Native Instruments has announced the release of a new Maschine expansion that cracks open early-gen PCs and video game consoles to unleash a world of 8-bit sounds.

Byte Riot is packed with crunchy circuit-bent drum kits, warm 8-bit leads, and retro video game samples, hacking into a world of modified music makers.

To some people, video game consoles and computers are useless once they are past their prime. To others, however, these bygone relics can be modified and hacked, transforming the obsolete hardware into instruments. Audio chips are electronically altered to become makeshift synths, emitting monophonic, 8-bit tones. Modified video-game gear gets repurposed, using special software, to turn the sounds often heard in 80s video games into notes that can then be played however the musician likes. While musical works using these techniques are often put into the chiptune genre, the influence of this DIY attitude can be found cross genre, with these lo-fi sounds showing up in pop, breakcore, hip hop, and grime

For BYTE RIOT, its latest release in the MASCHINE Expansion series, Native Instruments collaborated with artists Ivo Ivanov and Alex Retsis, lead sound designers at Glitchmachines to crack open early-gen computer and gaming systems to bring these primitive digital sound to MASCHINE users. Ivanov built custom units and tinkered with old-school oscillators, putting his circuit bending skills to use, while Retsis focused on essentials like 8-bit drum parts and arpeggiated chords. The result is a collection of kits that reproduce and reimagine the classic chiptune sound for any genre.

BYTE RIOT contains sounds meticulously sampled from old-school video game consoles and early-gen computer chips, including complex MIDI patterns based on classic arcade games. Various Game Boys were hacked using LSDJ and Nanoloop tracking software on custom cartridges. Fast arpeggiators were driven through Commodore 64 SID chips to sample chord variations. And Windows instruments were played through the Sega Mega Drive’s FM YM2612 chip for primitive authenticity that anyone can use in their musical productions.

Byte Riot features

  • 40 Kits, 10 Projects, 17 Instruments.
  • 32 Massive presets.
  • 27 Monark patches.
  • 43 Drum Synth patches.
  • Over 150 total patterns.
  • 323 drums and 243 oneshots.
  • 135 MB content.

Byte Riot for Maschine 2.6.6 or higher is available for $49 USD/49 EUR/£44 GBP. A compact version is available as an iMaschine 2 Expansion, available as an in-app purchase for $0.99 USD/0.99 EUR/£0.79 GBP.

More information: Native Instruments / Byte Riot