by ELIZABETH STRAUCH & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & A & lt;/span & couple years ago, Ryan Stolz took his love of Nintendo to the next level. Just 18 at the time, he set out to create, then conquer, his own world of techno beats and campy electronic jingles based on classic console videogames. Armed with synthesizers, sequencers, keyboards and 8-bit cartridges, he became Super Nintechno -- a music project that's gotten thousands of us kids to jump from our game chairs and over to our computer chairs for a listen on MySpace.
Stolz's project takes our shared nostalgia for mastering worlds, flattening Goombas with plumber boots, rotating tetrominoes, and rescuing princesses from evil clutches with clever beats and blends it with his own original "videogamish" noises.
It began as a casual project and stayed that way until Stolz decided to upload his work onto MySpace. Up to that point, his serious gig had been playing drums in a band with some buddies. Once online, though, the Nintechno wouldn't be ignored. "It got more popular than I ever imagined," Stolz says. So he went to work, moving from 8-bit favorites like Tetris to less well-known works. Even those recordings, like "Song of Storms" -- a sinister, synth-heavy waltz drawing heavily from the (shock!) 64-bit Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time -- have gotten a decent number of plays.
People who hate techno can't help but admit that there's something enjoyable to be found in the remixed renditions of music we've heard thousands of times while racking up extra lives and finding secret passages into underworlds -- even if only for a few minutes. You're instantly transported back to alternate realities that feel a little better than you remember, because those mopey "Game Over" tracks never enter the mix.
Similar projects have popped up everywhere over the past several years. Not surprisingly, they first gained popularity in places like Japan, where, in 2005, the song "B-Dash" by techno band Tongari Kids sampled "Super Mario Bros." and earned a Top Five spot in the country's music charts.
Whereas Tongari Kids add their own lyrics, Stolz keeps his songs purely instrumental. They're also truer to the original lo-fi sound with the help of his Alesis Micron synthesizer and Sonar Home Studio 6 sequencer. "I like messing around on synthesizers and incorporating the weird noises I make into my music," he says. As a videogame junkie, he appreciates the music of Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, and his other influences include trance DJ Paul Oakenfold, Primus and Dr. Dre, as well as "life, love, loss, gain, death" and other transferable life experiences you'd find on your favorite console.
While the rest of us continue to master our childhood with noble thumbs, Stolz plans to continue his parallel project, taking requests and reliving more Super Mario and Zelda territory. Personally, we want more Zelda.
Super Nintechno will play between sets of Cyrus Fell Down, Don't Tell Sophie, Future Relics and More Ted at Empyrean on Friday, March 21, at 8 pm. $5. Call 838-9819.