HDK 56 † BONES & DAWSON "Chip of Depression" CASSETTE

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Listen / Buy digital version here:  BONES & DAWSON - Chip of Depression

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The 80s: years when nuclear paranoia was skyrocketing, in the movies there were computers that spoke in stupid voices and everyone went on roller skates; meanwhile, teenage nerds had menaged to enter in war computer systems and control terrible weapons capable of changing the fate of humanity... but then everything led to a happy ending. Yes, it was the 80s.

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HDK dug into 80s archives of a movie production studio and found the script of a never-shot film that can be considered a variation on the "Wargames" theme. Its working name was "Chip of depression". The script is really great, full of suspence and dramatic turn of events. Not having the money to make a film, we have at least written the soundtrack of it!

The two Italian-Finnish musicians Andy Bones and John Dawson turned on their analog synthesizers and plunged into the cold war era atmosphere. The result is a spectacular album: an Italo-disco masterpiece, a perfect exemple of 80s minimal-synth attitude.

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1984: the atomic missile system of the U.S.A. is connected to a sophisticated computer which is capable of processing billions of information about geopolitical situation and formulating real-time military strategies. For some time, the computer, codename MDD-3112, seems to provide unclear and sometimes even contradictory outputs. The strange behavior of MDD-3112 escalates in the summer of ‘84: its outputs are increasingly strange until they become disturbing, when the results of all the simulations result in MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) scenarios.

One night, MDD-3112 suddenly shuts down and scares the missile base technicians, who have sought for the fault for a few hours but without success, until MDD-3112 decides to turn itself on again. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief, but... something terrible is about to happen. In fact, when the computer turns on, the alert system of all US nuclear warhead missiles is activated! The missiles launch is set within 99 days, at midnight on 31 December 1984! The world suddenly finds itself on the verge of a nuclear war at the behest of a machine.

The Russians become aware of the facts and threaten the US to drop bombs earlier if they do not solve the problem. Secret meetings follow between the US and the USSR to resolve the diplomatic crisis and find a common solution. In the meantime, no one is able to stop the MMD-3112 program and secure the situation. The only hope is to find the elderly engineer who was in charge of the design of MDD-3112: he is the only one who can know the secrets of the machine and stop it without unpredictable consequences.

Meanwhile, the news has leaked, the newspapers have spread it: the world panics in the midst of preparations for the Christmas holidays. It turns out that the engineer lives forgotten by everybody in a hospice in Vermont and is very ill. When the government agents finally find him and explain the situation, he is moved: he understands that MMD-3112 is behaving exactly as it was planned, indeed better, and surprisingly. The engineer had designed it to process feelings: in the billions of information assimilated by MMD-3112 there must evidently be also the short article of the Vermont Journal about the old engineer’s sickness. MMD-3112 has thus entered the health information system where it has had the opportunity to follow the course of its inventor’s illness. As his condition deteriorates, MMD-3112 has a depressive collapse: the computer is simply sad about the imminent death of its creator! The old engineer reveals that the name "MDD" means "Major Depressive Disorder" and is the motherchip of the computer, called the “chip of depression". The computer, having no other parameters, randomly chooses the date of the end of the world with the numbers contained in its name: December 31st.

The engineer is taken to the hospice administrative office where he creates a program with an Apple II and saves it on a 51/4 disk. The program is a simple message in which the engineer tells MDD-3112 not to be sad and that he loves him, and above all, to spare all humanity. The disk must be inserted into MDD-3112 as soon as possible. It is a race against time: it is 8 pm on December 31st, 1984. The President of the United States phones the Russian President telling him that the situation is resolved and to stop the launch of the Soviet missiles. But the Russian president is skeptical. The diskette arrives at 11:51 pm at the missile base and is loaded on MDD-3112 at 11.58 pm. At 11.59 pm the computer suddenly turns off and with it also the red alarm lights. The launch process is deactivated. At 00:00 the screen of MDD-3112 switches on again and the laconic green monochrome writing appears: "Happy New Year 1985".

The joy of the technicians and soldiers of the base explodes! ... but it doesn't last long: what about the Soviets? What have they done in the meantime? Have they deactivated the missile program as agreed or are nuclear warheads fatally plowing the skies to hit American cities?