Thursday, February 23, 2012

Moisture Is the Essence

People’s Remixing Competition 212 brought potential entrants over to the Badlands of Digimon World 3. The source material was selected by Hakstock, the winner of the previous round who considered the game to be one his favorite soundtracks. The tune glides along its 3/4 time signature with an assortment of synths suggesting an orchestral assortment. The only entry to come out of that round was submitted by sggod89, who readily built a metal arrangement of moody soundscapes

LLCompo: Battle 5 featured a theme widely compatible with participants who tend to work with electronic music and digital studio setups: “Outer Space”. Kay Faraday thus put up an introduction narrated by s1rnight and WVI discussing being sent unwillingly to Iran. Jerkwater uploaded a wall of compression transforming the visual waveform into a solid rectangle, and possibly containing a vocal sample. Obtuse’s 8-bit noise rushed in to indicate a passing space vessel for the imaginary game Chimps in Space. MKC encountered a “Nebula” along his trek through the stars, and reported it in his captain’s log as a series of encrypted bloops. Run DMZ cranked out a rocking number channeling his inner Stevie Wonder implementing a heavy amount of low end. Bipolarbear conferred with his first officer about the latter’s uncomfortable experience involving R2-D2 and C3PO. Ananth Ram brought his distinctive processed disco groove to the table, showing that even outer space can be home to house music. WVI used thirty minutes to shake the foundations of LLCompo via hard electro beats. 

rwarman007 back at mission control had launched a new shuttle into orbit, scored with flaring brass and cymbal rolls. Smooth Suck offered a minimal piece including pitched vocals and quirky percussion. PowerFail coupled acoustic drums with wah-wah guitar, slap bass and rapping as he met “The Visitor”. MaxVdub appear with much “Fanfare” and a slow fade in of twangy noodling before the kick and snare came in. WolffCubb called upon the words of Sun Ra and ventured across the galaxy before drifting into nothing. johnny bigoode adjusted his “Strange Balls” to accommodate his lack of stereo output and found solace in transistored funk. zebra seemingly unassuming intro leads right into a wall of psychedelic rhythms in a “vacuum”. mu set the mood with wind chimes, dropping whimsical strings, piano and e-lead into the mix. Saif made everyone feel “Weightless” as he belted out metal lyrics concerning his emotions going supernova. Last but not least was Delphinus wrapping thing up with a hip hop beat, propelled by vocoder reminiscing about times spent back on Earth.
JHCompo on Tuesday asked composers to “Strike a Pose” for a fashion related theme. skyndileg reference both Deadmau5 and Steinbeck, but neglected to explain clearly what his song had to do with fashion. coda forwent his usual dog-themed titles in favor of the direct “dumb title for JH”, a bobbing affair centered on rhytmic piano. Forty-Two’s arpeggios welcomed a mellow tracks and flutes countering each other. chunter presented his poom-ti-pap-ti including a synthesized vocal accompaniment, Momone Momo. liquid wind’s composition title suggests he had a case of the runs that night and quickly put together some wubs in lieu of time. Shadix proclaimed “You Just Gotta Believe” and set out on a runway path of epic rock and lyrics. nysnamovois gradually lifted the lowpass filter on his entry and resumed the fashion show despite a minor breakdown. 

MandraSigma propped his vocal narration onto a “Cake Stand” for a tune that would not be out of place in a Streets of Rage sequel. SonicThHedgog’s title Daft Cocobo Cat Walk pretty much says it all, encompassing all that the current generation admires and stores under YouTube Favorites. Clockwerk pulled out a Zoolander quote and punctuated it with lo-fi braindance. beek urged the listening party to “get greppy” but failed to reveal what getting greppy entailed during his chill track. Kay Faraday worked it with chiptune for Vivienne Westwood Acid fashion show 2012, while Mick Rippon and guest vocalist Joss Ruddy made a fitting end to the party lyricizing about fashion as the only cure.

Thursday’s OHC raised the question of life's worth with its "live like it's your last day" theme. Arcana under the name KittyMeow worked out a 16-bar prelude of un-tiss far in advance of an introduction. RAMPKORV ran along a similar dance path, this time using speech synthesis about love. Arcana under his usual name sent another track to DDRKirby(ISQ) to upload. Obtuse continued on his 8-bit journey stating all that he needs in the final analysis is a pulse kick. dusthillguy decided that my voice was to make an appearance, proceeded by his patented blend of oddball instrument sounds and a guitar session. Kaxon's "Intro" implied the beginning of a majestic quest of some sort, but cut off at 39 seconds. cyrilthewolf returned to OHC for some vocal styling and acoustic strumming eventually joined by a lead. General Mumble walked into a tech-noir club trying to figure out how exactly to go about writing "a deep morning in final reflection". Forty-Two wrote a "Requiem" centered on organ and pads, but opening up to woodwinds and harp.

Acuity made the revelation of inserting his cartridge properly to revel in chip music. mv graced the compo with his presence, viewing his "Last Sunshine" and reflecting on his pianopad joined with violins. Garian stepped up to the mic for some lyrics partially related to the compo, and partially about chicken wings. AutomaticJack starts right off with a crash and stomping snare as he encroached on "The Shadows of Death". A-zu-ra faded in several bass blips followed by sonorities and noise-channel firings. sci did his usual head bobbing thing and layered in some Rhodes for additional texture. DDRKirby(ISQ) launched yet another show stopper covered in enough blurbs to feed a small town. Hapi-San pondered the ramifications of excess bits in such a situation in his "Universal Bit-Rot". SupaSpeedStrut put 30 minutes to use in creating an piece with unusual meter in remembrance of "Lost Souls". Arcana made yet another entry revising his first one with a faster tempo and tweaks.

Fusion2004 wrote his track with pauses possibly indicating dramatic reflection, or perhaps a whim in the midst of writing. MandraSigma's minimal piano lines are fleshed out by mournful vocals and later the influence of electric guitars. starla preceded her entry with her usual self-deprecation, and went on ahead with her overdriven singing and laidback beat. munchi attempted to team up with wriklefree, but the influence of alcohol left it to become an instrumental. Finally Roseweave description of  "Streakanomics" raises more questions than it answers, while the tune itself mostly does the same amongst warbling electronics.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Composer Spotlight on Rexy

Beverley Wooff aka Rexy has been involved in remixing since 2004 and has made a mark on the arrangement community. From her earliest days at VGMix to her recent contributions to OverClocked ReMix and its various fan remix albums, Rexy has had her hand in multiple successful projects. Additionally she puts out a video blog on her YouTube channel wrapping up her thoughts on current releases by the community. As an active participant in composition compositions, she has seen herself improve and witnessed the rise of musicians in her peer group. I asked Rexy a few questions about her influences, her tenure as a compo organizer and her recent projects. 

Regarding her earliest exposure to music and how that influenced her current approach, she revealed that, “My first experience with a musical instrument must've been with the elementary school piano when I was about five years old. Eventually I'd learn the craft; the way a piano can interpret so many different styles of music left me open to expand my listening horizons too. This transferred over well to my current style of composition, even outside of piano solos.” Rexy explained her common workflow methods: “I'd plan everything out on paper first to cut the chances of artists' block, and then spend time writing the tracks out in Cubase and spending some additional time producing and getting a second opinion before getting the track out there properly. My soundbank has been changing over the years; currently it consists of many Native Instruments’ Garritan, Addictive Drums, Zebra, EWQLSO Gold and a handful of freebies I looked into over the years. My current solo piano weapon of choice is Alicia's Keys for its more delicate tone, though I do want to explore many more down the line, wallet permitting.”

As an avid entrant in compos, Rexy has shared her work and gained feedback from others. She detailed her early experiences in such competitions: “I got to hear about the Dwelling of Duels back in around 2004, followed by the People’s Remixing Competition (PRC) not too long after; in mid 2005 I finally got around to start taking part in both. What I find compelling about competitions is getting the chance to make music to accompany the corresponding theme. It's a great way to be heard, but also hard because you also have to think about what the voters want to hear too: tastes, production values, composition... It's hard to understand at times. But generally, if you understand the theme, give it your all and make something enjoyable, you'd often be proud of what you did.”

Among her contributions to the arrangement community, Rexy is also known for her tenure as an organizer for PRC. She recalled the events that led to her being handed the reins: “PRC round 65 was a bizarre event; at that point, the original host reelmojo decided to do a mid-season tie-in, in which the source tune was the Team All-Stars theme from Super Dodge Ball (SDB); the winner would go on to represent that source on Walan's SDB project Around the World. While it started out fine, the voting phase faced a delay because of reelmojo’s disappearance, extending close to PRC66's start date. As the winner for PRC64 I decided to take PRC66 into my own hands and let Walan host the voting for PRC65 alongside it. Then it was found out that reelmojo's internet problems meant he could no longer host it, and so it was decided that my position as host was made permanent.” 

Rexy further elaborated on the responsibility of running a compo by saying, “There was a lot of organization: keeping the inbox open for votes; getting MIDIs and MP3s ready; updating my forum signature every two weeks; noting that the dates for the mixing and voting stages are met; making sure the previous winners have their source material ready; and validating all submissions to make sure they fit the guidelines.” She added that despite the numerous duties, “I found it to be an enjoyable run with encouraging people to participate in things like this and get their foot out the door.” Her tenure ended at PRC130, and the torch was passed to Bundeslang, who continues to run it to this day. Rexy explained the reasoning behind her departure: “It got harder during season five when due to real life strains I felt I was getting more distanced from the community, and just as well that by PRC130 I had just started employment and took on a new responsibility.” That round gained an enormous turnout of participants and included acknowledgements of her contributions to the compo: specifically Hylian Lemon’s entry titled “We Love You Rexy” and analoq’s “cheers, rexy”.

Rexy looked back upon the experience with fond memories and noted that, “During my time I saw the competition as the launching ground for several newer artists who went on to be huge names within the community.” She pointed out avaris, Flexstyle, Joren de Bruin, Nutritious and Mattias Häggström Gerdt as examples. Several remixes from PRC later became posted on OverClocked ReMix, including Bladiator’s "Fast Cars, Russian Cigars", Suzumebachi’s "The Final Stretch", Showroom Dummy's "Pixelated Tales" and Heath Morris's "TimeShock". Theory of N's PRC130 entry "I Love This Radio" later appeared as a bonus track for the OCR album project Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption. Rexy concluded her thoughts on PRC by stating that it “served as a great outlet to get newer blood started out, and to just have fun making music.”

I asked about her recent projects, including her participation in the Wily Castle Remix Gauntlet (WCRG). In an unusual turn, Rexy recorded her vocals in a team-up with Brandon Strader titled "Liquid Metal". She explained how this collaboration came about: “Brandon had wanted me to provide vocals for one of his works since he found out my microphone settings — intended for things other than singing, mind you — and thus the WCRG arose as a funny opportunity as he wanted to do a comedy metal entry for one of his submissions. He asked for a demo of what I could do, felt that my metal screams bombed (rightfully so!), and then later on we spent a night together on Skype trying to get me to improve the art of death metal growling. Then the next day he gave me the lyrics; I sent him five different takes with the intent of him just using the best parts of each, though as it turned out he layered every single take into that mix for some strange aquatic effect, which came across as unique and worked.”

Rexy concluded that, “Doing ‘Liquid Metal’ boosted my vocal confidence, though my reasons for not doing them often comes down to even my normal speaking voice rubbing people the wrong way in regards to tone and accent. Given the chance I'd still get to sing just for fun, though hearing my voice back on actual recordings without flinching may be another thing altogether.” Aside from her singing adventures, she also narrates a video blog summarizing arrangement community projects via her YouTube page. Rexy offered some closing advice for compo hosts and entrants alike: “Just sit back and have fun. Then you can look back afterwards and remember this legacy fondly, wherever it may lead.”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love Is All

LLCompo: Battle 4 helped wake up everyone from the Luelinks community to participate in its “Coffee” theme. The listening party began with soft strings and saxophone narrated by s1rnight suggesting a candlelit evening. That night ended as blink364’s alarm clock sounded, leading to degraded synths and eventually frenetic electro. MaxVdub commented that “coffee makes me poop” to which a listener replied “me too”; Max persevered by way of layered guitar takes and pop lyrics. Ananth Ram recalled a “Coffee Lounge” he once visited, and expressed his reminiscence through a flanged R&B sample. PowerFail consumed coffee for the first time resulting in an extended session of thrashing followed by slightly calmer punk rock and aimless rambling. johnny bigoode offered a chill beat and a sound effect identified by a commenter as possibly being a “bong rip”. tomfrankly felt the pressure building as he belted out rock screams, but paused for a moment as the vocals were impossibly high for him to sing. 

Chase Irwin twanged on his acoustic guitar about his friend Joe, who keeps him alert, focused, and warms him up every day. Maxximum cranked his breakbeat to eleven and hollered into his microphone for some java, to the compliance of his coffee grinder. Bipolarbear worked out some piano chords requesting “Sugar, No Milk” and some handclaps to give the piece more of a human element. LD let in the hiss of his recording space and poured his substance-addled heart into his song. PhantomPeanut pushed out a wall of pulsing electronica with a dramatic silence halfway through. Ian’s appears to go backward and forward simultaneously, rolling a hooky riff in either direction. Raj Flow ordered a “Starbucks Mochachino” filled with autotune and piano pop, promising to go all night and apologizing for the lyrical quality. incorporator uploaded a sparse, minimal track broken up by metallic breathing whilst lamenting his “cold coffee”.

JHCompo on Tuesday acknowledged both Valentine’s Day and the passing of Whitney Houston with a tribute to “The Bodyguard”. Kay Faraday phoned his entry in and said a few words for Whitney in the form of a brief organ-centric synth version of “I Will Always Love You”. rwarman007’s “Guardian Angel” rocked acoustic rhythms and mellow piano including a contemplative breakdown before bringing the bass back in. MaxVdub stole the show by performing an ode to Justin Bieber; Max says that he’d be “made of wood” but breaks his promise not to express his love. liquid wind wrote the score to the film “The Lovinator” with heavy doses of industrial clangs, timpani and violin arpeggios. Finally SonicThHedgog ended the listening party by filtering Beyoncé’s “End of Time” through glitch effects and a coating of dubstep.

Thursday’s OHC brought everyone home again with its "Suburbia" theme, imagining a pristine environment for a spouse and children. Acuity punched in after his commute using a square-wave and let the strings rise as he got to work. Mirby returned after hiatus with a description channeling The Twilight Zone, and thus layered a chilled synth session. diotrans similarly came back after a long absence and wrote a pop ballad detailing the morning routine and frustrations thereof. HarryNilsson'sGhost appeared in the darkness and submitted electrofunk scoring the tension of dodging people on the street. Destroid spoke on behalf of the monsquaz community to pitch a Deven Gallo donation drive via a collaboration album. Forty-Two marveled at the flowers in his "Garden" with dollops of orchestral ambiance. Fusion2004 tuned his guitar and coupled it with vocoder and 8-bit sonorities, declaring himself a supervillain. Hapi-San offered a "Monotonous" entry symbolizing the repeating patterns of suburban life underscored with choir. 

Trancient tried compression for the first time, the result of which is a bright romp through electronics. CJthemusicdude's "Long Live the Compo" appears subdued at first, but then opens up to a wall of ominous beats. dusthillguy uploaded a piece with an uncharacteristically soft first half, but picked up the pace thereafter. sci warned that he would steamroll those in his way during his extreme commuting, evidenced by his harsh dance rhythms. DDRKirby(ISQ) wrote an enigmatic poem for his description, but made up for that by composing a seven minute entry covering the gamut of styles and textures. MandraSigma on the other hand said more with less by typing "GOOD NIGHT" and sequencing a boppy series of piano chords. At the end of the round, munchi's alarm went off along with pizzicato bass as he hurriedly slammed the snooze button and scatted the AM hours away.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Compos Are Magic

People’s Remixing Competition 211 was host to an obscure source tune for patrons to remix: Wonderboy III: The Dragon's Trap. DjMokram made a point of selling the virtues of the game and its soundtrack, pointing out that its “Metroidvania” style predates both Metroid and Castlevania. Hakstock took a break from his school studies to crank down the tempo and flesh out the tune as an electro groove. sggod89’s arrangement was heavily influenced by Snoop Dogg’s “Gin & Juice”, thus reworking the material into a frenetic rap beat filled with shreds and piano stabs. JerryTerry put together a self-described “straightforward” remix playing off of the composition with acoustic drums and violin. evktalo similarly kept it close, but with a looser rhythmic structure and mastering courtesy of Pleiade.

JHCompo on Tuesday was a jarring experience both for its “Ousted” theme and the sudden, momentary closing of the round due to a minor flub. chunter declared “I’m Quitting Chiptune” but not before making some with 38911 Bytes, Medusa, and LoFiMat. MandraSigma’s “NO” featiured solitary piano and insane muttering going through the many stages of withdrawal before finally landing on dubstep. coda attempted to ban-evade but failed to enter the #dog_shrine IRC channel, instead settling with epic rock. skyndileg summoned Gollum to collaborate on his entry, the result of which was an industrial session about a precious friendship.

Kay Faraday ducked the theme altogether and choose to joust in medieval times instead. Clockwerk traveled along an interconnected series of processed beats ending in a bed of delay effects. mu’s only way was “up” for electronic funk topped with a searing melody, some glitch and a brief pause to switch cartridges. Beigh ventured on a “Dark Frontier” using deep pads, piano and a guiding arpeggio. irrelevnt’s studio hiss merely heightened the somber lyrics and performance for “Love Can Never be Lost, Only Pushed Away”. Finally SonicThHedgog went straight to the point with “BITCH” and crept quietly until a wall of 80s wubs appeared.

Thursday’s OHC extended the previous week's dedication to Triforce Mike with a My Little Pony-themed round. After my introduction of "friendship and magic", DJ_SOMBRERO offered an experimental piece with a characteristic tinge of brass and Spanish vocals. Obtuse paid tribute through his Game Boy, thus tearing up the night with blips. Serisium put a Pony sample to use amongst a soundscape of synthetic sonorities. Forty-Two sulked in being "Forever Alone" and lay himself onto a cloud of keyboard harmonies and woodwind. DDRKirby(ISQ) started off with a chime and rode on strings that led to 8-bit, and finally rocked the dance floor. Acuity took a note from DDRKirby and worked out some chips of his own with touches of piano and a lo-fi growl. Trancient took the Funky Drummer and Amen Break for a walk around the block beside high pitched riffs. ProjectSpam wrote a sparsely mellow pop song alternating between deep and steep vocal modes. sci displayed his multitasking ability by making a gritty electronic piece and promoting his album.  

jarski introduced chiptune blurbs to the Friends theme song. Arcana's take on the conventional pop-punk progression mainly involved pumping untz and wave shapes. munchi whaled away on a piano chord and joined in a chorus of warbled vocals before dropping the kickdrum. MandraSigma went for doo-wop swing littered with Pony clips wondering "what went wrong?" GLL got the butts wiggling in their seats as he laid down the beat and sang to his heart's content. Level99 made a rare appearance to honor a fallen friend in the most fitting way possible: a wah-pedaled porn groove. td244's strings ebbed and flowed indicating a "magical friendship" further enhanced by choir. Duosis performed a parody of the song “Honolulu Baby” with unusually specific lyrics about the compo organizer, and a brief bit of tooth-whistling. At the end of the listening party, scibot9000 shuttled an entry sci had made just prior to the round, but happened to be related to the theme.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Composer Spotlight on DDRKirby(ISQ)

To call Timothy Wong aka DDRKirby(ISQ) a star in the compo community would be an understatement. His reputation for creating vast, dense musical tracks in 60 minutes precedes him. Fellow compo participants lament even being played after him in listening parties, as the euphoria of hearing his entry often extends past the end of his song and onto the next. It comes as no surprise that one of his tracks was played during a ThaSauce panel at MAGFest X, as any tune of his is a shining example of what could be accomplished during a One Hour Compo (OHC). His latest “Monthlies” compilation can be found at his Bandcamp page. I asked him a few questions regarding his musical output, his influences and what he has in store for the future.

Timothy spoke of his early exposure to music and how it impacted his current work. “As I was growing up I was being classically trained in piano, but most of the music I listened to was chiptunes from video games. From there I later branched out into Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) songs and OverClocked ReMix.” He noted that he considers the DDR games and OC ReMix to be within the realm of video game music, and that he began listening to trance and other “non VG stuff” afterward. Timothy explained how all of this influenced his output: “When I first started producing I actually wasn't doing chiptuney stuff at all... It was more ‘old school OCR’ techno-like, and I was trying my hand at making trance stuff as well. Somewhere along the line, chiptune sounds started creeping into my songs, and nowadays they're there full-force.”

One question that occasionally pops up during compo deals with Timothy’s unusual artist name. He explained the origin of DDRKirby(ISQ): “DDR and Kirby were two things I liked a lot at the time so they just came together. Later I decided it wasn't guaranteed to be unique so I added ISQ, which stands for Io Squad. It’s a crossover universe of sorts that my brother created and that only really exists between us. You can just think of it as an arbitrary clan tag or something. It's solely for uniqueness.” Sometimes he uploads a second entry for a compo round as “DDRKirby(ISO)”, which serves as a similar looking duplicate name.

He recalled when he first began participating in composition competitions: “I knew that compos existed but never got around to actually trying them until eventually I just decided it might be neat to try, and good practice. Since then, I've found that they're a blast, and have improved my production skills to an amazing degree. Somehow the one hour time limit of OHC is perfect, and manages to spur me on to create great things. I also like how it really streamlines your process and manages to really get you into the flow of things.” Beyond OHC, he has also joined remixing compos. “I participated in a few rounds of FLMC (Fruity Loops Music Competition), where you're only allowed to use the default samples and plugins that come bundled with FL Studio. I managed to win twice, with Mega Man 3 and Link to the Past remixes that really show you the power of 3xOsc, among other things.”

Listeners often marvel at the intricate nature of Timothy’s work, especially considering the limited timeframe imposed by compos like OHC. He elaborated that, “In terms of arrangement style, not instrumentation, I'd say that I tend to work a lot with layering. Perhaps due to FL Studio I tend to have a pattern and loop based workflow. So there's actually a lot of repetition in my arrangement; even in my melody lines, it'll usually be something like two measures of something, then the same two measures with some differences. I'm not one to focus on primary foreground melodic elements – rather, I consider textures, soundscapes, and complex layering to be more important to me. This also tends to help me do well in OHC because I get to reuse a lot of elements, whereas I know there are other people who spend a lot more time because they don't use as much repetition.”

Timothy went into further detail about his common workflow methods: “Starting a song off is always the hardest part, but once I have the beginnings of a neat song, things tend to flow really well. I hardly ever start by composing a chorus first; I always just go from beginning to end. I try to basically have more-or-less final arrangement and instrumentation before moving on to the next section. Really, most of my practice nowadays is in the OHC setting, so my workflow has become pretty heavily streamlined to that sort of style.” As far as his choice of weaponry, he stated that, “My most used instrument has got to be the 3xOsc, which I love to death.” He recommended the VST for its versatility in the manipulation of its oscillator shapes. “It can do everything, from massive supersaw basses, to sub-basses, and triangle whistle sounds.”

He mentioned his signature ‘KirbySquare’ made using 3xOsc, one that has inspired other entrants to emulate this sound during compos. Timothy described KirbySquare himself as “a square wave plus a triangle wave one octave lower, and was originally inspired by RocketSniper in FLMC.” His approach to chip sounds has changed as he progressed in music production. “Recently I've been using custom pulse and triangle waveforms ripped directly from Famitracker and LSDJ, which has been working super well. Before I had those waveforms, I used to use a combination of TS404 for great pulse leads, magical8bitplug for pulse pads, and tb_triforce for triangle wave stuff.” Aside from 8-bit, he incorporates elements from a wide variety of sources. “I have Alchemy’s Planet Earth sound bank that I use a lot for pads and soundscapes, and I also use Ugo’s Motion for evolving sounds. For drums I have this one MPC library that zircon recommended, but more often than that I'll just slice up drum loops, of which I have two different collections.” 

Timothy recently put up his body of work on Bandcamp, which was a lengthy process. He noted that he re-rendered a lot of his work in WAV format to meet the site’s upload requirements. “There were a bunch of issues with stuff that didn't render right or didn't render the same as the original track, so I had to fix all of that. And then some of the songs were just so old (back to the days of FL 3.56) that they basically didn't work now, so I just caved and generated the WAVs from the mp3s directly.” Due to Timothy’s large back catalog, the work was split into "Monthlies" album releases, each with its own cover art. “For a while I was just working on all of these 16x16 pixel art graphics to put for each month. I ended up having to make over 50 of them.” Aside from the monthlies, he intends to release a new original album on Bandcamp.

A DDRKirby(ISQ) track was played as part of a ThaSauce panel at MAGFest X. When he had heard about this, he said, “I thought that was just really cool and awesome. At the risk of sounding egotistical, I do admit I'm well-aware that I've developed quite the reputation amongst the OHC community, and really appreciate the fact that people recognize my music.” People have also shown interest in seeing Timothy possibly perform at Jamspace. He clarified that, “My music just isn't very performance based. Keep in mind that I just sequence everything by mouse, so the limit of my ‘live’ ability would pretty much be me hitting the play button for something I've already composed.” He joked that, “If you want me to go all the way out to MAGFest just to hit a play button, something tells me that's not very efficient!” Timothy however hastened to add: “I can play other stuff live, like piano, flute, and maybe I could mess around with my LoopMuse program, but that's not really anything like the chiptune music that you guys know me for, so that kind of defeats the purpose.”

Timothy has several plans for his work, and for branching out. “I feel like I'm still relatively unknown in the larger VGMesque community, but perhaps that might change in the foreseeable future.” Regarding upcoming releases, he revealed that, “I've got a handful of unfinished WIPs, including one that's being made using two instances of LSDJ. I'm also trying to make a compilation of music for social dancing, since I'm big on social dance.” He submitted a Touhou Project arrangement to ReMix: ThaSauce and OC ReMix, marking the first time he has submitted to OCR in seven years. Besides music, he has delved into game development, CG art, and "insane crazy Japanese Tetris" among other things. His various interests can be viewed via his “Site o’ Stuff” containing an impressively tall navigation bar. Perhaps fittingly, considering all the dance floors his songs could rock, glowsticking is one of his pastimes.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

No Hagalo

Despite predictions of a delayed spring season in the United States, compo circles continued to ride a hot streak. LLCompo on Sunday in particular resulted in a turnout of 28 entries, perhaps a reflection of the “Rainbows” theme and its wide spectrum. Famicompo mini vol.8 wrapped up with a total of 120 tracks split up into 72 covers and 48 originals, all submitted in the NSF format. SDCompo bounced back slightly having a total of six entries based on a samplepack: the compositions ranged from chunter’s mellow electronic “You Remembered” to iddy’s groove-centric “pixels at light speed” that carries an Amiga-influenced sound. 

OLRmageddon LVI portended the supposed doom of the year 2012 by announcing a “Prophecies” theme. Any game music was open for remixing, so long as it had a “strong piece of lore”. As a bonus entrants could also include maniacal laughter. One such track came from ProjectSpam, whose Skyrim remix contains lyrics about drinking and getting into a funk for the purpose of getting out of a funk. The round also contained three Final Fantasy entries: OneUp dabbled in wubstep occasionally broken up with dry cackles and whistling; In Torzlelan’s “Hero Be Gone” he raps over layered arpeggios; and OneUp’sSchiminal Schmantasy” again delves into wubwubwub ending with a gurgly laugh. Rounding out the entries was Brunzolaitis with “The Doomsday Medley” covering seven games and spanning nearly six minutes.

JHCompo on Tuesday followed Ferris Bueller and took “The Day Off” as its theme. irrelevnt appeared with graphic use of female moaning backed by a drum machine and bass. MandraSigma made use of sequenced piano, but then launched cuts of “go! go!” and a staccato beat. coda was able to fit his dog-title fascination reasonably into the theme: his “walk the dog” offers a bouncy session complete with trumpet riffs. liquid wind made the most of things by sitting at home with his synth patches on a “snow day”. housethegrate again found a perfect place for his signature funk rock and took a rollicking trip as a result. mu brings to mind the Genesis chipset right from the opening chords, leading to a halfbeat building off of the harmonies. Newcomer FrankieChains served up some doo wop vocal samples while Shadix used a mixture of strumming, pads and woodwinds for a lush soundscape. At the end of the listening party SonicThHedgog wowed the audience with a series of noodled covers followed by a wall of guitar, flute and sax polyrhythm.

Thursday’s OHC was dedicated to Triforce Mike, who tragically died earlier in the week as the result of an accident. "Courage, wisdom and power" conjured up a wide variety of styles. Zovi went for a timestretched series of high gain sounds simulating an unspeakable act involving a triforce. In a stunning move BrandonS hopped onto a bicycle whilst playing with a Game Boy and heeding verbal instructions. MandraSigma reworked my vocal narration and scat singing to create a quirky soundbed. CJthemusicdude exclusively used tb_triforce, a VST approximation of the NES soundchip to make his entry. JackShine continued the lo-fi aesthetic for a Chopin-influenced piece ending on piano. PsychedelicBrony sent the listening party into a nostalgic frenzy with his Tetris-meets-Zelda dubstep composition. Obtuse rolled on with the chip style by way of a brief-but-affecting track. AnimusVox was even shorter with "The Worst Bass Ever" of six seconds. Serisium grabbed hold of my vocals and went off on a quest of tuplets.

ProjectSpam melded pizzicato strings and metallic percussion along with his own vocals. isidor3 put up a somber take on Ganon's theme ending with rolling thunder. Forty-Two similarly submitted a mellow, woodwind-filled tune causing one listener to "want to ride Epona". HarryNilsson'sGhost rolled his toms into a spaced out industrial beat made using milkytracker. DDRKirby(ISQ) also put tb_triforce to use alongside drums and effects for a pulsing six-minute dance session. With much trepidation, Trancient followed DDR's track with one he admittedly made in 20 minutes; it works its groove despite the shadow cast by the previous entry. Fusion2004 rose to the challenge and used spectacularly mechanical guitar chords, which were masked partially by the drums and synthesized rendition of the Song of Storms. sci's track may not have qualified as unts, but it did get bodies shaking and included a vocoderized John Lennon line.

elsalluz brought some hip-hop into the party with occasion burst of wah effects. Arcana moved the audience with his organ, pads and melodic stabs, but lamented his song-titling ability. munchi worked on wriklefree's DAW and intended to do vocals, but settled on a heavily affected instrumental. DJ_SOMBRERO came by and provided incessant hospitality along with my scats. Finally bLiNd paid a rare visit to OHC to display his orchestral elements and chips with acoustic drumming, bringing the night to a fulfilling close.