8 Bit Weapon and ComputeHer are chiptune artists; actually, to be fair, 8 Bit Weapon is Seth & Michelle Sternberger, and ComputeHer is Michelle’s solo project, so it makes sense to talk about the two “bands” together. The previous two Chiptune Tuesdays I wrote about bands who add chiptunes to other types of music, so I thought it was tie to give a purely chiptune act some love.
Straightforward though 8 Bit Weapon’s music might be, it’s far from boring. They work with a variety (in their own words, “an arsenal”) of classic video game consoles and vintage computers as instruments. Whilst they stay true to their chiptune aesthetic, they don’t appear to be too purist to use emulators and synths when it gets the result they want.When I say that 8 Bit Weapon and ComputeHer produce “straightforward” chiptunes, I mean their work sounds 8- or 16-bit in nature, even when other instruments are used. There’s very little admixture from other genres of music. Vocals are a rare addition to their sound, and when they appear, they are distorted and pleasingly lo-fi, such as on Closer, or they are provided by vintage samples, such as on various tracks on the Silo 64 Soundtrack EP.
8 Bit Weapon use a lot of layered sounds, which build up in an almost post-rock-esque way. Their aforementioned Silo 64 Soundtrack EP shows this off nicely particularly on Terraforming Time and the super-bleak Safety Comes First. 64-Gigabit Mario Epic from the Meantime EP is another great example.
8 Bit Weapon have clearly carved themselves a niche. Often the underground music scene is obsessed with innovating and breaking new ground, but it’s nice to see a band who have dug down and got to the roots of their sound, refining the same ingredients to perfection.
Clearly, this approach has worked, since 8 Bit Weapon can boast on their website that they have worked with “Disney, Microsoft, Nokia, Sony, and The Smithsonian American Art Museum” as well as electronica luminaries such as Kraftwerk and Information Society.
ComputeHer’s sound is very similar, which is no surprise, but is more upbeat and higher-tempo. The more complex structures that abound in 8 Bit Weapon’s work are sidelined for bouncy rhythms. Take Sysop, for example:
See? Basically Chiptune dance-party music.
There’s not too much else I could say about either band that couldn’t be said better by their work itself. Check them out, and you won’t be disappointed.