Volume 89 Retro Playlist

Maker News
Volume 89 Retro Playlist

When I was working on Make: Volume 89 — our retro issue — the topics of chiptune, tracker modules, and video game soundtracks kept coming up. This gave me an idea: what if we put together a playlist to go along with the retro section, filled with our authors’ and my own favourite tracks? The results of this wacky idea can be enjoyed below…

Ian Scott (PicoGUS)

“These are faves from back in the day that I still love:”

Starshine by Purple Motion

“this one is special because it was the very first song I ever got to play on my first prototype. I still test each PicoGUS that I send out with this song.”

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Te-2rx by md

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Lonely Planet by Basehead

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Alterraid by Dune

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“And here are some newer ones from more recent times out of the Amiga scene:”

krunk’d by Hoffman

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onbb by esau

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Neocolora by SoDa7 and Virgill

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Cat Graffam (Game Boy Camera Renaissance)

“Gotta recommend the musician that did the soundtrack for the game, of course.”

“there’s this boston chiptune band that I was just introduced to who is awesome, not sure if they are still around (very guchi sounding)”

“henry homesweet is the soundtrack for 2009 for me, haha. simple pleasures & i love you, especially.”

“I’m pretty sure I saw guchi once at pax east I think?? There was jonathon coulton too. A bunch of nerd core! Guchi was definitely one of my intro’s to chiptune music, as I think it was with a lot of people.”

Nikola Whallon (Pro-Sound Mod)

“I can’t hold a candle to those releases, but these are my most proud:”

Keith Hammond (Chief Editor)

David Groom (me)

wow, this is going to be hard to keep to a reasonable length — I am so obsessed with chiptune (hence my own personal modded DMG-01 on this issue’s cover!)! I want to start with a shout out to Brendan (Inverse Phase) from Bloop Museum, who was a huge part of this issue! His Beatdown City OST slaps, and his 8-bit NIN covers album Pretty Eight Machine is an amazing story of its own…Chiplust too is amazing collection of brilliant covers!

The first chiptune artist I remember falling in love with was Dubmood, and Ninjaflood Starts School is my favourite track of theirs, in fact one of my favourite songs of all time:

As Cat mentioned, Anamanaguchi are one of the all-time greats, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen them live and felt sheer bliss during the “pizza in space” drop of Endless Fantasy. My favourite track from theirs, however, has to be Prom Night, which is unusual among most of these songs, in that it has vocals…

Nikola already picked Trey Frey’s Refresh, which was on my list too — I remember Trey exploding onto the scene with an incredible 2xLSDJ sound that blew everyone’s mind; I will thus pick the hilariously Francophonisized eponymous Tres Frais as my track:

Another all-time fave from Shirobon:

This a really special one — RIP Ultrasyd:

I remember the first time I saw Anamanaguchi, Sabrepulse was announced as a surprised opener, which made me 10x as excited about the (already very exciting) show; this is my favourite track of theirs:

chibi-tech was another artist that blew my mind when she detonated the scene with her bonkers NES-based dubstep…

No chiptune list would be complete without mentioning prolific OST virtuoso Jake “Virt” Kaufman, and I’ve chosen to highlight a waltz of his just to show that not all chiptune is 4/4:

I am completely obsessed with MASTER BOOT RECORD, allegedly a sentient 486DX-33MHz PC that uses its 64MB of RAM to synthesize heavy metal; I left them until last because there is an entire world of secret codes and l33t hacking to be found on their web site, allowing you to unlock secret bonus tracks and who knows what else!

What are your favourite chiptune/tracker/VGM tracks or memories? Email me at david@make.co to share, or jump on our Discord to discuss!

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

David bought his first Arduino in 2007 as part of a Roomba hacking project. Since then, he has been obsessed with writing code that you can touch. David fell in love with the original Pebble smartwatch, and even more so with its successor, which allowed him to combine the beloved wearable with his passion for hardware hacking via its smartstrap functionality. Unable to part with his smartwatch sweetheart, David wrote a love letter to the Pebble community, which blossomed into Rebble, the service that keeps Pebbles ticking today, despite the company's demise in 2016. When he's not hacking on wearables, David can probably be found building a companion bot, experimenting with machine learning, growing his ever-increasing collection of dev boards, or hacking on DOS-based palmtops from the 90s.

Find David on Mastodon at @ishotjr@chaos.social and to a far lesser extent on Twitter at @IShJR.

View more articles by David Groom

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