It seems like chip musicians are a dime a dozen these days. While the genre as a whole may tend to blend together for the untrained listener, but there have been certain artists that have managed to stand out from the crowd for different reasons. Paza did a handful of remixes for Beck, Nullsleep seems to be the most well-known 8bitpeoples artist, and Bubblyfish is the talented lady of the group. With such a niche audience and sound, it’s hard for new artists to make a name for themselves; however, with the release of his latest “album,” Vegavox, Alex Mauer may have just put himself on the map.
Alex Mauer has been on the chip tunes scene since 2000, and has used a number of different systems and styles to create his music include a Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System and even a Commodore 64. His most recent incarnation Vegavox centers around the NES so much so that he released the first album ever loaded on to an NES cartridge. For some reason, no one prior to him appears to have come up with such a genius idea.
However, it does have one or two draw backs, and coincidently, they are the same drawbacks that every other NES game has running on a piece of 20 year-old hardware. Upon receipt of the game you may have to clean it, and then fight with your NES to get it to even play. Once it does start to play, the tracks appear to be on eternal loop, well… it’s eternal at least until you NES freezes up. I suppose this does all contribute to the nostalgia/awesomeness factor, but it might wear on one’s nerves if they are used to just clicking on an MP3 file.
The seven tracks included on the album are a pretty decent sampling of what a chip musician is capable of doing using an NES. Tracks seven and eight, “Hecubus” and “Saraphim vs. Cherub” respectively, were the two standout tracks, as they break away from a bit of the monotony that the first few tracks offer. All in all, if you like chip music, you’ll like Vegavox.
Aside from the amazing packaging, there's another standout feature for this album: the fact that it's played through television speakers, the way it was originally intended to be heard. There is just something about that small difference that makes Vegavox extra enjoyable. If you’re a chip tunes fan, you should definitely pick up this album, and throw it on your NES the next time you’re hosting a party.
Head here for a video of Vegavox in action.
Head here for more info on Alex Mauer.