Malmo, Sweden’s 64Revolt is going to garner the inevitable comparison to Toronto’s Crystal Castles, which would be ill deserved. Though both bands share similar chiptune-fueled hardcore aesthetics, they developed that style independently of each other. Hell, 64Revolt’s self-titled release predates Crystal Castles’ debut Alice Practice by a few months. It’s not quite a Calculus-defining level of synchronicity but the timing does reveal a certain cultural post-gamer outcropping happening now (though it’s interesting that 64Revolt’s follow-up EP has a song called Alice, Sweet Alice, but I’ll attribute that to coincidence. For now. )
This all ties back to what I originally wrote about Crystal Castles back in March. This sound isn’t new, but it is generational. The kids that lived with the bleeps and blips of the NES sound chip and the SID and all sorts of 8-bit hardware grew up, bought keyboards, dusted off their old consoles and started bands. The chiptune scene that has been simmering in the deeper, darker parts of the internet for the better part of a decade is now bubbling up to the surface. Yes, it’s growing out from one niche into another larger niche, but it’s one that gets more attention and publicity; just look at all the fellatio attention that Pitchfork Media dished out to Crystal Castles.
It’s nostalgic, but in a progressive way. 64revolt’s influences, Famicoms and Atari Teenage Riot and synthpop, are blended together to create something new rather than to wax sentimental about the good old 8-bit days. That is a feeling that is hard to escape when listening to some chiptunes. And while their early material tends to be very Atari Teenage Riot, to the point where they did a cover for a tribute album, their newer tracks, which can be heard on their MySpace, show an evolution away from that. Their vocal stylings can be rough around the edges as their sound is still maturing, but I’m certain that the rawness to it will be ironed out. Or maybe that’s the appeal of it? Either way, I’m curious, and interested, to see what they come up with in the future because, at their best, they’ve proven that they’re already as capable as Crystal Castles. Listen to Neat Girl (Yellus Remix) for proof. It’s fully completely awesome.
The best thing about 64Revolt is that they don’t seem to be total wankers like Crystal Castles. They come across as very open, friendly and accessible. Their debut album and their follow-up EP are both available, in full, for free download, as are a lot of their newer tracks. Their full album, which is mostly a reworking of their earlier tracks, Aim For The Flat Top is available for purchase on iTunes and CD Baby. Check it out.
- Sweden has some serious chiptune and synthpop pedigree. I’m not sure why.
- Yes it’s a remix, but the best Crystal Castles tunes are remixes too, albeit in the inverse direction.
- And I want to know why I was not made aware of their existence until now.