It takes all sorts to make a world. However, all sorts doesn’t mean that it must be necessarily black or white. In a world full of misplaced enthusiasm, the smartest (and most charming) thing to do is learning all the existing colour gradations between these two opposite extremes. That’s where the real growth lies, discovering what’s new and beautiful. Within music, the “pure” instrumentalists and the electronic-addicted ones often are one against the other, two parties which make their own way without any dialogue, in the grip of prides and prejudices. What if their majesties would come together instead? Awakening from any mental speculation, we would like to offer a topic we already talked about in a previous article, where we chronicled the unusual encounter between a modular system and Luca Capozzi, meaning the two worlds mentioned above gathering together. At that time we already talked about homemade synthesizers and, from then on, we’ve been wandering around, towards a vanguard which combines both the electronic and musical experimentation.
Ladies and gentlemen, you already guessed we are getting back to the “micromusic” subject…
Turning a GameBoy into a music workstation: who would have ever expected that little toy to be a lethal weapon? With this ROM, which can be installed on an empty cartridge via a proprietary device, your GameBoy will be provided with a full-fledged music workstation which includes a sequencer, a series of drum kits sampled from various machines (such as TR Roland and LinnDrum) and a synthesizer which contains an arpeggiator.
Developed at the end of the 90’s at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg and featuring a minimalist design, Nanoloop is one of the chiptune cornerstones for GameBoy. Available on custom cartridges, the 1.5 version is considered the “purest” one (from a 8-bit sound point of view). The 2.3 version, for Gameboy Advance, comes also with a synthesizer. While, the version for iPhone and Android, recently produced, comes with the equivalent 2.3 version plus an easy sampler.
The “8bit Ventures” house is best known to micromusicians for creating the Prophet64, i.e. a synthesizer software for Commodore 64. Thereafter, this software has been replaced by Mssiah, a suite of music applications integrated in a cartridge complete with a midi port so to control it by external DAWs as well. This suite comes with a sequencer, a mono synthesizer, a TB303-style synth bass-line, a drum machine inspired by the TR-909 and a sample player for 4-bit samples at 6Khz.
The most important tool for the micromusician is the tracker, a “primeval” digital sequencer which, already in previous eras, allowed you to send commands and sounds to the individual chip channels featured within consoles and the first personal computers. The site we are linking here is a real treasure house of information about these tools. You will find a lot of native softwares and many others which emulate the sounds of the glorious chips from the past.
Italian to English translation: Umberto del Giudice