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GDC 2011: 8-Bit DOPE Chiptune Concert Impressions and Photo Gallery

March 8, 2011 | | 3 Comments Share thison Facebook GDC 2011: 8-Bit DOPE Chiptune Concert Impressions and Photo Galleryon Twitter

It’s hard to believe that GDC 2011 has already come and gone, but the conference definitely went out with a bang. The monthly concert series, DOPE, decided to get all 8-bit to celebrate the Game Developers Conference being in town, and it was quite an evening to remember… or not, depending on how much you had to drink!

Performing were WDUWSTS, starpause, crashfaster, our friend Zen Albatross, and minusbaby. I hadn’t heard many of these guys before, so it was a real treat to be exposed to their music as a part of the GDC festivities.

Missed the concert? Well, don’t worry, we have impressions and a nice photo gallery courtesy of Emi Spicer for you after the jump!

The concert was held at Lookout, a cool gay bar on the 2nd floor that had a nice lookout over the street. While there was only a small fold-out table for a stage, there were cheap drinks, lots of colorful lights, friendly people, and some awesome background visuals on a screen behind the stage featuring Ninja Gaiden, Contra, Super Mario Bros. 2, and other retro goodness. It was the perfect setting to enjoy some chip music.

WDUWSTS (We Danced Until We Saw The Sun) was up first, starting us off with a cute opening tune before getting into his heavier club-oriented set. Between chunky distorted synth sweeps and unique tones that sounded like a pig being murdered inside the PSP he was using to trigger his tracks, there were some more chippy sounds with some beautiful arpeggios and accompanying electronic beats. There was even a Shatter-esque track that caught my attention.

The next set was a life-changing experience. Not necessarily because the music (which was fantastic), but more so because by the end of the evening, starpause was not only stripped down to his underwear with only a bandanna wrapped around his neck, but was being spanked by a woman who was also stripped down to her underwear. In between his tongue-clicking war cries we got an intense set of glitchy, dancey, jumping club tracks. Some were crunched and distorted, while others were more lightning-fast dnb in style, but the percussion was killer throughout the entire set.

Crashfaster was up next, providing one of the highlights of the evening. I’m a huge fan of super upbeat chip music, and crashfaster had me covered. The key, however, are the vocals that he performs live through a vocoder, providing a cute, feminine vocaloid accompaniment to his catchy melodies. He started us off with “Time” from his Disconnect album, complete with its octave-jumping bassline that had everyone hopping. He pulled out a groove machine later, getting into some heavier tracks before covering Nine Inch Nail’s “Closer” which had everyone in the place getting pretty nasty!

Our sweet Zen Albatross was next. While unimposing, his set was one of the heaviest of the evening. He opened with heartbeat-like percussion before buzzing bass patches came in. Zen Albatross had his hands on his Game Boy the entire set, triggering all the events by hand. There were a lot of interesting moments where the music would drop out and we’d get a blast of chippy sound effects, which made everyone chuckle. His set was continuous with flawless transitions, and was extremely dancey, making everyone move.

Minusbaby closed out the evening with a dreamy deep house set. The irregular time signatures really accented the irregular passage of time at the show. By this time it was quite late, and only the hardcore fans and those too inebriated to find their way out remained. Everyone stared out into the night with minusbaby’s electronic textures providing the perfect backdrop.

While that was officially the end of the performance, there was some great music provided by the evening’s DJ, and we even got an impromptu performance by A_Rival who took to the “stage” and had everyone in the house calling out, “Tat-tat-tat-tat!” along with him. It was a pleasant surprise, and a preview of a show that he’d go on to perform on Saturday night.

I was incredibly impressed by all of the performances, and am looking forward to checking out more of their music. Even without the concert, Lookout is a pretty cool place, so check it out next time you’re in town!

What do you think of the sets performed? Wish you could have made it out to the show now?  Check out the photo gallery below!

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