A Bonny Caper

by whixr

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While on a 9400 mile road trip around the western United States, I crash for a week with some old school phone phreak hacker. Seriously, this guy has a working payphone bolted to the wall and a welcome mat that reads 'Come Back with a Warrant". I don't ask how he 'acquired' a payphone.

So anyway, he has too much stuff and is getting ready to auction off all of his 'duplicates'. I spot a sweet, super mint original Gameboy and offer him twenty bucks for it. This guy knows me, so he's like, 'They sell for more than that, but if you do something awesome with it, you can have it for 20'.

After a few more weeks on the road, I'm finally back in my laboratory and I start reverse engineering the audio circuitry of the handheld. The audio output is pretty terrible, so I re-engineer the headphone output to be a clean line level output.

While I'm at it, I add a back-light to the screen, remove the polarization filter, and hijack the two data lines through a hex inverter to reverse the polarity of the pixel data. The original case is in brand new condition and I don't want to scratch it up, so I transplant the guts into an aftermarket bang around injection molded case and replace all of the buttons with silicone. Now we're talking, the Gameboy will work in the dark and plug directly into my recording studio!

As it turns out; Johan Kotlinski, a coder in Stockholm, wrote a custom music sequencer called Little Sound DJ. At one time you could buy cartridges for it, but at this point I'm stuck buying a .ROM and flashing it onto a cart myself. I do that and start learning to use LSDJ. The interface is walls of hexidecimal numbers, but that's ok because I'm old and know stuff about things.

A year goes by. I'm on the road again and crash with this same hacker. I fire up my tricked out Gameboy and play him some of the music I've been working on. He's like 'Is that the one I sold you!?' ... 'Yeah, I said I'd do something awesome with it.' ... 'When does the album come out?' ... *head desk*

So it's been a year since then and here it goes. A full length album made using only an old handheld game console. No remixing, no multitrack, no mastering, what you hear is pure 4 bit all original chipmusic.

That's enough story time, let's go on a bonny caper.


released March 21, 2015



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tymkrs Rochester, Minnesota

It might be true that the Tymkrs are a band of time traveling gypsies armed with soldering irons, or they may have used their time machine to plant misinformation into the past to make us *think* they are. Hard to say ...

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