If someone walked up to you at a party and said ‘Hi! I’m Unicorn Kid!’, you’d probably smile politely and think:
‘Nice boy. Bit of a tit’.
But if that person also said ‘Oh and by the way, I’m a bit nifty when it comes to this whole ‘music’ malarkey and happen to be one of those ‘Up n Comin Talent’ things that everyone is always tarting on about’, it would suddenly ALL MAKE SENSE. Then you’d remember you did the same with Cocknbullkid last year, and Lady Gaga the year before that. These people aren’t just funny named normal folk whose parents hate them. These people are in the music biz! And that makes everything ok. No one wants to buy a record made by ‘Carol from Inland Revenue’ or ‘Telesales Tony’, right? Right.
Unicorn Kid also goes by the name of Oli Sabin, and he’s been making some notable ripples in the music industry since first spinning onto the scene at the age of sixteen, with his distinctive brand of Chiptune pop. Since 2009 he’s released two EP’s (Lion Hat and Wee Monsters), produced an official remix for The Pet Shop Boys single ‘Did You See Me Coming’, and provided live support slots for Calvin Harris and Hadouken! on their UK tour. He’s also been announced as the official support act for the European leg of Owl City’s world tour, and currently has just over 2.5 million hits on Myspace. AND HE’S STILL ONLY 18! *mourns wasted youth*
So what does a Unicorn Kid sound like? Well, a bit like this:
And if you’re currently thinking of a giant 90’s game boy console dancing its tits off at a rave next to Pacman and Sonic The Hedgehog, you wouldn’t be far off. Chiptune is a unique style of music which is produced using the sound chips of old games consoles such as the Sega Mega Drive and Commodore 64, resulting in a simple electronic sound which is instantly familiar. It’s a genre which has become increasingly prevalent on the live scene since the mid noughties, and is gradually working its way into mainstream pop, with artists such as Ke$ha (Tik Tok), Robyn (U Should Know Better) and Eminem (Hellbound) recently using Chiptune sampling in their music.
The instantly recognisable ‘games console’ sound which characterises Chiptune simultaneously works as its main strength and weakness. Chiptune lovers are drawn to that infusion of nostalgic childhood warmth which the genre provides, but this same ‘nostalgia’ factor can sometimes make it seem gimmicky or kitsch. The trick is to use sounds ingrained in 80’s/90’s pop culture and somehow incorporate them in a way which sounds fresh and original in a 2011 setting. It’s a tough act to pull off, and Unicorn Kid is currently pulling it off in spades.
Songs like ‘Chrome Lion’ and ‘Boys of Paradise’ (both available on his new Tidal Raves EP) combine Chiptune samples with epic, melody driven dance beats and manage to capture the nostalgic essence of Chiptune while still sounding current. The E.P is brimming with youthful energy and carefree exuberance- it’s euphoric rave pop in all its glow stick glory, and brings the genre of chip tune ever closer to the mainstream. It makes you want to go mental on a beach wearing neon ray-bans while sucking on a Calipo. And that’s no bad thing.
WELL DONE UNICORN KID.
The ‘Tidal Raves’ E.P will be available as a free download from Unicorn Kid’s website over the next few weeks: www.unicornkidmusic.co.uk
Chrome Lion: Released August 29th
Boys of Paradise: Released September 19th
True Love Fantasy (featuring Talk To Animals): Released October 10th