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DownloadFILE DOWNLOAD :Debug_(aka_cTrix)_(Playing_Amiga500s)_at_Synchronicity09.mp3  (68MB)
Recorded live at Synchronicity #10 - April 25th 2009.  Rec with X/Y mic (crowd & mixer efx) and direct out of Amiga. I've put this recording up due to a lot of people asking for a live recording of one of my sets. So finally here it is!
sde The Commodore Amiga project is something that I've always worked on. It started in 1991ish when I first saw an Amiga at a friends house and was blown away hearing more than a few seconds of digital audio playing from a computer. This was a revolution in it's day and the Amiga was one of the first home computer that had stereo audio outputs included as a standard feature! Certainly that could do hardware multi-channel mixing. I became obsessed (like many) with a form of composition called “tracking”. For those who are new to this tracking takes tiny snippets of audio (called samples) and plays them back at varying speeds to make a tune. Tracking on the Amiga was limited to 4 samples playing simultaneously. However a sample could be a beat, vocal or sound effect... not just a single note (or “instrument” if you like) so it opened up a world of digital composition only previously available to cashed up studios.

The hardware (amazingly) arrived for my next birthday and I started merrily pumping out tunes of my friends being remixed with drum loops and more importantly I started tinkering with early techno tunes. A few friends had Amiga's and a family friend ran a BBS so I leached many Amiga MOD files and scoured every swap-meat and store for “shareware” disks containing MOD files. I ripped and eq'ed many samples, obtained ST-01 to ST-04 (classic samples) and started sampling everything. The sample collection had begun! And I was still in primary school...

Back in the day, music compositions were distributed in the “MOD” Protracker format and were quite amazing. The file size was a fraction of what an MP3 is today, yet it was "uncompressed" PCM.  The format also contained the source of a tune so you could open it in an editor and see exactly how it was composed.  If you liked what a tune was doing you would open it up in Protracker and look at how it was made. The equivalent would be to have the Logic project files or Abelton projects of your favorite artists. Would you get that these days?!! Rarely.

Of course it's got to be played from an Amiga.  MODs just sound better - and it is the way they upsample - very raw and cutting.  I now own 5 x Amiga's and am lucky to have access to much analogue gear (BC16, DSE Mopho, Juno & MiniMoog are amongst my fav) which I sample using an Aurora converter or Tascam ADC rack.  Total overkill because it all ends up back on the Commodore Amiga downsampled to between 6khz and 29khz in 8-bit. Some would say thats ludicrous (ludicrous speed GO!) but to me it is about getting the BEST possible sound out of an Amiga. I want to be the guy that people hear and think “that's impossible”. Amiga guys will know it is all possible but recognize there is some serious tempo and command switching going on in my tunes! All I can say is it has taken a lot of love. Probably 30 to 40 hours per song to manually ride levels (simulate compressors) manually configure gates / ADSR for each note and I pre-master every sample to get the ultimate non-clashing produced sound out of a computer that was primarily designed
and released just before 1984.

(within the mix)
1:: Everybody at Syntax Party
A tune I half-completed in 1995 then finished in 2007. Was released in an Amiga 500 demo I wrote for Syntax Demoparty 2008 called “Green and Gold”. You can check it out by loading an Amiga disk image from HERE or watch a video capture HERE   The bass frequency is the perfect resonant frequency of the venue's roof (hencethe rattle!) and our man Gags is the guy yelling "f**k yeah!" when the bass kicks in. As this was the first tune in the set everything sounds a bit messy while I was EQ'ing the room. This is an extended mix of the original.
sd 2:: The Phat Controller
This tune was written for Beach Party 2009 demoparty. This is an extended version rewritten especially for the night and is playing off the better of the two Amiga's.  You will notice one of the machines has better sounding DA converters.  I actually plan to switch over to two 1200's for future gigs. They sound better.
3:: Me-Robot
Name is derived from the "i-robot", a track you may recognize from the Boyz Noize crew. The tune is a long standing joke between me and henk.d (Ev). I always pull it out of his record bag at 9am and drop it at full volume to wake everyone back up. The record always always skips!! The only thing sampled is the vocal sample which I down-sampled to 7200hz because I only have 380kb of RAM to play with.

Long samples on Amiga are memory hungry!
4:: Alian Love
Owie is our pet dancing Alien made from fluro painted foam and model aircraft servos  - if you don't know what I'm talking about check out the Sync website ;-)

I think I generated the bass sounds on a Mopho and the DX7 series 1.  This is the only tune that contains my vocals which is a 3 part octive harmony yelled into a mic at 4am!
cvb 5:: Future
Rainbow Serpent 2009 - Ev, Dunkbot and I were on the dancefloor with beers in our hand on Australia day . Tiga's "Mind Dimention" got dropped by Denox and we all looked at each other and pulled that "wwhhhattt is this track?!" face and I sampled the tune with my digital camera so I could get the vocal sample. I went home the next week and made this tune and subsequently bought the tune. It is also a showcase of the Dave Smith Instruments "Mopho" device (little yellow thing) which totally kicks arse beyond all belief. Most of the samples were generated on this box including the drums!!
sdf 6:: Automatic
One for Stu-ee (another Sync DJ). We are both massive fans of oldskool early 90's power-house raps. This one I've had on file since I ripped it out of a MOD when I was 13 (original MOD was "eat your house out" by u4ia of Meggawatts). I used it in a few house tunes when I was a kid but this time it's back hard-style; then of course into my typical scene-house sound. I've watched too many Amiga demos over the years not to make cheezy house!
7:: Mind-melt
Written Syntax Party 2008 tracking compo and is under 66kb! It won first place and also stands as one of my more technically impressive files if you look at the source. The bass was unfortunatly out of tune due to a tuning setting I'd accidentally changed in the sample editor. Dropped in for the D-King and Celsius (they both know who they are!)
8:: It's Music
Something about the bass-drum in this tune makes it sound very chunky. I think I was using double octave processing when I made tweaked the sample. This is probably the most "mastered" sound I've got out of an Amiga yet.  I used a few samples out of the mopho on this one too.
Interlude : : "All right, I've got some load time on this one!" - I'd forgotten to load the next floppy! Hence the gap while I'm waiting for the tune to load.... *clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk* (takes up to 50 seconds)
df 9:: Moog Phat
It's amazing what a single note can inspire you to make. Cue the MiniMoog!! In particular the oscillators weren't holding voltage correctly (?) so it has this slightly unstable & warbley tone that ooozzes analogue. I wrote the basis of this tune within 2 minutes of sampling that sound. The rest came out over several long nights of tracking until 6am :-)
10:: Beat Route (cTrix remix)
Remix of a tune by The Bloody Beetroots (original tune called "Rombo"). It's one of only a few remixes here but it is so chunky I had to feature it in my set! It's probably a little overcompressed as its seen multiple layers of mastering .
11 :: The ULTIMA8
A tune that I started in 1994... then never got around to finishing! I can't remember who did the original sample ripping (madSTyLe?) but they didn't credit the original so I have no idea where the vocal samples are from. But hey, this is party-rocking chaos of my favorite kind! I entered it into Nullabor Demoparty '08 into the nuskool “generic” music compo to be a smart-arse. It flopped totally as expected but at least the party organisor loved it. (thanks e64!) It's dedicated to the person who threw up their fist and yelled "ooolllddskoool - oh my god!" at the start of the track.  :-)
sadf 12 :: The Amiga Works
Inspired from a set of audio samples I nabbed from an episode of Computer Chronicals - a computer TV show from the 80's. You can watch the original show here - which is actually a good intro the the Amiga 500 if you don't know what it is.  For you Amiga-heads check out the tempo switching triplet section...! A bit of a battle for polyphony and I'll probably tidy it up a little bit in the future but the CC samples will certainly stay.
13 :: One Psy Winters Night
Tooootally inspired by a band called Kamelot and their live album One Cold Winters Night. I love live epic metal concerts and this is my favorite part of the whole album (a moment from a track called "The Haunting"). It also has a few classic hard house samples from an old tidy release an old buddy had on vinal. This is probably my most intensely produced Amiga tune. I spent something like 120 hours on it and learnt a ton about juggling polyphony and letting notes breath. I manually set the volume of each instrument to simulate a compressor and reprocessed the samples constantly to get the textures I wanted.
So there you have it. 14 tunes that span 18 years of composition and sample collecting. Most of them are newer tunes written in the past couple of years so there will be more to come no doubt. Hope you enjoied :-) 

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