Published on May 28th, 2012 | by Danny Concepcion, Contributor
Blip Festival Brings the Chiptunes to NYC
Sunday, May 27, marked the end of New York’s 2012 Blip Festival, an annual chiptunes (8-bit music) concert featuring chip musicians and visual artists from all over the world. As someone who never listens to chip music, I didn’t know what to expect from the show. To be completely honest, my primitive idea of chip music was a bunch of gimmicky bleeps, bloops, and other “game-y” sounds. Music I generally wouldn’t be interested in. I like Mario’s theme song and all, but I’d never listen to it outside of the game. By the end of the night, though, Blip Festival put my doubts to rest.
Nine different bands, each paired with a visual artist, filled Gramercy Theatre with lo-fi sounds and graphics. There was a wide variety of music, even from within the same genre: from Danimal Cannon’s guitar work to Burnkit2600’s oscillators. My previous assumptions were wrong; there wasn’t anything gimmicky about the performances. These weren’t just dedicated hobbyists. Several of the musicians showed off their skills with traditional instruments, so there was no doubt the performers had talent.
Another thing worth nothing was the diverse audience. People of all ages and backgrounds were at the show. They weren’t all stereotypical nerds or hipsters either, and by the end of the show it didn’t matter. Everyone was dancing and moshing, and of course, there were some crowd surfers. Attendees left the show covered in a thick layer of each other’s sweat, not unlike the crowds at any other concert.
After the show I spoke to a few other first-time Blip goers, and some weren’t even big gamers. The only thing they had in common was their recommendation for folks in search of an accessible entry point to chip tunes: NYC-based indie band Anamanaguchi. Anyone who’s looking to get their feet wet with chip music in time for next year’s Blip now knows where to start.
UPDATE: Be sure to check out the Official Blip Festival Site for all things ‘Blip.