Krakozhia

Chiptunes ...?

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Zircon is a judge. What are you talking about?

Oh it just doesn't say it on his profile or the judging process thread. My bad, didn't know you guys had ninja judges :P

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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.

True, the goal of the site is to celebrate, appreciate and elevate video game music as an art form. And if we didn't care about that we wouldn't collectively pour tens of thousands of hours into working on the site, judging + making remixes, expanding the database, making projects, etc. We wouldn't have discussions like this. We're always looking to improve, but in the meantime, please don't get angry or upset because we haven't reached the (perhaps impossible) goal of being the perfect site (which we never claimed to be). Lord knows there have been internal initiatives and staff projects that have been going on for years, all with the goal of making the site better.

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.

Yes, it's very interesting, no doubt about that. But at the end of the day, what's being asked is that we make special rules and exceptions for a production style, because that production style is popular. And you just said yourself that a large portion of people who enjoy/make it don't even have the VGM connection, which sort of weakens that case.

As for the long list of tracks you posted, not sure what you expect us to do there. Contrary to what people think we don't judge remixes based strictly on production, so how can you expect us to judge that original music when we're missing half the picture of what the site is about - arrangement? That being said, in a little bit I'll listen to some of these and give my thoughts.

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True, the goal of the site is to celebrate, appreciate and elevate video game music as an art form. And if we didn't care about that we wouldn't collectively pour tens of thousands of hours into working on the site, judging + making remixes, expanding the database, making projects, etc. We wouldn't have discussions like this. We're always looking to improve, but in the meantime, please don't get angry or upset because we haven't reached the (perhaps impossible) goal of being the perfect site (which we never claimed to be). Lord knows there have been internal initiatives and staff projects that have been going on for years, all with the goal of making the site better.

Aye, there's no debate about the amount of time, energy and love that goes into the site as it stands, that's not in question at all by anyone (I don't think.) I'm not personally upset at all or demanding anything to change, I don't think any site can do everything and please everyone, as I've said I'm more in favour of ocremix retaining or maybe even narrowing its focus, but I wanted to give an explanation for why I think this issue crops up over and over.

I think more clarity would be great, whichever way is decided.

Pointlessly chipping in (lolpun) to say I bloody love this track.

A million times yes.

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Yes, it's very interesting, no doubt about that. But at the end of the day, what's being asked is that we make special rules and exceptions for a production style, because that production style is popular. And you just said yourself that a large portion of people who enjoy/make it don't even have the VGM connection, which sort of weakens that case.

Okay I'm starting to get a little confused. When you say production style.. it seems that the term is being applied a bit broadly. If we're talking strictly production, expecting a piece of orchestral music to be normalized on the same level as an electronic submission would be pretty ridiculous. Any non live instrument song with this kind of production, lack of clarity etc. or like Danimal said earlier.. expecting a harsichord arrangement to have a huge dynamic range.

Beyond that though, pure chiptunes are far more than simply a 'production style'. They are an entire aesthetic unto themselves. You say "but you can have jazz chiptunes... or rock chiptunes", you could have a string quartet play a jazz standard as well, does that make it simply a production style? I point this out because, asking chiptune artists to do things like add reverb/panning or HQ electronic sounds as a requirement, would be like demanding all orchestral arrangements make use of filter effects and flanger/phasing and other types of processing used in straight electronic arrangements.

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I think more clarity would be great, whichever way is decided.

I love clarity, I'm a huge fan of clarity, and I do want us to be as clear as humanly possible. It's just that sometimes there's an inverse relationship between clarity and flexibility - hopefully we can enhance the former while maintaining the latter, and a resub/revision from Sam can kick off that process.

I kinda thought we had achieved touchy-feely closure at that point, but as for danimal's subsequent comment about second-class citizens, digital piano, etc.

  1. We like VGM, dude. We're ALL second-class citizens. That's the main battle we're fighting, at least here at OCR.
  2. Using some of the same logic already employed to make a case for chiptunes based on popularity, you COULD argue the following and not be completely moronic: Piano has been around for centuries; ditto that for guitar. Our generation is often accused of wanting instant gratification, without earning it over time. Attempting to "play the victim" and argue that chiptunes don't get the same exact respect suggests that as a medium, they've accomplished in mere decades what those instruments have built up over centuries. Mad love for the chips from ME, personally, but I wouldn't expect instant parity with those two particular instruments, which represent the heavyweights of solo instrumentation. I'm not saying OCR specifically should treat the two differently, I'm saying I wouldn't be representing chiptunes in this fashion, personally, since it seems a little... impatient? I don't know the best word, but hopefully you get me. Based on Sam's multiple citations, it seems like things are going the right way, regardless... hopefully it's about the music and not about proving something.

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And you just said yourself that a large portion of people who enjoy/make it don't even have the VGM connection, which sort of weakens that case.

Not sure there, as this is also the case with many of the other OCR songs. I'd guess that a lot of people probably like some of the remixes despite never having heard the source before, so it's kinda the same idea.

As for the long list of tracks you posted, not sure what you expect us to do there. Contrary to what people think we don't judge remixes based strictly on production, so how can you expect us to judge that original music when we're missing half the picture of what the site is about - arrangement? That being said, in a little bit I'll listen to some of these and give my thoughts.

Yes, but you are essentially pre-judging chipmusic strictly on production. He is giving an example of this, as most chip musicians don't write full-on remixes of things very often because why bother? I don't partially because I want to focus more on my own projects/originals, and because... I wouldn't expect it to get accepted here, and the other place I used to go (vgmix) is gone forever (maybe not but probably).

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Here's my double post with comments. I want to preface this by saying I don't really care whether something is for actual hardware or not. It might be an interesting factoid or technical feat, but it shouldn't have any bearing on the piece of music itself - in MY opinion. If I make a piece of music and use some elaborate production techniques, but the music isn't particularly interesting, I don't think my use of elaborate techniques excuses that. May be a radical view, I don't know. I care more about the final result than anything else.

Keep in mind these are just my personal opinions, and I'm focusing more on the production aspect as opposed to composition.

Alex Mauer - Zenith: I think this is pretty basic in terms of how it uses chip sounds. I also don't find the piece that interesting in terms of melody, rhythm, harmony etc.

Phlogiston - Night Jam: The highly articulated leads here are really nice. Just like how vocalists and guitarists can add extensive articulation to their instruments, so should chiptune artists. The varied rhythms and (apparent) change-ups in time signature are also very cool.

Norrin Radd - Four Lights: The rhythms right off the bat remind me of Meshuggah. Love the complexity and chaos there. To me this is basically like a subgenre of metal in chiptune production form. At the same time, I feel like the barrage of rhythms masks the relative sparseness of the texture. I guess by the end I was getting a little tired of it.

virt - Plasmatextor: Great articulated leads, writing, etc., it's virt.. so what would you expect? That being said I don't think the use of basic chip sounds for powerchord-style parts is particularly interesting. The second half is where things really get good.

Bit Shifter - Particle Charge: Like the Alex Mauer piece I find this one to be kind of basic. A perfect example (to me) of something that would have sounded just way better with non-chiptune sounds. I don't think the chip elements really add anything here.

Hally - Sprite Bells etc.: Not a big fan of the first one. Sort of abrasive/annoying to me, either due to production or composition, hard to say. The second piece is more interesting mainly because of the great soloing. Third piece is back to the same kind of issue as a few of the other tracks; I just don't find faux-guitar rhythm riffs that enjoyable in chiptune form unless there are some really interesting rhythms going on.

RushJet1 - Exam Slam: I like the composition. But, to me this is another one where I don't really feel that using chiptune production enhances the piece. It's solid, but I could imagine this same composition arranged for other ensembles and being more enjoyable that way. Some stuff like the big arpeggios at 1:40 might not translate perfectly but I could even imagine this for funk band.

Naruto- AI Bomb: Here's a better example of using (what I think are) authentic techniques to great effect, with the lovely articulated leads and arpeggios. Some nice rhythm writing and using of panning too. The overall composition may not be my very favorite but the production is cool.

Zan-zan-zawa: This hits me as abrasive and muddy. The different timbres mush together in a way that doesn't really work (again, IMO!) and despite using some chip-specific techniques like fast arpeggios, the end result is not too enjoyable for me. It does get better later on when the instruments spread out more in pitch and polyrhythms are added, but even so, I think the production is messy. A shame because there are a lot of ideas in here that I think sounded pretty cool.

Lunar - Labyrinth: I like the use of an expanded palette of tones (being a relative newbie to chip production I hadn't even heard of the "FDS" channel/track). Good stuff.

chibi-tech: Maybe one of the best articulated leads I've heard yet. It almost sounds like it's talking. I like the way the production really compliments the composition (or maybe it's the other way around?) But sounds like it could be a trance/dance hit. Awesome use of faux-effects, sidechaining etc. It's like Justice. Love it!! Definitely my favorite one yet.

Zabutom: Hard to go from chibitech to this, since to me this production is a lot more basic. Not bad, and some nice sequencing/pitch tricks, but nothing too special production-wise either.

FearofDark: I like how big this sounds thanks to the phat drum samples, thicker harmony parts and arpeggios. Maybe just my bias for more layered pieces talking :-) Creative and enjoyable.

Tony Thai: Production-wise the leads are nice here but the harmony is a bit blocky and could just as well be done using traditional instruments. I'd love to hear this piece with a small fusion ensemble for example. I don't feel that it needs to be chip, or that using basic timbres really enhances things (despite the lead sounding great.)

Shnabubula: Well, you saved the most interesting case for last, since this is an arrangement of something I already know quite well and have played in a band :-) Needless to say your production is excellent. I think it's a creative interpretation of a well-known standard, adapted in a way that really suits the instruments.

If I were to judge a chiptune on OC ReMix, I would use some of the same criteria mentioned here:

* I like hearing advanced techniques in sequencing and DSP. Just like a solo acoustic guitar piece should often do a bit more than basic strumming, so a pure chiptune should flex its muscles and utilize a variety of techniques.

* Since you have limited polyphony, the importance of the lead instrument(s) becomes pronounced. Thus, I find that having a more exciting lead with soloing, vibrato, pitch bends and other articulation is much more preferable to a basic lead.

* I don't like when it sounds like just a 'normal' track (for lack of a better descriptor) that happens to use chiptune sounds. I'd say the same for arrangements in any instrumental ensemble. If you adapt a piano piece for big band, you should make full use of the big band, otherwise what's the point? In other words, a pure chiptune should have a reason for existing other than for the sake of novelty or popularity.

* Since tonal variations are harder to do given the limited palette of tones, adding more interest in rhythmic writing / polyrhythms, intricate sequencing, etc. go a long way to keeping a pure chiptune piece fresh.

* Using an array of additional tones/samples like Blitz + chibitech did also really helps to keep things fresh, interesting and unexpected.

Again, this is all just in my opinion but maybe it will lend some insight in how I would personally judge chip remixes. Of course, keep in mind arrangement is another bag of chips entirely. You could do all these things but if it's a super-basic coverish arrangement it won't matter.

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I love clarity, I'm a huge fan of clarity, and I do want us to be as clear as humanly possible. It's just that sometimes there's an inverse relationship between clarity and flexibility - hopefully we can enhance the former while maintaining the latter, and a resub/revision from Sam can kick off that process.

I kinda thought we had achieved touchy-feely closure at that point, but as for danimal's subsequent comment about second-class citizens, digital piano, etc.

  1. We like VGM, dude. We're ALL second-class citizens. That's the main battle we're fighting, at least here at OCR.
  2. Using some of the same logic already employed to make a case for chiptunes based on popularity, you COULD argue the following and not be completely moronic: Piano has been around for centuries; ditto that for guitar. Our generation is often accused of wanting instant gratification, without earning it over time. Attempting to "play the victim" and argue that chiptunes don't get the same exact respect suggests that as a medium, they've accomplished in mere decades what those instruments have built up over centuries. Mad love for the chips from ME, personally, but I wouldn't expect instant parity with those two particular instruments, which represent the heavyweights of solo instrumentation. I'm not saying OCR specifically should treat the two differently, I'm saying I wouldn't be representing chiptunes in this fashion, personally, since it seems a little... impatient? I don't know the best word, but hopefully you get me. Based on Sam's multiple citations, it seems like things are going the right way, regardless... hopefully it's about the music and not about proving something.

I agree with you whole heartedly, which is why my original post claimed it would take at least 70 years for things to be at the point where chiptunes would be allowed in their most basic raw form.

The reason I continue to press the point, is not so much impatience as, I feel discouraged by the standards as they are, despite my initial enthusiasm. I realize, in order for things to change, there are always double standards that are reasonable.. e.g. white rappers can't get away with being mediocre and make it, without exceptional circumstances. Not necessarily the best example, but I get it. For a chiptune arrangement to be taken seriously, it will have to go above and beyond the call of duty.

I will try my best to answer this call, though it will probably be a year or two before I really feel up to it as other things take priority at the moment.

I'd like to say though, this impatience you speak of.. that fire.. that passion, without it I don't think change would come. It always comes at a snail like pace, I accept that, but if we were to strive for that specifically... if all movements took the stance of, lets just be patient and wait for change to happen on its own, then even 200 years wouldn't make a difference.

So I personally don't see this impatience or "playing the victim" as you call it, something to look down upon. And I guess some of us hope, that a site like this, might try to be ahead of the curve by as much as possible. Please don't mistake this for a sense of entitlement.

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Newspapers have been around for centuries. Our generation is often accused of wanting instant gratification, without earning it over time. Attempting to "play the victim" and argue that internet news sites don't get the same exact respect suggests that as a medium, they've accomplished in mere decades what those established publications have built up over centuries. Mad love for the internet from ME, personally, but I wouldn't expect instant parity with those two particular mediums, which represent the heavyweights of print news sources. I'm not saying we specifically should treat the two differently, I'm saying I wouldn't be representing the internet in this fashion, personally, since it seems a little... impatient? I don't know the best word, but hopefully you get me. Based on Sam's multiple citations, it seems like things are going the right way, regardless... hopefully it's about the news and not about proving something.

See what I did there? This is fun.

Times are changing at a rapid pace compared to the past, the previous centuries kind of don't make a good predictor for how we should react to things. I mean, I saw this lady talking to herself in the store a couple days ago, probably casting a spell on me so I told the village about her and I assume she's been burned at the stake.

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most chip musicians don't write full-on remixes of things very often because why bother? I don't partially because I want to focus more on my own projects/originals, and because... I wouldn't expect it to get accepted here, and the other place I used to go (vgmix) is gone forever (maybe not but probably).

Making music for the wrong reasons. >_>

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I don't see you making any remixes that aren't intended for OCR, nebby

I was gonna say you don't even know anything about my music, but I totally forgot that time where you came over to my house and I showed you my remix project file library :-D/sarcasm

Oh, that's right. You didn't. So don't even try to sound like you know anything about me. :/

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See what I did there? This is fun.

Yes - you equated news (media) with music (art).

Which is actually kind of cosmically offensive on an ideological level, with the sweetened bonus of being misguided.

But yeah, what Sam said... impatience can be a great motivator, and OCR should be progressive, not conservative, generally speaking.

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Personally i'm loving this thread cause its bringing to light chiptune songs i probably wouldn't of stumbled across and artists i haven't fully heard about.

You guys can argue all you want but the truth is people write music to be heard correct?

Consider my ears open :3

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Well, I'm actually a little curious on something since production seems to be the issue. What about the quality of the chiptune album Capcom released a bit back "Chiptuned Rockman". Would the songs from those be a good possible guideline for chiptune production since it was an official album or would that still not fall into OCR's guidelines?

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Making music for the wrong reasons. >_>

No, making music for the right reasons: for himself.

Neblix hit it on the head. If I'm going to make music for other people, gotta have some kind of incentive. If it's for a cool game, or some other thing I'd like (or a indie game/project thing) then that's fine, but I wouldn't want to make a remix specifically trying to get submitted to OCR (taking a lot of time to do stuff that might help that) and have a 99.9999x % chance of it getting denied anyway. It's kind of an effort thing mixed with that feeling you get where you write something that you disagree with but someone else called for it to be that way. I've run into that for some game music I've written, but that's different as it's their project and it's also pretty assured that we'll come to some kind of agreement, which is not necessarily the case with the judges' panel.

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