Australia's First Chipmusic Festival Is More Than A Blip On The Horizon

I'll have to freely admit that I have never attended a 'Chipmusic' event and, being perfectly honest, I know very little about it — but I want to learn, and Blip Festival Australia, Australia's first chipmusic festival, may be a good place to start.

Blip Festival Australia takes place in Melbourne, at the Evelyn Hotel in Brunswick on February 17 and 18, and features chiptunes artists from overseas in addition to local Australian outfits. Joshua Davis AKA Bit Shifter and Jeremiah Johnston AKA Nullsleep will be there, as will European performers Patric Catani, Lazerbeat and _ensnare_.

Those names might mean very little to those who aren't knee deep in the chipmusic scene (myself included) but I've heard from folks I trust that chipmusic nights are an awesome amount of fun. I'm hoping to head down myself, speak to the people involved and get a better insight into this rapidly growing music... thing!

"There is a really thriving chip scene in Australia that we've been admiring from afar for several years," said Mike Rosenthal, the co-founder of Blip Festival. "We figured it was time to stop simply exporting their talent to the other Blip Festivals worldwide and instead come join the party".

According to SoundBytes co-founder, Eugene Davoren-Britton, this will be the first Australian performances for many of the high profile chipmusic artists on the bill.

“There are some exceptionally exciting artists on the line up, and we are especially excited to be bringing many of the artists not just to Australia for the first time, but also to their first Blip Festival performances," he said. "We have a bill full of heavy hitting veterans of multiple Blip Festivals as well as fresh new talent that Australian music fans are going to love”

For those new to the whole chipmusic scene, Blip Festival Australia appears to be the perfect entry point.

“Some of these guys have been making music since before there was a name for “chipmusic” and many of them are well known as leaders within the chip community," continued Davoren-Britton. "Bringing them all together for an event like this is not only going to make for a fantastic live music experience, it’s going to be a great learning experience for locals who may not have had this kind of exposure to so many talented artists at one time, not to mention the international audience who will be able to tune into our web stream.”

For more info on the line-up and the event itself, head to the official website.


    I've never been hugely into this scene but was pretty interested in attending one night at least, it seems like it'd be pretty fun.

    I wish this was in sydney, or i can get to melbourne, looks mad fun. I have a new intrest in real chiptune music and i wanna see how they do it.

      Make the trip down! It'll be worth it. I know a bunch of folk coming from all over Australia and the internationally just to attend. This promises to be quite special and hopefully the start of yearly Blip Festivals in Australia.

    "Blip Festival Australia, Austria’s first chipmusic festival"

    Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney...

    Kind of GETS OLD.

      Where do you live? Brisbane has a thriving chip scene too. If there isn't something happening where you are you should get some pals together, find an open mic and play some chip. Everything has to start somewhere. If I could bring live chipmusic to all corners of our fair nation I would but alas I am only one man. I promise it'll be worth the travel distance though if you choose to come :D

        Adelaide, AKA the place trolled as the most boring place on Earth.
        (The reason? We either lack gaming/music/sports events or some bastard buys it out for Sydney or Melbourne. Formula 1 anyone? We finally got Armageddon to add to the one half-anime/half-gaming con we have, but then it too died.)

          Check out they're getting involved with a new regular Chip/glitch night in Adelaide. There's actually quite a few chip artists in Ade (also Melbourne's close... although not as close as it was when Tiger was still flying that route!)

          What about Ultracade?

          There is plenty of stuff going on in Adelaide. The dude who runs retrospekt is starting a monthly night that'll have some chip.

    bring anamanaguchi to perth and i will pay a billion dollars, seriously

      I would go see Anamanaguchi damn near anywhere in Australia. Apart from Perth, really. Perth is too bloody far.

      Anamanaguchi is too hip ;)
      Tbh they're overrated soooo much.

      This is also so great, I've been following the chip scene on various sites, there's been small things here and there, but nothing major.
      The artists are pretty awesome, nullsleep being an ooollldschool awesome chiptuner, he's got a massive collection on his server.
      Don't say it's the end - nullsleep, love it.

    So what's the deal with this stuff? Is it just techno in 8-bit? Do they set up all their stuff and play most of it using a midi-controller keyboard or press play and every now and then hit a button and twist some knobs?

      To your first point, chipmusic/chiptune isn't a genre, it's a medium. Think of chipmusic as a pallete with with to paint or an instrument. It would be like saying guitar music. So chipmusic comes in all forms and genres. Chip musicians vary widely as to their approach to live performance. It's not something that would be easy to explain in one reply so I'd encourage you to poke around the net a little more and find out for yourself. Having said that Blip Aus will showcase a wide variety of genres within the chip medium such as VGM, Prog rock, dance music of all sorts etc. Full disclosure : I am one of the organisers of the event. Hope to see you there!

      Nah that would be to obvious, I believe that is the genre of '8 Bit Techno' - it's more like indie-y pop/rock played with modified game consoles and real instruments too - that band Anamanaguchi referred to above use modified consoles which are triggered by sequencers which they then play conventional instruments over.. at least that it how it seems to me. I think they are on the more 'rock' side of the chiptune thing though. I remember there was this band in Sydney who used to have a Gameboy which they used as a drum machine, they were kinda shit, but it sounded cool.

        No, Anamanaguchi is one of the few which use guitar to make it sound pop-like, I don't think any of these artists do.
        Though I loooove swampyboy who mixes jungle/breakcore with chiptune to make chipbreak.

        Every artists has it's own genre, seriously.
        Hard to explain, there's chip ambient, chip blues, chip funk, chip everything.

      It's music made with sound chips usually old obsolete computer and gaming hardware. The Gameboy is used pretty frequently, for example.

      That all sounds rather rad. Not my kinda thing by any stretch but pretty cool nonetheless. Are there any videos on youtube or anywhere displaying that kinda stuff in a more demo/studio setting instead of live, maybe showing how they put it all together and set that stuff up?

        Henry homesweet, does like chip-house, YouTube him.

          Had a squiz at his Out-House and Bassment videos but it was him playing stuff and by that I mean twisting the odd knob and using a few sliders. I wanna see the guts of this music, see how they make it.

          (Then again I may just have watched the wrong ones or something :S )

            LSDJ and nanoloop is whats used for the main guts of it.

              Maybe I'm reading it wrong when it comes to what those things can do but they seem to be doing most of the work for the "artist" where all you need is a basic sense of rythm and timing as opposed to knowing how to actually work an instrument or device in a traditional sense. It reminds me of drum pads or samplers where pretty much anyone can grab one and with little to no knowledge or skill make "music". Except in those circumstances you have to do more than twist knobs and move sliders.

                Like most if not all electronic music, or most music in general, there is a difference between composing a musical piece VS performing it for a audience (of course there are exceptions)... On the compositional side, the artists in question create the music on the device, it's not sampling, it's song writing. As far as live performance it can be as fundamental as DJing to Performing with live instruments, to playing with a MIDI controller or keyboard that is controlling the actual hardware. It's comparable to any other form of music that uses digital-age technology in creation or live performance. It's really up to the artist.

    I've had the pleasure of DJing at an event that Abortifacient was also playing at - he's a really nice guy and his music is excellent.

    And been involved with an event with these guys as well.

    Would definitely recommend anyone who can, go to this. It's good, fun music.

    lol I first read "chipmusic" as "chipmunk" in the title.

    This sounds great though, I've been following the Blip Festivals for a few years, never thought it'd come to Australia. And those artists, they are the best of the best. Good stuff.

    I love the old C64 game music made with the SID chip.

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