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Table Of Contents
Message From the Editor
Letters From Our Readers
In Tune -- Krop3rom's "Metal Grinding on Metal"
The Zen of Tracking -- Leave of Abscence
Screen Lit Vertigo -- "Sign Off" by Superstition (party version)
New Positions Open
Commentary on Demo-Parties
Feedback -- Proposal for a New Group
See the Sines -- Basics of Sound
Message From the Editor
First of all, I would like to thank everyone for their patience.
This issue is NOT late. It is on our website right on time. However,
the Kosmic Free Music Foundation (the provider of this listserve) just
got a wonderful new server. So...we got put on the back burner while
they configured their new server. I feel a congratulations is in order
Moveing on, this issue will hopefully mark the last of the "word of
mouth" advertising. I have published a few messages on the
alt.music.mods and the alt.binaries.sounds.mods newsgroups as per
recomendation of Glen Warner. You can read his message to us in the
"Letters" section. Meanwhile, I have also started placing advertisments
and the like on several websites. Hopefully we'll increase our reader
base, and more importantly, our writer base.
There are now a few columns up for grabs. If you want to write for
us, and havn't been able to think of an original column...feel free to
grab one of the ones that's up for grabs. More details to follow in an
article appropriately called "New Positions Available."
We have a lot for you to read this month. In Tune: SiN and I review
an unusual song by Krop3rom titled "Metal Grinding on Metal." Another
current review from Seven as he reviews a demo by Superstition titled
"Sign Off." This is the prize-winner from Ambience '99. Setec is back
with two articles, one is a proposal for a new tracking society/group
of sorts, the other deals with some principals of sound. Read
both...especially the proposal. Seems interesting to me. Finally, we
have a guest article from Ntropy, who shares with us a little
commentary on demoparties. Thanks Ntropy!
We'll see you next month with the next issue of Static Line. With
that new server at Kosmic...it'll be on time too. =)
Letters From Our Readers
-=- Letter from Glen Warner -=-
Just a quick note to let you know that your 'zine is being read. You
might consider posting a couple copies of Static Line to
alt.binaries.sounds.mods and alt.music.mods, though; there's apparently
a suprising amount of readers that have never heard of your magazine.
As for contributions/issue size ... well, here's something that may
(and I must stress: MAY) materialize in the future: I have a 100
question interview with Necros. It was supposed to be published in the
British magazine "Computer Music" in their special issue on mods.
Unfortunately, the 'special issue' had about two pages worth of
coverage, and the editor has not been very forthcoming in response to my
As such, I have offered the interview to the US magazine "Electronic
Musician". They seem interested, but they want an article on mods to
accompany it. I'm working on that now.
Since I am writing this article 'on spec', they may not use it. Should
this be the case, I will e-mail you again and attach the interview (EM
is rather fanatic about using stuff that has appeared elsewhere).
Would that help?
-=> Reply from Coplan:
First of all, thanks for the tip about the newsgroups. Being that I
don't check out the newsgroups that often, I am not accustomed to useing
it as a tool for advertisement. I have posted a message to both
newsgroups, and I hope to see some response from that. I have also
begun looking for related web pages that might allow a link to us.
As for your hopeful article, lets just say I have my fingers crossed.
I hope you are able to write for us in the future, but I would surely
not be upset if for some reason you couldn't. Thanks for the feedback.
It's good to know we have good readers.
Krop3rom's "Metal Grinding on Metal"
By: Coplan and SiN
This month, we are going to be reviewing the music of Krop3rom. This
may be a difficult tune to get a hold of, so we have made it available
on our web page for a short time. It will be listed with current
articles. In the future, we may start doing this with all of our
reviews. Let us know what you think.
Anyhow, on with the review of "Metal Grinding on Metal" by Krop3rom.
SiN is back for a short while, as he may be leaving the staff. We will
miss him, but meanwhile...I'm forcing him to pick the song and start us
off. I feel it's his turn. =)
-=- SiN -=-
Wow.. this tune was a hard one to review...Not because it was bad,
but because it is very, VERY, different from just about anything I have
ever heard tracked before. I would put this tune into the atmospheric
genre, with some ambient influences as well.
The first thing that I noticed when playing this song is that it
isn't musical at all, it doesn't try to be .. and it never pretends to
be... this may be somewhat off-putting to some of you, but I don't think
it should be... you just need to approach the piece from another
[I cannot review this song in a conventional manner, but I'll do my
best in any case]
The samples are all good quality and completely suit the character of
Krop3rom make very good use of the "surround" effect available in
impulse tracker to really thicken the pads and ambient textures.. he
also makes good use of panning to keep on off balance and interested.
I think this piece is great - it is unique, it is interesting to
listen to (just lie back and close your eyes and see where this song
takes you), and it is perhaps the most aptly named tune I have ever
listened to (though Skaven's "Catch That Goblin" is right up there for
being well named)... but it is really hard to review... so I encourage
you to listen to it! .. if you visit Efnet #trax Krop has shown no
reluctance to dcc it to anyone who asks for it..
Remember.. keep an open mind
-=- Coplan -=-
First of all, while listening to this song, there are two things that
one must have: patience, and a passive additude. Those of you who are
music theory buffs, those of you who like chorus and molodies, those of
you who like form in their music -- this song isn't for you. In fact, I
wouldn't even call this a "song." It is truly an experimental peice
that deals with sound depth and passive ambient sound.
Since the first three orders consist of some sort of funky "clonk"
sound and echos, I'm going to cut right to order 3 (there's logic here
if you count order 0). Anyhow...at order three, a second channel is
dedicated to the clonk sample (my name). While the first one is set in
surround sound, the second shifts back and forth from the left side to
the right. There's a slight problem here...most people don't have
surround sound support. For those of us who use a stereo system, this
literally does nothing but make it sound in the center. (I don't even
know...is surround sound in Impulse Tracker true "surround sound?").
When surround sound is played on a stereo system in this manner, and
when the same instrument is played at the same pitch with a shifting
panning, that panning is naturally amplified. Therefore, the hard-left
panned sample sounds really "left-heavy." Again, beware of the GUS
user. This will make the sound different...be careful. I like sample
3 here...I assume that's where the song got the name from. It really
does sound like metal on metal.
Next stop, order 6. More percussion-like samples are introduced.
The samples themselves leave something to be desired. But, at least it
breaks up some of the monotony of the song. Order 7, rezer sweaps.
Great samples, and great use of them here. There isn't much variation
it the samples use though. This alone has a major aesthetically
negative effect on the rest of the song.
As the song continues, I really don't know what to make of it. I'm
not at all about saving face, so I'll be blunt: I don't agree with
SiN's opinion of this being a great song. I find it very very drawn
out, and at times irritating. On an up note, however, Krop3rom has
gotten a good ear for when to introduce these unique samples. I don't
find any conflict between samples as far as how they are used, and how
they affect the song. The samples are all of very good quality, and I
feel that their use is effective. Though original, the song was not
very pleasing to my ear.
The best part of the song is the closing few orders. Starting at
order 21, a sample that so perfecty fits is introduced. Though it is
packaged in an unfluctuating melody, I can't help but to shutter when
that instrument comes in. It sends a creepy chill up my spine, and I
like that. To bad, however, that this is order 21 out of 24...quite
nearly the end of the song...in fact at about order 22, it will fade
slowly to silence. In the future, one might want to start a song here.
I'm sorry that I don't share SiN's view on this song. Perhaps its
because of my stubborn need for some sort of dynamic lead instrument in
music, or perhaps its because there wasn't enough change in this song.
The song is definately worth a download. It is unique in form, style
and mood, and worth a listen. If you like it, then it was worth the
download. If you dislike it...it was only a few minutes of your time.
But if you don't grab it...you'll never know if you'll like it or not.
--Coplan / Immortal Coil
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: "Metal on Metal"
Filename (zipped/unzipped): kr-metal.zip / kr-metal.it
File Size: 604k
Source: http://www.ic.l7.net/statline/kr-metal.zip (temporary)
"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!
The Zen of Tracking
Leave of abscence
By: Dilvish (spoken for by Coplan)
Fear not everyone, the column has not died. It will return in due
time. So as not to sacrifice the quality of the column, Dilvish has
taken a leave of abscence. He is currently working in his fairly new
job, and has recently been married (Congratulations from all at Static
Line). Meanwhile, until his company is able to afford new computers,
Dilvish has taken his own computer into work -- what a workoholic.
Therefore, he isn't able to carry out his column until further notice.
We at Static Line thank you for your patience as we await the return
of "The Zen of Tracking."
Screen Lit Vertigo
"Sign Off" by Superstition (party-version)
Found at ftp.scene.org
1st place at Ambience'99
Hmm, the party version has no nfo file, but I think you need at
least a P2 to run this smooth. Maybe a Pentium with MMX will do too, as
there are lots of different layers merged together. Vesa2 is needed; a
soundcard and 4.5 MB HD can be useful too.
Test Machine: P2 350 64MB SB16, Win98 in dos-mode (BOOTGUI = 0)
Dos: EMM: crashes almost at the end, after the metaballs.
XMS & clean: runs perfectly.
Windows: Exits immediately with a paging-error.
At Ambience'99, Superstition competed in the demo, 64k-intro, wild and
pixeled gfx compos (maybe I forgot some others), and they ranked first
in almost all of them. One might think this would result in a loss of
quality, but looking at Sign Off, the winner (yes, they had 2 demos,
which reached first AND second), you see the opposite is true. The first
word that comes to my mind when watching this is: "Layers". There are
always 2 or 3 layers with different effects visible, which gives an
overwhelming amount of things to look at. It's just impossible to see
every detail at once, so you really want to see it again and again.
There are few really impressive effects (although the combination of the
two tunnels is breath-taking). Pictures are more important in this demo.
The backgrounds are impressive and often colorful, some smaller pictures
are superimposed over every effect, and there are some very good
full-screen pictures with a very soft and blurred look.
Rhythm is more important than melody here, with lots of drums and noise.
There are a few breaks, during the full-screen pictures and the
greetings, when there are only a few instruments playing. Without this
variation, the tune would become boring at the end. Some things like the
flashing pictures are really synchronized to the beats, the rest of the
demo just follows the music at equal speed.
This demo is a good mix of everything: 3D, 2D-effects, full-screen
pictures, smaller pictures, ... Although there is no real theme, there
are some small design-touches that add much to the overall "feel", e.g.
several pictures of people under water, or the omni-present raster over
the effects. According to the credits, only three people made this
(Magicboy, Deadline and G-day/Quad). If you look at everything Magicboy
and Deadline released at Ambience'99, they must be some of the most
active sceners at the moment. Let's hope they keep making things with
New Positions Open
Staff positions are now open within Static Line. If you would like
to write columns for Static Line, but your column of choice has already
been taken, here's your chance. The following column positions are now
-Monthly Software Review
-Song Review (as a partner with Coplan)
If you have any interest in filling any of these positions, please
contact me at the address listed below. Perhaps you have your own ideas
--Coplan / Immortal Coil
Commentary on Demo-Parties
What is it exactly that in the end attracts people to these
"Demo-Parties", what is it that keeps them coming. It can't be the poor
organizational talents of the Powers-That-Be, nor the sleep deprevation
or intoxication with soda and sugar that wreak havoc on many a young
bodies. It can't be the doorhandles of the toilets puked over by some
idiot in distress, nor the excessive ambient booming of lamish crap
"music", nor the cries of dying Quakers as they once again walk straight
into the cold embrace of virtual death.
Is it the scene-spirit that bonds them, that mythical thing spoken of
with awe and respect or is it being able to do what they want to do,
feeling yuckily sticky for 72 hours, coming home with a load of new
warez and, perhaps most importantly, with the knowledge that they are
not alone in their craving, that their passion is shared by others.
Kindred spirits? Maybe, maybe not. But in the end we all collapse onto
our beds with a mad grin of satisfaction on our faces...
We were there.
Proposal for a New Group
By: Jesper Pedersen / Setec
I am one of those pathetic fools that craves feedback on my tunes.
I am not romantic enough to claim that it is enough for me to be
statisfied with what I put out, not caring whether people hear it or
not. Hell no! I want some proper feedback, some criticism, comments,
someone telling me to stop tracking, anything. I want to know that
people actually listen to what I put out, and I want some ideas for
improvements cause I damn well know there is room for some.
So. Since I feel the scene in general doesn't provide me with
feedback, I am taking matters in my own hands. I am hereby inviting
anyone interested to join a new music group. The thing that will differ
from how most groups work is that feedback on new releases by the other
members is REQUIRED in order to stay in the group. In other words, if
you do not grant the other members with comments you will be kicked. Of
course, if you are practically unable to give comments, proper excuses
will be accepted. But only for so long. Keep coming up with excuses and
you will be asked to leave the group.
I don't know whether this has been tried before, I don't know if I
should have my head examined for proposing this, but I find the idea of
the whole thing rather interesting. So. Anyone interested should contact
me at :
Include a little info on yourself and a link to some of your stuff. If
you are in, I will contact you with further info. I still haven't
decided on a name for the group, I figured I might get no applications
at all, so I did not bother. That is a detail we can always work out
There. Who knows, maybe I am a bit of a romantic after all.
--Setec / Immortal Coil
See the Sines
Basics of Sound
By: Jesper Pedersen / Setec
A few days ago I was lucky enough to be involved in quite an
interesting conversation with ShadowH, covering the subject of sound -
how to synthesize analog instruments to be more exact. I will not go
further into the actual contents of the debate, merely state that it
made me want to dig further into the topic.
So I figured the best way to learn is to try to teach others what you
know. Thus in this article I will attempt to outline some basics of
sound. It is my plan then, to try to learn more about the subject and
return with an article from time to time.
But why the hell should basics of sound interest you? Well, if you
only want to dig through your library of Necros and Skaven tunes for
sample sources, so be it. Skip this article, load up that fc-siner.smp
and start doing your thing.
If however, you would like to expand your ways of obtaining samples,
this is one hell of a way to do it. Understanding sound will allow you
to make samples completely from scratch, hardcoding it all from rock
bottom. And even if coding samples isn't your thing, this will be a
great help for anyone using softsynths or real synths as sample sources.
By understanding sound you will find it easier to obtain the exact sound
you want, rather than just twisting those knobs at random.
Anyhow, here goes.
PART I - Elementary, my dear Watson
Try to load up a sine sample in the sample editor of your choice.
What you will probably get is some sort of graph representing the sine
sample; a sine waveform. This is as simple as it can get. Keep this form
in mind for the remainder of this section, I won't bother to draw
asciis, I suck at it so it would probably just confuse you.
When trying to describe a sound in general terms, there are three
basic elements; pitch, brightness and volume.
Pitch is probably obvious to most of you, it is determined by the
speed at which the wave repeats. If you look at your sine waveform you
will see how at first it is at zero, then gradually rising, falling
below zero and then once again rising to zero. This segment is called a
period. The pitch is determined by how many times the wave competes a
period during a single second; the frequency of the wave. Naturally,
this is measured in Hertz (Hz), 440 Hz being the middle A. Each time you
double the frequency you go up one octave. Simple as that.
Volume. Another thing that is obvious to most, but still deserves
just a little explanation to let you all know exactly what we are
talking about. When describing waveforms, the amplitude of the waveform
corresponds to the "height" of the thing. The farther the peak of the
waveform is from zero, the greater the amplitude and the louder the
Brightness can be a bit more tricky to understand. To simplify it
greatly it corresponds to the complexity of the waveform. If you look at
the sine wave it is as simple as it can be, but if you try to load a
string sample it is far more complicated. This change in complexity is
heard as change in brightness. Partials - or overtones - is also related
to the brightness of the sound. And this leads us into the next part.
What the hell are partials?
Well. To explain this, we need to get one thing clear first. The sine
bass is the mother of all sounds; so treat the little fella with
respect! What this means is that all waveforms are made up of several
sine waves; the fundamental (or basis), and multiples of that base
frequency. These others are what we call partials. Any integer multiples
are called harmonic partials, all others are inharmonic.
Now - like I mentioned earlier - these partials have a great thing to
say when it comes to the brightness of the sound. The more
high-frequency par- tials the sound includes the brighter the sound. You
might also say that such a sample contained a lot of "overtones".
So what would you do if you wanted to make a specific sound more
mellow, less bright. Naturally you would need to get rid of some of the
partials with high frequencies. Filter them out, so to speak. And this
is where that synthesizer all time favourite comes in place; the LPF -
Low Pass Filter. This filter simply allows you to specify a cutoff
frequency and then removes any partials with frequencies above that
level, hence creating a less bright sound. A very simple filter, not
difficult to understand at all unless you do not grasp the concept of
partials. You need to understand how sounds consist of more than one
By the way - while we are at it - in case you are wondering what the
resonance setting in the LPF actually does, this is quite simple as
well. It simply amplifies the partials in the area of the cutoff
Well. There is a little basic sound theory for you. I will probably
return with more articles on the subject. In case I have any of this
theory messed up, correct me.
--Setec / Immortal Coil
Editor: Coplan / D. Travis North / firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Editors: Ranger Rick / Ben Reed / email@example.com
Subliminal / Matt Friedly / firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Manager: Dilvish / Eric Hamilton / email@example.com
Columnists: Coplan / D. Travis North / firstname.lastname@example.org
Calvin French / email@example.com
Dilvish / Eric Hamilton / firstname.lastname@example.org
Louis Gorenfeld / email@example.com
Setec / Jesper Pederson / firstname.lastname@example.org
Seven / Stefaan / Stefaan.VanNieuwenhuyze@rug.ac.be
SiN / Ian Haskin / email@example.com
Staff Writers: Acell / Jamie LeSouef / firstname.lastname@example.org
Darkheart / Zach Heitling / email@example.com
Psychic Symphony / firstname.lastname@example.org
Setec / Jesper Pederson / email@example.com
Technical Support: Draggy / Nicolas St. Pierre / firstname.lastname@example.org
Static Line on the Web: http://www.ic.i7.net/statline
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If you would like to contribute an article to Static Line, be aware
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See you next month!