I missed out on the original release of Pretty Hate Machine in October of 1989. I was only six years old. Since then Nine Inch Nails has become my favorite band, Pretty Hate Machine my favorite album, and Trent Reznor my favorite artist. It is hard to sum up why I like Nine Inch Nails so much. As with most memorable human experiences it comes down to connections. I first discovered Nine Inch Nails during a difficult period in my life when I felt trapped. Pretty Hate Machine, and Nine Inch Nails taught me I am never imprisoned as long as I have the power to express myself. Trent Reznor, the frontman of Nine Inch Nails, has a unique talent for turning everyday noise into emotionally charged experiences. Mechanical rhythms, high voltage instrumentals, and passion fired vocals are the recipe for Nine Inch Nails’ greatest hits. Every time I listen to Pretty Hate Machine, I not only feel the power of his performance, but remember a time when I discovered I was no longer powerless to express myself.
I missed out on the Kickstarter project for Pretty Eight Machine, but thanks to Inverse Phase’s hard work I can still benefit from it today. Pretty Eight Machine is a Chiptune parody/tribute/ of Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine. A Chiptune is a piece of music composed in the 8-bit Nintendo/Atari style. Think the theme songs of Mario, Mega Man, and The Legend of Zelda. Pretty Eight Machine is a parody/tribute because is stays true to the source material (tribute), while containing the whimsical feel of a 1980’s era video game (parody).
I think Pretty Hate Machine already sounds a bit gamey and that makes it perfect for my project. That’s also what gave me the inspiration to Chiptune some of it in the first place. Though some of this is for the challenge, I do want to end up with something that resembles the original music; I don’t want to destroy it.
Pretty Eight Machine is more than a just down sampled version of my favorite album. It has been meticulously crafted to invoke an emotional response for the music I love, played in a way that still sounds familiar. Think of Pretty Eight Machine as a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ greatest album recorded on piano, saxophone, or acoustic guitar. The music sounds similar, but is expressed in a whole new medium.
The plan is to approach each song and find one sound chip that works particularly well with it, and then just go to town, following the appropriate limitations. Since this is a parody, my tradition is to also make a nerdy, possibly corny pun of each track title.
Despite being a fan of video games all of my life I am new to Chiptunes. I never spent much time listening to the music from my favorite video games, because I always thought they were just part of the game. Pretty Eight Machine has opened my eyes to this new genre of music. I now think of Chiptunes as not just video game music, but a form of musical expression with the same validity as Jazz, Country, or Rock & Roll.
I’m a big NIN fan. I want to share the impact it’s had on me with the rest of the world. I want to introduce Chiptune fans to NIN and I want to introduce NIN fans to Chiptunes. And if they’re already a fan of both, I want to give them a funny feeling in their pants or at least put a smile on their face.
If you are a fan of Chiptunes or Nine Inch Nails I strongly suggest you check out this album. Inverse Phase has given me a new way to listen to my favorite music, which without lyrics is perfectly suited for listening while writing or performing other concentration intensive tasks. Starting at $6.50 it is hard to go wrong supporting an album that will bring you back to the video games of your childhood, and remind you of the power of personal expression.