Tag Archives: chiptune fusion

Chiptunes = Win Volume 2 Is Here!

Monday night, the world got to hear 51 brand new chiptune songs for the first time on the 8bitX 8-bit Power Hour. Out of  146 different artist submissions, these colorful tracks made the cut. The listening party was well attended, not only by fans but by a huge collection of the artists as well. This review is actually going to talk about EVERY SINGLE TRACK!

It was clear by the reaction in the chat to every new track that there was not a bad song on this compilation. They’re all incredible upbeat and unique. Obviously a lot of time went into each and every one of them.

There is a huge amount of variety on this release.  Talkboy, SubPixel and Apoc all contributed excellent Famitracker songs. There are also some great Genesis-styled FM Synth tracks from Snooglebum, Jameson Sutton and The Flight Away really bring back some Sonic the Hedgehog nostalgia for me.

What I was really impressed with are the LSDJ tracks. The Gameboy has become the most common chiptune instrument. That’s not a bad thing, but on some compilation tracks, the LSDJ tracks are often the weak links. That’s not the case here. Every LSDJ track stands out and holds its own. Auxcide and Zef both contribute totally epic LSDJx2 songs as well.

The slower tracks really stand out as well, sleepytimejesse’s SNES inspired Riparian Woodland, Viciosul SID’s and Foil Variant’s tracks also provide a nice break from the constant thump of awesomeness without sacrificing a moment of quality.

I really like how a lot of people are using new tools to create the classic sounds. I know some won’t agree, but I see this as a good thing. It keeps things fresh. No new synth is going to exactly match the NES or the DMG, but this adds new dimensions to the classic elements we all know and love. There is nothing here that suffers due to the fact it was created in a DAWs and not on hardware or a tracker.

I normally highlight just a few tracks when I review a compilation, and usually when I buy one, I end up deleting a few songs that just don’t do it for me. This is not the case with Chiptunes = Win Vol 2. There really is not a bad track on this entire album.

So I’m going to do something crazy and write a small review of every song on the whole thing (except my own, because that’s just tacky). Read on to get a quick look at each track!

Continue reading Chiptunes = Win Volume 2 Is Here!

Piko Piko Detroit Releases The Midwest Compilation

Here's the gorgeous hard copy version of the Piko Piko Compilation.
Here’s the gorgeous hard copy version of the Piko Piko Compilation.

Piko Piko Detroit is a net label run by Pikoboy and Snesei, two hard-working musicians and fans of VGM and chiptune. These two guys have pretty much have single-highhandedly created an active and exciting chiptune scene in Detroit. They recently put out a big call for all midwest chip musicians to join forces and create a compilation of epic video game tracks representing the region. The Piko Piko Midwest Compilation is available here for your download.  Here’s a quick review of what to expect in this massive 49-track album!

There is a lot of variety on this album. I can’t even begin to explain the differnces in styles and music. Tracks range from straight-up LSDj tracks to remixed tracks. Both of the Piko Piko founders contribute totally awesome tracks, SNESei’s track, Virtual Epilepsy is a great dance track that keeps your head moving. Pikoboy’s track, The Truth has some awesome effects-laden vocals that will get stuck in your head. I also really enjoyed Saskroch’s track Found, with a lot of chip flavors and some dynamic changes. Komissar’s Dynamite Girl is a standout Gameboy track as well. The two Sega Genesis FM synthesis tracks by Plants>Humans and Diode Milliampere also stand out; you’ll swear its a track from Sonic when those first drum of Plant>Human’s notes hit.

Some of the more blended chiptune fusion tracks also add some variety. My Life Is Pixels track sort of reminds me of Snow Patrol mixed with some chiptune sounds. Happenstance’s track has a chill  Trentemøller-styled vibe that I can’t get enough of. Awkward Terrible’s rocking song, complete with vocals, is also a dynamic and exciting stand-out track. I really wish I had time to write something about every single track. There really isn’t a bad track on the disk. The straight-up hardware tracks are interesting, inventive and full of suprises and the fusion tracks mix things up in a good way. Check it out today!

Piko Piko isn’t done yet. In fact, they’re hosting a 2-day 8-bit festival in downtown Detroit at the end of the month. Detroit is where lots of underground music started and blew up (I mean, techno, for one!) It looks like it’s going to become more than a blip on the map of the chiptune scene too. Check out their upcoming events at pikopikodetroit.net!


Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 2.36.44 PMBeatscribe is a full time indie composer, musician and writer. By day he creates soundtracks for various mobile gaming companies, by night creates megaman-inspired chiptunes, in the afternoons he drinks tea. Check out his latest releases, tutorials and retro ruminations at www.beatscribe.com.

Best Chiptune Radio Stations

Chiptune radio stations are becoming more prevalent. Making a chiptune station is sort of like making a “rock” station, you can’t appeal to everyone’s tastes and respect the history of the genre. However, there are some pretty decent stations out there that sort of have their own flavor. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect to find the one that’s right for you.



-Format: Streaming

-Navigation: Forward Only

-Summary: If you miss your college radio station and the sounds of your NES, this is your station.

-Mobile Friendly: iOS/Android

8BitX is a huge undertaking of a chiptune radio station based out of Philadelphia, home to one of the most active chiptune scenes in the USA. 8BitX feels the most like a real radio station to me. It has different shows with different styles of chipmusic, remixes, video game rock bands and all kinds of stuff like that. You’ll hear raw, hardware chip stuff, OC remix-styled stuff and rock covers of classic tracks. If you miss your college radio station’s chatter and want to stream some videogame-related tracks, this is the place to go. They’re also affiliated with Piko Piko and other chip collectives so you’ll hear a lot of great music here. I recomend the 8bit Power Hour and anything else hosted by the Chiptunes=Win blog. It really sort of takes me back in time in two ways, video game music and awesome college radio.


This Week In Chiptune

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-Format: Podcasts

-Summary: A Weekly Update of What’s New and Great In The Chiptune World

-Navigation: Podcast

-Mobile Friendly: Works anywhere a podcast does.

DJ Cutman’s awesome weekly show showcases some of the greatest new releases in the chiptune world. If you’re like me, it’s hard to keep track of where new stuff is available at. It comes out in many places that you might not be watching. Cutman puts it all in one great place that you can enjoy via sound cloud or a podcast. You can also catch it live on Mixify!

-Format: Podcasts/Live Streaming

GeekBeat Radio

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-Format: Podcasts/Live Streaming

-Navigation: Live Streaming = Forward Only

-Summary: The Place for High Quality NES and Gameboy Tunes

-Mobile Friendly: Android Only (flash)

I love Geek Beat’s little retro background with 8-bit clouds and mountains that slide by as you play. I even like that winamp-y spectrum deal that plays while you stream it. This station has high quality chiptune songs 24/7. I feel like the stuff on here is more video-game and demoscene-influenced than some of the other entries, it’s not quite so dance/remix-centric. It’s mostly pure chip sounds all the way! You’ll hear stuff that sounds like a long-lost Megaman track and other nostalgia-inducing goodness. You’ll hear some interesting covers as well on this high quality, very dedicated radio station! I rarely hear a track I don’t like. The operators of GeekBeat have informed me they’re hard at work on getting it to stream on iOS devices too.

Battle of the Bits

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-Format: Streaming

-Navigation: Playlist Style, Full Control

-Summary: Mostly Pure Chip station populated by the entries hundreds of competitions.

-Mobile Friendly: Android Only (flash)

I love this site. It reminds me of the old day’s of underground BBS boards, back when the interwebs only had 16 colors. The site is hilarious, obnoxious, convoluted and ultimately has a character all its own. This is the place for hardcore hardware chiptune (at least the majority of it) artists. The radio station is filled with the results of tons of ‘battles’ which are basically contests which people make songs within a set of parameters (use this sample, use this tracker, produce on this hardware, etc). There is a lot more than just LSDJ tracks coming out of this site. While some tracks may be noisier and weirder than you’re used to, play this station for a few hours and you’ll be walking away with some new favorite obscure underground chip artists. You can skip and rewind which is also nice since some other stations don’t allow this. There’s not many things going on hear that anyone would label “fake bit”, considering that most contests require you to submit the raw nsf, dmf, svram, etc file.

Digitally Imported: Chiptunes Channel

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-Format: Streaming

-Navigation: Forward Only

-Summary: Randomized Playlist of things somebody labels as chiptune, most of it good.

-Mobile Friendly: No

This page is sort of a random assortment of chiptune flavored tracks, lots of variety, not a lot of cohesion, quality level is fairly high overall and you will find some good stuff you wont hear elsewhere. This one seems to be just bot-run, playing its way through a playlist. You might get a raw LSDJ track followed by some kind of ambient song with something vaguely retro going on in it. Like most DI channels, it’s kind of all over the place, but you’ll find good stuff here or there. It’s kind of like when you have a “rock” station that plays anything labeled “rock” – you get Led Zeppelin followed by Sum 41 and are bound to lose a few listeners. One thing this station has above the rest is the fact that it works on AppleTV, it’s in the default setup under Radio > Electronica > DI: Chiptunes, so if all you have is a TV in the room, this is your only option for streaming chiptunes.

Noise Channel

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-Format: Podcast/Archived Downloads

-Navigation: Full control

-Summary: Awesome podcast featuring new stuff and upcoming events.

-Mobile Friendly: It’s a Podcast

This is not a station, but a show. It’s mighty good and you can download their archives to hear some quality stuff. I like the show format because you get more than just a playlist of tunes and you can rewind and identify tracks you liked and stuff like that. Noise Chan also helps you keep up with what’s going on in the scene and about new releases, upcoming shows and a lot more. Check out there amazing compilation albums too. TrueStar and the other owners of this podcast really contribute a lot to the chiptune world. Subscribe today!

Alpha and Omega Radio

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-Format: Streaming

-Navigation: Forward Only

-Summary: More than just chiptune, video game music from all periods.

-Mobile Friendly: iOS/Android
Alpha and Omega radio is not strictly chiptune. It’s a great place to hear what modern composers are doing with video game music and you will hear some chiptune, chiptune-influenced stuff. There’s also a lot of news on this site about what’s going on in the world of game soundtrack composers. All and all it’s a nice change of pace once in a while.


-Format: Streaming
-Navigation: Playlist Style
-Summary: Pretty decent mixture of ‘big name’ chiptunes and obscure stuff
-Mobile Friendly: iOS/Android with Paying Membership

Last.Fm is a great site for listening to indie music and obscure styles like shoegaze or drone. It’s probably the online station I use the most. It’s more underground than Pandora but sports the same basic operating principles. Their #chiptune tag channel is pretty good. You’ll get a lot of remixy electro stuff as well as scene standards like Dubmood, Anamanaguchi and Depreciation Guild. Just keep using the heart button to define your style. It’s actually a better variety than I would’ve expected and the quality level is pretty decent.


-Format: Streaming
-Navigation: Playlist Style
-Summary: A few big names and some remixes.
-Mobile Friendly: iOS/Android

I can’t really say Pandora is the greatest place for chiptunes. You’ll mostly only hear the most well known, record label chiptune artists like Sabrepulse, Dubmood, Anamanaguchi and 8bit Weapon. It’s not bad at all, but Pandora will constantly keep trying to gently nudge you out of chiptune and into electronica/dubstep for some reason. I guess that’s what it does when it doesn’t have enough artists to fill a genre. Still, it’s not bad if Pandora is all you have where you are at the moment.

Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 2.36.44 PMBeatscribe is a full time indie composer, musician and writer. By day he creates soundtracks for various mobile gaming companies, by night creates megaman-inspired chiptunes, in the afternoons he drinks tea.  Check out his latest releases, tutorials and retro ruminations at www.beatscribe.com.

Awesome Chiptune Fusion Bands

There are myriads of awesome instrumental true chip artists and bands out there, but the ones that break the norm the most are the ones that combine chip music with other genres of music and add lyrics. This article is not about the best live performing bands but rather those of the highest quality music and lyrics.

The Depreciation Guild

Download album.
Style: Shoegaze + Chiptune
Sounds like: The Cure, Cocteau Twins, Armor For Sleep (the music anyways)

If you never heard the term shoegaze, it’s a style that started in the early 90s and had to do with using layers of guitar effects and lots of keyboards to create a dense dreamy wall of sound. If you ask me, chiptune and shoegaze go together perfectly and it’s a widely unexplored area of music that has massive potential.

Heartfelt romantic chiptune? Yeah! You may recognize the names and voices of Kurt Feldman and Christoph Hochheim from their currently popular indie pop/noise rock band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart which is also riddle with nostalgic nods to the Smiths, Smashing Pumpkins and other things from the past. The Depreciation Guild is one of my all time favorite acts. They are now broken up but you can still find their albums out there for download. My favorites are Butterfly Kisses, Sky Phantoms (epic feels!) and Dream About Me.

Cheap dinosaurs

Style: Rock + Math Rock + Chiptune
Sounds like: A little bit of everything all mixed together
There’s nothing cheap about Cheap Dinosaurs. This is some high quality music here with jagged math rock tempo switches and unexpected changes. Their tracks are mostly straight-up chiptune with just some light drums and guitar augmenting them. The trippy Train Hop is one of my favorites and it has a whacky video to match.


Style: Post Rock + Chiptune
Sounds like: A more rockin’ Six Parts Seven, Tristezza, Solar Powered Sun Destroyer

Post rock is an instrumental style with lots of dynamic changes. I think Revengineers captures this better than any other band I’ve heard. The amazing song Laika is a prime example of this bands powerful sound. It’s emotional and uplifting and gets you banging your head at the same time.

The Flight Away

Style: Punk Pop + Electropop + Chiptune
Sounds like: Angels And Airwaves, A remix of Dangerous Summer, Owl City (just a little)

The Flight Away has some of what might be called an “emo” sound (although I hate to use the word) by some with their expressive vocals. It’s one of the catchiest chiptune rock band type groups you’ll find. I really can’t get enough of their EP.

The J. Arthur Keenes Band.

Style: Ska + Regae + Rock + Chiptune
Sounds like: 311, Elvis Costello, Dub (not step), Various other rock groups

While their name sounds like some kind of blues trio, The J. Arthur Keenes Band’s album “Computer Saavy” is a great little smattering of ska, regae and rock influences with excellent vocals and lyrics. The vocals will remind you of 311 or Solar Powered Sun Destroyer. You have to love that they have a song called, “The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down.”


Style: Noise Rock + Ambient + Post Rock + Shoegaze + Chiptune
Sounds like: Caspian, Hammock, Solar Powered Sun Destroyer, Explosions in the Sky, most Shoegaze acts

Another shoegaze+ chiptune pioneer, Kangawa combines high quality production values with lush synth backgrounds and Gameboy thumps and bass lines. Their songs range from post rock anthems to gentle yet noisy ambient tracks. There are also some surprising moments on this album that you won’t be expecting.

Super Danger Casper


Style: Punk Pop, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists if Ted was from Indonesia + Chiptune

Super Danger Casper is similar to Anamanaguchi musically, but they have wonderful emotional vocals over top of it…in Indonesian. Yeah, I have no idea what they’re saying but it sounds very endearing and emotional. I love all those rolled R sounds too. After a few listens, you’ll find yourself singing along although you have no idea what they’re saying. If you speak their language, tell them to set up a bandcamp and a soundcloud page! The song above is one of their few english songs.

BeatScribeFaceBeatscribe is a full time indie composer, musician and writer. By day he creates soundtracks for various mobile gaming companies, by night creates megaman-inspired chiptunes, in the afternoons he drinks tea.  Check out his latest releases, tutorials and retro ruminations at www.beatscribe.com.