Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Øverfløw #000: Vancouver Chipmusic Showcase

Vancouver was on the ground floor of the electronic future -- not merely serving as homebase to Neuromancer author William Gibson, not just ground zero for Canada's first video game successes (the Sidney Development Corporation with Evolution and B.C. - Quest for Tire), not merely possessed of the longest-lasting and most populous dial-up BBS scene in the world (to say nothing of its pivotal role, albeit an accidental one, in phreaking in the early '70s), not just coincidentally the spawning ground of Gravis, Mainframe Entertainment Inc. (of "Money for Nothing" and ReBoot fame) and Distinctive Software (later to flourish as EA Sports) ... and it's been if anything over-represented by performance, conceptual and electronic arts through such hubs as the Western Front, Video In, and the Edgewise Electrolit Centre ... so why, in the 34 years since the Commodore 64 hit the stores, has it never enjoyed much in terms of a live experimental electronic performance scene?

Nettwerk in its earliest days enjoyed the scantiest of scenes around Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly, and sure, we hosted a couple of instalments of the "New Media" demoparty in the early '90s, and okay, we got raves filling our warehouses same as everyone else did, but basically... none of it ever amounted to much of anything! A few rooms full of people danced while whacked out of their gourds, but in the end things looked pretty similar to how they looked at the beginning.

So here we are in the 21st century and finally at long last those of us not living in New York, Berlin or Tokyo are beginning to have some options presented to us for public enjoyment of music that emerges from a SID chip or comes out of a Game Boy's beige housing. My old colleague bryface has been travelling the world as opportunity allows for the past few years, witnessing, networking with and learning from chiptune events and organizations all over the place, and I guess he's reached the point where he's concluded it might be nice to be able to enjoy a show without having to get on an airplane. I don't know if there is or is not any formal relationship organizing as high up as the Northwest Chiptuning Facebook group but for a hyper-local focus we can now look to the Vancouver Chipmusic Society to dish us all up a healthy serving of square, sine, and sawtooth waves (a static channel is extra, though.) (Do you think that they are an actually-registered society in accordance with the Societies Act of BC, with rules about membership and annual general meetings? We felt crazy when we registered our accordion community, which has to be at least as niche as chiptunes, but it was an essential step on the way to being able to tap into grant funding to support our activities. They can get away without registering for two or three years as long as they keep good financial records. But I digress!)

The Vancouver Chipmusic Society's flagship event will be dropping on the 604 next Monday night, September 26th, at the Fox Cabaret, with doors at 7:30 pm and bleeps and bloops until ... late. (Its calendar says midnight. Then an hour is reserved for FidoNet traffic, right?) You can find out all about the event, Øverfløw #000: Vancouver Chipmusic Showcase, over on Facebook. The featured live performers include Norrin_Radd, meckz, Fastbom, and that bryface character, plus Melodia (who just this week released a music disk of an hour and a half of .XMs thought lost forever in 1999!) and uɴɪᴄ⊙ᴅΞ (among others) will be audible as part of the open mic portion of the evening.

If you'd like more information and find my account of things a little too insider baseball, bryface did an interview on the subject for Roundhouse Radio and you can get another take on it over there. And now, I'll turn it over to their potted press release!



$12 online va EventBrite
$15 at the door


Introducing Vancouver's very own chiptune event series! Enjoy a night of live electronic musicians pushing the limitations of old gaming platforms' sound chips to create fresh music in a diverse range of styles - electro, pop, drum n' bass, metal, jazz, funk and everything in between. 

Experience the raw, crunchy waveforms of the NES/Famicom, Game Boy, Amiga .MODs, Commodore 64 SID tunes, and 16-bit SNES/Genesis-era samples pumping full-blast through the Fox Cabaret's pristine sound system. Prepare to have your expectations shattered repeatedly as these artists use and abuse these vintage platforms and formats in unexpected and forward-thinking ways.

This special first installment of the show specifically highlights our locally-based talent - a killer lineup internationally recognized for their individual dedication to the craft of chip music and the low-bit arts. Join us in the celebration of new life given to vintage systems - this is definitely a night for tech/synthesis/gaming enthusiasts alike.

// MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26th, 2016
// DOORS OPEN 7:30pm | MUSIC STARTS 8:00pm
// $12 ONLINE/EARLY-BIRD | $15 AT THE DOOR | 19+

*** UPDATE SEPT. 8: *** The show has relocated slightly from the Fox Cabaret's Projection Room to the main stage! Huge thanks to the Fox for hooking us up with the extra space.


> NORRIN_RADD (Vancouver, BC)
> 16-bit soundscapes + Retro City Rampage OST mayhem

> MECKZ (Victoria, BC)
> insane progjazzclassical NES/famitracker mastery

> FASTBOM (Stockholm, Sweden)
> demoscene/cracktro-style Game Boy / C64 anthems

> BRYFACE (Vancouver, BC)
> eclectic + progressive Game Boy electrofunkbreaks

/// VISUALS: alterus (Victoria, BC)