Photo by Ben Mason
You might not know it, but Br1ght
Pr1mate are the most interesting band in the chiptune scene right now.
They've accomplished this in the most boring way possible - by releasing Night Animals, a conventionally great
An album, of all things! At a time when such banal things as
albums are dying slowly. In a genre of music that's the apotheosis of arch
retro-cool pop-referencing Tumblr mixtape culture. These are people for whom
MP3s are too old-school because you need to save them to computer, and yet not
old-school enough because the files don't fit into floppies.
Night Animals by BRIGHT PRIMATE
But Night Animals' albumness
is unmistakable. A discernable narrative, songs that relate to each other, a
richness and complexity in the instrumentation that belies countless hours of
effort, and fantastic vocals. There's no barrier to entry.
Chiptune is catchy and wonderful, but to the uninitiated,
there is often a qualifier. Most bands don't have a singer, which makes
chiptune - by definition, created with outmoded-console sound chips - seem like
the background music in old video games. But with Night Animals, it's not "This sounds great and they made it with
Nintendos." It's simply "This sounds great."
Br1ght Pr1mate is James "Jimmy" Therrien and Lydia Marsala.
Educated in music theory and performance at the New England Conservatory and
Berklee, they have legitimate skills. They formed Br1ght Pr1mate in 2008 as an
experiment in compositional style. Together with the Boston8Bit collective,
they started playing shows in Boston.
In 2010, they
released an EP. Over the next three years, they built up a voracious
fanbase. They composed soundtracks for
critically acclaimed indie video games. They toured
all over America, including a
stop in New York
for the Blip Festival.
This Thursday, Br1ght
Pr1mate are playing the Middle East Upstairs. Joining them are fellow
Boston8Bit chiptunesters Active
Knowledge (with a new album!), Glenntai,
Forrest James, Robotsexmusic, and Crashfaster, with visuals by VJ Beyonder. 8 is the time
when doors open, and also all the bits you'll ever need.
Arafat Kazi's cat
turns 2 next Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter @arafatkazi.
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