Music

Adventure: Adventure

Carpark continues to document Wham City's enchantment with juvenalia, this time taking on some chiptune teenage victory songs.


Adventure

Adventure

Label: Carpark
US Release Date: 2008-09-16
UK Release Date: 2008-09-15
Amazon
iTunes

A couple years back, I thought, like Malcolm McLaren, that the distribution of Gameboy-based music editing software like LSDJ and Nanoloop would start an above-ground revolution of sorts. To the Nintendo generation, chiptune music is heritage. Koji Kondo was the Beatles, even if most of us didn't (or still don't) know who he is. I remain convinced that part of the fascination we (meaning those under 30) have with electronic sounds stems from unconscious sources, namely 1) video games, which persisted in the background of our lives like traffic and construction does for urban dwellers, and 2) documentary soundtracks from classroom films, which harbored in the citational procurement of said sounds in forms as diverse as the hipster-hop of DJ Shadow and the spectral radiophonics of The Advisory Circle. Of course, the latter references carry with them a sense of academic mnemonic transcendence, whereas chiptune is seen as a crass, vulgar mockery of an once-commercial and hence valueless artform by the critical establishment. It's bollocks, of course. Chiptune/video game memory is just as fascinating a nostalgic repression as the PBS analogue aesthetic.

Let us take Adventure, part of the mass Carpark Records/Wham City collective acquisition (Dan Deacon, Lexie Mountain Boys, Lesser Gonzales Alvarez, Ecstatic Sunshine), seriously then, even if the man behind the machinery, Benny Boeldt, doesn't. As can be expected, Adventure features raging 8 bit arpeggios and bouncy staccato square waves. Each track seems to be titled like a level or theme from an imaginary video game ("Iron Stallion", "Battle Cat", "Ultra Zone", "Civilization"… well, I guess that one's a real game). The main problem with Adventure and his self titled debut, besides it being completely front-loaded, is that he focuses too much on one type of gaming experience. Namely, and perhaps appropriately, adventure games, which are singularly represented on this disc. There's a great range in sonics betwixt the late bedtime perils of doom and the pixie stick sugar-rush of victory, but the pacing never relents from that of a high speed chase over crocodile pits and past fireball-spewing chimera. I'm sure it works fine for the dancefloor, but it tires a bit upon home listening with no handheld stimuli to accompany it. Still, it's hard not to fall in love with the adolescent triumph dance of "Travel Kid" or the building Tron-like grid of tension that is "Poison Diamonds". It's only escapism in that it involves a daring getaway. And even if you can't make it straight through to the final boss, it's still a blast warping back and forth to some of the better levels.

5

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less
10

What makes Call Be By Your Name stand out from the films it will be compared to (Brokeback Mountain, Moonlight) is Guadagnino's play on juxtapositions, which go much deeper than merely an angsty teen with an introspective soul.

If you're a 17-year-old boy sorting out your sexuality, there has to be worse place to do it than the Northern Italian landscape of writer-director Luca Guadagnino's latest drama, Call Me By Your Name. It's 1983 and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalame) is the classic case of what psychologists call a social introvert: While flirting with a French girl in the countryside lake, he charms with a bad-boy air -- he's capable of passing as an extrovert and much more -- but he's obviously much more in his element alone. The summer days find him composing piano concertos by the family's pool or riding his bike through rural roads. His contradictions, broody but introspective, are seductive, much like the famed "bad boy" ballet dancer Sergei Polunin, who was arguably the most prolific dancer of his generation but broke high-culture norms by tattooing his torso and making tabloids with his late-night party-boy antics.

Keep reading... Show less
9

On new album 2017, Afropop artist Leila Gobi is a one-woman sugar rush.

There's a refreshing straightforwardness to Leila Gobi's music on new album 2017. Opening track "An Nia" begins with the quick, high-pitched guitar patterns that have become so integral to exported Malian pop, forming melodic loops that Gobi's nasal voice shoots through like a joyful arrow. The whole album follows suit, with thin electronics framing Gobi and her backup singers in repetitive dance tracks that are often minimal in texture but constantly pumping up the volume and energy.

Keep reading... Show less
6
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image