I would like to preface this blog with a few things that the Destructoid community might like to know. First of all, I do not claim to be the authority on all that is chiptune; this is a personal list of what I consider the best chiptune out there. My main mission is to expose more people to a variety of artists who do not receive enough credit for their work. I remember starving for great chiptune in past years, but not knowing where to look. I believe there are other chiptune deprived people out there who are ready to appreciate this style of music, but do not know where to look. I hope this list exposes others to what I consider an incredible and unappreciated genre of music. I want the rest of the Destructoid community to love this music along with me.
This is also my first blog, and it took forever, so be easy on me.
10. The Massacre- FantomenK
More than a few of you might be familiar with FantomenK's disco/house influenced music, as ever since Anthony Burch realized that putting copyrighted music at the end of Hey Ash, Watcha Playin'? episodes might not be the best idea ever, FantomenK's The Massacre has often appeared as a stand in for credits music. FantomenK's work was also featured in a music video collaboration with Keith Apicary (of Screwattack fame) in Four Bright Buttons & Two Joysticks. If you like The Massacre I would seriously suggest you check out FantomenK's CPU Mood as well.
Fighter X is an excellent Seattle based artist whose music I first came in contact with when Kotaku posted a video of the artist playing an impromptu gig outside of PAX 2008. Unfortunately (but not unsurprisingly) the Kotaku post did not include Fighter X's name. It was not until a year or so later that I independently stumbled upon Fighter X's music and his series of Maru-inspired Lo-Tek Resistance videos that I was able to figure out the identity of the once mysterious (at least to me) chiptune artist.
Last summer, while taking a class at Northwestern University, I happened to spot a flyer on my way to the campus arcade. It sported an NES cart inspired graphic that included none other than Samus, and it advertised for an NES feuled rock band called I Fight Dragons. This was precisely around the time that I began to get into chiptunes, so I was incredibly interested to say the least, but due to my circumstances at the time, I knew I would have no chance of being able to see the show (there was an age limit of 18 and older.) I believe I looked them up that day, but for whatever reason, their music did not interest me at the time.
9 months later, for one reason or another, the name "I Fight Dragons" popped back into my head. I looked them up again, but this time they grabbed me. Their music is full of talent, and is all manner of painfully obvious awesome, and I have no idea why I was once so foolish.
Apparently they have signed with Photo Finish Records (which also handles "3oh!3",) and have been touring as of late, so you might hear more about them later on.
The IFD crew uses all manner of game paraphernalia during their shows, including Power Pads, Guitar Hero controllers, and NES control pads.
Anamanaguchi is a New York based chiptune-rock band that overlays electric guitar with the most insane, fast paced, cheery chiptune imaginable. While I am not terribly fond of their music myself, I have huge appreciation for the quality of their work, and a feeling that much of the Dtoid community will go insane of this.
The UK based artist Superpowerless is self expressed as making 'Game Boy-fueled adventure-core' music. One of the few chiptune-heavy artists to use vocals, pop-influenced Superpowerless has a slew of original and cover songs.
The artist was a winner of an MTV Vodafone Competition, with the prize of having a music video directed by Luc Janin, resulting in the amazing stop-motion video above.
Superpowerless used to roll out a new song or cover every week or two, but sadly this appears to have stopped a few months ago. I would seriously suggest checking out the catchy Robots Need Love Too, which has a variant of the Konami code as part of its lyrics.
For more of Superpowerless' work, check these links out:
Sabrepulse is probably one of the most popular chiptune artists at the moment. He was instrumental in getting many fans into chiptune in the first place, including myself. That said, I am no longer a big fan of his music, as a large portion of his music is far too heavily breakcore influenced for my tastes.
I really don't know much about Maru, aside from the fact that he is based out of Japan. What confuses me even more is that I do not find any of his songs, other than the masterpiece above, particularly compelling, but this may be due to the fact that I just have not done much digging in the fellow's library.
You might remember me referencing Maru as inspiring Fighter X's guerrilla chiptune shows. This is because there is an awesome video of Maru playing chiptune in the streets of Japan.
Smiletron is an apparently Nashville based chiptune artist. He has experimented with a few different influences, including a few ambient songs as of late, but his main style could ultimately be described as dubstep, and Gemeni is a perfect example of this.
Smiletron's songs have some of the sexiest baselines ever, and if Gemini's crazy triangle waves weren't enough to convince you of this, listen to Gravity Won't Stop Us Now.
I am not sure if I can adequately articulate just how amazing I find this song: The overdriven feel, the melody, the tempo changes, the grit, and the glitchiness.
What kills me, though, is that Henry Homesweet does not really make traditional sounding chiptune. I do not know how to describe his usual work (which is still great, don't get me wrong.) The only other song of his that begins to match the magic of OkiiRobo is Gasping Between Kisses.
Well, thats the list. Sorry to those who have favorite artists that didn't make it (Bit Shifter, Wiklund, Dennis-Kharlan, or any number of other artists.) I invite everybody to share what chiptune artists and songs, both on and off the list, in the comments.
Depending on the reception that this gets, I may begin a regularly scheduled blog about different chiptune artists/songs that I find interesting. If you would like this, let me know!