New Release: Tufty – Spectronica

Today we have another new release – ‘Spectronica’, from an artist that is brand new to the label – Tufty.

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Spectronica is a 1-bit ZX Beeper album, written for and recorded from both vintage and modern ZX Spectrum hardware. It is both rare and unique, and for that reason, we’re especially pleased to add this to our roster. Some more info:

Harnessing the rich harmonics of 1-bit lo-fi and exploring synth, digital, speech synthesis, triangle waves, phaser and minimalistic square wave beeps.

No dedicated sound chip was used to produce the basic tracks just clever, modern 1-bit sound engines developed by ZX Spectrum coder/musicians Shiru and Irrlicht Project.

  • Tracks 2,4 & 14 have Vocoder speech overdubbed, performed and recorded by Tufty.
  • Tracks 1,2,4-8,10-14 recorded from 48K Rubber keyed ZX Spectrum.
  • Track 3 recorded from a 128K+2A ZX Spectrum.
  • Track 9 recorded from a ZX Spectrum Vega+
  • Track 15 recorded from a ZX Spectrum OMNI 128K HQ.

Mostly written as competition entries in the Beeper category for Battle Of The Bits, DiHalt and the 1-bit Forum music contests. 2015-2018

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We chatted a bit to Tufty to discuss the release:

Cow Tongue Taco Records: Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself. Who you are, where you’re from, and all that jazz.

Tufty: Hi, My name is Richard and I first used a ZX Spectrum in the mid 1980s to write music. I then moved onto the Atari ST where I produced digital music for the Manchester based demo group Chaos. I used the handle ‘Tufty’ in the demo scene (a school nickname) and it’s just stuck. My passions are chipmusic, synth pop and 1970s analog synth. All genres I try to include in my lo-fi music.

CTT: For those that aren’t familiar, how would you explain the 1bit music scene – and how did you get involved with it?

Tufty: 1-bit music is the simplest form of music, being just an ‘on’ or ‘off’ signal sent to a speaker. Music in this way was written for early PC games like Monkey Island (before PCs had sound cards) and the original ZX Spectrum 48K. I became interested in ZX Spectrum 1-bit ‘Beeper’ music again when I came across whole albums published by Polish musician Mister Beep in 2013, such as ‘A Thousand Furious Bees’. Since 2006 new 1-bit sound engines have started to be developed for the ZX Spectrum becoming increasingly complex and allowing multi-channel, multi-timbral and even digital tracks to be coaxed from the old hardware. The ZX Beeper music format is now often included in retro music contests on sites such as Battle Of The Bits and demo parties such as DiHalt.

CTT: This album was recorded solely using a ZX Spectrum, which I’m sure many won’t even realise is possible. Can you give a bit more info on the process, and the tracks themselves?

Tufty: I write the ZX Spectrum music on a PC using utilities such as Beepola, 1-tracker and Bintracker. I then load the sound files into a real vintage ZX Spectrum, play the music back and record the output from the mic socket of the Spectrum into a PC. The sound recordings are then EQ’d and volume equalised but kept as authentic as possible.

CTT: Why did you want to go with a cassette release?

Tufty: I just liked the idea of a retro cassette release, having seen the others produced by Cow Tongue Taco Records. It’s vintage, cool and just seems right for lo-fi chipmusic. Also ZX Spectrum owners like to collect cassette releases and I hoped they’d find this very unique release interesting and authentic.

CTT: Where else can we find you online?

Tufty: I have a bandcamp site tufty1.bandcamp.com where my other music releases can be found and a new site which I’m currently working on spectronica.org.


The album is available digitally for £2, or £5 for a limited edition cassette tape – which has an alluring blood red case and all black screw-type shell. It looks pretty damn good if we do say so ourselves. Get your copy from our Bandcamp, or hold out until 22nd of December when it will be on Spotify.

New Release: donotrunwithpixels – Super 32 in 1

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Today we have a brand new release to share from chip musician donotrunwithpixels. Here’s the blurb:
Putting the chic in anarchic, donotrunwithpixels returns with a double mixtape, one side of four-to-the-floor EDM, and another mashing previous releases with new drum’n’bass grooves. Staying true to his chip-purist ethos the sets feature only the sound of LSDJ on original Nintendo Game Boys. The last two years have seen these sets performed across south Wales and are now available on cassette or via download. Contains twice the adult recommended daily allowance of nihilism. Check with your GP before listening to Super 32 in 1 if you are pregnant or taking other medication.
This is a release specifically designed to be listened to on cassette, and there are only 15 copies available. You can grab one from our online shop, or from Bandcamp.

New Release: unexpected bowtie – liberal exodus

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Today we announce the latest Cow Tongue Taco release: ‘liberal exodus’ from Glaswegian chip-botherer unexpected bowtie.

The 10 track LP is unexpected bowtie’s sixth full-length album, and the blend of Game Boy and traditional electronica is a more mature follow on from 2016’s TOKYO.

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Out on both digital and cassette, the tape portion of this release is extremely limited edition – with only five available – and costs only £2.50 more than the download, so well worth grabbing one.

You can have a listen to liberal exodus over on our Bandcamp, and get your copy of the tape in our online shop. Streaming via Spotify to follow very shortly.

 

New Release: Son of a Bit! – Chorophobia EP

Today we are pleased to announce another brand new release, from a brand new Cow Tongue Taco artist: Son of a Bit!

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Chorophobia is an energetic blast of hardcore chipmusic, and we’re really pleased to have them join the Cow Tongue family.

You can grab your copy of the EP as a free digital download, or on cassette tape over on our main shop, or on Bandcamp.

Son of a Bit! at Micro Invasion 2010

CTT: Tell us a bit about yourself! Who are you, and where do you come from?

SoaB: I’m Sanditio Bayu Estuputro, a freelance illustrator / comic artist based in Jakarta, Indonesia. I really love making many things I love (such as chip-music, drawings, comics, pixel-arts, etc)! Oh, and I also had another chip-music cover project called “Little-Sound Orchestra” (http://facebook.com/littlesoundorchestra), maybe you can check that out if you have more time.

CTT: How did you get into making chip music?

SoaB: When I was in high school (late 2007/2008), my older brother introduced YMCK (Japanese chiptune group) to me. I was instantly hooked and kept some of the songs in my mp3 player. I really excited about this group and tried to introduce YMCK’s “Magical 8-bit Tour” to one of my best classmate, Pajar Prasetyo and he really liked it! Inspired by that, Pajar suggested that I create a chiptune project with his friend Fajar Sidik. One of his reasons to make this project is, in Indonesia, there wasn’t that many chip-tune projects around, and chip-music sounds really unique! From there, we learned how to make Chip-music together from some tutorials on Youtube… and that was the time when “Majemuk” born, a chiptune / hip-hop group which I run with them. We were also invited to several events such as Chipmovement vol.1 in Depok (a city close to Jakarta), Jakarta Toys Fair 2009, and many others. But, in April 4th 2009, I decided to resign from Majemuk (due to a personal reason) and create a chiptune project inspired by heavy music called “Son of a Bit!”.

CTT: Your style is pretty unique; a sort of cross between metal and chiptune. How would you describe it?

SoaB: Some people call it “Nintendocore”, but I’m trying to avoid this term right now for a personal reason. Maybe i would just call it Heavy-Chip Music or just Chip-music, because I focus more on 8-bit sounds than other instruments. Yes, I add some other instruments in my music (such as Electric guitar) but it’s only a few and nothing more than 2 instruments. Most of my music is inspired by metal music in games such as Guilty Gear & BlazBlue series (Hell yes, Daisuke Ishiwatari is my number one inspiration for this project!) and some other great chip-music artists like Virt, Zabutom and Shitbird.

CTT: Tell us a bit about the album… and how it was put together.

SoaB: This album was supposed to be released 6 years ago (2011). But at that time I was focusing on another project so the release of this EP was abandoned. After checking back the old files on my hard disk, I finally remembered that this album existed! So I decided to release it in this year. This album focuses on songs that have vocals, so I add every vocal tracks that Son of a Bit! had. Some songs in this album is already in my 2nd album “re.demon.stration EP” and I remastered them for this new album (but too bad, that EP link download has already expired). I also added one more track “DEMITUHAN” for the cassette tape version.

SoaB: The name “Chorophobia” itself is an expression of my anxiousness against many other dance music inspired chip-music in my country. The fact that in Indonesia, there’s more or less 75% of chip-music artists here focused on this dance music thing. Maybe most of chip-music artsits here are dance music fans and that’s why there are so many of them. Well, I don’t mean to hate and blame them since there’s no prohibition to make any music with this medium (and most of them are my bestfriends!) but I just want to show to other people (mostly to non-dance music fans) that you can make any music with chiptune and that’s why chiptune is a great alternative medium to start with! Hope you like the new album ❤ \m/

Son of a Bit! - Chorophobia EP Tape

New release – unexpected bowtie: TOKYO

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Today we have another release to add to our roster, with TOKYO from unexpected bowtie.

Written while on long international plane and train journeys, this is music inspired by the lights and movement of globe-trotting; a lingering salute to the people that make up some of the greatest cities in the world.

This album was primarily written on a DMG-01 Game Boy, with a bunch of extra synthy goodness and guitars thrown in for good measure.

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You can get the digital download for £3 on our Bandcamp page, or one of only fifteen limited edition, hand-painted cassette tapes for £5 from our shop.