George & Jonathan are done explaining.
April 22, 2014 9:59 AM   Subscribe

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.]
posted by Sokka shot first (19 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Firefox supports WebGL. This is working just fine for me in the latest Firefox.

And by just fine, I mean, wow! Thanks for the post!
posted by gilrain at 10:09 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't get it. Is it supposed to be post-modern tongue-in-cheek awful? Is the point that it sounds like bad out takes from a the Seinfeld theme song?

Its sort of like a stream of vomit of 80s cliches.
posted by mary8nne at 10:22 AM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm not loving the music either but the WebGL part is fun. It looks like the visual project is by the musicians themselves, not some outsiders. You can scroll with the mousewheel, the credits are
Composed by George Michael Brower & Jonathan Baken
Production: Jonathan Baken
Art & Code: George Michael Brower
Mastering: Gabe Liberti
Special Thanks: Josh Knapp, James DeVito, Peter Berkman, noxid, Andrew Reitano, gensai, pixel, three.js, Jono Brandel and Damon Hardjowirogo for his ideas.
three.js is remarkably fertle.
posted by Nelson at 10:43 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

mary8nne: Thanks for sharing your opinion! ♥

I assure you, this music is 100% sincere. Its sincerity, along with its inventive composition and minimalist production techniques, are part of why many people enjoy it so much.

George & Jonathan's music is a relative of the chiptune genre (previously), and was produced using the PxTone software.

PxTone was written by Daisuke Amaya to create the music for his magnum opus, the now-legendary indie platformer known as Cave Story. (Previously), so III enjoys a rich heritage of astonishing creativity explored through fascinating limitations of form and style.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:44 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Rich heritage and sincerity or not, I am still not digging the music. And I like chiptunes, and retro 80s stuff related to it (Miami Nights 1984 and Kavinsky for instance).

Cool website though.
posted by Foosnark at 11:38 AM on April 22, 2014

This must be how Rory Marinich felt all the time.
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:39 AM on April 22, 2014

So great! Thanks for posting this, I wouldn't have known they had a new album out.

The Best Music is one of my favorite albums. I think they do really good work.

The album website only works for me on the first song, but it's tremendously cool. Neat stuff!
posted by rocketman at 11:58 AM on April 22, 2014

It reminds me of Rainbow Road.
posted by pseudodionysus at 12:17 PM on April 22, 2014

I think it's fun!
posted by Room 641-A at 1:05 PM on April 22, 2014

By golly, they've struck MIDI gold!
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:20 PM on April 22, 2014

The visuals didn't work for me in chrome, but works in firefox. I can enjoy this music, but I have to turn my irony sense up to about 50%.
posted by DarkForest at 2:59 PM on April 22, 2014

Damn, this is completely awesome. All of it (the music too, haters.)
posted by naju at 4:41 PM on April 22, 2014

The composition is just really fantastic on this. And the tonality/soundscape. I almost feel like it's unfair to call this chiptune because there's so much sonic awesomeness going on.
posted by naju at 5:00 PM on April 22, 2014

Yep. Lovin' it, though I found out about it last week through my shadowy chiptune circles and was happily surprised to see it posted here, as I always am with chip releases. And this goes beyond pure chip, it's pretty much electronic music made with a chip composition tool (which supports samples, so you can do whatever)

Far as I'm concerned, G&J earned "best of the best" status forever with The Best Music, and are amazing guys. Anyone who isn't digging this, trust me, give The Best Music a listen before writing these dudes off - it's a much friendlier and catchier introduction, III is kinda out-there and experimental / minimal, and might turn people off who would ordinarily love them, but knowing what went into III technically, it totally blows my mind. They're not just musicians, they're programmer-bards in the grand tradition of oldschool game composers.

I'll mention this again too: If you want hours of unbelievably good chip music, check out Ubiktune - pretty much the best chip label ever. Full disclosure: I have released / participated in a couple albums there, but anything by Blitz Lunar, Joshua Morse's Waveform series, FearOfDark, anything by Danimal Cannon, anything by C-Jeff, you just can't go wrong.
posted by jake at 5:18 PM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

What is the line between friendly and twee? Is it aversion to a minor key? But it just makes me irascible When it all sounds like DEMO on a Casio.

I don't hate on this stuff, but I would if I had to listen to it more than twice. Then I'm old and got my chiptunes jollies from pulse-width modulating a single bit. Couldn't afford an AY-3-8910 or SID, at least until I was mildly immune. And then, y'know, Aphex. All that stuff.
posted by Devonian at 6:06 PM on April 22, 2014

this music is heavily evocative of the pokemon games, as well as a huge portion of indie game soundtracks circa 2002-2006ish. very surprised to hear this was made in pxtone, but then again that makes perfect sense. fucking awesome, thanks for the post.
posted by JimBennett at 8:19 PM on April 22, 2014

Sokka shot first, thanks again for posting this. I'm enjoying the hell out of it.
posted by rocketman at 7:18 AM on April 23, 2014

What is the line between friendly and twee?
Depends on how impossibly jaded you are!

Speaking as someone who actually writes demos for keyboards professionally (mostly for Yamaha synth workstations) and actually ENJOYS Casio demos because they push the ultra-cheap / shitty hardware way, way further than Joe User ever will, I don't appreciate your tone

I'm not kidding about the writing demos part, but I am about the tone part, it's okay to not connect with musical things or even to be irritated by major keys. I sure do love me some Afx, though, so we at least have that in common.

(I was driving out in Central California recently, and I had to stop for gas in a little farming town, and while I was stopped at a stoplight across from a COW HOSPITAL (not making this up) some muscly dude in a pickup truck rolls down his window and says "DUDE! APHEX TWIN??" and I said "NAH DUDE SQUAREPUSHER" and he was like "FUCK YEAH BRO!" and threw me the horns. Music connects us all.)

Back on topic:
If twee isn't your thing, you might want to check out Big Steel Wheels by C-Jeff, or Diad, or Truthcannon by A_Rival. I'm not gonna link to my own stuff, but it's also pretty dark and heavy at times.

Chip music is not so easy to dismiss as an entire "genre" because it's not one! There are a TON of very different styles and moods and crazy complex textures out there, all based on the same set of instruments (just like you can play jazz, rock, or ragtime on a piano) -- the cheerful Pokemon blips and bleeps are popular, but chip music doesn't have to sound like video game music at all. Some of the craziest and hardest stuff I've ever heard has been done with 2A03 and DMGs.

Again, not trying to change your mind -- like what you like, and enjoy it in good health -- but I try not to paint whole artistic communities with a broad brush just because I've seen a few examples that didn't click with me. Usually it's me that's missing something, and broadening my horizons / exploring musical cultures has never been a waste of my time (in fact, it's pretty much a nonstop source of inspiration)
posted by jake at 5:21 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

The dog animation thing that they did for the "Puppy Love" track is fantastic.
posted by pmdboi at 12:00 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

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