Noises from the Past Influences the Music of the Future

Global music is deriving its inspiration from alternative mediums of entertainment, in particular from games of the past like Frogger and Donkey Kong. According to a recent article published on the BBC website, artists and musicians are now utilising chip music, featured in old-school games to influence their work.

‘Chip music’ are tracks written in sound formats where all the sounds are synthesized in real time by a computer or video game console sound chip, instead of using sample-based synthesis. A small fast-forward button, battery, volume adjuster, and on/off switch are added to create a beautifully minimal presentation that plays one bit sounds.

The age of chip music is fast becoming popular here in the UK and is being used by world renowned musicians, including Mark Ronson in his work with Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse, whose track displays a strong resemblance to the music of ‘The Legend of Zelda’.

Internationally renowned chip tune musician, Matthew Carl Applegate or ‘Pixelh8’, commented on growth of chip music in England by saying “that the chiptune scene in the UK is exploding”, as a result of the growth of downloading and streaming online.

In March 2009 Pixelh8 were commissioned by The National Museum of Computing to create an audio and visual analysis inspired by themes of mathematics, code-breaking and enciphering. The project, entitled “Obsolete?” is composed using some of the oldest and rarest computers in the world such as the WWII code-breaking machine Colossus Mark 2 Rebuild, and the 1960’s Elliott 803 largely used for mathematics. With over thirty machines studied and utilised within the music, it is a combination of both sounds from the internal sound chips and the external electro-mechanical sounds.

Will modern day music soon be influenced by the theme tunes of Mario Kart, PacMan and Call of Duty? What are your thoughts on the world of chip music? Inspirational sound or tedious noise?

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