Remember Nintendocore, the genre that mixed the 8-bit digital music of old arcade games with modern aggressive metal? No? HORSE the Band means nothing to you? Well, check this out to refresh your memory. Turns out, there’s also chipgaze, an amalgamation of shoegaze and 8-bit music. Canadian one man project Painted In a purveyors of chipgaze of the most stellar kind. His debut album Now Here, is brief, jittery, and also extremely laid back.
The mixture succeeds because of the juxtaposition. 8-bit music is inherently hyperactive, spasmodic, and automatically recalls days of attempting to destroy Dr. Robotnik or Bowser at all costs. Meanwhile, shoegaze is huge, distored, but ultimately lackadaisical, and meandering. It doesn’t blast through a wall. It slowly builds pressure against a wall, until said wall collapses. ‘There’s Still Time’ is a perfect example. What would be a typical, if slightly upbeat, shoegaze song, is given extremely fresh impetus with the 8-bit synth providing the ‘lead’ melody line. ‘Flower’, in it’s brief running time, continues the theme. Jitterbugging arpeggios of synth drive the song forward, while the ‘live’ instruments serve as the solid backbone to keep everything from pulling apart into chaos. ‘Pull’ is borderline insane. Cascading, and exploding, in waves of digital melody.
It’s not all tweaking chipgaze on offer. ‘And Far Away’ reins proceedings in to provide a more contemplative, and restrained, atmosphere more typical of the shoegaze genre. A declaration of love, the singer mournfully croons, “If you want to, I could you to the shade and far away.” Elsewhere, ‘You Through Me’ plays gleefully like a run through of a Bonus Stage from Sonic.
Ultimately, ‘Now Here’ is gloriously fun. The album knows its limitations, and never outstays its welcome. And you know, you should really give it a chance. The record is completely free after all.