Archive for September, 2007

Shark Attack

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

Music is supposed to be fun right? Well not always. As cool or interesting as the newest free jazz/death metal/drone ensemble may be it is hard to say that this is always enjoyable to listen to. Lately I have been listening to a great deal of almost unlistenable stuff. This is the type of music that I like to put on in my car while I drive around drinking strong espresso, stroking my beard and scoffing at the rest of the world.

On a recent trip to San Francisco I bought a CD entitled “Family Music” by a band called YMCK (laptop musician types – there is a cool 8-bit plugin here for you to nerd out with). This was an impulse buy as I could not resist the cover depicting the band in cartoonish pixellated blocks. When I returned from my trip I listened to this album and found it the musical equivalent of Sugar Smacks, which was a refreshing change from the atonal Grape Nuts that I had been subsisting on.

YMCK is a Japanese band that plays classic Nintendo styled music with mostly Japanese lyrics sung by a bubbly woman. The instruments used to record this album are all electronic and do not stray far from the white noise high hats and sine wave bass sounds of old video game consoles. YMCK is much looser sounding then the stiff mechanical accompaniment of many old video games, with their music swinging in an loungy way much like an 8-bit Esquivel. This combined with blips, bleep and cascading melodies makes one imagine this album being the soundtrack to the best video game that never existed.

Admittedly video games are kind of nerdy but there is nothing ironic about this album. When YMCK sing, “The blocks from Russia are falling down, to make your brain messed up with mysteries” they strike a chord with anyone who has spent hours entranced by Tetris. “Family Music” is a fun album that captures the pure joy of video games without actually having to endure the suffering of the dreaded Nintendo thumb or painful ridicule from members of the opposite sex.