Singin' Sixties

Retroist Scoreboard: The Singin’ Sixties

A bit of a light week here at the Retroist Scoreboard, but there’s still music in the air. And pollen. Maybe more pollen than music this week, admittedly, but there’s still music.

Intrada has unearthed Frank Perkins’ combination score-and-songs album from the 1963 Warner Bros. all-star summer flick Palm Springs Weekend, featuring vocal contributions from the likes of Troy Donahue, Robert Conrad, and Connie Stevens. The album, restored from the original master tapes from the 1960s LP release, weighs in at just a little over half an hour, but if you need a fresh (and rarely-heard) fix from the Beach Blanket Bingo era, this is your ticket back to those times.
Singin' Sixties

Varese Sarabande will begin shipping the first-ever official CD release of the soundtrack from 1968’s Barbarella this Friday, featuring Charles Fox’s score with vocals and performances by Bob Crewe and the Bob Crewe Generation Orchestra. Pre-orders are still being taken, and the price on this one is definitely right.

And you may be able to score this score for even less! Due to upgrades of their shipping systems, Varese is offering a 10% discount on all orders placed between May 8th and 21st, the catch being that shipping may be a little bit on the slow side during that period.

Is that all? That is not all.

Occasionally I might point out new or upcoming releases that tickle our ears the way a good soundtrack does, and it just so happens that my picks in that category this week feature some of the pioneer originators of electronic music, and some of its best current practitioners. Full disclosure: both parties include friends of mine, so forgive me for being a little less impartial than usual.

The Radiophonic Workshop is a live, touring, recording amalgamation of original members of the now-defunct BBC Radiophonic Workshop and newer members. Members Dick Mills and Roger Limb were there in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when the Workshop’s pioneering works included the original iteration of the Doctor Who theme music, while later recruits Peter Howell and Paddy Kingsland helped define that show’s sound in the 1980s, Howell in particular having arranged the Peter Davison / Colin Baker era version of the Doctor Who theme.

Mark Ayres, who joined the Workshop in its twilight years partly as an archivist of its classic material, and Kieron Pepper, round out the current incarnation of the Workshop, and they’ve assembled a new album using vintage synthesizers and radiophonic recording techniques, Burials In Several Earths, now available for pre-order both as a download and on CD or vinyl. The album drops on May 19th.

[Via] The Radiophonic Workshop

The Radiophonic Workshop originated in the late 1950s, creating electronic wizardry out of tape loops and oscillators on a shoestring budget in a tiny studio in the BBC’s Maida Vale facility. They’ve done a lot more than just Doctor Who – Kingsland single-handedly scored the BBC’s radio and TV incarnations of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – though their live shows feature callbacks to their past glories aplenty.

On the slightly more modern side of things, 8 Bit Weapon is releasing an experimental concept EP on May 8th under the title DLC: The OST. Renowned for crafting amazingly multi-layered music from the sound chips of classic video game consoles and computers, the electronic duo consisting of Seth and Michelle Sternberger is taking satirical aim at the industry that made their instruments this time around…or, at least, that industry’s modern tendency to foist incomplete games upon the buying public. The press blurb for DLC: The OST asks: “What IF the music industry followed this business model? How much of a song would you hear before you purchased the rest of it as DLC?“

Next week: get ready for the Lasso of Truth to snatch your wallet, because La-La Land Records is finally releasing a 3-CD box set of music from the 1970s Wonder Woman series, including music from the pilot movie, and even more music from the second and third seasons. Tune in next week for the details!

8 Bit Weapon has a new Album, “Bits with Byte”

I am a big fan of the band 8 Bit Weapon, I have even used their music in The Retroist Podcast, so I am very pleased to announce that just over a week ago, the dynamic digital duo released their new album, “Bits with Byte”. Crammed full of music, the new album has a whopping 17 tracks that take 8 bit Weapon to new heights with new sounds and style embellishments that are a treat for the ears and the brain.

1. Bits with Byte 03:01
2. Galactic Invasion 03:03
3. Apple Core II 01:57
4. The Art of Video Games Anthem 03:12
5. Miami Dub Bounce 02:39
6. We Fight for the Users 03:05
7. Drive Grinder 03:11
8. Escape from Xenon 03:08
9. Goodbye Cochise 01:36
10. Closer 2.00 2:45
11. Micro Boogie 2.0 03:45
12. Chip On Your Shoulder (Electric High Mix) 03:20
13. Closer (8 Bit Bandit Remix) 06:02
14. Chip On Your Shoulder (Sanxion7 Remix) 03:30
15. Bits with Byte Demo 02:54
16. The Art Of Video Games Anthem Demo 03:16
17. Galactic Invasion Demo 02:54

There are multiple options for picking up the album. You can sample the album and purchase it in multiple formats at Bandcamp or if iTunes is more your thing, you can get it there as well. Either way you decide to get it, you will not be disappointed. 8 Bit Weapon has been together for over a decade now and “Bits that Byte” brings to bear the pair’s exceptional (almost unprecedented?) genre experience and talent. I have had the album running on a loop for over a week and a half now and if you like chiptune, 8 bit and 16 bit music, you will as well. So pick up a copy of Bits that Byte today.

Demo of 8-Bit Weapons Apple II D.M.S. Drummer Chipmusic Drum Machine

I am far from skilled when it comes to music, but I do no know what I like when I hear it and whenever I hear 8-Bit Weapon, I like it. If you have some music skills and retro sound (and have an old Apple), you might want to check out their Apple II D.M.S. Drummer Chipmusic Drum Machine Software.

The DMS Drummer is the only wavetable based Drum Sequencer for the Apple //e, IIc, IIc+, and IIGS computers. It comes complete with 8 drum sounds: Bass, Snare, Rim Shot, Hand Clap, Tom, Hat Open, Hat Closed, and Lazer. DMS Drummer also has a massive sequencer built-in for song writing or just some creative noodling. The DMS Drummer monophonic sequencer patterns have 16 spaces. You can create up to 16 unique drum patterns and arrange them into 256 available arrangement slots. Each drum sound can also be re-pitched or “tuned” to the users preference inside the “Tone” section of any pattern. For example, you can take the single tom sound and create a rich sequence of multiple toms in various pitches like in our demo song. Each song sequence can be saved on disk as well for safe keeping.

Here is the 8-Bit Weapon dynamic duo themselves, demonstrating their wonderful software.

Panic Attack-Devil’s Favorite

What if I were to tell that on Xbox Live Arcade right this minute from its Indie Games there is possibly the most challenging and addictive title that I’ve played in a long while…for a mere 240 Microsoft points? That title I would be talking about is from Norwegian based developer DeRail Games, their latest game is entitled Panic Attack-Devil’s Favorite. There is so very much to dig about this game. It has a simple concept, get the smiling yellow ball (That looks a bit like Pac-Man to my eyes) from the starting position to the end in the time allotted so you may advance to the next stage. In your path are spikes, buzz saws, flying bullets, falling platforms, and flamethrowers. Take a look at the video of some of the stages below.

Friends, when I mentioned above that it was challenging I was not kidding. I downloaded the game last night from returning home after work, I was just going to play for a bit and then hit the hay…two hours later I was still playing. There is a counter on the title screen that records how many deaths you’ve had, I made it to level 6 with about 100 deaths. So Panic Attack is challenging, like the original NES Mega Man, but they have captured that magic in a bottle that makes you want to try just one more time each time your little ball goes splat. It could have been the lateness of the hour but I thought at one point I did indeed hear the chuckling of Old Scratch himself!

Panic Attack also has some very, very nice music provided by none other than 8 Bit Weapon and ComputeHer! So you can be sure you’ll be bobbing your head to the wonderful beats as you curse yourself for running into another buzz saw.

I’ll let DeRail Games speak for itself with this summary of their wonderful title:
“Panic Attack – The Devil’s Favorite Game is now available on Xbox Live Marketplace under the Indie Games section and features 56 high speed levels, including 25 additional Director’s Cut maps and 4 Pain levels filled with absolute madness.

Panic Attack is based on the same principles as their first title, but with a twist to it: instead of navigating one screen maps the player must survive 56 deranging scrolling levels constantly hunted by slaughter knives, flamethrowers and tons of clever deathtraps. To ensure that Panic Attack is one of the fastest and most challenging games on the marketplace, DeRail Games have included 25 additional Director’s Cut levels and 4 maps of pain, maps that only a few gamers have been able to complete.”

So hop over to the Xbox Live marketplace and give the demo a try and see what you think.