Not so RGB
YMCK (Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, and Black for all you non-graphic designers out there) are pure and simple Nintendo-pop. From their colorful pixilated artwork to their 8-bit instrumentation and robot-voice vocoder interludes, everything about this band is saturated with NES culture. They even go so far as to lift bars from Super Mario Bros. and give songs playful names such as “Tetrominon ~From Russia with Blocks~.” The 80’s videogame nostalgia is out in full force on their debut, Family Music.Judging by how many times my parents shut off my Nintendo and forced me to go outside, I would hardly consider this “family music.” This will really only appeal to a few select groups of listeners: hardcore gamers, people who wish Daft Punk were literally robots, and fans of bizarre J-pop. That being said, the trio of YMCK execute their creative vision quite well.
Midori’s vocals are soft and almost childlike, a stark contrast to the somewhat shrill and sharp electronic compositions of Yokemura and Nakamura. The opening beeps of “Fanfare” give the impression that you just pushed power on a game system, not a stereo. “Magical 8bit Tour” and “Does John Coltrane Dream of a Merry-go-round?” are essentially Gameboy Bebop, a sort of electro-jazz that brings to mind Mario plucking away at pixel-jagged standup bass while Link and King Koopa puff up their cheeks blowing through some 8-bit brass.
By the time the climatic finale “Your Quest Is Over” kicks in, you feel a sense of victory, like you just saved the princess without using any continues. But then you realize you didn’t beat anything; it’s just an album silly!