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herr_professor on 05/18/2009 at 01:57PM

Poke'n 657,644 and to a lesser extent, Bud Melvin

Live at SXSW 2008

Now that you have a good grip of what chip music is and some of the ways it is made after last week’s post, now it’s time to shatter whatever thinly-formed preconceptions you may have about the type of music that’s made on these old chips.

I once read an interview with a sci-fi writer who said that you can only take so many liberties with your audience. You could have a story with dragons, one with telepathy, or a story with time travel, but combining the three takes an enhanced level of skill than does merely using the one alone. Perhaps the most skillful, time traveling, telepathic dragon in the modern chip music scene is one Bud Melvin.

Bud Melvin is a multi-instrumentalist who flirts with many styles, both in his solo recordings and with his band The Grave of Nobody's Darling, but his approach to chip music is unique as it is at times both traditionalistic and iconoclastic.

I first heard Bud Melvin through a preview track off 657,644. The album is a mixture of droning, contemplative banjo plucking, call singing, and blippy sounds of the Game Boy. Some of the songs barely move at all and paint a hazy, neo-gothic, electronic soundscape, while others are upbeat and dancey like a painful gym class square dance lesson set to an 8bit beat.

Live videos of his performances prove he isn't some ironic daytripper as he has a larger than life personality and the musical chops to match. Later releases find Melvin moving to a slicker, more song- based approach, but still with his quirky lo-bit bluegrass sensibility.

One should check out his latest release, Popular Music, available for free download, and on vinyl at better records stores everywhere.

See you in seven!



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