Revenge of C.H.A.D.

Cover Art: 8bit Hoodie ninja confronting C.H.A.D. with 8-bit volcano erupting on the distant horizon

I celebrated the end of my eduvacation by publishing a piece of music. It’s titled Revenge of C.H.A.D., a reference to Super Meat Boy—a diabolically difficult but fun modern-retro platformer. The piece was also inspired by vintage games I enjoyed playing when I was younger (I hear echos of Mario in there, Tetris perhaps?).

This creation helped me practice techniques I’ve been learning and get to know Ableton (I bit the bullet and bought Live 9 Suite). It also let me indulge a hidden passion, I’m secretly a drum and bass (and even Wubstep) fan, please don’t tell anyone. I’ve always been obsessed with rhythm and as an ex-Tuba player, drum and bass is the perfect combination! 😉

Dubstep’s use of timbral variation to create rhythm I find compelling. Traditionally almost all rhythm is created using discrete articulations (i.e. separate notes), in Dubstep rhythm is just as likely to be the result of a series of throbs or wubs without starting a new note. I’m sure there have been pockets of use before—indigenous Australians playing didgeridoo mastered the concept thousands of years ago—however DubStep has taken the idea well beyond the niches, such that it has now become a mainstream musical technique.

There’s also something really special and charming about chiptunes. The sound of the old hardware is charming, and their limitations meant that retro game music composers were forced to be really creative to get the most out of devices. There are still people avidly composing chiptunes. More than a gimic, many create really interesting and exciting music.

I gave myself a deadline, just four days to produce something from scratch. The time flew by! There’s so much more work in pulling a piece together than you’d think, it catches me by surprise every time. I feel like I could have easily spent another four days just tweaking. I’ve just uploaded it, and there are already aspects about it that make me cringe. But a deadline is a deadline, I need to move on. The artist’s dilemma?

Melodically it’s deliberately trite, trying to tap into some of the inanity found in the genres for humorous effect—to be fair, I’m sure there’s inanity to be found in most genres. The challenge was then to try to generate interest from the combination of the melodies and genres. There are a lot of ideas in the mix, too many probably for such a short piece, I’ll remember that for next time.

At any rate, I had a lot of fun creating it, I hope you enjoy listening to it.

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