For chiptune enthusiasts, Ubiktune is now one of the most thriving and exciting labels in their minds. For several years, the little net label has grown considerably from a small Russian Speccy establishment into a fully realized chiptune label, featuring concept albums with a unique and fulfilling flow that the chiptune albums often lack. This year alone, Ubiktune has been responsible for some of the best electronic based albums of 2011.
At the front of this label is C-jeff, the Russian chiptune artist who time and time again has impressed listeners with his incredibly creative process and product. Catchy melodies with an underlying melancholy is his special trade, but in the midst of this darker take on arts, you’ll find a very interesting, cheerful and interesting individual. I had the pleasure of having a long and very interesting talk with C-jeff where we discuss at length his music, Ubiktune, the chiptune scene and growing up in Russia. Of course, we also discuss his upcoming album and the surprise appearances it features.
Read our interview with C-jeff after the jump! (more…)
To make an arrangement is not an easy feat. The challenges of not only doing the source justice with the proper amount of recognizable motifs and cues, but also showcase your own sound and originality puts the pressures on the artist’s talent and tools and turns the extra critical eye on things from the listeners. But what is even harder is to create a tribute to tip the hat to a whole genre, creating a sound and melodic landscape that sounds appropriate and true that is made with the free nature and uninhibited imagination of the composer. That is exactly what surasshu and coda set out to do with their new co-produced Eroge tribute album; Tree Of Knowledge.
And yes, I can make any article title sound dirty.
Find out if the album bears fruit after the jump! (more…)
You remember that time you were in boy-scouts and that guy was kinda creepy and looked at you all funny? What was up with that? Anyway, Ubiktune is a chiptune label that has been around since 2006 that has grown larger and larger by each release, showcasing some of the finest compilation of chiptune music by gathering the greatest name and doing fantastic concept albums. Literally, talent from around the world have now taken notice of the young label, and partaken in the fantastic releases.
The latest release is surely one that keeps their reputation on top of the mountain. Equilibrium features 9 talented NES chip music artists, including FearofDark, Rushjet as well as surasshu who together create a soothing soundscape of tranquility, peace and a melodic balance inspired by the sea side and docks of Japan. The songs are ripe with inspiration and full of atmosphere, making use of ingenious sound effects to create a setting rarely heard from chiptunes, let alone NES based. The art was done by the fantastic junkboy. And as always, the release is completely free, so there is no excuse not to support this fine cast of musicians and chill out.
Get the release at Ubiktune
Most of the Western audience has little idea or knowledge on the subject of Eroge games, more commonly referred to as hentai or to a smaller extent bishoujo games. Usually, the mention of such games will be centered around the fact that anime characters are engaging in coitus, which is much more silly than say a country which manages to believe in Donald Trump as a possible future president. But truth be told, Eroge games have had a huge impact on game music history and many of today’s big wigs had their start in the genre, producing some of the very best soundtracks ever crafted for video games, especially on the Japanese based home computers NEC PC-88 and its successor PC-98.
Dutch imported Sweden based composer Steven Velema, better known as surasshu and the equally great Ken “coda” Snyder have taken notice of the incredible musical material, and got their hands out of their pants to make a tribute CD based on the style of music found in the steamy video games found on PC-98. Taking cues from legendary names like Ryu Umemoto, their tribute CD is structured much like those soundtracks, and on the website it even offers a back-story and “screenshots” as if it was a legit release from the 90s. The music itself is luckily as good as the awesome presentation, and the international duo have managed to craft a a faux soundtrack that is close to as good as the real deal. In addition, the CD comes with authentic styled art and drawings by Diana Jakobsson and pixel artist Jordan Chewning.
The CD goes for $12, and is scheduled for release on 1st of May. Celebrate the real labor day by unloading with the sounds of PC-98 done righteously.
As I noted in the report from the Los Angeles based Live Chipmusic For Broken Hearts show that took place last month, the young new act Space Town Savior might have stolen the show with his melodic dance tracks and adorable mogwai like dancing. And like Gizmo before him, he captured the hearts and attention of the audience.
Luckily the young man has been working on an album based on a lot of the material he performed, and to keep the masses satisfied (and his own sanity intact) Space Town Savior decided to release an EP previewing his upcoming full length. The 30 minute EP titled Two Ghosts, One Existence contains 6 tracks of all new chip marbles that should keep even the most jaded dancer in motion. In particular, the 2 part opener “The Ominous Complexity” and “Incredible Stepwise Function”. A Bandcamp site is set up for the release and available for free download, though donations are welcome as funding goes to production of the full length album.
Make sure to download Two Ghosts, One Existence.
What’s that? You haven’t heard of Iris? While I can’t necessarily blame you for missing out on this talented synth pop duo among the sea of music out there on the Internet, Iris has for many years been one of my favorite electronic acts around. With Reagan Jones handling songwriting and vocals and demoscene legend Andrew Sega on keyboards and programming, the two make a deadly combination that you really ought to familiarize yourself with. Think Depeche Mode… but better.
What better time to check them out than with the release of their new album, Blacklight? While I fell in love with Jones’s ethereal vocals and Sega’s dreamy electronic backings on their 2003 album, Awakening, Blacklight takes a different approach, delving into darker territory with an emphasis on techno-like beats and brooding themes.
Hit the jump to find out if this new direction works and where to pick up Iris’s past work. (more…)
Bjørn Lynne was and still is one of the most famous demoscene musicians of his time. During the early 90′s he released his works under the pseudonym “Dr. Awesome” which grew to legendary status on the Amiga scene, and eventually he became a respected game music composer having composed for such games as Worms, Brat and Seven Kingdoms. He today enjoys life in my hometown of Stavern, where he runs his label and freelance studio Lynne Music which he uses to license out his music for TV shows and other projects such as talking pillow cases.
Recently on his facebook, Lynne states that he encountered what seems to become a recurring problem for chip and demoscene musicians. A DJ by the name of El Tigro Negro who brands himself as a “techno dance house workout music DJ” has been renaming and retooling Lynne’s music and selling it on Spotify and Amazon without any permission. At first look it seemed to only be one track, but on further inspection, it turns out El Donkey Dingo has released a 102 track long album consisting of stolen music by not only Lynne, but countless other artists as well. When faced with a request to take the music down, El Platypus Blanco told Lynne to piss off and claimed he had bought the rights to the music.
What do you think of such blatant disrespect and theft? Visit Lynne Music.com for the real deal.
Legendary UK game composer and demoscene musician Matt Simmonds (aka 4mat) is stepping up to the plate once again with a brand new digital full-length. A regular on chiptune music sharing site 8bitcollective, 4mat has been posting bits and bobs of his work online for quite a while now. But none of it can properly prepare you for the cinematic grandeur that is his latest album, ‘Decades.’ Simmonds’ odyssey runs the gamut from ambient downtempo and electrotrance to dizzying breakbeats and epic VGM-style orchestration, coagulating into a bold and diverse showcase of 20 years’experience in videogame and computer audio.
Hit up the stream below to preview the whole thing and keep an eye on 4mat’s blog for upcoming info on where you can go to buy the album as a digital download. Physical CD and vinyl versions are also forthcoming.
Listen: 4mat – ‘Decades’
It’s been a long time since we’ve covered anything from the demoscene, but if you’re into dreamy electronic soundscapes, you definitely need to pay attention to this one. Back in 2008 we covered a release from one of our favorite electronic artists, Planet Boelex, who had teamed up with vocalist Lisa’s Antenna for a vibrant 30-minute release titled Little World. It was an amazing release, and most of all, it was available for free.
Well, Planet Boelex is back with Raja, and he’s brought even more friends. We get one track with Lisa’s Antenna which is much moodier than their collaborations on Little World, as well as a track with another of our favorite demoscene artists, Mikael Fyrek (you should really check out his A Thousand Years and One EP if you haven’t already), as well as demoscene legend Mosaik, who we interviewed last year. It’s basically most of my favorite demoscene artists wrapped up into one cohesive release.
Find out what it has to offer in our review of Raja after the jump. (more…)
We at OSV are big Josh Whelchel supporters. Josh is an indie composer who had it on his heart to start a charity album, which he did last year in the form of “Songs For The Cure.”
We ran a review on the follow-up album Songs For The Cure ’10. It’s good stuff, and every dollar spent on it goes via the Indie Music Cancer Drive to fight cancer.
We saw this letter from Josh recently and wanted to share with our readers:
“Just another BIG BIG thank you to everyone for your hard work. We’ve hit $5,180 and our ‘soft deadline’ is this Friday on April 23rd. I’m very confident we’ll hit $10,000 before the end of the fiscal year in August, so a HUGE thank you to everyone again.”
Jeff Roberts, a Canadian musician who goes by the moniker jmr and lurks around the corners of the video game arrangement scene and releases some of his own music from time to time, released his newest work through the ThaSauce network on their original label called Wardriver. Over the course of 20 days or so, Roberts tweaked and tuned his album to completion. That’s not so special or out of the ordinary, but what he made it on probably is.
The entire album was composed and performed on his cellphone. Yeah bet you didn’t see that coming. Using the PhoenixStudio interface and his own little cell, he crafted a 15 minute EP The results is quite impressive too, with energetic tunes reminiscent to Amiga and C64 with some excellent retro vibes and demoscene influence, especially the title track. It’s definitively a release to check out for both the quality of music and curiosity of the actual execution.
The EP can be downloaded at Wardriver:Tha Sauce
The enigmatic Swedish electronica artist Mosaik released the stunning Leandi EP last year. Yours truly reviewed it and eventually managed to track down Jakob Svanholm; the man behind the luscious soundscapes of Mosaik, who is also known under the moniker Radix in the golden age of the demoscene.
We manage to get some time with him out of his busy schedule to discuss the Leandi EP and his creative process, and even go into the netlabel scene and free distribution of music. He has some interesting ideas about music as an industry, and even goes as far to say “Releasing music for free is the only way.” I wish other people saw it that way.
Read our interview with Mosaik after the jump. (more…)