Chip Bit Sid presents: A few Days at Superbyte!

Superbyte has gone from strength to strength within the space of a few years and has put Manchester on the Chiptune map. Superbyte began back in 2012 as a one day chiptune & retro gaming event, but has gone on to being a FOUR DAY extravaganza, bringing in huge chiptune artists from all over the world. Essentially Superbyte is the UK’s single biggest chiptune event. That’s huge points over London!

Before I start this review, I have made a video round up which can be found at the bottom.

Superbyte kicked itself off with the Warm up open stage on Thursday evening at Fab Cafe, Manchester. Initially the artists were, Auracle, HARLEYLIKESMUSIC, x Critical Strike x, Circuit Bird, Gasman, I am legendary Robot, HIA, KeFF, Nihilarc, SIX128 and Mykah. However some spots opened up and it brought forth other chiptuners with some fantastic sounds from the likes of Sky Pope, J3WEL, CFGK and Joe Bleeps!

It was a fantastic start to the Superbyte Festival, one which was only going to get better.

Next day was started off with a busking at Piccadilly Gardens, a chilled out beginning to Friday. This really got Superbyte in the spot light for some of the folk who had never heard of it. Onlookers gaped and gawked at what was happening. Some idiots jeered as they walked, but no one let it get to them. Even I did a spot of music, playing my first ever live set to everyone around!

Fast forward a few hours later and Superbyte is just getting started at Zoo Club. It began with the fantastic set from the lovely .Mpegasus, which featured his most recent songs as well as remix. This was followed up For Astronauts And Satelites playing a superb live set, using age old commodores, guitars and crisp drumming. FAAS were one band I was really looking forward and you’ll see my review of their latest album soon.
   
From on we saw Galaxy Wolf, who blew everyone away with probably the bassiest set I’d seen in Superbyte, by just using two consoles against each other. He was seriously electric, showing off some real energy and getting everyone dancing too. RoccoW did the same thing, but took one step further by taking off his shirt!!!
Henry Homesweet and JDDJ3J came on with their new super duo project, CYMBA, which brought forth some real GBA chiptune house. It was real smooth and layered what really made it was the visual effects from VJ Entter, as had the Pope putting his hands up for the beats. Things got proper cool!
 

Superbyte had already gotten vastly more awesome than 2014, but the real icing on the cake was Mega Ran, but this time bringing a guest called, Storyville. Mega Ran had been last year to Superbyte, 2015 showed that he’d definitely progressed further, pushing his new material from his latest Album. The live pairing with Storyville also was pretty cool, bringing something new to his already ultra cool live set.

After the estastic set from Mega Ran, Superbyte began to wind down, with brilliant sets from the likes of Monodeer, IAYD and finally a DJ set from Oliotronix.
Day 2 began with some educational lessons on how to play chipmusic from Ctrix, Joebleeps and Danimal Cannon, as well as lessons on how to play visuals with, Bitrituals and 2xAA.
The first artist to begin the 2nd day of chiptune, was the crazy King Wine showing off their chops, using bass, a gameboy and friggin’ ukulele! Trinity Lofi then came on to show off some melodic noodling, with Mr spastic coming on to compliment the rest very nicely!
However all exploded into action, Sweden’s Rymdkraft, showing off some real bouncy beats as well as playing a remix of Kyary Pamyu’s – PONPONPON. That was some definitely some real, serious, ‘off the wall’ shit right there.

(Here’s a link if you don’t what song, I’m talking about – here’s the link).

Jokes aside, it really got people dancing and in the mood for jumping up onto the the stage and going crazy which is what me and Mizkai did! 

Once Rymdkraft came off it was time for Infotoxin. This was hugely different in contrast to Rymdkraft’s set, being dark and very house (though still progressive in its own right).

Kenobit continued that style with some dark covers of metal songs such as Slayer and Metallica. It was pretty sweet as it got the majority to start a freakin’ mosh pit!

Ultrasyd provided some mind melting music in the form of the demoscene using some old school consoles. His set was pretty much one of the most stand out ones, however I’m pretty sure one of my ears died from the amount of bass coming out of the speakers (oh well)! But his set was awesome and was a great lead to up Danimal Cannon, someone who a lot of people had been waiting for.

Danimal was a great change from the hard hitting chip dub we’d been hearing, as he noodled around with an Ibanez Guitar, finger tapping without a care for the world. I especially loved the cheeky showmanship he had with his guitar (the guitar machine gun was fucking brilliant)!


Finally the live set I’d been waiting for since I fell in love with his music, the legendary Ctrix. I’d been a fan of the guys music since listening to A is for Amiga and wanted to be front row when it kicked off. Let’s just say expectations lined up with reality. Ctrix totally nailed it with his ‘SNES VS MEGADRIVE’ console war, playing some snes tunes whilst retorting with some tunes from megadrive. Both had some distinct unique sounds and it went down brilliantly. To wind the night down, Henry Homesweet placed his famous Essential chiptune DJ mix.


Superbyte 2015 completely blew my mind this year and though 2014 was epic, I think its safe to say that this year seriously beat it out right. There’s also a very personal atmosphere with superbyte, in which the artists feel more like friends than celebrities. I like this, as it gives them the option to hang out with everyone and talk about they enjoy. I met so many awesome people those past few days, you can tell chiptune is such a friendly scene with Superbyte is right at the centre of it.
Lastly, I’ve created a video which sums up all Superbyte through footage I took throughout my few days there. Enjoy!
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Prom Nightmare – Tamagotchi Dreams

Superbyte is only a week away, so instead of writing about my hyped anticipation I thought I’d talk about another new album!

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Tamagotchi Dreams is the first album from Prom Nightmare, a London based chiptune artist. To make the music Prom Nightmare uses (cited from Twitter) ‘a ketchup coloured gameboy, a mustard coloured gameboy and a slate coloured analogue synth.’ All of this is then mixed together to give some rather fat and melodic chiptune goodness.

Right of the first track, (sub)Space Jam, Prom Nightmare shows that even though its the first EP, they know their stuff when it comes to LSDJ. The bassy, fat kicks seem to really shake and hit hard, with the song hyping up as an intro into what is, a cool album.

Getting into the meat of the EP, Prom Nightmare always keeps on track in style and composition. There’s Alex Kidd which features a beautiful build up and heart felt leads, almost sounding like a love note to chiptune. And then there’s Like, Yeah, Totally! which has some nice bouncy beats, wet arps and Q filtered leads.

There are some parts of songs that I feel should’ve been cut down such as in, Knife Fight Pool Party, which was the longest song on the EP. Some parts of songs also had a fair bit of repetition, but isn’t a bad thing, as it is a first album and a bloody good one!

The final song -nicely titled, Love Fades – Pizza is forever, is a build up of different synths weaving within each other, but with no real composition in mind (it almost reminds me of jamming). It sounds like a nice send off, especially towards the end, with the great fuzzy bass at the end getting louder and louder until the crescendo of Nintendo’s famous coin sound signifies an end.

Prom Nightmare’s Tamagotchi Dreams is a great introduction to his music and a good first start to the chiptune genre. I’d like hear more in the future and perhaps with more variety.

.Mpegasus – Quixotica 2

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Back in March when Chip Bit was just a baby, I was given Quixotica 1 by the lovely .Mpegasus to listen to and review. The album was a nice throw back to the amiga days when the demo scene was just starting to become a thing. It also showed .Mpegasus’ intent on experimenting and pushing boundaries to find his style.

Since then, .Mpegasus has been working on the sequel from Quixotica and it shows how much more he has grown as an artist and how comfortable is within his style. 

.Mpegasus’ new album is a 10 track new step up from his previous endeavour back in 2013, with a new look at his sound and style.

The album kicks off with the ever thought provoking, Knowledge and it’s prevalent that .Mpegasus has taken inspiration from chiptune & synthpop musicians such as Shirobon or Futurecop. This becomes very apparent in some songs like Logic Gate and the Quixotica song. The 80s have obviously left a huge impression and one which is translated fantastically.

Getting back to the Quixotica song, this one tune which truly fixates on the sound of the 80s, trying to capture that magic of driving through miami with neon lights. Its a monumental standout tune with some fantastic change ups throughout.

Although a complete new step up the previous Quixotica album, Radmarket is probably the one song that relates back to its roots, with some cool fat leads going over some crisp drums.

One final song which packs a huge punch is, SIGNALost, which is .Mpegasus’ answer to darkwave, and boy is it awesome, with some fat, evil synths over dreamy leads, enough to make you shiver at the sinister impact.

Yes, Quixotica 2 is one fine album, and has really raised the bar further for .Mpegasus. His new take on his style shows a more seriousness whilst still keeping to his roots, something which I really admire with chiptune musicians.

Quixotica 2 is avaiable for preorder (with 25% off if you do) and will be released on bandcamp 1st September, just in time for his live gig at Superbyte. 

Link be here if you wish you buy it!

Asleep Droid – For Square Waves & Distorted Strings EP

Chiptune for me has been a blast. So much has happened this summer that I can’t seem to count it on my hand. The biggest thing has been the compilation album which has been a joy to work on. This thursday I got finally got to releasing the track listing and it was met with rave response:1.an0va – RC PRO JAM – http://on.fb.me/1K8QWRO
2. Powersupply – Funk Cirty – http://bit.ly/1Llx3Wi
3. Love Hz – 6 8 in space, baby! – http://bit.ly/1hOsRVb
4. Nordloef – Basket Case (Green day Cover) – http://on.fb.me/1hOt4b6
5. Stephen Brunton – Boo! I’m a ghost – http://bit.ly/1EFnSuX
6. Joe Bleeps – Change your Batteries – http://on.fb.me/1Ny05V9
7. Auracle – Ecchi Girl – http://on.fb.me/1NodUX3
8. Mykah – Higher Stakes – http://on.fb.me/1WHoP16
9. Laffe the fox – I’m just gonna lie here until my life bar is empty –http://bit.ly/1J7rREI
10. HIA – MDP – http://bit.ly/1LlzsAj
11-12.J3WEL – Two songs, but I don’t wanna name em wink emoticon –http://on.fb.me/1JkWXWd
13. Asleep Droid – Perihelion (HEY) – http://bit.ly/1WHpxvh
14. Imaginary – Pink Lemonade – http://bit.ly/1LlzY1g
15. .mpegasus – Quixotica – http://on.fb.me/1fshsst
16. Onapokoya – This is – http://bit.ly/1HYf1ET
17. Circuit Bird – Urban Thrash – http://bit.ly/1NofEQ3

Not sure how I’m going to fit all of these on the cd, but HEY we’ll make it work…one way or another.

NOW ONTO THE REVIEW!

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This week I’m looking at Asleep Droid’s first Chiptune EP, For Sqaure Waves and Distorted Strings. Before releasing this EP, Asleep Droid released a fantastic song onto Chiptune = Win and met with praise all round. Asleep Droid first started playing Punk music exceptionally well with a guitar before getting into Chiptune. He has found his style, I can say it is awesome.

More I before I go no let’s listen to the first song, Perhelion (HEY), which begins with a great short introduction but then explodes into a medley of chiptune leads, chaotic drums and bright jangley guitar. It’s a great first song and revamps the idea of space fantastically.

Asleep Droid really seems to set himself apart from other chipmusic, with it even more so in the second song, Magical Michigan Tour. It reminds me of Anamanaguchi, but more down to earth.

There are a couple of short songs (about 1min) but they are utterly bloody brilliant, with Shinobi Thunder Wow being coolest of the two (compared to the still mega awesome, Megadrive to Megabeach). Why though?

BECAUSE OF THE CRASH BANDICOOT BASS VIBES!

Jumping back through the EP, I come to another song, Megabeach (linking on from Megadrive to Megabeach). This is a fantastically wonderful tune, relating to those sandy days walking around on the beach. Kinda wants me to get into my car and drive out through England’s Heatwave today (but alas I have to finish this review).

So my end thoughts? I’d have to say that I was fully blown away from the sofa upon listening to Asleep Droids latest EP. It’s spacey, unique and screams so much potential into his future as a big chiptune artist.

FYI: If anyone wants me to create artwork for their future music, I’m totally available! Just hit me on: https://www.facebook.com/chipbitsid

(Disclosure: To fully ensure ethics and shit, I have to enclose that I did the artwork for Asleep Droids album, however I wasn’t given access to the music, until I bought the album on release day. So take Kotaku, corrupt idiots).