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Chip.ar by Lautaro

This is a personal entry to share the collective and creative process of this first Lowtoy’s compiled album called Chip.ar

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The idea of gathering very different people together with for a shared goa lis born partly due to a natural call, something I’ve been doing since I can remember. Great part of the things I’ve done and still do have to do with it.
In addition, for being part of a group creative project as Lowtoy, I felt I had the need to develop something of my own, an idea that could be carried on my way, beginning to end.

On this big family-community of 8-bit and everything it includes, similar to the circuit-bending world (like DIY movement in general), I’m always heedful of what goes on in different cities and I’ve been looking at and connecting to the movement in Buenos Aires, my city of birth, and the whole country. I’ve played there a few times and I met new people every time.

For some time now, some 8-bitters got together and set BlipBlop, platform from which they connected and organized events. I believe that this helped the scene to consolidate.
Over a year ago, for the inauguration of “Espacio Byte”, with Pavlo (Coleco Music) organizing it, a compiled album of argentinian 8-bit artists was launched. At that moment I had the feeling that something larger and more diverse could be developed, thus giving birth to the idea of this album!

Organizative – creative process
It’s been eight months working in total!
The first step was to start contacting the artists I already met. Then, I asked Pavlo if he wanted to collaborate with the project, since I had the feeling he’d like the idea, and being one of the most active members of the scene, he’d be og great help. Luckily he said yes without hesitation!
I wrote a call and asked Victor (LxTxCx) to create one of his beautiful images to illustrate it and Ralp uploaded it to the website, providing a more solid support to the idea.
For several months people started to join, from both worlds, the music-experimentation circuit bending and the 8-bit-art-producers.
Slowly, while the tracks started to turn up, we defined and voted the name (started as Argenchip, and names as Argenbit, Gauchito Chip, Che Chip, Chipchulin and Chip Guevara were considered), being Chip.ar the winner!

Finally, a few artists got left out for different reasons (which is a pity), but a great majority of those who are today producing art with the aforementioned tools were included. From enshrined artists (published by recognized record labels, presenting their music or devices on different cities around the world, or dictating workshops), to others with less road traveled or who create their instruments at home on a self taught fashion, but just the same passion!!

Team
Pavlo, apart from being up to speed and participating on most of the process, was in charge of contacting several artists, and also spiced the group discussions with his dark humor. He also recorded some tracks via hardware, that were composed in several emulators.
Julian (CHIP LAB Studio) offered to mastering and leveling both albums, quite a hard work, since each trac kwas recorded with different means that were available.
I’ve heard the before and after , so I believe that what he did was magic!
While Julian was mastering, I intended to intuitively find an order for this thirty one final tracks, and more tan two hours of music. Once it was defined, I shared it with him and we polished it together.
The cover is a Victor’s (LxTxCx) creation, this talented designer glitched several images that, after filtering them, I sent as proposals to the whole team, where new ideas came up until we got the final cover!

Special Thanks!!
It’s very important to me to thank first of all the good artists and people that cooperated with their music, time and energy! I feel that sharing their music openly is a great gesture.
Thanks Pavlo, Julian and Victor specially, and Lowtoy for supporting me and giving me full liberty from beginning to end to nail down this project.

It was a real fun process and I’ve learnt a lot!
The idea of making it a collaborative project worked perfectly since the very beginning and up to now, on the final steps (promotion and texts translation)
I’m really stimulates me to portray this moment of the active musical scene sharing it freely and also link artists with audience to generate new stuff.

I live constantly grateful for all this contact and exchange experiencies where the only end, mean and impulse is not money, but passion and will. It’s a pleasure to create this links amongst people in which we all win!
Chip.ar is pure love!

Thanks a lot family!!!

Bonus track
Here’s a Norman Bate’s video entitled “Mirandashuli”, of the recording of his track for the álbum.

I’d like to close this entry with Pavlo’s description of both albums and worlds:

8BIT
Chipmucis, 8bit, chiptune, however you’d call it. Sonorous ethic and aesthetic, set of artifacts, more than a musical genre enclosed on itself. Chiptune has also been called “digital’s generations folk”. This album groups together argentinian artists whose search of sound corporeity is oriented to video game consoles and personal computers from the 8bit generation. The usage of Gameboy, NES and Commodore 64 (transformed into a Sid Station in this case), turns into the pursuit of new sonorities and alternative means of production rather than a simple “retro” practice.

From a ludic aesthetic the artists united on this album prove the hidden potential behind the limitations of this disused techonological artifacts. From the raw sound of analog noise, to the appealing harmony of the square waves, through the intrincated cadence, catchy tunes, agressive modulations of saw waves and tracks that beg you to dance.
We believe this aesthetic cornucopia represents the actual picture of argentinian 8bit scene.

Circuit Bending
Mostly organized on workshops, although on some cases their methodology is lonely and self taught, the artists gathered in this album take the do-it-yourself (DIY) to the fertile ground of construction of their own sound tools, and re appropriation of all available analog and digital technology. Creators, inventors, experimenters and scholars, activists of free hardware, the artists that share the circuit bending practice develop their own istruments intervening electronic circuits of massive-production-devices such as toys, small pianos, conventional instruments and electronic waste; reinventing each one of them and taking them to new horizons never though upon their conception.

From an self-criticism point of view regarding production means, their practice is also oriented to the construction of their own oscilators, sequencers, processors and beat machines,.
Static groves directed to the general stir, little electric mantra articulated in grotesque and chaotic moments. Minimalist passages transformed in an unraveled sound spectrum where electricity itself seems to be about to electrocute us.
The artists included on this compiled album remember to make us dance, and to use their whole altered-devices arsenal to create beautiful songs.

Lautaro
Barcelona, May 13th, 2014.