The Virus Empire – Oscillate Assimilate

Tonight I have finally finished my first song using Ableton.FUCK YEAH!

This is literally my first song I have finished creating chiptune and I’m totally hyped with starting the next one. Now comes the task of Mastering it and making sure everything sounds great. And what better to do that than with Virus Empire’s EP, Oscillate Assimilate in background.

A few weeks ago I received a free token containing a free download from him at Tokyo Chipped, so I thought I’d respond in kind. The Virus Empire is the stage name of Jake Watts, who resides in Gloucester, creating retro beats using a gameboy. However what makes him unique is his use of Ableton Live, using the launch pad to play each song with ease. I’d seen Virus Empire twice already, before finally getting round to listening to his music properly, and I can say it was a treat.

As I soon as I started listening to the EP, the gritty sound hits you instantly, with the first song, Ice Cream Sandwiches, getting things started quickly. From this song you can tell that Virus favours the gritty styles of gameboys, just like Chipzel. Aside from that however, the two are unique in their own ways, with Virus Empire focusing on synth pop melodies, rather just pure rave.

This can be seen key songs such as, Virus’ rendition of Human League’s, Don’t You Want Me, or the fast paced, Meteor which is by far my favourite song on the EP!

Midnight Rush is another great track, focusing more on the noisy drum beats. This track reminded me a great deal of Chipzel with it’s manic beats as well as the vastly amped rave.

If that’s not enough, he’s even done his own cover of IT Crowd’s theme song, and god damn, is it a good one.

I admit I actually hadn’t gone in with the highest expectation’s. So see, I generally don’t listen to pure sid music, so when Virus’ EP came and proved me wrong, he did in fucking style! I’ll mostly likely be picking up another one of his EP’s later, so watch this space for another review of his music.

listen to his music via bandcamp
follow him on facebook

P.S. Last Weekend me and a mate went all the way from Manchester to London to see Hyperwave Records’ Launch Party, started off by Shirobon. We saw some class acts; PROTODOME, Henry Homesweet, Sabrepulse, Chipzel and finally Shirobon himself. It was absolute class weekend and I can’t wait to go again. I’ll be doing another post on this later in the week, with a shit ton of pictures  show off!

Snarg – Self Titled

It’s been an absolute while since I’ve been blogging, due to work and other person affairs, but I’ve finally gotten round to listen to some more chiptune music, I’ve been slowly making my first chiptune song on Ableton using Chipsounds as my sole VST. It’s quite progressive, and closely follows the music F.A.A.S. In the future I hope to finish this song and begin creating my own EP.

The latest band I’ve been listening to is quite an odd one. I came across Snarg via usual means (bandcamp), but they are more associated with Nintendocore, something which is a complete, unique genre in its own right. What makes Snarg even more unique is the fact that they’re German and hence sing in their native tongue. I haven’t come across many foreign bands, especially in chiptune. So even though I couldn’t understand German I thought I’d give them a shot.

As soon as you listen to Snarg, the full force of heavy gritty guitars hits, accompanied with melodic synth from keyboards chirping through. What I particularly like about Snarg, is the fact they change the pace, melody and beat constantly, something which Nintendocore is known for. Although I didn’t understand any of the lyrics that were hitting me, it allowed me to focus on the music, which is extremely strong through the EP. Every song is unique in its own right, due to the constant change up throughout.

Out of the Entire EP, my particular favourite song, was C+W down to the fact there was more music than singing (though ‘Dachs’ actually had no singing whatsoever). I also liked the penultimate song #777, which takes inspiration Math Rock.

Overall this was my first Nintendocore band I have listened to, and I particularly enjoyed it. Before Snarg, I had heard of Nintendocore before, but I had seldom looked into it. I knew about the band that pioneered it, Horse The Band, I’d never taken the opportunity. But now I think I shall.

Listen to the rest of songs below
Buy their album via bandcamp
Follow them via facebook

Tokyo Chipped Manchester – Auracle & Virus Empire!

I haven’t been able to write this post, as I was mega busy with moving all my stuff from one place to another. So because of that, I was without internets for a little while. But now its back and I’m starting to settle into my new house, I thought I’d get busy and write this out.Now, where to begin…

I’ll start by saying, Tokyo Chipped in manchester was epic. There wasn’t as many people (which if you said were going to go on facebook and didn’t…SHAME ON YOU!), but that didn’t matter as there many fantastic people to talk to and have a have laugh.

The night began with the showing of the classic anime film, Ghost in the Shell. From there people sat, watched and relaxed with a pint, until it finished, and eagerly awaited for Tokyo Chipped’s first act, Auracle to come onto the stage.

Auracle began his set, showing off his fantastically made tunes, made entirely in LSDJ on a single Gameboy. The majority of chiptuners I have seen have generally used more equipment to make their music, so this was an interesting change of pace.

After Auracle’s set, I caught up with him, to ask a few questions:

Me: So how’d you get into chiptune?

Auracle: I’m an huge anamanaguchi fan, however I guess it started when from making ringtone music for friends. I remember making the halo theme music for a friend.

Me: Awesome! What is your favourite artist?

Auracle: That’s hard question to answer. I would have to say Dead Maus, due to the fact I played a cover before. 

Me: True, plus you have him on your t-shirt. What do you plan to do in the future?

Auracle: I plan on getting an album out in the summer. At the moment I have 5 songs,

Me: What set up do you use to make music?

Auracle: The just the one gameboy you saw there.

Me: Cool, and finally, what is your favourite pokemon?

Auracle: Another hard question… I would say Zapdos.

Me: Cool, thanks for your time! 

You can listen to Auracle’s liveset below:

Follow Auracle via facebook

Follow Auracle via Twitter

Listen to Auracle via Soundcloud

We then had a short interval, and after that the fantastic Virus Empire came on to deliver an amazing set. I’d seen Virus Empire before, back at Superbyte 2014, however seeing him up close was more enjoyable. The energy he gave in his set was eclectic and brilliant. His music set up also interested me. Where as Auracle relied upon a gameboy to do his work, Virus Empire used a sound card as well as a Novation Launchpad, linked up to ableton. It had been the first time I’d seen one of them in action, and could tell they were great for live shows.

Virus even gave out free links to his EP on bandcamp, which I took with glee. I’ll be putting out my thoughts on his EP later on in the coming weeks. Below is one of his songs that he played. If you’re a 80s lover you may know it!

Overall it was a great night for Tokyo Chipped, though I really wish they’d have it on a friday night instead of a thursday, as I would’ve stuck around for the DJing afterwards! 🙁

For Astronauts And Satelites

Looking forward to tonight in chiptune!

Tonight is Tokyo Chipped here in Manchester, and I’m so hyped to be going since forever. I sadly missed Cowboy Bebop Night, to my duress, and I made sure I was definitely not missing it this time. I decide to write about an album I bought a while back off bandcamp. At that time I had been extensively looking for new and interesting chiptune bands whilst working for a record label, so when I came across For Astronauts And Satellites, I was quite amazed about how unique they were.

As soon I listened I immediately got their sound & style: fusing chiptune & post rock, whilst conceptualising the idea of Space. I could tell these guys were passionate fans of 65days of static, as you could hear them resonating throughout FAAR’s music.

 Their first song, Movement I – Embark, although just an introduction into the second song, Earth, was possibly one of the strongest songs in the Album (and one of the greatest intros I’ve ever listened to), because without it, the rest of songs, would never have made a big impact, particularly with Earth.

Earth is probably one of the most melodic songs on the album, with some great hooks as well as some fantastic drumming throughout. It would’ve been my favourite song, however one problem, down to the timing of the main riff is slightly off a bit and so makes it sound weird in some places.

 That’s not to say it isn’t a great song. And there plenty of other good ones to choose from. For instance, both Hyperdrive & Conscious are big contenders, more so Hyperdrive, due to its fantastic introduction and explosion of energy from duelling chiptune riffs.

After listening to the whole of the Album via stream, I happily bought a physical copy as well as a t-shirt and sticker and finally contacted them to sign them and waited for their response. Although nothing came from it, I had a great conversation with the band and I was quite astonished to find that they had learnt everything with a key goal, this album.

I’m really looking forward to their next Album in the future and what they’ll bring next to chiptune.

Listen to the rest of music via Bandcamp

Go to their website

Follow them on Facebook

Fund their tour to America

FYI: Below is my For Astronauts And Satellites T-shirts. The artwork is so awesome!