Let’s face it, if you grew up playing video games, chances are that you’ve got an affinity (perhaps deep-seated) for those 8-bit beeps and boops embedded into your childhood. Everybody gets nostalgic when they hear the theme to Super Mario Bros., but the music isn’t normally the first thing that springs to most people’s minds when they think about video games. But the music in many video games has inspired many musicians of varying genres. Here’s a small sampling of some of my favorite geeky artists.
Anamanaguchi -Power Supply
Anamanaguchi is a chiptune band hailing from New York City that, according to their website, “makes loud, fast music with a hacked NES from 1985.” With roaring guitars, blasting drums and lightning-fast 8-bit music, Anamanaguchi merges old and new sounds seamlessly, creating an adrenaline-driven soundtrack that you’d expect to find in a Mega Man game. If you played the recently released Scott Pilgrim vs. the World video game, you’ve already heard their work. If not, I suggest checking out their first EP, Power Supply, the next time you’re working out or blazing down the freeway.
Nerdrap Entertainment System
For the hip-hop lovers out there, YTCracker’s got you covered. A former Internet hacker that gained notoriety in 1999 when he defaced multiple government pages, Bryce Case Jr. (known under his stage name of YTCracker) is one of the oldest nerdcore artists on the hip-hop scene. His solo album, Nerdrap Entertainment System, is a short but sweet collection of tracks that contain digitally mixed versions of songs from high-profile NES games: Zelda, Mario, and Mega Man. The album’s strongest feature is the lyrics. It is full of references, some so obscure that only the most seasoned geeks can pick up on them.
The Protomen – Act I/Act II
It’s tough for me to write about these guys without babbling on like a fanboy. The Protomen is a rock band from Tennessee that takes the story of Mega Man and fleshes it out into a brilliant tale of dystopian struggle, legacy, betrayal and redemption. Two of their albums of the trilogy are out already and the third is being released soon. The Protomen has created a rock opera in the purist sense by merging hard hitting vocals with a brilliantly crafted set of lyrics that are all backed by instrumentation that straddles the genres of rock and metal with electronic flares. While many of the songs sound great on their own, The Protomen’s primary goal is to tell a story, and the only way you can get that story is by listening to each album sequentially from start to finish. The attention to detail in both albums is amazing and literary and musical themes run rampant. The Protomen’s music isn’t for everyone, but if you give it a try, you just may end up hooked.
If that just isn’t enough, you may also want to look into artists like I Fight Dragons, The Minibosses, MC Chris, or just go straight to the source and download some video game remixes off www.ocremix.org!
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