In celebration of the launch of the latest addition to our Chiptune Crash Course series, “Chip It: The Chiptune Cover Challenge,” we decided to turn the course’s assignment into an open competition for aspiring and active music makers from around the chipiverse. Alongside contest judges (and chip stars) Chipocrite, glomag, and minusbaby, we asked artists to submit their own, chiptune-style take on Devo’s classic hit “Whip It” for the chance to win a modded Game Boy, flash cartridges, free music from 8-Bit Operators, and feedback from our course instructor, Chipocrite. We received some seriously impressive submissions and first want to thank everyone who participated!
Now without further ado, our winners are:
This submission was two of our judges’ top pick and was in everyone’s top three! minusbaby called it “a sinister-sounding take on the original” and congratulated the artist for how “technically impressive” the arrangement was. glomag loved “the broad, 2-step interpretation — really unusual, but it works great for the song.” And Chipocrite’s enthusiasm couldn’t be contained to a single soundbite…
“Wow… So much to say about this one. This doesn’t just get points because it goes above and beyond just covering the first 60 seconds of “Whip It” — it’s a fully fleshed-out, three-minute banger remix — it’s also the most full-sounding and unexpectedly original submission we received, in my opinion. By using really rich, punchy instruments (melodic AND percussive) and really smart chiptune tricks (delay effects, maximizing the space on each channel, etc.), you’ve tricked the listener into thinking there’s MUCH more than just four sounds happening at once here. I’m not even sure I’d recognize this as just 1xLSDJ if I were casually listening! But sound chip aside, and perhaps even more impressively, the unique arrangement, completely different feel, and unexpected reharmonization (particularly during the chorus) make this something truly special. Really fantastic job.”
Boy Meets Robot
Chipocrite said that of all the arrangements submitted, this one takes the prize for “Most Fun.” glomag was impressed that the artist was able to bring something new to the track “while keeping the bass, rhythm, and melody solid.” Both thought the use of the voice was a really entertaining addition.
Chipocrite went on to say, “The intro is nice and sets up a great sense of anticipation, but man, when the beat drops, it just rages. I also like the change in feel during the chorus, which is almost like a spacious breakdown.. And it feels great when it kicks back in, even if it’s only for a few final seconds. (Of course, I realize that the contest was just to cover the first minute or so, but I want to hear more of this!! And it’s always good to leave your audience wanting more.) Boy Meets Robot created an incredibly full sound from LSDJ using arps, volume effects, pitch bends… And really great, efficient usage of the Wav channel to create an interesting sense of instrument variation.”
minusbaby had maybe the best comment on this track, saying, “It’s delightfully bizarre with its three-legged, galloping horse beat.” Chipocrite called it the “Most Imaginative” and went on to say, “I was impressed with how complex yet simple it feels; it’s pretty out there and experimental, but DEFINITELY still recognizable as the Devo classic, somehow. It’s groovy and mysterious and fun and just plain awesome. It has a very nice ‘human’ feel to it as well, as if we’re listening to some super-tight jazz band or glitchy math rock group being run through an NES. I feel like this might be Mark Mothersbaugh’s favorite, if he were to give it a listen, just based on the sheer originality and creativity here. I’ve never heard the NES sound so cool.”
While we can’t offer more than bragging rights, each of these tracks caught the eyes of at least one of our judges.
minusbaby, in particular, was a fan of this submission, saying, “This is undeniably funky and does great justice to celebrating the underlying groove of the original.” Chipocrite really liked the groove, saying “the song sounds great at a slower, funkier tempo. Nice usage of arps to fill in the space, and great, full-sounding drum sounds.”
Both glomag and Chipocrite called this track out. glomag mentioned loving the articulation of the melody instrument and being impressed by the solid bass. Chipocrite pointed out that there were “lots of really cool chip-inspired sounds (do I hear some C64 in there?). I LOVE the change in the feel and harmonies for the chorus (around 40 seconds in) — really makes this version of the song sound pretty epic and awesome.”
A Few More Inspiring #ChipIt Covers
There was some seriously stiff competition in this challenge! So many thanks to everyone who participated. Take a listen to some of the other unique takes on “Whip It,” curated by our Chiptune Crash Course instructor Chipocrite.
Nicholas Arden Day
Chipocrite: “I thought the new intro was pretty cool right off the bat, and I thought Nicholas did a decent job changing up the feel of my original .sav!”
Chipocrite: “This was one of the more creative LSDJ arrangements. Very nice usage of the Wav channel to create some unique lead instruments (and one of the only submissions to use LSDJ’s speech synthesis!).”
Chipocrite: “I’ve always loved the NES Triangle channel for bass, even when it’s used for cool minimalist grooves like this. Good job here reworking and rearranging some of the recognizable parts of the song but keeping them recognizable. And I gotta give props for the vocal samples! NES DPCM is always fun.”
Chipocrite: “This is Heller_’s first ever LSDJ project and it’s a really amazing start. I’m so glad they enjoyed working on it. I’d like to hear more of the vocals from the original song, but it sounds great. Keep it up!”
Chipocrite: “This one’s a little too much like my original .sav I’m afraid, but I did notice a few small changes that added to the song and show a good start in understanding LSDJ. Make more of these changes and keep it up!!”
Chipocrite: “This is one of the most ‘accurate,’ true-to-the-original submissions, and I mean that in a good way! Very nice job of proving the original song could be recreated very realistically using just a console.”
Chipocrite: “I really enjoy the variations on the original’s melodies and the little filler melodies Aenigma came up with that are also not really present in the original. Also, very cool usage of arps to fill in the space with nice ‘chords.’ And I’m glad someone teased the 6/4 portion of the song!”
Join Chiptune Crash Course today to get started making your own chip music, and we look forward to hearing the music you make next!