Thursday, 29 July 2010

Funky Stars - Keygen - Quasar / Sanxion

Music by Quasar / Sanxion. (usually credited as 'Hybrid song' by BRD

If wikipedia is to be believed, this is actually Dj 'Axwell'.. wierd!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Lotus 2 (Intro) - Amiga - Barry Leitch

Music by Barry Leitch

I used to load this up just to listen to the music.

Monday, 26 July 2010


I've recently been attempting to get AHX or Hivelytracker working on an emulated Amiga (WinUAE) without much success, so I was happy to stumble upon Klystrack.
Its described as 'a chiptune tracker, comparable to AHX' 
  • Simple editor familiar to anyone who has ever used a tracker with features from more refined sequencers
  • Chiptune synthesis, no samples used
  • Instrument programs suitable for arpeggio or more complex patches
  • Envelope, ring modulation, filter and more for each channel
  • Stereo output
  • Reverb for SNES cheese
  • Protracker module import (with samples)
  • AHX module import (including instruments)
I dont know how close it is to AHX, or how far developed it is, but i'm interested in giving it a go.
Heres a demo track (a cover of Jazzcat's 'Electric City')

And the original AHX version is HERE

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Chipophone - Linus Akesson

Its all over the internet at the moment, but I couldn't really avoid posting this here as its so incredibly geeky and cool!

Click here for his website page with more details.
This is the guy who created the hardware chiptune player i've previously posted about.  Clearly a very clever guy!  (and can actually play it live!)

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Rambo - C64 - Martin Galway

Music by Martin Galway

Interesting fact - The music contains correct morse code at the beginning. This is from Martin himself:

The Morse-code heard in voice 1 at the start of the tune spells out
the names of the games' creators. The decoded Morse-code is below.
The (*) denotes where the tone of the Morse-code drops. The spelling
is slightly incorrect, letter 'i' always translates as an 'e'.
"I wrote that morse code program myself. Nobody touched it but me. It
was written to handle any text. And I spelt the text right! So - if
you're right - the problem must have been the software. I'm assuming
my morsecode book was right of course " (MG)
B E L L B A R N A (Bill Barna)
D A V E D C O L L E E R (David Collier)
M A R T E N G A L W A Y (Martin Galway)
T O N Y P O M F R E T (Tony Pomfret)
S T E V E W A H E D (Steve Wahid)

Friday, 23 July 2010

Link - Woolyss

Maintaining this blog which, from the start has been 'mainly self indulgence', has had an effect on me in that it has inspired me to actually go and learn more about other area's - for instance learning more about the hardware that these old machines had... the chips and what they are capable of... Researching other machines that i -didn't- own and what they had inside them (and what I missed out on!).. Modern chiptunes that use old hardware but to create modern music.. How to create new instruments that utilise old harware for authenticity.. the list goes on.

So during this period of research, trawling forums, wiki's and google searching, I kept coming across one site that stood out as a great resource of the technical side of retro hardware, chiptunes, and trackers.

Its been linked over there on the right hand side of the page from the start of the blog really, but I thought i'd just add a special plug for Woolyss - its a fabulous resource so go and take a look!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Great Giana Sisters - C64 - Chris Hülsbeck

Oh look, another Hülsbeck track!
I'm becoming quite the fan. And while quite a few of my old favourites from the time sound a bit 'raw' these days, a lot of Hülsbeck's tracks are still very good to listen to.

You know, i've been meaning to post this one for a while, mainly because I've wanted to post this EPIC rock remake from Machinae Supremacy! Absolutely brilliant! :-)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Delta - C64 - Rob Hubbard

Music by Rob Hubbard
Inspired by Philip Glass' Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack.

There's surprisingly little authentic Delta tracks on youtube, very odd!
The main gameplay music is around 11 minutes long and can be heard on the Stone Oakvalley Authentic SID Collection website, where SID tracks are recorded faithfully from the real hardware, on several different SID chip revisions. (they can sound different!)

For example, the ingame music for Delta is Track 1/13, and you'll probably want to click the R2 button to hear it on an early SID.
(at 4:00, it turns VERY close to the music in the Koyaanisqatsi trailer!)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Shadow of the Beast - Amiga - David Whittaker

Music by David Whittaker

This is a very atmospheric game which I remember from my Amiga days, the art and music are great. (Sadly the game itself was a bit poor)

Fun fact - David Whittaker is the Head of Audio where I work!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Nemesis The Warlock - C64 - Rob Hubbard

Music by Rob Hubbard

I liked the 2000AD comic at the time, but it was very wierd, and I was a little to young to fully appreciate it!
Can't remember much of the game though, apart from the music!

(late edit)

i can't believe I missed this link. The great Reyn Ouwehand doing a Live instrumental version of this track. It goes to show how good the composition of these tracks are, that then can be remade in such a different fashion, yet still sound amazing.

Nemesis The Warlock [Live at the Church]

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Secret of Monkey Island (intro) - PC - Michael Land

Music by Michael Land

I love this theme! This one is General Midi played back on a Roland MT-32. The recently released Special Edition has a nice new version.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Current C64 Progress

I now have 3 c64's!.. one broken breadbin (6581 SID), and 2 C64c's (8580 r5 SID)

I've ended up ordering a MSSIAH Cartridge (as i'd like to keep them in working order), and received a SID2SID pcb in the post today so hopefully i'll be up and running with 6 channels of authentic SID delights!
(The SID2SID lets you fit 2 SID chips in one c64 to double the channels)
Unfortunately since i've decided to go the 'authentic old school' way, I've made myself several headaches in terms of using old hardware these days. Loading and saving (floppy drive emulations) are currently very temperamental, or just plain expensive (1541Ultimate). I'll probably be using a cable to connect to my PC where the pc acts as a floppy disk drive. (C64TPC). Its not perfect, but it'll do for MSSIAH and is one of the cheaper options.

I'd still like to get a SammichSID just for the fun of building it, but I don't really have much in the way of a MIDI based studio so it might end up as something of a novelty. The MSSIAH I can just use standalone for now, and MIDI if I decide to start expanding.

I'd like to get into Goattracker at some point, but its incredibly difficult to pick up and attempt to learn, so for this reason I might start a bunch of posts documenting my progress - like a bunch of mini tutorials.

Thunder Force IV (Metal Squad) - Megadrive

I'm still trying to appreciate the sounds of FM chips!   - mainly due to finding an old yamaha keyboard in the attic and wondering what I could do with the YM3812 (opl2) chip onboard!  Sadly the answer is 'not very much'

This ThunderForce IV track is great though!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

ymVST Extended - fakebit - ijs

Music by ijs

Tracker is Renoise, using a VST instrument that emulates the Atari ST YM2149 Soundchip - ymVST

While not properly authentic, I -love- the gated lead...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Dune (Intro) - Amiga - Stephane Picq

Music by Stephane Picq

The Hardware chiptune project

You might have gathered that i'm a bit of a fan of chiptune music (it stems from my c64 youth!) and theres a fair few projects that seek to produce chiptune sounds with actual hardware, rather than straight emulation.

This one is probably the best one i've seen so far, and the tune (composed specifically for this chip) is great too!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Monday, 12 July 2010

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Little Sound Dj is 10 years old!

According to the changelog LSDj first release was 2000-07-06: v0.01a - This means that it was 10 years old a few days ago!

LSDJ is a native gameboy tracker that runs on all gameboy models, even the original grey bricks (the DMG-01)  Most people seem to agree that this one has the best sound too. :-)

Custom LSDJ cartridges stopped being made a long time ago but its still in development and has a large and active community of chipsound musicians (like 8bitcollective). The best way to get a copy of LSDJ now is to donate at least $2 to the creator Johan Kotlinski, and he will send you a link to download the latest version.  Next, you have to get a flashable GB cart to be able to run it.  I wont go into much detail here as theres a far more thorough description on this 8bc forum page.

Being in the UK, I donated to Johan, then ordered a 64m USB flash cart from DjTransformer's site.  With proof of license ownership, the latest version of LSDJ was added to the cart (this is handy if you dont have a way of flashing it yourself, but since its a standard USB cart, its far easier to reflash then some of the older more obscure methods, that usually require a serial or parallel port!)

Then once you have your GB with working LSDJ and have read the instructions, its a slippery slope into the world of GB modding.  Pro-sound, backlighting, biverting, custom keyboards, syncing multiple copies, and even Midi!  Its pretty amazing what you can do with a 20 year old handheld.

Saturday, 10 July 2010


I've been going round in circles for the last week trying to work out what it is that I want to do with a bunch of SID chips, and am at the point of giving up as there's way too many different options, none of which cover the full spectrum of what I want to be able to do.  So after making a massive spreadsheet of options and costs, I think I'll just knock it on the head for a while and come back to it later.
One thing that's added to the confusion is that I've acquired a working c64c and am now quite interested in modding it with some new features.  (Why? I dont know.. just tinkering for the fun of it!)

I've been looking at the MSSIAH c64 cartridge, which is a set of music apps on one cartridge (so no faffing with tapes or disks).  Its the sucessor to the PROPHET64 cart but this time has an integrated MIDI in port so you can control it with Midi if you wish.  This is quite intriguing as I can play about with the c64 as standard and just add extra stuff as and when its required.  I'd need a mouse adaptor (it looks unusable without one), then you can add a 2nd SID into the c64 with a SID2SID card (2*3 Sid voices for a total of 6 voices).  You can add better audio output jacks to reduce noise,  Add extra knobs to control paramaters in MSSIAH.. lots and lots of small things that are quite interesting.
I've already cleaned up and sprayed my c64 black in preperation for being modded.  :-)

In the meantime, I'm just going to try a bit harder to get into GoatTracker.  Its a complicated beast and while the reSID emulation is not 100% correct its good enough for now.  Maybe at some point i'll get a HardSID uplay just to get 100% authentic sound out of emulators, then I can use a native c64 tracker.
Another option is to stick with Renoise on my PC, and use a good SID VSTi like QuadraSID.  which is also bloody hard to program the sounds!

In summary.  SID music = very hard to do correctly!!!

Friday, 2 July 2010

WizBall - C64 - Martin Galway

Music by Martin Galway.

Nerd fact #1 - My old boss did the Amiga port of Wizball. (Peter Johnson)
Nerd Fact #2 - I currently work with a fella wot done a PC remake of the c64 original.  (Graham Goring)

I also had to post this - Reyn Ouwehand doing a completely live remake of Wizball as a one man band, using several instruments and a looping pedal.  Absolutely incredible talent!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Fusion of Two Dragons - SID - Monk

I've had this tune for a while in my MP3 folder and could never remember where I found it!

It's on the mp3 demos page of the HardSID website. I presume its using 2 or more SID's as theres certainly more then 3 voices simultaneously so its hardly 'old' but still using retro hardware.

Getting an Authentic C64 Sound

I love the sound of the c64 SID chip and PC emulation just isn't quite close enough.
I could buy up a whole working c64 setup from ebay but its very old tech and a bit flakey these days, (and im not sure I fancy the faff!) so I've been looking into making some form of hardware that I can use to make new tunes and uses the SID chip. There's a few options:

HardSID Uno
The HardSID Uno and is USB device with one/two SID chips onboard and is basically a SID playback device. With this device you can play SID files directly and this outputs authentic sound. It can also be used with goattracker so you can use a windows tracker with authentic sound. Also it can be used with certain emulators (WinVICE) which will output sound to the HardSID.
Emulator playback: YES. MIDI support : NO

HardSID 4U
This is the big brother of the HardSID Uno. This one allows 4 SIDs to be installed, has all the featues that the Uno has, but also works as a MIDI device with a VST plugin so you can use it like a normal synthesizer connected to your favoured Audio Workstation. Unfortunately its very expensive!
Emulator playback: YES. MIDI support : YES

This is a DIY solution where you source all the components yourself and build your ideal configuration. You can have 1-8 SIDs, and have all sorts of physical controls, from a minimal LCD screen with a few buttons, to a huge array of knobs and buttons.
It looks incredibly complicated and not really one for a beginner like me!
Emulator playback: NO* MIDI support : YES

This one is based on the MIDIbox SID but is meant to be a simpler kit for someone that wants some of the basic features of the MIDIbox all in one kit. You still have to assemble the entire thing by hand which is kind of daunting but there seems to be a lot of people having sucess with this.
Emulator playback: NO* MIDI support : YES

*There is a thread where it is said that midibox's can emulate the hardsid protocol and work with emulators and goattracker, but I dont know how accurate this is.

As you can see, its fairly complicated!
Ideally i'd love a HardSID4u but its very expensive (especially when you add the 4 SID's!). The hardSID Uno is the cheapest option but is the most limited. The SammichSID is the middle ground which could be quite handy but I'd have to cross my fingers and hope that I can assemble it without breaking it!

I still havent quite decided yet on what I'd like to do, but I have started doing my homework. I have just got a semi broken early c64 off Ebay which is the donor for SID #1 of however many i'd need. Its a 6581 SID which means its the first generation. (slightly bugged, and a gritter sound. Probably more authentic for earlier c64 game playback)
I have one rule though : dont cannibalise a working c64 - only salvage SID's from broken ones! :)