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Hear Thundercat’s Sweetly Sad Nintendo Tribute ‘Bowser’s Ballad’

Stephen Bruner honors legendary video game magnate Hiroshi Yamauchi

The number of 8-bit reworkings of famous pop songs — like, say, this “Get Lucky” one from earlier this year — is not exactly infinite, but it sure feels that way. This, though, might be the first genuine tribute to the man who helped bring 8-bit music into the homes of millions across the world: Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi, who died last week at the age of 85Thundercat’s “Bowser’s Ballad” honors his legacy, opening with the familiar sounds of early NES but is an original, meditative composition that seems to have a distinct sadness at its heart. The song was co-written/produced by Ruslan Sirota, a Ukranian composer, but it’s bass god Steve Bruner’s inimitable touch that really brings it to life.

Revisit SPIN’s recent chat with Thundercat on the occasion of his new Flying Lotus-assisted album, Apocalypse. The Los Angeleno will also be going out on a short tour in November.

Thundercat tour dates:

November 13 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
November 14 – Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
November 16 – Vancouver, British Columbia @ Fortune Sound Club
November 17 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
November 19 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
November 21 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas Tavern
November 22 – Toronto, Ontario @ Wrong Bar
November 23 – Montreal, Quebec @ Le Belmont
November 24 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
November 25 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
November 26 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
December 5 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echoplex