Symphonic celebration of golden age of British computer music
Hull to host 8-Bit Symphony concert 15th June 2019: tickets now on sale.
The forgotten golden age of British computing genius will be celebrated at the world premiere of a special concert featuring 90+ epic minutes of game music in Hull next year.
8-Bit Symphony will feature tunes from the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC lovingly re-orchestrated in the spirit of the original and performed by Hull Philharmonic Orchestra.
The city is home to legendary composer, Rob Hubbard, who pioneered the use of music in gaming and wrote for more than 75 games in the 1980s before moving to Electronic Arts in San Francisco to become hugely influential in the development of interactive computer music.
Mr Hubbard recently agreed to come out of retirement to compose the tune for “Go Go Dash”, a new platform game created by Hull College to showcase the opportunities it offers for people interested in working in the city’s growing digital sector.
The college is also supporting the concert which has been pioneered by 8-Bit impresario, record label boss, publisher and music remixer Chris Abbott, who also runs C64Audio.com, a website dedicated to the music of the Commodore 64.
Chris said: “There’s no big corporate money waiting in the wings for Commodore 64 music, so I’m really grateful to Hull College for finally giving this amazing team, led by Rob Hubbard himself, a chance to showcase these astonishing orchestrations. They truly have to be heard to be believed.”.
“These early musicians were the best video game musicians in the world and millions heard their work.
“They were often eccentric pioneers who were ahead of the rest of the world as rock stars in a cottage/bedroom industry.
“Many people went into the video game industry as a result of these early musicians but their work hasn’t really been respected or remembered appropriately.
“This concert is a celebration of that fondly remembered age of good old British ingenuity and gumption: a time of Monty, Jet Set Willy, Ocean, Imagine and Zzap!64”
More than 100 composers, graphics artists, programmers and software house bosses are expected to attend.
For Chris, the concert is also the realisation of a 30-year dream.
"I have apparently been so obsessed with this music that I have ended up acquiring the publishing rights, signing up composers, hosting live events, releasing remix CDs, running successful Kickstarters and even teaching myself orchestral arrangement!” he said.
“It’s real music and although we were all told by our mums to turn off that racket – this is our last laugh, especially since some of our mums will be there on the night. I know my mum will be!”
Covering genres from Kung-Fu Movies (such as “The Last Ninja®”) to 80s epic Sci-fi (“Mission Fred”) to John Williams-esque romps (“William Wobbler”), the concert is billed as an experience similar to discovering a world of lost 80s film soundtracks, with the best melodies, and the biggest sound played by an orchestra (conducted by Robin Tait) bigger than the one that performed “Star Wars” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”
Other iconic tracks featured include Monty on the Run, Ghosts and Goblins, Forbidden Forest, Aztec Challenge, Comic Bakery and Green Beret.
The concert is also a tribute to late composers Ben Daglish (d. 2018) and Richard Joseph (d. 2007), both of whom were lost to lung cancer, taken before their time. They were both huge fans of orchestral performance and composition. Ben has three co-arrangements in this concert and was active in its development, and Richard has two tracks including the comic “Stifflip and Co.” which will feature a “drunken” violin cameo by his good friend, colleague and ex-Bullfrog composer Mark Knight.
A proportion of money raised is to be donated to SpecialEffect, which helps people with disabilities play computer games, and Macmillan Cancer Support.
If successful, following its world premiere in Hull, Chris and the team plan to tour variations of the concert both in the UK and Europe.
8-Bit Symphony takes place at Hull City Hall on Saturday, 15 June at 7.00pm. Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday, 16 November 2018. Book at the Hull City Hall Box Office, call 01482 300 306 or click here. For more information on the concert, click here.
“The Last Ninja” is a registered trademark of System 3 Software Limited.