Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Sophomore makes next-level Gameboy music

Normally, when you see someone fiddling on a Gameboy, it is safe to assume they are revisiting their favorite childhood games. But not Max Dolensky. If you see him with his Gameboy, there is a good chance he is making music.

Dolensky, a sophomore majoring in management information systems, said he started making music at a young age by figuring out the melodies of rock songs and video games.

By the time Dolensky entered middle school, his interest in music expanded beyond traditional instruments, such as the tuba and trombone he played in high school.

“I first got into electronic music when I was in middle school – I was really keen on playing NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) and Sega games that I never had as a young child, and it coincided with my interest in band,” Dolensky said. “From there, I got into electronic remixes, then the process of repurposing the actual game consoles to create new music.”

To make music on a Gameboy, users can buy an inexpensive software program called “Little Sound DJ” online. Additionally, users need a rewritable cartridge that will be plugged into a handheld gaming system.

“The software itself looks like spreadsheet software,” Dolensky said. “Luckily, everything is clearly labeled, so there isn’t a huge learning curve. You are limited to making four sounds at once, which challenges you as a composer.”

Chipmusic, a form of creating music with vintage gaming systems like Gameboy or NES, has a popular online following.

Brandon Hood, or “President Hoodie” to his online friends, is a friend of Dolensky’s who recently became interested in creating chipmusic.

“What I’ve become known for within the chip community is creating and directing the Chiptunes = WIN project,” Hood said. “The 70-plus tracks on the first two releases have amazing and wildly varying styles of chipmusic, from some of the most well known artists in the scene to some extremely talented up-and-comers.”

There are many different styles of chipmusic, although all of it has electronic roots. Dolensky said his favorite type of chipmusic to create is jazz, which he does under his online alter ego “the Bitman.”

“Sometimes I will do cross-genre covers of pop and rock songs,” Dolensky said. “I am currently in love with everything bass-heavy, but my favorite genre is funk.”

Chipmusic, while still a mainly online form of music, is beginning to take hold in mainstream culture. Chip artists have music festivals where they can showcase their work and perform.

Curtis Ware, or “Solarbear,” met Dolensky when Ware invited him to perform at a chiptune festival he planned in Lexington, Ky., called BRKFest2012.

“I’m really happy I [invited him], since he had maybe the single most entertaining performance,” Ware said.

While Dolensky is busy with creating chipmusic, he is also involved in other aspects of traditional music. He is involved with four Alabama bands, including the Million Dollar Band, and is minoring in music.

Beginning to create your own chipmusic is relatively inexpensive except for the few pieces of equipment needed online. But if Dolensky has one piece of advice, it is to invest in rechargeable batteries.

“Last year I nearly went broke buying batteries,” Dolensky said.

For more information about chipmusic, go to or For more information about Dolensky’s music, go to


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