For the March installment of Office Hours I have the distinct pleasure of reviewing the just-released ‘Lunaria’ by Danimal Cannon. This album is exciting to me on several levels, as I first discovered Danimal shortly after learning LSDJ. His Youtube videos of guitar + Game Boy showed me the incredible potential of chip music and helped inspire me to get started making my own. I am also excited to hear new music from him, as 2013’s superb ‘Parallel Processing’ collaboration with Zef feels like an eternity ago!
If you are reading this blog about chip music, it is unlikely that you need an introduction to Danimal Cannon. His shredding guitar blends seamlessly with the Game Boy, providing both melodic and solo material as well as rhythm accompaniment when the pulse and wave channels are pushed to their limit. He has performed shows with Metroid Metal, Armcannon, Weaponex, and solo around the country and abroad. Finally, prior to the official release of ‘Lunaria’, President Hoodie published an interview with Danimal Cannon – it contains several interesting insights into the composition of this album, and should not be missed!
Sup y’all? =) Pres Hoodie here, somehow still alive post-MAGFest 2016 (damn, that was a crazy, wonderful adventure!). In the aftermath of such, I’m bringing you an interview with a cool cat that I’ve been acquainted with since my very first MAGFest (MAG 9). It also happens to be the event where he got his start performing live chipmusic. There’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of him and his imminent sophomore album, ‘Lunaria’. Yup, of course I’m talking about Dan Behrens aka Danimal Cannon! Enjoy!
And just like that, another ChipWIN Volume submission period has come and gone.
Now on to the really tough part: THE JUDGING &ROSTER SELECTION.
Rest assured that, for the next week or two, the ChipWIN V.4 Judges Team will be working really gorram hard to get everything squared away as swiftly as we possibly can without sacrificing the integrity of the project (appx 2-3 weeks).
And, of course, as soon as the roster is 100%, we’ll announce it here on the blog & fire out it through all ChipWIN social media salvos!
Your pulse quickens… your eyes begin to dilate. Your breath becomes labored…faster and faster. Your palms sweat—knees weak, arms are heavy (MOM’S SPAGHETTI). What could it be?! Anaphylactic shock? Nope. Someone slipped you something? Nah. Steam sales? Praise Gaben, but it’s not that either. With that said, that can one mean one thing:
Saran wrap those loins (wait, what?), hold on to your butts (don’t let go), and bring a plate for all that spaghetti you’re going to be spilling all over yourself…. oh, and don’t forget the parmesan cheese. MAGFEST 12 IS COMETH.
With all this excitement spewing from the tips of my fingers, you’d think I’ve been rockin’ the Gaylord since MAGFest 10? Think again. MAGN00b here! However, this professor right here has her Pokédex on hand to catalog all the nerds, her personal trading cards to share, and Nurse Joy on speed dial should she catch the MAGPlague. While it’s been an eight month process—the first three spent deciding whether or not MAGFest is worth the trek from Los Angeles—it all became a reality when I booked my first solo flight back in November and I haven’t looked back since. Preparing for MAGFest, on the other hand, is totally out of the question. With my only solidified plans being my transportation to and from the event, a floor to sleep on, friends to FINALLY meet, and cash to spend, I’m letting the MAGFestivities take me on my own journey.
Not going to lie, writing this article has me feeling a little jittery, as I’ve caught myself daydreaming about the adventure that awaits: dancing the night away at MAGProm to The OneUps and Love Canon, playing a mad game of Cards Against Humanity in my hotel suite, playing some free vintage arcade games, and cuddling in the middle of the Chipspace floor. However, my excitement for the amount of quality chip acts performing at this year’s MAGFest can never be expressed through words on a screen—such quality, such chip, such A+++, wow.
On top of all that, there’s also PLENTY of weekend chip performances that I KNOW will blow your socks off. My top four do not miss picks (among so many excellent chipartists!) are as follows:
A_Rival: Performing January 3rd at 1:30 p.m.
Bay Area based chip hop producer Luke Esquivel, also known as A_Rival, launched his newest release ’Truthcannon’ on May 21, 2013. With cameos made by bLiNd, Abducted By Sharks, and TRASH80 on the latter half of the album, ’Truthcannon’ is a fantastic, fist-pumping album infused with dubstep drops, dreamy chip melodies and lovely Trance-like vocals to transcend its listeners on a ride through a 16-bit space shooter game.
Auxcide: Performing January 3rd at 12:00 p.m.
Having just dropped two consecutive 8static net label releases on December 18, 2013, Bryan Dobbins, also known as Auxcide, has captured my heart (Morgan and Kilpatrick’s as well) with ‘Speck’ and ‘Pixel’. Auxcide’s ability to produce not one but TWO danceable albums reigns from his precise electronic underscoring accompanied by the harsh soundchips of his Gameboy AGS and DMG running LSDJ. Created using a plethora of hardware including Roland Gaia, Yamaha PSR-500, and Arturia MiniBrute, ‘Pixel’ is the calm predecessor I imagine to soundtrack the victory of war, where ‘Speck’ is an explosion of energy that can’t help but grab your attention. The cool thing about these albums? Auxcide covers ‘The Moon’ from Ducktales Remastered (released by WayForward with music composed by Jake ‘virt’ Kaufman) and ‘Fire and Ice’, the Game of Thrones title sequence track.
Danimal Cannon: Performing January 3rd at 2:00 p.m.
Zef: Performing January 5th at 4:05 a.m.
With a recent TEDxBuffalo appearance about chipmusic, Dan ‘Danimal Cannon’ Behrens is making his way to MAGFest 12 to rock your faces not once but TWICE. Performing under both Danimal Cannon and ARMCANNON this year, Behrens released ‘Parallel Processing’ alongside Zef on January 15, 2013 under the prior. (NOTE: One of the two artists will be releasing a new track on the upcoming MAG=WIN comp! Listen to the teaser HERE to guess who!) With that notable progchip sound, ‘Parallel Processing’ is another stellar Ubiktune release, and is an album quite like none other. The two technically skilled artists combined forces, smashed their noggins together, and went to town to create an album whose INSANE level of musical engineering is accompanied by their love for Gameboy processors.
That’s all for this month’s Chip Treatment! I’ll be seeing all you Carbon based lifeforms at MAG! If for whatever reason you can’t make it, be sure to tune in to clip-stream.net as my awesome friends Casshern and Glenntai are manning the livestreams so you don’t miss out!
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!
And now for the first write-up from the man with many, many hats, Andrew Kilpatrick, who’ll be adding “ChipWIN Blog writer” to his already long list of pursuits (I dunno HOW he finds time, but I ain’t gonna question it!! ;D ). His first post is all about the artist behind track #10 from ChipWIN Volume 1:
Zef, or Chris Penner, delivers to the compilation a track from his most recently released progressive electronic opus ‘Blackout’, the astonishing ‘Pure Voltage’. Zef staples dub influences into the flesh of dance music, whilst heaping on atmosphere until all contenders to his dirty throne choke. Drum n Bass kicks flow over the track like a tightly woven blanket of fist-pumping decadence, backed by a series of un-restrained glitch flickers that flirt with outright dissonance and melodies that hook themselves firmly in place and subtly build structure around a seemingly, at first glance anyway, free-form song flow. His style is reminiscent of the style fast becoming the new definition of what the standardised ‘chiptune’ is (a definition that changes as rapidly as artists join and leave the scene), and Zef is certainly a definer of this newly emerging amalgamation of certain popular electronic styles and chiptune instrumentation.
Being the first artist to have a solo release on the now thriving Noisechannel.org label, Zef backed up his debut stunner with the glorious and previously mentioned ‘Blackout’, wherein he improved and perfected his developing sounds and styles to great effect. Now, with rumblings of a release with Danimal Cannon in the works, Zef seems poised to place himself firmly in the chiptune lime light whilst he is organically becoming a respected figure in Chipland.
For more Zef check out his Bandcamp and download/spread/ streamwhilstcoatingyourselfinoil his tunes. It’s definitely worth the venture.