We all know that ANAMANAGUCHI, despite their rebranding away from chiptunes, is still one of the most successful bands from the early 00’s era of chiptune still performing. I never give up a chance to see a good band live, so when I heard they were coming to Richmond again I hopped on it. They didn’t reveal their guest performers – Chipocrite with Rekcahdam, Gull and Lazerdisk – until right before the show. I’m sure by now you all know how I feel about Paul and Roger, but the other two bands I’d never heard of – and given the fact that this was the first show I was seeing at The Broadberry, one of Richmond’s newer venues, I was extremely hyped for what was to come. (more…)
If you’ve been involved with the East Coast chiptune scene for a while, you’ve probably heard about I/O, which is a recurring chiptune showcase in Brooklyn, New York. You might also know that I/O had been on a bit of a hiatus since last year, with the last proper show happening in June 2014. Well, the last proper show until March 19th of this year that is. Good Guy Tony Ness hit me up when the show was announced – and when he told me that Bit Shifter, glomag, minusbaby and Chipocrite were all playing together for the first I/O of the year, I knew what I had to do: I starved myself for a week to get the money for a bus ticket, packed my bag and took a 7 hour ride from Richmond, VA to the heart of New York City. (more…)
Happy almost MAGFest everyone! In order to get you prepped for the impending wall of chipmusic waiting for you in Maryland in but a few scant days, and as I am the longstanding president of the Paul Weinstein Fan Club/Bowling League (current membership: myself), it is my duty to report to you that there was a new Chipocrite release last month, and if you haven’t listened to it yet you done goofed. The good news is, we can fix that right now! Grab your fancy headphones, go to the comfiest place in your house/apartment/other domicile, and prepare to rock out to ‘Wordplay.’
You know, I find it amusing that Philadelphia and Richmond, VA have done a secret back-alley exchange of musicians recently. an0va is down here now, working at my alma mater, and Chipocrite decided to head back to Philly. And while who knows what an0va gets up to with his Amiga and hoard of floppy disks, we have pretty quantifiable evidence of what Chipocrite is up to – in addition to working on a new album and playing events like TooManyGames, AnimeNEXT, and the occasional Hard Rock Cafe appearance, he’s also composed the soundtrack to the upcoming game ‘EarthNight,’ coming to PS4 and PSVita next year. In honor of the game’s announcement at E3, as well as as a teaser for his upcoming album, he dropped ‘3P’ the other day – a three track EP showcasing some differently arranged versions of some songs that will appear in said game and new album.
‘Truce’ is the track in the trailer for the game. It’s pretty standard Chipocrite – combination of rad guitar and tight chippy goodness. Listening to it evokes a pretty strong feeling of floating through space – which, from what I’ve gathered, is basically what you do in the game aside from pulling a Goku) and running along the backs of dragons and punching things. It just goes to show ol’ Paul knows how to use a Gameboy and a guitar to make you feel what he wants you to.
‘Little Computer People’ is a fun little high energy track that Paul has been playing live but has never actually featured on an actual release. I’m super jazzed about this being on here – I think he’s played this every time I’ve seen him live, but couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t find it online, and apparently I lack the common sense to ask. But failures of common sense no longer prevail! It’s light, it’s fun, it’s got some pretty well crafted drums (something you may recall I like to praise people for when they do it well). All in all, this track is definitely something you’ll want to slap on your workout mix to get you pumped!
‘Astronaut High School’ is an all-new track written just for the game, complete with INTENSE SOLO FUN TIME. It’s a song that tricks the listener – if you just focus on the melody, you start thinking “Wow, there’s not really a whole lot going on here.” If you take a second though, you’ll realize that the subtle drums and arpeggios in the background are filling in the gaps and that there’s a really solid song going on here. It definitely strikes me more as a soundtrack piece and less of an album piece. There are just certain songs you know are meant to be background music in a level as opposed to be taken on their own, and this is one of them. It definitely has lots of good energy to it, and rides the line between high energy and extremely chill.
As a side note, Dino Lionetti and Chris Burke helped produce this album, because of course they did, right? If you were Paul and you just happened to have two extremely talented friends willing to help you fiddle with your EP, you’d ask them to help too, wouldn’t you? So give it a listen. It’s got me pumped to hear everything else Chipocrite has got going on this year and into next year, and hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer!
If you’re reading this you’ve probably had MAGfest happenings drilled into your skull for the last two months or so (definitely not the words of an incredibly jealous man -______-). For the uninitiated: MAGFest is an annual video gaming & music festival taking place just outside of Washington D.C., this year in its 12th iteration and featuring a chipmusic stage curated with the help of the Chiptune = WIN team [read: Brandon]. The ever-genius that he is, Brandon thought the best way to celebrate this momentous coalition was to create a compilation comprised from twelve of the MAG 12 chip performers and release it under the Chiptune = WIN banner AT MAGFest…. AND THAT HE DID. My thoughts/feels/jealous insults regarding the release below:
01. Chipocrite – High Fives (To The Face) [new remix]
8static veteran and Philly’s resident chiptune-cover artist, Chipocrite, starts the album with a huge, monstrously catchy track. Dipping and diving between tense build-ups and ballad-pop phrases, ‘High Fives…’ has more twists than a dozen oxbow lakes and some masterful melodic play too, all sounding rather melancholic and compositionally mature, with so much ground covered in so little time. It’s clear from this single track why the talent has gained such currency in the live circuits.
02. Roboctopus – Good Night Stars
Roboctopus. Multi-instrumentalist, composer extraordinaire and writer of one of my favourite 2013 release, the godly ‘Disco.txt’. If that isn’t enough to get you soaking about hearing this, then hopefully the following hyperbole will. ‘Good Night Stars’ is exactly what you would expect from a Roboctopus track, in that it is masterfully composed with incredibly affective melodies, a range of styles too large to be represented empirically and those beautiful LSDJ instruments which solidify both his sound and his unique voice so succinctly. A masterclass in how LSDJ should be programmed, and how to stand out strong in the sea of mediocrity that the chiptune scene can be.
03. Danimal Cannon – Red Planet
Member of Armcannon, releases on Ubiktune, split with Zef, known for his flagrant flaunting of untouchable guitar skills alongside demanding but rewarding melds of progressive metal and chipjazz. Yep, Danimal Cannon makes an unsurprisingly incredible appearance on this compilation. Sounding not unlike label mate Yoann Turpin via Dream Theater/ [insert djent band of choice], ‘Red Planet’ sees Danimal scratching another notch off his ‘top ch00ns’ bedpost, with some incredibly well-produced guitars thickening his masterfully composed chiptune in a genuine musical spectacle.
04. Trey Frey – Vox Humana
A king in the dying days of 8bc, over the last few years things from Trey have been fairly scarce. However, following a recent slew of highly regarded live performances, the promise of a new full length in the pipeline, a track finishing off the WeeklyTreat project for 2013 [*cough cough* self-advertising *cough*] and now this, it seems the stars have aligned in the Earth’s favour. It appears Trey Frey is back. Coming home only like he would, ‘Vox Humana’ is a seething patchwork of fluid noise, beats, melodies and EDM, foaming at the mouth with groove. If you’re at MAG and you missed his performance shut up forever.
05. Rainbowdragoneyes – JjasonSalazZ
Known under for his blending of metal and europop, Rainbowdragoneyes doesn’t let his slightly bewildering reputation down an iota. Returning to that oddly effective genre mashing, (but more on the side of europop here), RDE throws together guttural “hey”s, scalic arps and polka inspirations into a full broth of addictive, chantable and down-right ‘barmy’ (so Radio 4) funky chip pop. There are a few overzealous pirate analogies in there somewhere to explain this, but I’ll let you find them yourself.
06. nickelPUNK – Outrun 2.1 (ft. Ryn)
Funky 80s house from nickelPUNK with accompanying vocals from the President’s First Lady. May seem a bit mis-matched on paper, but the music itself is precise and gorgeous, rife with Miami House vibes, the Hotline Miami soundtrack ran through the Telefuture mincer. Not only that, but the vocals on the top are, well, simply put: Erin’s singing sounds as good as her cooking looks. Only let-down is it’s mixed by Brandon, so if they’d shaken the dead weight it could have been a straight ten but, oh well. He’s always gotta let the side down. [Editor’s note: Suck it, Kilpatty, you smelly buttfart.]
07. Inverse Phase – Unit F [Amiiiiigaaaaa edit]
Originally written for a compilation in 2010 to help aid the fight against cancer, Inverse Phase has re-imagined his own track with Amiga sounds. Known probably better for his many cover releases, tracks like this solidify why he gets called to make soundtracks, play live and put forth for compilations like this time and time again; ‘Unit F’ is incredibly well-written. Simple. Lurching around with incredibly eerie tones, an unsettling atmosphere and some ingenious counter-melodies and scalic work running over the track, turn out the lights and prepare to weep (and not because you missed MAGfest [well this time anyway]).
08. Awesome Force – The MAGnificent Sinner
If his mind-blowing BRKfest set (still streamable on his Bandcamp) didn’t clue you in already, Awesome Force is an awesome force to be reckoned with live (just kill me now). The track he’s supplied jumps between nods to drum n bass, huge melodic motifs, syncopated funk bridges and a slowly building intensity that is as all-encompassing as it is effective; it will literally asphyxiate you with squarewaves. Dripping in as much energy as there would be sweat if you’d seen him live, this track only goes to further highlight Sean Baker as a rising and incredible talent in the chiptune scene.
09. TheDutchess – The Private i
Sega Genesis chiptune, reeking of the 80s and melodically focused? And melodically focused it is, every single second is swarming in unforgettable motifs, as jabbing basslines, glittering leads and clinking counter-melodies build into layers of jazzfunkprogchip. If this doesn’t contain elements of live jazz-esque improvisation, then TheDutchess certainly does a fantastic job of emulating them. One of the strongest composed tracks on the compilation, or on any Chiptune = WIN compilation for that matter. MAG’s booking of this artist was an act of genius. Be sure to check him out before his popularity explodes, if not for support than for bragging rights at least.
10. RobotSexMusic – South Station Breakdown
The Andrew W.K of chip, Boston’s party-chip ambassador Peter Hegarty (aka RSM) is up to his ol’ cheeky tricks again. Inescapable beats, affecting melodies, diverse and powerful wav work, and a shed-load of dance-floor filling attitude, this is RobotSexMusic almost as it should be heard, lying somewhere between EDM, drum n bass and with the ever-so-slight tinges of unce. Another un-missable live act that somehow translates a live energy into the studio. All hail the party king.
11. Auxcide – Revelry
Resident artist at Pxl-Bot and 8static, been on more compilations than memory can serve and rose meteorically to popularity within the scene, and all since 2012. How? This track does a fairly good job of explaining. Auxcide’s ability to meld truly jaw-dropping, heart-rending melodies reeking of the astral has always been unparalleled, and mix that with a genuine ear for dance music and attention paid to audience reaction to music, Auxcide manages to craft another trip through musical space, leading you by hand, captivating as always. Words are pointless at this stage, if you’ve not listened to him before, partake and fall in love.
12. Kubbi – The Cairn
That bloody cat-loving Norwegian. Not content with being one of the most talented composers in the electronic music scene altogether, with the ability to seemingly pluck unendingly grandiose and emotive pieces from nowhere, whilst retaining generic sense in the fields of progressive rock, classical music and electronic dance simultaneously, the Scandinavian devil has decided that one country is not good enough to be graced with his presence. The very nerve. Now he’s off gallivanting to the New Frontier, seemingly hell-bent on world domination, bringing this predictably ingenious, poignant and stylistically diverse track with him. Makes me bloody sick it does.
And so that’s it! Whilst being one of the shortest Chiptune = WIN compilations to date, it is definitely also one of the most consistent and eclectic. If you missed out on all the MAG 12 fun here, I guess, is a small token to help you through the tough time. Or it’ll push you over the edge and you’ll cry for days. Good work Brandon, idiot.
As y’all surely have noticed by now, MAGFest has announced all of it’s chiptune goodness for the impending glory that is MAGFest 12. This includes both the main stage chipshows (lineups here & here) & the return of the Chipspace (mentioned in the MAGProm announcement here). For those of you unfortunate enough to have missed out on the crazy, last minute party that was Chipspace at MAG 11 & are thinking, “WTF is teh Cherpspoose?” allow me to elucidate! =D
Chipspace is a virtually NON-STOP chiptune open mic stage that is available to any and all MAGFest attendees interested in & capable of performing chipmusic at MAG (tl;dr – It’s a Jamspace for chiptunes). [guidelines HERE]
Last year’s Chipspace was a damn blast, and it really did all come together last minute LOLZ! This time around it’s getting a good deal more planning (& by a team of real BAMFs, including yours truly <3) & even more support from MAGFest. Basically what I’m trying to say here is…
EXPECT EVEN MOAR AMAZEBALLSNESS/CRAZYASS ANTICS/ZOMBOCON!!! 8)