Ellen Allien is a German producer, DJ, singer and label owner, familiar to anyone who follows the worlds of house and techno. She was resident at famed Berlin techno club Tresor in 1992, and has started two labels (Braincandy and BPitch Control) as well as releasing some acclaimed experimental music. With over two decades of work, she's quite an inspiration.
I was lucky enough to attend a SXSW screening of Blip Festival: Reformat the Planet, a documentary about chiptunes, an underground music form that uses hardware from old video game consoles, like classic Nintendo Game Boys and NESes, to create new, original music. Most of this music bears little resemblance to 8-bit video game music (except, of course, for the sound quality); it's more like bright, happy amped-up techno, the kind of music that makes you feel like you're going on an adventure. Reformat the Planet tracks the creation of Blip Festival, a four-day chiptune extravaganza that happens in Brooklyn and features artists from all around the world. The movie is just 82 minutes, but is packed with great live footage, interviews and insights into the chiptune-making process.