Retro computers in music

This weekend, I’ve had some interesting discussions on Twitter with @gencom64, @spectrumgomas, @boriel and many others on retro computers in today’s music.  Well, at a certain moment it was more a discussion on which is the better computer (i.e. C64 or ZX Spectrum)  – but that’s always the case when you put C64 and Spectrum fans in the same room – and funnily enough, the whole thing started off with my previous blog post on the C64 holding the world record for “running a computer under water“.

Nevertheless, I learned a few things, one being that many of today’s songs, from popular bands to more obscure/underground/fan bands feature retro computers in their songs.
One of these songs, is definitely a favorite of mine and it’s not just because the Commodore 64 is featured nicely in it (and admittedly, the female singer is nice!).
The song is “Back to the 80s” by the Danish/Norwegian band Aqua and next to a Commodore 64 flying overhead in a Star-Wars-Imperial-Cruiser style it features fun lyrics that do bring back the memories of the 80s.
The big fan favorite for the Sinclair folks is definitely “Clive Sinclair” by Electric Disorder, featuring a funny take on the Jonathan Ross show =)

The second thing that popped up, was that next to retro computers making an appearance in music video’s they also play a big part in an underground scene that uses altered consoles and the likes and produces some really heavy rocking beats, like this cover of Blondie’s “Atomic” by Glomag ft. Stealthopera at the 2008 Blip Festival in New York… notice how he produces those beats with a GameBoy!!

And that’s not all… whilst the machines of days gone by, in some altered form, find their way to the stage again in an underground scene like the Blip Festival they also make their appearance in the more mainstream side with artists like Calvin Harris, who made his debut-album on an Amiga in 2007, and he’s been producing great tracks ever since (if you don’t know who he is, check out his hit single “I’m not alone“… petty sure you know that tune).

Speaking of mainstream, if it’s not the hardware like the console or computer that’s being used, it’s the music tracks from classic computer games that find their way into the music scene and even today’s music charts!
These tracks are carefully being sampled and transformed into smashing dance floor hits just like the tune for the C64 game “Lazy Jones”, which became an instant hit when the band Zombie Nation used it for their hit “Kernkraft 400” – Tararara…Tararararararara..ra.ra.ra… that’s the tune by the way :)
If dance is not your cup of tea, fear not, as tunes from the C64 find their way onto the classical stage as well, thanks to the Dutch Ricciotti ensemble, who together with conductor Bas Wiegers founded the C64 orchestra.  This orchestra focuses their attention on the C64, playing classic gaming hits from the likes of  Rob Hubbard and Jeroen Tel.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Old computers live!

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