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Friday, Dec. 16, 2005
LISTENING POST: CD REVIEWS
YMCK: "Family Racing"
The world over, nostalgia for 1980s video games is rife. But it is only fitting that the absolute kings, nay, gods of Famicon Pop are a group hailing from Japan -- YMCK.
Their debut album "Family Music" sold 25,000 copies, an unprecedented number for a bossa-nova pop album made entirely from the four limited-sound channels available on a Gameboy. Gimmicky, yes, but undeniably irresistible for me and other members of Generation Y. The new party-style mini-album "Family Racing" dumps the jazzy major-seventh chords for high-energy, video-game jams with whispery girl vocals floating on top of microchipped riffs. Weirder yet, the musical programmers tackle all sorts of pastiche: "C'mon! Swing All Stars" is like a digitized version of 1920s speakeasies, while "Rock 'N' Roll Rendezvous (featuring Takahashi Meijin)" imagines a surprisingly good opening theme to a terrible video-game adaptation of the movie "Grease II."