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Technoscape 876

Author: Jean Poole
Thursday, 13 September 2007
25 years after the Commodore 64 was unleashed, Sweden’s Goto80 (aka Anders Carlsson) is managing to coax 8-bit reggae, bossanova, breakcore, metal and even country tunes out of that 64k.

What’s so good about making music with the C64-
The C64 offers the ultra digital standard 8-bit sounds that every boy recognizes from old videogames, but also has unique features; analogue filters, ring modulation and actual bugs in the chip = dirty digital lo-fi sound. I don’t hear anything else that sounds like a C64. It leaves a lot of room for experimenting since there’s hundreds of programs to use, all letting you program the chip directly and totally control what’s happening. The chip’s a beast that cannot be fully tamed, which is what I really like in the end.

How’s the micromusic bandwagon travelling these days-
The micromusic.net website works as a community for people inspired by home technology, and the micromusic or chipmusic scene has evolved a lot in recent years to include more vocals and other instruments and has been heard in mainstream music like Nelly Furtado and Beck.

Seems you’ve been gigging busily, what’ve been some recent highlights-
Maybe it’s the first time a chipmusic act got thrown off stage (three times!), when Meneo and Entter got naked on stage in Stockholm. The Blip Festival in New York (40+ chipmusic artists from around the globe) was great. Me and Entter played the alternative stage at the Metro Dance Club in Southern Spain, this huge techno club, and actually managed to get the people dancing to the sounds of Commodore 64! People came expecting the usual 4/4 bass drum kicks, but we hypnotized them with lo-tech beats and super pixel visuals!

You’ve released so much music both for sale and free download, what are your thoughts on music distribution-
When I release music commercially, I try to include special things that you can find if you put the CD into your computer. On Commodore Grooves I had one extra hour of music in various obscure music formats but also texts, videos, pictures etc. On my new album Made On Internet you can put it into the computer to run a special karaoke program to sing along with some of my songs.

As I don’t buy much music myself, I don’t demand that other people pay for my music. But if an artist can almost make a living out of it, and needs to get more money to do the music properly, it’s a shame if they have to stop because people don’t support them financially. Doing it yourself – without labels, distributors etc – is hard work and I for one don’t really like it as it has a lot to do with words and contacts rather than only music. I’m really happy to have Pingipung to release my next album, as they are both good people and a good label!

Timbaland calls you, wanting to collaborate – what questions do you ask him-
Timbaland took a complete song made by two friends of mine, and used it in a Nelly Furtado song without credits. I’m not one to complain about sampling and stealing, but this was maybe a bit too much since the whole song was sampled with only some basic additions (apart from the vocals). If Timbaland approached me with a very good idea, I’d first make sure to have some agreement before getting to work as I’ve had days of work disregarded because of big record companies “finally not liking it”. I’d make sure to get a lot of money if the musical ideas weren’t very much appealing to me, and then use that money to save the world.

Three sites/mp3 blogs you’d recommend for finding good chip music-
1. rebelpetset.com
2. robot-dreams.com/nahc
3. 8bitpeoples.com

For more info on Goto80 visit goto80.com.

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