Billed 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.
“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.
- Changing Times (3:34)
- Chronomancer (1:50)
- Flying Spaghetti Monster (1:50)
- Micro Boogie (3:47)
- 64 Gigabit Mario Epic (3:14)
- Die Kintergrunde featuring FirestARTer (4:12)
- Robot Kindergarten (2:28)
- Femme Machine (SID Mix) (5:10)
- Future Paths (2:55)
Released by: 8 Bit Weapon
Release date: 2007
Total running time: 29:00