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Gameboys are back in fashion as music makers for the masses

Monday, July 13, 2015 - 01:53

A new craze is sweeping clubs with music makers armed with 80s game consoles and utilizing their old music making software to create clubbing anthems. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) It was a cultural icon of the early nineties and now the Nintendo Gameboy is back in fashion but for a different reason: it's one of a number of old consoles being utilized by musicians to create a wave of music called chiptune, chip music or 8-bit music. Irish-born Niamh Houston is considered one of the most prominent artists in this counterculture scene, where she is known as Chipzel. "Chip music is music that is composed on old computer hardware or retro consoles," she explained. "So those would be like consoles that you might have played back in the day like the Atari systems, the Commodores or Gameboys like I use and you can use what's known as a tracker programme to hack into the sound chip in these consoles and use it as you would a synthesiser." Although chiptune originated in the 1980s, when it enjoyed significant popularity, that popularity eventually waned. In the mid-2000's the scene suddenly erupted again with artists such as Beck, The Killers, and No Doubt using samples in their tracks and more recently artists such as deadmau5, Kesha and Timbaland have done the same. Now, the scene is gaining popularity particularly in Japan, USA, UK and Australia where club nights and festivals are on the rise, according to Ashley Charles, another prominent chipmusic maker and DJ known to his fans as Sabrepulse. Chipzel may be still hooked on her Gameboy for music production, but she has moved on to other things. She is now the star of a new computer game, 'Spectra'. The game's makers, Gateway Interactive, were so impressed with her album that they decided to make it the centrepiece of their new game rather than just adding it on at the end of production. According to Sabrepulse, with more and more artists picking up chiptune for their singles - like Kesha with 'Tik Tok' - the future of music is retro. 'Spectra' is out now on Xbox One, PC and mobile phones.

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Gameboys are back in fashion as music makers for the masses

Monday, July 13, 2015 - 01:53