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October 1, 2003 4:08 PM   Subscribe

Play that funky music Gameboy : An interesting little article on the lo-fi music scene. A synth made from an old dot matrix printer is certainly lo-fi! (via msnbc)
posted by starscream (22 comments total)

and by the same homeboy... the synthcart! chcek out the demo clips, they are truly far out.
posted by mcsweetie at 4:11 PM on October 1, 2003

copy that reads like its straight out the liner notes of a Kraftwerk album

I don't recall there being any "copy" in the liner notes of any Kraftwerk album. And fix your apostrophe.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:15 PM on October 1, 2003

see also: The Symphony for Dot Matrix Printer.
posted by 40 Watt at 4:32 PM on October 1, 2003

As an NES game collector, I have a lot of admiration for the folks who soundtracked those titles. Not that the platform provides for much, but they sure did a lot with a little. The lack of any organic interface to the instrument (such as a fretboard or bow) always seemed to me a huge hurdle to overcome in making music.

Anyway, you can cram more sensibility into 8 bits than's to be found on many CDs nowadays.
posted by scarabic at 4:36 PM on October 1, 2003

Megaman 2 --- Best NES soundtrack EVER.
posted by xmutex at 4:39 PM on October 1, 2003

Homestar RPG...yeah!
posted by jacobsee at 4:41 PM on October 1, 2003

I have MAME with all original samples hooked up to my amp and 150W woofer. The startup noises for Defender and Robotron RULE!!!
posted by meehawl at 4:54 PM on October 1, 2003

Megaman 3 --- Second-best NES soundtrack

Bionic Commando --- Third-best NES soundtrack EVAR.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:03 PM on October 1, 2003

Castlevania 2 wasn't too bad either.

Other lovers of the video game and low-bit music genre:
Minibosses. They do fantastic video game covers. The site has mp3s.
8-bit Construction Set. You'll find two songs on p2p apps, but not much more. They're okay.
Golden Shower Contrary to the sound of it, totally SFW. They have not only mp3s, but a video or two.
posted by angry modem at 5:14 PM on October 1, 2003

It weirds me out how many people keep trying to make the gameboy play IDM-style glitch-tech. I always find this stuff, file it away under "huh, interesting" and then load up my classic NSFs. Because they have, you know, tunes. Oh, and here's a vote for Contra, just after Mega Man 2.
posted by kevspace at 5:31 PM on October 1, 2003

Oh, and I think the Faith No More song RV ripped off the underwater music on the original Super Mario Bros.
posted by angry modem at 5:40 PM on October 1, 2003

The MAME sound emulator is truly amazing. It emulates a huge number of different sound processor chips including some very funky analog circuitry. All faithfully, with great sound.
posted by Nelson at 5:59 PM on October 1, 2003

I've gotta plug a friend of mine - Jake Kaufman, aka Virt. I'm honestly surprised he's not mentioned in the article. Check out his 8-bit stylings on his fx2 music disk.
posted by zsazsa at 6:51 PM on October 1, 2003

I read some of this stuff, but didn't see much on simple directions on getting into making this kind of music..... anyone know of anything?

Of course, I could always try to recall my knowledge of using TI basic to control its 3 sine wave voices plus noise waveform circuitry.
posted by namespan at 7:09 PM on October 1, 2003

Virt's a friend of yours?? Tell him I want a shirt with the NES/turntable logo on it.
posted by kevspace at 8:03 PM on October 1, 2003

Yeah, this stuff is great.
There are several programs that let you do this, (lsdj being my favorite) but you'll need a gameboy ROM burner to do it.

For lots of music made by the likes of these programs and others, check out 8-bit Peoples dot com.
posted by Espoo2 at 9:00 PM on October 1, 2003

I'd never heard of it done with small DMPs, but there's a whole genre of music using line printers: for instance, the IBM 701 and IBM 1403 (MP3s here at the Computer History Online Museum).
posted by raygirvan at 2:58 AM on October 2, 2003

Check out Puss if you're into this sort of thing. They rule.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 5:20 AM on October 2, 2003


I made use of several over-processed nintendo samples (and Unbreakable samples) in this jam: shatterkid

and also on this jam! it's a bit of a C Island redux: Uncle Bad News
posted by mcsweetie at 5:55 AM on October 2, 2003

oh! and don't forget nsf files!
posted by mcsweetie at 5:57 AM on October 2, 2003

Here's a good interview with Paul Davis of 8 Bit Construction Set.
Also, mp3's of my own 8-bit project, generative music programmed in QBASIC for the AdLib soundcard. I'm uploading a whole new batch today. And if you're on Win98 or earlier, try the executables.
posted by twitch at 7:46 AM on October 2, 2003

total self link alert... the sound of printers. i kind of like the sound of the dot matrix printer all by itself. it has a kind of character that regular laserjet printers lack.
posted by alicila at 9:52 AM on October 2, 2003

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