Got a very special interview with Huorotron this month plus the regular mix of videos, free downloads and the like.
CRYPOCRACY: the new release from Huorotron available now
For those that don’t know Huorotron (Finnish bro Aku Raski) makes brutally heavy electronic music (calling it electro or anything else would be doing it a disservice). Nowadays he is playing major festivals around the globe and remixing the likes of M.I.A and HIM but his humble beginnings involved making some of the hardest nastiest Gameboy Music the world had ever heard and I had the chance to talk to him about his thoughts on Chipmusic.
When I was 7 years old I got a commodore 64 and way back in the day you know you loaded these songs and loading the songs took so long you never wanted to turn them off so you had this game on in your room for a week with the music playing. This chiptune sound drilled its way into my head, so years later when I discovered someone was making software for the Gameboy and that I could compose this kind of music I freaked out. It was perfect; it doesn’t cost anything and it’s super punk. Like the sound you get out of a Gameboy is already really distorted it’s not like some fancy synthesizer that you need to make sound rough it sounds like shit from the get go. You never get tangled with any details, you can’t do a lot of stuff you can do with laptops so you are left with the bare minimum of essential ingredients to just focus on the music and that’s what I loved about it.
Regarding the whole scene aspect of Chipmusic I found I couldn’t associate myself with it because a lot of people were going with what I call the high road, really just recreating the golden moments of playing Zelda and Mario bros. While I was really into taking this new instrument I’d discovered and focusing on the stuff that I loved in music genres; this darker industrial electronic place. I have a lot of friends in the Chipmusic community and we have mutual respect but when it comes to the having pink CD’s and pixel art…. Well when you see one you’ve seen 200 and when you have seen 200 you have seen them all. It’s a scene that has a hard time evolving because of that, it’s like it’s dead to start with. No disrespect, it’s just these happy melodies are simply not my cup of tea.
One of my two Gameboy cartridges died and took half of the tracks with it. So I kind of had to evolve and later on as I looked at it, it is the most natural thing to do to take it to the next level. Like keep the stuff that you feel in your head and not what the retro music community or whatever wants you to say or do.
I think its great to see an artist embracing the Chipmusic ethos of gritty dirty noise and limited channels whilst not feeling limited to specific hardware or having any need to please a scene. His influence on the Chipmusic community I think is quite noticeable with more and more artists trying to break the mold of stereotypical cutsey videogame sounding music and I like to think lots of the artist I feature in these columns are following in these footsteps.
Makeup and Vanity Set
Ok so it is hard to pass this off as Chipmusic I know (it’s 100% dreamwave) .. but I have been really enjoying this release and the guy that makes it used to do Chipmusic as The Protomen and its released on the new Label Telefuture which has a bunch of Chipmusic releases so it isn’t too much of a stretch. The release was actually written as music for a short sci-fi film of the same name you can watch that here. The release is also available as a VHS and poster which I think speaks wonders to the aesthetic here so fully realised stream and download the thing below on bandcamp or preorder the VHS .
This is a fantastic idea for a release “Ten esteemed chipmusic composers working on ten different computers come together with one aim – to wring pure ACID from their respective platforms.” So it is some straight out squelchy acid made on a bunch of consoles by some of the biggest names in Chipmusic. Particular favourites are the Goto80 and Hizmi tracks. Stream a mix of the tracks and download the whole thing at Kittenrock.
KeFF from finland is really on to some good stuff recently, been really enjoying the slightly wonky take on dub / skweee flavours. The above track is off a release (that also includes ChipBass favourite DKSTR) and a bunch of other beats and bleeps (not all chip). Get the Grillin’ 10 year compilation from here . Also below is another recent KeFF track that is a total skwomp groove.. huge and funky and showing great potential for future releases.
Some very beautiful slow chipdub from the C64 master goto80. Released sometime ago as part of a project called 2SLEEP1. It also has a video to go with it but I personally like listening to just the audio, with all the lights off. Chipped and Screwed? Witchtune? whatever its awesome…
Smiletron is one of those artists consistently able to produce something that sounds uniquely like his production aesthetic while bringing enough new to the table to keep you listening. His latest release “Solstice” is a little more chilled than previous but still maintains that great balance of clean and dirty chip music production, maintaining enough grit to make this not just sound like another over produced fakebit EP. All Free download grab the tracks now!
New SAITONE!!! it came out in may but I missed it.. This Japanese artist remains my favourite chip artist of all time so flawlessly combining winning elements of rhythmic glitch based IDM with legit gameboy tracking. Really this is a great suprise and I hope we hear some more from him soon!