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  Table Of Contents
           Message From the Editor
           Letters From Our Readers
           In Tune -- Caesar's "The Affectionate"
           Monthly Software Review -- More Soft-synths: DrumSyn and FM Dreams
           The Zen of Tracking -- Hearing the Mood
           Screen Lit Vertigo -- Robomatix by Suspend (Final-version)
           Back on Track -- What's New and What Could Be

  Message From the Editor
     Wow!  Long break, eh?  Well, let me tell you what's been happening.
  First of all, Kosmic got a new server, and has been through two service
  providers.  Now that they've found one that is willing to work with
  them, we've been able to get our listserv back up.  Many thanks to
  Draggy (Nicolas St. Pierre) and Jim Nicholson for setting this up for us
  once again.  Fan mail can be directed towards their e-mail as listed in
  the closing.  =)

     Welcome back everyone, we're back on line and cooking as usual.  We
  got  a great issue ready for you this month.  First, I review a song by
  Caesar, then Louis is back with some more soft-synths.  Dilvish has some
  inspirational tips with his column, Zen of Tracking.  Then with our
  fourth column this month, we have Seven's review of Robomatix.  Finally,
  for all of you who are curious about what exaclty happened in the last
  few months, I wrote a breif article filling you in.

     On a final note, please let me know if you experience _any_ problems
  with the listserv.  We should have all problems ironed out, but just in

     Until next month,


  Letters From Our Readers
  -=- Letter from distance -=-

  <distance>   Static Line on the Web:
  <ps_> its!!! how many times do i have to tell coplan that?!?!?!?
  <distance> probably enough
  oh yeah, apply for spcae if you don't already.


  -=> Reply from Coplan:
     Thanks for the reminder distance and ps!  I did update it just after
  the  last issue, but since we've been away for two months, no one has
  noticed.  So, please note that the change has been made.

     As far as the space on, we've thought about it.  There are
  two  things from stopping us from applying.  One is the fact that in the
  future, we may have our own domain.  The other is the fact that we have
  space in the Immortal Coil webspace.  Between Immortal Coil and Static
  Line, I have about 750MB to play with.  Considering neither will ever
  need that much space before I upgrade...I'd rather that the space on be reserved for less fortunate groups within the scene.
  Still, it will always remain as an option I suppose.


  In Tune
     Caesar's "The Affectionate"
  By:  Coplan and <this space for rent>
     Hello, and welcome back to a long awaited Static Line and In Tune.  I
  think I have benefited from the break substantially, and I'm ready for a
  fresh new review.  I gotta warn you though, this is the first time that
  I've ever reviewed a Fast Tracker formatted song for publication.  I
  just discovered that I can't multitask with Fast Tracker too easily.
  All this means is that my writing style may be a little different than
  normal as I wrote most of it on paper first.  You'd be surprised how
  hard it was for me to find paper for this purpose.  =)

     This month, I am going to review a song titled "The Affectionate" by
  Caesar of ProFound Sound.  Before I get into the technical and aesthetic
  points of this song, let me quick point out something about the  data
  tecnicalities (Yes, you get more than just music here!).  The complete
  filename of the song after it is uncompressed is "Affect 1.xm."  Notice
  that there is a space in the filename.  This if fine for Windows 9x
  users  (which I assume is most of you).  However, for the few that use
  Linux, Unix or similar systems on a regular basis, spaces within a
  filename create complex issues.  One could still designate a file such
  as this at a prompt, but it's an annoyance that some may discount.  The
  other technicality that I must point out is the file format.  This is a
  Fast Tracker file.  Listen to it in Fast Tracker.  There's enough
  difference in sample and instrument handleing as well as subtle tempo
  issues that require you to listen to formats in their native tracker.
  There is a big reason why I sacrifice my smooth writing style to a good
  clean and fair review.

     Now, on to the music.

     The intro is just like the intro that I myself like to write.  A few
  strings to set the progression, then a clean kick into a rock riff.  The
  percussion in general is clean and simple.  Notice how it changes with
  the music, however.  Ahhh...not quite as simple as we had initially
  thought, eh?  If you study the percussion throughout the song, you'll
  see exactly what I mean.  The percussion tends to follow the music.
  Wait, seems to lead the music.  In actuality, there really is no
  way to tell (unless you're the author of course).  Those of you trying
  to improve your percussion can learn a lot from this song, believe it or
  not.  Especially study the use of the base drum and the crash cymbols.

     Immediately after the percussion kicks in early in the song, the
  trumpet  is right there to take up the role of the lead instrument.  It
  actually  is part of the initial transition from the intro.  Not even a
  quarter of  a pattern after the percussion starts, the trumpet starts
  its little  ditty.  Though this isn't the best trumpet sample I have
  ever seen, it  has a stylistic character about it.  I would say this is
  a synthesized  trumpet (as you will hear with the higher notes), but one
  that lends a  certain quality to the song.  Now, lets listen to what the
  trumpet has  to say.  It's telling us that it is neither happy, nor is
  it sad.  The  beat lends to a typical 4/4 rock song, but the trumpet
  carries longer  notes:  mostly half notes and sometimes even whole
  notes.  Rarely will  you see any short and bouncy notes in this song.
  But, this is in a  major key, so it isn't a sad song either.  Just an
  overall mellow song.   If you read Caesar's notes in his instruments
  panel, you'll notice that  the song is indeed about a lonely person:
  Neither happy nor sad.

     Throughout the song, you'll also notice some key orchestration.  The
  first example of this is at order 0C (Hexidecimal orders, another reason
  to use Fast Tracker to listen to this song:  follow along with me).  The
  backup stringed instruments aren't directly related to the lead.  Notice
  it doesn't follow the lead, it doesn't mimic the lead, it doesn't even
  harmonize the lead.  Other than remaining in-key, its only purpose to
  the song at this point is to counter-point the lead.  When writing your
  own music, experiment with riffs that don't resemble your other
  instruments.  You may be surprised at what you'll come up with.  Don't
  expect miracles, though, because it takes lots of patience.

     Lets take a look at some of the better transitions in this song (for
  those of you reading for the first time, I love pointing out
  transitions).  Lets take a look at a somewhat simplistic approach to a
  transition.  Starting at order 0B, the instruments start a termination
  riff where they will eventually fade out before the end of the pattern.
  Even the base cuts down a bit to leave a pause very near the end of the
  pattern.  The only instrument that continues at full breath is the
  trumpet, which leads directly into order 0C where the base guitar and
  other instruments fade back in.  This is a technique that I have pointed
  out many times and think everyone could learn very easily.  That's why I
  keep pointing them out.  Now, lets check out a transition starting at
  order 10.  Again, the percussion builds up to a termination riff, a
  short silence of all instruments, then back in with the trumpet, strings
  and base guitar.  Please notice that when the transition is complete and
  order 11 has started that the background counterpoint instruments no
  longer exist for the time being.  This is important.  If all the
  instruments played all the time, the song wouldn't have many different
  moods, and wouldn't have any of these dynamic transitions.  Think

     Now, lets jump ahead a bit to that really mellow part around order
  21.   The percussion here has changed drastically from the rest of the
  song.   This is always an option, but watch your technique.  If this
  were a  competition, I would pick at this part a little more because the
  percussion here isn't nearly as tight as throughout the rest of the
  song.  The riffs tend to fade too much into the background, and the drum
  rolls are a bit weak.  Don't worry though, upon another shift of mood,
  we are carried into the most upbeat part of the song starting at order
  28 and 29.  This upbeat part leads into an even higher mood with an even
  higher key.  Very cool!  But watch those samples.  I'm not trying to be
  too hard on Caesar, but if you're going to use such a vast range of any
  instrument, in this case the trumpet, please make sure that there won't
  be any sample distortion.  At the very highest notes, the trumpet will
  sound slightly out of tune.  This has to do with wave-form dynamics,
  which is much too complicated to explain here.  Just know that the
  potential problem could exist in your music as well.

     All in all, I think this is a fine example of tracked art.  No one
  recommended this song to me, and no one asked me to review the tune.  I
  stumbled across it one day browsing the web, and gave it a listen.  It's
  a good break from the hardcore I've been listening to.  This song makes
  me feel like I'm in a garden in the middle of fall.  Cheers to Caesar.

     Just a note before I close up.  I would still like to have a partner
  to write this column with.  I would like someone to dedicate one evening
  a month to review a song that I too will review.  Just like in the old
  days, I would like to have an alternate view of a given peice.  Please
  send me a message if you are even remotely interested.


  Listening Info:
     Coplan: IT 2.14 useing default Interwave drivers or Fast Tracker 2.06;
        Koss Mixing Headphones and his home stereo.

  Song Information:
     Title:  The Affectionate
     Author:  Caesar
     Filename (zipped/unzipped): / Affect 1.xm
     File Size (zipped/unzipped):  1.2 MB / 1.7 MB

     "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.  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), I can be contacted through e-mail useing the
  address found in the closing notes.  Please do not send files attached
  to e-mail without first contacting me.  Thank you!

  Montly Software Review
   More Soft-synths:  DrumSyn and FM Dreams
  By:  Louis Gorenfeld
  -=- DrumSyn -=-
     It's not that Stomper is hard to use, but it is hard to get decent
  sounds out of other than extremely deep bassdrums.  After all, it was
  made for bassdrums, and that's what it excels at.  If you are looking
  for an all- around drum machine synthesizer though, DrumSyn is it.

     Now, I don't want to write a whole column slamming Stomper, because
  I'm personally quite fond of it.  It has charm and a sense of humor
  (even though it can be annoying at times), can do pretty decent
  oldschool synthesizer tones (which DrumSyn can't do worth anything
  really), and features nearly unlimited oscillators.  So with that in
  mind, read on.

     Ok, first the features:  It's very easy not only to use but to get
  sweet synth drum sounds out of.  The interface is one-screen, and the
  envelopes are graphical.  This makes it easy to do sounds such as claps,
  but harder to do complete groove loops.  In the sound-generation area
  there are three tone generators of various waveforms, one of which can
  slide and two of which can be combined in different ways.  As far as
  noise goes, there are also three of those:  One can do noises of various
  colors, and two are settable by the exact frequency and width of noise.
  In addition, there is a distortion setting that can distort by not only
  over-amping but by bit and lowering the khz and time/pitch stretching
  functions (smooth, too). As if that's not enough to make some awesome
  drums, there is also a filter (also with a graphical envelope) that can
  be set to either high or low pass. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to
  be much resonance, if at all (I sure didn't notice anything).

     Now for the complaints:  The interface is a little annoying because
  there is only one active or manipulatable envelope at a time.  This
  means that you either have to select with little arrows the one you want
  to modify or click on the checkmark indicating that the oscillator is
  currently selected (which also selects the envelope).  My next complaint
  is that the program does not show up on the taskbar and you cannot
  switch to it with alt-tab.  Finally, the last complaint is that it comes
  with too many damn presets-- I like to tweak around for myself, dammit!

  Rating :  4/4
  Page   :

  -=- FM Dreams -=-
     This should set the record straight for those of you out there who
  think that FM means Adlib (though this program can sound like that too).
  FM Dreams is already one of my favorite synths-- it can do great basses,
  ringy instruments such as vibes and marimbas and even very nice electric

     If you are a softsynth novice, this probably isn't your cup of tea:
  While in most virtual analog synths you can easily tell the effects of
  your adjustments, FM synthesis is a lot less straightforward.  It takes
  a lot of fiddling around before you start to make connections between
  what you change in the settings and what you change in the sound.  This
  synthesizer features four oscillators with a nice variety of waveforms
  which can be combined in various ways with each other (add, fm or am).
  The envelopes are graphical, though are extremely buggy (save often).

     However, after an hour of playing around I had made several samples
  that I am now very fond of.  They lend a solid and smooth quality to any
  piece you stick them into, and are a nice contrast to the usual harsh
  synthy sounds that dominate many tracked compositions these days and
  sound especially nice when both are used at the same time.

     Those of you who were intimidated by Orangator will probably not want
  to waste time with this.  If you don't mind sitting down for a while and
  fiddling with settings (and waiting for it to render can be slow), this
  should be one of the more powerful tools in your electronic arsenal.

  Rating : 3/4
  Page   :

                --Louis Gorenfeld

  The Zen of Tracking
    Hearing the Mood
  By:  Dilvish
     Whether or not you choose to look at it in a spiritual, or "mystical"
  sense, we are all one.  Every part of who you are has been heavily
  influenced by other people, whether they be your parents, your heroes,
  your friends, or just somebody who's style you've admired.  It all comes
  together and blends to form your unique style.  Nothing is truly your
  own.  If you've ever heard a musician say that they cannot take full
  credit for the music they make, that's what they mean.  Many composers
  "hear" the music they create, as if it's been echoing through the
  atmosphere for generations, just waiting for somebody to percieve it,
  and share it with others.  That's how I "write", and I know for a fact
  that I'm not alone.

     So how do you "hear" the music?  All it takes is an ounce of talent, a
  shred of inspiration, and buckets of raw practice, and experience.  True
  artists search their souls for gems of wisdom and emotion.  In order to
  move people, they have to relate.  Moods and chords bring up memories
  and feelings from long ago.  The music that I love is music that helps
  me feel.  In order to create music like that, you have to know your
  heart.  You have to understand the human spirit.  Music is more than
  theory and chords.  Music is feeling.  Music is a key to understanding
  why we're here, and how we can become better people.

     The First Step:  Hearing the Mood

     One of the simplest ways to hear a mood is to listen to music that
  touches you.  Pay attention to the sounds that have the most effect on
  your emotions.  Remember what it was that affected you, and try to
  reproduce the effect in your own music.  The next step is to capture
  your own moods in completely original composition.  Create a musical
  journal of your moods.  When you get upset, COMPOSE THE MOOD.  When you
  feel hurt, angry, happy, tired, in love, overwhealmed with joy, or
  somewhere in between... compose the mood.  Record it in music.  Try to
  do this every day.  You don't have to compose a complete song if it
  doesn't go anywhere, but try to compose a little bit every day.  Record
  your *feelings* for that day in music.  Fairly soon, you should see a
  catalogue of moods beginning to form.  Hold on to them, and refer back
  to them often.  Later, you'll be able to mix and match complex sets of
  emotion into a single, powerfull song.

     One of the keys to zen mastery is the understanding that everything is
  one.  We are one people, experiencing one immortal life.  Our ideas will
  survive us long after our bodies have returned to the dust from which
  they came.  This is undeniably true, not just in a spiritual sense, but
  in a tangible form. We leave behind us traces of ourselves... in the
  hearts of our loved ones, in photo albums, on our recordings, sheet
  music, and on our shelves.  We never truly die, but the more you record
  of your life, the more other people will learn from you, and in turn,
  understand themselves.

     That's it for now,


  Screen Lit Vertigo
    Robomatix by Suspend (Final-version)
  By:  Seven
  Found at
  1st place at Astrosyn'99.

  System requirements:
     At least a p166, better a p233. 16 MB RAM, 5 MB HD. Gus or SB, Vesa2
  (Some cards may need univbe 6.53 according to the .nfo)

  Test Machine: PII 350 64MB SB16, Win98 in dos-mode (BOOTGUI = 0)
     DOS: works OK with EMM & XMS.
     Win98: doesn't work in a DOS-box, use "Restart to DOS".

  The demo:
     This is a "heavy 3D" demo, almost no pictures or fullscreen 2D effects.
  I'm not a fan of 3D-only, but here the 3D-scenes have a kind of theme
  (not a story), which gives a demo more value, at least for me. It's
  about machines, robots, blocks of ice with lights in it,... At the end
  of each scene, we step through a door in the next one. This is a nice
  way to make a link between two scenes. Greyscaled pictures are layered
  over the 3D-scenes, nothing really special, together with some
  philosophical text. Yes, Robomatix has a moral! (don't let it scare you
  away :)). The final 3D-scene, during the greetings, has nothing to do
  with the main part. Insects walking in trees, butterflies... Maybe they
  were inspired by Antz or A bugs life (No I didn't saw them. I prefer the
  real-time thing :)).

  The music:
     The first & the last part are not really music, rather a soundtrack of
  the 3D-scene it follows. At the start, this means the sound of ice-cubes
  bouncing between two planes, with lots of discord shrieks. To be honest,
  it got on my nerves very quickly, and I was happy when the main tune
  started. It has the same atmosphere, but is more melodic. There is no
  real synchronizing, and at the end, it starts to bore me. I guess this
  just isn't my style of music, although it does fit with the demo. At the
  end, we hear bees buzzing or something like that. Quite ambient.

     I really like this demo a lot, except two things: the music, and the
  enormous amount of motionblur during the whole demo. Sometimes it's
  difficult to recognize objects, and I think blur should only be used
  when you need something special, for example an underwater scene or so.
  The good points include the design and the original objects, like those
  little one-wheeled vehicles driving on circular roads & the machine
  which reminds me of Machines of Madness/Dubius. Overall, I think this
  deserved to win Astrosyn'99, although I haven't checked all other
  contributions. So go ahead and take a look at it.


  Back on Track
    What's New and What Could Be
  By:  Coplan
     We're finally back on track after a long break.  Kosmic has gotten
  their new server, and they have it set up properly (the hardest part was
  probably dealing with their internet service provider).  Many thanks to
  Jim Nicholson for finally setting up this mailing list on the new server
  and thanks to Draggy for providing all the information and files we
  needed from the old mailing list.

     Changes?  There aren't many.  If you have any feedback, you will
  still  need to send it me (  If you have
  feedback  directed towards any of our staff in particular, please send
  me a carbon  copy as well so that I may post it in upcoming issues.  The
  listserv  still works the same, though I make a new suggestion:  If you
  are going  to be subscribing to the mailing list, please include your
  e-mail  address as part of the subscribe / unsubscribe commands.  See
  the  closing for this information.  We will now be releasing during the
  first  weekend of every month.  This will logically make much more sense
  for  the subscribers as well as the writers.  Hopefully this will help
  us to  maintain a good quality publication for your sake.

     Finally, we still need subscribers and writers.  If you have any
  friends  who are involved in the scene, ask them to subscribe.  I feel
  we have a  lot of good information to offer almost anyone in the scene.
  Many  people can benefit from our magazine, and I think everyone should
  have  that opportunity.  Also, if we have more subscribers, we may have
  more  columns in the future, and much more information for you.  If you
  would  like to write for us, please send me an e-mail message about your
  new  column, or about a column that I have mentioned before.  We still
  need  someone to do interviews, I would still like to have a partner for
  In-Tune, and I would still like to have someone keep track of
  demo-parties or competitions.  Perhaps you have more ideas?  Let's get
  the ball rolling.


  Article Title
    Sub Title <if applicable>
  By:  Author

  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 /
                       Seven / Stefaan /
  Staff Writers:      Acell / Jamie LeSouef /
                       Darkheart / Zach Heitling /
                       Psychic Symphony /
                       Setec / Jesper Pederson /
                       SiN / Ian Haskin /
  Technical Support:  Draggy / Nicolas St. Pierre /
                       Jim / Jim Nicholson /

  Static Line on the Web:

     To subscribe to the Static Line mailing list, send an e-mail message
  to "" with "subscribe static_line <your e-mail>" in
  the message text. You will then be asked to confirm your addition to the
  mailing list.  Expect a new issue during the first weekend of each

     To unsubscribe from the mailing list, send an e-mail message to
  "" with "unsubscribe static_line <your e-mail>" in
  the message text. 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 avoid foul language and high ascii
  characters.  Contributions should be mailed to Coplan

     See you next month!