|By Andrew Raub||Monday, 22 Jan 2007|
The world of chiptunes and micromusic is one filled with mystique and mystery. One of the hardest parts about initially getting into the scene is the vast amount of strange artists and remembering who is who, and who you like. Most artists toss their tunes onto their web site for free, but there is little to no publicity. A few websites, however, not only publicise these releases, but play the role of the label. 8bitpeoples is one such label, one that has gained quite a bit of ground in the scene.
For quite some time now there has been a gap in the 8bitpeoples release list. The slot where 8bp050 should be was marked as “saved for a special release”. Well, that special release is finally here, and special it is. Spanning two discs (with a bonus disc available online), 8BP050 compiles 50 artists and songs into an amalgam of chip bliss.
8BP050 is just what the chiptune scene needs. It is not only a compilation of various genres and styles of chiptunes, but a celebration of what the scene is all about. Although all of the songs on these two discs are made to sound like sound processors of yesteryear, there is a wealth of creativity and diversity.
The artist list is impressive, spanning from legends like Bit Shifter, Virt, YMCK, Nullsleep, and 6955, to frequent 8bitpeoples artists, to some lesser knows and newer artists. I feel wrong even attempting to classify any of these artists, however, as Virt mentioned to me a few weeks ago how there is so little infighting in the chiptune scene, as opposed to other scenes (OCR vs. VGMix). Everyone does their thing, and no one really bothers to put anyone they don’t like out of business. Why should they, though? Most of this music is driven out of hobby and passion, and there is no need to band into different groups based on genres. Even a net label such as 8bitpeoples seems to avoid this.
This relaxed acceptance has helped the scene grow tremendously. By not calling out other artists on their methods, artists have been allowed to expand into so many different areas of music and have created some interesting songs. A pure chiptune artist might use a GameBoy or a SID Station, or even Midi-NES to write their songs, but there is no reason why someone can’t use samples from various sound chips. And why couldn’t someone add some live instruments to the mix to get some really whacky songs out? Fortunately, this all does happen, and in 8BP050 you will get to hear an example of almost everything that goes on in the world of chiptunes.
8BP050 presents the listener with traditional video game style songwriting, IDM / glitch, jazz, dance, pop, emo, and so much more. Hell, there’s even a song with some banjo in it! The benefit of all of these styles is the diversity. It would be very easy for the scene to remain stagnant and just push out one certain style, but the freedom to experiment and the acceptance that the artists and labels give to one another is without a doubt the most important aspect of the scene.
What 8BP050 gives us is not a 2-disc set of 50 amazing songs. I’ll be honest, there are several songs on here that I skip over if I’m not in just the right mood. But that’s fine! What 8BP050 does give us is a 2-disc set of songs that vary so much that it is almost impossible not to find one that suits your fancy.
Whether you are deeply into the scene, just a casual listener, or someone with a piqued interest, I can almost guarantee you that 8BP050 has something for you. As an added bonus, it’s getting me into other artists and styles as well. Hopefully it will for you, too. At the very least, go download the bonus disc and give it a listen. Unlock the mystery and open the doors to some incredible talent.