"An 8-bit Tribute To The Smiths" (Album, 2009)
What initially seemed somewhat leftfield as a concept (but, hey, there are 8-bit tributes to just about any genre/artist you can think up) actually makes a lot of sense. The Smiths were always about a memorable tune and some unforgettable lyrics, and 8-bit chip music is well-placed to recreate a memorable tune. Vocally, there's a lot of low-res and vocodered takes which are more of a mixed bag – male and female. The latter often creating the most interesting effect, such as on There Is A Light That Never Goes Out by Leeni. There are only seven songs included on this album and even though the Smiths' originals were rarely more than four minutes each, here they sometimes end up shorter still; as the focus is on laying down only the essential elements – and in doing so staying true to the limited number recording tracks used by many 8-bit artists.
Instrumental opener How Soon Is Now? by Joseph and His Talons, for example, runs just over 1 minute – enough to convey the heart of the tune and nothing more. The other six are Crashfaster's Bigmouth Strikes Again, Matt Shogi's This Charming Man - one of the finest old-school 8-bit game tune versions, Lynit's The Headmaster Ritual, Alex Luthor's A Chip and a Bit and the Land Is Ours - a warm instrumental, Beta Club Field Trip's Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me. Slight, but it could just be the ideal alignment of source and tribute for some. 6/10
Rob Dyer (November 2012)