malleus&incus

Insert ‘bit’ joke here

Posted in chiptune by jurbanik on August 11, 2010

On the behalf of everybody at malleus&incus, I apologize for the lack of posts for however long it has been – it seems that we have all gotten rather busy with summer courses, internships ending, jobs, and whatever else. I also apologize that I am going to be triple posting – hopefully you’re not getting sick of my selections.

Just in case though, I plan on keeping this post rather short and going in a completely different direction than has been gone on malleus&incus thus far: 8bit/chiptune. Yeah, its not the type of music that you can listen to all day, but its a lot of fun every now and then. That said, I do realize that there are people who can listen to solely chiptune, and I can’t pretend to claim any sort of expertise in comparison to these people. I can’t tell the difference between LSDJ and a vanilla NES and have no idea what famitracker is or how someone goes about making music like this on a video game console. But I do know that there is quite an impressive range and volume of music being made, and feel like it deserves a little coverage.

Almost everything I know and all the music I have in the chiptune genre comes from a little website called 8bitcollective (or 8bc). The site is an open chiptune media repository – it has upwards of 23000 songs at this point, both extremely impressive and barely mediocre. I can’t say I sorted through a fair portion of these songs, but over the past few weeks, I have found a few I think are worth posting.

Gemini by smiletron

>>(8bc)

I had no idea chips could make bass sound this dirty. The combination of dubstep wobbles, completely muddy bass, and a cheery synth lead on top is interesting to say the very least – its crazy that this combination makes for such a chill track overall. Certainly something to bob your head to, but not quite suitable for the dance floor, which is very weird considering the dubstep influences. I realize that dubstep is overplayed (and overhyped) these days, but I felt like this track was a fresh take. The buildup is pretty impressive, and it is hard to believe that everything but the drums is chiptune.

Superluminal Motion by little-scale

>> (8bc)

This is a really chill track… if not for the oddly arrhythmic drums (they may have some sort of meter, but one of the instruments certainly sounds like a creaking door), I would be tempted to call it dreamy. The way the different ‘instruments’ step in and out so smoothly is somewhat surreal – when listening, you don’t even notice the transition from one section to the next… and not because the blending is smooth, just because you get lost in the track. Either way, the intro and outro are certainly my favorite parts of this track.

A–nie Rabu Damon by chibi-tech

>>(8bc)

A–nie Rabu Damon is probably more of what you expect to hear when someone mentions 8bit – it would fit perfectly in some sort of retro video game. It even seems to have the end credit music and the occasional ‘jump for a coin’ sound. However, the track does have some really cool elements – it actually has more development and melody than a lot of music these days. I don’t think I can listen to this track all too many times – while it does exemplify the stereotype of the genre, it gets a little tiring after a while.

turkoid by coda & cancel

>>(8bc)

Danceable, but a little too short to be dance-worthy. coda admits to having being influenced by Justice in this track, and I can certainly see it; the groove sounds a little like their track Genesis. That said, this was made for the invitation to some sort of blockparty – I guess it is a jam with lots of competitions and other equally nerdy (but cool) happenings. Regardless, the bit-crusher bass blows my mind.

My Skateboard Will Go On by Anamanaguchi

>>(8bc)

Anamanaguchi is by far one of the most recognized chiptune bands. They describe themselves as chiptune punk, but all the high pitched noises make it hard for me to take that completely seriously. That said, they blend NES with real guitars extremely well. ‘My Skateboard’ is their second single of summer 2010 and “is about saying ‘eff it’ and skateboard by yourself on the bike path.” That’s chill, I guess. Whatever, the song is damn catchy.

Oh yeah… and:

P.S. It is likely that much of my impetus  posting about some 8 bit stuff comes from a little discussion I had with Tiana over at her album review of This is What Happens (by The Reign of Kindo) and my resulting stubbornness about the accompanying 8bit record, This is Also What Happens. Definitely check out the rest of Ride the Tempo – they’ve got some quality stuff. In other news, look out for my own review of This is What Happens – its in the works.

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4 Responses

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  1. audio said, on August 14, 2010 at 12:08 am

    i had to wikipedia 8bit/chiptune to figure out what that even meant, and i’m still kind of confused as to how one can produce music from a gaming sound chip. but this is really amazing, i had no idea this kind of music even existed.

  2. […] The Reign of Kindo’s new album, This is What Happens, for quite a while now. I hinted in my chiptune post that the review was coming soon, and much earlier on mentioned that I was anticipating the […]

  3. loan payments said, on August 25, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I dont truly know what you talking about right here. This cant be the only way to think about this can it? It appears like you understand a lot, so why not explore it more? Make it more accessible to everyone else who might not agree with you? Youd get a lot more individuals behind this should you just stopped making common statements.


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