Edit to the header: Yes, the website for Year6581 is still in existence, and it offers both a player and the ability to download what sounds like the higher quality new mixes of their songs. End edit.
The following was written in 2008; unfortunately I don't think their website works anymore, but I believe the MySpace is still there, and on the positive side, there are now many more videos of them on YouTube. Maybe I'll add their mp3s to this post in the future so that they can still be available. Edit: no need to, as their website still exists. Plus, they finally have a real music video up on YouTube! For "Hyperspace". Check it out!
So classic video game nostalgia is pretty common now, and 8-bit fashion is the ultimate trendy style, but back in the day, you were the ultimate lame nerd if you liked anything older than your friends Nintendo 64 or Sega Saturn. Then slowly, us like minded people started coming out of the cracks, and we attended conventions like the Classic Gaming Expo or Vintage Computer Festival, and we listened to radio shows like "6581 SID" on KDVS hosted by Justin Beck aka Hard Hat Mack. There were still the haters, with their Playstation 2s, who pretended they were Tony Hawk, and would post videos on the web of blowing up old Mac Pluses because it was "hilarious", but now us oldskoolers were large enough in number to not become dismayed, and we held tightly to our ethos that respected and praised history without becoming Luddite.
Now fast-forward ten years, and classic video games have been bastardized into a commercial empire. You can buy plug-and-play joysticks loaded with hundreds of classic Williams or Namco arcade, Atari 2600, or Commodore 64 games, making the actual consoles unnecessary. You can go to Hot Topic, and leave sporting a vintage looking Atari shirt. You can watch G4, and see a cartoon that takes place during the 80s rendered in blocky sprites, complete with health statii and score fields. You can tune into your favorite station and hear Nelly Furtado sing over a track that Timothy "Timbaland" Mosley ripped from Glen Rune Gallefoss' C64 version of Janne "Tempest/Damage" Sunni's Amiga MOD track, "Acid Jazzed Evening".
But like saints descending from that heavenly land of Norway, the duo known as Year6581 has redeemed us, saving us from the blatant commercialization and trendification of our sacred pastime. Year6581 consists of two Norwegians who sing over back up tracks programmed on their trusty Commodore 64. The MOS 6581 analog synth lines bubble euphorically underneath hyper-nerdy lyrics consisting of tractor beams, gravitons, and cylon detectors.
Admittedly, these melodies and chord changes on more conventional instruments would make me want to puke, as they are similar to those found in the pop-punk genre, but presented like this, it just makes me so happy! I pogo around to this!!!
The songs on their myspace are better mixed, sound a lot better, and must be newer versions, but on their website they are downloadable, plus about twice as many.
Also along the same lines, but much more intense and less happy, are 8-Bit Weapon. www.myspace.com/8bitweapon
Praises to Year6581!!!