L.A. based 8 Bit Weapon are a band that have a history of using old video game consoles and vintage instruments to create music. Sometime it is lo-fi, sometimes upbeat and sometimes minimal, their past releases have included influences from video game music, techno, pop and vapourwave. Clocking in at over an hour long, their newest album; the delightfully titled Disassembly Language: Ambient Music for Deprogramming Vol. 1 is a meandering, ambient 8-bit odyssey.
On a very basic level you could say its chiptune – after all it is created with the sound chip of a Commodore64 – but over each of the album’s four movements the band set out a series of ambient music pieces that transcend that very limiting definition.
For me personally, the first piece – Lexical Analysis is the strongest track. With echoes of Philip Glass or Brian Eno as if filtered through a hacked home computer, it ebbs and flows with a baroque complexity that belies the nature of the hardware used to make it. Later pieces resonate with classic, low resolution synth tones that wouldn’t be amiss in an 80s science fiction film and while certainly minimal in their composition; not once did I find my attention drifting– no mere feat with tracks between 13 and 20 minutes long.
When music like this really connects with me, I think of it as the soundtrack to a film yet to be made or a part of life yet to be lived. This would certainly be is such an album; perhaps best listened to when making a slow journey in a fast moving city, headphones on, looking out at the world while at once slightly removed from reality. The band say that this album aims to defragment the mind and facilitate relaxation. Yep, they achieved that and then some. I highly recommend giving it a listen.