Building Songs

In the early 90s I had a pretty decent phase where I created music on my Amiga 500 computer. I can’t say that I wrote music… because I didn’t. What I did was more akin to “building” songs, using audio samples placed on a vertical digital conveyor belt. (Think “player piano”) Each sample on each position can also be played as a different note, with individual options for volume, echo, vibrato, portamento, arpeggio, etc… so even though you don’t have to be able to read or write sheet music, you do kinda have to “have the music in you” to create tracker songs.

The tracker that I used was called OctaMED, and even though it could do 8 tracks (using software tricks) I almost always used the better sounding 4 track mode. One track for drums/percussion, one track for bass, one for “vocals”, and the last track for whatever else was needed… guitar, piano, horns, etc. That’s the simplest way of thinking about it anyway. But since it is a sample based format, you could use complete drum fill samples, samples of piano chords, horn flares… so even though it was technically “only four notes at a time” you could fake it for a fuller sound. I barely touched on this in my creations, but some people really pushed this for some amazing sounding songs. (Making me and my songs look like chumps… heh)

This will seem silly, but sometimes I sit around and wonder what effect I’ve had on the world… what I’ll be leaving behind when I die. With over 28 million photo views on Flickr, I can safely say my work there has had an impact – and then I remembered these songs that I made. Like, there are certain SID songsΒ (C64)Β that I still play now and it takes me back to my childhood… and one of my favorite musicians in that format passed away years ago. Yet here I am, still listening to his music and keeping his name alive in my thoughts. I guess that’s what prompted me to throw my songs up on YouTube… so I’ll know that at least a few times a month, someone will probably click, view, and have me in their thoughts. Like I said, kinda silly…

I’m going to make a separate post here in a bit, so I can pick out some of my favorites from the songs that I created and give a little more insight into each of them. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll have to write about them, but I’m sure it’ll come to me as I’m typing.

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Apes… Together… Strong

I’ve struggled these past few days. 😞 Mood was decent until my neck started acting up. Didn’t really do anything that I can think of that would have provoked it. I think it just decided that I hadn’t heard enough from it lately – so it made itself better known. 😣 So I just limited my activity, waited it out, and I think I’m coming out on the other side now. 🀞🏻

During my down-time I ended up renting War for The Planet of The Apes on Google Play (first time I’ve used that service) for which they also gave me a “free copy” of Amityville: The Awakening to watch whenever. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But I’ve been anxiously waiting for the “Apes” movie to be available, and I wasn’t disappointed. πŸ˜ƒ Me, the computer nerd, the animation guy… you’d think that I wouldn’t be able to truly enjoy the movie because I’d only be able to see “computer monkeys” πŸ€“πŸ™ˆ but everything was rendered so authentically that I barely thought about all that through my first viewing. (Yeah, I watched it a second time the next day, even though it’s almost 2 1/2 hours long.)

The other movie… heh… it was an acceptable jump-scare movie, but not much more. No, wait… it also had way more of Bella Thorne’s ass than I anticipated. 😯 (For the record, I anticipated zero ass. πŸ˜…) Another Disney Channel kid that had to prove that she isn’t a kid anymore, I guess. And sticking to the “media” theme, today I got home from running some errands and found a new book in my mailbox. Commodore: The Amiga Years, which is a book that I backed during a crowdfunding campaign by an author who has already done a thick, hardcover Commodore: A Company On The Edge book – which I also happen to own. 😁 (Don’t ask me how much I’ve actually read though. πŸ˜• Gawd I wish I could make my brain slow down enough to actually read.)

Commodore and their computers… for better or worse, they’re a big reason that I am the way that I am today. 😏 From my first VIC-20 that Dad brought back from Hamvention for me in junior high, to my C64 setup in my high school years, then various Amiga computers after I graduated and was out on my own… so I’m hoping that one day when my brain allows it, I’ll be able to sit down and learn all the “behind the scenes stuff” that the world never knew about. Kind of like a written version of Halt and Catch Fire. (Who’d have ever thought that a network would sign off on a show like that, eh?)

All of it was a welcomed distraction.