When I was 8, I wanted a Gameboy.
Presently, when compared to the shiny devices of today, they seem incredibly limited in both form and function. Touchscreen? Nope, it’s got buttons. Retina display? Negative, a puke-green LCD. A rechargeable battery? Hah, no, you’ll be powering this one up with four AA’s. The sound quality? So bad it’s good. So incredibly bad that it has captured the imagination of countless musicians and gamers alike.
After going to shows featuring Bubblegum Octopus and Yatagarasu, upstate NY native Chad Roose learned how to produce music using LSDJ, a homebrew music-production program for the Gameboy. Since submitting an unsolicited demo to Pxl-Bot Records in the summer of 2011, he has produced two more albums of material under the name Optimus Chad, the most recent being this previous March’s Feedback Warrior, released on Datathrash Recordings.
I must say, this album has made me want a Gameboy once again. Chad coaxes sounds I never thought possible out of such a primitive computing device; he also labels his music as “chipthrash,” an extremely apt title for the noised-out harshness that follows. To augment his music, he uses images of fighting robots and technology gone wild. All of his songs are pixelated, blippy brain-sandpaper, the most abrasive perhaps being “Machine Gun Rhythm,” almost entirely composed of what sounds like layered white noise. “Discodeath” is a close second, featuring pulsating, hammer-like square and triangle waves. “All That Jazz” assaults the listener with gratingly ring-modulated tones that are rife with dissonance.
The remixes tacked onto the end of this album are worthwhile, but delve perhaps too far from Optimus Chad’s initial vision. In addition, they make this record too long; one straight hour of chiptune tends to induce ear fatigue rather quickly, even if played on suitable hi-fidelity speakers. Perhaps they could have been included on an EP released later or something.
This is a free download; pick it up if you like 8-bit. Admittedly, it’s not exactly a good introduction to the genre (with a sound miles away from the chiptunes that creep into the mainstream), but it deserves recognition nonetheless. Optimus Chad reaches crazy levels of musical anger in this release; don’t miss out.
1. He Approaches (Intro)
2. Brutal Thrash and Teal
3. June 1st
4. Feedback Warrior
5. Machine Gun Rhythm
6. Kup is Moshing!!!
7. Don’t Be A Con
8. Kup is Shaking It!!!
9. Matrix of Leadership
10. Fate of Cybertron
11. Cobra Hate
13. All That Jazz
15. HEZ AND DIE
17. Upstate Chipthrash
18. All That Jazz (The Ghost Servant Remix)
19. NYCT (Thunderface Remix)
20. Fate of Cybertron (Kool Skull Remix)
21. Fate of Cybertron (Chainsaw Police Remix)
22. All That Jazz (The MM Project Remix)
23. Get Fuckin Jazzed (Facundo Remix)