So, a couple years ago, the long-held champ of the world of portable gaming found a new rival, and a new era of un-fun games came out, subsequently. The days of the simple joys of Gameboy games were gone for the fancy-shmancy gimmicks of newer systems and tricks; it was the battle of the Nintendo DS and the PSP. Both sound like they could be diseases, and for some reasons they probably both could be classified as such. Because, though they were super high tech with their 3D technology and wobbly nub-sticks and screens that get all touchy-feely, many of their games sucked or were just put out to try to sell money. By stealing some cool ideas from semi-successful games, hordes of terribly uncreative and repetitive games came out. What irked me in particular was how, well, real, the music was trying to get. They were putting full songs in their games, but they sounded pretty out of place in the handheld world. They sounded crunched up, gasping for air. Let me out, they said.
And the years of avid Gameboy fans listened, and became musicians and are now currently out to prove us all that small sounds can still be bigger then studio-pumped up garbage. In the past few years, slowly, 8-bit music has been sneaking it’s way into the hearts and souls of it’s listeners, showing us how how the most basic, wired, electronic, savage sound can have just as much prettiness as a harpsichord and Paul McCartney harmonizing. Ooh, yeah. Sexy.
There’s been some experimentation with remixing with 8-bit sounds, seeing as how it was recently discovered that using zelda samples, you could rock the house in half and half again. Or that Fraggle Rock could somehow get cooler. Last night, I saw a triple-show type thing at the Satyricon, a little hole in the wall place, literally. It was almost too cool for me. Anyways, this guy named Matthew, but stage-named Purse Candy (who hit on me after I tried to talk to him before the show, I should have known, me and Rob are the only straight, friendly guys around… Matthew kept giving me all these silly winks and air kisses. Ooh, how dreamy), started off his set with some game-boy samplers, which I though was really rad, but then his set devolved into nothing more then some owl city sounding thing. Props for looking classy, at least. Check out these sick remixes. You’ll poo yourself in excitement if you don’t.
Deadmau5- You Need A Ladder
Fraggle Rock Theme- (Skeet Skeet’s 8-Bit Adventure)
Some artists have been doing 8-bit covers of very popular songs, and getting good reception. Of course, there’s plenty of really poopy songs out there that try and fail to capture 8-bit glory, but I guess it’s harder then one would think. Check out these songs that I think are at least comparable to the originals:
>Nirvana- Smells Like Teen Spirit (8-Bit Remix)v
Bag Raiders- Daft Punk Is Playing on My Nintendo
Now, as 8-bit has proven it’s worth in the sub fields of remixes and covers, I feel 8-bit music is going to sneak it’s styles and sounds into our new artists music. In fact it already has! Back in 2007, Panda Bear released the fantastic Person Pitch, with “Good Girl/Carrots” buried as track 5, with a 12:42 track time, heavy drumming patterns with subtly building energies with layers of sound-instruments. Then, before you have time to notice it, the song morphs into the “Carrots” half, and what’s funky is that you really don’t even notice it. The tempo changes, the key and pitch changes, but Panda does it so smoothly and suddenly, it’s like it was bound to happen by natural. It’s an odd feeling to be tricked by a song, but when it happens right, it’s tasty. Anywho, you can listen to that track below if you want, but the reason I brought it up was to call attention to around 6:08 where some gameboy-reminiscent beats come in, reminding me of Nintendo glitching out, but in such a fashion that it’s extremely danceable. I always did kind of like it when CDs would skip or games would freeze and make a kinda annoying, yet catchy sound.
Franz Ferdinand then released Tonight, which was pretty electronic for the Franzies, and if you listen to the track “Twilight Omens”, the opening hook thing is ripped straight from an Atari. Good, tasty, adventure music.
However, most recently there’s even been some suspicious work going on in the world of 8-bit sounds. Vampire Weekend’s fantastic new album (which you should go get, by the way. If you don’t like it at first, try it again and really listen or dance or whatever, and you will) features a track called “Diplomat’s Son” towards the end of the album. It starts out as what you might come to expect from them, sounding completely afro-beat, with dancing string instruments, however featuring a sample of M.I.A.’s “Bucky Done Gun”, and then…. wait for it… 8-bit sounds! For Vampire Weekend, having M.I.A. in a song, plus using such a nice, clean electronic beat was very unexpected. But, keep listening and one find the songs surprises once again, as the song breaks down to a Brooklyn-style drumming section sounding like the most indie gameboy I’ve ever heard, like vampire weekend turns momentarily into a jump-roping rhyme mini-game on Looney Tunes Olympics or some shiz. Interesting, interesting, I like.
But then, one more odd thing about all this 8-bit craze recently. This part is very intriguing, indeed. A new M.I.A track! Let me say that again, in case you have that bad of memory: A NEW MIA TRACK! It’s called “There’s Space For Ol Dat I See”. …And guess what kind of beat it has? Yes. You win. I think it was made with that Playstation 1 beat-making game. I wish I was kidding. No I don’t. I really think it is. This track is large, space-sized, space-oriented, lo-fi, super dancable, kinda bollywood-y, and M.I.A. sings! The last minute of the song totally dissolves into gameboy filth. Tasty, tasty filth. If you don’t listen to any other songs on here, listen to this one. It kinda makes me see a connection between where dubstep is going and where electronic in general is going. Who knew something so simple could be so fat?! Her new album’s still not out till May, but this is a precious morsel. Dear reader, do take in mind how both Vampire Weekend’s new song, and M.I.A.’s new song have gameboy sounds in them and those awesome break-beat parts of gameboy rock and roll, not to mention Vampire Weekend sampling M.I.A. in their song. Coincidence? I hope not.
Panda Bear- Good Girl/Carrots
Vampire Weekend- Diplomat’s Son
M.I.A.- There’s Space For Ol Dat I See
First new Gorillaz track from their upcoming album, Plastic Beach: Gorillaz- Stylo
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