My taste in music
Being into electronics makes you a pretty weird teenager. Since my parents didn't want to spend a lot of money on game consoles that only last a couple of years (good job!), I got into emulation at around ten years old. Fortunately, my kid self never installed a virus while browsing the shady ROM sites. Instead, I got a unique appreciation for the old games I was playing. And in particular, for their music.
In the last century, raw CD audio was not a luxury many home consoles could afford, let alone MP3's! So instead, video games used dedicated sound chips to make their tunes. Making a chiptune is somewhere between art and programming. You can control every bit of the sound, as the computer plays it back with robotic precision. And yet, you pour your heart into every note as a composer.
In the modern era, these sound chips are out of production. Their service has been obsoleted by ever greater memory capacities. But through emulation and preservation, the chips live on! To this day, there is a vibrant community of chiptune artists who make these soundchips sing like they never have before.
This is a list of the artists and collections I listen to every day.
This list contains archives and other websites that maintain a huge collection of music. Due to the sheer number of songs, most of them are pretty bad. So it's better to know in advance who or what you are looking for.
- The mod archive aims to contain every Amiga MOD ever written.
- Battle of the bits is a very active chiptune/retro art contest page.
- The C64 Scene Database is a Commodore 64 Scenedemo archive with new stuff submitted every day! This one is good for newbies, since the rating system gives you an indication about which tunes are worth listening to. And don't sleep on the demos themselves! It's a full audio-visual experience.
Since the agreggrates have a lot of music, it's nice to have a more curated selection. The people in this list post their favourite tunes to YouTube. This way, the music reaches a larger audience. And you might hear a really good tune that you would otherwise have overlooked. In a way, they are like internet discjockeys.
- PC-98 Love posts a lot of historical PC-98 video game soundtracks.
- Ryan Landry posts a variety of tunes, mostly obscure NES covers.
- sLASH posts Commodore Amiga prods, and is branching out to the C64 scene.
- soundshock posts various tracks made with Yamaha FM chips.
- titanscope posts tracks from the C64 and tracker scene.
- acrouzet posts various C64 and Amiga tunes, and writes their own music too!
Of course, individual artists show off their work too. I mostly listen to the people who post on YouTube, but many of these talented folk share their music elsewhere too. I'm just not keen on keeping track of who's where.
- +TEK makes amazing FM and N163 covers.
- Danooct1 is one of the first NES musicians I listened too. A real veteran, at least to me.
- 40Nix posts NES covers of mostly Japanese tracks. I can't tell if she's Japanese herself or just really into Japanese culture.
- 90-Degree Studios writes Genesis covers. There's not a lot there yet, but it sounds promising!
- Abstract 64 writes FM tunes with some choice sound design.
- Albergarri778 writes Genesis covers, but hasn't been active much lately.
- asi14 writes PC-98 covers of modern touhou music. The touhou franchise has some amazing music, and these covers show it!
- Blue Mario covers all sorts of stuff with a wide variety of chips.
- branflakes covers mostly video game music with NES chips. He always makes cool pixel art to go with his tracks.
- BWIceSoldier covers a lot of tunes with the NES. Unfortunately, they haven't been active for a very long time.
- ChiptunedRaijin makes really good Genesis covers of other video game soundtracks.
- coatlesscarl makes NES covers with a really good grasp of harmony.
- Dave Harris makes very interesting experimental MIDI and NES tracks.
- diamondthorns makes music in a style reminicient of Kirby's Adventure.
- Dynamite Man.EXE makes chiptunes with a very serious, orchestral style.
- Firespike makes original chiptunes with heaps of talent.
- Fearofdark is one of the old masters of chiptune, in my opinion.
- flashygoodness makes amazing tracks that sweep you away to another world. Another veteran of the chiptune scene.
- FΛDE writes a lot of good original stuff, and has a name you can't spell in ASCII!
- HertzDevil has been writing NES chiptunes since I was a baby.
- InstantTrain writes tracker music using OpenMPT which sounds like it's a live recording!
- ipidev writes MOD tunes that make you boogie out of your chair.
- ISMTUD makes NES tunes that put the 'rock' in Rockman.
- Jammer has firmly established himself as one of the best C64 artists with over 20 years of experience.
- JLippe writes NES tunes that use the 2A03 channels to their fullest.
- Laaggy writes chiptunes to chill out to. Great for a relaxed evening.
- LMan is one of the most respected C64 artists, always pushing the SID chip to it's limits.
- Michirin makes PC Engine covers, which is a pretty unique chip (at least in the west).
- mmkthecoolest makes the most out of the FC expansion chips.
- Music Boi JBoy makes chiptunes covers with his own spin on the original track.
- pd CGT has been getting really good at making FM tracks lately.
- Robyn makes tracker tunes with a few memey speech samples. Actually, this youtube channel is nothing but memes! The chiptunes are on BotB.
- RushJet1 is another very experienced chiptunes artist, like danooct1 and HertzDevil.
- Savaged Regime is probably one of the greatest Genesis musicians to have ever lived.
- The Legend of Renegade remakes video game tracks with old soundfonts. His covers almost always hit the mark, but the 'extended mix'es where he just mutes a few tracks are pretty lame.
- VinylCheese makes really good NES covers, but hasn't been active for a while.
- what.sf2 makes cool sounding SNES covers of video game music.
- Gemuwo is someone I've only recently started following, and I think they have a lot of potential!