By Rhidian Davis, 10 July 2000

Why settle for more when you can have less: Rhidian Davis on Christoph Kummerer's sonic symphonies, courtesy of a Gameboy.

"...and everything is going to the geek. It’s the geek generation. It’s the geek of the heart — it’s being geek and down in the world"

Forget all other contenders — it’s Christoph Kummerer’s live gig why settle for more?, performed with a ripped up Gameboy at this year’s Videopositive, that is the new symphony of sl/hacker attitude. Straight out of pocket-space and with the volume whacked up, Kummerer’s noise generator empties out the computer commodity’s stream of unconsciousness. Listen hard: somewhere between the amplified, attenuated squarewaves hang traces of bus-stop space war and fag-break mega-death, pocketwar pleasures made utterly desolate.

There’s something almost too neat about Kummerer’s idea, but seeing his abused little Gameboy after the performance is irresistibly perverse. And seeing Kummerer himself leads me to ponder: what did existential geeks do before retro-gaming Grunge minimalism? Christoph calls himself a "bad programmer", and the "absolutely non-intuitive" pocketnoise a "buggy piece of code" that keeps the user "feeling lost, like a confused lab rat". "Basically, I used the SDK Gameboy C compiler by Pascal Felber on a Linux box, the Gameboy eXchanger and the 16Mbit flash ROM cartridges they offer. The software enables me to directly access the Gameboy’s internal audio registers to edit their contents and store/switch between presets I program." He’s currently developing anti goal-oriented game ideas ("cleaning up, flipping burgers") and the label project with Christian Hessle and Martin Stepanek.

Gameboy pocketnoise Version 0.0b: why settle for more? was part of ‘one bit louder’, curated by Micz Flor, Videopositive 2000.

Rhidian Davis <rhidian AT>