Before Sega was leading the 16 bit revolution, videogame soundtracks were created by the bloops and bleeps of dedicated synthesizer chips. Due to the tiny amount of data storage and the minimal synthesis capabilities of the chips, video games from the 8-bit era have a distinct lo-fi sound which is instantly recognizable. Before long, game cartridges were replaced by CD’s and synthesizer chips were replaced by CD quality audio playback. Only a dedicated few hobbyists continued to write music for these obsolete synthesizer chips in relative obscurity. Thanks largely to the rugged construction of the Nintendo Game Boy, and the arrival of the LSDJ Game Boy cartridge in the early 2000’s, musicians found an approachable and straitforward way of playing and composing 8-bit music. Since then, there has been an explosion of young musicians, programmers, and enthusiasts working with the Game Boy and the Commodore 64. Known worldwide as Chiptunes, the 8-bit sound has begun percolating into pop music in recent years, mostly due to it’s rabid, energetic young fans who crave the music’s dense bass lines and dizzingly fast arpeggiated melodies. On January 28th, Seattle Chiptune superstars, Ovenrake and MC Firedrill, will head north to Vancouver’s sassiest record store, The Zoo Zhop and show you how it’s done. It will be Game Boy versus guitar, Commodore 64 versus laptop, as the Seattle chiptunes kids battle local computer rockers, Baboon Torture Division, and IDM mixmaster, Colby Sparks for the North American Welterweight Tittle. $8 admission, $5 coat check. Doors 9pm Show 10pm. The Zoo Zhop is just north of Hastings on Main Street.

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