Rise Of The 90's Console


Wednesday 18th January 2012

There has been an undeniable trend occurring amongst certain musical circles in the last year. Now, this has most likely been happening for a decade or so, but has only really grabbed our attention after a few reviews in the last few months. Perhaps it is snowballing, not out of control, but at a nice enough pace to unify a number of bands in their choice of either samples, or clever synth extractions. We are (If you couldn't tell by the title or picture) talking about the use of very distinct 90's game console sounds.

We have all been there. In the office, at the pub, or on the evening train where nostalgic conversation are sparked about hours of endless turmoil on a certain computer game you used to play. Whether it be Mario or his Sega counterpart Sonic, most people of a certain generation can relate and have hours of fruitful discussions about bosses they couldn't kill or secret levels they found. But what is it that really unites everybody to these timeless classics? Yup, it's the 8-bit soundtrack pumping out in analog that has earned its place in music history and on our whistling lips.

It wasn't long until artists started to cotton onto this untapped niche in the market. By injecting a healthy dose of Mario into your tune, there is instant recognition to millions of people. "Did you hear that new one by so and so? It has the sample from that Wario level, it sounds awesome!" And they would be right in saying so. We don't know quite what it is, but any samplings from treasured childhood memories instantly evokes warm happy feelings. Anything from Mr Benn and Button Moon, all the up to The Demon Headmaster and the Queens Nose. These have all been subject to a remix or two, so why was the resurgence back to 90's console heydays put on hiatus, or at least, without having to hunt high and low to find it? Ok, the truth is, we don't know, but what we do have are some stella examples, restoring faith that in Ten years time, there will indeed be a genre titled Indie/Console.

Time now to relate back to earlier posts. Specifically one a few months ago on the en-captivating Neon Indian With 'Era Extrana', an album that is quite clearly about a chap in an arcade, battling his way through levels until the pinnacle climax of completion. A gripping thriller in its entirity, moulded around the use of 8-bit synths, creating one of the most unique listening experiences to be encountered in quite some time. An absolute innovation. He wasn't the first to do so however. There have been many references used as melody or beat, where, no matter how flaky the track is, with the use of these samples, can add form, shape and character.

Another recent post that sprung this topic to mind was on the Norwegian synth pop sensations 'Casiokids'. Already, just from their name, you pre-empt sounds of high analog tones. They even have an extremely successful range of keyboards, surely used by many trying to re-create that familiar resonance. Then there are the obvious. La Roux went into overdrive on the hit 'Bulletproof', with the song literally overflowing with bitty mashed up snippets. Twelve million views later and she clearly has our attention.

The King of this new to be genre however, surely spliced and ripped umpteenth times has to be the game Zelda. There seems to be no end to the remixing of this epic game. Rightly so too. It is a gripping narrative, held together by drama and suspense, perfect for gripping Dub-Step or a moody Hip-Hop number. Below is a remix of the original workings from the game. As you can see by the comments, it has clearly garnered widespread attention. So take inspiration and by all means, give us a tweet @FredPerrySub for any console related tunes that spring to mind.


Zedd - Scorpion Move by Zedd

A big thank you to our in house graphic designer Mr. lee for a wonderful image!


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