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Unofficial chiptune compo #1 - [status: results are in]

Postby organic io » Sun May 02, 2010 1:06 pm

Awesome Gilli, I will have to check it out tonight!

Also I updated the rules, chip file is no longer required, but only optional now. I don't want it to slow anybody down (myself included) on deadline day.

Good luck all and I hope to hear something from you chunter :)
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Postby chunter » Tue May 04, 2010 9:04 pm

in

I also made a tune that used drum samples and breaks the rules, so I just left that one here: http://soundcloud.com/chunter/icehouse-was-an-80s-band
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Postby gilli » Wed May 05, 2010 4:38 pm

Thank you io!

Great chunter! Funny that the limitation of effects shows a very musical side of tracker musicians. This is meant as a compliment, indeed your song is very musical but I also know that you're good at being this.

The bridge from 0:42 to 0:53 is very nice. I can hear you created a little instrument to accompany the melody with its 4ths, right?
Judging from the many notes I can hear, you somehow managed to play non-arp chords and all that. I think it's just right for the song's mood. Arpreggios would probably sound too bright and loud here. Is that the "N106 Ballad"?

Do you mind giving us some info on how you created the song (platform, tracker, progress)? It's too much good work to be not mentioned.
And especially the title "Icehouse was an 80s band". Sounds cool, I'd like to know the story behind it.
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Postby chunter » Wed May 05, 2010 8:44 pm

gilli wrote:Do you mind giving us some info on how you created the song (platform, tracker, progress)? It's too much good work to be not mentioned.
And especially the title "Icehouse was an 80s band". Sounds cool, I'd like to know the story behind it.

Just want to make it clear first, this isn't my entry, my real entry has been turned in correctly; I just thought this one was good enough to share instead of just disposing of it.

This disambiguation page explains a little of where this title comes from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icehouse

I've been busy this year, so although I have all these portable tools for capturing a musical idea, I can still end up in places where I just can't use them. The main melody of this tune was played on the cheap Yamaha keyboard I use with my friend's band, captured with my wireless phone's "voice recorder" feature. As I played the idea back to myself to transcribe it into the tracker, my friend was sipping his (Icehouse) beer- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icehouse_(beer) and talking to the bass player.

"Did you know that this *pointing to the label on his can* was a band in the 80's?"

"Oh yeah, that guy had hair halfway down his back..."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icehouse_(band)

Not only were Icehouse a band, they were very influential to me as a teenager. Founded as Flowers, a band that played Bowie covers and was led by a former classical obist. As they began to perform original songs and gain worldwide momentum, they had to abandon their name to avoid confusion with a band from Scotland; so they took the name of their first album to be the name of the band, making its title song into an accidental theme song of sorts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c3i8x6XhO4

His key changes and art stylings notwithstanding, the lesson I take from the band Icehouse is that after four or five of the most expensive and over-produced albums of the Australian version of the New Wave, when they finally had an international hit that surpassed even INXS at the time; all the money made was recouped by the record company and the band had little to show for their worldwide success.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQpYuC5hayY

The moral of the story is to always make sure you know where your money is coming from and going, although you may trust that job to others. Since the singer was the principle composer, he makes money off sales of the back catalogue of albums, which he now controls since the contracts that used to govern them expired. Here's what he looks like relatively recently, for the bushfires benefit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rnZScdhxY4

Otherwise, I wasn't really thinking of the band while I programmed this, it's just one of many sounds I will borrow from unconsciously.
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Postby organic io » Thu May 06, 2010 1:19 am

Alright... Without further adieu..

The "link votepack", presented in order of submission:



============================================================================================
[Artist] - chunter
[Title] - N Tune
[Chip Format] - Famicom + Namcot 106/NSF (w. expansion)
[Tracker used] - Schism IT/IT2NSF conversion/FCEU
[mp3 link] - http://chipmusic.org/media/music/2010/05/chunter_n-tune.mp3
[Source file link] - http://s.engramstudio.com/src/N_TUNE.zip

comments from chunter:

Namcot 106 was a Famicom (Japanese NES) chip that was put in very few carts (Mappyland was one of them) that gave Namco's programmers the ability to do sound the same as they did in their arcade boxes (Pac-man, Galaga, Pole Position,) so instead of being limited to the NES tones they had the (low memory) wavetable powers of this chip, good for some big, fat organ tones.

When I do this sort of thing, it amazes me how much emulation will color the sound. The source .it tune never sounds like the finished product, I go back and forth until I get a sound close enough to what I want; it's the Jack White approach to difficult and deliberately limited tracking.




============================================================================================
[Artist] - Chotoro
[Title] - 9-axis
[Chip Format] - C64
[Tracker used] - GoatTracker/Linux
[mp3 link] - http://www.chotoro.fi/musik/chotoro-9axis.mp3
[Source file link] - http://www.chotoro.fi/musik/9-axis.sng
[Chip file link] - http://www.chotoro.fi/musik/chotoro-9-axis.sid



============================================================================================
[Artist] - organic io
[Title] - never had a c64
[Chip Format] - C64
[Tracker used] - cybertracker in CCS64DOS emulator
[mp3 link] - http://www.loopproject.com/filebase/sdcompo/organic_io/organic_io_-_never_had_a_c64.mp3
[Source file link] - http://www.loopproject.com/filebase/sdcompo/organic_io/cc3ct.rar (exported to .P00, I'm not really sure how to get this back into the tracker, but I'm sure it's possible... sorry)

comments from organic io:

I both loved doing this and hated it at the same time. Loved the simplicity and ability to focus on just the music, hated the plethora of technical problems I had with the emulator. For example, just one of many:

Image
(the tracker/emulator corrupting several patterns worth of data every time I tried to change the volume envelope on my lead instrument... thus it being too quiet near the end)

I also ran out of memory for any more pattern data at the end. Good thing I was pretty much done with my song anyway! I had been wondering why most of the SIDs I have listened to are less than 2 minutes long. :P
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Postby organic io » Thu May 06, 2010 1:23 am

Awesome... Unfortunately I need to sleep now, but I am excited to listen to the other official & unofficial entries in the morning!
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A comment

Postby fbjon » Thu May 06, 2010 6:48 am

organic io wrote:Alright... Without further adieu..
The "link votepack", presented in order of submission:

Owhaa.. only three? Yes, I shall also be waiting for unofficial entries.

Also, forgot to say something about the entry:

This is my initiation to the world of Real Men's chiptunes with synthesis, not just drawn samples. I started out with an example instrument in a .sng taken from another forum. The instrument is an example of a Galway-like sound, and I just changed it around a bit and started from there. I'm a fan of the C64 pulse wave, so the tune is thick with 'em. :) The snare is modified from the Goattracker manual, but I had to figure out the bassdrum myself, which is why it's so utterly feeble, if even audible.

Anyway, the music itself is inspired by Jagged Alliance, Turrican, and other game music. Hence, the mixed grab-bag composition. :D
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Postby organic io » Thu May 06, 2010 11:41 am

gilli wrote:Creating a house song like this as a "usual tracked entry" would not motivate me as a challenge but on an NES I definitely found it worth it fiddling with the limitations.


gilli, this is straight awesome!!! Not only is this an amazing job within the format limitations (I was especially impressed by the vocals, and your description of what you did to make them work), but it's a fantastic song all around. I love house, and this is really funky and good!

I really hope you finish it, because I could listen to about 6 more minutes worth of this :)
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Postby organic io » Thu May 06, 2010 2:09 pm

chunter wrote:Icehouse was an 80s band


Cool backstory. This is a really good tune from you here. Very listenable with the laid back melodies. Great chord progression that keeps attention. I have to say this is one of my favorites I've heard from you.

Question about famicom trackers... Do you know if there are any trackers that run straight on NES hardware or an emulator?

I'll comment on the official entries tomorrow.
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Postby chunter » Thu May 06, 2010 3:37 pm

organic io wrote:Question about famicom trackers... Do you know if there are any trackers that run straight on NES hardware or an emulator?.

Thanks for the comments. If LSDJ and LGPT (the Game Boy and GPX trackers respectively) don't scare you, Neil Baldwin wrote a NES traker called NTRQ:
http://blog.ntrq.net/

To me, any of those trackers that have you throw down a bunch of C-4 notes and make you transpose them with the buttons are painfully unintuitive and not for me. Like anything, it's worth trying once; there are people who are really good at composing on the fly with trackers like that, and who knows, there may be LGPT entries in sdcompo someday if nobody's tried already.
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Postby fbjon » Fri May 07, 2010 7:49 am

gilli wrote:This is not really an entry, since I found it too exciting to use the DPCM channel (samples) of the NES and the song's not complete yet.


If something like that tune had been, say, the title music of a game on the NES in 1986, it might have sold half a million purely on that basis!

While the vocals are muddled, I wonder if it wouldn't be possible to gain more clarity by tweaking the samples, e.g. using a vocoder, or heavy autotuning? Also, there's still a "to" you could reuse in the first line, to save space :)

Reminds me of the stuff I did with creating vocals out of sample chopping from an SDC a while back. I'm thinking you could get a similar thing going here, by using syllable- or even phoneme-wise sampled vocals, and reassembling/reusing them.
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Postby organic io » Fri May 07, 2010 2:14 pm

organic io wrote:[Artist] - chunter
[Title] - N Tune


Very japanese gamey sounding. I'd expect to hear it in an action platformer, like Ninja Gaiden or something. :) I'm pretty predictable so of course my favorite part is where the lead comes in around 1:56. Cool melody here with some unique harmonies.

I hope to hear some more tunes from you in upcoming chip compos :)
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Postby organic io » Fri May 07, 2010 2:23 pm

organic io wrote:[Artist] - Chotoro
[Title] - 9-axis


Very much a mishmash of styles here. I like it! You managed to get a really good sound out of your instruments... Even sounds like you have delay on the lead somehow.
I guess it changes around too much to really sound like a cohesive song, but you've got a bunch of ideas here that could be elaborated on.
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Postby organic io » Fri May 07, 2010 2:24 pm

Reminder

Voting ends tonight! (just private message me with your top... 2) :D

We aren't going to have absent votes though, so if you don't get it in to me, we'll just wait until I receive your votes before I do arduous task of tallying the results. :D
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Postby fbjon » Fri May 07, 2010 2:57 pm

About voting, are non-entrants allowed to vote? Not that there's much time...

__________
Comments:

=================
[Artist] - chunter
[Title] - N Tune


Haha, excellent intro, and kickin' drums! Like io said, the "spanking" 5ths chords that first come in at 0:26 makes that oldskool Japanese feel.

There's some occasional strange notes in the lead that starts at 1:56 though, that don't fit in the harmony. E.g. I feel the lowest note going down ought to be a half note lower.
=================
[Artist] - organic io
[Title] - never had a c64

Starts out simple with a promising melody. The lead saw is a little "straight" without vibrato though.

The drums have a good groove going, esp. the rolling snare drum. I like the arpeggios!, they are my cup of tea. Reminds me of Giana Sisters in fact. The chords at 1:31 work well, though I'm thinking a slight pitch up/down on one of the voices would phatten it up a bit. Also, feels like it ends abruptly?
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