Maybe 2xLSDJ Doesn’t Have To Be So Scary.

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So to begin, I just acquired a 2nd RCA pro-sounded Gameboy from my man Justin at Thursday Customs, which I ordered as something to tinker with and more importantly have as a backup in case my first fails. I don’t have the technical skills to repair a Gameboy and as someone who could burn a bowl of cereal, soldering is out of the question, so it made sense to me. ANYWAYS; I have been a bit intimidated ever since I started chiptuning with the Gameboy of the whole “2xLSDJ” thing. While i’m far more comfortable than I used to be with tracking, I still don’t know how to really get advanced things from tables, blending and mixing so many commands and their values and how far apart, yikes. Still, I like to believe each and every tune I complete is better than the last from some angle or another and my upcoming album “Shades Of Gray Handheld”is nearly finished. I started it and will finish with the 1xLSDJ sound I’m so sincerely fond of.

The thing to I am beginning to ponder about 2xLSDJ; maybe it doesn’t have to be so intimidating, and in fact, a big positive. I have heard chip music from guys I consider total geniuses, such as Trey Frey, who can honestly handle and wrap their head around and in fact command multiple instances of LSDJ (Trey Frey did a set with god damn 4 of ’em at once!), and really utilize those channels. That sound isn’t quite my style or taste, but the point is, I’m beginning to conceive that in fact, 2 instances of LSDJ doesn’t necessarily require all 8 channels getting rocked at once throughout a song. Really juicing your channels is supposed to be one of the most exciting aspects of chiptune isn’t it? Absolutely taking as much from as little as possible? Not for me, I want a specific tune or sound and I try to make it happen my way as opposed to seeing how much I can really work my sound chips. Basically, it’s OK to not push the Gameboy (or any hardware for that matter) to it’s utmost capability and still consider your work valid or even awesome at times. I don’t make my shit to impress anyone anyway, I make it for me and then share it in the hopes someone somewhere who likes 8-bit stuff as I do might, for just a moment, like what they hear. I have zero fear in admitting that I am very low on the talent scale, and composing a thick, layered or complex tune just isn’t something I am capable of. Meh. Fine.

So anyway, what of 2xLSDJ? I’m considering this; one gameboy is where most of the tune is written, the other is just there as lowly sidekick to throw in an occasional bit of sound. It is not anywhere near a focal point as is the main LSDJ session. I’m thinking, for example, that you can only use two kits at a time in the WAV channel right? With another Gameboy, you now have access to four, so say like me you really want to make some boomin’ass chiptunes but where do you get the bass? The best low-end you can get comes from the WAV channel, but it’s hard to craft a sweet bassline AND also use harder hitting kickdrums from a good kit as well. Problem solved because now your options have expanded, so one Gameboy has the kits, the other has the more traditional WAV channel stuff, voila. It makes sense and seems simple enough because that 2nd LSDJ would just be a basic drum sequencer, what is intimidating about just that?

Conversely, with every tick clearly labeled, the 1xLSDJ aficionado could lay down a complete tune on one Gameboy (which is exactly how I would approach 2x), then go back thru a few times making making tiny chains in the 2nd Gameboy to fill in an extra sound effect, extra few notes, extra arp, or what have you here and there, and then easily drop them where they need to be in your song because while the first Gameboy is playing, you can see right where you need said notes and put them on their due line straight away with the 2nd Gameboy, thus no guess work and experimenting as is so often the case for starting a new LSDJ tune and without a doubt the hardest part of it all. Still, you see my point yes? A second instance of LSDJ doesn’t need to be used as another four full channels of composing, you can get away with only using small pieces of just one more channel, or tiny chains from two of ’em, and technically speaking, you are still making a 2xLSDJ tune.

If I were to make a completely doofy analogy, I would compare my opinion of approaching 2xLSDJ for the first time with the idea of simply adding an extra couple of frets to a guitar, or hell, just an extra string. While it can be in talented hands, the 2nd Gameboy doesn’t have to be an entirely new beast with this huge hole to cover, leaving someone trying to compose for and manage eight different lines of phrases all at the same time. Afterall, you hit play on one Gameboy, the other follows along, so between that and utilizing the 2nd as I’ve tried to describe in the paragraphs above, it doesn’t have to be any big stress or complication whatsoever.

So then, I’m done. Just wanted to write some thoughts down and share a simple idea with any fellow chiptuners who have even wondered about it; 2xLSDJ really doesn’t have to be all that scary. I love those moments of clarity, when something is simple to grasp and can disprove my misgivings about something.

Take care folks. Please keep chiptune & 8-bit alive.
–BitPusher

**EDIT:
In the case of wondering about my case (haha); that metal case has a pair of locking clamps, and a nice think built-in handle. It is an Intec case originally designed for the Gameboy Advance SP. I simply removed the padded slats that provided slots, left the pads in the middle, and voila. Perfectly and securely houses two Gameboys, the cartridges are set in place, and the back flap lifts down for a pair of netted pockets that hold my USB power adapters and GB sync cable. Even if you were only storing one Gameboy and other small hardware, I recommend digging one of these up on eBay or the like, they are cheap and very excellent protection and transportation for your gear 🙂

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