Continuing our look at ridiculously young musicians we head oop north to Scotland.
Nestled away in Leith, near Edinburgh, is a youngster who is probably awaiting the results of his GCSEs. Or some sort of equivalent, we’re not entirely sure what is taught over the border. Perhaps it’s basic hunting skills in case everything goes a bit ‘Braveheart’ again? Or possibly just English, Maths and Science.
Now we’ll give you some prior warning before you continue this particular Trawl. It’s the return of the dreaded chip music.
The last time we featured such a style we got lots of angry people complaining we got our genres wrong due to the hardware used or something. We don’t really care, it sounded like chiptune to us and anyway, hecklerspray is always right.
Hopefully, the songs of Unicorn Kid won’t upset anyone too much.
Right, before we go on, here is a list of his gear that has been specially modified to make all those glorious noises.
We don’t understand exactly what everything does, but it keeps us happy. He uses a laptop running FL Studio 8, Casio VL-1, Casio LK-6, Speak and Spell, Game Boy Advance running Ikinari Musician, Guitar Hero controller and the incredibly-named Korg Microkorg.
Now that the boring, technical, geeky stuff is out of the way, we can get on to the music.
Once again it is great to find some music of this genre which isn’t totally gash and as generic as the stuff everyone else is churning out. It’s easy to shove a Mario cartridge into your yellowing NES and sample it.
Yes, it may well sound just like the game, but it quickly gets a bit boring, don’t you think?
In fact, just the other day we were looking around at some poorer quality stuff of this nature, judging and laughing as we do, when the artist in question suddenly told us all the games sampled. Frankly, we’d rather be guessing than knowing – it’s just like a guitarist telling us how to do that killer riff; simply not as much fun once you can do it yourself. Remember, oh zealots of chippy music, experimentation is the key.
Unicorn Kid is not one of these poorer examples of the genre. Instead of concentrating on hard beats and warping the mind of the listener to mush, there is a much more constructed effort going on melodically.
Multiple synths are layered and constantly come in and out, keeping the record fresh and exciting. There are no 11-minute epic songs either, which keeps the formula short and sweet, with songs trickling in and out for more digestible listening.
Among some of the short samples available on his page, we personally find the song ‘All I Want’ to be the best out of all of his tracks. With its uplifting melody lasting throughout, it’s one of those songs that oddly you shouldn’t be able to dance to. Though you’ll still be able to flop around like a fish out of water… or maybe that’s just us.
So at 16 ripe years of age, what has the Unicorn Kid achieved? More than us musically it seems. He has signed a record deal with the more than likely popular Skins record label (yes it is related to the TV show).
He’s gone and recorded a booty-shaking set with Vic Galloway for BBC Scotland and he also runs his own graphic design company.
All of the pretty images that decorate his CDs are created by the manchild himself, clothing is available too and it’s better than a £40 T-shirt with “Unicorn Kid” written on a black shirt in neon print. Whilst we don’t know fashion that well, they do remind us of designs by the ace Lazy Oaf brand.
He is about to head off on tour with a band of other crazy chip music makers, with The Chiptune Alliance Tour coming to your city soon, featuring: Anamanaguchi, Random, Sabrepulse, Firebrand Boy, Syphus, Henry Homesweet, We Are The Future, Spheres Of Chaos and, of course, Unicorn Kid.
Hecklerspray aims to tag along to one of these gigs if we are allowed to and will report back on all the madness. The dates are:
24th August – Cathouse, Glasgow
25th August – The Hive, Edinburgh
26th August – Carling Academy 2, Newcastle
27th August – Corporation, Sheffield
28th August – iBAR, Bournemouth
30th August – The Hat Factory, Luton