The Sega Genesis has one of the most versatile and powerful chips of the 8-bit/16-bit era. Although tons of chip artists utilize the Genesis or FM synthesis equivalents, there isn’t as much pure Genesis chiptune releases as you might expect. Aside from the recent Flight Away album covered here, here’s a few more excellent Sega chip artists that you have to check out. These are mostly straight-up chip endeavors that really show off the power of the Yamaha YM2612 chip.
What It Sounds Like: The American Dollar, Album Leaf, Mum, Trentmoeller on your Genesis
Favorite Tracks: Origami, The Girl In the Moon
If freezedream’s Today album didn’t actually come on a Sega Genesis cartridge I would never believe it was pure chip. Instead of pumping up retro-synth sounds to the max, freezedream dials them back to delicate FM bells and gently humming bass lines for a post-rock, ambient chill environment that is the perfect thing to listen to first thing in the morning or to cool down mentally at the end of a long day. You’ve got to love the unexpected but surprisingly smooth key shift in “Realtime Love” too. Quality composing and synth programming make up this release. If the first track seems a little quiet or dull to you, skip ahead to the regae-influenced “See You Next Thursday” or any of the other moody, melodic tracks that compose this fine album.
What It Sounds Like: Funk, Trance and Post Rock Flavors in 16-bit
Favorite Tracks: Dark Bounce Caverns, Limitless
Jredd often collaborates with other artists on his tracks, so they range from smoky lo-fi funky grooves to epic crunchy trance tracks. From what I can tell, he’s strictly a “for fun” artist too, his stuff can be downloaded for free and will definitely work their way into your favorites. Most of his tracks are available over at µCollective.
Sounds Like: Little bits of modern music mixed with funky in-game themes.
Favorite Tracks: Factory Life, Solar Surfing
Album: Stone Soup
Linde’s music has a lot of different influences. It’s hard to put a label on them. Some tracks sound like old school break-ish stuff while some of the stand out tracks like Factory Life and Solar Surfing sound like something straight out of an old Genesis game. The album closer, Not Reading, is a nice chill way to end out of pretty high-energy and melodic album.
Sounds Like: A 90’s arcade shooter soundtrack
Favorite Tracks: Outer Trace, Lame FAQs
Animal Style captures that bouncy bass sound that drove every Sonic song into your head for all time. It’s a fun and nostalgic trip that reminds of every 90’s side-scrolling space shooter I ever played. The songs have enough variety to keep you from getting bored too. Give each song a chance, as there are lots of unexpected bits towards the ends of many of them, like trippy drums that throw you off a bit and other fun changes.
Want to make your own? Check out this post we did a while ago on how to start creating some classic Genesis sounds with a tracker or even in a modern DAWS.
Beatscribe 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