ve heard it be dance music, I’ve heard it be rock; I’ve heard it take the form of folk and I’ve heard it take the form of haunting industrial. Indeed, I’ve heard chiptune used in many a genre and have heard it described it in many ways, but never before have I described chiptune with the adjective I’m about to use right now.
Sexy. KOOL SKULL’s “Lickwid Lazer” is sexy.
Not only is it the first song I’ve ever heard in chiptune that I can straight up consider sexy, but it’s one of the most lustful songs I’ve ever heard, period. Get past the noise, the snares, the static that fills background with dissonant chaos. Listen to that bass line and kicker. Listen to what KOOL SKULL did. Do you hear that? The man made a thrash song over a reggaeton beat, then sang a carnal, domineering lead over it a la Trent Reznor or Ogre of Skinny Puppy! You can just as easily mosh to this song as you can grind up against someone or tie them up to the bedposts and — *cough* I’m sorry I… I got carried away there.
The point I’m trying to make, though, is that surprises such as this are what make me fall in love with chiptune over and over again! Musicians like KOOL SKULL are the guys that make the work we do here at ChipWIN exciting! Between his visceral illustrations and guttural, raw music, KOOL SKULL is a talent that continually pleases and surprises.
Continuing the visceral noise trend that Kool Skull set is unini with his song “shortcut”. A track that lives up to its name, as it’s only rivaled in brevity by AutoRemi’s “C-Side”, “shortcut” may be short, but it certainly isn’t sweet. Striking hard and fast with a violent assault on the senses that deftly combines noise, off pitch pulsewaves, and frantic drum and bass, this song is an excellent example of unini’s style.
Interestingly enough, however, despite the fact that unini crafts music that’s a slam dancers dream, the man himself is incredibly quiet and elusive! In fact, unini is so mysterious that outside of this contribution to ChipWIN, he can only be found on Bandcamp and noisechannel, where he’s only posted on the forums twice!
If this enigmatic newcomer’s style is up your alley, I definitely suggest checking out his debut album on Bandcamp, and, if you’d like to learn more about him, I’d recommend trying to hit him up noisechannel. Just don’t expect him to say anything back. Bandcamp | noisechan
Track #14: That’s Fer Sure! by + Let’s Disinfect! +
My mp3 player has a tendency of putting tracks in alphabetical order as opposed to track listed order, so while the album actually starts off with the aforementioned “Deeksha”, my Sansa clipzip decided that + Let’s Disinfect’s! + “That’s Fer Sure!” was the first track on PXL-WIN, and as far as I’m concerned it made an excellent choice!
I say this because while a large part of what ended up becoming ChipWIN Vol 2 had to do with flow from one song to another, PXL-WIN seems to have done the opposite and gone back to ChipWIN’s roots by putting out a release that’s much more dynamic. That’s not to say PXL-WIN doesn’t have synergy, but when it comes to energy you don’t get much more dynamic than this!
Deftly combining his punk sensibilities and skills as a singer and multi instrumentalist, the prolific talent that is Sean Monistat (who has contributed to ChipWIN as + Let’s Disinfect! +, Sean Monistat, as well as with his bandmates in Thorazine Unicorn!) proves he is a force to be reckoned with in a song that’s not only full of life but catchy as hell! Between his clever use of the pulsewave being used as a rhythm guitar, his frenetic guitar solo, and mosh pit inducing lyrics, I dare you not to sing the lyrics along with him whenever you hear this jawn!
Honest. Derpy. An astute awareness of being both. These are things I appreciate in a person. Fortunately, Sam Mulligan is all these things and more, as he’s not only a talented musician and a vibrant DJ, but he’s charismatic enough to tell his seemingly never ending stories of failure as well!
Seriously, how can you not love a man who openly admits how damn stupid he can be! “I’m An Idiot!” is another in a long line of songs that is just quintessentially Mulligan. Fun, energetic, quick, and laughter inducing, this particular song earns extra points with me for sounding like “punk” groups I used to listen to in the 90s, like early Green Day a la Dookie and Insomniac, Blink182, and Sum41.
Chiptune gets accused of being a cheap trick that cashes in on nostalgia, and because there are people and companies that do take advantage of this I think there’s a sort of uneasiness about nostalgia being used as an adjective in the scene. While that’s an unfortunate truth we have to live with, nostalgia isn’t something to be ashamed of. In fact, if done properly, thoughts and experiences that invoke memories of yesteryear can be reveled in, and this does so in hilarious fashion. Breaking the mold that chiptune only conjures recollection of the late 80s and early 90s era of gaming, Sam’s tale of whimsical dumb fuckery and unfortunate events causes me to recall my asinine teenage years when I used to rip my favorite cds onto mini discs and get into arguments with friends about how they were the future of music.
As a writer and music reviewer, I strive to put out quality material for you guys to read, because even if not a lot of you read it, for those that do, you know that I put a lot of effort of into what I’ve produced and that means a lot to both of us in the long run. But sometimes, there’s not much to say about a song, and such is the case is shakaboyd’s “Morning Breeze”.
Now why is that, you may ask? Well, sometimes a song isn’t a deep metaphor for darkness in the hearts of man or a moan of carnal pleasure among basement party moshpit. Sometimes a song is just good and fun because its, well, good and fun. Filled with a playful melody, cheerful rhythm, wave hits that sound like a steel drum and a beat you can dance or work out to, shakaboyd has made a song that falls into that simply delightful category, along with song’s like chipzel’s “Can’t Stop Us“, Snesei’s “Button Mash” or Brick Breaker’s “Dusk Runner“.
In the end, for all the fancy adjectives I could try to use to describe this song, no amount of words can compare to the fact that, quite simply, it makes me smile.
I remember the first time I saw Corset Lore. She got up on stage to perform a song she was working on during an I/O open mic session and I was thoroughly impressed by what I heard and saw. I walked up to her and asked her if she’d be interested in submitting to ChipWIN. Little did I know, being very new to chiptune at the time, just how long she had been rocking the scene. I would later find out to great surprise and moderate hilarity that not only had she been kicking ass in the community for years, but that she’s one of the great vets of the East Coast chip scene!
Having performed at venues along side other heavy hitters such as minusbaby, Bitshifter, Kris Keyser, Bubblyfish and Glomag, I’m sure you can imagine my embarrassment at this situation! I like to think childlike enthusiasm must have worked (although I know it was really the work of Devil Kilpatrick) because she submitted the incredible track you’re listening to now!
Wrapping up PXL-WIN with elegance and style, “The Cloma” is a continuation of Tamara Yadao’s proud tradition of crafting music that’s both intricately melodic and easily enjoyable in way that’s accessible to the masses. With its fun beat, energetic lead and sweeping rhythm that combine in a way that make you want to listen to this song all day, Corset Lore manages to make a song that feels comfortable in any setting, regardless of tastes.
That’s a feat that’s certainly rare in a scene many already consider too obscure to be mainstream. I just hope that if I ever get to hear her play this live, that she plays a guitar over this incredibly lofi melody, because it’s just begging for some sweet riffs to be layered in with it a la Square Therapy’s “Miracle Max & The Cliffs Of Insanity“! If Ms Yadao’s music is your cup of tea (and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be) I recommend checking out her home page so you can keep up with and learn about not only what she does as Corset Lore, but the various other audio/visual projects she’s invovled with, including foci + loci, frogwell and tu.
That wraps up this album review. I hope you enjoyed taking this journey with me through PXL-WIN and that you’ll continue to stick with both Chiptunes = WIN and PXL-BOT. PXL-WIN is the 6th album we here at ChipWIN have helped release since 2012, and while we’ve certainly gained quite a bit of momentum over the past year, we don’t expect to stop doing what we do, and neither should you! So stick around and don’t forget to keep up with us and and all your favorite artists on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. I promise you, you guys ain’t seen nothing yet.
…Ahem. Anyway, I’m sure I don’t have to introduce you to our next artist…
Track #46: Active Knowledge – Lucidosity
…Boston chiptune hero Active Knowledge! What we’ve got here is a slice of his self-titled album for all to enjoy, chock-full of dripping square waves and a series of triangle basslines that are so well-executed they make my inner tracker weep tears of envy and joy. This lucid trip is grounded by the repetition of elements that somehow never get tiring, and I really do mean that as a pure compliment. Halfway in, the drums cut down steadily only to resurface stronger than ever alongside some very interestingly layered harmonies. Making a six minute track takes dedication. But making it work takes SKILL.
Track #47: Nario – Hallucinogenic Ethics
Did anyone intend for this chunk of the compilation to be so…uh, ethical? But I digress. We can’t stop here…this is bat country. Nario’s EXCLUSIVE track is a great head-bobber, at parts something I’d consider to have a strong VGM feel but with a rocking kick. I absolutely love the melody beginning at the 0:58 mark, and the way things pick up from there as the lead finally climbs up to a perfect wail. If Nario doesn’t compose on a dance pad, he sure as hell knows how to make you move vicariously. Very cool.
Track #48: Brick Breaker – Dusk Runner
The opening notes inspire flashbacks of Sunsoft’s golden era of video game soundtracks and, yes, that is a really good thing. Brick Breaker brings a flat-out ROCKING track to the table and flips that baby completely upside down. I absolutely love the drum sounds in this track and, while it’s a short one, it’s so very sweet.
Track #49: Sean Monistat – This Computer Can Read Lips
AWW YEAH. Great rhythm? Check. Tight snare? Check. This computer can read lips and then some. Establishing a setting that would feel right at home in any city prefixed by “Neo”, Sean Monistat proves himself here as a talented architect of dystopian vibes. Closing out with some killer glitching, this is one contribution that begs repeat listens…especially for the nicely understated FM-esque synths.
Track #50: SKGB – Infinite Cheap Death Tricks
This is the Konami Code of Neo Killadelphia if ever there was one. Trying to summarize anything SKGB does is a task and a half, and here’s why: He can do so damn much, do it so well, and completely change up an entire song’s game in an instant. This death trick can crunk and thrash with the best of them and everything after the blastbeats around the 3:01 mark dives so far into the realm of completely insane LSDJ wizardry that I could spend literally two weeks fumbling for the words to even describe what I just heard. Easily one of my favorite tracks on the compilation. BASSCHIPTHRASH FTW.
Track #51: PROTODOME – Four Color Hero
It’s a bittersweet reminder that all good things must come to an end, masterfully executed by the always-spectacular PROTODOME. In brilliant technicolor, PROTODOME crafted what is easily the ideal bookend for this massive project, styled ingeniously in the form of what could easily be the end credits of a legendary video game. And true to the spirit of chiptune, sometimes four colors and a wealth of vision is all you need to create a masterpiece. A perfect sendoff, really…one that invites you back to visit its world time and again.
Hey toys and joys! It’s your boy Kuma back from his hiatus fighting gorillas and asking people to tell me their secrets! And in turn, I’ve learned so many things. So, so many dark and terrible things about all of you.
But that’s not what this is about! This article is about us pushing to get these ChipWIN Volume 1 write-ups written & released so we can make way for the upcoming Vol. 2!
So with that being said, let’s get started!
Founder of the BitMasters netlabel — which has produced work by artists such SMILETRON, Whitely, StarPilot and Kedromelon — the Canadian who calls himself Jake Deadbeat is incredibly skilled at what he does. Whether you’re into jungle dnb, ambient breakbeat or thematically epic chiptune, if you enjoy music that both inspires intense moods and visuals as well as makes you want to get up and bust-a-move, this is an artist you should definitely pay attention to. You can check out deadbeatblast’s other work (including my favorite song by him, Hyperspace V. 1.2) on Soundcloud, or follow what he and several other artists are up to through his netlabel.
Founder of 8bitSF and co-counder of monobomb records along with minusbaby, Morgan Tucker may arguably be the most prominent and passionate promoter and producer of lo-fi electronic music and chiptune on the west coast, and his love for both is evident in everything he does. Having rocked a of wide array of abandoned tech from modded Gameboys and C64s to Vocoders and 808s, crashfaster has crafted some of the catchiest chiptune as an artform that the genre has to offer. Creating songs with incredibly dancey rhythms and drum lines to reflective lyrics like those of the song “time” to instrumental grooves such as “ascension”, Morgan knows how to get a crowd moving (even if it is to lyrics that are sometimes heartbreaking as hell).
Perhaps the most notable aspect of crashfaster is its transformation from being a formidable solo act to being a 4 person hivemind with the inclusion of Ryan Case on guitar, Devin Nixon on drums, and Amy English with her incredibly sultry vocals. The result has been an act that has gone on to rock some of the coolest venues across the country, including the DNA Lounge in San Fran, I/O Chip Music showcase in NYC, PAX East Jamspace 2013, and, most importantly, MAGFest 11 this past January. If crashfaster is your thing, you should definitely keep up with them on Facebook, and check their homepage for upcoming events.
Surprisingly young for someone in the chiptune scene, Frostbyte — the artist formerly known as Iamcloud — is a classically trained guitarist whose tutelage has provided a strong musical foundation for an artist who has gone on to rock the monthly Ustream concert series Clipstream by producing electrical, vivid, colorful music that invokes as much passion aurally as it does visually. The result is a synesthetic experience that can only be described as awesome. So awesome, in fact, that even more prominent musicians such as Br1ght Pr1mate have taken the time to personally express their amazement at how deftly skilled Frostbyte is, as he and other young contemporaries such as Vince Kaichan and Dire Hit (other young upstarts who are also still in high school) have come to represent the full promise and potential of the next generation of chipmusic. But don’t let Harmonix be the only evidence of his awesomeness: head on over to his Bandcamp and let albums such as SHUT IT AND DANCE 2012 EP speak for themselves.
Patrick Phillips aka Fraktal Face is a regular attendee/participant of events like Pulsewave, I/O Chip Music and Control Flow in NYC as well as an artist on the Jellyfish Frequency netlabel and a staple of the New York City chipscene. Whether he’s performing or composing, Pat brings a combination of videogame nostalgia and love of DnB, trance, 80s house, and techno to the chipscene and does it incredibly well. The result, while sometimes lengthy (Patrick has become notorious for being the guy who needs more than 5 minutes at open mic) is always worth it. Fraktal Face is one of the few musicians I’ve found in the chip scene that know how to not only build up to an awesome experience with each song, but know how to wind it down and end it just right, as well. While “Did You?” is definitely a strong example of the amazing skill set he has as an electronic musician, “Battle Face” is a noisier, more frenetic example of this same skill that’s highly reminiscent of music from games of the 32Bit era of gaming, particularly games such as Zero Divide. Its unusually pleasing pitched noise frequencies, heavy bass and glitchy rhythms just make you wanna get down. If you wanna keep up with Fraktal Face, Soundcloud is the way to go. He doesn’t post frequently, but when he does, it’s always worth it.
A skilled musician who’s been honing his craft for 12+ years and has produced soundtrack work for various computer games, Sean combines his classical sensibilities with the passion of his inner gamer to create music that appeals to a wider audience than expected. Whether it’s a foray into darker tones with industrial pieces such Trant Raznor, more traditionally sounding chip/vgm work he’s done for games such as Laser Bombs 2.Bro, or vocal tunes such as Lost the Deposit–a song that reflects on a relationship gone awry– NickelPUNK is an musician that consistently delivers powerful, thought provoking music with each release he puts out.
For those of you who are digging Stardrive, or for those of you who enjoy vocals with their chiptunes, I do highly recommend downloading I Miss Boston or his surprise release EP, All I Could Do (which features a track with vocals from our very own Ryn!). I also recommend checking out his work on Soundcloud, as you can also listen to music he’s contributed to video games such as Bosses Forever 2.Bro, as well as a preview track off his soon to be released EP, The Image of Cool.
Taking their name from the signature puzzle game of yesteryear, this young trio of upstarts from Rochester who have helped define the upstate New York chiptune scene deftly combine their skills to make aural awesomeness. The fusion of Karl von Steuben’s hard hitting drums and joyful synths and chips coupled with the rhythmic chords of Zach Sigmund’s guitar and groovaliciousness and topped off by the syncopated licks of Ben Wheeler’s bass result in instrumental mayhem that would make lovers of Rush’s YYZ turn their heads and say “Woah”. From tracks such as “One More Step“, which is reminiscent of post rock legend Maybeshewill’s “I’m in awe, Amadeus!”, to their signature self proclamation song “We are Chip’s Challenge”, this mathematical trifecta has crafted a formula that consistently results in infectious, face melting music to party hard to! Don’t take my word for it: hit up their Soundcloud or better yet, their Bandcamp and download their live album Chip’s Challenge Live(s)!, and marvel at the fact that this is one band that’s just as amazing in person as they are in studio.