Remember that time I wrote about the then new Crystal Castles album? My semi-review came from the perspective of someone familiar with the chiptune sound and annoyed by all the Pitchforkerati buzz proclaiming it “innovative.” I objected to those proclamations but, essentially, raved about the music itself and, essentially, admired Crystal Castles‘ nonchalance to the scene. They weren’t of the scene but they were of the same pop-culture zeitgeist, having grown up with 8-bit videogames, that created that scene. Synchronicity and all that.
As it turns out, they were full of shit.
One Crystal Castles quote from the previous post that bears repeating is the following:
That keyboard was made back in 2004 and then we learned about this whole 8-bit scene, which we don’t really have anything to do with. It’s a completely different world.
Which would be fine were it not for the fact that they have just been found to have been using unlicensed and unapproved samples from artists in the 8-bit scene, specifically Lo-Bat and Covox. Oops. It puts everything they have said in an entirely new light, especially when you consider the stink that they caused when it was revealed they used art on shirts and albums, that they found, without ever getting the artists permission.
One time is, maybe, a careless mistake. Two, three, four times over is kleptomania. The worst part is that they distance themselves —
a completely different world— from the very same community that they are influenced by. Chiptunes? Not cool. Asshole douchebaggery? Totally hipster! Put it on Pitchfork.
The 8-bit Peoples website has the “official” response as well as links that detail the situation some more: Crystal Castles and Chip Music Copyright Infringements, Chiptune Music Theft Continues; Crystal Castles Abuses Creative Commons License and chipflip: plagiarism. The best place for information, however, is the epic (now 23 page) thread on the 8bitcollective forums.
Fuck that, Crystal Castles is now permanently off of my radar. Go listen to some chiptunes .