BitShifter: Dance Music from a Gameboy

By Sam.


You’d think a guy who made music on a Gameboy would have a pretty limited lifetime as a musician.

But Josh Davis a.k.a. Bit Shifter has been kicking it a while. He got an album out in ’03 and an EP in’06. He’s worked his way on to a bunch of compilations He still plays clubs in New York. It’s not often on this blog that I make much reference to my actually very nerdy roots, but I can’t help and genuinely like this kind of stuff.

Chiptune, that is the genre of music that this falls under, is a fairly underground movement, but it’s not really surprisng that it would attract some rabid fans. The nerds from the 8 bit era were nothing like the ones from the post-SNES one. While the latter enjoy relative societal acceptance, the former were considered on the lowest rung of the social ladder and had to cling to their interests and community for acceptance.

What is surprising about it all is that it’s actually good music. There are no pretensions about it–the goal is simply to be catchy and fun. The simple focus and machinations of chiptune give an entirely unique feel. It’s strange that the relative limitations of using just  a Game Boy actually seem to give this kind of music a sense of freedom. And it’s pure, too.

I guess, in essence, it’s just childhood put to melody.

Bit Shifter | “Activation Theme” and “Reformat the Planet”

mp3s : {Activation Theme | Reformat the Planet}

I should also say that I found this particular artist (I am not a stranger to the genre as a whole) it through Penny Arcade, who are hosting a documentary on the New York scene around Chiptune  called “Reformat the Planet” {here}. It’s actually an incredibly interesting documentary and worth checking out for pretty much anyone.
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