A selection of dark, speedy 1-bit works, written for and recorded from the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K home computer. No soundchips have been harmed in the making of this album, everything is synthesized in realtime by the computer’s Z80 CPU.
These words above is the information that comes with the just released album of the one and only ‘irrlicht project’. It’s very technical, which might appeal to the technical people who like to know the behind the scene deal about the music. I can tell you that making 1-bit works without harming soundchips isn’t the case of a youngster working with emulators, faking chiptunes or sitting on a keyboard while eating popcorn; this work done by ‘irrlicht project’ is what people would call ‘the work of a madmen’; It’s pretty hardcore, deep down and dirty and technically speaking only a few would go as far as the creative super brain that attached itself to write music for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k home computer. But all technical details aside; also the results of the actual music is pretty amazing and ground shaking. From classical music to hardcore, from world music to instant refreshments. You really should check it out for yourself, but if you need some guidance for the tracks; here is a track by track YIKIS description:
Poed (ein witz für die chronisten) is the first piece of music that adventurous listeners can discover when going for this ground breaking ‘dat fuzz’ album. It features the most distinctive to the core 1 bit music that has entered my pair of ears. It’s authentic in freakishness and for such minimal ingredient of sounding sounds does an excellent job in integrating a feeling of funk inside the obvious image of zero’s and ones that will be shown up in your internal vortex. You have to get used to it perhaps, but when you go through the first few seconds and interlocked your brain with the mind of a one bit monster; you’ll simply can’t stop yourself from moving. It’s not made for fluent smooth dancing, but more for a damsel robot in distressing need for some quick boost of motor oil.
The musically impressive track ‘levels of doom’ doesn’t need a preparation of the brain to be enjoyed. This composition has the right structure for everyone to be recognized as reformative music with a melody that not only knows how to lure a listener in by doing a trick on the ears, but also knows how to keep the ears glued to the speakers as if they are taped with superglue. The music seems to go from floor to floor, from level to level until it enters the euphoric end phase in which a mysterious pixel hero confronts another mysterious pixel-villain and of course under great applause of action in the pixel world as well as action in the pixel music comes out with an epic good ending. Your hands might be sweating from holding onto a invisible controller, but music wise it is all worth it. Every single bit was worth the drops of sweat as going through such action without even ever seeing a pixel; is for sure something that can be eaten as a one bit of adrenaline.
From this nobody will have a problem by tuning into the legendary ‘warpzone’. A place with an almost royal outlook full of classical allure that would make the classic composers of the old days stand up from their graves and applause loudly above the modern generated composition of the new born chip sound. Bravo’ Bravo’ you can hear from the graveyards as the corpses move their boned hands in and out of each-other, only wrapped in some fuzz that was once a velvet glove. ‘Who is that composer?’ they whisper from their long gone vocal chords. The wind of the digital age answers the wonderful name of ‘Irrlicht-Project’ but nobody can hear it as the music overrules the rules and ‘jeux de boules’ all over the answers and things that belonged to the past. The ‘warpzone’ has this special effect bringing a classic composition in a modern day classic sound by non-classic ways that are only explored by the academic lone rangers that simply go bit by bit, to bring music that nobody else could ever create or come up with. It’s the work of a madness most divined and it’s as a listener something we could eat spoon-fulls from. It’s like chip-caviar with wine from a good year.
‘galaxzija-10’ goes many steps further and provides a pixellated horse for pixel horse-riding and pixel-paragliding with the pixel-horse. It’s like galloping over the pixel fields, pixel mushrooms, through pixel castles, pixel battles, raising pixel flags and winning pixel prizes for so well beauty as well as speed and dignity. The soundtrack might be composed on a prehistorical typewriter, but the experienced is ever so greatly explored by us human beings who are living in a interactive dolby surround double D environment of a virtual and non-virtual world. Ears are the portals to the adventure and irrlicht project just burst in with all its pixel horse power dressed in cuddly woolen hooves providing a soundtrack for adventure of knights, maidens and grooming minstrels.
The blast continues with the fuzz of the energetic feel good flair of a worldly work named ‘pull my finger’.. uh.. I’m sorry.. I mean ‘how many fingers’. A track that hacks in to the stomach and make the fluids into blocks so they too can join the pixel party. Yet again the funk that came in the feeling of the very first track seemed to have returned to the scenery, but this time it brought some good friends. The track is clear from unusable nonsense but yet comes across as pretty full and penetrating enough to get the toes to tap and the armpits smell of teenage spirit. There is a certain energy cyber-dressing in this track and it asks perhaps the question with how many fingers this work has been created. My mind is fully occupied with zero’s and one’s so through my brainwashed mash potato thoughts it must be either ‘zero’ fingers (the machine has taken over) or perhaps ‘one’ finger. For some reason my mind received an image of the creator riding a pixel-horse while having one finger on a button and the other one in his nose. The horse runs fast and the music sounds amazingly great!
The subtle mix of pure genius goes forward by entertaining whole crowds of classical music lovers, gamers, pixel horse girls and pixel horse boys and swinging new generations. The whole world has come together to be wowed away in a highlight that is called ‘what’s dat fuzz’. A piece that pulls all kind of music and not-specific music lovers at once and unite their love together in a solid musical piece in which pixel meets the outer borders of melodic structure, world music, classical wig wearing masters and dance music. A fine brew of activity that has never been heard or seen in a sound that would normally be so off limits to so many targets. This is a track that could be spread around the globe, making a gigantic buzz fuzz of popularity and let other people who don’t know about ‘the newest thing’ ask around in loud voices ‘WHAT’S DAT FUZZ?’. A phenomenon that has yet to occur, but will be taking place quite soon-ish.
A great moment to celebrate the futuristic future of this fine music is the piece that sounds excellent and pretty in all its energetic freshness: plip patrol. This is a real swinger, one that makes you raise the hands and rise up, do a big bow wow and do it all over again. It’s the music that can be played in a massive stadium and the audience will be doing the wave on this ultimate laser fest of pixel pleasure! It’s one big interactive party that makes the lights flick and the good vibes shine in a way that they had not shined before. These ‘plip patrol’ is a patrol of good hero’s bringing the pleasantness back wherever they ‘plip’ the blip!
Now it’s time to introduce a hardcore moment of pure galloping hardcore beats that has the kicks, the speed and the energy to get the noses of listeners bleeding and the mouths fuming while tongues are sticking out. It’s not just the nasty energy flow that hypes this tune up, but also the cool melody that sounds as fresh like a glass bottle of water converted into a ‘extra life’ in case we die later on. A very relieving and powerful tune that fills up the veins with a energy that could only be done by the right person pulling the right bits and pieces together.
From this we go to that, and that is a work of pain and pleasure named ‘endciety’. A highly experimental work that rambles and screeched the most eatable sound waves and crunches them all up for an ultimate techno relief of ‘back to basics’ in which techno heads could go in and run around to eat pills just like the good old pac-man! Be aware of the fruits and level up before the evil classical composers (who function as ghosts) will get their dirty hands on you as that might end in them attempting to bring their classics while you are obviously enjoying the techno side of the story. Unfortunately the power pill pac-man in us cant beat the powdered wigs of the old school composers as we go back to the square in the middle towards the end of this audio game of insanity.
A more classic chip-tune appearance is brought in to shake up the album in the good way through a piece named ‘magitex-cx’. It’s like one big file of instant bliss and happy faces with computer generated shiny teeth full of stars that groove their way around. A happy doses that has a deep flow that rattles like a space galaxy galactica with enormous unexpected twists that would secure love from gamers, and adventurous indiana-jones-like listeners from all around the globe. There is no pixel palm-tree in sight that would not want to escape its tropical location for one night dancing on the magic of ‘magitex-cx’
‘meta-ls’ is the action track that some of the electronic heads in need for speed and concrete have been waiting for. A great energetic blast of uplifting melody that could well be a fitting soundtrack for a racing game in which you might get extra bonus points for driving over ‘frogger’. It has the fine bombastic beats that most people that like alternative electric music seem to go wild on, and in that case it’s one of these tunes that even Mario and Luigi would take their hats off for, in order to throw them as a Frisbee and have no distraction from playing with their joy-sticks!
This is the stuff for on the dance floor and all life forms and pixel creators can basically all jam up to make the place hot and sweaty! double action when inserting enough coins to dance till the next millennium.
More cool and grandiose is the tune that is named ‘marodeur’s rag’. Something that you have to smoke a pipe with and hold by your ears with a magnifier. It’s like the content of a sentimental moment in the life of a Sherlock Holmes that has been sniffing around in a pixel dominated world for spiciness and had found it in ‘marodeur’s rag’. The newspaper will be unattended as the detectives nose and classy pants will be enjoying the world of irrlicht project to full extent.
The ‘zzxx’ brings our ears yet again over the Hollywood hills straight back to more hills of a block-head kind. A landscape filled with beautiful solo’s, expressions full emotion and passion in a battle for your heart. A theme tune that makes sure that the chair that holds your buttocks will be rocking with the flow until the final note of this all killer but certainly no filler will be blown out in your (by now most) willing ears.
For one single moment I thought that Starwars was resurrected with George Lucas as a bitchy character, but it was the magnificent tune that is ‘endgames’ playing games with my mind. A beautiful music piece of energy and melody that sounds like a classic hit, featuring a kicking kick that holds the ultimate orgasm of the in your face chip action as if it is something you would hear in the nineties on the radio and perhaps even see on MTV. This is like the kick-ass chip music that gets the clubs moving and the ears grooving.
A little rocking on the stars can be done on the excellent pretty ‘boxrokk’ tune. A melodic bubbling masterpiece that might give you light weight tickles in the belly as dreams of digital balloons and arcade machines appear like golden promises of yesteryear. A feel good moment that is too short to let a emotional tear of nostalgia out, but yet long enough to form a gigantic smile.
But don’t worry the tear might drop any time with the cute and lovely sounding ‘romrom (introspec’s edit) which is not only adorable but is also heartwarming. A lovely hug of love to anyone who came this way.
The last track is done by a certain ‘Mister Beep’ and brings a guest track named ‘slowing down the chaos’ which is luckily not ruining the atmosphere by being a odd duck on the album but more a lengthy pleasant colored 1 bit pixel duck friendly friend. The track is lengthy but nicely orchestrated and melodic; it comes across as a subtle farewell and a well worn final crown on a beautiful created master piece that is this ‘dat fuzz’ that for sure will be the talk and the buzz of the town!
This excellent epic album that has been (I believe) many years in the making, is out and available as a factory printed CD-r and if you are too modern for that; also as a digital download.
Support the hard work and madness of irrlicht project as there are no other people who are as hardcore as this and actually make pretty damn good music too!
check it out over here: