Chip Music, Featured, Game Music

GDC 2012: Chip Music Concert Recap & Photos

March 13, 2012 | | 4 Comments Share thison Facebook GDC 2012: Chip Music Concert Recap & Photoson Twitter

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!

Tuesday night saw a fantastic lineup at the DNA Lounge including chiptune heavyweights Jake “Virt” Kaufman, Zen Albatross, Disasterpeace, and A_Rival (who were the clear highlights of the night for me). Other performers included NYC’s minusbaby, Bay Area favorite crashfaster (performing with a full band), Retro City Rampage composer Leonard Paul (aka Freaky DNA) and local outfits The Glowing Stars and Louis Gorenfeld. To top it off, demo stations for various indie games including Polytron’s FEZ and Muteki Corp’s Dragon Fantasy were scattered around the venue, turning it into a combination concert hall / arcade.

Virt played some amazing tunes from his newest release, FX4 as well as some tracks from his soundtrack for Mighty Switch Force. Zen Albatross, who went on prior to Virt, also played an incredible set — probably the best set I’ve heard from him yet! Disasterpeace was up later on. Comprised of FEZ composer Rich Vreeland and drummer Roger “Rekcahdam” Hicks, they played some Disasterpeace faves including “Mission on Granthan” from the soundtrack to Passcode: Soul of the Traveler. A_Rival ended the amazing night with a high-powered set that included tracks from his latest EP, TMNT 2012. Blip Festival notwithstanding, this show was definitely the “big kahuna” of chip concerts, featuring some of the most prominent and accomplished chip artists and game composers in the US.

On Thursday, crashfaster returned to play at the Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s 22nd birthday bash at Club Mighty along with chip veteran Trash80 and nerdcore rapper Dual Core. I wasn’t able to make it to this show, but fortunately Zen Albatross sent us a few photos. (see below)

The next night, a final chip concert was held at the MIST Club in SoMa. Part of San Francisco’s “DOPE” concert series, the lineup featured more dance-heavy sets than the previous show, featuring artists including Starpause, Trash80 and encore performances from Zen Albatross, crashfaster and minusbaby. One of the coolest things about this place was the ambience. The whole room was decorated with a “Space Invaders meets Star Wars” theme that just made the whole night a lot better! (Not to mention similarly themed go-go dancers strutting their stuff in the back) The highlights from this show for me were Starpause and Space Town Savior. Starpause maintained a definite club vibe with heavily distorted chip and FM synth modulations that would make most dubstep artists squeal with joy. Space Town Savior played a fantastic set as well, packing a whopping 4 Game Boys and hypnotizing the audience with nostalgic, 8-bit trance music.

Overall it was a great couple of nights, with each venue packed full of GDC attendees — and what better way to celebrate the event than by kicking back with fellow gamers and listening to 8-bit tunage?

Were you at any of the concerts at GDC? Let us know your favorite artists from each night, and check out more photos below.

Photos by John Adams, Richard Caraballo and Kunal Majmudar

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