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Table Of Contents
Message From the Editor
Letters From Our Readers
In Tune -- Virt's "The Great Revolt"
Screen Lit Vertigo -- Ninefour by Profuse (party-version)
Abort, Retry, Fail? -- Static Line's Future
IMPORTANT MESSAGE -- Group Advertisment Now Open
Message From the Editor
I'm sad. As our distribution list increases, for some reason, our
issue size tends to decrease. Why is that? Setec has one theory having
to do with the inactivity of our readers. We're not on a very good path
to becoming a quality magazine without contributions. I sound like a
charity, but please give.
With this issue, our 8th issue, I am now opening the issue to public
advertising allowing that we get some sort of contribution. Check out
my article simply titled "Important Message" for details.
A _lot_ of our staff writers seem to be lacking in moral support. If
nothing else, write in and say you miss that column about software
reviews...or you miss the interview columns. I gotta be honest, it
seems like we're writing to a wall sometimes. Are you all out there?
Well, on with the issue. I'm reviewing Virt's "The Great Revolt" in In
Tune this month. Damn good song, and well worth a public review. Check
it out. You want the current scoop in the demo ring? Check out seven's
review of "Ninefour" by Profuse. Finally, read the two articles by
Setec and myself about the future of Static Line. Don't let it all go
to waste so early on. If no one cares, than the scene truly is dying.
Virt's "The Great Revolt"
By: Coplan and SiN
First, let me give you some follow-up. Last month, I reviewed a song
by Natasha B. Thompson (aka: technobot). Because of the review, Natasha
earned an invitation to join Immortal Coil. She went through the
application process with flying colors, and is now a member. Just goes
to show, it doesn't hurt to share your tune with people. =P
This month's victim was introduced to me by a fellow group member.
Until I've heard this tune, I have never heard any of Virt's music. In
fact, I think I've only ever seen him once on #trax. Nevertheless, I
never neglect a recommendation and I downloaded the tune. Need I say
more than that right now?
Virt apparently comes from a background of MIDI and real-time music.
He has examples of some of his MIDI tunes on his site as well as some
more tracks. His website is based at http://listen.to/virt. Check it
out. "The Great Revolt" is an orchestral peice, to be expected soon is
a chiptune and a Big Band piece (hopefully "real" big band -- 24 piece).
-=- Coplan -=-
Under normal conditions, I would probably attack the sample set.
However, I have been in contact with Virt, and he assures me that there
will be a newer version with higher resolution samples. In many songs,
it wouldn't make that much of a difference (especially with the
electronic styles). However, in an orchestral piece or a rock piece
where instruments are readilly recognized, it makes all the difference.
Virt has realized this, and I commend him for offering me a higher
resolution pack. Keep in mind, in this day and age, if the song is too
large, you can always release it as an MP3.
As far as these particular samples though, I will have to point out a
few minor details. The first is the choice of snare samples. Notice he
has both a roll and a snare hit that are matched. I've seen this often,
but not often enough. Having a seperate sample for your drum roll is
probably the best and clearest way to have your drum rolls. It's much
more realistic. His Choir samples are also the best that I've heard to
date. However, in every good sample set, there are always a few
downfalls. Granted, I can tell what the clarinet and horn samples are
supposed to be, but I imagine better representations of such
instruments. The french horn is a different story. To me, the french
horn sounds more like a low string sample (drop it a few octaves). That
tremello violin makes up for it though (I grabbed that one myself --
don't worry virt, you'll get credit for it). Other good samples include
that harp set, and of course we can't forget the Pizzicato Base, though
I would use it as a plucked base for that up and comeing big band song.
Now, onto the song itself. The first time I listened to this song, I
accidentally disabled stereo, and I was still happy with the
introduction. Then, I listened to it in stereo. That makes it. It
seems such a simple thing, but the way the chimes shift back and forth
at the beginning helps slip you into a trance. Things moveing around
your head tend to do that...so mess with the panning, but don't over-do
it (I feel the need to mention "Day in a Life" by the Beetles). Notice
the Pizzicato strings come in with panning as well. Though I personally
think that the full left and full right method of panning is slightly
out of date, it is effective.
Watch the percussion. Watch as Virt slips that Snare Roll sample in to
help out the realism. To add to the effect, notice the careful
placement of the tiny bells as they mimic the lead in certain places.
Let me take a brief minute here to mention the dynamics of his lead
instrument at this part, the flutes and oboes. It's a good lead, but
that's not my point here. You'll notice different interpretations of
this lead throughout the song. Though it isn't exactly the same lead,
you'll notice its character.
Now, comes one of the best transitions I've heard in a very long time.
The mimic of the bells starts it off. The harps, they start low
and soft, suggesting distance. Then, they get louder, and higher
pitched -- closer. Cymbol Crash, lead instrument changes, key changes
slightly...more evil, more mysterious. We're introduced to the
antagonist of this song. We get to see a little into the ways of what I
envision as some sort of wizard -- but it could be I just play too many
role playing games. =) Seriously though, notice the continuous brawl
of low horns and the pizzicato strings playing in a key that seems just
plain off key. That's important to makeing this part work. The best
example of this that I can think of is the closing song to id software's
"Doom." For those of you who havn't beeten the game, or just don't
remember it, it starts out with a playful scene of a bunny. Happy music
that makes you want to dance in the meadow is played. The camera pans a
little to the left, and you see the city burning. The music turns evil
-- out of key, out of tune...just ugly. But that's the intention. As
in this case, the music isn't really out of tune, it just seems that
way because Virt picked a very good key for the "evil character."
Over a few turns of events involving that incredible harp work, and the
dramatic use of the timpany, we are thrown into yet another scene in
this epic fantasy by order 18. Back to the initial key -- its safe to
come out now, this is our good character. The piano has yet another
rendition of the chorus, the characteristic theme that carries the song.
To anchor its importance, low strings jump in to compliment the piano.
The strings carry a simple riff, only two notes, six short hits in all.
Yet what is important to realize here is that such a simple thing can
maintain interest, and in this case, unity in a song. Please don't
overlook such opportunities as these. Also, don't go throwing riffs
randomly into songs. If a riff doesn't sound perfect to you, chances
are, it won't sound nearly as good to anyone else.
Now let me jump ahead to order 28. Don't skip everything in between,
because it is very important to the outcome of the song. This
represents a confrontation between our two characters thus far, the good
and the evil. Evil are the wierd off key sounding parts of the song
while good is everything else thus far. When they meet, the key won't
sound right, will it? It's possible to make two opposites fit, To
understand this, we actually have to jump back to order 27 where we get
a lead-in into this part. The evil character is finishing up his
arrogant speech...and the hero starts in with his strings. A fine
transition. Now the confrontation which is actually split across two
orders, 28 and 29. In 28, the higher pitched trumpets (good) carry the primary
role. In 29, they fade, allowing the lower pitched strings (evil) to mock
the trumpets. Effective, eh? It also serves as a transition to the
The next part is characteristically very different. I assume from the
way it sounds that good one, because it is a peaceful song, one you
would see at the end of a battle...but only when our hero wins. If the
evil side won, we would have some sort of mysterious or hate-filled
music. Let's analyze the moods. First, we have relief starting at
order 30. We have a low key lead, and not too high pitched. The flutes
serve primarily as a compliment to the lead. They strike in to assure
the lead instrument that its presence is welcomed. In order 32, we have
victory. The percussion picks up, we have much more resounding
instruments, demanding attention. Much higher engergy here with both
the instrument selection and the character of the leads. The timpany
and crashes strike to emphasize key points of the tune. If this were a
speach, the speaker would say each of these parts loudly and quickly,
followed by a pause. Perhaps he might even strike his fist on the
table. THIS...THIS is Emphasis! Order 34: it is safe to return home
now, the war is over. The percussion is cut back, the emphasis is no
longer present. There's no point to be made within the song here.
The piano part that follows doesn't yield to much commentary, at least
in my opinion. Dynamically, this section of the song isn't anything
special. I will say that it is nice, but I personally feel it could
have been left out, at least in the state it resides now. Virt could've
cut right to the part where the flutes come in. Order 40, there's that
emphasis again. Now, it is carried by the hit of the low notes in the
piano, and the volume changes within the strings. Even when it isn't so
dramatic after order 43, the emphasis remains. Listen to the timpany.
The effect would be lost of the timpany was lost.
From order 47 to the end, this section can be translated two ways. The
first is a place to put closeing credits. The other, and the one I
prefer, is to remind the evil antagonist never to return, because our
hero will be ready. And finally, the introduction to our quick and
resound final note. Nice.
So what's my point? Why do I keep pulling out the good and evil
characters in this song? Because this is an epic tale told through
music. Though many of you may never write an epic orchestral piece,
there's lots to be learned from one. The first is how a mood can be
easily created by simply changing the pitch or volume of an instrument.
Higher notes and louder notes tend to be more demanding, closer, much
more heroic. Lower pitches and softer notes tend to be drawn back,
mysterious, much more distant. Sharp, quick notes like pizzicato
strings tend to be bouncy, almost as if it is dancing around. Long
notes are sloth, dumb-witted and far more mysterious. Woodwind
instruments such as a flute or a clarinet tend to be calming and
soothing. Brassy instruments are triumphant, arrogant, even confident.
Percussion can be both calming and confident depending on how it is
used. Play a snare very softly and smoothly (like a tight drum roll),
it can be soothing. Play it sharp, quick and loud with slight pauses
between hits, it is triumphant.
See what I'm getting at? Music should represent a mood. There should
be emotion, feeling in a song. Many of you aren't getting that. If you
noticed, I was very excited when doing this review. See what music does
to me? I assure you, I didn't smoke up, and I'm not drunk. It's the
music that excites me! It's powerful, don't forget that.
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.
Title: "The Great Revolt"
Author: Jacob Kaufman (Virt)
Filename (zipped/unzipped): v-revolt.zip / v-revolt.it
File Size: 604k
"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!
Screen Lit Vertigo
"Ninefour" by Profuse (party-version)
Sub Title <if applicable>
2nd place at Contest'99
Nothing mentioned in the info-file. Doesn't like EMS, use XMS-only.
Video: 320*200*[32-24-16-15-8 bit]
Music: Useless soundsystem used, so almost any musiccard will do.
5.7 MB harddisk.
Test Machine: PII 350 64MB SB16, Win98 in dos-mode (BOOTGUI = 0)
Dos: works in XMS-only
Win: Doesn't work in a dos-box, use "Restart to dos".
It's a fast-paced demo, that makes good use of the high-color mode.
The few 3D-objects are heavy blurred, such as the spike-ball and the nice
morphing tunnel during the credits. The greetings are shown at the very
beginning of the demo, between the inzooming Profuse-picture and the
blur-wobbling Ninefour-screen. A rubber-like pillar is shown during the
greetings, as in Gateways/Trauma, only this pillar is transparent. Some
good 2D-effects are shown too: the effect that looks like a cross-over
between a tunnel and textured 2D-blobs, and the polar-effect that is
shown during the even-faster-moving lyrics.
Some minor Bad Things:
The "moving between a textured floor & ceiling" looks rather low-res
(like 160*100*32bit), and I really hate it when text is shown but moves
too fast to read (You can press pause to freeze the screen, but the demo
will continue running).
Between the Profuse-titlescreen and the greetings, the words
"Techno-feeling" & "Techno-style" are shown, and this describes the
music somewhat. Repeating, lots of drums, basses & electrical beeps, but
with more melody than I expect from techno (As far as my music-knowledge
goes, it's more like dance). Most effects are not very "synchronizable",
but the few white flashes follow the beats, and a new effect is
accompagnied by a new "melodic" theme. It fits the demo, and I really
This is one well-designed piece of bits. Nothing ground-breaking,
but hey, how many demos are? Quote from the way-to-fast-flashing lyrics:
"We are not going to change the world of demos". Maybe they aren't, but
I would sure like to see some more stuff from Profuse in the future.
- What does nine-four stands for? Anyone?
- The first '99 parties are over. Lets hope for a good demo-year.
- Maybe next month a review of an Ambience'99 winner.
Abort, Retry, Fail?
Static Line's Future
By: Jesper Pedersen / Setec
This is the first time in three issues that I have contributed to
this magazine. If you page down a few times you will notice that I am
listed as a "staff writer". If you browse through the list you will
probably notice lots of names of people who have never really written
anything for Static Line. Now consider this: if a staff writer is
someone who contributes to each third magazine, and Static Line has ten
or so "regular" writers, then this is gonna be one damn slim magazine.
And this is something I see coming already. During the last few issues
the number of articles has decreased noticably.
While I could choose to blaim it all on a couple of non-productive
coloumnists and staff writers, this just would not hit the spot. I think
the real problem is the lack of feedback from you - the readers. In the
days of TraxWeekly (no pun intended) there was a significant amount of
articles by the readers in each magazine. In fact most of the articles
were written by people who just had something on their mind, not
nescessarily being a regular writer for the mag. But I fail to recall
a single article in Static Line written by a non-regular contributor.
Without any comments/articles by all you subscribers the quality of
this magazine will continue to decrease. This has a negative impact on
staff writers, who will feel that they just cannot be bothered to
contribute anything, resulting in even lower quality, less subscribers,
less people to contribute anything, ...
So. To wrap it all up - we need some articles from all of you. Abort,
Retry, Fail? I am hoping we can retry.
Group Advertisment Now Open
This is our 8th issue. I feel that it is only fair now to explain
exactly why this project was started. First a brief history.
Static Line was created, at least in concept, well over 10 months
ago...almost a year. The concept was created at the route of Immortal
Coil, the group of which I proudly claim to be a member. With the help
of other groups such as Kosmic and Cryptic Stench Records, we
were able to turn our dream into a reality. We have since picked up
many staff members, and many readers. This magazine is well on its way
to becoming the quality magazine that we dream of. But I will be the
first to admit that we still have a long way to go.
From this point on, I will freely allow any group to advertise in
Static Line. The full intention of this magazine is to bring the scene
back together. This is one way to do that. So, feel free to make
Static Line your home. Update the rest of the readers as to the latest
going ons, the latest releases. There are only two catches (and they
are simple). The first is that there is a 30 line limit. This should
be plenty of space for most of you to give us a brief look into your
group. The second isn't so easy. In order to be able to advertise,
someone in your group must write an article every other advertisment.
So it's simple. Say someone in your group writes an article for us,
you can advertise in any two issues in the future. This doesn't have
to be a regular column, it doesn't even have to be technical. Just a
random article having to do with the scene. Go interview someone that
has never been interviewed for us. Introduce a new tracking
application. Write your opinion about the scene. Whatever, doesn't
Why am I doing this? It's simple. This provides an incentive for
many of you to write articles for us. Not only that, but it allows the
rest of us to discover new demos or music. Maybe even trackers or
coders that are new to us. It creates a two way street to unity.
Static Line can grow as a quality anchor to the scene, and you can
depend on it to help you participate in the scene.
It's up to you. Do you want to remain unnoticed? Take advantage of
P.S. Please note that C.S.R. and Immortal Coil, who participate in the
magazine every month, and Kosmic, who provides us with this server, may
advertise at any time.
Editor: Coplan / D. Travis North / email@example.com
Assistant Editors: Ranger Rick / Ben Reed / firstname.lastname@example.org
Subliminal / Matt Friedly / email@example.com
Web Manager: Dilvish / Eric Hamilton / firstname.lastname@example.org
Columnists: Coplan / D. Travis North / email@example.com
Calvin French / firstname.lastname@example.org
Dilvish / Eric Hamilton / email@example.com
Louis Gorenfeld / firstname.lastname@example.org
Setec / Jesper Pederson / email@example.com
Seven / Stefaan / Stefaan.VanNieuwenhuyze@rug.ac.be
SiN / Ian Haskin / firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff Writers: Acell / Jamie LeSouef / email@example.com
Darkheart / Zach Heitling / firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychic Symphony / email@example.com
Setec / Jesper Pederson / firstname.lastname@example.org
Technical Support: Draggy / Nicolas St. Pierre / email@example.com
Static Line on the Web: http://www.ic.i7.net/statline
To subscribe to the Static Line mailing list, send an e-mail message to
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You will then be asked to confirm your addition to the mailing list.
To unsubscribe from the mailing list, send an e-mail message to
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Your subscription will then be removed.
If you would like to contribute an article to Static Line, be aware
that we will format your article with two spaces at the beginning and one
space at the end of each line. Please void foul language and high ascii
characters. Contributions should be mailed to Coplan
See you next month!