Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

REVIEW: 8-Bit Operators - Kraftwerk Tribute CD

Cover Many genres of DIY lo-fi indie music have blossomed thanks to the internet.  One of the most unusual is "chip music"; tunes created by artists using and sometimes modifying 1980's era electronics.  Many equip themselves with what looks like the inventory sheet of a thrift store, and all make appearances on this album - Game Boy, Commodore 64, Speak & Spell, Atari 2600, and many others.

These musicians (calling themselves "8 Bit Operators") have come to pay tribute to the fathers of electronic music; Kraftwerk.  The pioneering Kraftwerk have been labeled as just about everything; antiseptic, electronica, dance - but no one can dispute their lasting effect on modern music.  Also interesting is how their music seems so firmly rooted in the technology used to create it, yet the beauty and the soul of the music has survived many transformations from orchestral to salsa.

It's not enough to merely sequence the same notes as a Kraftwerk song, there is an essence to capture.  Thankfully, the artists on ""8 Bit Operators" ply their retro tech sound to capture what Kraftwerks' songs are all about, without getting too caught up in the 8 bit technology.

Standout tracks include Bacalao's version of "The Robots", Role Model's "Showroom Dummies", Nullsleep's "The Model", Receptors "Trans Europe Express", and Bubblyfish's "It's More Fun To Compute".  These tracks stay true to the roots of each song, yet bring something of each artists style to the mix; walking the line between rocking out and robo-boogie.  The CD has 15 tracks, and would be a great mix for any party, dance, or at work at those times when you need to embrace your inner drone.

It's telling that what started out as an internet project has been picked up by a major label - the same label that Kraftwerk is on!  That makes "8 Bit Operators" one of the first chip music albums available at retail and relatively easy to find.  There is also a special edition remix tat you can download, or it is also refreshingly available on that classic read-only medium; 12" vinyl. 

Congratulations to everyone who was part of the "8-Bit Operators" project, and for showing a major record label that classic 8-bit music still has a lot of surprises left.

Help out Retro Thing by buying "8 Bit Operators" HERE

Sample some tracks on MySpace

Main site for the album


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