Welcome to EXPLORING CHIP TUNES, a monthly show where a panel of musicians and artists, with varying levels of experience, analyze a specific piece of chip music with an eye on craft.

In this inaugural episode, we'll be looking at WHAT KIND OF DAY HAS IT BEEN, the opening track of Nick Maynard's latest release, "ELECTRONIC MUSIC". As Nick walks us through his programming, he's joined by veteran LSDJ user Robert Mostyn ( ) and filmmaker Dan Gocek, who has no previous experience with programming, trackers, or chip music.

When I was starting to learn LSDJ, nothing was more educational and inspirational than the video tutorials of people like Danimal Cannon, Animal Style, and Glomag. So, in this same spirit, I decided to make a similar video for one of my songs. It was fun and relatively easy to make, so we're going to make a series of similar videos, each exploring a different song. Hopefully they'll be helpful to people in the same way those other videos were helpful to me.

CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM VERY WELCOME. I've never attempted to do any kind of video "show" like this before.


So that's what "Automate" does. Well I feel stupid.

Great video, I can't wait to watch more.

for what it's worth, here's my constructamative criticithing: explore outside the gameboy

I liked the 80's-90's feel of the titles. Good stuff. Bonus points for being VHS-ish.

I enjoyed it. I learned about the practial usses of the vol column and the z command. And I found myself wanting to jump into the conversation. The dichotomy between the guy on the left and the guy on the right was interesting. Reminded me of the different types of students.

I've often wondered if there was anybody else who had piles of rejected chains. It makes me feel better about rejecting them.

I agree with n00bstar.

The only other criticism I can give is that it could be nice to doe some research and add a little pop-up text box for the questions that were left unanswered. Then again, leaving them unanswered leaves more to be addressed in future videos.

What I most enjoyed was the explaining of the creative process rather than the technical stuff.

just some random thoughts:

- first, SUPER glad you guys decided to do this.  i think a couple of months ago i expressed a desire to see or make a chip show that features a panel consisting of mostly chiptune artists (as opposed to people who merely enjoy chip music).  you guys are making it happen!!

- video quality was really great and gives off a "prosumer" quality to the show.  The fact that you're committed enough about the show as a learning resource that you're willing to get a decent camera setup and do some basic editing to make it go down easier (and to move away from the archetype of the Amateurish Artefact-ridden Webcam Sh0w) is a big, big plus.  How long did it take to edit the episode btw?

- audio quality in the room could use some improvement.   i found your speaking volumes to be really quiet and room-echoey compared to the output of whatever your gameboy setup was.  i recommend hobbling together a more dedicated mic solution, like setting up some makeshift boom mics just out of the camera frame, or even by getting/renting for the day some lapel mics to clip on your shirtz.  ( i don't imagine this is too hard to do, nick, since you and BC play in a live band.)   i think that a good room recording coupled with the good video will really give your show a polish appropriate for the respectability it deserves.

- i think it's good to have the panel be made up of people from different backgrounds, and it was nice to have meaningful discussion between noobier types and more experienced chiptune artists.  at the same time, i also found myself wondering who, ultimately, this show is geared towards.  is it for those who have no idea about chiptune?  is it for the veterans who have a fairly complete understanding of the software?  cast too wide a net for noobs and veterans and that can have an adverse effect on appropriate pacing / exposition.  if the intended audience is to change from episode to episode, will there be an easy way to gauge who the episode will be intended for (even something as simple as a literal rating system denoting "casual listener", "beginner songwriter" and "veteran")?

- personally, i consider myself to be an "advanced" LSDJ user and although i wasn't nearly as invested in the explanation of technical details, i really liked the parts of the discussion that connected the technical know-how with the artist's writing process.  i'm more interested in questions like "why did you decide to write this part in this way instead of in another way?" or "how did your vision/goals for this song inform the musical techniques that you used?"  those are the kinds of questions that really give you an insight into what the artist is about, and can even give the show a broad universal appeal.

- hey, see if you guys can record a skype video conversation for panels featuring out-of-town artists! i assume it'd be relatively easy to edit into the show as an inset or another screen to just cut to.   better yet, if you can find a way for the out-of-towner to control a session of LSDJ remotely (would BGB be able to support that via whatever netplay features it has?), that would be amazing.

8/10 would bang

Had to say I really enjoyed this. I'm just starting to learn LSDJ and I found this video really helpful in understanding the process you went through to construct the song. The explanations on the commands used for certain effects and the rejected chains were neat to hear. I'd love to see more.

Alright so after actually watching it properly... here's a little more...

- Video quality / presentation is excellent
- Sound could use a lot more love. There's a huge jump in volume between the music and the talking. I found myself riding the volume fader all the way through to avoid being blasted with super loud music every few seconds and still be able to hear the discussion properly. I started watching it on my tv pretty late, so I had to switch to headphones to make sure I wouldn't wake up the neighbors. I personally didn't mind too much about the room recording for the voice, but the final audio should be mixed properly and compressed.
- An hour is a bit long. I'd aim for something closer to the 20/30 minutes mark per episode. If you really have too much stuff to cram in 20 minutes, you can make it a two parter.
- I like the format where you have different people from different backgrounds.
- Although it's cool to have you all sitting in the same room like that, this will ultimately limit you only to have the same few guests on the show. It can either be a great thing if you guys are adept enough with a variety of software to be able to dissect songs from artists that don't necessarily use LSDJ. It could mean that you'd become regular reviewers and people would become used to your style of doing things. But it can also mean that we're only gonna get LSDJ tracks from your local area.. in which case there's a lot less appeal for the masses.
- Even if you're all in the same room or something, I'd suggest coming up with a format where each person is streaming from the same skype group chat or something. That way when you can do shows with people from outside your local area without having a different format/presentation for the show. Skype can stream screen data pretty easily with decent enough resolution for what you are doing.
- If you plan on having more than just gameboy material presented there, I suggest you build a team of advanced users to use on the "know ma shit yo" side of the discussion.One guy for LSDJ, one guy for atari trackers, one for amiga, one for slapping cats in the face with a microphone and mixing it on a tascam four track, etc etc.
- To encourage your audience to come back, make them feel like they can participate a bit. At the end of the show for example, you could have a selection of three songs people can vote on and the most popular is the one selected for the next show or something.
- Make sure to release them on a schedule and stick to it. There's nothing worse than liking a webshow and have the episodes released whenever at random.
- I would put the complete song at the start, not the end. Like introduce the people, talk a bit about today's show, then play the song.. and then go into the review/analysis.

Overall though, great work. I enjoyed it a lot.

Last edited by n00bstar (April 5, 2013 9:54 am)

Godamn. I just learned way too much I should have known about LSDJ.

The quantity and quality of this feedback is incredible and almost too much to respond to. When I get home from work, I'll write something longer.

i liked it. i liked the laid back 'dudes chillin' talking about nerd stuff' vibe. Rather than watching a screen capture with some monotone voice going 'click here'. Learnt a few nice tips and was interesting to see how you'd put stuff together.

I think the best thing to do ongoing would be to get bad ass LSDJ'ers to contribute as much as possible. like break down a song of theirs maybe with them on skype. but dont know how easy that would be.

And also i dont know if this is mainly for lsdj or all chiptune platforms. would also be nice to see demonstrations and songs on other platforms.

This is better than what I was expecting. It was good to have people who are naive to trackers.

good video

Last edited by breakphase (April 5, 2013 3:11 pm)

n00bstar wrote:

for what it's worth, here's my constructamative criticithing: explore outside the gameboy

Couldn't agree more:  I really hope this show/podcast doesn't only explore GB music. To me that actually seems fairly limited; chiptune has an incredibly diverse set of tools, artists and types of music than most people realise. I think it'd be great to explore other systems, like the NES, Pokey, tracker formats etc etc etc. I also think it'd be great to explore a few of the differences in limitations, capabilities etc. between different sound chips.

Good podcast for beginners and analysis though, and a great idea smile Really could be helpful to a few people

Last edited by Fearofdark (April 5, 2013 3:09 pm)

This is a really great first episode! There are way too many "wassup fellas it's me alone in a room teaching you about LSDJ" videos, so having some conversation and discussion of more than the basic stuff is cool. It's more natural than one dude poking a keyboard and reading off the LSDJ wiki. I just hope you go beyond the GB at some point, and I know you have experience with chip software other than LSDJ (you helped me a bunch with learning VGM_MM like... two years ago?) so I hope you get around to that at some point.

This is fun man! Really liking it (:

Very informative. Awesome!

My favourite thing about these kids of videos isn't learning new techniques as such, but that you get a little poke into how other people put things together. Seeing things you already know about used in a way you wouldn't think about is always really cool. And way more useful and informative than like, a patch.

This was a really fun watch and I'd love to see this continue with more artists and in more formats smile