Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Apr 02nd
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

 

Panel Discussion

After 39 years in business, the owner of Santa Cruz’s Atlantis Fantasyworld looks back at how comics have evolved

 

Passion Week, Eclipse, Full Moon, Aries Festival, Passover and Easter

We have entered a most important week of multiple festivals. Three ages and religious festivals—stages for humanity’s development—are occurring simultaneously. Aries (Age of Laws), Pisces (Age of Faith), and Aquarian (Age of Science and Humanity); Jewish, Christian/Catholic and Esoteric teachings. The first of the three Spring Festivals occurs Saturday along with the full moon, a total lunar eclipse (something in form and matter has come to an end, its usefulness completed). It’s also Passover, celebrating the passage from the Taurus to the Aries Age, symbolized by the Hebrew people’s walk of 40 years from Egypt through the Sinai Desert to Canaan (land of milk and honey), culminating with Moses receiving the 10 Commandments—laws that directed humanity through the Aries Age. Passover celebrates their safe passage out of Egypt, “the Angel passing over the Jewish homes, safeguarding their first born.” The Aries Festival (first of three Spring Festivals—Aries, Taurus, Gemini) celebrates the love of God. Accompanying the Aries light (light of life itself) are the forces of restoration (restoring humanity’s hope) and the spirit of resurrection (uplifting humanity in need of new education, resources, direction and guidance). Guidance to be given by the New Group of World Servers. Saturday’s solar Aries festival (at the full moon lunar eclipse) is celebrated by the New Group of World Servers worldwide. Join us everyone. Sunday is Easter, celebrated by humanity worldwide. The three religious festivals arriving simultaneously signal that the coming new world religion is at hand, a synthesis and integration of all religions. We stand with our brothers and sisters everywhere in celebration. We see what is no longer needed—that which created separations between us—disappear. We stand forward together in the new light, with the spirit of resurrection directing us. Hosanna!

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Let’s Get Wrecked

Unsung ’60s musicians score in pop doc ‘The Wrecking Crew’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wheat Will Rock You

Companion Bakeshop scores again with Ryan Roseman’s harvest

 

What’s the best/worst April Fools’ Day prank you’ve ever heard?

This girl in my seventh grade class convinced our entire Christian school that she had cancer. Everybody started praying for her and stopped all the classes. At the end of the day she let everybody know it was an April Fools’ joke. Zach Scotton, Santa Cruz, Retail Manager

 

Odonata Wines

Easter is coming up this weekend, the perfect excuse to treat yourself and your loved ones to a little bit of bubbly with Easter brunch—and a special bubbly at that.

 

Ella’s at the Airport

Tiffany Ella King on her new fine dining restaurant in Watsonville