PICO-8 is a fantasy console for making, sharing and playing tiny games and other computer programs. When you turn it on, the machine greets you with a shell for typing in Lua commands and provides simple built-in tools for creating your own cartridges.What does that mean? PICO-8 is like an emulator for a lo-fi game console that never actually existed. With 16 colors, 128x128, 4 channels of sound, and tight data limits, PICO-8 "cartridges" can be played -- and created -- in a web browser, or on just about any home computer, and even inside maker Lexaloffle's other, more full-featured fantasy console, Voxatron. [more inside]
George & Jonathan are an electronic music duo. They make nice songs with many bleeps and bloops. Here is the website where you can listen to and watch their new album, III. [WebGL required, i.e., use Chrome. It's worth it, honest.]
The criminally overlooked work of independent Canadian animator Myles Langlois has my vote for best thing on the internet right now. Specifically Apollo Gauntlet, the tale of a lone hero prone to quips and violence wandering an (imaginary?) wasteland in search of Dr Benign so he can return to Earth, and Superspace, the saga of two mounties, a woman and her son, a criminal, a pilot, a robot and a bald guy who find themselves trapped aboard an alien spaceship. The low-rent production style, like highschool binder doodles come to life, and hazy Sifl and Olly-style humour might take a little getting used to, but it's all part of the charm. Here is a teaser, a trailer, and a 1992 Sales Presentation for Apollo Gauntlet. [more inside]
In the 1980s, there were twee bands, and then there was Trixie's Big Red Motorbike. Formed in Shanklin, Isle of Wight in 1981, TBRM were brother and sister Mark & Mel Litten, sometimes assisted by Jim Bycroft on sax and Jane Fish (of The Marine Girls — whose most famous alumna you would have heard if you were alive in the 90s [previously]) on backing vocals. Their sound, lofi, their artwork handmade. Their first single was sent to John Peel [passim], who proclaimed they'd “wipe the floor with the competition” and had them in for two sessions. [more inside]
Eric's Trip, first Canadian band to be signed to Subpop. (video is halfway down the page: I was unable to extract a workable link to include here) I've collected a lot of stuff from friends over the years and luckily, i personally bothered to lug 4 tracks machines, mics and old video cameras to the shows at the time. Talking friends into holding the camera or keeping an eye on the input levels. I'm really glad i kept all those VHS tapes and reels of super8 films safe. The boxes of cassettes stored at my folks house still play great after 20 years. In 2007 i started transferring all these tapes into digital form to put this movie together, dubbing old VHS tapes was the scariest thing as some of them would barely play but i eventually got them all. I was excited that with use of modern editing stuff, i could finally sync up old video with better sounding tapes recorded at the same show, or editing together footage i had with someone else’s camera angle of the same show that i got from them years later. I worked on this movie for four years with much love until i finally had what i thought was a good document of what Eric's Trip really was. [more inside]
Bill Doss, co-founder of the seminal indie rock collective The Elephant Six Recording Company and member of classic lo-fi groups and projects such as Olivia Tremor Control, The Sunshine Fix, and the Powerpuff Girls: Heroes and Villains album passed away today at age 44. No cause of death was released. [more inside]
Willis Earl Beal first found fame when one of his flyers advertising his availability as a potential boyfriend appeared on the cover of Found Magazine in 2007. Over the next couple of years, unemployed and living in his Grandmother's spare room, he recorded an album with cheap and sometimes homemade equipment on a broken karaoke tape machine, which (after a convoluted tale recounted in this article from last year) came to be released, first by Found Magazine themselves in a limited release of 200, and eventually by XL Recordings. Willis Earl Beal performing Evening's Kiss (which is very different from the extremely lo-fi album version) and Swing On Low (album version) on Later With Jools Holland in April 2012.
For those who wish Iron & Wine was still releasing music in the same vein as The Creek Drank the Cradle, youtube user modestaretaloger has uploaded a treasure trove of early and unreleased recordings. There is aNick Drake cover, an early version of Faded From the Winter, songs that feature drums, harmonica and mandolin, as well as just plenty of songs that would have fit right into Creek Drank the Cradle or The Sea & the Rhythm.
Nebraska-born musician Christiaan Virant was in Beijing performing drone-like ambient music with his Chinese collaborator Zhang Jian, under the name FM3 (mostly in Chinese); as pioneers of the electronic movement in China, most of their money came from sound installations at art galleries, which entailed wiring up rooms with sound equipment. Mulling a simpler and cheaper way of doing this, Virant was wandering around a Buddhist temple in southwest China when he spotted a little plastic box on the altar (one such possible example), piping out loops of the tinny, digitized chants played endlessly at such places. Intrigued, he found two of the devices in the temple gift shop and bought both. The idea of an instant sound installation was born. That was almost four years ago. [more inside]
Jeffrey Lewis brings you The Complete History of Punk Rock and Its Development on the Lower East Side (1950-1975) in eight and a half minutes. [more inside]
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)