sprite storage format - reviews

de:bug [03/2000]
klangstabil mag ich prinzipiell erstmal gerne, denn mit ihrer 'boehm gott der elektrik'-lp rockten sie vor nunmehr drei jahren mein zimmer und tun es immernoch. damals waren es die rhythmusautomaten von heimorgeln, heute sind es gameboys, mit denen klangstabil ihre tracks bauen. hat ja unter anderem auch schon alec empire gemacht und mich damit ziemlich gelangweilt, weil die tracks einfach wie eine alte atari-konsole klangen, was vielleicht oder doch eher wahrscheinlich so sein sollte. auch klangstabil klingen nach computerspiel, aber mehr nach solchen, die noch nicht erfunden sind. duester und manisch, schwer repetetiv, angezerrt und trippelnd. so, als ob dir donkey kong erzaehlt, was er nachts so traeumt. ob ich das wissen will, weiss ich nicht wirklich, aber jetzt ist es schon passiert. checken, gibt nur 500 kopien. http://www.klangstabil.com http://www.ant-zen.com thaddi ****

mute! magazine [12/2000]
ant-zen mario vs luigi in an all out, nintendo approved, power noise war. rhythmic industrial at it's finest and recorded on our childhood friend... the gameboy. the guys behind klangstabil give it to us this time with "symmetrical reduction" and "bitplates out of phase", both hefty, danceable, and tear jerking as you remember that dismal day when you traded in your gameboy for your mother's kidney operation.

re:mote magazine [04/2000]

are you ready for the next wave of gaming? klangstabil studios in association with ant-zen audio visual arts present sprite storage format - six levels of game boy fun! well actually it's a 6 track 12" constructed from sounds generated by a game boy - in a sleeve that imitates a game boy. here klangstabil are row stripping japanese bitplanes out of romphase from the crowded tiles of symmetrical reduction and placing them on row 0 of your sprite storage format ready for you to access across the two segments: select blue and start grey. select blue starts with bitplanes out of phase, a stream of bleeps that converge on a rhythm form. an electronic melody is then added to that - a bleepy pattern that is smoothly engaging. rhythm layers become agitated in their glitchiness, contrasting the melody in klangstabil fashion. towards three minutes the melody escalates into its most impressive stage - clean and catchy. though in continual search of contrast klangstabil allow different discord. we continue with rowstripping - strings of sounds which start off percussive, in a blocky 2d fashion, and mutate to increasingly electronic form. though with the full bleep achieved layers are added to the central loop - blunt percussion and snappish distortions providing the rhythmic layers. rowstripping enters into more chaotic territory than bitplanes - the heavy layering adding to this feeling. alarm cycles loop over a babble of electron signal and the jittering static beat stutter. select blue concludes with the forefront static bluntness of tile crowding, a pixel glitch across this units screen. the bleeps creep in as motion simulation, the pistoning legs of the space ship across the screen and then it's down a row, it's closer and the sound emphasises the greater threat. coherent stretches are ominous amongst the randomness of game play. sprite storage format moves from select blue into mode 2 - start grey. the first selection here being symmetrical reduction, which maintains a similar feel to tile crowding, but in a manner which is more focussed. the sounds layer in a denser fashion, perhaps suggesting that a more intense level has been attained. your hand to eye is manic as you try to keep up with the burgeoning motions of symmetrical reductions. start grey is reduced to japanese roms, a distinctly glitchy electro melody. again this tune is considerably catchy, though the sound is of course disjointed. the sound loops in a relentless form, mutating just as we consider monotony. more of a bonus maze level than threatening invasion, and quite possibly my favourite track here. after the extended joy of japanese roms we reach the final level of game play - |row 0|---hi---. which has something of roms in it, but in a fashion that is distorted. that suggestion is lost in the burble of bass and bleep analogue patterns - a fairly rapid structuring. suggestive of pursuit with tight rays of focus shot through that at intervals. past three minutes this all seems to become thicker sounding, gravity takes an effect for that moment and drags us down. though that force resisted we're up and running again, boosted by some sort of enhanced enthusiasm. but with that burst it's all over - disconnect - game over.

seven, nezzwerk.com [04/2000]

ssF listening to this record, at first you could be appalled with monotonous sound manipulations, when klangstabil seems to find a cool loop and exploit it throughout the whole song. however it does grow on you gradually, as the music moves forward and in addition to frequencies and distortion you get some nice atonal high-pitched analog bleeps and noises. chaotic, repetitive, it has some weird spell that haunts you when you listen to it. as long as you acknowledge the fact that it is not trying to be diverse or present an easy entertainment, you should enjoy its bizarre atmosphere. it turns out that listening to this record loud does change the perception quite a lot. the combination of thick noisy textures and cut-up soft, videogame-like torn synths and keys is quite fascinating before it gets too repetitive to be fully enjoyed. the atmosphere on each track might be described as surreal - pure sound manipulations are not suited for creating a stable and emotional music atmosphere - it is rather an elaborate exercise in constructing collages of clashing, pulsing, spinning, collapsing noises, loops and funky repetitive sounds. after you learn that this record has been done in realtime using gameboy, it acquires yet another quality as a peculiar manifest of modern electronic primitivism.

ouk magazine [04/2000]

klangstabil - sprite storage Format - ant-zen der gameboy hat schon manchen lehrer oder bahnreisenden mit seinen begleit- geraeuschen zur verzweiflung gebracht. verzweiflung verwandelt klangstabil in begeisterung respektive unverstaendnis je nach musikalischer oder auch klanglicher vorstellung, denn vorliegende lp wurde unter zuhilfenahme einiger effektgeraete ausschliesslich mit der lieblingsspielekonsole der 90er eingespielt, sogar das coverdesign entspringt der gameboy-cam. sehr industriell anmutender und unmoeglich einzuordnender sound, dessen rhythmik der innewohnenden monotonie entspringt, waehrend auf beat im konventionellen sinne fast gaenzlich verzichtet wird. klingen so die computerspiele 2030? ][ motik

popcontrol [06/2000]
a gameboy was used to create this album, neccessarily making it rather minimal and experimental. given this, it's a very good album and recommended to anyone who enjoys concept albums of this type. however, if the source equipment of an album means little to you this album probably isn't for you. the gameboy limits the depth of the album and it's replayability to a certain extent. however, the limitations of the gameboy also showcase the talent required to pull this album off in the first place. (krist)

l'ultime atome [07/2000]
difficile de les appréhender clair et net, les deux savants métallos de klangstabil (maurizio blanco et boris may). en quelques disques , ils nous ont déjà servis les nappes industrielles les plus déchirantes de l'univers, sinon du nord de l'europe. ainsi que des variations aux rythmiques en creux (toujours sur matériel de récupération, dirait-on). mais encore un morceau d'électro mélo presque pop (enchanteur) sur la fameuse compilation "technoir" du label hymen au printemps 1999... les revoici avec un disque entièrement dédié aux jeux vidéo (où ils sont aussi allés puiser leur matière sonore). au passage, on respire un peu, en les découvrant capables d'humour... car leurs trombines à faire peur ne nous avaient jamais rassurés jusqu'ici. mais au-delà de ce rigolo concept, qu'est-ce qu'il vaut, ce disque ? il sert une électro rêche, on ne peut plus. jouant jusqu'à l'extrême sur l'aspect cheap de ce matériel sonore - notamment sur quelques morceaux extrêmement répétitifs, dont seuls certains deejays super astucieux pourront tirer quelque chose d'intéressant -. lorsqu'ils s'orientent vers l'électrocore, donc, ils n'aboutissent pas réellement. l'aspect ludique, blippant, donne de meilleurs résultats : des passages électro drôles, finauds, et pas si kitsch. astuce et perversité. de quoi faire regretter que les deux mb ne nous fassent pas plus souvent de cette sorte de blague ; car nos zygomatiques en redemandent autant que nos orteils.

malignantrecords/spectrum [03/2001]
with the concept of this release revolving around tracks created from a gameboy as the main sound source, you are assured an unusual listen on this. an obvious hint of cheesy computer game sounds is unavoidable, but these elements are actually cut and looped into patterns and sequences that create credible sounding tracks. mostly chugging computer glitches and segments are looped into discernible format which seem to hold for most of the tracks´ lengths. "raw stripping" is less recognizable as being generated from computer game music, a sinister electronic track of malfunctioning software origin. complexities of rhythms and beats gradually structure themselves around the track´s core making for quite a noisy, static-riddled piece. what could only be a mario boys type tune is looped on "symmetrical reduction" that creates quite a quirky groove within the repetitive choppy static beats. more obvious gameboy looped tunes are found on "japanese roms", here relying less on beat structures other than straight programmed noises. the gameboy inspiration goes even a step further in regards to packaging, with group photos taken and printed via a gameboy camera and printer and with the shape and clear insert of the slip sleeve cover likewise looking like an actual gameboy. i will admit that i initially bought this more so related to the gimmick factor (and wanting to hear what such a project would sound like), yet overall this is a surprisingly compelling listen.

unstick the brain [06/2002]
recently, the forefront label in the the (no need to call it!) industrial scene, ant-zen released the last work of the german-italian project klangstabil. here mr maurizio blanco - who is the owner of the very respected label MHz releasing technoise related projects only in limited vinyl versions - and mr boris may offers us a 12", that includes 6 compositions with samples taken from the nintendo gameboy. the sounds and sequencing comes straight from this little machine and for the whole out-come was used a ms20, a vocoder plus various effects. klangstabil, as some of you might already know, like to use elements from the very start of electronic music and also from basic and simple machines treating them in a way that listening to them appears very fresh and modern. the sound of the record is noisy enough with characteristic depth and massive frequencies. the compositions follow the classical klangstabil style of complicated minimalist ideally and with great care crafted. "symmetrical reduction" stands for its danceable breakish rhythm, "tile crowding" for its raw power and "bitplanes out of phase" as a very beautiful and well treated experimentation that is also danceable. as a conclusion we could say that with their first work in ant-zen, klangstabil honors the label, althought this is not the first time that mr. stefan alt ant the duo have cooperated (remember the vinyl in hymen, which is sidelabel of ant-zen and that the site of hymen was built by maurizio blanco) offering us a great work that contributes a lot to the rhythm noise section of ant-zen´s "actions"

the new gamer [07/2007]
while klangstabil wasn't the first band to make & distribute game boy-created music, they were the first i ever heard of to do so! sprite storage format was released on rhythm-noise label ant-zen in february 2000, and certainly turned quite a few of my friends' heads, but by the time word of the release trickled down to me, the lp was already unavailable. deleted, in ant-zen-speak. so i just forgot about it, at least, until i started up this column. sprite storage format is quite pure in its execution. there are no accompanying tracks, instruments or inserts; all sounds were recorded via dat in real-time from a game boy (via the somewhat-newly created nanoloop program), but they did apply some additional effects processing (again, in real-time) to the audio. consequently, a good deal of the tracks don't sound like your standard game boy-produced affairs, and overall the album's sound is much crunchier and comes off more organic than canned. frankly, if you played the ep for me i'd have a hard time recognizing the sound's roots, which isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. but one thing is obvious: klangstabil weren't milking the game boy sound for its nostalgic value. while the sounds are more imaginative, the structure of the songs themselves don't do much for me. the bulk of the album's tracks come across as banal noise noodling, aimless plodding that tries to evolve the tones than build an actual composition. the track '|row| --hi---' is especially guilty of this, as it's mostly comprised of the same atonal series of blips, and barely grows at all during the track's five minute running length. it's needlessly shrill, tedious, dull and, apart from the handheld novelty, hardly worth sitting through. that's not to say the ep is completely bereft of quality tracks. 'row stripping', while basic, has a hooky rhythm and, as the song progresses, evolves a nice balance of textures and layering; noisy cacophonies that find their own sense of time and place in the listener's ears. it finds its own groove, which ultimately elevates it above the rest of the tracks on the album. even though 'row stripping' is worth listening to, it's hard to recommend sprite storage format to even the most eager chiptune fans. as a concept it certainly was ahead of its time, but it's not the most engaging work available. of course, it's all rather a moot point since it isn't exactly easy to come by. however, if you are interested in a digital copy, the entire album is available for download from emusic or itunes. and if you choose to go the extra mile and hunt down one of the 511 lp copies, well, i'm sure you'll love the gorgeous cover art. lastly, it's worth noting that, while sprite storage format came out prior to their full-length game boy-created album gioco bambino, gioco bambino was actually created first. unfortunately, i still haven't been able to obtain a copy of this album so, for the purposes of this week, i'm essentially neglecting it. if you like what you hear of sprite storage format though, i recommend you hunt it down. and, with any luck, i'll be able to cover gioco bambino in an upcoming article. glenn turner