Chilean band brings jazzy touch to classic game soundtracks

Font Size

SANTIAGO, Chile — A Chilean band is bringing smooth saxophone melodies and spine-tingling bass lines to classic video game soundtracks in its quest to attract more youngsters to jazz.

The four friends in their twenties who make up the group Jazztick started out playing on the streets of Santiago, hoping to popularize the genre in Chilean culture.

Now full-time musicians, the question they’re most often asked is what does America’s original art form have to do with the geeky world of gaming?

“The worlds of jazz and video games aren’t so far apart,” explains pianist Max Gonzalez, who counts US greats Bill Evans and Chick Corea among his heroes.

“They are both tools that allow for a lot of improvisation. And on the piano, the notes and the melody belong to me, I am master of my character and my actions.”

The sounds of the sax, electric bass, drums and piano mingle with the pings and crashes of 1980s classics such as Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog as well as some more recent hits like Metal Gear Solid.

It is a musical journey through time in which listeners finds themselves immersed in a melange of jazz-fusion peppered with funk and Latin influences.

“Video games are huge in Chile, and we grew up on these sounds. Through our music, we take our audience back to their childhood,” says Jazztick’s bassist Sebastian Vera, who founded the band in 2014.

“With this mix, we attract adults to music from video games and we bring young people towards jazz music.”

“Some passers-by stopped because they liked the sound of our swing. But most got into our sound because they recognized the melodies of famous games,” says drummer Victor Becerra, all of 20 years old.

The band is among a growing number of groups from around the world specializing in interpreting the soundtracks of successful game sagas.

Originally added to immerse gamers in the story and help them focus, classic gaming soundtracks have been re-invented with covers ranging from symphonic orchestras to heavy metal to electronic remixes with thumping beats. — AFP