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File size:
24 237 bytes (23.67K)
File date:
2004-01-27 23:03:07
Download count:
all-time: 1 882


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  Table Of Contents
        I.     Message From the Editor
        II.    120 FPS -- To 3D Or Not To 3D?
        III    A Lesson On How NOT to Act (Logged from #trax)
        IV.    In Tune -- Zaigamore's "The Swamp"
        V.     Software In Review -- Cubic Player 2 (opencp)
        VI.    Trackers Block:  The Symptoms and the Cure
        VII.   Closing

  Message From the Editor
     Well, after all the hype, after all the marketing, and after all the
  busy nights...WE'RE HERE!  We're even on schedule too.  Well, I hope it
  has been well worth the wait.  We've already had a lot of fun getting
  this project off the ground.  For those of you who were lucky enough to
  get signed up early, we've got a good first issue for you.  For those of
  you interested in the effects of 3D acceleration and its effects on the
  demoscene, check out Darkhearts new column:  "120 FPS."  For the trackers
  out there, I'm back with "In Tune," montly song reviews with my new
  co-author SiN.  This month we review the music of Zaigamore.  Is the new
  Cubic Player worth it?  Find out in Louis' first installment of "Software
  In Review."  Finally, we got two humorous articles by Setec -- one dealing
  with political correctness and MC6, the other dealing with the dreaded
  "Tracker's Block."
     So, that's it?  Not yet.  The thing is, we're still a young magazine,
  and we're looking for help.  As you may have noticed, we're sorta heavy
  on the tracking side for now.  That's fine, but our goal is to be a scene
  wide publication.  I'm still looking for volunteers to do a montly column
  on demo reviews (I'd prefer someone with some coding experience).  I'd
  also like to see the occasional article from people outside the staff.
  If you would like to volunteer your time, services, articles, whatever...
  please contact myself or my Assistant Editors:  Subliminal and Ranger
  Rick.  Our e-mail addresses are all listed in the closeing statement.
  As always, comments are welcome.  Thanks again for your support.  See
  you next month!


  120 FPS
    To 3D Or Not To 3D?
  By:  Darkheart
     Over the years the PC demoscene has done a lot of evolving.  We've gone
  from plotting pixels and moving them around in a starfield pattern to more
  amazing feats such as double sided environment mapped transparent texture
  mapped (deep breath) polygonal shapes and as a collective whole have been
  exploring different Operating Systems to expand our technological works of
  art and leave the (PC game) industry wondering what the hell that new
  effect was and how the hell it was pulled off. 

     Enter 3D acceleration!  The industry couldn't hope to keep up with our
  phat software rendering engines and as we all know, they couldn't write
  one worth a damn. So they turned to DSP's and Polygon pumping 3D cards 
  that could dish out textures faster and with a huge quality improvement
  over our software engines?! Problem? I don't think so. It's time we take 
  the industry to a better place, once again.

     Some groups have already risen to the challenge. Even some commercial 
  companies (Although they consist of a bunch of sceners) Remedy <cough> 
  <cough> have written some really damn good demos sporting some phat effects
  that only the world of 3D accelerators could bring you. Among the actual 
  scene doing 3D Acceleration based demos are The Kosmic Free Music 
  Foundation, Complex, and Vertigo to name a few. 
     I'm almost certain that more of the scene will follow and this will
  become competition material and, if some of us get lucky, a career in the
  industry. Not to mention all the end users get to see what that 3D card of
  thiers can *REALLY* do.  So, the choice is yours, scene. Will you 3D, or

     Darkheart / Digitalus

  In Tune
    Zaigamore's "The Swamp"
  By:  Coplan and SiN
     Some of you may remember Trax Weekly, a weekly publication very much
  like this one.  It was very enjoyable while this column was based there,
  but unfortunately the magazine's status is yet unknown.  When Static Line
  was formed, and since I havn't heard of Trax Weekly for several months, I
  took no haste to moving the column over.  There is one major change from
  the old articles based in Trax Weekly, however -- I have a partner.  Let
  me introduce SiN (Ian Haskin), formerly known as Pyro.  Some of you may
  remember the review of his song, "Sad," wich appeared in In Tune several
  months ago.  As you will see, he offers quite a bit to the quality of this
  column.  I must admit this is the first time that either of us has written
  a co-authored column before, so if our format seems experimental, you'll
  know why.  Please offer feedback so that we can improve the column over the
  next few issues.  
     Now that the formalities are through...
  -=- Coplan -=-
     This month we will reviewing a song by Zaigamor titled "The Swamp."  The
  song is fairly old, as it was released in January of 1998.  However, the
  Hornet Archive never deletes anything, so the song won't be hard to find.
  The overall character of the song is an orchestral epic piece.  It is often
  times hard to find song like this with the electronic styles being so
  popular in the demoscene these days.  But if there ever was a good example
  of such, this is it.
     First let's start with the opening.  If you were to simply take that 
  piano sample for its sample data, I wouldn't consider it a wonderful sample.
  However, lets keep in mind that the sample needs to be chosen for its part.  
  In this case, the opening is very mysterious, and the piano sample helps
  achieve this affect with it's quick fadeout and plucking quality.  You will
  soon notice how important the strings are in the opening as well.  Zaigamor
  chooses a minor key to create the mood, and a low-string sample to balance
  the audio spectrum.  Once again, the low octaves are often forgotten,
  especially by those who use tiny headphones -- they just can't duplicate
  the low end of the spectrum.
     In the transition from Order-2 to Order-3, pay close attention to the
  strings and the Timpany.  Most noticable is the fact that the strings
  simply shift to a more active role.  Crisp notes, shorter times between
  notes and repetition is a good way to create a dramatic mood.  Also notice
  how the Timpany enforces the activity of the strings.  Finally, Zaigamor
  add a choir sample in the background just barely audible over the strings.
  The choir now carries the harmony, and helps to continue the mysterious
  mood as it resides in the dramatic struggle of the movement.
     Also, before we move on, pay close attention to the brass instruments
  here (brasshit and brass samples).  Their purpose is clear and justified,
  but this part could benefit from improved brass samples.  As you will see
  later, this isn't always the case.
     The next part I want to point out starts at Order-10.  Some may believe
  this to be a bad transition, but I would like to argue just the opposite.
  Though I am normally not partial to a complete cut of every instrument
  for a transition, here I think it works quite well.  Picture an epic story
  of some hero as he's running away from some creature in the swamp.  Now
  picture him pausing to collect himself as he realizes he must re-enter the
  swamp and fight that creature.  The mood has changed completely:  No more
  mystery, no more confusion.  Now, the hero knows his mission, and has made
  a plan.  Charge!  The music is very effective in portraying this sort of
  mood change.  Once again, the strings are very well done, and effectively
  support the new mood.  There is a Xylaphone and some Tubular Bells in there
  too, and they make this part completely unique.  The removal of either of
  these two instruments could easily break this part of the song.  Now, let
  me get back to the brass samples again.  Notice now that the brass samples
  don't seem out of place, and actually compliment the song.  This is mostly
  because of how they are used, and the instruments in which they are used
  with.  An ordinary sample now become a necessity to the song.  In the case
  of this song, however, I would suggest possibly loading additional brass
  samples for the other parts as needed.  
    Coplan / Immortal Coil
  -=- SiN -=- 
     This review is not as detailed as I'd like it to be due to some RW
  (real-world) issues, so please bear with me if it seems disjointed...
     Overall I liked the song... I am a fan of good orchestral pieces and
  "" falls into that catagory, however, every song has some things
  that can be improved so I am going to try to list the ones that struck me
     I liked the intro, musically it did a good job of setting the mood for
  the rest of the song... There were a couple of things that I'd like to
  address though:  First, I would have liked the intial build of the strings
  to last felt like I was rushed into the song. Anticipation
  had no chance to build.  Secondly, in using the Volume Slide command to
  create the swell of the strings, the changes in volume sounded choppy on the
  headphones I was useing.  Since Instruments Mode was enabled, the use of the
  S78 (Turn on Volume Envelope) command to temporarily enable a volume
  envelope could have improved the smoothness of the upward volume slide. 
     The song is devided into two parts, both of which were well-composed.
  The song is very "big!"  It has an epic feel to it which is nice.  The
  transition between the first and second parts is good, but I felt it was a
  little harsh (order 16). The percussion is very well tracked, but the
  addition of a simple sustaining string would have made the flow between the
  two sections less jagged...
     As for the song as a whole, there are a few things that I would like to
   ->  Good use of panning.  Even on the headphones nothing caused me to
         experience wide panning discomfort.  Panning was balanced and
         had interesting variations. 
   ->  There was a real lack of crispness in the overall presentation, the
         snare patterns were very well tracked, but tended to get lost in the
         song due to lack of definition (especially in the second half).
     This brings me to a point... SAMPLE QUALITY can make or break a song,
  depeneding on the sound you want, hi-frequency samples should be sampled,
  at a minimum of 22 kHz, 16-bit.  44.1/16 bit is perferred for high-end. In
  this age of faster modems, making your song a bit larger (but better) isn't
  a crime ;]  The samples used in "" were all chosen well for the
  instruments they represented, but the overall sound of the piece due to
  lower quality samples (8-bit) and low sampling rates, came accross as being
  rough -- from the strings in the intro, to the hits at the end.  I DO,
  however, acknowledge that without the ablilty to create your own samples,
  it is sometimes difficult to find the proper samples that are of high enough
     So, I liked the song, overall.  If it seems like I have not included
  enough positives in this evaluation, please don't take it as I am trying to
  bash the song, I am simply trying to show how to make a good song even
  better.  The scene is about learning and growing.  Learing from others and
  growing together.

  Listening Info:
    Coplan: IT 2.14 useing default Interwave drivers; Koss Standard
    SiN: IT 2.15 useing MMX PNP drivers; volume ramping (@48kHz);
       Senheiser Studio-Reference Headphones.
  Song Information:
    Title:  "The Swamp"
    Author:  Zaigamor
    Filename (zipped/unzipped): /
    File Size (Unzipped): 396k
      *** Note:  There is a copy of this song on the hornet archive, but
        apparently it is corrupt.  If per chance you get this song from
        the Hornet Archive, play at your own risk.  The Hornet Archive is
        not responsible for this corruption.
    "In Tune" is a regular column dedicated to the review of original and
  singular works by fellow trackers.  It is to be used as a tool to expand
  your listening and writing horizons, but should not be used as a general
  rating system.  SiN and Coplan's opinions are not the opinions of the
  Static Line Staff.
    If you have heard a song you would like to recommend (either your own, or
  another person's), we can be contacted through e-mail useing the addresses
  found in the closing notes.  Please do not send files attached to e-mail
  without first contacting us.  Thank you!

source note:

  Software In Review
    Cubic Player 2 (opencp)
  By:  Louis Gorenfeld
     After a long wait, this DOS player is finally working.  It's the same
  old Cubic Player, only with some new things since the last release
  such as not crashing.  It now also plays ITs with NNA's (no filters
  so far) along with fast MP3 playback (stereo on my 486dx4 132) and
  SIDs (c64 music).

     CP now plays in the background of Windows 95, but on a slow
  machine it seems to skip much more than other players.  In some
  modes it still doesn't multitask and will stutter and flash colors
  when you return to it.  The mixing is nice sounding though and seems
  to ramp the sound to avoid clicks.

     While this player plays nearly every format, it doesn't always play
  them correctly, though the support is better than many other players.
  This is also definetly not a program for beginners: the interface
  isn't easy and the only documentation for CP is in the help menu.
     Rating:     3/4
     Platform:   DOS

     Louis Gorenfeld

  A Lesson On How NOT to Act (and a reminder of the rules of MC6)
    Logged from #trax on    
  Prepared By:  Setec
  - LOG -

  <Anthrax> my tune will kick ass in mc6..... wakner
  <Anthrax> wanker
  <Divion> anth: rookie, intermed or vet?
  <nothing> anthrax: too bad it'll never get entered.
  <Setec> anthrax: that's a bold statement....if you do bad everyone will 
      be sure to let you know now...
  <Anthrax> i know, but i have no fear
  <Setec> oooh, you keep on making it worse.....
  <Divion> anthrax; will you enter rookie, intermed or veteran?
  <nothing> fear? you have no -something-, but fear isnt what id call it.
  <gd> white courtesy cluephone ..
  <cd> i haven't heard a single decent song that was hyped by its author 
      to be "kick ass"
  <Divion> so ignore me. nobody ever listen to me anyway.
  <Setec> divion: I think the lack of reaction from his side means he's 
      entering rookie...=)
  <Anthrax> Divion: Intermediate
  <Setec> oh.
  <Setec> there goes my theory...
  <Anthrax> was at and started downloading ws-ftp pro
  <Divion> set; don't worry, he *might* by lying... :)
  <Setec> divion: hehe..we'll just have to wait and see, i 
      he's made sure that we will pay attention to his place. =)
  <Divion> hehehe
  <Divion> i'm gonna keep track of him   :)
  <Anthrax> well, i'll let you know..., look fo my entry later:
  <dennisc> whoops!
  <Divion> uhoh...
  <cd> haha.. dq
  <cd> doh
  <dennisc> anthrax - that was an unfortunate thing to say
  <gd> whoops!
  <Anthrax> why?
  <nothing> hahaha
  <Setec> "I will fucking rock mcx. Yo, my tune KiX aSs soo bAd!!!" - the 
      words of Charles ODom....=)
  <Anthrax> i have not released it, and it is not the correct 
      filename....mistyped it...
  <nothing> mmhmm.
  <Divion> the famous last words...
  <nothing> it's a bit late for that.
  <Anthrax> why?
  <Anthrax> can't get dicqualifyed or anything for that
  <Exokai> ahahaha
  <Divion> i won't get dickqualified either
  <Setec> aheheheaheah
  <Anthrax> got to go (reboot)
  *Anthrax [] has quit IRC (Leaving)
  <gd> if further similar incidents occur, please feel free to email me
  <Setec> gd: hehaehea. =)
  <Setec> <Anthrax> got to go (reboot) <- famous last words...

  Trackers Block - The Symptoms and the Cure
  By:  Setec
                  "Trackers Block" - the inability for 
                   musicians to make music, not due to
                   lack of talent, but because of some
                   undocumented block of the inventive
                   and creative mind.

                    - The Cyclopedia of Tracking $216b.

     Many trackers have experienced this still to be documented illness.
  As the name implies, it seriously damages your ability to track over
  a limited period of time. Any permanent damage has still not been
  reported, although the side effects might be the loss of some or all
  group affiliations.
  Needless to say, this disease is a constant danger luring for any
  tracker. In this article I will attempt to outline some of the symptoms
  of the disease and hopefully grant you with a few possible cures.

  - One of the most reported symptoms is the phenomena knows as "the 
  void pattern". Basically, affected trackers will load up their tracker 
  of choice and countinue to stare at the opening pattern only to do some
  minor changes and then deleting them, thus maintaining a completely
  empty pattern (in some cases the pattern will not be completely empty,
  but will contain a basic rhythm, in most cases the well-known and
  feared basedrum at each fourth row).

  - Another symptom is the sudden desire to continuously load and reload
  samples, going all the way through the sample library. Presumably, this
  is believed to be a cure for the illness, but it has never been known
  to work.

  - Cheese is another symptom. If you feel unable to track anything but
  the cheesiest music, then you are probably infected with the disease.
  If this is not the case, you have a far more serious problem; "The 
  cheeze diseaze", which has been known to lead many new trackers into 
  immediate decade.

  - If you basically feel unable to track anything that is even remotely
  close to your normal standards then you are most likely affected by
  this block. Try loading one of your earlier tracks and zap all of the
  patterns, only keeping the samples intact. Then try making a new tune
  with the excact same samples. If you are still unable to make anything
  then the diagnose is obvious : "Trackers Block".


  1. The cold turkey approach
     Don't track! Simply stop tracking for a while until you really feel
     like doing it again. Start aiming your attention towards some of
     your other hobbies or at your work/school. Try to explore the life
     outside the tracker, hang around with your friends, go to some wild
     parties. But do NOT attempt to track during this period.
     If you fall for the temptation before the cure has come to an end,
     the disease will affect you even worse.

  2. Reviewing yours and others work

     Try to listen to a lot of tunes, both your own and others. Do not
     try to track right away. Instead, really get into these tunes,
     explore them and try to see what makes them great. Perhaps attempt
     to create a tune inside your head while you go through your modules.
     Hopefully you will suddently be struck by inspiration and you will
     find that you have been cured.

  3. Sample

     Take out some of your favourite cds and go through them, sampling
     anything you think you might be able to use. Then play around with
     the samples in your editor of choice (CoolEdit, SoundForge,...).
     Listen to the samples you have made and figure out what kind of tune
     they might be used in. Try to imagine how the track could be.
     This can often be a great inspiration and a cure that will actually
     help you expand your sample library at the same time.

  4. The stubborn tracker

     Try and try again. Keep tracking until you make something decent.
     This will rarely work, unfortunately, but it has been known to cure
     some victims. Be careful, though, as this approach might actually
     worsen the symptoms.

     I have contacted the international health commity, but they refuse to
  have ever heard of the "Trackers Block". Furthermore they deny doing
  any research on the area whatsoever.
  So, fellow trackers, we are on our own. Is this some sort of virus,
  genetically enginnered by the gouvernment? Is it some kind of new
  biological weapon aimed at artists of foreign countries and tested on
  us trackers?
    The truth is out there...

    Setec / Immortal Coil & Nothing

  Editor:             Coplan / D. Travis North /
  Assistant Editors:  Ranger Rick / Ben Reed /
                       Subliminal / Matt Friedly /
  Columnists:         Darkheart / Zach Heitling /
                       Louis Gorenfeld /
                       SiN / Ian Haskin /
  Staff Writers:      Acell / Jamie LeSouef /
                       Dilvish / Eric Hamilton /
                       Setec / Jesper Pederson /
  Technical Support:  Draggy / Nicholas St. Pierre /

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     See you next month!