Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Dec 22nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

8-Bit Punks

music_AnamanaguchiAnamanaguchi crafts jubilant, hard-hitting Nintendocore

Punk rock means many things to many people. For some it's a genre of music, for others it's a lifestyle. If you ask Luke Silas, drummer for Brooklyn-based quartet Anamanaguchi, he'll tell you that for him and his band mates there is nothing that captures the DIY aesthetic of the punk movement more than the low-fidelity sounds of early Nintendo games.

"You have a shitty guitar," Silas says, carrying on an imaginary conversation with Johnny Rotten or Joey Ramone. "Well, we have these shitty square waves."

He is talking, of course, about chiptune—or Nintendocore, as it is alternatively called—a style of music that celebrates the jagged, unpolished sounds originally employed by pioneering electronic composer and Switched-On Bach mastermind Wendy Carlos, as well as early videogame soundtrack programmer Koji Kondo.

"Every sound is raw and gritty and there is nothing to hide behind," Silas explains of his affinity for the music. He hears purity and truth ringing through the coarse, primitive electronic tones. It resonates deeply with Silas, who calls the score to the original Zelda videogame "timeless."

Silas, along with band mates James DeVito, Ary Warnaar and Peter Berkman—who will perform this Saturday, Oct. 29, in the Catalyst Atrium—all feel a connection to such music, and it is apparent in their work.

Anamanaguchi sounds like a cheerier version of The Fall of Troy—albeit trapped inside a Nintendo Entertainment System and playing the soundtrack for a side-scrolling, fighting-adventure game, like Battletoads or Double Dragon.

On the band's latest record, Dawn Metropolis, seizure-inducing, blippy arpeggios shimmer atop buzzing, angular bass notes and rapid-fire, post-hardcore drum programming—each snare hit recalling the sound of an 8-bit punch or karate kick. The record is one non-stop onslaught of bleeps and bloops, strung together by wavering monosynth leads and punctuated by dimension jumps, plasma beam shots and extra-life one-ups.

"We are all grounded in the same aesthetic and sound palate," says Silas, explaining how the group has congealed around chiptune.

As Millennials—members of Generation Y—the guys of Anamanaguchi have grown up in a world saturated with electronic noise: the crackling and screeching of a dial-up modem connecting to the Internet, the sound of Mario sliding down a porthole, busy signals and more cell phone ringtones than you can shake a stick at. Although two of the members of Anamanaguchi grew up in Los Angeles and the other two came of age in Weschester, N.Y., they are all united by a force that has come to shape an entire generation of 20-to-30-somethings: videogames and the electronic revolution.

Silas says his band definitely has strong nostalgic ties to videogames and nerd culture. In fact, a Nintendo console and a Nintendo Game Boy serve as instruments in Anamanaguchi. Using a handful of programs—including NerdTracker 2, Scream Tracker and Little Sound DJ—Silas and others in his band build the 8-bit backing tracks, over which they ultimately play their guitar, bass and drum lines.

While it might not be the most appropriate music for every mood (getting pumped for Halloween weekend? check; romantic candle light dinner? definitely not)—and while some may find Dawn Metropolis downright nauseating—one thing is for sure: the group has Nintendocore nailed down tight, and the band's latest record is sure to strike a chord with anyone who can recall wasting entire summer days mashing their thumbs raw against the rectangular, red, black and gray NES control pad.


Anamanaguchi plays at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, at The Catalyst Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $10. 423-1338.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire