During a sizeable portion of my formative years I could reliably be found alone in my room a mere 2 or 3 feet away from a 24in tube television smashing buttons furiously on my beloved NES. It was a simpler time then, and video games were no different. The graphics were rudimentary at best, there wasn’t really any compelling plot to speak of, and if you died too much, that was it: game over/start over. That’s 8-bit gaming, and it really was the dark ages! But there was something special about the 8-Bit era, a unique cleverness existed that I believe is often missing in modern gaming and perhaps much of the art in the digital space generally.
In my view this could not be more true than when it comes to the musical accompaniment to some of these archaic classics. There was an engaging and haunting quality to the cold sterile computerized notes as they carved out a melody from what seemed to be shear static. Like those eerie notes at the beginning of the twilight zone or the triumphant brass section’s bellowing cue at the opening of a 20th Century Fox Film, these digital tunes became synonymous with my ongoing antics as a poorly rendered Italian plumber, and I couldn’t keep from bobbing my head and smiling as I smushed Kuppas into oblivion.
Fast forward some 10 years later and these strange and infectious sonics started tickling the ole eardrums once again, this time in the form of new genre of music, Nintendocore. To be clear this isn’t just some new form of electronica music I’m here to bore you with. Nintendocore you’ll be pleased to know is broadly defined as a style of rock music which fuses 8-bit video game music with hardcore punk and/or heavy metal. The result of this unlikely marriage is quite interesting, just check out one of my all time favs of the genre, Toronto’s own Crystal Castles performance of Baptism!
As you can see the energy is certainly in sync with the spirit of punk and metal, but with the addition of the sterile haunting 8-bit sonic bursts and melodic loops create a whole new atmosphere worth exploring. In a world where the old often trumps the new and for good reason most of the time, Nintendocore gives us something that for once isn’t some mere refurbishment of better days long past, but rather a clever blueprint of an intriguing new path forward. If you feeling a bit adventurous, then dig deeper into Crystal Castles stellar back catalogue, or enjoy the genesis of the genre with pioneering Nintendocore artists The Advantage… Enjoy!
Next time on The Greatest Thing You've Never Heard
On Tuesday, Ben and John continue their discussion of L'ira Del Baccano's 2014 album Terra 42 and the album's key moments. Check out the album below if you haven't already, and you can find the first part of their discussion here.
What we’ve been Listening to….
Ben’s been enjoying Marmalade’s 1971 effort Songs. This one comes as a recommendation from friend of the show Mr. Tommy Southard (Solace/The Disease Concept/Godspeed, etc.), thanks Tommy! He also got into Hell Fire’s 2019 release, Mania, this week.
John’s been listening to All Them Witches new 2022 Blacksnake Blues E.P. as well as Colour Haze’s 2004 self-titled effort.
I’ve been getting reacquainted with a couple of my favs from Sonic Youth which include there 1988 release Daydream Nation and their 1990 release Goo. Both are post punk classics so check em out if you haven’t had the pleasure along with the other gems as well.
As always, have a pleasant week and as Ben would say, “stay metal!!!”