Bleep Bloopin’ away

A couple months ago, Louie came into the shop and, while we were twiddling our thumbs waiting for his iPhone to charge, struck up a convo about chiptunes.

chiptunesthe music! the lazers! okay, there weren’t any lazers.

He had his work cut out for him trying to school me on all things 8-bit. Luckily for him, a Gameboy says a thousand words. Louie pulled out a vintage sun-yellow 80’s model and showed me how he’d modified it to compose and play music. I may be ashamed to admit I’m this far behind the times, but let’s just say my mind was bliggity-blown.

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Japanese chiptuners YMCK and their pixelated world o’ bloop

Yes, of course there’s a whole 8-bit, chiptunes scene that’s been thriving for quite some time. As an outsider, it’s easy to poo-poo away all that blipping and blooping as a nostalgia trip and not much more. As with anything new, 8-bit artists provoke a visceral reaction that ranges between love and hate, but the haters always come off sounding like our dorky old grandparents at their crotchety-est, griping that it’s just a bunch of noise, a poor excuse for music, etcetera, etcetera, as if they’re half a tick away from chasing those damn kids off their lawn.
On the strength of some cool projects popping up lately, however, 8-bit continues to build on its foothold in the music community. Take the following, just spawned from the mind behind Kind of Bloop, a chiptunes tribute to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, is now in the works. From the Kind of Bloop page on Kickstarter (another bit of wickedness that is too cool and involved to dive into now, so just read up on it here already):

What would the pioneers of jazz sound like on a Nintendo Entertainment System? Coltrane on a C-64? Mingus on Amiga? For years, I’ve wondered what “chiptune jazz” would sound like, but there are only a tiny handful of jazz covers ever made.

To satisfy my curiosity — and commemorate the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue” – I’ve asked five brilliant chiptune musicians to collaborate and reinvent the entire album in the 8-bit sound.

Go check out the Kickstarter page for info on the artists contributing to this project which, after fulfilling its funding requirements in the first few hours, is now officially on like Donkey Kong.

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