Analog Adventures: Vacation Wasteland
(Original Release 2012, 2017 pressing)
About the Artist
Slime Girls is the stage name of chiptune artist Pedro Silva. Chiptune music is what you would hear on 8 and 16 bit video game consoles, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System or Game Boy. Silva uses modified Game Boys in conjunction with live guitars and drums to create a synth soaked hybrid of punk rock and ska. The result is quite pleasant, and unlike anything else around. Silva’s music is present on digital music sites such as Bandcamp and enjoy success there.
The Record Itself
Vacation Wasteland is a completely instrumental album, focusing on timbre and tonality. The overdrive guitar mixed with the Game Boy synthesizer and live drums create a soundtrack to a video game you wish you can play. A lot of music that I listen to is innovative but nostalgic; One foot into the future with the other looking to the past. To use obsolete technology to create something new is an idea by legendary Nintendo designer Gunpei Yokoi. To summarize his philosophy, “lateral thinking with withered technology”.
Taking the old and obsolete and creating something new and fresh. The Game Boy was designed using this principal, using black and white screens from old Sharp calculators and putting the bare minimum in the actual units themselves. The result was one of the best selling gaming devices of all time, becoming a cultural icon in the process. Countless hours of Tetris and Kirby are testaments to the legacy of Yokoi’s design philosophy.
The white vinyl and the cover.
The same philosophy that led to the Game Boy led to the creation of Vacation Wasteland. The use of Game Boys as a synthesizer instead of easier to use modern synthesizer certainly limits Silva in his ability to write music. The device only has three tone generators, and one noise track. These limitations are a part of the appeal of the album. The limited tonality is best displayed on the title track, a ska influenced track that is performed entirely on modified Game Boys. The song itself is not entirely remarkable in its composition, but understanding the limitations that were put in place make it remarkable.
Is It Worth It?
Finding a copy of Vacation Wasteland may prove challenging. It is a record that saw two limited pressings by Yetee Records making it rather scarce. The cost is reflective of that scarcity with copies currently selling in the $100 range. The album is widely available to stream, but since this is a column advocating for physical media I am inclined to suggest anybody who wants to buy this record to do so. It is a joy from beginning to melancholy end.
- Vacation Wasteland
- Splash Nebula
- A Cruel Angel Thesis