Week in Video Game Inspired Music 5/10 - 5/16

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In news this week, I think the biggest thing is Events, events, events! Looks like the guys at Nerdapalooza have announced a ton more artists. Same goes for the east coast rockers at Bit Gen Gamer Fest. Finally I am glad to announce our own show next month in Los Angeles. WEST COAST WIGOUT 2! You can find more details, including grab some presale tickets through this link. Now onto the news!

The Nerdy Show podcast counts down their top 20 nerdy things of 2009

Including many of the artists which we feature here, on this very site regularly, the Nerdy Show recently counted down their favorite nerdy things of 2009. "Ladies and Gentlemen, we present to you the Final Boss of 2009! In this episode we unleash our list of the Top Twenty Nerdy THINGS of 2009, in a VERY specific order. Movies, video games, people, music, concepts - if it’s nerdy then we judged its worth."

The gang discuss their picks, in between playing music from the releases on the list, including tracks from videogame orchestra, I Fight Dragons, The Protomen and Pixelh8. Head on over to the Nerdy Show website, and download Episode 18 :: 2009 Final Boss now!

Week in Video Game Inspired Music 12/14 – 12/20

Up above here we have awesome Gameboy artwork by 8bitcollective member MassiveUntilMorning, with his simply titled but well done DMGpaintjob. Speaking of artwork, our resident artist Nyno added an epic Earthbound inspired Krakken to the background, if you had not noticed yet. Well besides that, this week saw a few big things, one is the return of Joe Allen to the Gamewave Podcast, another was our very own first ever GM4A Records release of Challenge! by Comptroller. Be sure to check out both of those, not to mention all the other big news this past week below.

NEWS

PODCASTS

REMIXES Latest OCReMix releases

Other singles and releases

VIDEO The video this week is of course from the recently passed Blip Festival 2009. Well perusing for some recaps of the event I came across little-scale's blog and found some footage of the amazing J. Arthur Keenes Band performing pieces from their latest Pause release Pamplemousse.

Remember to leave a comment with awesome articles, songs, videos, art, etc. for next weeks round up as well!

Pixelh8 And The Revolution album release


Incredible and multi-talented chiptune artist Pixelh8, whom I have praised before, has released his latest effort, and it was well worth the wait. And The Revolution is eleven tracks filled with out of this world chiptunery. From the soaring opener The Girl From The Future to the robotic dance rhythms of Out On The Floor the album spans plenty of moods and shows Pixelh8's incredible ability to take his chip knowledge into every genre and explore every landscape.

This is an album I have been anticipating ever since his 2007 release of The Boy With the Digital Heart (which I also recommend). You can find the new album through Pixelh8's music store as well as iTunes in both America and UK and almost all other fine mp3 retailers. Expect a full track by track review and more from me about this album in the near future as well!

genoboost's unofficial valentines day mixtape UPDATE: album now offline


So I have hastily tossed together a quick mix of love songs for all the nerds and your significant others to enjoy! And I hope you do. If you decide to play this for them, definitely let me know how that went in the comments!

Also, since I don't really have permission to be releasing these tracks I will only be having this compilation available until the end of February, so grab the songs while you can! Most of the songs on this mix are free and in higher quality from each respective artist, so definitely check out each artists website!

Download
Sorry kids! The album is now offline! Check out the links below and dig up the songs yourself though! Most of them are free and all of them are amazing! If so compelled though shoot me an email and I might hook you up!

Track listing
1. My GF is... by Dual Core from the album Lost Reality - dualcoremusic.com
2. Erica by Joel Tetreault
3. Necrophilianomenon by ZeaLouS1 from the album Assimilation Process: Complete - zealous1.com
4. At The Arcade by Dan Plus Add from the album Matters of Great Importance - danplusadd.co.uk
5. Take My Hand, Take My Heart by Lumine Hall from This Album Stinks - myspace.com/luminehallmusic
6. Less Than Three by Shael Riley - shaelriley.com
7. Tecmo Bowl (in the style of T Rex) by XOC from the in progress album VGMITSO - xocmusic.com
8. Orange Crush by hiphopmcdougal from the EP Time Circuits On - myspace.com/hiphopmcdougal
9. I Love My Computer by Colon:P - myspace.com/colonpmusic
10. Aqua Soul (Robot Love) by Random from the album Mega Ran - megaran.com
11. Laura's Lullaby by Elfonso from the album Tako wa chikyu o suku - myspace.com/elfonsomusic
12. Bits and Pieces by Shael Riley from the album Toybox - shaelriley.com
13. Splash Woman (produced by Samik) by Random from the album Mega Ran 9 - megaran.com
14. Butterfly Kisses by The Depreciation Guild from the album In Her Gentle Jaws - inhergentlejaws.com
15. Rapgirl by MC Lars from the album The Graduate - mclars.com/
16. I Can't Run To You Fast Enough by Pixelh8 from the album The Boy With the Digital Heart - pixelh8.co.uk

Artwork
The artwork for the album is originally by Steffo from My Parent's Favorite Music.
myspace.com/myparentsfavoritemusic

World's first podcast recorded on a Talkboy?

We just released episode 43 of the Gamewave Podcast, and we tried something a little different this time - we recorded it using a Talkboy; I'm pretty sure that's the first time it's ever been done before.

The audio quality isn't actually that bad, but don't worry, we didn't record the music using the Talkboy - that would have been silly! And we did play some rad music this week: Je deviens dj en 3 jours, temp sound solutions, alex mauer, Pixelh8, Spheres of Chaos, Spamtron, NESMETAL, Starship Amazing, Dudymas, Skip and Virt. There's also a return of the 'Website of the Week' feature! Don't miss this show!


Head on over to gamewavepodcast.com or subscribe to the feed at gamewavepodcast.com/rss.xml.

Interview with Pixelh8

Here's another short article I wrote for a project at university, this time an interview with Pixelh8. Check out the interview with Year 200X if you missed it.

Although Matthew Applegate is a classically trained musician, he is perhaps best known as Pixelh8, the groundbreaking chiptune artist. Bringing many technical innovations to the VGIM community, Pixelh8 has also made efforts to bring chiptunes to a wider audience, touring with popular British singer Imogen Heap and performing for Huw Stevens on Radio 1 (UK).

Describing how it all began: “When PCs came into the home I didn't like their samples and I just wanted to go back” Pixelh8 explains. “I loved the old tracker programs like Octamed and ProTracker, and eventually with things like emulation and homebrew development, people were able to program for these old machines like the Game Boy, and make music on them.”

Pixelh8 utilises various old games consoles and childrens' toys to create his music both live and in the studio, including the Game Boy, NES, Sega Game Gear, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Acorn Electron. “It varies from show to show, depending on whether or not I think I will be able to get my modified computers through that country's security” says Pixelh8. “Most of my computers have wires sticking out of them here and there, so they look quite dangerous. I had to set up my equipment in an airport in Germany [and] do a mini gig to show them what everything did before they would let me return to England.”

Whereas many chiptune artists write music with more user-friendly software and interfaces, Pixelh8 is well known for his raw programming skills.

“My last album took about a year to program, lots of study” he says. “I wanted to control every sound and thats something you just couldnt do unless you programmed it.”

Pixelh8 has even written his own music software for the Game Boy and Nintendo DS, with a similar program currently in production for the ZX Spectrum.

Pixelh8 admits that such an approach to music can be hard work and time-consuming, but it does have its benefits: “If you can find an old computer like the Russian made computer, the Electronika 60 or BI-201, chances are not many other people have used it for making music on, or at least not recently, so you'll have a individual sound”.

But Pixelh8's musical inspirations are not limited to the world of computers. “I want my music to sound human” he says. “Musically I am inspired by people like Sly & The Family Stone and Curtis Mayfield, so the rhythms aren't perfect, they are brilliant and human.”

Talking about the recent surge in popularity of chiptune and VGIM, Pixelh8 reckons: “In England there is a lot of nostalgia about the 80s so that might be one reason for it”. He adds, “For me chiptune music is quite [a] cathartic process, it helps me deal with a wasted youth in front of a computer screen.”

Pixelh8's homepage
Pixelh8's MySpace page

Pixelh8's Music Tech Pro Performer V1.0 now released!

You've watched all the videos. You might even already be packing to see him at Nerdapalooza South East!

Well, it looks like another huge step for pixelh8, as well as chiptune performers all around the globe. Pixelh8 has released Music Tech Pro Performer V1.0 for the DS/GBA at his official website at hiddenyouthrecords.co.uk/properformer. The cartridge goes for the price of "£30.00 GBP + £5.00 International
Recorded 1st Class Shipping." As always, I have no idea how that translates to US dollars, but anyway, I imagine it's quite a reasonable price for all the sweat and labor Pixelh8 has poured into this amazing piece of homebrew technology. So head over to his site, and grab one for yourself, since I am sure they are in limited supply and shall go fast. Also, hit up Pixelh8's myspace page and send some thanks and congratulations his way! He certainly deserves it!

Also, if you grab this awesome music homebrew, be sure to see who is in the credits! =D

Pixelh8 - Music Tech Pro Performer software part 3 of 3

A short time after his first two video installments, Pixelh8 has released his third in a three part series of youtube shorts explaining many of the features of the Music Tech Pro Performer. This third installment has less talk on pixelh8's part but continues to do a fine job showing off the software, which will be released for the GBA/DS. And even though these videos show off many amazing features, Pixelh8 tells me that there are many more, but they are hidden, and you'll have to discover them for yourself! And remember, you can find more info at Pixelh8's official website.

Gamewave Podcast Episode 39

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Gamewave Podcast Episode 39 is now available, and it's a good 'un, featuring music from Spamtron, Pixelh8, NES1, The Depreciation Guild, cheap dinosaurs, Jay Tholen and Sintecoraz. There's also a track from Disasterpeace's awesome new full-length, Level. Make sure to listen on some nice headphones.

(Like you haven't already), subscribe at www.gamewavepodcast.com/rss.xml.

Individual episode

Pixelh8 - Music Tech Pro Performer software

He's a programmer, he's a musician, you know him as Pixelh8. Well pixelh8 has programmed his way into the hearts of chiptuners everywhere with his latest software, the Music Tech Pro Performer, the software sequel to his quite successful Music Tech program for the original GameBoy. This version steps it up to the DS/GBA, and makes some amazing use of the expanded memory of the portable machines. Pixelh8 has added tons of new features which he was unable to implement in his original software. You can check out his youtube diary videos below for all the amazing new features! People in the know have probably seen the first video, which was released a few weeks ago, but today Pixelh8 has uploaded part two of his software documentary to hungry eyes. Enjoy both videos, and for more info, be sure to check out Pixelh8's website, and join his mailing list to keep up to date!


Dot.AY interview with Pixelh8

Guess what folks! we have a surprise interview from Dot.AY, in where he talks to famed chiptune artist and good friend Pixelh8! Why is it a surprise interview? Why because I went on and on about the 5 interviews (two of which are still coming) Dot.AY was submitting to our site, then just a few weeks ago, him and pixelh8 tell me about this sixth interview! So Alex AKA Dot.AY sent it over, and now you may all enjoy!

Pixel H8 Interview

1. What equipment do you use to create your music?
-Does this differ between live and composing context?

Very much so at the moment, I use the actual machines to compose with, and
often at the moment although it will soon change I am using a sampler live,
as it would be nearly impossible to play all of the instruments at once, but
with my new live set up yeah the original consoles and computers will be
there with me on stage.

I do and have been using the game boy synth a lot live though not just for
notes but to add special effects and crowd participation.

2. Can you outline your compositional process?
- Does the technology used affect this?

Yes for my 2nd album every note on it I have made from scratch I have
programmed the NES, the Gameboy, Sega Game Gear, ZX Spectrum & Commodore 64
and about 10 other machines to make real time synths so I can make it make
the sounds I want, if you were painting a picture you wouldn't ask someone
else to choose your colors would you? When I finished the Game Boy synth it
was so useful you could just throw on a beat and jam along to it, and I was
able to come up with loads of stuff almost instantly.

3. Do you post-produce, mix and master your own recordings?

Yes, but there are no effects like phaser or reverb etc on my recordings as
the original machines were not capable of it for the most part so I have
left them out to make it even more authentic. I did use reverb on one track
on my first album and I have regretted it ever since as it doesn't feel
right, but I have learnt that lesson.

4. What is your musical and technical background?
-Please include what music other than chiptunes, if any, you have been
involved in?

I am a classically trained musician having studied music theory and I have
an appreciation of all music, favorite being modern concert music like Cage,
Ligeti, Penderecki, Schoenberg mixed with Sly & The Family Stone & Marvin
Gaye. On the technichal side I am self taught from just opening up machines
as well as finding technichal documents on the internet.
My other alias's are Hidden Fortress (Electronica), The Autum Cult (Ambient)
& Matthew C Applegate (Modern Concert) all are very different in the style
of music they are known for.

5. Why do you think you compose chiptunes?
- Do you feel particular loyalty to the chiptune community?

I like chiptunes for their nostalgia, it always brings back happy memories,
I also like pushing machines to their limit, I love taking something
intended for one use and using it as a musical instrument. I am loyal to the
machines.

6. Do you feel there is a 'generation gap' between the demo/mod scene and
new artists who don't program/hack?
- If you agree, what does this mean for the future of the scene?

I think we can all get along, we all love the chips, but yeah in any
generation gap there will be confrontations, i.e. I really dislike people
who sample entire theme tunes for games put a drum beat behind it and claim
it's theirs and even worse claim it's chiptunes. It's not chiptune, it's
lame and I think that laziness is true of all music not just chiptune. I
think eventually people will get bored of the tetris theme tune with
different beats and start looking eleswhere to more original chiptune
artists.

7. Do you compose with the gameboy portably in public/irregular
surroundings?
-How do you find surroundings effect composition?

Yeah I have my gameboy synth and a minidisc player and I make up riffs as I
travel around, having something portable and musical is a must when doing
long journeys. I don't think it effects it much but it is a very useful set
up.

8. What in your opinion makes a good chiptune?

Fun it should be fun, it's a simple rule, but I like it.

9. any further comments

Make music, make friends & have fun.

Pixelh8/ Matthew C Applegate

This interview was performed by Alex Yabsley (Dot.AY) on 08/08/2007.

Pixelh8 - The Boy With the Digital Heart album review

Ever amazing chiptunist Pixelh8 has released his highly anticipated second album. Lucky for me Pixelh8 sent a copy of this album over for review. The album, known as The Boy With the Digital Heart, can be purchased from his myspace page, or Hidden Youth Records. It is pure chiptunes all done on the original machines, using only what those original machines could dish out and nothing more. That is definitely not to say that this album is simple, or lacks depth. Quite the opposite in fact. This is probably one of the most complicated and intensive chiptune albums I've yet to hear. Just goes to show how in tune and knowledgeable Pixelh8 is with his "instruments."

The album as a whole is very cohesive, and the songs all blend together amazingly well. This 11 track album clocks in at about half an hour, but you get far more than than 30 minutes of satisfaction from this album. Well enough basic praise for this album, let's get to the more in-depth stuff.

The first track is entitled Girl Fight, and synonymous with that title, who doesn't like a girl fight? The album starts with an awesome intro that might remind one of firing up a racing game. Once the next sound comes in though, it quickly defines itself as it's own song. Girl Fight has some interesting breakdowns, and a catchy beat that keeps the song interesting the whole way through. The song has a cool outro that takes the song out on the same note it came in. That song leads into Segue 18, which, as you can imagine, is a segue into the next song. It's a great fractured segue too, breaking everything down from the first song, and then building everything back up in the following track.

Meet Me at the Arcade is the track that follows. This song is softer then the opening track, once the song gets going though, it's just as catchy. I must say I thoroughly enjoy the rise and fall feel of the main riff on this song. The song leaves us with a cool little two note outro. We Can All See Rainbows is the fourth song on the album. A fun title, and a short uplifting song that has some cool start stop beats and leaves us pretty abruptly, sending us straight into The Master.

The longest song on the album, The Master provides a long winding sound scape across chiptunes. It feels like Pixelh8 really let this song travel to a greater destination, with several great, winding riffs, and a fading outro. After that amazing journey, we dive right into the next track. Namely Your Parents House, a great track that uses some great flourishing music effects over a strong beat. Following that is A Party Without You. A slow, and even sad song. It sounds much like a break-up song, and shows the real versatility of chiptunes. Amazing that this song can draw such emotion from this hardware just as well as any other instrument. This is probably my favorite song on the album, because of it's amazing style and mood.

That would have been a great song to end on, but a depressing end it wold have been. Thankfully Pixelh8 keeps the record moving with Showdown in the Disco. A song you can truly picture a 2D western disco gunfight to (someone should make that video). The song is pretty straightforward, with more of an emphasis on the main beat, up until the ending, where it is taken over by a nice effect. Finally, we get to the track with the coolest title, Super Fantastic Turbo Magical 2 Player Love Game Adventure Called Happiness. This song is quite an uplifting song, and sounds as much of a love song as A Party Without You sounded like a breakup song. A lot of emotion is brought to this song as well, and once again displays his range of music and emotion.

Chocolate Milk is the name of the first to last song on the album. This song travels quite a bit of musical territory too with it's expanding riffs, breakdowns and builds, which finally bring us to the final song of this amazing album. The final song is titled I Can't Run to You Fast Enough. It's an excellent song to end on, with it's soft rhythm and playful notes, it sounds like a bittersweet sister song to Party Without You and Super Fantastic Turbo Magical 2 Player Love Game Adventure Called Happiness.

All in all a fantastic album, and may be a landmark album for chiptunes in general in my opinion. The ability for these songs to evoke such emotion, and that he has done this all as he says, with "Every note, every beat and every sound, written from scratch. No samples, no phaser, no flanger, no effects. No emulators, no trackers, no cross platform composition. If it couldn't be done on the original machines, it wasn't done. Pure chip tune music."

The fact that he has done all this in just this way, I think, is a major step forward in the chiptunes movement. He disproves many misconceptions, such as chiptunes always sound like video game music, the technology is too limiting, and that all chiptunes sound the same. Every song on this album stands out, yet everything melds so well together, each track has been placed perfectly and sounds like it belongs on this album. This is by far worth the purchase.

To reiterate, buy this album, and you can buy it HERE.

Pixelh8 - The Boy With The Digital Heart album release

Chiptunist, circuit bender, and programmer Pixelh8 has recently released his latest album The Boy With the Digital Heart. You can order the album through both his myspace page or his website hiddenyouthrecords.co.uk for £8.00. Here's the info straight from pixelh8 himself!

The entire album, every note, every drum beat, every sound programmed by scratch, and performed on software written
for Game Boy, Nes , Sega Game Gear, BBC Micro, ZX spectrum, Commodore 64, Acorn Electron, MSX as well as many many more.
You will not of heard anything like it before.

Select tracks from the album are available to listen at www.myspace.com/pixelh8 and more information can be found at www.hiddenyouthrecords.co.uk.

Pixelh8 has recently completed a Californian tour, stopping of to play for the staff at Apple, and will shortly be recording a live session
for the BBC in late December featuring tracks from the new album.

Pixelh8 will be touring Jan To Feb 2008, throughout the UK giving lectures, running workshops & live performances.

To see where he is touring and lecturing be sure to check out his myspace page for that info as well!

PIxelh8 expands GB Music Tech software/ Upcoming US Tour

As reported a while back, chiptune artist/programmer Pixelh8 has a forthcoming Gameboy based music program for all professional and aspiring chiptunists alike. Unfortunately the program was delayed, but not without good reason! Check out the following youtube for all the great additions to the program that Pixelh8 has been working on!

Also, in ever more Pixelh8 news. On his epic quest to Nerdapalooza, Pixelh8 will be performing shows all up the California coast on his forthcoming The Return to Silicon Valley Tour. The tour goes down this September with dates in Los Angeles, San Jose, and, of course at Nerdapalooza in Humboldt. Also, you may see me stalking Pixelh8 across California when his tour begins. It can't be helped.

Concerts This Weekend

A couple of good concerts this weekend. On Friday The Oneups are having their first show in quite some time in Fayetteville, AR for the low low price of $3! Saturday the 17th sees On and Off Superfast playing in Los Angeles, CA and Pixelh8 rocking the UK. Finally, concluding the weekend on Sunday is capitalSTEPS playing in Seattle, WA for the 21 and over crowd. For more shows coming up be sure to check out our events calendar, and enjoy the weekend!