What if the startup sound of the Xbox were, in fact, the start of a proper song?
That's the project undertaken this past week by the Disquiet Junto collective of musicians on SoundCloud. For extra fun, we took the melody, just three notes, and transformed them from the soundmark of a next-generation gaming console into old-fashioned 8-bit computer music. The project was the 99th weekly Junto, and it yielded tracks by 16 participants, heard here in this set list:
The project was inspired by a post on Kotaku by Kirk Hamilton (from which the above image is borrowed). If you click through to Hamilton's post, you can hear the original sound, and follow a great discussion in the comments about a wide variety of gaming and computer startup sounds.
Titled "Disquiet Junto Project 0099: In the Key of X," the music composition prompt involved these instructions:
This project investigates video game sound — not the sound of video games, but the sound of game consoles themselves. The newly released Xbox One has its own distinct startup melody of just three notes: first an E, then a G, then a D. The project this week is to imagine those notes being the core of an original piece of music: What if the theme of the Xbox One were a song, and a lo-fi one at that?
The project instruction is as follows: Record a piece of music with an 8-bit flavor. It should begin with a replication of that same three-note Xbox One pattern (E G D), repeated several times, and then veer off into whatever direction you desire. As the track goes along, feel free to add common video game sounds like explosions, karate chops, crowd noises, engines revving and so forth. Try to keep the whole thing under 90 seconds.
More on the Xbox One project at disquiet.com. I founded the Disquiet Junto the first week of January 2012, and this Thursday, November 28, will mark its 100th consecutive weekly project. As of today, some 400 musicians have posted 2,776 tracks in response to the first 99 projects (and that's not counting folks who have removed tracks for space or who have closed down their SoundCloud accounts). Each Thursday at the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com a new compositional challenge is set before the group's members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate.