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July 10, 2007Glenn Turner

Little Computer People - The Remixes Cover Art

Five years ago I was flipping through the new releases at my local electronic music shop when a cute little pixelart slipcase caught my eye. It was Anthony Rother's latest offering from his Little Computer People project, simply entitled Little Computer People - The Remixes. Given that, at the time, I was occasionally dj'ing esoteric electronic music, not to mention a lapsed gamer that recognized the EP was paying tribute to the influential 1985 videogame of the same name, it only made sense to immediately grab it for my collection.

And now, five years later, it still holds up well. In some ways I actually appreciate it even more. Not necessarily the music itself, although the mixes are quite sturdy. It's definitely not the videos that come with the package, as they're slightly hokey (as you can see below – especially the Rother remix, although it's one of the better executed 'video remixes' I've seen). No, what I appreciate more than event is the Commodore 64-specific demo included on the disc.

Little Computer People C64 Demo

The demo is based on chiptune artisan Tero's contribution, the aptly named 'Tero's C64 Remix', and it serves mostly as a self-promotional piece for Rother's Psi49Net label, flashing the latest catalogue titles and contact details to Tero's beat. And while the scaled and rotated pixel art that accompanies it is mildly pointless, it's still a much more imaginative effort than just slapping a few flyers and stickers into the CD case! Unfortunately, hidden away in the CD-ROM material means it's a lot less visible than stickers (confession time: It took me a few years just to find and figure out what the file 'LCP.D64' was for!).

Getting back to the music, the EP contains nine, count 'em, nine remixes of the title track and ,unlike most remix EPs, they aren't just filler material to pad out a single! Not only is there the straightforward C64 shout-out via Tero's mix but there's the harder, more ruggedly produced 'Psylocity Punk Remix' (from Psylocity, naturally), plus a more piercing & futurist take on the track from Karl Bartos, a deceptively named '1979 Original' organ and xylophone-laden mix, plus the standard club and video mixes you'd expect.

Little Computer People Video

At the core of each mix is a fine dance track and that retains many (if not all, in Tero's case) of the tones and seductive aural qualities that are so recognizable to gamers of the era. From the effervescent high-range blips to the satisfyingly sharp kicks, they all revel in their gaming roots. And while the sole lyrics "Little Computer People, living in a digital world. Can't you see them on the screen? You're the master; you're the key." certainly aren't subtle, they are more poetic in their simplicity than most self-aware video game-centric tracks out there.

Unfortunately, Little Computer People - The Remixes and its parent album, Electro Pop, aren't exactly easy to find for sale nowadays, even electronically. As far as I know, it's not available via iTunes or eMusic, and it's been out of print for some time. While I can't vouch for Electro Pop (I'm still hunting for a copy!), Little Computer People - The Remixes is well worth your time, not only for its general attention to detail, its hooky beat, the cheeky videos but, of course, the demo too. Thank you Rother for birthing such an extravagantly nostalgic, but still highly listenable and entertaining, package!

Little Computer People - Anthony Rother Remix Video
Every Tuesday I take a look at a piece of music that's derived at least portions of its sound from video games! If you'd like to suggest a chiptune, bitpop track, or any video game-inspired music selection, please leave a comment or contact me at gturner at thenewgamer dot com!

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1 comment for ‘Chiptunesday - Little Computer People’

#1 WholeFnShow Jul 10, 2007 06:07pm

I wouldn't exactly call these "block rockin' beats" but they've certainly got their own appeal outside of a club setting. What I mean is that I don't think this particular song, and it's remixes, would translate well to a large system specically because of that high pitched keyboard tone. I get the feeling that'd hurt like a son of a bitch. Without it, feels like they'd do great all super loud. But that tone is sorta part of the whole ensemble and yeah, makes no sense to not have it.

Anywho, nice find and interesting concept for a regular article. Good luck keeping it up.