Back in February of this year, composer Jimmy “Big Giant Circles” Hinson released a Kickstarter funded album titled The Glory Days. A spiritual sequel to one of his earlier albums, Impostor Nostalgia, this new project featured original music written in the style of chiptunes and old-school videogame music. Part of the original Kickstarter stretch goals included the eventual release of a remix album, which the Kickstarter achieved.
The time has finally come for the release of this extra album. Each remix track comes from members of the game music community. Artists contributing on the album include Stemage, Chipzel, and C418. The Glory Days Remixed is set to launch on August 27th and you can pre-order it on the Big Giant Circles Bandcamp page.
Creators of a new game documentary have launched a Kickstarter. The project titled Beep is intending to take a look at the history of game music and sound. Everything from the old school sounds of arcade games all the way to the games of today. The focus isn’t just on the music of these games. The documentary will also be an exploration of audio design, voice work, and the use of chiptune and other game sound technology outside of the gaming medium. A book will also accompany the documentary to supply more detailed information about the various subjects covered in the film.
There are already plans for interviews with major members of the game audio community. Raising money through Kickstarter will aid the creators in being able to travel and interview composers and sound designers. Several composers have already been named for interviews including Tommy Tallarico, Winifred Phillips, Shota Nakama, Peter McConnell, and many more.
Rewards for backers include copies of the documentary, book, soundtrack, t-shirts, and many other physical rewards. The Kickstarter has already raised over $15,000 of the needed $40,000 pledge goal. If this sounds like a project you’d like to see made, definitely check this Kickstarter out.
Ever wonder if any video game music bands, nerdcore artists or chiptune peeps are in your area? Well, for your stalking pleasure, you now can find out where your favorite artists hail from! (note: please no actual stalking; nobody likes a creeper)
First Lady of Chiptunes, Erin “Ryn” McQuisten of Chiptunes = WIN has created a Google Map documenting the locations of a hefty list of the current scene’s video game bands, Nerdcore Artists, Visualists and Chiptune Artists from around the globe! An interesting little piece of valuable info if you happen to have some musical artists near you that you may have never known about. (I never knew that chiptune band The Revengineers were right near me!)
If you haven’t heard, there’s this new little Kickstarter for a 2D platformer/shoot-em-up hybrid game called Temporus that’s currently seeking funding. Why that is relevant in this case is because Ubiktune founder Dmitry “C-jeff” Zhemkov is the one who will be composing for the game should it reach its goal.
Featuring a chiptune prog flavor inspired by the FM synthesis of the Sega Genesis era and retro NES 8-bit synths, C-jeff currently has a preview on his Soundcloud of what he plans to do with the Temporus soundtrack should it reach its goal.
“Think the ambient chiptunes of FEZ combined with the classic progressive rocky stylings of Transformers: The Movie (1986), and you’ll have the basis for Temporus. It’s this, and so much more.” – C-jeff
Beyond that, should the project reach its stretch goals, a remix album will be created featuring other names in the game music industry such as Jeff Ball (Tiny Barbarian, Globulus) and Mitch Murder (Kung Fury, Interception LP) and the one and only Mr. Vince DiCola! (Rocky IV, Transformers: The Movie, Saturday Morning RPG)
The Kickstarter has under 2 weeks left in its campaign and looks to have some interesting style in its construction that draws inspiration from games like Mega Man and Cave Story, so why not throw a few bucks at Temporus to help fund a fun-looking indie game that is sure to have some great tunes to enjoy?
New work from Sam “Shnabubula” Ascher-Weiss came out today, and it’s quite a listen! The soundtrack for the game based off of the webshow Continue?” features a delightful mixture of chiptunes and comes at the even more delightful Name-Your-Price structure on Bandcamp. The 11-track album is exactly what you would expect a Contra-styled soundtrack to sound like, complete with high-energy pieces such as “Whirlpool Battle” and “Alien War-Machines”.
If you like some Shnabubula in your life and need some awesome chiptunes for your ride into work tomorrow, why not grab Continue? Philly Under Fire‘s OST and enjoy some great oldschool jams?
With the help of Kickstarter, another chiptune album has been brought into existence. Most people probably know Jimmy Hinson (a.k.a Big Giant Circles) and his music from games like Mass Effect 2 and Call of Duty Black Ops 2. It might surprise some people that in addition to the game music he writes, he also composes chiptunes. This latest album, The Glory Days, is a new collection of original pieces written by Hinson. The Glory Days was funded through a very successful Kickstarter campaign that far exceeded its original goal. Not only did the Kickstarter hit the goal of $5,000, but every single stretch goal was met as well. The Kickstarter receiving over $60,000 in pledges, allowing Big Giant Circles to hire several remixers and fellow game composers to help construct an extra remix album for release at a later date.
The Glory Days is a sequel to Hinson’s first album of original music, Impostor Nostalgia. This original album was a collection of music written by Hinson and featured several music remixers and composers. The concept behind Impostor Nostalgia was that while the music mimicked the sound and energy of chiptunes from older videogames, the music itself was original work that was never featured in any game, past or present. It was a cool experiment and generated some excellent new tunes. This time around, Hinson is flying solo with this sequel album, The Glory Days. Like the first album, this one aims to celebrate the sound of older game tunes while enhancing it with modern synth and electronic sounds that weren’t available years ago. Does Big Giant Circles pull this off on this second solo album? Read more to find out. (more…)
There are plenty of chip music makers out there these days. I have respect for all of them — it’s difficult work, to be sure. But one person I especially admire is Chipzel. She broke onto the scene when she wrote the three-track OST for Super Hexagon. But she has plenty of original works out there too.
The latest among them is Spectra, released in September 2013. This full-length album was created entirely in LSDJ, so it’s pure Game Boy goodness. The nature of this album? I think the headline gives it away, but if you want a detailed report, as well as where you can pick up the album, keep reading!
TED talks have always been about presenting ideas worth spreading, so I’m glad to see they’ve put Chiptunes on display. TED talks try to gain a deeper discussion in a local field, TEDx is more for local programs, and Dan (Dan Behrens, aka Danimal Cannon) hit it off. As Dan described Chiptunes, he defined it as…
… Any music made using, or emulating the sound of, old video game consoles and their soundchips.
Technically with that definition, the PS4 could also be considered platform for Chiptunes, but it’s the sound that Dan and the others are attracted to, not particularly a beefy console. Dan’s chip of choice being a classic Gameboy, he continued into his list of consoles that other artists use to make Chiptunes. Consoles such as the NES, Genesis, Commodore 64, Atari Amiga, and many others. As Dan described, it’s really about taking minimalist hardware, and pushing it to the maximum potential.
The talk itself features some excellent music past the 4:35 mark. Take a listen.
Dan went further to talk about a trend taking place in music software, one that makes music controls easier to use, but leaves you ignorant to what the controls directly changed to achieve its sound. For instance, if you use a plug-in that has a fader controlling a “Smash” parameter, what is the “Smash” doing exactly? Does it EQ the sound? Is something being filtered? Does it matter? By using plug-ins like that, Dan considered it a failing to learn.
Dan also stated that such software is good for businesses, which is true. Music software that gives the end user the sounds they desire is often the goal developers strive for. However, Dan insisted that Chiptune is not a response to such easy-to-use music software, but rather it evolved by itself into where it currently stands in the community.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you agree that simple and easy to use software actually does make you less curious about how the sound was achieved?
Clear your calenders for the first weekend of 2014 and get ready to rock out to some phenomenal videogame music! The twelfth annual Music and Game Festival, also known as MAGFest 12, has released the performance roster for three of its upcoming videogame music concerts. The event will be taking place in National Harbor, Maryland and will run from January 2, 2014 through January 5, 2014. Two of these concerts are chiptune showcases, which will be held on Friday and Saturday afternoon. The Friday night concert will be what is known as an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) Battle concert. A total of six different DJs from the VGM community will be participating to perform their repertoire for this EDM Battle. The line-up for the upcoming concerts include some new acts and a number of returning artists.
More information and updates on MAGFest events, tickets, hotels, special guests, and performers is available on the official MAGFest website at http://www.magfest.org/. A handful of us from Original Sound Version will be attending MAGFest 12 to cover the events and concerts as well. It’s looking like a great line-up for this concert series. Hope to see you there.
A combination of 80′s music and chiptunes? You’d have to be crazy to pass up a union like that! Well, you don’t have to now that chiptune artist Dmitry “C-jeff” Zhemkov has released Big Steel Wheels for public auditory consumption.
Described as “A fictional action music adventure, inspired by works of Vince DiCola, action movies, rock and metal music, chiptunes and the legacy of ’80s!” by C-jeff himself, he combines his skill with a cadre of strong supporting artists. Featuring Grant “Stemage” Henry, Dan “Danimal Cannon” Behrens and Raz Ben Ari on live guitar, Jeff Ball on viola, and even the voice talents of Alexander Brandon, Rich “Disasterpeace” Vreland, George “norg” Nowik and Lamont Bellsarios, the album is packed with talent. Boasting an essence of “Transformers the Motion Picture” with the flair of 80′s synth and smooth guitars and viola backing, it nails a heavy nostalgic feel.
Check it out on Ubiktune or pick up the entire album for $7 on bandcamp and give C-jeff some big steel love.
On September 14, the MIT campus hosted the second annual Boston Festival Indie Games. The one-day event featured games by local independent developers, talks by people from the game industry, and viewings of gaming documentaries. To end the event, a concert was held at the Middle East Downstairs, a small music venue just a few blocks away from the MIT campus. This concert, titled Boston Plays Indies, featured music by Deadbeatblast, Control Group, DJ Cutman, and the Video Game Orchestra. I had the chance to see the VGO (Video Game Orchestra) perform before and I was also familiar with the work of DJ Cutman, but I was not as familiar with either Deadbeatblast or Control Group. Having some idea of what to expect, I entered the club and took my seat for what ended up being a great evening of music.
Starting up the show was solo artist Deadbeatblast, a chiptune DJ from Toronto, Canada who’s setup consisted of two Nintendo Game Boys and a set of devices to mix and manage the audio being generated by the two handheld devices. All of the music was original work by the artist. No covers or remixes, but all of it created with the 8-bit sounds available to him on the Nintendo hardware. To describe the music as simply chiptune or 8-bit is too inaccurate and vague. Many of the pieces he performed had an aggressive and experimental sound, similar to what you would hear in industrial genre music. Even with this experimental vibe, Deadbeatblast’s tunes maintained a good steady dance beat that the audience could rock out too. A particular favorite of mine was “Hyperspace”, a piece that started with a simple pattern and steadily built up as he continued to stack more and more music elements into the mix. Pieces took sudden but brief shifts in tempo, incorporated improvised interruptions, and always kept me guessing as to where the music would go next. The performance was full of great rhythms, memorable moments, and some great chiptune sounds. He has definitely made a fan out of me. (more…)
If the words “Retro Swords & Sorcery Gaming” don’t appeal to you, then you very well might be a lost cause. When Conan the Barbarian meets 8-bit, the pixels themselves may be small, but the old-school feel makes it much bigger. The original Tiny Barbarian may have been released in 2011, but it’s still running on plenty of steam with the new iteration; Tiny Barbarian DX. Though still simple in it’s game mechanics of “Press X to attack, Press Y to jump”, it’s the soundtrack that really gives the game the extra push into generating some good ol’ NES feelings.
Composed again by the very talented Jeff Ball (Astroman, Mass Effect 3), the album title is actually Tiny Barbarian DX: The Serpent Lord. Despite the mouthful of a moniker, the soundtrack is chock-full of chiptune beats that could easily be mistaken for the hybrid stepchild of Mega Man and Castlevania (seriously, it’s even listed as such) straight out of the late 80′s. Combining action-oriented melodies with the occasional creepy slow track, the music speaks to Ball’s experience as a composer for other like-minded game soundtracks such as Astroman, but also his dedication as a retro gamer.
Boasting some incredibly catchy electronic tunes that will make you feel like an 8-year-old in front of your Nintendo again, Tiny Barbarian DX: The Serpent Lord is as fun a musical adventure as it is a hack ‘n slash game. Both available for a listen over at Ubiktune, as well as at the ever-wonderful “Name Your Own Price” tier on Bandcamp, so there’s no excuse not to enjoy the miniature musical muscular magnitude!