Features, Music March 16, 2010 By Sonaar Luthra

cipmusic page41 Chip Music: a history of the future
It’s no wonder that what this scene collects and compiles inevitably spawns new ones. Where there were no performers from Philadelphia at the first Blip Festival, the city now lays claim to a thriving scene driven by its own monthly showcase, 8static, and before long the city’s visualists will be taking over the skyline when their work starts being displayed atop the PECO building.
     Hally’s set showcased the best of what chip music has been, but the night wasn’t over when he left the stage. After the set break, the lights went out and in walked CONDOM, a one-time collaboration between Covox and Random. They took to stage costumed in robotic LED eyed masks and debuted an original set that embraced the constraints inherent in their name: use a condom once, then throw it away. All of the visuals and music were erased once it was over, and it will never be performed again. CONDOM took the notion of a live demo to another level, taking a practice that started online and was inherently remote, and re-establishing it as something that could only be seen live. Years of liberating from within constraints culminated in imposing one more.
     With every performance, chip music re-establishes the uncharted potential within seemingly obsolete hardware; and there are no signs of it letting up soon. At a time when the music and community are flourishing it comes as no surprise that the low-fi digital sounds they work with are filtering their way into popular music.
     There may be a long wait for Blip Festival 2010, but in the meanwhile the lineup of chip musicians at Datapop 3.0 is set to rock South by Southwest in Austin this week. In its third iteration, the lineup will feature Nullsleep, Bit Shifter, Hally, Random, Starscream, and others, and it should not be missed.

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