I’m not a great muso; talking about music makes me uncomfortable. A hangover from my younger days when what you listened to defined who you were. I was having none of that faux-tribal identity crap, and learned very quickly to hate schoolyard, testosterone-fuelled bullshit about how one couldn’t possibly like both The Pet Shop Boys and Anthrax. So much so, in fact, I just gave up.

So I never really “got into” music. I don’t know much about it. The NME musical taxonomy pub debate makes me fantasise about gross acts of violence involving a cello. Of course I listen to the stuff, it’s impossible not to, but not as often as most folks. I can’t write and listen to music with lyrics, for example, so I prefer silence. Or tweeting birds. The wind in the trees. Whalesong. Whatever it is, as long as it doesn’t lead to another tedious discourse on who influenced who when with what Moog chords.

Once, asking me about music would earn you a response only slightly less aggressive than my rebuffs to football conversational gambits. For years I pretended not to care what people think, now I (almost) genuinely don’t. I even have an Atomic Kitten song in my iTunes library. I’ll admit that. That’s how little I care. So what? They were nice to look at.

One genre I’ve favoured a little above other cacophonic narcissistic posturings (I’m looking at you, Morrissey) is electrical stuff, or Electronica, or whatever the hell I should call it. I like synthy noises. They remind me of robots making love, and I like robots. A large part of my musical exposure was through computer games. I suppose that’s it. Whatever. You judge me on your own terms, I refer you to my above comment about Atomic Kitten.

In celebration of game music then, here are some unconnected computer sounds that I lumped together for no other reason than I crave attention and it’d make a blog post. Have a look. What? No, I don’t listen to these. Not for fun, anyway. They are curiosities, little flashing insight-fish to the darkling shoals of my mind. Or something.

House of the Rising Sun

In direct contradiction of my profession to favour bleepy noises, one of my favourite songs is “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals. When I have had enough beer to convince myself I can sing, I sing this. Here it is played by old computer equipment repurposed as instruments. Very clever, if not exactly beautiful. I blogged this a while back, but it’s worth revisiting.

Sins of a Solar Empire

Computer games jostle shoulders with movies nowadays for position as the pre-eminent form of mega-budget entertainment. Soundtracks are only one aspect of cinema games shamelessly ape. This is too synthy and therefore not as powerful as it should be, but works when you’re blowing up spaceships. Point is, it’ll not be long before the Prague Philharmonic will be playing the likes of this for compilation CDs rather than Babylon 5 incidental music. (We still have CDs, right?)

Sonic the Hedgehog

I have lots of brothers. I’m a lot older than the youngest ones, but the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog helped keep me close to them. Now the cheeky blue rodent is helping me bond with my son. Thanks, little Japanese hedgehog. The Starlight Zone’s low-rent Las Vegas booze-lounge theme always blissed me out (especially if it had some liquid help). Is it sad to admit that this is my ringtone? It is, isn’t it?


The majority of 80s and 90s computer game themes were either classical music delightfully butchered (hello, Lemmings) or three bars endlessly repeated. Worms enjoyed the latter. It was a real “ear worm”. Ha ha ha. Enjoy my humour Earth-peeps. Here’s a bizarre heavy metal tribute to it.


I spent more time listening to the loading theme of this BBC Micro text adventure than playing it, because it took forever to load and was ridiculously hard. This is horribly harsh on the ear, nevertheless I always thought it impressive Level 9 wrung Vivaldi’s Winter out of a 32k computer with a speaker intendend to emit piercing warning beeps. Thanks to YouTube, I can not enjoy it all over again.


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