May 23, 2022
Considering how prolific Victor Love has been since launching his Master Boot Record alias six years ago, it feels like an eternity’s passed since the Dope Stars Inc. frontman’s last flurry of activity (2020’s VIRTUAVERSE.OST, FLOPPY DISK OVERDRIVE, and C:\>DEFRAG). Honestly, the guy deserved a break. When we last spoke to the Rome-based producer, Italy was still recovering from its first COVID-19 surge—the one that showed the world just how deadly the pandemic could be—and he’d just wrapped the soundtrack to his very own video game.
On the surface, Personal Computer is more of the same Master Boot Record, pure comfort food pulling its punchy ingredients from the wildly divergent worlds of chiptune, heavy metal, and neoclassical music. But once you realize its running time is slightly north of 60 minutes, and no one’s checked their watch along the way, one thing becomes clear: Love is a composer, first and foremost. Someone who appreciates awe-inspiring string arrangements and Gothic harpsichord grooves as much as runaway guitar riffs and diamond-cut drum loops.
In the scheme of his sprawling back catalog, Personal Computer is Master Boot Record’s mic drop moment, the part where Love tells the synthwave scene—something he’s long avoided and circumvented—to stop playing catch up and pick up a pencil and a pad instead. Forget the fact that he used to release several records a year. What’s truly impressive about this project is the programming itself; you try writing a ride as wild as “80186,” or any of these other power-up pieces for that matter. Considering how tightly woven its template is—Slayer meets saw-toothed synths—Master Boot Record’s music should be the very definition of “monotonous,” and yet it never gets boring. Frankly, it’s exhilarating, making brief respites like the beginning of “80686” and “80386” hit that much harder.
It’s no wonder why Love worked on an actual point-and-click adventure not that long ago; his grid-locked singles are the kind of shredders you wanna crank when you’re 10 hours into a Steam binge and running on nothing but Mountain Dew and Cheetos dust. And once it’s over, the only question left to answer is: Shall we play again?