Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5
I have to confess that I really don't like Dark Side of the Moon very much. Maybe I've just heard it too much. I tend to stick to left of the dial stations on my radio, but I feel like whenever I venture into the higher frequencies, I end up hearing "Money." Yet I can't deny that there is some fine artistry behind the Floyd's efforts, and fortunately the last couple years have seen a strange cottage industry of folks covering the entire album. I dug the Flaming Lips faux-krautrock take on the album last year, and I'm a fan of the reggae version that the Easy Star All-Stars cranked out. Here's another one that's gotten my attention. Brad Smith is a video game programmer and musician out of Canada who has managed to make an 8-bit rendition of the music. For those of you who are not retro gaming geeks, these are the sounds that populated Nintendo's FamiCom system back in the 80's, so all of the sounds have to be programmed to fit on a chip set on a game cartridge. I'd say that the man has done his job quite well.
Now, I'm not one to listen to retro game music outside of a game. 8-bit tones can wear on your ears pretty quickly, and they don't make you feel very cool while gliding down the highway. That said, Mr. Smith has managed to stuff in most of the arranging quirks and harmonic tones of the original album using a very small set of musical resources. I think it's fun to hear the saxophones, soul singer, and Roger Waters reduced to simple square waves. Of course with the self-imposed limitations, this is all instrumental.
While this may not be the best album as seen out of context, I would proclaim it the best retro video game soundtrack ever were it actually in a video game. Still, I think that there is something a little more than just novelty value behind Moon8. This is a fine place to try and hear the ghost in the machine. I'd suggest giving this one a listen while running your emulation (or Famicom if you've still got one) of something like Metroid or the first few Final Fantasy games. That would make this one sound like an utter classic.
Note: The files for this are only listed as "Side One" and "Side Two." This is the artist's preference. Head here to take a look at Brad's website:
Listen to Me:
Brad Smith - 2010 - Moon8