Hey Everyone!

I’m finally finished with graduate school as of last month, which means it’s time to get crackin’ on actually making music for the site on a regular basis. I think Morgan Freeman from Deep Impact was president the last time I posted, so suffice it to say it’s been awhile. I just spent the last four hours cleaning cobwebs and wet leaves off of the contact page, and I found what I’m pretty sure was a family of prairie dogs living in one of the comment threads. Yikes.

They also posted a bunch of racist remarks. Prairie dogs are jerks, I guess.

So I’m starting a new feature for the site today; every Thursday I’m going to post a new short piece that I wrote earlier in the week, talk a little bit about how I put it together, and then hopefully get some opinions on it from you guys. I tend to be one of those composers that fiddles around with making everything perfect for too long, so I think this will be good practice for me to get used to writing shorter works more quickly.

I’ve always been a big fan of chiptune music, so this first piece is written in that style. For those of you unfamiliar, chiptune is a genre of music which is produced mainly using the sound chips from old video game consoles (like the original Nintendo Entrainment System and Game Boy). It sounds like my childhood, and probably many of yours as well, but if you haven’t been exposed yet, go listen to this, and then come back.

I should point out that I’m cheating a bit here, in that I didn’t actually hack a Sega Genesis or anything. Except for the drums, which are samples of a live drum set, all the sounds here were produced using Logic Pro’s ES 1 simulator. By messing around with the different filters, waveforms, and other variables, you can create some pretty authentic sounds right out of the late 80’s. Also, a big thanks goes out to biff_larken at the logic pro help board; he created a great set of 8-bit presets for the ES 1, some of which are used here, while the rest are custom made.

Here, I started with a main melody line, and as the piece went on, simply added layers until I had a fuller sound at the end. I may end up expanding this one in the future, as it comes in at about 30 seconds and it was really hard not to keep going.

Check it out below! I loves me some comments, good or bad, so please let me know what you think!

Microjam 1 – Chiptune

-Ryan