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.

 

How did digital fusion begin?

 

Digital fusion is an artist-led genre initiative, coined by the community of composers who make this style of music.

 

This genre has existed for over a decade without a formal name, through online communities and netlabels.

1990's-2010's

Many digital fusion artists began composing in the 90's and 00's.

In some communities, jazz (including evolutions like jazz fusion and smooth jazz), classical, prog, and music for consumer electronics (such as video game music, phone ringtones, and keyboard demos) are considered common influences that initially helped many digital fusion musicians find camaraderie with each other. However, digital fusion is not limited to these influences or communities.

2019-2020

In 2019, composer Aivi Tran (of the band aivi & surasshu, the award-winning duo behind the music of the animated TV series, Steven Universe) initiated a discussion on Twitter, which led to a general consensus around the term digital fusion.

In 2020, Aivi Tran launched an info webpage about digital fusion. (You are here!)

 

Each artist featured on the Digital Fusion: Volume 1 and Volume 2 playlists consented to their work being associated with digital fusion.

2021 & Beyond

The term digital fusion has been adopted by artists and labels, used in game music award categories, and has over 300 tagged albums on Bandcamp.

 

Maj7, a Discord server run by Blitz Lunar with its roots on IRC since 2010, saw a surge of new members, and has become a central community for digital fusion musicians and appreciators.

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!

- aivi

 
 
 

Related Resources

​Coming soon!

 
 

About & Acknowledgements

 

This page was last updated on 2/13/21.

This page was created by Aivi Tran, with contributions from, and gratitude towards, the following people:

 

surasshu, Blitz Lunar, and Chimeratio, who helped me launch the original webpage.

All Volume 1 & 2 artists: Yoann Turpin, Maxo, sylcmyk, Shnabubula, Breakbeat Heartbeat, virt, Lena Raine, Fearofdark, Zackery Wilson, Calum Bowen, FLOOR BABA, Dale North, Tony Thai, chibi-tech, Frums, quarkimo, Miyolophone, Seajeff, That Andy Guy, Anton Corazza, K.Shiraki, Sabrielle Augustin, coda, aji, amimifafa, Maddie Lim, Siphosomes, Razerek, Mariode, and Yossshy.

Tobokegao, who curated the Digital Fusion Collection playlist, Renko and Radiax for their Japanese translation work, Luischocolatier for Spanish translation work, and ZW Buckley for writing feedback.

 

The inspiring musicians of Ubiktune, DESKPOP, STAFFcirc, and A Bit Of Chiptune.

 

The Maj7 Discord community, and everyone who joined in on the discussion on Twitter.

All digital fusion musicians. Please keep making amazing music!

Contact

If you have suggestions for the website, or if you'd like to submit content for this page, please send an email to:

digifumusic@gmail.com

I'm currently looking for: 
  • Labels and collectives
  • Related links/resources
  • Translators
  • Digital fusion-related writing, especially deep dives into the history of digital fusion
  • Information about digital fusion music communities of the 2000's and 2010's
Unfortunately, I'm not taking song submissions. I highly encourage all musicians to share their music with their peers and get involved with their music community!