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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.