The more I listen to 8-bit music, the cooler I think it is. Definitely lo-fi, awesomely retro, but caught in a techno-sociological riptide that prevented its popularity until now: No one considered the very limited musical palette of devices like the Atari 2600 and GameBoy worthy of creating real music until the kids who grew up on them, well, grew up.
Sure, back in the day, actual musicians had to write the background music to stuff like Mario Bros. and Pac-Man. But these tradespeople were writing music for a specific purpose and were constrained by corporate objectives. What if a talented composer didn’t have to report to 50 supervisors, engineers, editors, marketing, and bean-counting cranks who would twist his or her musical fruits of labor into unrecognizeable musical pulp? Why, you’d get miraculous, tiny symphonies like Bitshifter’s “March of the Nucleotides.” Sheer genius, in my book.
Simple, yes, but demonstrating songwriting knowledge, arranging expertise, and a firm grasp of the technology. That’s a rare trifecta, because with most musicians it’s “pick one or two.” Bitshifter–and he has some talented 8-bit composer-performer peers out there–clearly has all three in spades.
This blog isn’t the Popdose Guide to 8-bit; there are great resources online here, here, and here if the whole notion tickles your fancy enough to take a deep dive. For now, I leave you with a YouTube video introducing you to Bitshifter and what happened at SXSW when he descended upon it.
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