herr_professor on 07/27/2010 at 11:46AM
Twenty-one years ago, the lowly Nintendo Game Boy was introduced here in the U.S.A. Who amongst us could've guessed (except perhaps Gunpei Yokoi) the intense personal and social impact the little handheld would have on the world, especially that of the chip music community. Arguably the single most popular chip music device, the lowly DMG-01 is certainly not the BEST sounding device you can compose music on, but its combination of amazing software, small foot print and easy portability are largely the same reasons it remains to this day the best selling handheld game console ever.
The fact that a Game Boy, not unlike a well-worn paperback novel, allows you curl up, any time and any place, and allow yourself to be completely isolated in your own world as an artist is another asset, and an creative experience that is still hard to find in a world of netbooks, iPads, and smartphones.
I had have two personal revelatory moments with the old DMG. The first was in late 1990, when I realized the Game Boy was escape from a messed up home-life, an indifferent and uncaring world, and again almost ten years later, when I realized the old time-killer was capable of becoming the means which I could express myself as an artist. It became a shared conversational tool that I have used since to make friendships with like minded people all over the world. surely my life may have been quite different if Mr. Yokoi had decided to, say, taking up birdwatching instead.
By this point, most of you are crying "WHERE IS THE MUSIC PETER?", well hold your horses, cause I have a good one for you. One of the few artists I have failed to see perform their music live is perhaps one of the Game Boy's greatest masters. His name is Lo-Bat, and his seminal release is quite appropriately named Game Boy.
The album, which contains a very unique style of Game Boy programing that is Lo-bat's hallmark was the subject of a controversy in the chipmusic scene a few years back when noted Blogrock Dance act Crystal Castles was accused of sampling this EP without the artists permission. Lo-bat was a ver early and staunch supporter of Creative Commons, and most of his material is available online for free, but the chip scene has always been a bit defensive after a series of similar incident featuring artists as diverse as Timbaland and Frankmusik.
Whatever your opinions on the case, do yourself a favor and spend this Saturday rocking this EP a little extra loud with your favorite alcoholic beverage (or perhaps join us in NYC for a little party). Be careful dudes, and see you in seven.