IKUMA – Singapore

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Using the most ghetto-est equipment such as retro computers and game consoles from the 80s like Amigas and Gameboys that were discarded and scavenged from pawnshops and thieves’ markets. Ikuma represents a new breed of gamer / music producers – The 8Bit Otaku.

Come December 2008, Ikuma heads out to play at Blip Festival New York, a four-day international festival showcasing nearly 40 musicians and visual artists occupying the international low-res cutting edge. Archaic game and home computer hardware is recast into the unlikely role of musical instrument and motion graphics workstation.

Highlighting the chip music phenomenon and its related disciplines, the festival aims to showcase emerging creative niches involving the use of legacy video game & home computer hardware as modern artistic instrumentation. Devices such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, Commodore 64, Atari ST, Nintendo Game Boy and others are re-purposed into the service of original, low-res, high-impact electronic music and visuals — sidestepping game culture and instead exploring the technology’s untapped potential and distinctive intrinsic character.

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CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE US A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOU.

I was part of a warez/software cracking group until I was given a cease and desist order , then I went to university here in Singapore, where in my free time I produced all kinds of electronic , dance and jazz music on any equipment I could get my hands on, including hacked Nintendo consoles, vintage analog synthesizers, collaborating and recording with bass players , singers etc.. All my work is scattered all over under different aliases (for different genres) on many different labels and outlets.

TELL US ABOUT THE SCENE YOU ARE IN RIGHT NOW. WHAT’S HAPPENING. WHO’S GIVING IT A JOLT. HOW DOES WHAT YOU DO FIT IN.
The 8bit music scene is only around as cheap nostalgia , filling the voids of people who are reliving their childhoods when they played Contra, Sensible Soccer and Streetfighter without a care in the world. The worlds best videogame musician is Jake ‘Virt’ Kaufman from the USA, whose soundtrack for the game “M&M’s Minis Madness” on the Game Boy Color is an undisputed masterpiece of the genre.

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TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORK, THE PEOPLE YOU MEET AND HOW THIS INSPIRES YOU.

It is difficult as most of the people who I meet can’t seem to understand how music is composed on a Game Boy, even after hours of explaining. That itself is pretty inspiring.

WHAT WILL THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOU & YOUR SCENE.

The 8bit music scene will diminish in popularity very soon and very fast, and will be left to the hardcore otakus , because once the novelty of “omg, game boy music!” fades, who else will dream about 80s japanese RPG game music in their beauty sleep?

WHAT BRANDS DO YOU ADMIRE AND WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH. WHY?.
I would like to work with NTT DoCoMo, Japanese Telecom and Kanye West’s various brands. That dude has it all.

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CONTACT ARTISTS: AWE5OME

DOWNLOAD MUSIC: IKUMA 8BITS

BLIP FESTIVAL 2008: ALL THE BLIPS!