Who needs turntables and a microphone when you've got a Game Boy?
Back when the rest of us were using the Game Boy to play Zelda, a handful of musicians were devising ways to turn annoying game sounds into full-on house, trip hop and techno. These musicians use old Game Boys and a cartridge called Little Sound DJ to play live straight from the diminutive console, or remix the 8-bit bleeps and blips with other, less game-inspired sounds. Known as "chip music" or "bit boxing," the phenomenon attracted the attention of Beck who rolled out a remix EP featuring four of the low-fi songs. Here's proof that Game Boys aren't just for Tetris anymore.
- Brian D. Crecente
A.K.A.: Jeremiah Johnson
City: New York
Nullsleep, who earned a bachelors in computer science from Columbia University, got into chip music for the challenge of crafting music using the sort of tones typically heard coming from a spasming ATM. And his Game Boy Depeche Mode Megamix is better than anything the original band ever put out.
Paza got started making music with a old Commodore 64 and graduated to the Atari and Game Boy. Beck's people contacted Paza's rep (who is really just Paza using a different voice) to ask him to remix two songs for the EP, Hell Yes. Paza's reply? "Hell, yes!"
You'd think the guy who wrote the program that turns a Game Boy in a portable composer would know how to crank out some unbelievable sounds with his creation, and you'd be right. Role Model invented the Little Sound DJ in 2000. Since its creation the LSDJ has become the tracker for chip musicians with a craving for a little live Game Boy mix.
Mark DeNardo, who also plays violin, guitar, piano and upright bass, is working on several projects with the Game Boy including one that involves an opera singer and another that hopes to blend the sounds of live hip hop with his hella sweet Game Boy chops.