Posts Tagged ‘indie music’

Some Recommended Chiptunes

After mentioning 4mat, one of my favorite chiptune musicians, I thought I’d note a few others that I’ve come across in recent years.

 

Tugboat: Man of the Year

For some time, this album was available only on CD-R, directly from the artist. (I have a copy, its title hand-written in permanent marker.) But you can now download the album here for free.

Tugboat announced in 2008 that he wasn’t creating this type of music anymore, and I haven’t come across anything else by him, but I think this album is excellent.

 

Peer: Dances

Belgian composer Pierre Slinckx released a chiptune album under the name Peer. It’s unique and very good. You can find it here.

And you can find more of his music here.

 

8BP050

This one isn’t by a single composer–it’s a compilation of 50 songs by many different artists. I think it’s available only on CD and not as a download.

I have the CD set and I highly recommend it, but if you’re just looking for free music you can download the 20-track “bonus disc” here. These are songs that didn’t make the 2 CD set, but I found them to be just as good as the ones that were included.

I could list many more, but I suppose this is enough for one post.

 

Ronald Jenkees

Ronald Jenkees released his third album Days Away today, so I suppose it’s a good time to mention him here.

Jenkees first became famous-on-the-Internet when he began posting videos of himself playing his synthesizer on Youtube. He began each video with the greeting “Hello, Youtubes!”

He’s certainly talented, and I’ve listened to his previous two albums many times. And his latest seems to be at least as good as the previous two.

From a 2008 interview:

I used to make beats and silly raps and share them with friends on my website, but that was the extent of my music career. I actually studied tech in college and always did music for the fun of it (still do!). I started posting videos on YouTube just to entertain people – mainly my old college friends. Eventually I started posting vids of myself playing music. I guess it mixed well with my goofiness on camera, but mainly that combination of being entertaining and letting loose helped me to not feel like such a show-off. The YouTube audience is the only reason I came out with a whole album and am now working on a second.

Days Away seems to be his first instrumental-only album, the others each featuring two rap songs (their titles helpfully including “rap” in parentheses). Whatever your opinion on rap, I’d recommend listening to 56K (rap) and Let’s Ride (rap) at least once–but try some of his other songs first.

 

Matthew Simmonds (4mat)

In the early 1990s, I liked to collect and listen to MOD music files. Some the best ones I came across were by 4-mat of Anarchy.

About twenty years later, I discovered that 4mat (now without the hyphen) was once again releasing new music. His 2010 album Decades was excellent, and has since been followed by several more. His latest, Sans Titre, was released just yesterday. Simmonds is prolific, but manages to maintain a high level of quality.

Although his music falls within the chiptune genre, there is more variety to his work than that label might suggest. There is a consistent “warm” sound to many of his songs that, in addition to their catchiness, distinguishes them from a lot of other chiptunes out there.

To sample his work, I’d recommend starting with Decades and just moving forward through the releases. As for individual standout tracks, these are a few of my favorites from the first two albums:


Simmonds also does sound design for video games. I was interested to learn that he worked on Silent Hill: Origins and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (both of which I enjoyed, especially Shattered Memories).

You can find an interview with him here, in which he talks about his music and his work on games (including a game that he created himself).