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  Table Of Contents
           Message From the Editor
           Letters From Our Readers
           In Tune -- Natasha's "Riki Tiki Tavi"
           Monthly Software Review -- "Modplug Tracker" Update
           Screen Lit Vertigo (Part 1) -- "State of Mind" by Bomb
           Screen Lit Vertigo (Part 2) -- "Kkowboy" by Blasphemy+Purple
           1998 Song Countdown -- Coplan Ranks His Favorite 8 Songs of 1998
     Closing Credits:

  Message From the Editor
     Aside from our normal columns this month, there are a lot of news.
  Psychic Symphony has resigned as the writer for "Screen Lit Vertigo."
  The article published this month will be his last.  No need to fear,
  however, the column will not be short-lived, for he has found someone to
  take over the column.  Meet Seven, the new columnist for "Screen Lit
  Vertigo."  Both Psychic's last and Seven's first articles have been
  published this month.  That's two demo reviews -- ain't that great?

     Dilvish and SiN are both in stressful times, so they are takeing
  breaks from the usual hustle and bustle of writing a monthly column.
  They will be back shortly, so don't worry.  Meanwhile, I am covering "In
  Tune" by myself this month as I review Natasha's "Riki Tiki Tavi," as
  per her request.  Read her letter to us, and then check out what I

     Louis is back after a vacation of sorts.  He brings us an update on
  the latest from Olivier Lapicque.  You know what he though of the
  ModPlug Tracker way back when.  Now, read and see what Louis thinks of
  ModPlug now!  Welcome back Louis.

     What Happened to Calvin French???  Several of you sent me messages
  about his last column so that I could forward it to Calvin when I got a
  hold of him.  Unfortunately, he is nowhere to be found.  His e-mail
  address has been disconnected, and I am unaware of a new one. Therefore,
  your messages have not yet been delivered.  Also as thus, his column
  will be delayed until someone find him.  Calvin, if you're reading this,
  please get in touch with me!!

     Finally, as it is January, the beginning of a new year, I have done a
  top 8 countdown of my favorite tracked tunes of 1998.  Check them out
  and see if you know the tunes.

     Once again, I appologize for the short issue.  It's a difficult time
  for many of's fortunate that we got out this month.  This would
  be a good spot to throw out a shamless plug and a note that we're
  always looking for new writers. =P

     Oh, just a quick request!  The archive we have listed at the end of
  this publication is an address to  I was informed
  that the server has moved, though my informant was unsure of the new
  address.  Could someone please send me this information.  Thanks in

                -- Coplan

  Letters From Our Readers
  -=- Letter from Andreas Viklund -=-

     Thanks for a very good and interesting review of my song "Exquisite".
  It was very fun to read such a detailed review. I think I actually
  learned a lot just by trying those things you wrote about (lower piano
  volume in one part of the song, for example)... Keep up the great work,
  and happy holidays! (yes, just a couple of days late. hehe...)

                -- Andreas / lagoona & kfmf

  -=> Reply from Coplan:

     As much as many of you like reading my reviews, I like doing them as
  well.  I especially love it when an author of a song I reviewed comes
  back and shows me that he heard and understood what I said.  This means
  a lot to me.  This is my greatest contribution to the scene, to the
  scene that I have grown to love so much.  Thank you...

                -- Coplan

  -=- Letter from Natasha Breanne Thompson -=-

     Hello and a Happy New Year to you  :)

     I have finished with another song for the beginning of the New Year.
  It is called 'Riki Tiki Tavi' and the theme is based upon the mongoose
  character (Riki Tiki Tavi) in a story. There is a little more info
  about the story on the page with the song and its cover.

     If you'd like, please have a listen.....  :)

                Take Care,
                -- Natasha Breanne Thompson (a.k.a *TeChNoBoT*)

  -=> Reply from Coplan:

     Thanks for the message, Natasha.  There is a full review of Natasha's
  song, "Riki Tiki Tavi," in this month's "In Tune."  Check it out.   Oh,
  and if anyone else out there wants a review...please don't  hesitate to
  ask.  Natasha got hers.  =)

                -- Coplan

  In Tune
    Natasha's "Riki Tiki Tavi"
  By:  Coplan and SiN
     Natasha Breanne Thompson, also known as Technobot, came to us just a
  little while ago and requested a review of her work titled "Riki Tiki
  Tavi."  Since she asked, SiN and I decided that we'd download the song,
  and check it out.  This is the first time that we have had a formal
  request to review a song.  More of you who are willing to learn should
  do the same.  If nothing else -- even if you don't learn anything -- all
  you did was waste the time to write me an e-mail message about how you
  want us to review something.  What's a few minutes if there is a chance
  that you'll get some good information for the future.  =)  Well, end of
  my request to you...on with the review.

  -=- Coplan -=-
     First of all, I must say I didn't know what to expect when I got the
  request from Natasha.  In the past, when people have asked me for a
  review, they have asked me to keep it private for one of two reasons.
  The first is the fact that they feel their work sucks -- a lack of
  confidence.  The second is the fact that they realize the song needs
  ironing, but they are blind to its wrinkles and don't know where to
  start with the steam.  So, when I got the request from Natasha, she was
  confident and proud.  As you can see in her letter above, she explained
  the basis for her inspiration -- a very confident approach.  That alone
  made me what to grab this tune and check it out.  So khudos on the
  proper attitude!

     Vocal samples?  Why not?  In electronic music?  Again, why not?  Almost
  the entire basis for this song lies within the vocal samples.  Mind you,
  they aren't necessarily lyrics.  These vocal samples are almost used as
  instruments.  Now one must keep a few things in mind when useing vocal
  samples.  The first is the fact that they must be clean and clear.  This
  doesn't account for effects that you add to them as is the case here.
  The second is that if you have multiple voices, they must fit together.
  In "Riki Tiki Tavi," there are two sets of voices: male and female.  The
  male voice is demanding, course and brisk.  The female voices compliment
  the male set by being gentle, soft and relaxed.  These voices compliment
  eachother well.  Finally, when useing vocal samples, you can't let them
  overwelm the rest of the song or seem out of place.  Watch your volume
  levels, and watch your  panning.  In this case, I feel that the female
  voice tends to shift too far to the left sometimes and too far to the
  right in its echo.  This also plays along with the volume level because
  if the sample were faded in slightly, or played softer, you wouldn't
  notice the sudden introduction of that sample -- something undesirable
  on gentle and relaxed samples such as the feminine voice in this song.
  This can be avoided in two ways.  The first, and most logical method, is
  to mess with the panning directly.  One could either start closer to
  center and shift outward from the center, or to simply place it
  slightly closer to  a resonant instrument already playing, such as a
  horn or a flute.  This  would blend down the dramatic addition of voice.
  The second method would be to play with the volume levels and trick the
  listener into believing that the voice "drifted in."  This requires you
  to start at a lesser volume for that sample, and increase it as it plays
  useing the volume slide command.  This trick doesn't work with many
  samples, so don't get discouraged if you can't figure out what the hell
  I'm talking about.  Now, onto my more linear method of reviewing.  =)

     The introduction, in my eyes, is strong and efficient.  It is fairly
  short, but it somehow puts you into the mood for the song.  I'm not
  exactly sure why this works so well, but I can make a good educated
  guess.  I believe that the introduction works primarily because of a
  good selection of samples.  The '7thsense' sample seems to work well with
  the 'Gitar' samples.  The chord progression lies within the '7thsense'
  samples at the biginning.  Natasha was wise to keep that sample moveing
  in four channels at the beginning.  It is the only instrument sample
  playing, and therefore it should avoid dead space or space where the
  overall volume level drops dramatically.  The male voice now comes in
  and almost introduces the song, like a welcome in a way.  The 'Gitar'
  samples then fades in with their rendition of the chord progression.
  Listen closely...its there.  If the voice didn't exist here, she
  would've had to start fadeing in the Gitar samples much earlier, or much

     In order 3, we notice our first major change.  Along with that female
  voice comes our first base instrument of any depth.  The 'Basswah'
  samples are very well used to balance out the bouncy melody of the
  'Gitar' samples.  With exception of the base drum that is soon to come,
  most of the percussion is done in loops.  There's nothing wrong with
  drum loops...just make sure you use ones fit for the song.  More khudos
  to Natasha for finding good drum loops for this song.  As for the Base
  Drum, listen to it.  It isn't as simple as it appears.  Occasionally it
  hits in in triplet.  What is important here is when it hits in triplet
  relative to the song.  Notice that whenever there is a major jump in the
  pitch of the chord progression, the chord progression changes or if
  there is new peice of the song added, the base drum his three times

     A transition starts mounting in order 11, and a damn good one I might
  add.  The 'goldenhour' sample kicks in, softly at first, but eventually
  demands a lot of attention as it gets louder.  It seems to carry the
  lead role for a while, but then come the rezers and the 'stratos'
  samples.  These samples alone transform the whole song into a nearly
  mystical trance.  The song goes on in this dream world for a good
  portion of the rest of the song.  Wow, do I feel like I'm one of those
  cobras (read the song text if you don't know the story).

     Somewhere around order 28 starts the weakest part of the song, still
  tight mind you.  Up to about order 32, I feel like I'm listening to a
  completely different song from a Metroid game or something.  Haveing
  parts in the song this drastically different is tricky.  The entire
  portion has to be very well transitioned.  The transition into the
  section is far to simple.  Something dramatic would work, but that isn't
  suitable for this song.  I would imagine a transition similar to the
  one I described at the beginning would best work here.  For starters, I
  would mimic the last riff of the 'goldenhour' sample here and there as a
  form of unity.  Second, I might get rid of the base drum for a short
  while.  Introduce it again shortly before the song shifts back to the
  old mood.

     The closing works fairly well.  It is a simple closeing that I have
  examined many times before in this column, so I won't bore you once
  again with all the gory details.  I will say, however, that the key to
  this transition lies in the percussion as its riff changes.  This lets
  the listener know something is happening.  Another key element to this
  closeing is the slight echo of the gitar in the background.
  Finally...there's that well placed voice again.  =)

     You may have noticed I talked alot about the samples in this song.  The
  truth is, these are all very good samples.  Natasha sampled all these
  herself from her sythesizer.  There has been a great effort put into the
  careful selection of samples here, and it shows.  The tightest piece of
  this song is its sample selection.  Well, that's about all for one of
  the best songs of its type out there.  Quality electronic music like
  this is hard to come by these days.  While you're downloading, you might
  as well check out the rest of Natasha's web page.  I personally downloaded
  two other songs of hers and found them to be just as enjoyable.

  Hope you found the review informative.


  Listening Info:
     Coplan: IT 2.14 useing default Interwave drivers; Koss Mixing
       Headphones and his home stereo.
     SiN: IT 2.15 useing MMX PNP drivers; volume ramping (@48kHz); MikIT;
       Senheiser Studio-Reference Headphones and his home stereo.

  Song Information:
     Title: Riki Tiki Tavi
     Author:  Natasha Breanne Thompson
     Filename (zipped/unzipped): /
     File Size:  1666k

     "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!

  Montly Software Review
     "ModPlug Tracker" Update
  By:  Louis Gorenfeld
     Olivier Lapicque gets my vote for the most-improved programmer of
  1998. His software (you know, the ModPlug series) went from software
  that I felt people should pay me to download, to programs that I use

     I would recommend ModPlug Tracker to anybody learning to track.  It
  has a friendly familiar Windows interface, and features that some
  original trackers don't have: Cleanup (to get rid of unused samples,
  patterns and instruments), ability to keep open multiple files at a
  time, list of recently opened files, clickable sample editor so that you
  can hilight parts of the wave and loop or edit them, a chord editor and
  pretty good filter support.  It will also load GUS and SoundFont2 sets.
  Another good feature is an effects selection screen.  Though this isn't
  needed for experienced trackers, it is something I wish I had when I

     The tracker should appeal to both FT2 and IT users since it saves in
  both formats and can be configured to behave a little like them too.
  When you first start a song you select what format first, not when you
  save.  This way, you can write a song and not worry about the particular
  format being too limiting to save what you already have.  It also alters
  the effects list to match that of the format.

     The interface still could be slicker: on an 800x600 display I still
  needed to scroll around the General and Comments tabs, and on a 1024x768
  display there was a lot of unused space.  But even with these minor
  drawbacks, this is a great place to start writing your own music.

     Rating:     3+/4
     Min. Req:   P90 or better and 8 MB RAM
     Rec. Req:   486dx4 or better and 16 MB RAM
     Platform:   Windows 95

                --Louis "Farmer" Gorenfeld

  Screen Lit Vertigo (Part 1)
    "State of Mind" by Bomb (Party version)
  By:  Seven
  Found at
  2nd place at TP8

  System requirements:
     From the info-file: "Works with my P120 + 16MB"
     Dos: SoundBlaster 16, VESA2, no memory manager except himem.sys
     Win: DirectDraw 15/16bit modes, Directsound
     Linux: X11, lots of other things I don't understand as I'm not a

  Test Machine:
        PII 350 64MB SB16, Win98 in dos-mode (BOOTGUI = 0)
     Dos: crashes when returning to dos, both with & without EMM.
     Win: crashes halfway the canyon-part.
     Linux: Can't test this, no Linux.

  The demo:
     This is the most videoclip-like demo I've ever seen. It starts with a
  big "NO parental advisory required" sign, Then diving into a tunnel,
  leading to a room with an Escher-knot. Meanwhile, text from the music is
  flashing and scrolling all over the scrren, accompagnied by TV-like
  static (not really like snow). This is something that continues the
  entire demo. A few flashing screens later, we see a big spaceship. Hey,
  wait a minute! It's the same spaceship as in Eden/Bomb, but with less
  textures! Well, we see it only a few seconds, then some MPEGs of people
  demonstrating in the street are shown, with the text: "WORK BUY CONSUME

     Now the best part (IMHO) kicks in: a flight thru a big high-tech
  canyon, filled with spaceships. This is something that should last much
  longer (I feel). Metaballs appear, on an MPEG background. Not really
  original, I've seen those things even in 4K's. After a rotating galaxy
  of stars/lights, another MPEG is repeating, this time of people working
  in a factory. Some kind of tunnel (one of the few real 2D effects in
  this demo) is replaced by an Bomb-logo (one of the few real pictures in
  this demo). In the background of the greetings, some torusses (tori?)
  are shown (with shadows! Not easy!). After the credits, a final MPEG is

  The music:
     The first thing I did when I first saw State of Mind, was decreasing
  the volume. It was a bit too loud, and it's the kind of music that makes
  your parents wonder what they did wrong with your education :). It's a
  kind of metal/rock music, a la Rage Against The Machine. Although its
  not 100% my taste, it fits the demo perfectly. Or maybe we should say
  the demo fits the music perfectly, because it's not tracked, it's an MP3
  of an existing group! ("State of mind"/SENSER). There has been a lot of
  fuss about that on the net, but apparently Bomb had permission to use
  it. So there are vocals in it, and you can better pay attention to them
  instead of to the texts, because those  move/disappear way too fast to

     A bit of visual overkill, but you can look several times to it, always
  discovering something new. I think the videoclip-feeling makes it very
  accessible to non-sceners, so if you need to explain to someone what the
  demoscene is about, you might start with this (if he/she likes this kind
  of music, that is. Don't want to scare anyone away :)). Still, I don't
  really like the movement towards MPEGs & MP3s. Real clips have no
  size-restriction and are not realtime, so we'll never beat them. I think
  we should keep the real-time effects and self-made music & pictures
  (personal opinion, feel free to do whatever you want).

  Strange facts:
     - Krafton/Nomad (with others) did the "visual supply". He also worked
  on Moai, which won the PC demo compo. So his work placed 1st and 2nd!
     - Lots of nice command-line options (try mind-h).  Pressing space saves
  a snapshot of the current screen to your harddisk, really usefull to
  read some text. (Also usefull for reviewers. Thanks!)


  Screen Lit Vertigo (Part 2)
    "Kkowboy" by Blasphemy+Purple
  By:  Psychic Symphony
     3rd at The Party 8'98/TheParty8/DEMO/

     What can i say. This one rules!!! Design me baby!

     Code by Slyde of Blasphemy and Vipa of Purple. It's 640x400 all the
  way! Mostly 3D splines and curves. There is also this awesome opening
  lightning and a tunnel at the end. The credits during the tunnel is simply

     Music by the master of disaster, Mellow-d. It fits the design and mood
  of the demo very well. Following his own traditional "Mellow-d style", he
  wraps up another joint ready to be smoked by the guys of blasphemy+purple.

     The 3D is by Byter of Blasphemy and Thorsten of Purple. Not much to say
  here! Some cool design work though!

     Graphics by Thorsten of Purple and Mads of Purple. There is also some
  heavy design work in here! Awesome similarities to Purple's successful

     This is basically Summer Encounter '98 revisited! What the
  americans call the "2-in-1"! ;) Which is great!!! "Plastik"+"Louis
  Lane"="Kkowboy" It's a weird equation but it works for the guys from
  denmark! Not much more i can say. Maybe a small mention to that 3D
  lightsource virus-looking thing also looked awesome. This is one
  of those #product-speaks-for-itself" things. Just go get it!

     Psychic Symphony /

  1998 Song Countdown
     Coplan Ranks His Favorite 8 Songs of 1998
  By:  Coplan
     Someone on #trax asked me one time why I don't rate the songs that I
  review.  There's actually two simple reasons for this.  The first is
  that I find it does absolutely nothing to help the artist grow as a
  musician.  Second, and my biggest reason, is that I don't rate
  mainstream songs as I listen to them on the radio.  Think about
  it...when was the last time you heard something from U2 and rated it on
  a 10 point scale?  It's not a competition, so why bother? There's only
  three options in most cases: You like it, you don't like it, or you
  aren't sure.  Three point scales just aren't that common in statistical
  data, so I don't bother.

     However, when you plot one song against another, you'll most likely
  like one song better than the next.  That's where this special article
  comes into play.  My roomate (who has been mentioned at least twice in
  the past) is always asking what my favorite songs are of the 229 songs
  on my hard drive.  He's not asking because he really wants to know, he's
  actually asking because he wants to know which songs he should copy.
  The truth of the matter is, if I don't like it, I don't keep it.  So if
  its on my hard drive, I like it.  But, if I had to rank all the tunes
  that I have from 1998, this is what my list would be.  Granted, it may
  not be an accurate of what is truly the best of 1998.  After all, how
  many songs are released every year in the scene?  More than I could
  count.  Well, here goes.  (BTW, there are only 8 songs listed because I
  found there to be a huge gap between my 8th favorite of the year and my
  9th favorite.  Without any comparison, there's no point in ranking

  -=- 8. Line of Force ( -- Tourach of Chaos Theory
     Classic Van Halen fans will like this song.  It is reminiscent of rock
  from the late 1970's and early 1980's.  Here we go, jump in your melodic
  time machine and load up this tune, it'll bring back memories.
  Seriously though, it's a good tune, and definately worth the download
  time.  See the full review in issue #2.

  -=- 7. Love in the Stars ( -- Airon of Phaze^D
     Here's a ballad for all of you who like to dance slow and close to your
  date.  The percussion can be kind of bland at times, but the leads are
  something to die for.  Some of the best slow-song lead work I have seen
  in a long while.

  -=- 6.  Space Pop ( / -- Blue Zone of Immortal Coil
     Blue Zone is one of the best trackers in the scene today, and this is
  the second song of his that among my favorites.  This is a very unique
  song, almost New Age stylistically speaking.  It is not the typical
  song, far too complex for a simple analysis, far too good to take apart.
  If you don't want to take my word for it, note the fact that it did take
  6th place in MC6.

  -=- 5.  He Said (sc_hes8.xm) -- Setec of Immortal Coil
     No doubt about it...this is the first song I cue up when I'm feeling in
  a dark and mysterious mood.  It's an industrial song with some really
  funky percussion.  From the beginning of the song, you are captivated
  into listening -- calmly.  Then, there is no escape...the song has taken
  a turn and becomes a little more wild, and very mysterious.  Check it's one of my favorites, and I'm not often a fan of industrial

  -=- 4.  Outerspace Girl ( -- Phytoplankton
     To be honest, I don't think this song is really available anywhere.  I
  will have to check on that and get back to you.  If anyone wants this
  song, please e-mail me, I'll be    glad to send it.  This is a guy I
  discovered through a friend of mine.  He is not truly a member of the
  scene, but its tracked music, and its one of my favorites.  The sample
  work is incredible.  I have never dreamed of useing some of these
  samples as instruments or in some cases percussion.  Welcome to your
  first peak at the music of the future.  Damn, I wish this guy would
  become more active in the scene.

  -=- 3.  Exquisite (av_exqui.xm) -- Andreas Viklund of TSEC
     This seems to be a trance, rock and new age hybrid here (though I never
  have been good with putting "labels" on music styles).  The percussion
  in this song is phenominal, the sample work is amazing, and the tune is
  pretty well done.  I came across this song while looking for something
  to review for an issue of Static Line, and it is now one of my
  favorites.  Read my full review in issue #6.

  -=- 2.  Carpe Diem ( -- Siren
     This song was served to while I was a judge for MC6 in the first round.
  It is a song that I had actually picked to place higher than it did.  I
  expected it to pull 1st or 2nd place.  Unfortunately, it only took 5th
  place.  Still, that's not too shabby.  The song is a rock-like song,
  though far more funky than the average rock song.  Siren's style here is
  very similar to that of Necros.  The percussion work is tight, the
  samples are excellent, the guitar work is unbelievable.  This is
  definately a song you should go download from the MC6 directories of
  Hornet before it closes for good.

  -=- 1.  Sorrow's Triumph ( -- Obsidian Dream:  Catspaw, Dude
                                                        and Dream Scyth
      A dramatic and romantic orchestral tune for any music lover.
  Inspiration from all forms of orchestral music and even rock.  This is
  one of my all time favorite tunes, right up there with Jase's "Kingdom
  Skies" and Necros's "Shadow Caster."  This is one of the only three-way
  co-op songs that I know of, and it is very effectivly done.  Going over
  the song with a fine toothed comb, I found very little errors in the
  song.  Quality, aestheticly pleasing...what more could you ask for.
  There's no doubt that this should earn 1st on my scale.  See the full
  review in issue #4.

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

  Static Line on the Web:

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