Sunday, December 23, 2007

Komputergurl - I Love My Speak and Spell

Komputergurl - "I Love My Speak and Spell"

The press release for the VGM Mixtape #8 couldn't have said it any better: "Prepare to flush all those NANOLOOP 1.0 CDs down the toilet!" I had high hopes for the Nanoloop compilation: some of the most exciting glitch, IDM, and noise artists around making Gameboy music? Only once in a while does anything come out that dares to put so many things I love together in one place. But then... it sucked. Maybe forcing all these artists -- many of whom probably didn't care about video game music or even video games at all -- to use Nanoloop wasn't the best idea? Funny how there was already a burgeoning scene of Nanoloop, LSDJ, and other VGM artists who could have done wonders with the software if only given the chance. It wouldn't be until a year later that anything approaching a definitive document of original VGM would emerge. Unless I'm really missing out on something -- and I desperately want to know if I am -- the No Sides Records VGM Mix Tape #8 is still the best collection of Game Boy and other classic game systems-inspired music. Sadly, the mythical seven volumes that precede this appear to be purely fictional. The depth and repeated listenability of this would-be novelty item is astounding. I can't imagine what I'd do with seven other installments of it.

VGM Mix Tape #8 has a few of the heavyweights of the VGM scene (The Minibosses, Nullsleep), lots of artists out of the "Chicago scene" (Mark 4, Handheld, Panicsville), and a widely dispersed group of international artists. I haven't kept up with this scene as well as I'd like to -- I plan on digging deeper once I post this -- so I don't know how many of these contributors are still consistently recording or how many were even meant to be long-term projects in the first place. Nothing from Bit Shifter, The Advantage, 8-Bit, or many other acts that gained prominence in recent years, but that only lends to the mystery behind this collection. These artists are as faceless as they come and though I haven't tried, I'm not sure that any amount of Google searching could locate or identify them all.

It's hard to choose a favorite track on the CD. There's nearly 30, and despite the potential for some annoying digital wankery (fully realized in Nanoloop 1.0, which I think I've only been holding onto for the cover art) there's hardly anything here I'd want to skip. "I Love My Speak and Spell" by Komputergurl has always stood out to me, always made me turn up the volume whenever it comes on, and even brings me to skip backwards to listen again after it's finished. I don't know if there's a drum machine or anything else in the mix, but it sounds so much bigger than any chiptune-powered track should. I always wondered who Komputergurl was, and though I never knew for sure, it was easy for me to assume that the artist behind the name was, in fact, a girl. Was this just wishful thinking on my part? In the sausage fest that is electronic music, maybe.

Now I find out that Komputergurl was, in fact, just a pseudonym for VGM veterans Cosmos Computer Music. And that the track was actually made in 1999. At least according to this page, which hosts not just a free mp3 of the song (rendering my Zshare-hosted file redundant) but a tantalizing photo of "Komputergurl" herself. Brilliant.

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