8 Bit Weapon's Disko Apocalypse Tour


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Advances in technology have made the creation of music easier, but it hasn't necessarily made the music itself better. Sometimes, you have to step backward to achieve true artistry.

That's the philosophy of chiptune music, which employs retrocomputers, from the Nintendo Game Boy to the Apple II, to create original tunes with a classic sound. Perhaps my favorite group in this genre is 8 Bit Weapon, which has been rocking the chiptune scene for over a decade, including on national and international tours, video game soundtracks, and exclusive events.



I'm fortunate to have interacted not just with 8BW's music, but with the musicians themselves. I interviewed Seth Sternberger of 8BW for the December 2007 issue of Juiced.GS, two years after I'd first heard Alon Waisman, an old friend of mine from the days of CompuServe, interview Seth on his ChatterBox Video Game Radio Show. In preparation for my interview, I'd listened to the music group's free downloads, but it wasn't until 2009 that I voted with my wallet. I purchased and reviewed 8 Bit Weapon's Electric High EP album in Juiced.GS Volume 14, Issue 3 (September 2009). I dug most of the CD's six tracks, but the first feature anyone is likely to notice is the packaging:

The CD is found in an eviscerated 5.25" floppy disk that's been slit open and the disc inserted, right alongside the original floppy media, then placed in a disk sleeve. It may seem cruel to cannibalize the format that brought us so many fond memories, but it's also encouraging to see them be given new life as a home to music that's representative of the era.

Several of their songs, and even some full albums, are available for download from their online discography, but this summer, you can do one better and hear them perform live. The Disko Apocalypse Tour is currently underway, with their next performance is tonight at San Francisco's DNA Lounge, followed later this year with shows in Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon. Their full tour schedule is still TBD. I invited them to perform at KansasFest 2010, an Apple II convention occurring in Kansas City this July; maybe the Power & Light District would be an attractive venue? Unfortunately, neither 8BW nor KFest could coordinate this event. Both parties look forward to a future opportunity; in the meantime, the band will be represented as a prize at this year's KFest.

If you happen to be flush with cash and want 8 Bit Weapon to come to your town, you can invite them for the cool sum of $5,000 via Kickstarter, an entrepreneurial site that accepts pledges to support independent projects by offering personalized rewards to potential investors. I first became aware of Kickstarter through Jason Scott's successful venture to finish GET LAMP. I've since become a supporter of the open-source social networking software Diaspora as well as the 8 Bit Weapon tour that I myself will not get to attend. I debated whether to make that investment — shouldn't it be the band's responsibility to conduct a tour that is financially solvent? I decided that there is little chance for any band operating in the chiptune genre to be profitable, and that it's up to us other little guys to support causes that we believe in.

Music deserves to be made and heard — especially good music.

Enjoy the tour!