A LEGO Sequencer, Imaginary Electronic Antiques, and Other Yoshi Akai Creations

Artist and design Yoshi Akai (no relation, as far as I know) treats analog electronics as an art form, a sculpture, an instrument, and an exercise in interaction design, all wrapped in the velour of vintage hardware design. For everyone who misses the deco elegance of meticulously-engraved surfaces and tastefully-appointed enclosures of early-century electronics, Yoshi’s work will be a special treat. These aren’t just pretty boxes, though: they work as instruments. A prolific inventor with a background in textiles and design, Nagoya-born Yoshi Akai has spun out countless playful experiments in musical interaction, and all make fascinating sounds. There’s a …

READ MORE →

For Love of Chips: Chipsounds Instrument and EP and the Gear That Inspired Them

Taste the rainbow of the Spectrum ZX home computer. Photo (CC) diebmx. Call it the 8-bit preservation society. Chipsounds is now available. It’s a new programmable soft synth, filled with custom oscillators and samples of famous and obscure vintage chips, accompanied by an EP of free chip tracks. Far from a threat to fans of hardware, I think this release is a major achievement for fans of digital sounds. Oh yeah, and if you’ve been feeling burnt out on chip music in general, firing up some of the sound of some of these more obscure chips could well change your …

READ MORE →

Pixelh8 Game Boy Software Now Free for Your Vintage Nintendo Handheld

Monster from Pixelh8 on Vimeo. Game Boy superstar Pixelh8 is releasing his fantastic 8-bit music software into the wild. And it’s even being picked up in music education. From True Chip Till Death: Pixelh8 sez: After lengthy consideration, I decided I would rather have my Game Boy / Game Boy Advance music software be used by everyone it can be used by, instead of just the few. All of my software Music Tech V2.0, Pro Performer and more are all free for download at http://pixelh8.co.uk/software/ Enjoy! Please read the FAQ before emailing me questions about it, it’s pretty straight forward. …

READ MORE →

Authentic Chipmusic Soft Synth Emulation: Plogue Chipsounds Scoop from NAMM

  From top: ComputeHer, 8 bit Weapon. You’ve heard the chip hype. But there’s something behind it: vintage digital chips can make wonderful sounds. And I’m thrilled that someone has painstakingly reproduced those sounds in an upcoming package. Emulating analog circuitry, from amps to classic synths, has been long understood. But we’ve finally reached an age when people begin to appreciate the odd idiosyncrasies of digital technology, too. There hasn’t ever been a comprehensive attempt to emulate each detail of a range of 80s sound chips before – until now. Plogue (makers of the highly underrated Plogue Bidule patching environment) …

READ MORE →

Chip on the Go: SID Player for iPod Touch, iPhone Plays C64 Tunes, Says Something

One chip to rule them all: over a quarter century later, the sounds of this chip are reborn in the newest mobile devices. Photo (CC) Dejdżer / Digga. Take a look at the long view of history, and the Commodore 64 fares nicely. It remains the most popular computer of all time. And this newfangled iPhone thing? Well, it now just catches up to the C64, giving people what they really want – a C64-like music player in their pocket. How else to explain my inbox packed with tips about the new SID Player for iPod Touch and iPhone? Who …

READ MORE →

8-bit Visuals with Bit Shifter, flight404, noteNdo – Because Processing Can be Lo-Fi, Too

Bit Shifter & Flight404 • “Feedback” / “Flight Risk” from Bit Shifter on Vimeo. It’s not just sound going chip, lo-fi, retro. Live visuals are, too. With Jaymis at Brisbane’s Game On fest and New York’s chip blowout the Blip Festival coming up next week, it seems a perfect time to look at some inspired 8-bit visuals – call them, instead of chiptune, chipviz? Both are set to the wonderful sounds of Bit Shifter, a star of the 8-bit scene if ever there were one. flight404 aka Robert Hodgin is known for lush, digital videos, the very opposite of lo-fi. …

READ MORE →