- Sat, 22 Feb 2014 17:01:00

This is the last 2/3rds of Sinewulf’s debut live electronic set, performed at The Sage Gateshead on 22.02.14 in the public concourse. John Pope on fretless bass, ebow, Kaoss Pad and looper pedals; Brendan Ratliff on Ableton Live/Reaktor with a cunning MIDI controller setup. Nothing composed or arranged (or rehearsed!) in advance - just some extremely fun improvisation :)

I forgot to start the recording when we started the performance, so it sort of comes in suddenly. Recorded from the desk’s tape-out on a Zoom H2.

Find more of John’s fantastic free improv, jazz and other work at

read more on Tumblr


Selected recent soundtrack work:

Fist Of Awesome (iPhone, iPad, Android, Ouya, GameStick, PC, Mac)
Soundtrack on Bandcamp
iOS game on App Store
Android game on Google Play
Zurich (BBC Radio 3 play)
Info/credits on BBC website



Selected open source, educational and freelance dev projects:

Epifection Massively-multiplayer game app for the British Science Festival at Newcastle University.
Knobber Single knob/button class-compliant USB MIDI controller.
Raspbient Ambient drone/police radio player for Raspberry Pi.
The Hub Creative discourse hub involving Newcastle, Brown, Glasgow and City/London Universities.
Surrogate City Geolocated city-wide audio/visual art installation for JamesJoys' PhD thesis.
Tunealiser HTML5 structural analysis and sketchup tool.
Chipdisco Dual deck MOD/XM DJ app.
PortaMod Processing (Java) lib for MOD/XM replay and interactivity.
Minertron HTML5 Manic Miner logo generator.
Chipslapper FastTracker style Reaktor & Ableton Live instruments (with ST-01 samples).
Virus Ctrlr VST plugin for Access Virus synth control.



My name is Brendan Ratliff. I provide original, high quality soundtracks and scores for all types of new and conventional media – video games, film, TV, radio and interactive AV. As a life-long musician and experienced composer/producer, I take particular pride in my ability to employ authentic techniques and instrumentation thanks to my ground-level involvement in some of today’s most cutting-edge subcultural art scenes. These skills, combined with more traditional expertise, allow me to work with clients and collaborators in such a way that their requirements are met and their projects are lent a unique and evocative bearing.




  • I compose music for games, film and radio as Echolevel, and in the demoscene/8bit/chipmusic underground as Syphus.
  • I do software/hardware hacking and teaching – interactive digital art, web development, creative apps and AV installations. I work with (in no particular order): Java, Processing, Javascript, jQuery, PHP, HTML, CSS, BASH, OSC, MIDI, Windows/MacOS/UNIX/Linux/AmigaOS, Arduino, PureData, Max/MSP, Renoise, Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, Sonar, Sony Sound Forge and Adobe Creative Suite. See some examples here.
  • I’ve performed live chipmusic, electronic music and traditional Irish music around the world and occasionally, when there’s time, I still do! I play fiddle, piano, guitar, bass, flute, tin whistles, mandolin, bodhrán and various other instruments – live and as a recording artist. You can often catch me playing in Irish/Scottish trad sessions or for céilís in and around Newcastle, or playing synths in industrial synthpop band Outsight. Formative experiences playing in blues, metal and punk bands of varying quality lurk in my past – no regrets, though!

Also: father, husband, food eater/cooker, music listener, pen+paper roleplay gamer, synth twiddler, obsolete computer meddler, gardening avoider, energy drink abuser and car upholstery despoiler.



After my family bought a Commodore Amiga when I was 9, I began to devour the amazing audio/visual material produced by the Amiga Demoscene and started making my own music using tracker software. As underground art scenes go, the Demoscene was (and still is!) THE one. Music, graphics and code – all art for art’s sake – was shared freely, long before Creative Commons or mp3 netlabels and usually by floppy disk in the schoolyard. By the time I hit my twenties, so-called ’8bit’ music was having another renaissance and kids were suddenly going mad for retro, videogame-influenced chipmusic – the sort I’d been listening to and making all my life! Well for a fun few years, I saddled up my Amiga, slung a vintage keytar around my neck and blasted out my chiptunes live to audiences all over the UK, parts of Europe and New York’s awesome Blip Festival as Syphus. Most of my Syphus material is available online for free, just like in the old days :)


(Second and third photos by Marjorie Becker)


Extended Demoreel Playlist


Live Performance as Syphus

Some footage of a Syphus gig, filmed and edited by Cerebral Scars (thanks man!)


Interviews with me and articles about my work have appeared in publications such as Games™, Computer Music Magazine, .Net Magazine and various others, but I need to find some time to hunt through my boxes of magazines in the loft and scan them. I'll also try to stick up some old flyers and posters from performances around the world; the sorts of things you intend to keep as mementos, but which mysteriously evaporate with every house-move...






I maintain a repository of my Amiga & PC modules, as well as mp3 recordings of many of them. These are freely available from - big thanks to Scamp who provides free hosting for demosceners at! Please note that the server is sometimes offline for maintenance on Sundays, in which case files might not be available for a few hours.

Syphus is a chiptune and demoscene musician who has been composing and performing for most of his life. He is commander-in-chief of heart wrenching melodies and, when he's not creating with Up Rough or BDSE or making music for games, takes his Amiga around the world to shove 8-bit beats up your face. BOOM!

Syphus (Brendan Ratliff) started playing piano, violin and Commodore Amiga in 1989, at the age of 6. After growing up with the demoscene, trackers and chipmusic, he eventually started to release his tracked music in chipdisks and demos with the likes of CoolPhat, BDSE and Swedish megastars Up Rough.

Along with composing and performing professionally in various disciplines, I've performed live as Syphus regularly over the past few years - in Europe and North America as well as touring the UK twice with Sabrepulse and the Chiptune Alliance. Recent activities include lecturing on chipmusic-related subjects at Newcastle University, giving public workshops on Amiga tracking, releasing open-source chiptune performance software, performing at the likes of Blip Festival (NYC), Game City (UK) and the first European Maker Faire and being an inebriated fixture at various European demoparties.


Follow or contact Syphus on Twitter, Facebook, Bandcamp and Soundcloud.



Want to chat about a project? Please get in touch!

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