Last night I was driving home after an incredible meat filled dinner with good friends at Porteno in Sydney and listening to FBi Radio (which specialises in local Sydney music)  and Stu Buchanan was interviewing Abortifacient, a music who makes “chip music” using nothing but a gameboy.

Instagram photo of Abortifacient making chip music with his gameboy

Instagram photo of Abortifacient uploaded by New Weird Australia while being interviewed by FBi Radio

This is all new to me. I’ve never heard of the term “chip music”. I’d never heard of making music with a gameboy. I didn’t even know you could still buy gameboys, I thought the DS had killed the gameboy but apparently I am wrong. There is a whole movement of chip music, which is synthesized electronic music often produced with the sound chips of vintage computers and video game consoles. According to Abortifacient during an FBi Radio interview, software has been developed that allows the beeps and sounds created by old gaming consoles such as Gameboy, Nintendo and Atari, to be arranged into a melody. According to wikipedia, some such chip music software are for GameBoy musicians use Nanoloop, Little Sound DJ, Pixelh8 Pro Performer or Pixelh8 Music Tech.

I love it when I discover a new artist that I think none of my friends know about. I also love finding out about new methods of digital innovation and entertainment and especially coming from such an unlikely device – the GameBoy. I love it even more that this old, and widely considered outdated technology, has been re-engineered to invent new uses for gaming consoles. This also appeals to me because I like to live as sustainably as possible and this use of old gaming consoles means less end up in landfill.

I am inspired by my discovery of chip music and I thank Stu Buchanan from FBi Radio Sydney for enlightening me.

Click here if you want to listen to the New Weird Australia podcast from Thursday 9th February.

The only thing I really didn’t find inspiring about this new world of chip music is the name of the artist, Abortifacient. When I was digging around on the web trying to find out who I listened to last night, what the artists name was, what the genre was (because all I could remember was the gameboy part and the time of day), I discovered that Abortifacient means a substance that induced abortion. While I’m pro-choice, I found that a little distasteful.