SQUARE SOUNDS TOKYO 2018

Square Sounds is a boutique micro-festival that celebrates the world’s foremost chipmusic talent.

Join us on September 15th and 16th!

With Game boys, Commodores and other consoles scavenged from op shops and forgotten toyboxes in hand, artists come together from all over the world to stretch the boundaries of what video game consoles can do; coaxing mind-bending sights and sounds from these unlikely tools. Building a community is what the last four years have been all about and in year number five, we have managed to line up some of our most requested artists from talented newcomers to legends of the scene, bringing them together across four days of music and visuals.

This is the 5th year of SST, and we have racked up almost 100 artists from around the world. This year, as always, we have an exceptional line-up of artists and visualists taking centre stage at KOENJI HIGH. Definitely, a massive weekend not to be missed!! Whether you’re coming along to catch some of your favourites on the main stage, or taking the stage at the open mic to show off what you can do; Square Sounds caters for fans, artists and future legends of the scene.

Check the LINE UP!!

Kenji Interview

Cheapshot: What inspired you to draw this year’s awesome art?

Kenji: Well, the characters’ faces up until now have been straight on, surprised and smiling. I wanted to do something that looked a little more “serious” this year so I’ve drawn the character with a little spark in her eyes.✨The background and geometrical patterns were inspired by PETSCII art and other game art. However, I wanted to infuse the background with a sense of the music so that as soon as you look at it you get a feeling for the sound. It’s been a lot of hard work, but I think I got it..! The logo is directly inspired by Raquel Meyers amazing work for the SSM logo.

Cheapshot: It’s only four colours, right?

Kenji: Yep, just four colours (not including the back background). I use four colours so that I can directly translate the work into the t-shirt design. Again, because it’s square it can also be printed straight onto a canvas (something that I really want!!).

Cheapshot: Every year you draw a character. Some people have asked me if it is the same character each year. If it is, can we consider her the SST mascot character? And if so, what is her name? 

Kenji: Ah… Unfortunately, I never go into planning the design with a particular character in mind. It’s different every time. It’s more of a pictogram describing the music, and event. Please give her the name that you hear in your heart when you see her. Haha.

Cheapshot: What are your plans for VJing this year? Any particular style or effect you are planning on using?

Kenji: Actually, I’m not sure how well it will go, but I’m planning on changing up some of my hardware (I’ll still be VJing from my laptop, but I’ll change some of the peripherals). Regarding the materials that I art I use as part of my set up, I haven’t really been adding anything new for a while so I’d like to add some more creatures and things like that. Whatever happens, I’d like it to be flexible and fun..!

Cheapshot: Are there any particular artists you are excited to be seeing this year?

Kenji: Bit Shifter!! Actually, I found out before the official announcement, when I was making this art and was like “Wow!” It’s been a long while since he has performed in Tokyo, so I’m super excited.

Cheapshot: Finally, are there anything other projects that you are involved with that you’d like to talk about?

Kenji: Yes. I’m working on a kind of mobile zine which features written word and pictures/art. It’s taking a lot of time but I’ve been diligent, working on it day by day so hopefully, I can release it before the end of the year.

Cheapshot: Thanks kenji!

Bolcoantes

A VJ unit from Higashi-Totsuka and Tama New Town
TAKASAKI Yusuke:Programmer and planner. He writes odd code and stuff.
Hermippe:An illustrator and embroidery specialist. He draws pixel art with a dark, brooding feel.

Links

TAKASAKI Yusuke:

twitter
web

ヘルミッペ:

twitter
web

Lazerbeat

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Lazerbeat makes low-resolution visuals for electronic music. He hero-worships NO CARRIER and m7kenji.

Twitter

Quarta 330

Quarta 330 is a Japanese artist belonging to the UK-based record label, Hyperdub, founded by one of the dubstep pioneers, Kode9.
He entered the limelight when he released his first 12-inch single on Hyperdub and a remix of a Flying Lotus track on WARP. Since then, he has performed with Prefuse73 (WARP), Darkstar (WARP), The Bug (NinjaTune), and Kode9 (Hyperdub). Recently, he performed at “Hyperdub 10 – 10th Anniversary Party,” “Red Bull Music Academy Tokyo 2014 presents 1UP: Cart Diggers Live.” Additionally, his music has appeared on compilations by famous labels and artists such as Thom Yorke (RADIOHEAD), Mouse On Mars, Ministry of Sound, etc.
Among Japanese artists, he has accomplished remarkable achievements at a furious speed.
Quarta 330 originally started his career as a chiptune artist. In fact, he integrated chiptune sounds with current dance aesthetics when he performed at Square Sounds Tokyo 2011. However, he has branched out his curiosity in music and has started interpreting/ recomposing sounds.
Finally, he developed a new style called, “Pixelated Dub (Nagagutsu).” Now, he is introducing audiences to this new form of sound through his songs and performances.

Links

Homepage | Soundcloud

Robotprins

Robotprins is a half-robot, half-prince hero, who likes adventuring and fighting the evil Ondman. Whatever he does he is always accompanied by sweet chiptunes that make him stronger and more handsome.

During the last year, Robotprins has been playing the guitar to his sweet chiptunes during his performances. On his newest EP “Robotprins Plays Guitar” you can get a taste of what his live performance sounds like.

Links

Bandcamp | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud

Droid-on

The project began in 2008, Brazil, playing electronic music with unusual tools as: Famitracker, a Nintendo sound emulator, and later, LSDJ for the Game Boy, Littlepiggytracker for the Dingoo/PSP and Nanoloop for the Game Boy Advanced. As described, the weapons of choice are portable, obsolete or demi-obsolete video game devices. In 2009, the project joined forces with Pulselooper, Hypnodrive (former Subway Sonicbeat), Escaphandro and Ghouls’n eggs to start a local collective netlabel called Chippanze. The label is a platform designed to spread Brazilian chipmusic throughout the world, but it gained more traction gathering international artists releases, such as: Ralp (Spain), Chalices of the Past (UK), D_strct (US), Analog (Chile), PSS-270 (Poland), Thethethes (Mexico), Stress_TN (Russia)…as well as projecting more local artists: Pixelfire, The industrialism, Fuzzy, Reset Sound System, Sukairobotto, Michtz…The collective label organized some local parties, like NULLBITS (featuring Minusbaby from 8bitpeoples, and many local artists). It lasted two editions, and later on, the collective continued with more intimate small parties. In Japan (current residence), The project played at 1h1d! 10th anniversary, with Chip Tanaka, Hally, DJ Master Kohta and many Japanese key artists at Club Metro, Kyoto.

Droid-on is an expansive music project, guided by chipmusic, but the output is not strained to it (although, the obsolete gear is a must), as a result, it often takes part on several different parties, festivals and events, including experimental gigs (Tarde abstrata, NOVA, Árvore Monstro), video game fairs (SP Game Show), corporate events (Nokia, Itaú bank, SESC), playing with rock and heavy metal bands (Elma, Almirante Shivas, Sexy-Fi) and not so conventional electronic music parties in Brazil (Metanol, Voodoohop, Cryptorave, Confronto Sound System, Freebeats, Soundcloud meetup…). There are some appearances on local radio (Metanol), UK radio (BBC 3 Late Junction), local television (Rede TV, TV cultura, MTV) and newspaper (Folha de São Paulo, Correio Braziliense). As for the compilations: Hy Brazil Vol.3, featuring brazilian artists for worldwide orion’s; HEXAWE TURNTNES (US label), made with Littlepiggy tracker using nintendo samples only; Chipotle, from the mexican label 56kbps; and Dubztract, a dub/riddim oriented release from Chippanze netlabel artists.

Beyond the gigs and label releases, The project managed to maintain a routine of chipmusic workshops, teaching the basics and intermediary of the most popular trackers all over Brazil, sponsored by SESC SP. And, also making soundtracks, featured on some MTV Brazil commercials, artistic audiovisual collabs (Plink Flojd w/ Manuel Fernandez) and most recently, a documentary about the history of video games in Brazil “1983: O ano dos video games no Brasil”, made altogether with Pulselooper. This formal section includes some lecturing at AV LAB Spain and Campus Party 2010/2011.

The partnership is a constant on the project, making remixes and versions for metal bands (Elma, Death Valley High, Almirante Shivas), and collaborative tracks/projects: Wellwellsounds (France), Munha da 7, Ghouls ’n eggs, Octosquare w/ Pulselooper, Tranca Rua w/ Ogro(BR). The visual concept and artwork are developed by Escaphandro, a genius in pixel art hybrids. In many of those collaborations and soundtracks, the Renoise is used, which is a very powerful modern tracker, perfect for hi-fi interactions. The range of music style is a beautiful mess, with roots on the 90’s IDM/BGM 8/16bit lo-fi textures in a Sci-Fi atmosphere. The main influences being: riddim reggae, electro/acid techno/house, noise/drone, modern rock, modern funk, grime/dubstep/ukg, breakbeats, Ninja Gaiden…it is safe to say that each interface favors the composition of different styles, and to choose just one music genre can be a creative limitation. Expect a different live set and constantly renewed albums. 10 years of fun, experimentalism and uplifting partnerships.
Thank you!!!

Links

Bandcamp | Chippanze

Rekcahdam

Roger ‘Rekcahdam’ Hicks – Roger Hicks, known by his stage name “Rekcahdam,” is a music producer, video game & app developer. Roger decided to fuse his interest in programming with that of his artistic passions and went on to become a freelance game developer, sound engineer and session musician. His most notable works include his game Celestial Mechanica and his percussion recordings for the hit show “Steven Universe”.

Links

Homepage | Bandcamp | Twitter | Soundcloud

Cheapshot

Cheapshot is the curator of CheapBeats records and organiser of the Square Sounds Tokyo festival.

Born in the UK, raised as a chiptuner in Japan. Cheap started making chip around 2009 after being introduced by a friend and hasn’t looked back since. Drawing on works by Quarta330, minikomi, boaconstructor, cymba, and 0f.digital, his works include LSDJ releases on 8bitpeoples and metrodub, piggy tracker on OSCBox, and more recently nanoloop on CheapBeats. Expect techno, bass, and good times.

 

Links

CheapBeats | Twitter | Facebook | SoundCloud

Yokemura (YMCK)

Yokemura is better known for his role in YMCK as a lyricist, songwriter and sound producer.
He is also the creator of the MacOS-AudioUnit “Magic8bitPlug” as well as the iPhone app: YMCK Player!
We are very excited to have him perform solo for us at SST2018..!

Links

Homepage | Twitter | Facebook

Chip Tanaka

  • 1980 – 1999: Involved with the development of Nintendo’s game sound chip and development for various games including the Mother (Earthbound) series, Dr. Mario, and Metroid.
  • 2000 – Present: Creator of many of the Pokemon TV anime songs and BGM as “Hirokazu Tanaka
  • From 2007: Active as the musician “Chip Tanaka” at various events.

Links

Homepage | Twitter | Soundcloud