Reset Generation – music by 8-Bit Weapon

Reset Generation - music by 8-Bit WeaponA collection of short, punchy instrumental pieces composed for Nokia’s Reset Generation game – which itself pays tribute to numerous games of yesteryear – 8-Bit Weapon’s soundtrack has a lot in common with the old video games that I like: the tunes are addictive, make me want to come back for more, and don’t hang around long enough to get old. Not a bad combination, really.

One thing that may throw listeners off, however, is the brevity I’m talking about above: many of the tracks barely clock in at over one minute, and many of them begin and end very abruptly. The latter is no accident: the tracks are meant to “loop” repeatedly during specific scenes and levels of Reset Generation itself. Fortunately, the tracks are timed out in such a way that one tune’s end leads directly into the next track almost seamlessly. Any one track by itself might seem to be an abrupt listening experience, but the entire soundtrack is a fun listen.

Highlights include “Power Up Pumpin'”, “Micro Anthem 2a03” (named after the NES’ sound chip), “64 Rocker”, “Rock Music Entry 6581” and the Leviathan mix of the Reset Generation theme – to name just a few. Those are just my favorites, but to an extent, all of the Reset Generation tracks are earworms that will prove difficult to dislodge from your head after you’ve heard them.

Included as a bonus track is “2D Died”, a riff on Don McLean’s “American Pie” (as in “the day 2D [gaming] died”) which does a great job of updating the original song into a chiptune extravaganza with vocoder-ized vocals. My one issue with “2D Died” is the same issue I have with “American Pie” itself (or, for that matter, “Sweet Home Alabama”: the first three minutes or so are okay, and after that I start looking at track time remaining because the same melody/chord structure is just repeating. I don’t know if that’s even 4 out of 4something to dock points for: 8-Bit Weapon is only paying homage to the 7+ minute original. And in any case, I like it better than Madonna’s update of the same song, but it’s just not something I feel compelled to listen to repeatedly, though its lyrics are pretty clever. But the rest of the album – which, by the way, can be downloaded free via the link below – is 8-Bit Weapon gold: repeat listening is compulsory (and with the loop-ready nature of the tracks, it’s even repeat-button-friendly!).

Order this CD

  1. Reset Generation Anthem (3:42)
  2. Aphex Tweek (1:26)
  3. Dungeon Derivative (0:54)
  4. Blip Bwop (1:16)
  5. Little Lost Lazer Boy (1:01)
  6. Lethargic Menace (1:16)
  7. Bubble Twin Bonanza (1:04)
  8. Where Fools Tread (1:01)
  9. Chiptune Chump (1:19)
  10. Commodore Base (1:20)
  11. Micro Anthem 2a03 (1:35)
  12. 64 Rocker (1:12)
  13. Krafty Noob (1:16)
  14. Tricky Game (1:04)
  15. Reset Generation Anthem – Leviathan Mix (1:22)
  16. Nin10do Raver (0:59)
  17. Breakin’ Bits (1:20)
  18. Macro Boogie (0:57)
  19. Power Up Pumpin’ (1:20)
  20. BootySoft Inc. (0:57)
  21. Corrupt Conscript Festival (1:25)
  22. SID Vicious (1:55)
  23. Rock Music Entry 6581 (1:04)
  24. Reset Generation Anthem – Sinister Mix (1:13)
  25. 2D Died (7:43)

Released by: 8-Bit Weapon / Nokia
Release date: 2008
Total running time: 39:41

8 Bit Weapon – Mean Time

8 Bit Weapon - Mean TimeBilled as a selection of tracks left out in the cold from one project or another, 8 Bit Weapon’s latest CD – lovingly packaged, as always, in an authentic floppy disk sleeve – is a mix of material from different “eras” of their history. Released at Classic Gaming Expo 2007, Mean Time is perhaps an indication of how busy 8 Bit Weapon has been with commissions for original material from Disney, among others.

The laid-back ’80s-style instrumental “Times Changing” kicks things off, while “Chronomancer” is much more in line with 8 Bit Weapon’s first album of game music remixes, as is “Flying Spaghetti Monster” (no doubt an ode to those with noodly appendages everywhere). The newest material, as well as the highlight of Mean Time by miles, is “Micro Boogie”, with its vocoder-ized lyrics making it an insanely catchy follow-up to Vaporware Soundtracks‘ “One Last Mission”. Seriously, just try to get this song out of your head. It ain’t easy.

“64 Gigabit Mario Epic” is a curiously titled instrumental with orchestral samples aplenty; I’ve got a hunch that this may be more Seth solo than 8 Bit Weapon, because it just doesn’t sound like it sprang from a SID chip. (But hey, I could be dead wrong there.) “Die Kintergrunde”, a collaboration with Thomas Margolf (also known as the German micromusic act FirestARTer), combines both the retro and modern approaches interestingly, and is a strong runner-up for the catchiest track on the whole CD.

Following that is a couple of tracks that I remember from Seth’s solo project, Unfortunate Brain Chemistry. It’s just possible that the CD that those tracks come from has faded into relative obscurity for casual 8BW fans, so it’s interesting to hear them here. Though one track is labeled as a “SID Mix”, I really couldn’t detect that much of a difference from the Unfortunate Brain Chemistry version.

3 out of 4“Future Paths” closes things off with a track that once again sounds a little bit more like Seth solo than 8 Bit Weapon, but that’s not a bad thing. Mean Time may not be the most cohesive album in the world (I say album, but running-time-wise it’s more of an EP), but with a spread of material over more than five years, it makes up for it with the Weapon’s uncanny sense of a good, catchy song – and it’ll do the trick nicely in tiding us over for the next CD of all-new material.

Order this CD

  1. Changing Times (3:34)
  2. Chronomancer (1:50)
  3. Flying Spaghetti Monster (1:50)
  4. Micro Boogie (3:47)
  5. 64 Gigabit Mario Epic (3:14)
  6. Die Kintergrunde featuring FirestARTer (4:12)
  7. Robot Kindergarten (2:28)
  8. Femme Machine (SID Mix) (5:10)
  9. Future Paths (2:55)

Released by: 8 Bit Weapon
Release date: 2007
Total running time: 29:00