_\\__T_A_T_I_C___L_I_N_E____________________________________ September, 1999
\\//___ Monthly Music E-Zine ________________________________ 73 Subscribers
Table Of Contents
Message From the Editor
In Tune -- Smash's "Spider to the fly"
The Zen of Tracking -- Of Limits and Laws
Screen Lit Vertigo -- "Pyy" by Koma, Doomsday & Pyy
Crackhead Trackhead -- The Scene Education Forum
Occasionally Live Bizarre '99 Party Report
Message From the Editor
Hello, and welcome to the September issue. For those of you who didn't
notice, we have a new marquee. Hopefully this won't cause any problems
with the mailing list (as the old one did). Let me know how you like it.
Some late news with me...other than this message, I havn't been able to
write anything this month. Needless to say, moving to another state isn't
exactly easy. I hope to be back into the swing of things for next month,
and I'm hopeful that everyone is understanding. Fortunately, my wonderful
staff has backed me up and we have a great issue.
So, lets roll down the important announcements. First, Louis Gorenfeld
won't be with us this month. I can only assume that he may be having
e-mail problems because he seems unreachable. Never fear, he'll be back.
Also, we have a new columnist. We welcome Virt! Virt's music was the
former subject of an 'In Tune' review. Well, now he's back with his own
humor column. Please note that it is a _HUMOR_ column, and everything
should be taken tongue-and-cheek.
Articles for this week include Setec's review of Smash's "Spider to the
Fly" (I'll be back next month). Dilvish returns with a deep installment
of Zen. Seven has two articles for us this month: The first is his
montly demo review column, Screen Lit Vertigo, where he reviews "Pyy" by
Koma, Doomsday & Pyy; the second is a report on Bizarre '99. Finally, you
have Virt's debut article in Crackhead Trackhead.
Smash's "Spider to the fly"
By: Coplan and Setec
-=- Introduction -=-
As it is already a few days late, I (Coplan) an not going to be able to
publish my half of the article tonight. My review is somewhat schematic
in "Coplan Speak" at this time, and would be unfair to publish it now.
For now, Setec is flying solo. However, an unofficial review has been
offered to Smash. As for Setec's review...here it is.
-=- Setec -=-
Wow. Has this been a hectic week! So sorry if this review seems to lack
order, structure and spell tjekking. [Coplan: I'll leave this spelling
error here...=P] I only barely had the time.
The tune for this month is the marvelous "Spider to the fly" by Smash
of Razor. Smash asked me to review this and after giving it a spin I did
not hestitate a second to email Coplan and suggest this be our review of
the month. This is a great piece indeed.
First things first. The opening is really good, a nice break away from
the rather generic intros that are so common in tracked music. This starts
out with a few nice warbly chords and then breaks into a bass line and a
beat. Really well executed and quite the surprise when I first heard it.
One thing I might pick on in the intro is one of the background samples.
It seems rather noisy and I am not quite sure if it is intended or if it
is simply due to low quality samples. It sounds a little like quantization
noise so it might be helped by using 16bit samples. And I am not really
sure they are actually needed. I tried muting the channels and it seemed
fine without them. Oh well. This is really minor stuff.
Back to that marvelous bass line. This is really one of the things that
make this tune. It consists of two channels, one for a synth bass with
that nice saw sound and another for a more real-sounding slapped bass. I
tried muting these channels all the way through the track and was stunned
by the amount of variety that is put into it. Too many trackers use the
same bass line too much in a piece, without adding diversity to it. This
one flows nicely into the different parts, changing all the time.
Wonderful work, I would have almost liked the track if it had consisted
just of the bass line and percussion. :)
To compliment and add to the bass line is a really good melody track.
This is your well-known synth lead, only in this case it consists of an
insane amount of samples. This adds tremendous colour to the instrument,
and makes it a little less of an ear-sore than these leads usually become
after a while. When the tune first shifted into the chorus I was amazed.
Nothing less, this is a tremendous chorus line. The string-like samples
used are excellent and the actual melody has a very unique sound and a
certain touch of mystery that I really enjoyed. This is without a doubt
one of the best crafted melodies I have yet heard in the scene. And this
goes for the verses as well, they are memorable and pleasant. I found
myself humming the lead all day, and that is usually a very good sign
indeed. The most tricky thing to make is a memorable lead.
Focusing on the percussion for a while I was really pleased to see how
Smash made an effort to fit the progression of the beat to that of the
rest of the tune. Whenever the melody reaches a peak so does the beat.
Once again this is seen way to rare in modules. I especially enjoyed the
parts in the later part of the piece where there are some very good breaks
added to the beats, complimenting the remainder of the tune perfectly.
And one more thing. This tune has a B-part. Yes, this is what you need
to really keep the interest of the listener. Something that shiftes the
mood, changes the chord progression entirely and adds a different lead.
Too many tunes follow a simple verse to chorus and back structure, which
quickly becomes very boring. This piece doesn't. Just at the right time,
Smash throws in a B-part that changes progression entirely and then shifts
it into the well-known bass line from the intro. This goes along with the
beat and slowly fades as the tune ends. I have to say, I usually dislike
simple volume ramps in the end of a tune, but this one is done in a way
that it does not sound like 'the easy way out'. It is always a good thing
to round a piece off, to finish it along the same lines as it started,
bring back something wellknown and finish it off on that. And this is what
Smash did in this case. The b-part breaks into the bassline and beat from
the intro and that is slowly ramped down. Nice indeed.
Okay. I have now been licking the arse of this tune almost from start
to finish. So this may not seem like the most constructive of reviews, but
the fact is I am simply in love with this tune. I cannot get it out of my
head, it haunts me at night and I wake up whistling that chorus like a
basket case. Okay, maybe not, but believe me. This is a tune you will
wanna grab. It is simply awesome.
Title: Spider to the Fly
Filename (zipped/unzipped): spider.zip / spider.xm
File Size (zipped/unzipped): 601 k / 1.2 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 and Setec'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
Of Limits and Laws
Many musicians have come to me for creative advice when they get stuck
in a rut, and can't seem to get beyond a certain point in their
abilities. This is what I tell them:
You fail to reach new heights because you believe you have reached your
limits. You have yourself convinced that you will never break out of
where you are.
Feeling confined and restrained is a perfectly natural phenomenon for
us. We all grew up in a world where we are subject to the laws of time,
gravity, and science as we understand it.
We feel like prisoners in this mortal cage, and it's very natural to
feel as though you have little or no power over your situation. Here's
the secret: As long as you believe in rules or limits, you are subject to
You are a slave to your own ideas about what is beyond your reach. If
you can free your mind and believe in something - no matter how far
fetched it sounds - you will achieve it.
If you are a follower of The Way of Light, you should have at least
some understanding that you are already one with the Buddha Mind - you
just don't know it yet. As soon as you grasp what that means, and believe
in it, you will achieve Enlightenment.
Christians should be very familiar with the awesome powers of faith.
It was fath that parted the Red Sea, faith that healed the sick, and faith
that allowed Jesus to walk on water.
Those things happened because they believed, and for no other reason.
Believe in yourself! You are capable of doing anything you believe in.
Like other skills, faith takes time to build and hone - why do you
think we don't see enormous miracles every day? It's not something that
will happen for you over night, or without a lot of thought and study. It
is one of the most important things you will ever learn, though. It is
faith that will allow you to see without seeing, know without knowing, and
rise far beyond the limits of your mortal bonds.
Many people believe that they will someday achieve perfection,
immortality, and limitless power if they live right, and work constantly
to perfect themselves. It is written in the Bible that we are all the
children of God. Do not children grow up to be like their parents?
If you believe that God is not subject to the laws of time (evidenced
by miraculously accurate prophesies, and his own descriptions of
eternity), and that you will someday be perfected in Him (achieve
exaltation), you must also believe that - like the Buddhists - you are
already a God. If you will someday become a God, and Gods are not subject
to time, isn't it safe to say that you will exist in all times, having
eternity to visit any place or any time that you desire?
Assuming this is true, isn't it logical that you would not neglect to
visit this time in your exalted state? If you believe this to be
possible, you admit to yourself that it's possible to be in more than one
place at the same time.
If you believe that it's possible to be in more than one place at a
time physically - how much easier it is to believe that your spirit can
visit other places where your body can't go. Some people have even
claimed to have encountered a more enlightened self on their spirit
Once, while in a very deep trance, I encountered a much older, and much
wiser version of myself. He (or I, rather) came to me in the spirit,
while I was very much awake and sober in the flesh, and he (I) unraveled
for me some of the mysteries of creation.
If you open your mind and believe in the possibilities, you will begin
to see things you never before thought possible. You will see and think
on a higher level, and then your creative ruts will virtually dissapear.
Your spiritual strength will always provide you with wisdom, endurance,
and understanding, and it's quite possible that it will do much more for
you than that. Don't limit yourself or your mind with disbelief. You'll
only make yourself feel trapped and frustrated by this very limitted
temporal existance. Break free, and see what all this stuff is really
Screen Lit Vertigo
"Pyy" by Koma, Doomsday & Pyy (party version)
Found at www.scene.org
4th place at Assembly'99
2MB HD, Midas-compatible soundcard, Vesa
Test Machine: PII 350 64MB SB16, Win98 in dos-mode (BOOTGUI = 0)
Dos: XMS (himem): Works OK.
EMM: Crashes at the end of the rotating baby (3/4 of the demo)
Windows: Works OK.
Less than a year has passed since Off, Doomsday's final demo, and a
few Doomsday-members are already unable to resist the joys of demo-making
:) Half of the effects in this co-op feature a picture of a guy standing
with his arms stretched wide open. I suppose this is Pyy, looking at the
title and the credits, but correct me if I'm wrong. Most of the effects in
Pyy are 2D-effects, and are very difficult to describe. There is for
example a strange blur, where the edges of the blurred objects actually
become brighter. Even the lights are no standard flares, but something
like round lightning. One of the few 3D-scenes, apart from lots of Pyys
rotating in space, is a bunch of cubes, all with different
transparency/radiosity, that come back a bit later, but with damaged
textures where you can see through. Looks nice. There are a lot of
scanned(?) pictures, like a page in a book, a wire-fence, and several
faces (James Bond?), mostly used as a background. They have a blurred
look, and are interlaced: every other horizontal line is darker. There is
also a short clip of a baby, spinning around. The interlacing, together
with the color-scheme used through the whole demo (green as main color,
red for a few details), helps to give it a consistent feel.
This tune reminds me of Off: very rhythmical, large parts without
melody. The strangeness from the demo is also found in the music. There
are some very weird samples in there, but when I checked them in IT, most
of the samplenames where "sound0xx". Not very useful, he :) 3/4th of them
are short ploinks, but the rest have multi-second long echo's. There are
almost no transitions between different parts, and at the spinning baby,
there is just one very high shriek. The first time I watched the demo, it
crashed at that part (due to EMM), and when I tried it again with XMS, I
reset my PC because I thought the musicplayer had crashed :D I don't feel
anything pro of contra the music, it just fits the demo.
In my opinion, Pyy should have placed higher then 4th, but hey,
Quake-players vote stupid, right? Seriously, I think the originality and
strangeness of this demo might scare some people a bit. If you liked Off,
you'll like this one. The only bad points are the instability, and the
constant appearing of Pyy (the person), that makes it look like a
joke-demo. I think it makes the demo less attractive f you don't know that
Crackhead Trackhead (Humor)
The Scene Education Forum
How many of you truly know where the demoscene came from? You might
think it was the work of a bunch of nerdy Scandinavian kids who decided to
release graphic/sound shows independent of their pirated cracks. You might
also be a fool. Any decently educated person knows that the demoscene far
pre-dates the invention of the computer.
The first demo-coders were midieval spinstresses who grew bored with
their daily task of whatever it is spinstresses do. They got their looms,
and wove complex patterns which they could change simply by pulling the
right yarns. They then presented these patterns to their lords, who were
very amused until they realized the girls weren't doing their spinstress
thing and had them beheaded. The other spinstresses were in an uproar,
their friends being plucked from their looms and beheaded. It hurt. It
hurt worse than taking a Jose Canseco line-drive to the adam's apple. But
being that a) the spinstresses didn't have adam's apples (most of them, at
least, some were pretty goddamned homely) and b) Jose Canseco would not be
born for at least another 10 years, the spinstresses persevered.
They called on their friends, the minstrels. This was in the time
where music was in full midieval groove, not that dark and quiet
pre-minstrel period (Sorry, it had to be done) and the minstrels were very
concerned about their female friends being beheaded (namely because you
can't serenade and woo a girl if she no longer posesses ears) so they
jumped into action. They began playing music to the time of the
spinstresses' loom demos. And the music they played was legendary, so much
that later scene musicians like Purple Motion and Necros replicated their
music. In fact, the whole of "Mechanism Eight" is nothing more than a
simple Midieval tune in the style of SerfCore, and Necros, being crafty
(of the cackling-and-twirling-his-handlebar-mustache-while-the-tied-to-
variety) copied the SerfCore verbatim. Shame on you, Necros, you dirty
So anyway, the lords ceased their rampant beheading. The minstrels'
accompaniment so bolstered the demos' appeal that the spinstresses were
able to focus on more complex and impressive effects, such as the
sine-scroller and metaball rendering. Also particles, which is tough as
hell with yarn, believe me. And the music improved by leaps and bounds,
with the advent of New Technology. The minstrels were no longer forced to
sample entire lute riffs and chords, they could actually apply envelopes
to their instruments (Although let it be noted that their envelopes were
crude at best - they involved playing a note and then drinking a lot of
ale really fast so they became too drunk to hold the note and it faded
out. NNAs were out of the question.)
As it turns out, the resurfacing of the demo was a huge step
backwards, as the computer technology was not up to par with the live
performance of weaving and plucking of forgotten times. But we're back in
full force now, even if our best art is only replicas of those long-dead
So for you kids who think you know all kinds of scene trivia, I insist
it's nothing next to the TRUE legends. I'm off to find lute samples!
Occasionally Live Bizarre '99 Party Report
-=- Note -=-
Time is in European notation, so 1h = 1h am and 13h = 1h p.m.
Anything in [brackets] is added after the party.
Friday 3 September
-=- 22h23 -=-
Ok, I got my PC up and running, so I can start typing. What happened so
far? As usual, I've tried to make a 4K the last week, and as usual, I'm
not ready yet. Which means, as usual, that I didn't sleep much last week,
and that I'll use this report to vent my frustrations :)
After Quasar picked me up, we drove to Yicusur's house to meet the rest
of the gang: Yicusur, dK, Ntropy, and Christoppel. Christoppel and I are
independent, all others are Green-members. And so we set off to Etten-Leur
in Holland (we're all from Belgium). We arrived without too many problems
at 20h15, (the doors opened at 20h) and a large queue was waiting at the
entrance. Someone with a black T-shirt asked "if we were also from Green".
He appeared to be Eggbird, the mysterious Dutch member no one had seen
before. When unpacking, Baxter & Corona arrived too. The main hall was
already pretty crowded and we didn't found 9 consecutive places, so we had
Apart from the usual network and screen-resolution problems, my PC
seems to suffer from damaged isolation around the video-cable. If the
screen is on and my PC is down, I get an electroshock when I touch the
cover. Maybe it tries to kill me :)
Saturday 4 September
-=- 3h15 -=-
I should update this more often. But so far, not much is happening. The
opening ceremony was delayed, and so are now the films that should follow
it. Let's use the opportunity to describe the partyplace. Most people sit
in the large main hall. It looks like the average partyplace, lots of
equipment and wires laying and hanging everywhere, but is very crowded. It
has a less-populated balcony, where Baxter & Corona are sitting now, and
there is also a smaller, much quieter hall for the Linux-users. Walking
through a corridor, you arrive at the cafeteria, with the movie-theater
next to it. The atmosphere is very relaxed. It was forbidden to bring
speakers along that are bigger than 1m * 50 cm, and if your neighbors
complain, you must lower the volume. So we can actually talk without
screaming :) I haven't seen much gamers, lots of people are leeching
films, and quite a few people are making something for the compos. Next to
me, the Solar Group is making a demo that look pretty good. [Someone who
introduced himself as Smoke asked if I was coding a 4K. He was working on
a cooperation-Linux-4K. I wondered how good a 4K for Linux could be, and
it turned out to be very good. Check the results!]
-=- 8h10 -=-
Green is making a joke-demo. Quasar is now struggling with some code
that he wrote several years ago. From time to time, we both feel desperate
:) They play lots of interesting movies [Wild Things, Con Air, ...] in the
theater, but I've no time to watch... Why on earth did I ever switched
from the joystick to the keyboard? Gamers enjoy themselves, even if they
irritate their surrounding, like that lamer that has been playing music
very hard, politely lowering the volume when asked, but increasing it
again 5 minutes later. Deadline for intros is 23 o'clock. I _should_ have
enough time to finish the damn thing... [The joke-demo was not finished
due to lack of time, and some coding-problems. So Eggbird was the only
Green-member that released something, a house-entry that did not make it
through the preselections. Quasar was a bit worried about their
reputation, last year they placed 2nd with the Control-demo and now they
don't even have a demo.]
-=- 13h56 -=-
Sorry for the long break, but time goes so fast when you are having fun
:) The opening ceremony has been held, about 10 hours delayed, but I'm
happy there was one after all. It was not a true ceremony, but a long
welcoming-demo by Overflow. I missed the beginning, but I can say the rest
looked impressive. Of course, on a 10x8-meter bigscreen, almost everything
looks impressive :) Outside, the sun is shining, which means that the
temperature in the main hall is already very high. On the balcony, the
temperature is almost unbearable, because hot air rises (as we all know).
Bizarre'99, sauna for free :)
-=- 20h05 -=-
The ANSI & gfx compos have been held, but there were a few problems
with the ANSI (I heard) [Something with a wrong video-mode. I did not know
the compo was held until it was over. There should be a better way to
announce compos than just the schedule on the website, as not everyone has
net-access, and compos are often delayed.]
-=- 23h00 -=-
One minute before the deadline, I upped my entry. Phew! I'm glad I have
it finished. It's about 80 % of what I wanted it to be (the music is CRAP
now), but I think it's the best I've made to date. [Quasar disagrees :)].
Excuse me for my lack of modesty, but I've worked the last 24 hours almost
full-time at it, so I'm "personally involved" and hence not objective.
Ok, forget it. Back to the party. The multichannel music compo was held
and there have been seminars on Linux (The Dutch Users Linux Group is one
of the big sponsors of Bizarre). The temperature is bearable again, the
French fries are pretty good [but expensive], and I heard the sleeping
room is very comfortable (I'll check that personally very soon), although
you can still hear the music. The network works very good for some
persons, and hardly at all for others. The noise level is reasonable (with
the same lame exception).
Sunday 5 September
At 1 o'clock the animation compo started. There were around 10 entries,
with only a few joke-entries, and I remember that the first
(Satisfaction/Screes) and the last (Magic Dreamz/Superstitious) entries
were very good, together with one about cubes that I don't remember the
name of [Reddot/Oryx]. I'll try to find that one, to be able to vote for
it. After that, 3 films were shown [Alien resurrection, the one that I
wanted to see, was canceled], but I took my sleeping bag and headed for
the sleeping room. It was pretty big and very quiet [ and very crowded,
you had to search for 2 square meters empty place while stepping over
sleeping sceners], but when I woke up, so many people were sleeping that
the room was full and they had to use the corridors, the stairs and
another room :) For some reason, the net has decided that it will, for a
small amount of time, tolerate my existence, so I start browsing. Hey,
some wild-entries are there already. Let's get them!
-=- 13h48 -=-
Phew. I've got to catch up several hours! What happened? Activity was
low at morning, until 10o'clock, when the 4K en 64K intros would get
shown. Most people went to see them, but there was a 20-minute delay. I
was very nervous, Corona & Quasar tried to calm me a bit, but their
efforts where in vain :) The quality of the 4K's was very high, except for
rECTUM cAUDAs textmode "4k sucks". There was a Java 4K met hardware
accelerated 3D, very sharp en impressive, but without sound. A good Linux
4K with sound amazed me too [The one from Smoke, indeed]. But then the
64K-compo started, without Dreamscape shown! Aaargh! I scrambled to the
organizers, but they said they didn't receive it! I ran to my PC to put it
on diskette , and it was shown between two 64Ks (with a 4K-start-screen,
of course). Too bad the music didn't work, although I told the orgos it
had Adlib sound, and that most 4K's with sound had run OK. But I was too
relieved to care much. I missed 3 out of the 5 64Ks, but I heard they were
only of average quality. The demos started at 12h, and were of varying
quality. I liked Summer Terror, the demo from Solar Group, rECTUM cAUDA's
Lover, Satisfied/Domage and even the newbie-demo Fire! by Screw. That last
one is a below-average demo, but at least it tried to be a serious demo.
The others were fun-demos: photos of sleeping sceners, a drawing of
someone masturbating, .... They were not all bad, some were funny, but I
think most people make joke-demos only because they don't want to take the
time to create a full-length demo. After a walk and some food, I go to
catch some more sleep. The temperature is raising again, I hope it's
cooler at the sleeping room. [ It was, and the sleeping room was empty now
-=- 21h07 -=-
We started packing right after the prize ceremony, so I write this at
home. I didn't sleep very long, as the organizers had to clean the room.
The prize ceremony started a bit after 16h, and was quite funny. There
were no spotlights, but the organizers used a paint-program to drag white
circles over the screen, which had almost the same result. Almost, as the
bigscreen doesn't touch the floor, so the legs of everyone on the stage
were in the dark. I think it was Cyclone who presented the event, in
English, but he warned beforehand that he was not very good at English.
Whenever he did not know the correct English word, he said it in Dutch and
the crowd yelled back the translation. The ceremony was a bit like a
TV-show, first the 3 winners were announced in random order, they had to
tell who they were & what they made, then the NR 3, 1 and 2 (in that
order) were announced. The "charming assistant" Walter showed the prizes
before giving them to the winners, and a photo of all the winners of that
comp was taken. I got 3rd place with Dreamscape, yahoo! The linux-thingy
was 2nd and the java-entry Out Of Space was first in the 4K-compo. The
demos were announced before the animations, as the quality of the anims
was way above that of the demos. The demo-winners were (from 1st to 3rd):
Are you satisfied/Domage, Summer Terror/The Solar Group, and Lovers/rECTUM
cAUDA. I'm not sure about the 3rd anim, but the nrs 1 & 2 were Magic
Dreams/Superstition and Reddot/oryx. It was a very close competition, and
some people started booing, as they though Reddot should have won. The
winning anim was played again, plus a demo that Superstitious had made in
only two hours, at the partyplace [It was not very good, the code was
recycled from previous Superstitious-demos]. After that, we started
packing & went home.
[ So a short list of good/bad points of Bizarre:
Good points: Not too much noise, great atmosphere, helpful organizers,
enough things to do/watch, fast network (when it worked).
Bad points: the heat, the expensive food, the lack of announcing compos,
the network was hard to get working.
As usual, the balance is positive. I enjoyed Bizarre'99, much thanks to
the organizers, and I hope to be there again next year. ]
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
Seven / Stefaan / Stefaan.VanNieuwenhuyze@rug.ac.be
Virt / 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
SiN / Ian Haskin / firstname.lastname@example.org
Technical Support: Draggy / Nicolas St. Pierre / email@example.com
Jim / Jim Nicholson / firstname.lastname@example.org
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