Wanna Hld Yr Handheld, Vol. 1
The hardest of hardcore chip musicians may disagree, but MusicRadar thinks that one of life’s great joys lies in hearing an artist or band’s work re-imagined in an 8-bit fashion.
Sometimes, it’s just the one song, but here, we’re celebrating the chiptune producers who’ve gone the extra mile and created a whole album’s worth of covers. This might be a kind of greatest hits set or, even more impressively, a note-but-note recreation of an individual album.
Where better place to start our round-up than with the biggest band of all time, and Wanna Hld Yr Handheld, Vol. 1.
It was only a matter of time before the chiptune community turned its hand to re-imagining The Fab Four’s back catalogue. This compilation, from 8-bit Operators, blends obvious selections (Sgt. Pepper, All You Need Is Love) with some of the lesser-known songs in The Beatles canon (I Will, Piggies and Sie Liebt Dich).
And the best bit? The Vol.1 suffix in the album title indicates that there’s more to come.
Kind of Bloop
Miles Davis’s Kind Of Blue is the jazz album that everyone owns, but you’ll never have heard it played quite like this. Project mastermind Andy Baio says he’d always wondered what chiptune jazz covers would sound like - now we’ve all got the chance to find out.
Listen to Kind of Bloop here (download for $5).
With Daft Punk (more on them shortly) readying one of 2010’s most eagerly-awaited electronic albums in the shape of the soundtrack for Tron: Legacy, what better time to celebrate Wendy Carlos's score for the original 1982 film?
8 Bit Weapon has done the honours on this occasion, with these remixes being based on the original score. The Commodore 64, Nintendo NES, Nintendo Game Boy, Apple II, and Atari 2600 were all used in their creation.
Weezer - the 8-bit album
This one was released by video game music net label Pterodactyl Squad, which says of the project: “Do you remember that dream you had, where the sound chips from the beloved games consoles of your youth all got together and formed a Weezer tribute band? Yeah? No? OK. That dream is about to come true whether you had it or not.”
Or, indeed, whether you like it or not. The tracklisting spans Rivers Cuomo and co’s career and the music was mostly created on original videogame hardware running home-brew software.
We told you we’d get back to Daft Punk: various artists have come together to celebrate the work of the much-loved duo.
As well as the full album, you can also download a bonus disc: both get harder, better, faster and stronger the more you listen to them.
The Music of Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk’s influence on the chiptune scene is not insignificant, so it’s entirely appropriate that their work should be given the 8-bit cover treatment.
This compilation was conceived and compiled by long-time electronic artist and 8-bit composer Jeremy Kolosine, but features contributions from artists from around the world.
Muse: an 8-bit tribute (volumes 1 and 2)
It probably wouldn’t quite work in the stadiums and arenas that Muse are used to playing these days, but these lo-fi versions of their songs are nothing if not lovingly crafted.
The first volume of material arrived at the beginning of 2009, with the second being released right at the end of the same year.
Perhaps the most ambitious 8-bit tribute project of all, this is a note-by-note recreation of The Floyd’s 1973 opus that was made “entirely within the limits of the standard North American [Nintendo] NES”.
Moon8 was created by Canadian video game programmer and synth musician Brad Smith, and for absolute authenticity, he’s refused to split the MP3s into separate tracks, insisting that, like the original, the album should be heard as just two ‘sides’. That’s the kind of stubbornness we respect.
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