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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

The 32-Bit Handhelds
S/T (CD)

I will admit that the "CD-R meets 5.25 inch floppy disc" packaging for The 32-Bit Handhelds release didn't strike me as hard as it probably did anyone else who got the album. This is because it's very similar to the packaging from The Diskettes album that I reviewed. But not that I've become numb to the ingenious use of this old media format. I would love to see the look on the shopkeeper's face as the Asaurus guys bring a load of 100 5.25" discs to the checkout register. I can imagine the 17 year old working at the counter saying, "whut's these fer?"

This is a wonderful integration of Atari 2600 meets guitar, or as they funkily like to put it ... the "Guitari 2600". HEHE. The question put forth in this scientific experiment is "Should I switch my pickups for a pair of cartridges?" I would have to concur, since it makes such a neat sound apparently when you do that! To the heroes of this nerdy adventure, LKN and MGP: you guys are (somewhat unfortunately) speaking to the choir. I get all the jokes completely! This album remains true to their game 'n gadget roots while staying approachable enough to be played as retro tracks at the local high school dance (well, a big, big maybe). I think I may have made this type of comparison before in another review, but again, songs like "Systems Go!", "Flight of the Veritech Fighters", "Woodchuck to Gray Squirrel" are like the Ramones simultaneously discovering the joyful possibilities of Robotech, Nintendo, and keyboard punk rock. Drum machine driven with Tullycraftian keyboard arpeggios, everything seems to click correctly in place. Also, the 13 songs are in total less than a half hour long and this seems a good choice so as not to let the game system novelty wear thin.

I leveled up one after "Bonus Stage" only to come face to face with more crunchy, guitar driven Level Bosses like "0400" and "Domo Arigato Mr Miyamoto". The 32-Bits remind me of another band of bleepings, the somewhat obscure 90s retro band, The Pulsars, although the latter never truly realized the devolutive possibilities between rock music and game machines. Almost like they were a part of an 8 or 16 bit precursor revolution to the current 32 bit one.

Unfortunately, according to their website The 32-Bit Handhelds are on hiatus until further notice. Well, maybe they're just waiting for the 64 or 128 bit revolution to take place. I'll keep my Commodore 1541 drive warm in case they decide to release another floppy disc...

- review by BY (8.15.03)        

Asaurus Records
PO Box 0664
Allen Park, MI 48101-0664

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