A new tune I’ve been working on. Dark and glitchy. Melodies from 2x Game Boy DMGs.
Today I’m releasing my sixth full-length album as unexpected bowtie, a ten track LP named ‘liberal exodus’.
Composed entirely using a single DMG, I deliberately stuck closer to the LSDJ heart of the tracks than in previous releases – only adding extra instrumentation to complement the core sound. As a result, liberal exodus feels like a more straight-forward and mature electronic album than 2016’s TOKYO.
You can listen to/download the album over on Bandcamp. If you prefer to stream via Spotify, it should be appearing there within the next week or so.
There is also a very limited set of just five hand painted cassette tapes available via my Cow Tongue Taco Records label. At £2.50 more than the digital download, I think they’re a pretty decent deal, so head over there if you want to grab one before they are gone forever.
Artwork by the wonderful Sanditio Bayu.
This weekend passed, I headed down to London with my faithful hype man Lee Jones to perform at one of the infamous Gleeetch chipmusic nights. For a look into how things went, check out this short video:
The event itself was held in the middle of an industrial estate in Canning Town… way out East for those of you not intimately familiar with the geography of London. Nestled in amongst various stripped cars and piles of scrap metal was a dodgy looking pub, set on top of an old garage. When we first arrived, I was pretty sure we were going to end up stabbed.
As it turned out though, it was an awesome place for an underground gig. Pretty soon, the place began to fill up, and were spilling out into the street with booze, listening to the chipbeats seeping out from the building.
This is Olya, who made the whole thing happen, and who deserves a shit-load of credit for wrangling everything with such determination.
There were some awesome other artists performing, coming from as far away as France and Denmark. It was great to meet people in person that I’ve only ever heard of through the online chip community.
The lights and decorations were particularly awesome.
I love how friendly and ‘into it’ the crowd at chip shows are, and how those that come to these gigs and know nothing about the whole scene turn up looking dubious and bemused, and leave having had an awesome time, even if they aren’t quite sure what the hell was going on. Will definitely have to try and get some more things on the go north of the border.
To round things off, here’s a full live version of a new track: ‘fog of war’:
There’s also a medley of different tunes up on YouTube here.
I’ve spent the past few weeks travelling about Japan, and had an amazing time. Coming back to the UK has been a proper reverse-culture shock. Take me back?
As part of the trip, I got in touch with some fellow chipmusicians and chiplovers thanks to tips from pselodux and ended up playing my first live set at the Space Station in Osaka.
Thanks to Al and Jarrod Chappell for the above pics.
Expect more live stuff to come now that I’ve made the leap from the studio… Special thanks to these two for being so nice and hanging out:
In addition to playing in Osaka, in Tokyo I met up with chiptune historian Takashi Kawano, aka akaobi. He tipped us off to an awesome underground electro gig in Koenji, with folks like SunaMachiSoundSystem performing with a Game Boy Advance and Nanoloop, and tobokegao who was rocking a DMG/LSDJ combo with tracks from his Picnic album. You should definitely check them out. Everybody was so friendly to a weird gaijin who didn’t speak a word of Japanese, so thank you for that!
To mark the occasion, I’ve uploaded a new track to SoundCloud, which will feature on an upcoming album. Here’s BCN:
I’m going to be in Japan in the next couple of weeks, and have confirmed my first live outing as unexpected bowtie, at Space Station in Osaka, which is apparently in the ‘Top 30 Recommended Sights of Japan as Chosen by Foreign Visitors‘. The set will be stripped down to a single Game Boy only, given that we are travelling, so should be something a little different. If you happen to be in the area, it’d be awesome to see you there!
To mark the occasion, I’ve written a new track that’s up now on Soundcloud. Composition wise, it’s just a single Game Boy, with a tiny little added bit of Commodore 64, and extra drums. Enjoy!
Over the past couple of months I’ve been acquiring different bits of gear in a sort of obsessive kleptomaniac fashion to build upon the basic foundations of chiptune, and explore the different things I can do with it. As part of that, I’ve gotten a bunch of cool (and definitely not cheap) hardware sequencers… but I find myself constantly coming back to the Game Boy.
Musicians in the chiptune world often talk about the limitations of the console as one of the things that inspires them. For me, it’s probably the opposite: I am amazed at just how powerful these old handhelds can be, controlling all sorts of different gear. Primarily though, I just love composing on LSDJ.
The natural progression from drouth feels like it lies in an album that still has its roots firmly in the chipmusic world (composed entirely on a Game Boy – with the DMG sounds in the mix) – but with a deeper electronic influence, with the handheld sequencing other synthesisers to a greater degree.
I visited Montreal recently, and composed a track on the plane rather than watching the same old terrible TV re-runs that were available (another plus for the Game Boy there in its portability…). When I got back to Glasgow, I put it all together and recorded it. Have a listen below: