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Hyperdub are proud to present Diggin In The Carts – A Collection Of Rare And Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music. This release builds on the critically acclaimed Red Bull Music Academy radio documentary series of the same name that chronicles the history and global influence of this exciting early strain of electronic music. Researched and curated by DigginIn The Carts writer / co-director Nick Dwyer and Hyperdub label head Kode9, the collection plunges deep into the rare archives of the chip era of Japanese video game music. Available on CD and digital, with a vinyl run to follow early in 2018, the collection features artwork by renowned Japanese anime artist Koji Morimoto, whose distinctive style has featured in films like Memories and The Animatrix.
The music in this collection was made for globally renowned systems, from Famicom, Super Famicom and the PC-Engine through to popular Japanese home computer platforms like the MSX, MSXturboR and the PC-8801. Diggin In The Carts showcases these works not just as ‘music for video games,’ but as incredible pieces of electronically produced Japanese music that stand on their own.
Some of the greatest art is created within limitations, and often the most pioneering and influential periods in electronic music have resulted from artists pushing existing technology to its limits. The 8-bit and 16-bit era of video game music in the 1980s and early 1990s saw composers squeezing the most technicolour array of sounds, tones and melodies from the limited chips and channels they had at their disposal. With every new system came a new sound chip, and every chip brought its own personality, with Japanese games companies adopting all kinds of methods to give their games the sonic edge, from customizing their chips to boost the console's capabilities to composers developing bespoke computer programs to generate their own unique sound palette.
From Soshi Hosoi’s Steve Reich inspired minimalist masterpiece ‘Mister Diviner’ from The Mahjong Touhaiden, to the dazzling high-tech chip soul of Toshiharu Yamanishi’s ‘Shooting Stars’ from legendary Mega Drive shooter Thunder Force IV, and not forgetting the saw tooth heavy darkness of the Konami Kukeiha Club on titles like ‘Mouryou Senki Madara’ and ‘Esper Dream II’, Diggin In The Carts aims to bring the pleasure and depth of this music to an audience inside and outside the gaming world.
The release of the compilation coincides with Red Bull Music Academy’s Diggin In The Carts event series, which brings Japan's leading composers of video game music together with a new generation of artists in London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and beyond, starting in October.
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