Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
May 29th
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

 

Ocean Odyssey

Sailing the high seas from Santa Cruz to French Polynesia, Sally-Christine Rodgers documents the trials, tribulations and joys of exploring the world by boat

 

Gemini Festival of Goodwill, World Invocation Day

This entire week is a preparation by the New Group of World Servers (NGWS) for the June full moon (Tuesday) and to welcome the Forces of Reconstruction, great outer planetary forces streaming into the Earth at the Gemini Solar Festival. The Gemini Festival at the June full moon is called the Festival of Goodwill and World Invocation Day (recitation of the Great Invocation, the mantram of direction for humanity, hourly around the world). During the (12 degrees) Gemini festival, the Wesak blessing of the will-to-good is released and radiated (Gemini distributes) to humanity. When the will-to-good is received, humanity is then able to radiate goodwill to each other and to the kingdoms. The Gemini Festival is the third of the Three Spring Festivals (triangle of Force), setting the spiritual template and resources for Earth for the rest of the year (‘til next spring). This festival recognizes the true spirit of humanity—aspiring toward and seeking the will of God, dedicated to right human relation. At the full moon, the Divine nature of humanity is recognized. Christ stands with humanity, leader of his people, “the Eldest in a great family of brothers” (Romans VIII, 29.) Each year at the Gemini festival, Christ preaches the last sermon of Buddha, His brother, a sermon calling forth human and spiritual unity, represented by an outflow of love (work of the Christ) and wisdom (work of the Buddha). The forces of reconstruction stream in during the Festival, ushering in an era of pronounced creative activity, rebuilding the tangible world on new creative lines. This necessitates the total destruction of the old forms no longer useful for the new world era. Everyone is invited. Join us everyone for this Festival of Goodwill by reciting the Great Invocation.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of May 29

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

The Main Avant

Jozseph Schultz caters New Music Works’ 35th annual Avant Garden Party, plus brews for a cause

 

What will Santa Cruz be like in the future?

 society that is more awakened and realizes its own value and the beauty of the stunning Earth. Marguerite Clifford, Felton, Nutrition Health Care

 

Chesebro Wines

Piedras Blancas-Roussanne 2011

 

Real Thai Kitchen

Ratana Bowden on why Thai cuisine isn’t as spicy as everyone thinks