Krakozhia

Chiptunes ...?

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I realize for the time being this is probably too much of a concession to demand, so I don't expect it, but I understand what danimal means about 2nd class citizen. There are some relatively juvenile piano remixes that have been posted, from a technical and compositional [pianistically speaking] perspective. But for a chiptune song to pass, it has to be in the top top top 99.999999% percent of the genre.

Anyway, I know that this will not change, and I don't expect it to anytime soon. BUT I stand by the fact that it should, and will...when the times change and chiptunes are regarded with the respect they deserve on a universal level.

Being serious now. I do feel that this is a very clear and concise opinion on the state of expectations. To add on the comment of piano arrangements with simpler arrangements and less skill required to perform them, those are obviously viewed more artistically in how they speak to the listener. A fair few of them were even commented on in their reviews about the poor recording quality or slight hitches in performances - but were willing to let them slide because it was felt the remix was arranged well enough and deserved to be passed. That in itself does not entirely bother me but because it is thought of so artistically it seems pretty pretentious to deny those same artistic rights regarding chiptunes and more so by refusing or unwilling to understand the sometimes complex techniques that are needed to achieve even the basic skills and production techniques that make up what is so enjoyable about chiptunes, which personally I think it pretty artistic in itself. If you use reverb for an example it's a program, a shortcut, which evidently is achievable in the composition of chiptune. It's a very capable genre which only gets better with the skill of the writer and to deny its right as an acceptable form of submission is very much the middle finger to the hard work that goes into it.

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The solution? Sub good chiptunes. See what happens.

For that matter, I think the standards are well written on this matter. The inbox might get flooded by n00bs who think their incoherent clashing mess of random bitcrushed samples and raw waveforms is on par with what actual chiptune artists do if it wasn't discouraged.

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While your attitude attempts to be consoling and positive, this paragraph shows that you really just don't get it.

It's funny, this community is all about recognizing that videogame music is not background music and is just as legit as pop music or classical music. What an awful step backward.

Man, I don't really understand where all your anger is coming from. RELAX. Step back. Stop getting so upset. OCR isn't the be-all end-all of video game music and never has anyone on staff claimed otherwise. You have the founder of the site coming into this thread and explicitly saying that Sam should resub Espergirl. I voted YES as did other judges. You're building up this thing in your head that OCR, either in terms of its staff or community, just hates chiptunes and will do anything to bar them from getting passed. That just... isn't true, and assumes really bad faith on our part.

but I guess if they're not really willing to change the rule then it'll just be an unfair system for now, hopefully not forever.

How many times does it need to be said that there isn't a "rule"? And again, did you see the part where I (and other judges) YESed the original Espergirl, not to mention where Dave said it would be worth subbing again?

It's a very capable genre which only gets better with the skill of the writer and to deny its right as an acceptable form of submission is very much the middle finger to the hard work that goes into it.

Again with the assumption of bad faith. All this hostility directed at OCR when you have pretty much the entire staff saying that we DON'T hate chiptunes, we ARE willing to reconsider decisions and we WANT folks like Sam to keep subbing their stuff. It's like you guys are desperately looking to create drama where there just isn't any to begin with. We don't sit in some dark room plotting about how to destroy chiptune music and reject submissions. I have FX4 queued up as we speak.

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Alright that's fine Zirc, my apologies for getting over the top on a topic I am passionate about.

But my main argument remains, chiptunes have been rejected and discouraged in the past bc of production issues. My argument is that chiptunes should have their own intrinsic production standards just like heavy metal, dance, classical guitar, and barbershop.

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Absolutely! There isn't one single production standard that can possibly be applied to every genre, and it would be impossible for us to judge with just one. For a heavy metal remix I want the guitars to sound thick, wide and loud, probably providing some excellent rhythmic drive. For an ambient remix I would probably not want to hear loud, overbearing rhythmic elements. So we already make that distinction.

But is "chiptune" a GENRE or a production style? I know plenty of people who make chiptunes and hate when they are referred to as a genre. You can have jazz chiptunes, funk chiptunes, rock chiptunes, dance chiptunes, etc. Hard to argue that, right? So what you're really asking is for us to have different production standards for different production styles. And that gets a little harder. Where do you draw the line? Like if someone made a crappy dance mix with basic saw & square synths mixed with lame drums, I don't think anyone would want us to give that a pass just because it has an intentionally basic style.

Or what if someone wanted to sub a mix with all FM/Genesis sounds which can get REALLY harsh REALLY quickly? When do you say "OK, I get that this is an intentional choice, but it's too abrasive for me"? Believe me, guys like you, Sam, Jake, George & Jonathan, etc., all make amazing-sounding music in various chiptune production styles. But the point of the standard is to prevent people from saying their weak/poor production style deserves a pass just because it's intentionally poor.

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But the point of the standard is to prevent people from saying their weak/poor production style deserves a pass just because it's intentionally poor.

>_< The only genre that should get a pass for being intentionally poor is traditional black metal.

And it doesn't.

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Absolutely! There isn't one single production standard that can possibly be applied to every genre, and it would be impossible for us to judge with just one. For a heavy metal remix I want the guitars to sound thick, wide and loud, probably providing some excellent rhythmic drive. For an ambient remix I would probably not want to hear loud, overbearing rhythmic elements. So we already make that distinction.

But is "chiptune" a GENRE or a production style? I know plenty of people who make chiptunes and hate when they are referred to as a genre. You can have jazz chiptunes, funk chiptunes, rock chiptunes, dance chiptunes, etc. Hard to argue that, right? So what you're really asking is for us to have different production standards for different production styles. And that gets a little harder. Where do you draw the line? Like if someone made a crappy dance mix with basic saw & square synths mixed with lame drums, I don't think anyone would want us to give that a pass just because it has an intentionally basic style.

Or what if someone wanted to sub a mix with all FM/Genesis sounds which can get REALLY harsh REALLY quickly? When do you say "OK, I get that this is an intentional choice, but it's too abrasive for me"? Believe me, guys like you, Sam, Jake, George & Jonathan, etc., all make amazing-sounding music in various chiptune production styles. But the point of the standard is to prevent people from saying their weak/poor production style deserves a pass just because it's intentionally poor.

Aha! Great question, I wish I had the perfect answer. If chip music is attempting to sound like dance music, maybe it should held to that standard. I think that 2a03 style like Sams mix is a perfectly legit production for the instrument. I try to look at chip moreso as instrumentation than genre but the line is flexible for simplicities sake.

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But is "chiptune" a GENRE or a production style? I know plenty of people who make chiptunes and hate when they are referred to as a genre. You can have jazz chiptunes, funk chiptunes, rock chiptunes, dance chiptunes, etc. Hard to argue that, right? So what you're really asking is for us to have different production standards for different production styles. And that gets a little harder. Where do you draw the line? Like if someone made a crappy dance mix with basic saw & square synths mixed with lame drums, I don't think anyone would want us to give that a pass just because it has an intentionally basic style.

Personally, I'd argue it is indeed a genre, though one that is certainly strongly coupled with a specific production style. My reasoning is that, like any other genre, it is closely related to a specific set of instruments, and relies on compositional elements that are unique to itself. Using the FX albums as an example, where else do you find such meticulous and rapid-fire runs of notes? Sure, Jake based it off of thrash metal, but thanks to its placement within the chiptune genre, the composition has shifted to use runs that I suspect are tighter than many metal songs out there. (But don't quote me on that, haha...)

And that's just one example. There are many techniques chiptunes use which really have become unique to that genre, perhaps because attempts to mimic that style with higher-level instruments lose a lot of the precision that raw waveforms have, or turn the composition muddy. So I guess my argument boils down to this: Chiptunes have the capacity to do things other genres either can not or would not benefit from doing.

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"Chiptune" is a genre in the same way "rock" is a genre.

When people say they play rock, that could mean anything from power ballads to power chords chugging. You have to specify. Then it's a genre.

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It's a genre. No, it's a sound. No, it's a style. No, it's an instrument. No, it's an ensemble. No, it's a subculture. No it's a giraffe. No, it's noise. No, it's art. No, it's just data. No, it's bad production. No, it's outdated technology. No, it's science!

Ensemble kind'a makes sense, tho.

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It's a genre. No, it's a sound. No, it's a style. No, it's an instrument. No, it's an ensemble. No, it's a subculture. No it's a giraffe. No, it's noise. No, it's art. No, it's just data. No, it's bad production. No, it's outdated technology. No, it's science!

Ensemble kind'a makes sense, tho.

tumblr_lxj4h1VdAW1r94aj8o1_500.gif

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Could chiptunes be considered an "ensemble?" Like, the way multiple genres can exist within a standard set of instruments?

Yeah, I would classify it as an ensemble, or instrumentation. It's similiar to a big band in jazz: you've got your set instruments, and the specific genre (swing, funk, latin, etc.) is left blank for the artist to fill in. What they choose to do with the set of sounds is their choice. Rather than saying 'big band' is a genre, because you've got everything from Count Basie to Maria Schneider, and the difference between them is the difference between Koji Kondo and Sam when it comes to chiptunes.

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Yeah, I would classify it as an ensemble, or instrumentation. It's similiar to a big band in jazz: you've got your set instruments, and the specific genre (swing, funk, latin, etc.) is left blank for the artist to fill in. What they choose to do with the set of sounds is their choice. Rather than saying 'big band' is a genre, because you've got everything from Count Basie to Maria Schneider, and the difference between them is the difference between Koji Kondo and Sam when it comes to chiptunes.

Makes sense. I guess a tangential question would be: Is there actually a genre that chiptunes alone can fill?

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Well, I think the more obvious point to a question like that is:

Are there musical techniques that can only be achieved with chiptunes/trackers/etc.?

Yes.

Therefore, they have their own niche amongst all the other instruments and arranging techniques out there.

Going by genre is an ultimately fruitless endeavor - bear that in mind.

Speaking of instrument arrangements, sometimes I jokingly wonder if something like Zuntata's own remix of Daddy Mulk would be rejected around here because it sounds

Which makes me wonder sometimes if someone likes using intentionally lo-fi sounds (like those great brass blasts in the songs), there's not some people out there saying WHAT THE HECK THOSE DON'T SOUND REAL

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I think it's really hard to say whether or not that would happen, as it's really a subjective process. But to me it seems fine.

So IMO it would probably be treated as an exception, or should be at least.

The problem here is that music arrangement and the actual production are usually really hand in hand. From checking out the WIP forums a ton, I can usually say that 90% of the songs I listen to that have production issues also have writing issues that are also issues that are closely intertwined with how the people use their samples. Things like clipping, instrument balance, and just really exposed samples, or out of place instrumentation choices that don't seem to fit, are usually a real problem with audio in general.

But when someone uses (what has been deemed) lower quality instruments that do fit together really well (such as chiptunes), that you can turn the volume up way high, and they ring clear as a bell, I think that's mostly what I'm talking about. I also think that production shouldn't go hand in hand w/ samples in terms of judgement, unless it is necessary, and there are real problems with how the samples are used... How you use what you have to me just seems more important.

Is a piano soundfont that is muffled automatically disqualified? No it's not, because we have people like Darkesword utilizing free soundfonts still, even if, especially in 2012, they do show their age. He's maximizing their effect.

I think the same should be true with chiptunes. Some people really like them, some people do not, some people consider them a great artform, others don't... I dunno if that's really what should be decided, but what I do know is that these people are utilizing their samples and instruments VERY well, I can blast them in my car and feel the bass and the treble, and really get into them, if they are well done. There's something that I enjoy about them that is different from other types of song atmosphere. I have used chippy samples in my songs before, but I only do it for a certain effect... I know that my production of actual chiptunes as a synth (like danimal is saying) will never approach their actual skill in utilization, but that's because I'm not writing in that way.

Within the chiptune scene, there are bad/lazy chiptunes and great amazing chiptunes. The criteria behind a true chiptune is a challenge, yes... But it also IMO has greatly expanded the creativity of the people in the scene, in how they get around it, so much in fact, that things are being done that no one ever thought possible. I just wish OCR had been a part of that scene all this time, instead of kinda holding it at arm's length as it has evolved. I agree w/ danimal about an approach for chiptune criteria that regards them in their own specific makeup, or at least a stance or perspective that is a little less biased on what "good production" actually is, in terms of previous OCR audio norms.... OCR does this automatically with live recorded instruments, it's an inherent thing... Someone records something, people judge how well it was recorded, if it fits over top of what they are doing. The same with vocals and how they are utilized, you guys wouldn't post an over-exposed, nasally voice over an ethereal track unless it somehow really worked. You should consider lyrics, how it fits in the track, all of that... Something that isn't needed for an instrumental track. The piano point is good... And I agree w/ Sam, some posted songs are really simplistic, in terms of piano skill and recording... But a lot were posted because there was a time when live-recorded piano was kind of a big deal, and piano samples were just not adequate at all (I'd argue that in some ways they still aren't), but anyway... I wish the same treatment had been given for chiptunes, entering the OCR arena, but I feel they weren't, not because they aren't a viable source of music, but because they were ultimately just not considered as such.

I don't think you're actually changing the standards here, but more changing a perspective and an approach to (not personal, but OCR's respective consideration of) the chiptune genre, if you were to YES an Shnabubula song, I think it'd be a real shame to treat it as the top 99% only getting through.

I promise I'm done now lol.

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Again with the assumption of bad faith. All this hostility directed at OCR when you have pretty much the entire staff saying that we DON'T hate chiptunes, we ARE willing to reconsider decisions and we WANT folks like Sam to keep subbing their stuff. It's like you guys are desperately looking to create drama where there just isn't any to begin with. We don't sit in some dark room plotting about how to destroy chiptune music and reject submissions. I have FX4 queued up as we speak.

Yknow Z I appreciate that you're responding to everyone like it is your duty but you're not a judge anymore. If you're just going to respond to the most negative part of my post of course it's going to look like drama. I'm glad you gave a YES to Espergirl, I've known that for a long time. I'm also sorry if I upset any chip artists by calling it a genre that was a bad call!

You're gonna love FX4 btw :)

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Speaking of instrument arrangements, sometimes I jokingly wonder if something like Zuntata's own remix of Daddy Mulk would be rejected around here because it sounds

I often wondered the same thing. For instance if you listen to a lot of the arrangements on SSBB, they're not particularly modern sounding. Same goes for all those arrangements on official soundtrack CD releases from back in the late 80s/early 90s. I think a lot of them are great but I suspect they would be rejected if they were written by GAMEREMIXKID99.

also <3 Daddy Mulk

OCR isn't the be-all end-all of video game music and never has anyone on staff claimed otherwise.

This is a couple of pages back now (conversation moves so quickly here!) but I want to address it because I think it gets to the heart of why people are upset that ocremix isn't very hospitable to chip arrangements.

OCReMix doesn't need to be the be-all end-all of vgm and I think that's fair enough. I personally agree that it shouldn't and should stick to focusing on game mixes with a production emphasis. Slightly frustrating though is that be-all-end-all is exactly how the site is perceived and celebrated. OCR releases original soundtracks, composer interviews, hosts biographical data, hosts emulated/chip formats of soundtracks and broadcasts (or did broadcast) radio shows/podcasts in the past too; all things other sites do, and no doubt plans for expansion into other areas in future as well. It's easy to see why people think OCR is the be-all and end-all of game music. If I remember correctly Tommy Tallarico even called ocremix "the saviour of game music" or something along those lines - you can see why that might bother people who are passionate about chip music and just want to be included.

So I figure if the site is already doing all this other stuff that's tangential to posting game mixes, it would be fitting for it to also more readily recognise and welcome chiptune arrangements... you would think that chip mixes would come WAY up the hierarchy before hosting original soundtracks and whatnot. So I do find awkward the claim that ocremix doesn't have to be the alpha and omega of game music when that's precisely what it's already doing.

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Yknow Z I appreciate that you're responding to everyone like it is your duty but you're not a judge anymore. If you're just going to respond to the most negative part of my post of course it's going to look like drama. I'm glad you gave a YES to Espergirl, I've known that for a long time. I'm also sorry if I upset any chip artists by calling it a genre that was a bad call!

You're gonna love FX4 btw :)

Zircon is a judge. What are you talking about?

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Okay this is starting wear on me a bit, the more posts I see like Dave's etc. the more I realize this situation is still not acceptable.

For one I'd like to more clearly understand exactly what meets the bar:

Here are some examples of chipmusic, all of these take the purist approach, and all but three were written for actual hardware, I'll specify which three:

(not for actual hardware)

(not for actual hardware)

(not for actual hardware)

I purposely picked a more technically minimal Virt track, as I'm curious if it would meet the bar.

Bit Shifter

Hally

Naruto

Zan Zan Zawa Veia

Tony Thai

Shnabubula

These are all very different styles, from a technical perspective, though I know they were all crafted with a ton of attention to detail and they all have what myself and many others consider to be a distinct and beautiful aesthetic.

If I were to write a chiptune, in an attempt to meet the current vague and nearly unreachable standard, most likely it would sound like it was trying too hard to prove that it was REAL MUSIC, rather than being allowed to explore the full spectrum of the purist chip-tune aesthetic. Something that as I pointed out in an earlier post, unlike other "lofi" methods of production... like recording windows default general midi sounds, or a live recording using terrible mics and mixing, or any other supposed slippery slope candidates, chip music has a ridiculously huge following ESPECIALLY among gamers.

I appreciate Djp's example about jumping off a bridge.. something being popular doesn't make it good, straight covers are also popular....but they go against the basic mission of this site. Chiptunes do not in my opinion because they are a distinctly MODERN form of music making. The fact that people are CHOOSING to work within a set of limitations, this is a revolutionary and important aspect of purist chip music and part of why it holds such a fascination for so many, a large portion of whom don't even have the nostalgic attachment to these sounds as they're too young to have grown up with the consoles that they originated on.

Anyway, it would help clarify the standards to me, even though I think all above styles should be completely acceptable if the arrangment aspects were to meet the bar, if I knew which of them would actually stand a chance.

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