Those tense moments with your palms sweating, apprehension rising; closer to your goal than ever. With the next level tantalisingly close, there was one thing left to do: beat the end-of-level boss. Flashback to the ’80s, and these marauding sentinels of the computer game would always have one thing in mind only – your demise, and just as the devil has all the best tunes, their musical themes would always be brilliant.
...just as the devil has all the best tunes, their musical themes would always be brilliant
Simplistic, 8-bit cuts of circuit-board drama that intensified the battle sounded otherworldly and quite unlike any other soundtrack. This music of the NES and the Commodore 64 and games like ‘Castlevania’ and ‘Space Harrier’ may inspire a bittersweet nostalgia, but for some the love of this music goes way further.
The peculiar phenomenon of ‘chip music’ has recently captured the consciousness of cyber geeks and bedroom electronica fiends everywhere, who are beginning to recreate these bygone, primitive 8-bit melodies, combining them with modern beats. There’s one who’s taken this strange obsession in a completely new direction: Japan’s Quarta 330.
A dubstep and grime freak from Tokyo, Quarta 330 combines chattering syncopated rhythms and depth charge bass with diseased game boy bleepery to create his own completely unique sound. Dubstep savant Kode 9 was so impressed with Quarta’s retroactive angle he snapped him up as the latest addition to the Hyperdub roster. New 12” ‘Sunset Dub’ clumps and clanks along, voluminous bass a-wobbling, before the eerie, wheezing computer melodies begin to twist your melon; on the flip, his remix of Kode 9’s ‘Seven Samurai’ rips the ominous, pseudo-Oriental sonics of ninja games, soldering them to evolving, polyrhythmic grime drums. A visit to his MySpace reveals that Quarta 330 has got plenty more in store, with blippy two step cut ‘sbcc’ already hinting at a new direction. It seems like those bosses are finally having their revenge from beyond the digital grave...