The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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J T
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Re: Can non-gamers appreciate chiptune music?

by J T Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:54 pm

brandman wrote:If anyone has any good songs for me to listen to then I'll lend an ear, but as of now I just don't like it. :?


Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Fantomenk (w/ Pato Pooh and Adam Tensta)- Follow Me
Fantomenk- Getting melodies out of my head
Animaniguchi- Airbrushed
She- Aki
Crystal Castles- Black Panther (Story of Isaac remix)
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J T
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Re: Can non-gamers appreciate chiptune music?

by J T Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:08 pm

I think chiptunes share a parallel in the electronic music scene as lo-fi does to the rock scene. The sounds of old electronics and videogame systems aren't as punchy as what modern synths (and even older synths) are capable of. They are also a recognizably "old" sound. It's a retro-future sound that reminds you of what the promise of technology meant in the 80s; and/or it is the sound you remember of playing videogames. It pulls on our memory associations from the past either way, and the reason I started the thread is that I think it might even require those memory associations, or if you're too young to remember, you at least need to have seen some electronic media from the 80s online or somewhere.

I think Lo-Fi rock harks back to early 50s and 60s rock, as well as cheaply made home demos from the 80s and 90s, before software recording programs were prolific. At its best, lo-fi rock evokes emotions of something homegrown, folksy, and with an older wisdom and young 60s rebel spirit. Chiptunes using 80s game devices (or samples of them) to make new music is pulling for something similar to what lo-fi does in the rock world. Chiptunes are just more focused on these plucky old computing devices that try so hard to be more than what their ROM/RAM/processors should really allow them to be, and there is a certain charm and optimism to 80s tech.

It's weird to me though because in my own music compositions, until recently I would have found it very odd to use these cheap synth sounds intentionally. I would want something with a fuller sound, that cuts and booms just how I want it to. But now that I listen to some of what these chiptune artists are doing, I'm blown away by how good it sounds to me and I just love hearing my old NES twerping along with some hypercompressed bass kicks and fluttering ghost snares and thinking, hey, the little guy can hold his own against the big music machines! What the NES/gameboy/C64/whatever lack in depth of timbre, they seem to make up for in melodic capabilities and I actually get most excited for the tweeting melodies of the chip section after the drop. I guess I just kind of can't believe I like this music, except that I know how much I love games, so it's hard for me to see how someone else would like it that doesn't have all the gaming associations tied to that sound. But if non-gamers and non-80s kids can appreciate it too, that's awesome. Maybe this genre will really blow up one day (and it kind of already has).
Last edited by J T on Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Can non-gamers appreciate chiptune music?

by Menegrothx Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:24 pm

J T wrote:I think chiptunes share a parallel in the electronic music scene as lo-fi does to the rock scene. The sounds of old electronics and videogame systems aren't as punchy as what modern synths (and even older synths) are capable of. They are also a recognizably "old" sound. It's a retro-future sound that reminds you of what the promise of technology meant in the 80s; and/or it is the sound you remember of playing videogames. It pulls on our memory associations from the past either way, and the reason I started the thread is that I think it might even require those memory associations, or if you're too young to remember, you at least need to have seen some electronic media from the 80s online or somewhere.

Like Hobie-wan said it, in certain genres like Techno, House, Trance etc, the older stuff had a clearly distinct sound. Like Detroit Techno sound is all about certain drum machines, if you try to do it with something else, it sounds fake. It's the same thing in pre Dreamcast/PS2 era game music. I'm no expert in late 80s/early 90s house, but I think that Tekken 2's Nina theme sounds a lot like it. Modern house music might be technologically more advanced but you simply can't produce that type of catchy oldschool house vibe with modern technology and sounds. It kinda reminds of the Hydrocity Zone act 1 music from Sonic 3.
Sounds and hardware evolves (and also different genres and elements get fused together, genres get new sub and sub sub genres). You can clearly see it by comparing trance from early 2000s with "modern" trance.
J T wrote:I think Lo-Fi rock harks back to early 50s and 60s rock, as well as cheaply made home demos from the 80s and 90s, before software recording programs were prolific. At its best, it evokes emotions of something homegrown, folksy, and with an older wisdom and young 60s rebel spirit. And I think using 80s game devices (or samples of them) to make new music is pulling for something similar to what lo-fi does in the rock world.

Burzum made the most definitive black metal albums back in the 1990s, and those albums have a very distinct, hypnotic vibe that no black metal band has ever since captured. Those albums were recorded with very low/nonexistant budget and they have a very poor audio quality which only helps with the mood. It would sound worse if it was made with professional equipment in a recording studio.
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Re: Can non-gamers appreciate chiptune music?

by J T Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:42 pm

Menegrothx wrote:Like Hobie-wan said it, in certain genres like Techno, House, Trance etc, the older stuff had a clearly distinct sound. Like Detroit Techno sound is all about certain drum machines, if you try to do it with something else, it sounds fake.


Yeah, I agree. I think where music has traditionally been focused on the holy trinity of melody, harmony, and rhythm; electronic music has actually forced timbre into the front and center because we can craft new kinds of sounds via different methods of audio synthesis and production work. You can even alter the timbre of an instrument in real time. If you're going to make Detroit Techno or Acid House you're going to need a Roland 808 for drums and a Roland TB-303 for bass lines, or at least some convincing samples to work with. Those sounds are closely tied with that style.

Much electronic music is also very self-referential. Even working inside new genres, through sampling and appropriating old instruments, we pay homage to the heritage of this development of timbre creation and sampling trickery when we toss in a squelchy 303 line, a booming 808 kick, or a jittery cut up of the amen break. That stuff is all old now, but you can throw in just a few seconds of it and those "in the know" will know what you mean. And I guess it is the case that it doesn't matter if you are "in the know" or not if the song still jams, you'll just have a deeper appreciation if you can say "aha! That melody is a Miles Davis sample rung through a low pass filter and heavy reverb!" or "When the rasta MC said 'inna da jungle' on this dubstep track, the drums suddenly tossed in the funky drummer break for one bar just to show off their heritage in both jungle/dnb and James Brown." Likewise, someone might enjoy Fantomenk's "jump up and bounce down" without recognizing the voice comes from an old Speak & Spell toy (or something similar).
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Re: Can non-gamers appreciate chiptune music?

by Key-Glyph Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:28 pm

Along the "lo-fi" lines, chiptune musicians and artists also frequently bring up the point that the limitations of the old hardware are fascinating to work with. They feel pushed creatively toward innovation when they have such severe constraints on what they can do.
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Re: Can non-gamers appreciate chiptune music?

by Hobie-wan Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:08 pm

Key-Glyph wrote:Along the "lo-fi" lines, chiptune musicians and artists also frequently bring up the point that the limitations of the old hardware are fascinating to work with. They feel pushed creatively toward innovation when they have such severe constraints on what they can do.


That's pretty much universal with anything creative. When there are limits, bits of brilliance can come out of exploiting them. Bitmap graphics versus full 3D. Legos versus any and all building materials. Black and white versus full color. :)
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Re: Can non-gamers appreciate chiptune music?

by fvgazi Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:00 am

I attended a chiptunes show at my friend's apartment last week(brooklyn) and I'm pretty sure a lot of the people there were not gamers. There was a decent crowd of like 40-50 people and everyone was going nuts.

I think I enjoy chiptune music produced as a standalone piece rather than being from a game. That being said, I still really enjoy game soundtracks. The artists i've heard seem to really be able to mold songs so they can be used in a live setting without getting boring or they add lyrics and vocal melodies. I really enjoy watching people experiment and push the hardware / add interesting things to their sets.
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Re: Can non-gamers appreciate chiptune music?

by dtrack Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:23 am

They can but mostly because it is in fashion.
I had a short conversation with a known chip artist and asked why these nostalgic melodic tunes? He said this is not nostalgic and th inspiration is not from the gaming experiences but the limitations of the game boy. And stated the melodic style also comes from the hardware itself. I did not agree with him because there are a lot of chip music (even game boy music) which is highly experimental in stlyne and not melodic. I prefer this sound but this is the minority in the chiptune ocean of nowadays.
Some better examples:
http://www.discogs.com/Klangstabil-Spri ... ase/124213
http://www.discogs.com/Various-Nanoloop ... ease/24221

experimental chiptune recommendations welcome
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Re: Can non-gamers appreciate chiptune music?

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:41 pm

My wife, who doesn't play video games, is obsessed with this track:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FrArZp9vHg
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Re: Can non-gamers appreciate chiptune music?

by Menegrothx Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:52 pm

dtrack wrote:experimental chiptune recommendations welcome

I'm not sure if these qualify as chiptunes (atleast they're not pure) but they use similiar sounds
Xäcksecks - Super Necro Entertainment System
Dj Scotch Egg - Scotch Hausen
Dj Scotch Egg, despite his name, is actually a Japanese breakcore producer who plays a Gameboy on his live gigs.
Dubmood - Cydonian Sky
Kitsune^2-Rock My Emotions
Venetian Snares - Pwntendo
BoneSnapDeez wrote:My wife, who doesn't play video games

How can you be married to a person who doesn't play video games?
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