My solo album:

Gameboys & Pedals

Kenn Hartwig

'While he’s not the first electronic producer to work with a Nintendo handheld, Hartwig finds unique depths of texture. There’s gallons of resourcefulness and detail in his delve into a restricted palette. Showing that retro technologies don’t have to produce retro sounding music.'
The Quietus

'Wie R2­D2 auf Acid. Ein gelungenes Experiment.'
Kölner Stadtrevue

2024 February 9th

Anunaki Tabla

Listen on Bandcamp

It's hot down here! 'GameBoys & Pedals' is my first solo release. The music was created by using only Nintendo GameBoys and effect pedals. Some editing was done in Ableton Live, as well as a bit EQing, dynamics and reverb.

My main GameBoy was broken when I recorded this music, so I used a spare one that did not have the pro sound mod. There is lot of electronic junk noise on these recordings because of that, which actually blends very nicely with the intended audio output.

Here is a non-complete list of the GameBoy software I used:

Shitwave, Chord by Humbletune, SFX Generator, Rez, Pixelh8 Deathray (does all the magic on 'This place has been fouled'), Noise Test, Gradual Decline, GB Electric Drum by Aleksi Eeben, GB303-1 (old abandoned version without dedicated hardware), Ikimu, MuddyGB

Thanks to all the creators of these programs!

Special thanks to Andi, Thomas and Johannes.

Yup, that's a cow alright. I must be getting close.

Composed, performed & produced by Kenn Hartwig.
Recorded 30th Dec 2021 to 5th Jan 2022 at Sauna Studio Berlin.
Mastered by Thomas Ölscher at Railroad Tracks Studios.
Released by Anunaki Tabla.

kennhartwig.de
saunastudio.berlin
anunaki-tabla.com

Notes for whoever may be interested, and myself:

These USB battery packs for GameBoy that are being sold suck. Better use Eneloop rechargeable batteries.

The new Blackberry screens for GameBoys are amazing, yet pricey and unnecessary for music. A colored backlight + bivert chip is much cooler.

A variable clock mod makes the GameBoy incredibly more playable as an instrument. I had one from Thursday Customs installed for years. It was difficult to play and caused the GameBoy to crash. An external one is the way to go!!1 There is a guide at gleix.net/misc-toys-instruments, but that guy made a mistake when placing the trim pots; they need to be in a different position.

Recapping all electrolytic capacitors did help me with various issues. In contrast, replacing the GameBoy's original power regulator board with a shiny new one did only cause me trouble.

Meanwhile, there's all new GB DMG PCBs available. Looks great, have not checked them out yet: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EccVHo-pDGI

EB Electric Drum remains the most playable software for GameBoy. Several years ago, I wrote its creator, Aleksi Eeben, asking for the source code to assign different sounds to the buttons. He answered that he had lost the source code ages ago and suggested that I should just program something similar myself ('It's a good practice'). Someday, I am gonna do it.