Archive for August, 2016

Time To Begin Again

Posted in Uncategorized on August 27, 2016 by Q

Hello internet. How are ya?

I can only hope that someone somewhere was or is enjoying Shades Of Gray Handheld. It’s not as layered or as complex as alot of chiptuner’s releases so happen to be (maybe I’m just not that talented), but I like to think I know a thing or two about a dope beat 🙂

Lately, I’ve been getting the itch to fire up my Gameboy again and start a new project. Not just a new song but a new album which of course has to become an actual CD. That’s just me, i’ll never get away from that. In an age where practically everybody is all digital and plays mp3’d music from their phone or what have you, I get my rocks off most from having a system in my vehicle, and the feeling of dropping an actual CD into my deck. Better sound quality anyway.

So, I suppose I’m not done yet. On a related note; I’ve already got a small selection of (mostly) completed tracks sitting around for a followup to the bass CD I did in 2014 too. This is just how I work. My attention span when concentration is required tends to suffer, so despite how much I love music, I tend to work on something for anywhere from 5-30 minutes and then put it down for possibly days at a time before looking at it again. On the flipside, to avoid confusion I only work on one song at a time rather than starting several, makes things easier for me. Still, this lazy method allows me to not get burned out so easily. 

So then, another (and better) bass CD is pretty much a guarantee. I forsee that being my last non-chiptune project however, because as much as I’ve loved bass music (and electronic music for that matter) my whole life, I am personally much happier composing and creating with 8-bit. I feel embarrassingly like a poor pretender trying to work on the same field as some of my favorites like DJ Magic Mike, or Techmaster PEB just to name a couple. I don’t have the equipment, knowledge, or an ounce of the talent and ability guys like that do, and there is a real standard that exists when doing full blown studio albums like that. With 8-bit however, I have always been a straight up geek and a gamer to the core since the youngest age, and from my perspective, chiptune has no real requirements or expectations. It’s just not a mainstream trend and being niche actually gives you alot of creative space. That, and I’m simply happy to be able to express myself musically as an adult with hardware that was beloved in my youth. I feel like I’m best able to be myself this way, and I can still boom the system a bit at the same time. It’s a win even if only in my book.

Basically, there it is. There really isn’t much of a point to this post except to ramble a bit, and mention to the void that the itch is setting in and I’m about ready to fire up LSDJ again and go at it. I can do a little more drivel, just watch me.

There is a fellow I found from chipmusic.org named Cheapshot who did a release entitled “Influx” and it’s dope as hell (see his track “Spank” for details.) He used Nanoloop on the Gameboy Advance. I bought NL 1 & 2 back when I bought my EMS cart and LSDJ, tried it, and I really did not care for it on the Gameboy at all. After recently hearing his music though, I was really tempted to fire up NL2 on my SP and try harder just because of some of the sick sounds the GBA can produce. Well, I did. I wish I could make beats like that but I just don’t see it happening. As much as I enjoyed Nanoloop on iOS (which is a much different user experience) I just do not like the control scheme, user experience, or workflow of Nanoloop on the Gameboy. 

I guess I lose out there. On the other hand, while the original Gameboy can’t produce some of those sounds, it CAN playback external samples in the wav channel. A slightly touchy issue in the chiptune world. Because of the awesome capabilities of the wav channel, some chippers find it blasphemous to waste it by sticking a couple sound samples in there with custom kits. Me on the other hand, I think it’s great. Maybe it’s not pure enough or just “not chiptune enough” but basically,  I don’t give a shit. I think it’s awesome to be able to add sounds or capabilities that are somewhere outside the original hardware’s own abilities to generate. It’s like 8-bit with a couple extra add-ons. The fact I have the hardware and synthesis of the Gameboy right in my hand, but can include a sick bass drum, or a badass sound effect along with it is just so fun. The people who make and share kits are definitely the brighter lights in the chip community too. They take the time necessary to put together an LSDJ kit, and then share it for absolutely nothing except for others to enjoy working with it too. I love those folks.

Ok. I’m done blabbing. Love to the chip community for keeping 8-bit alive and well. See ya.

  –BitPusher

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Memory Lane Blabs: Sir Mix-A-Lot

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2016 by Q

I came across a copy of a CD I hadn’t listened to in some time and it was super important to me back when it was new, so I felt like doing a little blabbing today on someone I was always real fond of: Sir Mix-A-Lot.

I was mighty young when Baby Got Back was out, and that is the tune it seems everyone associates with him, meanwhile, it is low on my list of his tunes. I always thought he was an intelligent lyricist and not given much attention outside of that particular ass shaking club tune. By way of my cousin, I had the album that song was from, “Mack Daddy” on cassette and it was one I listened to in my headphones all the time. Serious shit, it was probably weird to see such a young kid constantly plugged into headphones but that’s how I was, even when it wasn’t smart to do so. Riding my bike around the neighborhood, headphones. Roller blading around? Headphones. The Mack Daddy album, I jammed alot amongst my other tapes, and just had a taste for more intelligent hiphop. Some of my favs from that album were “One Time’s Got No Case”, “The Jackback”, “No Holds Barred”, “Swap Meet Louie” and “A Rappers Reputation.” I knew the album front to back don’t get me wrong, but those tunes in particular were my jams.

Somewhere down the line, I totally missed contact with the album that came out a couple years later called “Chief Boot Knocka.” I never came across it, and the internet wasn’t quite a household staple yet, so I never knew about it. Flashing forward a bit, middle school and high school. I used to get made fun of constantly for my music, because in an era when what I called “bullshit rappers” were on the rise (Master P or Juvenile for example), and the other half that were just living and breathing constant hardcore shit like say DMX, I wanted no part of either camp. I lived and breathed hiphop but I had my own set of standards and more often than not, it was shit much older than the here and now. So, yep, made fun of all the time for shit either “nobody has ever heard of” or “it’s way too old.” That was a funny thing. It something was more than like 6 months old, it was just “old” which translated to being burned out or becoming garbage. That was a big deal I guess with kids in my school years. Whatever.

So, I’ve started my freshman year of high school, mostly cranking Public Enemy, KRS, 3rd Bass, and a few others, and drawing their logos all over my folders and book covers and other shit. I had sort of disconnected from Mix-A-Lot by this point because I had nothing new, not that I didn’t occasionally listen to his albums. I had acquired “Swass” and “Seminar” by this age too, fucking loved Seminar. Great album.

Here came the big news of my day though: I had been at the mall and saw something brand new in the music store: Return Of The Bumpasaurus. It was truly a holy shit moment for me, because here I was annoyed all the time by hearing about how old my music was, and here was something brand spanking new from someone whose music was a very rememberable part of my youngest years. Sweet. I was straight up excited. Honestly, I don’t know why what everyone likes listening to was such a big deal but it was. It was as if everybody knew what everybody else liked, I honestly never understood it. It was easy to ask me though since I would sneak in my cd player and headphones as often was possible. So, this album. History seems to have recorded that it was one of his less successful albums, and then just as much as right now, I don’t care. It was dope, and I felt so awesome having something new from someone I really respected. Just a little more forward, and I had my first car and learners permit. I had saved every bit of money I could no matter if it was a dollar or a quarter let alone more from doing work for my dad, mowing some lawns, etc. and had a friend of mine install my system.

There were these subs that Hills old for a whoppin’ $38, a brand called Urban Audio Works. Because of the logo this brand had on their packaging (a character called the Urban Rat), these subs were often just referred to as “Urban Rats.” My very first car? A 1994 Ford Taurus, and in the back, THREE of these bitches with a “1000 watt” Jensen Amp, all pushed by an Audiovox Rampage head unit. At this age, I didn’t know the kind of things I know now, so it was cobbled together with garbage, but I can’t lie, I was impressed and still think back on that with a degree of pride. Say what you will, but my car hit hard as fuck, you definitely knew when I was coming down the block. There were me and quite a few others in high school that had subs in their ride. We all used to talk shit about our “pull in music”, stuff you’d crank on purpose when arriving at school (or leaving) to show off how your system sounds. Return Of The Bumpasaurus was still in my rotation as in my eyes, it wasn’t even that old yet. The title track “Bumpasaurus” was one of my usual pull in songs, bumping hard as hell, seconded by the Posse On Broadway remake “Man U Luv Ta Hate.” So if you read all of this story, that album is another from years past that has nothing but fond memories for me.

So I came across that in a used music shop the other day and haven’t taken out of my Jeep yet. Good times. I still remember all of those tracks word for word, just like with Mack Daddy.

I also remember getting excited at the return of Sir Mix-A-Lot when “Daddy’s Home” came out. From that 96′ album, he hadn’t released anything until this early 2000’s joint and of course I picked it up right away. It’s the first Mix-A-Lot album i’m mostly disappointed with. He is a much better lyricist than that album, but it’s mostly him playing on what him real popular in the first place: shaking of asses and pimp game.

I wish he’d come back onto the scene with an album that has the lyrical genius of most Mack Daddy, a touch of the focus on booming in your system like Return Of The Bumpasaurus, and yet bring a modern sound alongside those awesome lyrics.

I’m done rattling shit off now, but honestly, I want to give a headnod to the great Sir Mix-A-Lot, he’s on the list of musicians that I have always loved and always will. If you are someone reading this who only thinks of the guy for “Baby Got Back”, you missed out on a whole other world of awesome music that this man has made. As for me, it’s nice to hear Bumpasaurus in my Fosgate 15″s, takes me back 🙂

–BitPusher