Small world, tracker music edition


18 Responses to “Small world, tracker music edition”

  1. Peter Swimm says:

    “The underlying code was often impenetrable–and effectively uneditable.”

    Actually most mod files are very penetrable and you can just open the mod file in a tracker and easily see what tricks and source samples where used, open source music twenty years early!

    PS: The glory days are still here:

    • The point is that to a 12 year old beginner, tracker markup was often impenetrable because of complex effects, hacks, complex strings of samples, weirdly-pitched samples that couldn’t be replaced without rescaling the notation etc.

      • Peter Swimm says:

         Oh agreed, just wanted to showcase how it wasn’t THAT arcane :D

      • Lee Brown says:

        I spent much of my spare time in the latter grades of high school playing with trackers.  They started out fairly simple with around only 15 instruments max and 15 effects.  These were easy to understand.  Once they added more complex instruments where you could use different samples for different notes, and envelopes to the instruments, and then increasing the effects as well, it did become a bit arcane.

      • intheshadowofleaves says:

        Not that impenetrable; I was 13 when I started using OctaMED, and it took me about a week to get the hang of the markup.

        Man I miss those days. Logic Pro / Pro Tools just aren’t the same.

  2. Fantastic story. I remember listening to MODs that were included on PC Format cover disks. I remember this one – I couldn’t stop playing it! It’s amazing how it almost sounds live, with the strummed guitar samples.

  3. DeMarko says:

    You wouldn’t happen to have your remix somewhere, would you? :D

    • I doubt it — what I managed to save from my old stack of amiga floppies didn’t include it, and I lost some tapes I made of my tracker stuff. I’m more upset about losing the latter because that recording had me arguing with my first dog, who would not stop barking on-mic while I was trying to tape tracker music.

  4. spacemunky says:

    OctaMed is fantastic. It was an amazing entry-level tool for understanding music…first by imitating, then wildly experimenting, until finally forming a unique aesthetic. My friends and I would spend days on exquisite corpse low-fi techno collaborations, full of absurd auditory left turns and in-jokes encoded into music. I still feel bad for the strangers and girlfriends who were forced to listen while we stared at them, searching for any reaction.

    I paid through the nose for imported copies of Future Music, mostly for the samples on the cover discs. I remixed a mod that Tony Horgan, one of the editors, included with an issue just for fun. I sent it to him, on a whim, through this new e-mail thing that people were using. I was kind of stunned when he actually replied and asked me about it. It was my first glimpse of the impending global connectivity that would be completely taken for granted 10 years later.

  5. Alexander Borsi says:

    Reminds me of the days when games required manuals to search for a word on page 8 line 15, and switching disks from side A to side B, and going to HAM radio swapmeets with a box of floppy disks just to have access to the latest software, and yelling at my mom for picking up the phone when I was in the middle of a download.

    Thanks BB… Making me feel old on a Thursday.

  6. xzzy says:

    I have 4 minute chunks of all the songs from Lemmings on my ipod.. recorded from an Amiga emulator.

    Those tunes somehow never get old, and it still impresses me what kind of quality they could coerce out of the hardware back then. 

  7. Anthony Reaney says:

    Blast from the past, Octamed and Future Music
    Happy memories

  8. Xploder says:

    And here I thought I was a geek for programming Frank Zappa’s Black Page No.1 note by note on a TI 99/4a waaaay back in the day. Sure wish there had been a program for that back then!

  9. benher says:

    @beschizza:disqus Holy Octamed Tracker MODs blast from the past! I didn’t realize you were an old Amiga head! Only a small fraction of my old mods remain (damn floppies) but I still have most of my old DeluxePaint game graphics!

  10. Jani Halme says:

    A while ago, I wanted to send my friends a link to a MOD file but realized that hardly anyone would be able to listen to it as having a player software installed is quite rare these days. To overcome this limitation, I made this small experiment using the Web Audio API currently supported by Chrome and Safari:

    It plays 4-channel Amiga Protracker/Noisetracker and multichannel PC FastTracker modules. File parsing, playback and channel mixing is all implemented in Javascript, so you programmer types can easily have a peek at my horrible, mostly uncommented code. Most effects are implemented although some may not be fully accurate and Chrome seems to occasionally stutter a bit so Safari sounds currently better. It’s also possible to link directly to modules, for example:

    Anyway – have fun listening to some oldskool Amiga tunes!

  11. I was actually asking myself if it was him, since the credits in “The Incident” only say Cabel :-)

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