On the one hand, nice marketing ploy, Fort Atlantic. A debut album released on an old-school Nintendo cartridge, replete with USB connectivity for computer transfer, might just catch the eye--and credit cards--of video gamers, radio stations, and journalists who otherwise wouldn't have given it a second look. On the other, who cares if it's a ploy? Releasing an album on a Nintendo cartridge is not only a sweet idea, but one no one else seems to have concocted before.
Plus, Fort Atlantic heart and soul, Jon Black, says he wasn't just looking for schtick and eye candy to promote his music. He loved NES as a kid, and part of the anticipation surrounding a new game for him was discovering what cartridge color and artwork would accompany it. Black also wants fans of Fort Atlantic to have something physical, tangible to connect to the band and its music. He knows all cuts end up in digital libraries anyway, so instead of releasing a CD or, uh, cassette tape as the album's nominal hard copy, he opted off the perfunctory path, and chose a medium that meant something to him...and probably a lot of his listeners who grew up alongside him in the 80s and 90s.
The Fort Atlantic record is a blend of analog and digital that mirrors contemporary life. Black notes, “We balance between heartbeats and hard drives. Our art will reflect that when this era is studied in the future." He fluctuates from songs such as "New York Lights", a troubadour folk song of suburban escape, to the 9-minute "Bladerunner meets Gibson Guitars" anthem, “I’m Wrong."
Musically, Fort Altantic meshes then and now. So transferring their music to an NES Cartridge, which buyers will subsequently transfer to hard drives and MP3 players, is not only a novel and memorable move, it's also a practical application, and physical extension, of their art and ethos.
Jon Black previously owned a recording studio in Athens, Georgia. He has toured with The Civil Wars, and opened for the likes of Jack White, Alejandro Escovedo, Mark Kozolek (Sun Kil Moon), and The Whigs.