April 29, 2004

More on Nintendo Music Performers [7:46 am]

Cited earlier in Salon (NES Tunes At Clubs ), and although this article says nothing about the copyright issues, one can imagine an imaginative DMCA-based claim from what this article adds to the story: Resurrecting the Riffs, a Nintendo Rock Band

When Mr. Seim heard two Nevada Union High School classmates play a set of Nintendo cover songs at a talent show in 1999, he felt he had found his true calling. He joined the band on drums and began his career as a video-game-song cover artist. His video-rock band, the Advantage, consists of high school buddies (minus the original two members, who moved to Milwaukee). It plays nothing but music from the original Nintendo console games, most clocking in at under two minutes; a typical set list from the Advantage’s live show might include such chestnuts as “Double Dragon II Stage 2,” “Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins Intro” and “Castlevania Epitaph.”

While the tunes have a kitschy nostalgia appeal for listeners who were weaned on the games, the Advantage’s approach is respectful, even reverential, toward the original source material, much of it written by classically trained Japanese composers like Nobuo Uematsu, Koji Kondo and Yoko Shimomura. Mr. Kondo, Nintendo’s in-house composer, wrote the Super Mario Brothers theme and is regarded by aficionados as the Mozart of video game composers.

[...] To deconstruct the songs, Mr. McWhirter loaded the music files from the games onto a PC and ran them through a piece of software called Nosefart. Developed primarily by Matt Conte, a programmer who worked on games like Finding Nemo and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, the software is a plug-in that decodes files in NES Sound Format, or NSF, ripped from Nintendo games. It allowed the band to separate the component parts and listen to them at reduced tempos, allowing note-perfect facsimiles.

[...] “This music does weird things to people’s brains,” Mr. Seim said. “It takes me back to the days of eating mac and cheese at a friend’s house and learning the games. Good times.”

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