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After a long hiatus, I returned to the chiptune scene, this time packing an original 1989 DMG-01 Nintendo Gameboy and the famed tracker
software from Johan Kotlinski called Little Sound DJ (or LSDJ.) I began work on this music somewhere earlier in 2015. I started from scratch,
having no idea how to work in a tracker and honestly, quite intimidated. I wanted to do Gameboy chiptune much sooner, but shyed away from it
for a couple of years due to my fear and intimidation from the sight of a tracker. I hammered down one day out of the blue and began
experimenting and learning. This album has been a journey! Once my knowledge and comfort of LSDJ grew, I began slowly over the course of
more than a year letting my tunes fall together at my leisure. Recorded using Behringer hardware and an RCA pro-sound modified Gameboy, I
present Shades Of Gray Handheld. Appropriately titled not just as a spoof, but because this really was a bit of a pleasure thru pain experience
for me. I stick with my non-videogame approach to chip music, so you will hear a small multitude of electronic music subgenres including hiphop,
electro, techno, garage, and more. Some were carefully recorded for maximum bass, because as a lifelong car audio junkie and basshead, that
matters a little to me even if what i'm working with is purely 8-bit. The songs are described below, I hope some chiptune lover somewhere digs
this effort. I'm very proud of it and all the effort that went into it, whether I have any actual talent or my music sucks, simply proud to have
created this completely from my head, and on my own. Please note, this is a 1xLSDJ album, which for the uninitiated means the entire work was
composed and performed on one single Gameboy unit with LSDJ. Some chiptuners use two or more at a time for a certain type of sound or style,
others use the Gameboy along with other hardware and instrumentation. The 1xLSDJ is it's own world and an awesome one. The Gameboy
afterall only has 4 sound channels onboard, that's all. They can only play one sound at a time, so the trickery and magic that go into making beats
like mine let alone those who possess loads more talent than I is really something special. Juicing so much from so little is...amazing to me. Go
ahead, crank it!
Here's a rundown of the tunes:
1. Pixelated B-Boy. This is a simple hiphop beat, amped up bass, and hits in my system rather hard. I wanted something slow and pounding and I wanted it to be the first track since
hiphop is my roots.
2. Nobody Listens To Techno. The title is a straight jab at Eminem for back when he made that statement, complete with the proper techno thump and assorted noises, it is what it
is. Simple, straight forward techno.
3. One-Car Garage. Anybody who listens to UK Garage and speed garage will recognize what I was trying to do here. The slightly muffled like bassline, the off beat breaks, it is a
proper imitation of a simple, bass heavy garage beat. The title of course is a spoof on what alot of us think of when we hear the word garage, and one-car an inference to being one
Gameboy. Lame I know, but I tried :)
4. Fish Fingers 'N Custard. This title would be a phrase immediately recognized by Doctor Who fans. I honestly wrote most of this tune with no title in mind. I was finishing off series 8
and found myself missing Matt Smith. I like Peter Capaldi's present work don't get me wrong, but up till now Matt Smith has been my favorite doctor, so I wung this title as a small
tribute to him. The music itself has no correlation to the show whatsoever. As for the beat? It's hard to describe. It's unique, and it bumps. It is my closest approach to a more
recognized "chiptune" sound than what I usually do, or so I think so.
5. Ultrabass'd. This is a simple and straight forward electro track. The low end is the maximum I can squeeze out of the wav channel of the Gameboy. If you are of the impossibly
rare breed of chiptune listener that happens to have a sub or two in the back of your vehicle, you're going to love this. Absolutely powerful, system shaking bassline. Surprising.
6. Sexy MF'n Binary. A dirty, funk bassline with a simple to follow beat. It has been carefully amped up to be loud in your system without overpowering the music. It is something
easy to groove to.
7. Cyka Blyat! The title, either you know or you don't. I'm leaving it at that. The music is a higher energy sound, and I actually used some samples in my Gameboy's wav channel to
achieve some of the sounds you hear in this song. You have to listen to it to understand I guess, but as I said, it packs some energy.
8. Little Sound Cherry Pop. Oh yeah, my very first. I kept this song, and much later while working on this album, I went back and made a couple small modifications and re-recorded
it with my present hardware for much better sound quality. It is a memory for me, so I felt it belonged on this album. My very first, completed LSDJ tune when I was still rather
intimidated by the tracker. It was my attempt at an 8-bit hiphop beat. Messing with tables allowed me to stumble on the classic Mario fireball sound effect, so of course I messed
with it, rolled it around, and have what you hear in this tune. It's really not exciting or groundbreaking, but it was sort of special to me. I remember feeling so accomplished having
gone from where I was to having completed a somewhat organized song in LSDJ.
9. ItOnlyWerks4Me. This tune is my own small tribute to Kraftwerk, a very much loved and respected influence of my youth. It has been thru several iterations before I decided on
what I was going to keep around. Hardcore fans of the group are the only people who would have a chance of recognizing what I did here. While making a unique song, there are
some ways I created elements from and blended the following Kraftwerk tunes: "Trans-Europe Express", "Musique Non-Stop (live version)", and "Europe Endless." Other than
maybe Trans-Europe Express, the other stuff just kind of popped up on it's own as I experimented with my sounds when I started this tune. The fact I ended up with what I did wasn't
a totally conscious choice, they just kind of happened. To anyone who doesn't get the minimum-maximum approach or doesn't like or know Kraftwerk would probably not like this
10. One-Car Remix. I had finished One-Car GARAGE like several of my other tunes before acquiring my Behringer mixer board. I went thru while prepping for this album and
re-recorded all of my songs for the best fidelity I could with what limited knowledge I have. When I fired up One-Car to re-record it, I was zipping with speed thru LSDJ and managed
to accidentally chop my tempo. I let it play for a minute that way and realized I had something I liked. So, I re-arranged the drums and snares a bit, added a couple sounds, and this
hiphop beat was the result. I like to call this my "happy accident remix" because that's exactly how it came about. Prior to that, I had no intention of remixing this tune.
11. Apathetic. Perhaps a word that sometimes describes me well. At any rate, this is probably my favorite tune on the album. It is simple and straight forward four on the floor. Some
people like to say four on the floor is overdone, played out, not interesting. I don't really give a shit of course, I like it so I did one. The bassline rolls along with this nicely, and as you
let it play thru and see what I've done, it has the potential to grow on you. Full of energy, and definitely has my touch.