Friday, May 28, 2010

Get Your Geek On: Chiptune at The Black Church Tonight

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Is this your idea of a good time? Go to The Black Church tonight.
  • Is this your idea of a good time? Go to The Black Church tonight.
Are you still holding a torch for the halcyon days of playing Super Mario Bros. and drinking Yoo-Hoo by the case in your basement? Boy, have I got a show for you! Chiptune/Nintendocore/Electrodweeb bands OxygenStar, Active Knowledge, Facundo and RainbowDragonEyes (a band in the running for worst name of the decade) are bringing the pixelated thunder to The Black Church tonight for an evening of video game-distilled electronic music.

Chiptune has been on the periphery of my musical knowledge for a while. While I can’t say that the theme music to Bubble Bobble touches my cold rock ‘n’ roll heart, the concept of the genre is something I’ve always been curious about.

Chiptune is, in essence, a genre of music where the primary instrument is a video game console, usually a Game Boy, Nintendo or Commodore 64. Through some electronic wizardry, the members of the chiptune scene construct dense 8-bit monuments to their childhoods. Some, like arguable genre leaders Anamanaguchi combine the beeps and boops with live rock music. Others just look like they're playing a Game Boy. Really intensely.

On one hand, there’s something about the MacGyver-esque ingenuity of hacking your old-school brick Game Boy to invent original dance-pop jams that’s impressive. All I ever did was play Tetris, and I wasn’t even very good at that. But on the other hand, I can’t stand to listen to these bands for much longer than a half-hour before I feel like blood is going to start dripping out of my ears. It’s a strange place to be in — I respect these bands, especially the ones who can “do it live,” I just can’t listen to them without having PTSD flashbacks to trying to beat the third stage of Battletoads.

Musical brain-death or no, I’ve got to give props where they’re due. I’ve been listening to this Busta Rhymes remix by OxygenStar, sequenced using a cartridge that allows MIDI control of an average NES console, all week long:

The show starts at 8 p.m. and costs a fiver to get in. The Black Church is at 504 N 3rd St. in East Nashville.

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