Though obviously unorthodox as cover albums go, the past three tribute releases by the 8-Bit Operators name — which cover tunes by Kraftwerk, the Beatles, and Devo — have been wildly fun. Using sounds repurposed from old video game consoles and operating systems, including Game Boys, Atari consoles, and Commodore 64s, a whole gamut of artists under the 8-Bit Operators umbrella have crafted some eccentric and unforgettable tracks. If you think the digital bleeps of video game consoles would be unable to turn the Beatles’ “Because” into a haunting reverie, you’d be forgiven—but also wrong. 8-Bit music is a niche a genre as there is, but there is plenty exciting happening in the field.
The latest 8-Bit Operators release, curated by Jeremy Kolosine, is entitled Enjoy the Science: A Tribute to Depeche Mode. The synth-pop stylings of that classic ’80’s outfit are especially suitable to the 8-Bit sonic. One noteworthy track off Enjoy the Science is the danceable “Strangelove”, covered by 8-Bit wizard Michelle Sternberger, known by the name ComputeHer. Her take on “Strangelove” is straightforward in arrangement, but the peculiar nature of the music being made through old game consoles adds a whole other dimension. Both as a piece of tech nostalgia and as an example of musical innovation, “Strangelove” excels.
Says Sternberger of the song, “‘Strangelove’ is one of my favorite Depeche Mode songs, so it was a natural choice for me to pick it. In my version of the song, I used the Commodore 64 and Nintendo Entertainment System for most of the sounds. I topped it all off with some robo-vocals. It was good production practice for me because I’m finishing up my third ComputeHer album!”
Enjoy the Science: A Tribute to Depeche Mode is out on June 10th via Receptors.