Book Series Will Take In-Depth Look at Original Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack

By an author who knows the score

The 33 1/3 book series offers individual, journalistic studies of influential albums by performers ranging from James Brown to Radiohead. In a departure from their standard venues, an upcoming book is going to focus on a smaller but no less memorable collection of work.

Super Mario Bros. - Koji Kondo has been announced as an upcoming 33 1/3 entry. Planned for a May 2015 release, the announcement bills the book as an examination of the contexts surrounding the soundtrack's creation in addition to a study of the music itself:

Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Bros. (1985) score redefined the video game music genre. With under 3 minutes of music, Kondo put to rest an era of bleeps and bloops—the sterile products of a lab environment—replacing it with one in which game sounds constituted a legitimate form of artistic expression. Author Andrew Schartmann takes us through the various external factors (e.g., advances in technology, Nintendo’s marketing tactics) that coalesced into a ripe environment in which Kondo’s musical experiments could thrive. He then delves into the music itself, searching for reasons why our hearts still dance to the “primitive” 8-bit tunes of a bygone era.

Schartmann, who holds degrees in music theory from Yale and McGill Universities, is also the author of Maestro Mario: How Nintendo Transformed Videogame Music Into an Art. Sounds like this upcoming piece will be in good hands.

Does 33 1/3's upcoming look at a classic gaming soundtrack pique your interest? What other tracks or composers would you like to see receive the same treatment?


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