This past week was blessed with the release of an brand new original digital album by Samuel “Shnabubula” Ascher-Weiss with the debut of Starbound. After wowing us with his last game-tribute release NES Jams back in March, it seems Mr. ‘bubula has been busy whipping up some awesome freshness for the rest of us to enjoy in awe. And I do very much mean AWE.
Featuring electronic funk and fun progressive chiptune beats, Starbound is every bit shooting for the stars as it alludes to. Although only boasting 5 tracks, this 42-minute album manages to give you real a sense of piloting a flying spaceship in full 8-bit glory whilst blasting away and brightly-colored obstacles. Intense melody and electronic mastery awaits you with this release that, should you know any of Ascher-Weiss’s previous works, shall not disappoint in the least.
Officially released on Ubiktune and available for download at the beyond-reasonable “Name Your Price” format on Shnabubula’s own Bandcamp page, Starbound is well worth immersing yourself in a spacial world of total musical grandeur.
Earlier this month, the boys who put together the soundtrack for the open-world, 8-bit adventure that is VBlank Entertainment’s Retro City Rampage were interviewed about their involvement in the project (and maybe a bit more personal information than most readers were prepared for). Regardless, the dynamic trio of Jake “Virt” Kaufman, Matthew “Norrin Radd” Creamer and Leonard “FreakyDNA” Paul expressed just what inspired them to create the funky beats of the parody game.
However, now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of what makes the music of the game as fun and colorful as the artists themselves. Check under the cut for the funky beats and delightful dissection of Retro City Rampage.
Rich Vreeland (aka Disasterpeace) is well known for creating delicate, joyous dreamscapes allowing the listener to let his disintegrating pulse waves wash over them like a tender storm. He is now thrust into the spotlight once again after providing FEZ with its magnificent, critically acclaimed soundtrack, which can be found at disasterpeace.com. He has also recently appeared in both the Indie Game Music Bundle 2 (podcast interview here) as well as the Indie Royale Lightning Pack bundle (the latter of which sees all proceeds going to charity). Rich was kind enough to answer a few questions about his latest release and give us a glimpse into his creative process.
Frozen Synapse, from Mode 7 Games, is a once-underground hit gone above-ground due to critical mass, much like Minecraft, though for different reasons. But I’m not really here to talk about Frozen Synapse, or even its soundtrack. I am here to talk about the game’s composer, Paul Taylor.
Paul, under the alias “nervous_testpilot,” scored Frozen Synapse and other Mode 7 titles, and has even released original content under that name. And yet, one pseudonym was not enough to contain the power of Paul Taylor. I’ve been listening to a lot of his work in the past few weeks, just taking an interest in his collected works, and the one that stood out to me the most was a dance-friendly chiptunes release called “Impeccable Micro.”
Apparently, the style of Impeccable Micro was different enough to force Taylor to change his name, yet again. Even though it’s still just him releasing it as a solo work, he takes on the stage name _ensnare_ for this project, which was released in the 2nd half of 2011. After the jump, my thoughts on Impeccable Micro, and how to add the album to your own music collection. (more…)
coda, one half of the retro-glorious unit yogurtbox, is ready to take on the world by himself with his new album, Tracer. The album promises over half an hour’s worth of chiptune prog-rock fusion, a familiar sound to those who follow the Ubiktune universe of releases. The artist has had previous success along with surasshu with their yogurtbox label, releasing the highly acclaimed Tree of Knowledge, an imaginary soundtrack based on the PC-98 era of erotic visual novel games. Tracer will however, be coda’s debut album, making it very interesting indeed to hear the results.
The release will be broadcasted on a live listening party over at Noise Channel Radio at 10PM Eastern, May 3rd. Be sure to sign up to their Facebook event and join in on the festivities as coda unveils his debut effort to the world.
Chiptunes, as a category of music, somehow has the capability despite its limitations to evoke a full range of emotions and states of mind. For the most part, though, the most successful chiptune artists make music that allows the listener to clear away all nagging thoughts and enjoy the present state. In other words, “let’s party.”
In stark contrast to this line of music are songs like our own Zen Albatross’ “April 10th,” which nearly demands the listener to pay attention and — to quote Winnie the Pooh — think think think. An artist whose work recently caught my attention for carrying on the tradition of “chiptunes for the analytical” is Samuel Abram, aka Iron Curtain. His first LP, “The Aftermath” dropped at the tail end of 2011.
As always with artists who choose to host their music via bandcamp, I ask that you listen along as I give my impressions. We’ll talk about this album’s heart, mind, and price point after the jump. (more…)
On April 5th, the dead will rise, bringing the funk to town the way only classic game music can provide. The graves tremble in unrest, the electronic screams reaches further and the haunted sound that shall never be forgotten will fill the streets once again.
OSV visited the tomb of the FM Synth, actually because it seemed like a good place to do the dirty lambada without getting caught, but then as the casket cracked open and the fumes of the faded rose into the sky, clues were discovered, a list of names, hidden in code, shrouded in mystery. Can you figure it out?
Too Big Dee Jay
.— — … …. ..- .-
The King of the Valar
Bun ala Bush
oturan feat. Ikustatuf Aya
banger & zicter
All will be clear on OSV on April 4th…
Many know the name Shnabubula. His virtuosic piano skills coupled with his talent for chip music have been explored in the past in releases such as Free Play and Game Genie, respectively. Now the two come together in NES Jams. This album’s story picks up immediately where Game Genie’s leaves off. A young boy, Tommy, has just defeated his Game Genie, and in its place is a mysterious NES cartridge. Upon placing it in his NES, something wondrous occurs; the message “PREPARE TO JAM” appears and Tommy approaches his brother’s keyboard. Suddenly, the game and his fingers begin to play music together! Now, this is just a brief summation of the album’s story; the real beauty is the album itself.
Join us on an aural tour through the album’s 11 tracks after the jump. (more…)
With the release of Around Past in 2010, C-jeff along with Megus illustrated a fully realized vision of his blend using chiptune music combined with live instruments, a combination that has been done before, but not with the rather unique way in order to seemlessly craft a very expressive and organic soundscape that stands out among the many great releases of Ubiktune. Around Past was something of a defining moment in terms of C-jeff’s stylistic approach to the chiptune genre, and with the promise of a solo album using many of the same elements as found in the Around Past album, excitement couldn’t have been higher for the young Russian’s brave new album.
Finally, in January 2012, the album saw light, and Prechstale set out to truly define C-jeff’s sound and style. With suprise guest performers and a story to tell, Prechstale hopes to be one of the true musical experiences you have in 2012.
Click the jump to enter the world of Preschtale! (more…)
We’re only halfway through March of 2012, but Ubiktune has been busy making every month like Christmas with several new releases. 2011 was Ubiktune’s greatest year to date, but it seems they are already well on their way to eclipse their own success even further.
Currently Ubiktune has a slew of new artists showcasing their talents for the chiptune world to listen at large. Of the latest releases, beyond the fantastic releases of Shnabubula’s NES Jams, C-Jeff’s Preschtale and Jake “Virt” Kaufman’s FX4 (All of which Audun will take a closer look at later this week!), we’ve also been treated to a taste of nostalgic bliss with I Miss You – Earthbound 2012, and it’s interesting use of the Earthbound soundfont in the entire album’s creation to give an appropriate heartfelt and evoking feel with various well known artists graciously lending their talents. Maxo released his first completed album, FAKEBIT 2012, with interesting pop style and change-ups in rhythm and pace to give it a unique sound. (“Contexts From Last Night” sounds fairly reminiscent of Starlight Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog for you Sonic lovers). 7bit Date: Robot Love combines the “primitive” video game natures with a slight hip-hop and electronic jazz fusion that will make you find yourself tapping your foot to courtesy of Beek. If you’re looking for something that strays from traditional chiptune style, subPixel’s The Wave combines live instrumentation renditions and chiptune versions on the same EP for dual-listening experiences, showcasing the strength of the compositions in both live and electronic enviroments.
Check it all out on Ubiktune.com and hear for yourself, and check back here for the reviews of NES Jams, Preschtale and FX4!
Every year, tens of thousands of game developers from around the globe descend on the Moscone Center in San Francisco to attend the Game Developers Conference (GDC). During the day, the week-long conference has devs attending seminars and discussions on game development. The nights, however, are host to some of the most amazing geek and game-related parties/concerts of the year. This year, that included a total of three chip music shows, and I was lucky to be able to catch some of them during my trip.
Hit the jump for a recap with photos!
Los Angeles-based 8 Bit Weapon have been at this for a while. The happily married duo, Seth and Michelle Sternberger, got started in 1999 by remixing their favorite Commodore 64 tunes before moving on to other classic gaming consoles. They’ve built a name for themselves over the years with said remixes, a couple game soundtracks, and a ton of original albums, the latest of which we’re checking out here.
Bits with Byte goes in a new direction for the group, relying more on heavier electronic sounds. Does the experiment pay off?
Find out after the jump. (more…)