Here’s a group rarely written about on this blog that deserves way more attention (and, rightfully, has gotten it from places far more legitimate than here). YMCK make chiptune music, but instead of using 8-bit noises as a way to spazz out or as a crutch for nostalgia, they make unabashed J-Pop out of old NES systems. Got at least half-an-hour to kill? Head to YouTube and watch as many YMCK video as you can, it’s a blast. We bring ’em up because they provided a remix for J-Pop outfit Tokyo Girls’ Style’s new single “Kodō No Himitsu.”
Before we talk YMCK some more, let’s focus on the original track. “Kodō No Himitsu” a pretty above-average cut of pixie-dusted J-Pop, less a rip-off of Perfume and more of an attempt to take De De Mouse’s type of electronic joy sound to some sort of candy kingdom. The group-sing bits remind me a little too much of AKB48, but that troupe has never worked with backing music so groove-worthy.
YMCK’s take on the same song doesn’t reveal any major twists from the trio…like they’ve always done, they break out the Game Boys and ran Tokyo Girls’ Style into the cartridge slot…but it’s also predictably good. Their version of “Kodō No Himitsu” doesn’t actually mess with much of the original’s structure once you get past the video-game facelift, but YMCK work in some clever tricks (muffling some of the vocals behind a wall of fuzz, for one) alongside the console noises. Why this, and most of the trio’s work, seems especially impressive is how well chiptune gets translated to straight-ahead pop. Even the silly breakdown from the original gets recreated here quite well. The video is also a whole lot better. Watch below.