This holiday, take a holiday to another world, chip music style. An imagined NES dimension, here envisioned (CC-BY-SA) torley.

Whether you’re unwrapping presents or not, we’re spending these twenty four hours unwrapping some beautiful musical gifts: have a Yule that’s cool with fine, free/donationware releases. First in the queue…

If unimaginative holiday music on endless repeat has given you the winter blues, the fine folks of Toy Company have the cure. The Montreal-based collective and 8-bit/lo-fi techno party series have brought together a number of friends with original tunes and noise and digital-fuzz-laden covers of tunes like “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night.” Meticulously-rendered, quirky music is free to hear, or thank the artists by naming your own price as this crew works to bring more live music to town. The compilation is called “12​-​24​-​12,” and it’s a great introduction to the crew – out of this sampler, you’re likely to find some artist you appreciate.

A lot of these tracks are Creative Commons-licensed, as well. If that’s not enough chips for your mid-winter desert, see also their lovely compilation from last year:
Toy Company – PLAYROOM Vol​.​1

Not everything is retro-tinged lo-fidelity NES far. You might have noticed Dj CUTMAN’s work is decidedly not 8-bit. That project is, to my knowledge, the first to take on Nintendo’s brand new WiiU console. While these machines will find their way as pure entertainment devices under Christmas trees this year, there’s some comfort in knowing musicians continue to turn commodity gaming hardware into compositional platforms, appropriated musical instruments. Have a listen to that release:

For my part, I’m saving “12​-​24​-​12” as a jetlag tonic as I hop over the Atlantic later this week; I hope you enjoy it in your neck of the woods.