Stop what you're doing and revel in the heavy chiptune virtuosity that is Master Boot Record

Master Boot Record music video with CRT monitor and old keyboard.
(Image credit: MBR)

I just discovered Victor Love, also known as Master Boot Record (MBR), an Italian musician forging impeccable chiptune compositions with a doomy, apocalyptic twist. His music seems to be the perfect soundtrack to life as we amble ever closer to an impending hostile AI takeover (or at least some big-tech company willing the Torment Nexus to open).

Not only does MBR use synthetic 8-bit music samples, he takes a lot of inspiration from IT in terms of nomenclature, too. Many of his songs are named after command prompts, and "Master Boot Record" itself is the name given to information found in the first segment of a storage drive.

Love makes it clear that his songs are decidedly "100% synthesized, 100% dehumanized". His discography consist of "486DX-33MHz-64MB processing avant-garde chiptune, synthesised heavy metal and classical symphonic music."

In other words, it's dark, intelligent music for hackers and axe-wielders alike.

The music wills you to "configure yourself for optimal performance", and that it does. Frenetic and hyperactive, Love's music is full on from the start. It's marked by fanciful cybernetic trills, rising operatic chord progressions, and tight harmonic fluctuations. One minute you're resonating thoughtfully in a void of glitching pixel chirps, the next you're riding the surf of a fuzzy vaporwave, before being plunged into the depths of a dirty, double-kicked breakdown.

The sounds roll along in a full-bodied, energetic dirge akin to psychedelic rock or sludge, but with enough excitement thrown in that there's no fear you'll end up falling asleep. If you too suffer from an overactive imagination (undiagnosed ADHD?), and have an affinity for things both retro and semiclassical, MBR might have just the sound to help you focus.

Your next upgrade

(Image credit: Future)

Best CPU for gaming: The top chips from Intel and AMD
Best gaming motherboard: The right boards
Best graphics card: Your perfect pixel-pusher awaits
Best SSD for gaming: Get into the game ahead of the rest

Sometimes I feel like I'm racing along with the BPM, in fact, when typing to get to the end of my sentence.

The album covers themselves are something else, too. They feature black and white depictions of defrag menus, CRT monitors, floppy disks, motherboards and the like. Although I'm a little confused as to why there's Viking runes littered everywhere, I can't say it doesn't add to the ominous undertones. 

Yes, Love, Usher me into the halls of 8-bit Valhalla. This was just the music I needed for writing thousand-word articles about the benefits of switching on XMP in my BIOS 🥱.

Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been demystifying tech and science—rather sarcastically—for three years since. She can be found admiring AI advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. She's been heading the PCG Steam Deck content hike, while waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.