May 5th was a hell of a good day for music: Dino Lionetti of Cheap Dinosaurs released the soundtrack for WiiU/Steam game ‘High Strangeness’. ‘High Strangeness’ is perfect for any gamer who loves the creative realm of nostalgic adventures. I find that the best games of all time are ones that have a soundtrack that’s just as fun to listen to as the game is to play, and this 17-part soundtrack alone is so good and innovative that it gets me amped to play the game the second I get a chance.
Swedish chiptune musician Zalza (Alexander Bulér) is a legend of an artist whose experience with chipmusic stretches back to the 90’s demoscene. When a demoscene veteran releases a new full-length album, it’s something that you don’t want to miss. It seems to me that those long-standing chiptune heroes are physically incapable of producing an average or sub-par melody. Such is the case with Zalza’s excellent new album, ‘Superposition’.
Hi! Inverse Phase here. This post first appeared on my tumblr but Brandon said I should share it over here on The ChipWIN Blog as well. Sweet! That said, if you’d like more of the same, please send me some likes and reblogs over there so I know to keep doing this sort of thing!
Welcome back to SYWMAC, guys and gals! It’s great to have you joining me again. Now last time I posted an article, I focused on showing the highs and lows of tone matrix apps, got some positive feedback, and also received some insightful criticism that I’d like to reflect on a bit before beginning this article in earnest.
Heydily-ho, chipperinos! Now that my body has had a chance to recover from Madicon, I can finally take the time to tell you about Saturday, or “Hey, Let’s Put All The Chiptune Stuff On This Day” day.
Inverse Phase kicked off the day bright and early at 10am with his “History of Soundchips” panel, which I really recommend if you ever get a chance to go and watch it (he does this at most conventions he attends). It’s an overview of many of the different soundchips that have been involved in chiptune production through the years, from the various kinds of Atari chips all the way up through to the crazy personal computer chips like in the Commodore 64. I still can’t keep them all straight – but he’s been doing this for 20 years, so he’s had a little more time to. That panel bled into his next panel, which was a talk titled “Making Chiptunes 101”. This is the other panel that he typically does whenever he’s invited to conventions – basically, he asks for a music suggestion from the audience, and then shows you how to write it using Milkytracker, which is a fun little PC tracker which is great for making chiptunes (you DO have to have your own WAV files to give it voices for the instruments, but those are easy enough to obtain.) This time around, he did “Crash As You Are”, a Megaman-flavored rendering of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.” It was hilarious!
In other paneling news, DJ Cutman gave a really informative “How To Make a Beat” panel, demonstrating how to use Ableton to funkify yo’ remixes. The panel almost didn’t happen due to both the fact that Macs hate being compatible with literally anything and that there wasn’t an HDMI port for Cutman to hook up to, but thankfully datacats swooped in to save the day and they ran the presentation from there. He ended up taking Terra’s Theme from FFVI (or FFIII, if you’re talking about the American SNES port) and added some sweet hip-hop drums behind it. It’s a really great panel – there’s a lot of basic theory that Cutman goes over that is applicable not just in hiphop but in any kind of music you want to make. As an added bonus, he explained some of the major key features of Ableton above and beyond those pertaining to simple hip-hop funkification – all sorts of fun things like how to sync your beats per minute from one piece of your music to another, things like that. If you’re looking to start doing some legitimate mixing I’d suggest you take a look here – I mean, sure, you’ve got your ProTools and your Fruity Loops and your Cubase, but Ableton is really intuitive. AND THAT’S NOT ALL – if you act right now (and by right now I mean whenever), you can actually get lessons from DJ Cutman! The panel he gave is actually a condensed version of an eight one-hour session Skype class that he teaches, so if you’re interested, shoot him a message on his Facebook!
The main events, of course, were the concerts. Inverse Phase and Cartoon Bomb did some sets during the day, which rocked as always, As an added bonus, DJs Cutman & Super Sonic, as well as datacats and Cartoon Bomb all “busked” in one of the open areas of the convention area as they were preparing for the evening. Datacats ended up DJing behind a fundraising event, followed by Cutman laying down some nice disco and house beats while the rave got set up. DJ Super Sonic took over the rave, making it all dub-tastic, but once again the room sought to thwart our fun and datacats swung in to save the day with his laptop. DJ Dr. Wily also made a brief appearance, though he managed to disappear before DJ Cutman got to the rave, of course.
So that’s it! Well, wait, no, that’s ALMOST it. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that Jon St. John, one of the most beloved members of the MAGFamily, was in attendance, and hung around during datacats’ set while he got his face painted by the folks at Tainted Reality (pictured below, photo credit Shawn Morgan). By the end of it he looked monstrous, which seems about par for the course if my experiences with him have taught me anything. And speaking of MAGFamily, there were many more of them rolling around the con! And many of us (myself included, of course) ending up having a miniature MAGStock at Bill Del Gallo’s house. Good times were had by all in attendance, lemme tell ya!
So basically: Do you like MAGFest? Do you like smaller conventions, where you can be a little more intimate with the guests (NOT LIKE THAT) and get to talk to them and learn from them? Maybe you should give Madicon a try next year.
WIN-tern out! We’ll be back next time with more Spotlight!
EDIT: Datacats himself caught an error in my attributions – Mike Peloquin didn’t take the Jon St. John picture, Shawn Morgan did! Mike’s actually the guy in the background of the picture. A No Prize for you, datacats!