Global Hit: Gameboyzz Orchestra Project
By Clark Boyd
December 08, 2004

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You've probably listened in as your kids grabbed those hand-held Nintendo Gameboys and played their favorite games. All those blips, boops and beeps create a bit of a ruckus.

Now, Poland's Gameboyzz Orchestra Project has taken that cacophony to a new level. Today's Global Hit comes courtesy of The World's technology reporter Clark Boyd.

The Gameboyzz Orchestra Project calls its sound...appropriately..."blip-pop." Think of it as Donkey Kong meets Norman Cook...or maybe Tetris takes on Kraftwerk.

Any way you slice it, the sound is...distinct. All the sounds are made by six Nintendo Gameboys. Some are the older models...some new.

The Gameboyzz Orchestra Project tweaks the software a bit, and then connects the units through a mixing board. Jarek Kujda is one of the project's founding members. Kujda says he's been heavy into electronic music..and heavy into video games...for a while now.

Jarek Kujda: I play some experimental music and three, four years years ago I first used gameboy in my band...as drum machine...as drum box.

Kujda says he realized that the Gameboy could be used as a rudimentary synthesizer. He wondered -- if one Gameboy can make music...what would happen if he put six of them together?

So, he found five other people who were interested...and the Gameboyzz Orchestra Project was born.

The group, says Kujda, keeps things pretty free-form.

Jarek Kujda: Gameboyzz Orchestra Project is more improvisational project, I think. We prepare some patterns before a concert, and then make improvisation on the concert.

The group plays maybe four or five concerts a year.

Malgorzata Kujda is Jarek's younger sister and a fellow band member. Her description of a Gameboyzz Orchestra Project concert is not exactly inviting.

Malgorzata Kujda: A lot of noise. For example, I make music more hard beats and noises. But each of us make another music, different music. And then in the concert we just improvise, and that I think is more fun for us.

The Gameboyzz Orchestra Project admits they get mixed reactions from audiences. Some love the group's music, and others...not surprisingly...aren't quite sure what to make of it.

In the world of electronic music these purveyors of blip-pop are not unique. But Jarek Kujda says they are distinct.

Jarek Kujda: We have lots of people making music on old school stuff, electronic old school stuff like Commodore, Atari, Spectrum...but we wanna play only experimental music, not cover songs. Something like an electronic jam session, I think.

The Gameboyzz Orchestra Project's tracks are available on-line. The group hopes to make a CD next year.

And they have sponsorship -- courtesy of the Polish distributor of Nintendo products.

The members of the Gameboyzz Orchestra Project don't expect serious competition anytime soon. A Gameboy costs about 200 bucks in Poland these days...still way beyond the reach of most Polish gamers...or musicians.

For the World, this is Clark Boyd.