Lately I’ve been collecting plenty of examples of 8-bit music released on records in the 1990s, and I still haven’t updated the timeline with the info that Patric Catani was kind enough to send me. But anyway, most of it is Amiga-music that has little to do with the aesthetics of chipmusic. In the 1990s most people probably only heard chipmusic that came from mobile phones, handheld games, toys and the occasional ‘retro-games’. It was in the demoscene that it was happening. (and the term chipmusic was still mostly used for sample-based Amiga/PC-music)
But I’d like to quickly mention some of the chipmusic releases I’ve found from the 1990s. There is some ‘arty’ stuff. Via ne7 I recently heard about Chatarra Informatica (free dl) which was a noisy jam-session with a TI-99/4A, a Timex Sinclair 2068, a C128 and a Radio Shack 128k. It was recorded in Argentina in 1997, and it’s quite disturbing stuff, I must say : ). A bit less disturbing is Mariopaint, made by the Electric Family in 1995 using a SNES.
In 1997, one of the very few chip-EBM releases came out. Body Mass Index – Live im Haus der Jugend, Valhall (free dl) is a live-recording from Sweden, released on cassette. Body to body! In 1998, Christian Morgenstern released an Amiga chiptune on his techno-12″ Sexy World. You can pre-listen Sexy World 2 here.
And then in 1999 the history of the modern chipmusic movement begins. Micromusic.net is formed. There are releases by Bodenständig 2000, Oliver Wittchow and Role Model, aswell as Nintendo Teenage Robot (aka Alec Empire) who used Mariopaint Trippy-H on the Gameboy. Also, probably the first netlabel chip-release is Vim’s 4-bit Christmas on Monotonik.
It’s surprisingly few releases, isn’t it? What did I miss? Let’s enhance!
Update: Judging from the comments, I need to clarify what I mean. With chipscene, I don’t mean the demoscene. They are (still) two quite separate fields. The demoscene started talking about chipmusic in 1989, but the chipscene started talking about it in 1999, sort of. The point here was to find out about chipmusic outside of the demoscene and game industry.