This All Hallow’s Eve Eve, let me spin you a tale – a tale of how some skeletons armed with synthesizers and their friends stormed the goth club in Richmond, Virginia and made us lose our minds. Are you ready for… a GosT story?!
Heyo, ChipWINners! Welcome back to Quick Shots! This month, I’ll be reviewing work from three artists across the creative spectrum who have each brought something rather unique to the table. The first is a debut EP from a chiptuner with EDM leanings. The second is an artist I’ve featured in my interview column who has recently put out two new singles. The third is an offering that skews more towards Nerdcore than chiptune, but was too unique to pass up on sharing with all of you. So lets not waste any more time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the works of Gigibyte, Thorazine Unicorn, and 8-Bit Mullet.
2016 has been an truly eventful year, with both positive & negative things happening all around us. Chiptune has been a huge part of this year, especially for me. I have reviewed so much music that I was practically reviewing a new album every other week, so it’s obvious that I would have come across some chiptune music that didn’t quite hit me, but when taking another listen later on down the line, a few gems have blown me away. To sum up, here are 3 songs that have grown on me over the year 2016.
As some of you might know, I spent my college years in Richmond, Virginia, toiling away organizing VCU’s nerd community and, eventually, becoming this blog’s first intern in my senior year. While there was the occasional ANAMANAGUCHI show, or that one time Inverse Phase and a_rival came to visit, it always seemed like Richmond had all sorts of independent music happening EXCEPT the electronic kind. Little did I know that had I dug just a little deeper in my final years in that city, I’d have found what I was looking for by way of a few music collectives and one particular guy by the name of Jeremy Belcher, better known as F1NG3RS. Now, you might be wondering why I’m trying to talk to you about people in a city that 97% of you guys will under normal circumstances never visit. If you are, I’d like to point to New York City in the early 00’s, or Philly and Boston over the last decade, or even Los Angeles over the past few years and what started from just a couple shows into what have blossomed into full-blown scenes. If you’ll pardon the extension of the plant metaphor, the only way a scene can take root and thrive is through careful cultivation – and just like a flower that needs more light to live, so too do tiny scenes if they’re going to take off.
Before we get too far into this, I’d like to give a special thanks to Daniel Davis – he put in some real legwork right after I had left Richmond to look into what the city had to offer, so much of the following is thanks to talks we had and people I met because of him. (more…)
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…)
You’re all pretty hip to the cool stuff going on in the chiptunes world these days – ‘course you are, or you wouldn’t be here, reading this, would you? So of course you know that Anamanaguchi has been on tour promoting their swagtacular new album Endless Fantasy, and you probably know that they’ve had a bunch of fantastic folks on tour with them. For the Richmond stop, they featured none other than the rap stylings of Kitty Pryde and fellow chiptune/rock dude Paul “Chipocrite” Weinstein (now featuring Roger “Rekcahdam” Hicks on drums!).
A collection of shots from Strange Matter’s website.
The last time these guys were in Richmond, they rocked the house at Strange Matter, so it was no surprise they’d return. Strange Matter’s a pretty rad place, and lends itself to being a haven for most of us nerdy-types and/or hipsters: there’s an arcade in the back stocked with classics (I will personally wreck your face on the MvC2 cab, that is an open invitation to everyone unless you’re actually tournament level in which case you’ll make me cry and run home), there’s all sorts of custom videogame art on the walls, they’ve got a decent selection of beer, and they make a DAMN good hamburger. Point being, this place is literally equipped to be the perfect place for this kind of show. The only “downside” to the venue is the fact that the standing/thrashing/moshing audience space is mildly limited – but I mean, if you’re doing any of those, you probably don’t care that you’re all up on people.
Chipocrite and Rekcahdam, photo credit Kira Wilhelm.
The pre-show energy was really high, which given the small space inside the bar, seemed magnified. There couldn’t have been more than fifty or sixty people, but it felt like two hundred. Most of the performers were out mingling with the crowd – Chipocrite was grabbing a beer, Rekcahdam was posing up on the wall and relaxing, Kitty was outside doing a photoshoot, but the ‘Guchi boys must have been hiding (or maybe they just blended in really well). The bar was swamped with people prepping for the show, and the arcade was hopping with people grinding other peoples’ faces to dirt in Mortal Kombat and Marvel vs Capcom 2.
The show got started when Chipocrite and Rekcahdam took the stage. Now, I’ve seen Paul perform on his own before (anyone remember 8-Bit Invasion 1?), and Rekcahdam was at PAX backing up Disasterpeace, but this performance was well beyond anything that I’ve seen them do before. As such, I think it was a great introduction to Chipocrite for newcomers – and I’m hoping that Rekcahdam becomes a permanent part of the act, because a live drumset adds so much to the music. Also, he played one of the tracks from his Big Lebowski cover album, which was an instant S+ Gold Rank performance, so I’m fairly sure if anyone in the audience was not yet won over, they had no choice but to abide and jam along with everyone else.
Kitty Pryde: Still unsure if she can phase through walls, but she can definitely rap and fight off the haters.
Then we have Kitty Pryde. Kitty wasn’t what most people were expecting as part of this gig, but that being said, I know a good handful of the audience were there specifically to see her. I’d certainly never heard of her – not that I’m the end-all be-all reference for modern music or anything, but her turnout left me rather surprised. Musically, I feel Kitty is the rap version of Lily Allen – her raps are mildly humorous, even when they’re about being spurned, and it was a good chillmode intercession between two high-energy acts. If you’re not familiar with her, here’s the one song that all my friends who knew her were waiting for.
And then the main event. Their set design was fantastic – if you saw the Jimmy Fallon performance, you should be familiar with the basic layout: Two projector-cubes, a bunch of lights, and a screen in the back. The visual effect was quite striking, having things being projected in so many places at once – if you had even a touch of ADD, it was almost a nightmare, but in such a good way, with so many different stimuli going all at once. I also feel that unlike some of their previous albums, their live performances sound a lot more like what you get on Endless Fantasy, which is awesome – I really enjoy when the live performance enhances that what you’ve heard on the album, instead of being entirely different. The only song that deviated wildly from the album was Meow, which they didn’t seem to have the cat keyboard for – but that didn’t matter after the entire audience sang along the missing meows in sync (it was simultaneously hilarious and scary, but more the former than the latter).
Anamanaguchi, photo credit Stephen Roberts
To explain the title of this article, though: at one point, right around when they were passing around their glowtube into the audience, I felt some water trickling down on me. I looked up, and it seemed as though water was materializing and dropping from right above the ceiling. And that’s when I realized – people were rocking out so hard that the humidity in the room had raised to such a level that there were literally rainclouds forming from sweat evaporating off of everyone. It was a surreal (and honestly, mildly gross) experience, but I guess the boys can say they rocked so hard they quite literally made it rain on the crowd.
It looks like there’s still one more stop on their tour, so if you haven’t seen them, and you’re going to be in New York now’s your chance!
And remember kids: Haters gonna hate, playas gonna play, and rhombus gonna rhomb.