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Music Appreciation Fest: Volume 2 - Pixelh8

Updated on December 22, 2009
MAF: Volume 2 presents...
MAF: Volume 2 presents...


"Pixelh8 is not only the leading artist of the 8-bit-centric Chiptunes genre, but a cultural anthropologist for the electronic world..." - Cap Blackard
"Pixelh8 is not only the leading artist of the 8-bit-centric Chiptunes genre, but a cultural anthropologist for the electronic world..." - Cap Blackard


MAF has a mission to open the eyes & ears of all people to some great music, even if it is outside of the box of favorites. Many times, we close off our minds to certain styles of music, certain time periods of music, and/or certain artists for whatever reason we provide, but this limits the experience that music can and will provide for us. If we can think outside of the box, so to speak, to allow ourselves to gain something from all types of music, from all time periods, and from any artists, we may be able to have a positive experience that would never have occurred without first being open to it. This does not mean that you should give up on what you believe in or not have your own musical preferences, but to simply allow yourself to experience new sounds & sights that may open you up to a more fulfilling musical experience. In turn, this will enhance your overall life experience, helping you to grow and discover things in life you may not have ever experienced otherwise. Thank you very much for reading. Enjoy! -SevDiggity

(Please refer to:

"MAF: Volume 1 - The Kinks"

for more information on the origins of Music Appreciation Fest)

Why Pixelh8?

You may be asking yourself, "Why is volume 2 of Music Appreciation Fest featuring Pixelh8?" While the first volume included a very well-known band, "The Kinks," whom many are familiar with, especially when you make mention of their hit songs, such as "You Really Got Me" and "All Day And All Of The Night," this volume features an artist of no less musical genius. You may not have ever heard of Pixelh8, but the artist himself, Matthew C. Applegate, has succeeded at sustaining and rising to the top of an amazing genre of music that some call "chiptunes" or "8-bit-centric" music. He has created this incredibly unique blend of Electronica music using old computers & video game systems, reprogramming them to give him the sounds he desires for his music.

So, how did I find out about Pixelh8? Sometimes I just spend some time listening to many artists on myspace by visiting pages of some of my own favorites, exploring from those pages to artists/bands I have never heard before. I was visiting the page of Imogen Heap, one of my favorite solo music artists, listening to her song, "Hide & Seek", and I happened to see on Imogen's Top Friends, Pixelh8, with his 8-bit character profile picture that looks like it could have come straight out of a Super Mario Bros rip-off game... I loved it! I became very intrigued and curious. I am a sucker for old school video games, as I used to collect and still own many of the old video game systems from the 70s on until recent years of gaming systems (I still need to catch up a lil'). Also, I have always loved video game music, especially music in the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games. I had always dreamed of mixing video game sounds & music with modern musical sounds to create amazing music, and I still plan to incorporate that dream into my own personal music, but I had a feeling "Pixelh8" might make music of great interest to me. When I visited his page, I was very much drawn into what I had found. Not only did I love listening to his musical tracks using old 8-bit sounds that reminded me of my childhood, I also watched some videos he featured on his page, showing how he has circuit bended old computers & reprogrammed old devices, etc, to create these sounds/music. I was amazed. I have kept up with him since, and he has continued to create new albums and complete new projects that are revolutionizing the world of Electronica music.

[Refer to his BIO below for more information on Pixelh8]

Featured Pixelh8 song, "Girl Fight"

Pixelh8 [Matthew C. Applegate] BIO

Internationally renowned chip tune musician Pixelh8 / Matthew C. Applegate makes his music from reprogramming vintage computer systems such as the ZX spectrum, Commodore 64, Game Boy and more.

His unique blend of Electronica has taken him across the globe, performing at Microdisco in Berlin, Apple iTunes in California, Assembly 2008 in Helsinki Finland, Game in The City Festival Holland, BBC Maida Vale Studios for Radio 1 in London, The National Museum of Computers, Bletchley Park and most recently Liverpools massive Abandon Normal Devices Festival for FACT.

Highly regarded in this emerging genre of music he has been featured on CNN, BBC Television, BBC Radio 1,3,4,6 and World Service, as well several magazines and websites all over the world.

In 2006 he won a MySpace competition to open for Grammy nominee Imogen Heap on her UK tour and in March 2008 he won “Playback Album of the Month” from Sound On Sound Magazine with his second album “The Boy With The Digital Heart”. Further to this he has created music for video games and stage productions all over the world as well as notable commissions from BBC World Service, Radio 1 and 1xtra.

Pixelh8 in Live Performance
Pixelh8 in Live Performance

Pixelh8 has also created software like the Pixelh8 Music Tech Game Boy Synth, Pro Performer and Music Tech Master Stroke for other musicians such as Imogen Heap, Damon Albarn and thousands of others.

His most recent commission “Obsolete?” is a study of The National Museum of Computing, at WWII code-breaking centre Bletchley Park, the people, the history and the machines. Using the old computing machines such as the Colossus Mark 2, Elliot 803 and others to create a whole new palette on which to create the music with. The study culminated in two sold out evening performances on March 20th and 21st, 2009. The piece was commissioned by The National Museum of Computing and funded by The Performing Rights Society Foundation New Music Award and has already been featured on BBC News 24, BBC Look East, BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Three Counties, BBC World Service, New Scientist, Games TM, Future Music, Dazed & Confused Magazine and many more.

Parallel to his involvement in music performance Pixelh8 lectures and runs music and computer related workshops across the United Kingdom and is patron of the Access To Music Centre Norwich and is currently studying for his Masters Degree at UCS Centre for Design Innovation a lecturer at both University Campus Suffolk and Suffolk New College. He is also aSTEMNETScience and Engineering Ambassador and a supporting member of theComputing At School Working Group, a member of the Society for the study of Artificial Intelligence, and is on the 2012 Turing Centenary Advisory Committee .

Matthew C. Applegate has designed and run workshops, events and lectures for Ipswich and Colchester Museums, Suffolk Foster Care Unit, IP-Art, Ipswich Borough Council, Foster Care Associates, Access To Music Norwich, Brighton and York Centres, The British Academy of New Music, New College Suffolk, University Campus Suffolk, Sufolk e-learning Forum, Sprites Primary School, Deben High School, Holywells High School, Games Eden, Sound Network & many more.

(, 2008)

"Pixelh8 is not only the leading artist of the 8-bit-centric Chiptunes genre, but a cultural anthropologist for the electronic world. Obsolite? is a concept album of electronic music unlike any other, conceived by Pixelh8 and funded by the British National Museum of Computing and the Performing Rights Society Foundation. Every bleep, bloop and mechanical hum on the album comes from some of the earliest computing devices mankind ever devised, such as the Colossus Mark II — the world’s first programmable digital computing device, used for code breaking in World War II. It’s a beautiful gesture for these forgotten machines and an amazing album of harmonies, rhythms, and secret messages in electronic tongues." - Cap Blackard

Pixelh8's Music Tech Master Stroke Software for the Nintendo DS

Here are just some of the electronic device Pixelh8 programs to produce his 8-bit genius musical tracks
Here are just some of the electronic device Pixelh8 programs to produce his 8-bit genius musical tracks

Other Articles Featuring Pixelh8

A Poster from a Previous Concert Including a performance by Pixelh8
A Poster from a Previous Concert Including a performance by Pixelh8


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    • music messenger profile image

      music messenger 7 years ago

      Interesting hub. Good info. I have music reviews and info on my hub. Check it out and let me know what you think. I voted.