What is digital fusion?
Digital fusion (or digifu) is music that combines various musical genres with early PC/computer music styles that were shaped by hardware limitations, such as video game music, demoscene/tracker music, chiptune, and MIDI.
Digital fusion is an evolution of these computer music styles, where composers have adopted their vernacular without their original hardware limitations.
What are some techniques that composers use in digital fusion?
Some examples of techniques that digital fusion composers use include:
Tracker and chiptune-based techniques: single channel delay, composing with simple wave forms, rapid arpeggios, sampled chords.
MIDI-based techniques: primary focus on twelve-tone scale or piano roll. Arranging with 16 channels or a low number of instruments.
Combining the above with full production or acoustic performances.
Digital fusion sometimes contains virtual improvisation: solos in which the process of creation is more spontaneous than a planned composition, but more premeditated than live improvisation, because of being tracked or sequenced into a computer.
Labels & Collectives
Digital Fusion: Volume 1
Curated by Aivi Tran
Digital Fusion: Volume 2
Curated by surasshu
Featured artists: Tony Thai, chibi-tech, Frums, quarkimo, Miyolophone, kfaraday (cover of music by pedipanol), Seajeff, That Andy Guy (feat. Anton Corazza), Kshiraki, Sabrielle Augustin, coda, aji, amimifafa, Maddie Lim, Siphosomes, Razerek, Mariode, Yossshy
Digital Fusion Collection
Curated by Tobokegao
A playlist exploring the sound of digital fusion, featuring 100+ artists.
How did digital fusion begin?
Digital fusion is an artist-led initiative, coined by the community of composers who make this style of music. Many digital fusion artists began composing in the 90's and 00's, influenced by video game music. Jazz, classical, and prog are considered major genre influences that initially helped digital fusion musicians find camaraderie with each other, although digital fusion is not limited to these influences.
The genre has existed for over a decade without a formal name, through online communities and netlabels. In 2019, composer Aivi Tran (of the band aivi & surasshu, the award-winning duo behind the music of Steven Universe) initiated a discussion on Twitter, which led to a general consensus around the term digital fusion. In 2020, Aivi launched the digital fusion webpage. Each artist featured on the Digital Fusion: Volume 1 and Volume 2 playlists consented to their work being associated with digital fusion.
The term digital fusion has since been adopted by artists and labels, used in game music award categories, and has over 300 tagged albums on Bandcamp.
This genre is not meant to limit anyone’s creativity. It’s to give language and recognition to a thriving style of music, and an incredible community of composers who have supported each other’s musical development for decades. And as with all language, it’s a work in progress.
My hope with digital fusion is to acknowledge our music scene, to welcome like-minded musicians looking for a genre to call their work, and to create exciting new things together. If digital fusion resonates with you, you are welcome to label your music that way!
This info page was written by Aivi Tran, with contributions from and gratitude towards the following people:
surasshu, lunar, Chimeratio, Yoann Turpin, Maxo, sylcmyk, Shnabubula, Breakbeat Heartbeat, virt, Lena Raine, Fearofdark, Zackery Wilson, Calum Bowen, FLOOR BABA, Dale North; the inspiring musicians on Ubiktune, DESKPOP, STAFFcirc, IiIypad, and A Bit Of Chiptune; the Maj7 Discord community; and everyone who joined in on the discussion on Twitter.
Thank you to Tobokegao for curating the Digital Fusion Collection playlist, Renko and Radiax for their Japanese translation work, and ZW Buckley.
Thank you to all Volume 2 artists: Tony Thai, chibi-tech, Frums, quarkimo, Miyolophone, kfaraday, pedipanol, Seajeff, That Andy Guy, Anton Corazza, K.Shiraki, Sabrielle Augustin, coda, aji, amimifafa, Maddie Lim, Siphosomes, Razerek, Mariode, and Yossshy.
Page last updated 2/3/21.