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_//\\________________________________________________________________________
_\\__T_A_T_I_C___L_I_N_E______________________________________ October, 1999
__\\_________________________________________________________________________
\\//__ Monthly Music E-Zine _________________________________ 79 Subscribers
_____________________________________________________________________________


--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Table Of Contents
----=--=------=--=------=--=--
     Opening:
           Message From the Editor
     Columns:
           In Tune -- El Blanco's "BlackJack"
           The Zen of Tracking -- The Spirit of Giving
           Screen Lit Vertigo -- "Are You Satisfied?" by Domage
     Features:
           Call To Keyboards -- Are Tracking Unions Worth Much?
           Advertisement -- Theralite's 100th Release
     Closing:
           Credits

--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Message From the Editor
----=--=------=--=------=--=--
  Hey all, another month, another issue.  Aren't we dependable?  =P

  Meanwhile...we are missing a few people this month.  Not a big deal,
  because we still got 4 articles for you and a "heads-up" about
  Theralite's 100th Release.

  On the chopping block for this month is a review of El Blanco's
  "BlackJack."  It's an oldskool style of music that many of you will
  appreciate...and the rest should learn to.  =P  Also, we have a demo
  review of Domage's "Are you Satisfied?"  See what Seven has to say about
  that.  Then, you have some more from our spiritual influence, Dilvish,
  as he brings us another complete installment of "Zen of Tracking."


  For the first time ever, I bring you "Call to Keyboards."  It is an
  experimental article series that may result in a regular column.  It all
  depends on how much you guys respond.  If I get a few responses, great,
  then I'll continue the column.  If not...we'll try again next year.  Get
  typing folks...I know you have something to say.

                --Coplan


--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  In Tune
    El Blanco's "BlackJack"
  By:  Coplan and Setec
----=--=------=--=------=--=--
  -=- Introduction -=-
     I guess it would be my turn to fly solo this month, as Setec has
  obligations with his fire control force.

     Meanwhile, this month, we are reviewing a masterpeice from the computer
  and mind of El Blanco, a tune called "BlackJack."  It is a modern
  interpretation of the old demo style songs.  Take the time and read the
  review, then take the time to download the song from either our site, or
  the Chaos Theory site.  As with anything reviewed here, it's worth a
  download, so why not humor us.

  -=- Coplan -=-
     Those of you who like traditional demo styles of music (ironic how I
  consider  that a traditional style anymore), you will love this one.
  Granted, there are a few things that separate it from the old
  traditional styles, such as a larger file size, more than 8 channels and
  instruments (as opposed to samples).  However, it is definately
  reminiscent of the classics.

     There are a few things that characterize the old-skool sound.  El
  Blanco  mentions a few in his song message, but here's my list (probably
  not  complete either, just my observations).  The first is a mellow
  opening;  one without percussion, and one that lays tracks for the rest
  of the  song (no pun intended).  Second:  Funky leads and supporting
  instruments.  It was not uncommon to see trackers "rocking" their tempos
  and speeds to achieve this effect.  Third:  Sensational and complex base
  riffs that fill up the empty  spaces.  Sure, a real-time guitarist could
  play these, but it would take  a lot of practice.  Fourth:  A complete
  drum  kit, including snare, base drum, hihats, Tamborines and a crash
  cymbol,  all used frequently...very frequently.  And finally, dramatic
  transitions which would allow the coders to throw in all sorts of
  effects (I don't know which idea came first).  So, what does El Blanco
  have to offer?  His tune "BlackJack" fulfills my list.

     First, let's look at the mellow opening.  Right from the first order,
  we  know the general structure of the chord progression.  We have all
  higher  pitched instruments (for now) which begins to throw the listener
  into a  trance.  Well, not really, but it at least puts you in the mood.
  Notice  how the lead instrument fades into the song.  It "slides" into
  action,  not abruptly, not dramatically.  This is a mellow opening, so
  quick  changes aren't welcome here.  Then, it fades out -- "sliding"
  away once more.  Now, the debut of some of the support instruments, such
  as the  base guitar and the acoustic guitar.  Niether instrument has a
  truly  complicated part on its own, but combined with the other, we have
  the  art of a funky support team (a band if you will).  Now, single out
  the  base...pretty funky eh?  Single that out later in the song and
  you'll  see why I say it's a complicated base riff.  Just keep in mind,
  when I  say a complicated base riff, I'm comparing it to the average
  rock song  where the base guitarist simply plays whole and half notes
  along with  the progression.  Give this base guitar a tiny bit more
  variation, and a  louder part, and you could turn this into a lead
  instrument.  Something  to try, kids.

     Enter the percussion.  Something I want to point out about the
  percussion:  It's not the focus of the song.  It almost never is.  BUT,
  you can't neglect it.  Every song with a drum set should have the
  complete set.  Even, as in the case of this song, if it doesn't require
  truly realistic samples.  So...what gives this percussion character?
  For one, it's the tempo and speed "rocking" that I mentioned earlier
  (and in previous reviews).  For a truly funky song, you have to do one
  of two things...the first is to set the speed really fast (two or three
  times faster than you need) and track with two or three times as many
  lines between down-beats.  The second method, as demonstrated with this
  song, is to "rock" the speed.  In the case of "BlackJack", El Blanco
  rocks the entire song between a speed of 5 and 7.  One would think it
  would average out to a speed of 6 (which in pure time, it does), but
  think of it as the fact that every other beat is played slightly shorter
  than the rest.  That gives a skipping appearance of the song (whether
  you listen or watch it).  So...that's the secret behind the funky edge
  to the tamborine (and the rest, but it's far easier to hear with the
  tamborine which plays on almost every down and up beat).  You'll also
  notice that the snare doesn't just play a simple down beat every once in
  a while...volumes are the secret there.  That SHOULDN'T be a secret, but
  I often see songs without volumes set on each and every hit of the
  percussion.  Cut the volume settings here, and you loose the feeling.

     Support instruments are key to any song.  As El Blanco plainly
  demonstrates in order 10, they are also the key to any harmonization.
  But that goes without saying.  This harmony does a good job of adding to
  the song, you may even get confused as to which is the lead.  This is a
  good way to lead into a chorus.  This is a great chorus, too.

     Now, about those transitions.  Remember what I said about dramatic
  transitions?  Well, El Blanco has them too, though not nearly as
  dramatic as I've seen.  Order 12 is the set up (the tail end of our
  chorus).  The lead instrument gets a little lower in pitch, a little
  lower, then it ends in a chord at the very beginning of order 13 -- fade
  out.  Everything else fades out too.  For a few bars, all that remain
  are the tamborine and those synth-chimes.  Then, a snare riff to kick us
  back onto the tracks.  This is a very simplified version of the classic
  transition scheme, and this is one of the best interpretations I've
  seen.  Study this transition, and study it well.  You'll see it often in
  this song, and you'll see it in everything from Bethoven to Dave
  Matthew's Band.  No secret here, I've said this in almost every review
  I've ever done...so most of you should know this by now.  But, it's
  still good to point out as a reminder.

     Next on the chopping block is my peeve of the song.  Don't get me
  wrong,  I still like the song a lot, in light of the up coming piano
  solo, but I  think the song would've done better without it.  Or,
  perhaps a different  sample here.  With a piano solo, the character of
  the song is put at a  slight risk.  It's a total biased of mine that all
  instruments must  support the character of the song...so I won't dwell
  on this part much  longer.

     We have yet another transition, very similar to the last, at order 19
  to  20.  The same recipie is used:  Fade out some instruments, cut out
  some  notes from the remaining instruments (simplification), and then
  kick  back in starting with the percussion.  But, the difference in this
  case  is the use of a vocal sample -- or something that isn't
  necessarily a  normal instrument.  In "BlackJack" El Blanco uses this
  vocal sample of a  guy saying "1...2...hit me..."  In other songs, I've
  seen anything from  thunder, to an electricution sound to squealing
  pigs.  You could use  anything in it's place, except an instrument used
  often in the song.   Another good trick to add to your transition
  library.

     Now we have a good example of the typical song structure starting
  with  order 26.  The average song has an opening (A), a chorus (B), an
  interim  period (C), a pre-warm-down (D) and the closing.  The structure
  would  follow a "A, B, C, B, D, B, E," pattern, as it does in this song.
  An  "A, B, C, B, E" pattern is also very common.  But, this song follows
  the  first pattern I mentioned.  Order 26 begins the Pre-warm-down
  period.   This signals that the listener has to get ready to hear the
  end of the  song.  After this part, a chorus will be played, and then
  the closing.   Why is this signal important?  It provides the feeling of
  completion.   Even in the most basic song, the listener must feel as
  though the song  is complete.  There is a song by Pink Floyd that simply
  ends by the  singer singing "Time is up, the song is over, thought I'd
  have something  more to say..." and then the song essentially ends.
  This is what I call  a dropped ending.  And that is the only thing I
  dislike about that  particular song...it doesn't seem complete.  But,
  not the case with  "BlackJack."  We know it's complete now...the artist
  has signaled us  that he's going to end soon.  How does one do this?  Do
  as El Blanco  does.  With the lead instrument, play a tune that has the
  same structure  but different tonal quality as another part in the song
  (perhaps the  interim part).  The support instruments signal that it's
  still the same  song, so don't worry about getting lost.  But the lead
  instrument must  be completely different.  Then, the chorus, and the
  closing.

     Just a warning about the closing.  El Blanco chooses to do the
  fade-out  technique.  It fits, but if this song were written for a demo
  that had a  closing song to come after this, it wouldn't work.  Needless
  to say, it  would leave a blank spot in the demo -- which is
  unfavorable.  If your  song will close the demo, though, fade.  It's the
  best way in many  cases.

     So, go grab the tune.  Grab it for learning purposes, grab it for
  nostalgia.  Find a reason.  If you download from our site, grab some
  past reviews too.  These supplimental songs are only posted on our
  server for a few months, then they're taken off.  So grab them as soon
  as you can.

             --Coplan


  Song Information:
     Title:  BlackJack
     Author:  El Blanco
     Filename (zipped/unzipped):  ct-blkjk.zip / blackj.it (IT 2.14)
     File Size (zipped/unzipped):  971 kb / 1.1 MB
     Source:  http://www.chaostheory.org
        Alternate:  http://ic.l7.net/statline/current.html

     "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
     The Spirit of Sharing
  By:  Dilvish
----=--=------=--=------=--=--
     I've been thinking a lot lately about shortage.  There is a lot of
  shortage in this world.  Nobody ever has enough money, or enough time,
  or enough gear, or enough inspiration.  There seems to be a shortage of
  everything, everywhere.

     Did you and your friends ever get together and pool your money when
  you were younger to buy something you could all enjoy?  Alone, you had
  enough money for some candy, but together, you had enough to buy a
  Nintendo game, or a football, or a baseball bat.

     Today's society has perverted our thought patterns.  Greed, envy, and
  mis-trust has infiltrated even otherwise good people almost to the core.
  The spirit of sharing and unity has deserted us.  More accurately, we
  have deserted it.

     When was the last time you had a BBQ with the neighbors?  I'm sure
  there are probably many of you who don't even know the names of your
  next-door neighbors.  Have we forgotten how much more we seem to have
  when we pool our resources?  The more we give, the more we get.  It's
  the law of abundance.  It's all around you.

     Here is an experiment you can try the next time you eat at
  McDonnald's with some friends: Instead of hoarding all your french fries
  to yourself, have everybody dump their fries into a big pile in the
  middle of the table.  You'll be surprised at how big the pile gets.
  Plenty for everyone.

     When you give, you recieve.  If you can't give for selfless reasons,
  start out giving for selfish reasons.  Give knowing that it will come
  back to you, and before long, the spirit of sharing will return to you.
  Your giving will become sincere, and you'll be one step closer to
  enlightenment, and the closer you get to enlightenment, the more you
  see, understand, comprehend, and feel.  And the more that happens, the
  better your music will become.

     Isn't that what life is all about for us?  Making good music?  That's
  just another form of sharing.  See?  You're half way there already.


                --Dilvish

--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Screen Lit Vertigo
    "Are You Satisfied?" by Domage (party version)
  By:  Seven
----=--=------=--=------=--=--
  Found at www.scene.org
  1st place at Bizarre'99

  System requirements:
     Pentium class CPU, GUS or SB, VESA2 gfx-card
  3MB HD, 64 MB RAM

  Test Machine: PII 350 64MB SB16, Win98 in dos-mode (BOOTGUI = 0)
  DOS: ! Loading is very slow, so make sure you have smartdrv installed
  XMS: Works OK
  EMM: crashes :( (Might be due to smartdrive).
  Windows: Works OK, but info-file warns that it might be unstable.

  The demo:
     "Are you satisfied" by Domage is a pretty "standard" demo, no story or
  real theme. It reminds me of MTV-clips, both in the good syncing with
  the music and the amount of girlie-pictures. The effects are rather
  standard: snow, radial blur, plasmas, free direction tunnels etc. Very
  few 3D in here, only two 3-objects: metaballs with motionblur, and a
  strange morphing object with flares attached to the surface. It looks
  nice, but is very slow (framerate-wise). Because the effects does not
  hold your attention for more than a few seconds, Ligne & Diurne (yes,
  made by only two people) have added other things to watch. First there
  are the lyrics of the song, that are scrolling all through the demo in
  different directions, and second, almost every screen has a photoshopped
  picture of a girl as foreground or background. I don't really like that
  because you can't show the demo to some non-scener without giving the
  impression that all sceners are sexually frustrated nerds. But it's
  almost a tradition, and here the pics fit more or less with the "Are You
  Satisfied" theme. There is one short grayscale clip of a DJ scratching
  an LP, that looks ugly here. The rest of the demo is very smooth, with
  much anti-aliasing and blur, and the 2*3 pixels of the clip are just too
  blocky.

  The music:
     IMHO, the best thing of this demo is the music. It starts a bit
  strange, with a high shriek and some static noise panning from left to
  right, as the soundeffect for the TV-snow at the start of the demo. Then
  the main tune comes in, something between dnb and electronic rock. It
  has a very nice, catchy baseline, and makes massive use of
  voice-samples. It makes the tune almost like something you could hear on
  the radio. The main "are you satisfied" theme is broken a few times by
  breaks or a second, slightly dissonant theme with a voice sample I can't
  understand completely (ends with ..."nothing at all"). It ends with
  another high note on an electrical guitar that is sustained too long in
  my opinion (hurts my ears) before releasing it. Synchronizing starts
  very good, for example at the title screen: radial blur appearing at the
  beats, but it degrades to the normal "new demo-part at significant
  tune-change".

  Overall:
     The overall style reminds me of Superstition, like the layer with
  the molecule-raster and the tunnels, while the female overkill might be
  inspired by the success of Cod Liver Oil/Damones (2nd at ASM99). The
  code is not very special, but it's worth checking out for the music, and
  the design is OK (no major errors except that clip). And if you don't
  object to some good-looking girls in demos, you'll probably like this
  one.

                --Seven


--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Crackhead Trackhead (Humor)
    The Scene Education Forum
  By:  Virt
----=--=------=--=------=--=--
                --Virt


--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Call to Keyboards
     Are Tracking Unions Worth Much?
  By:  Coplan
----=--=------=--=------=--=--
  -=- Introduction -=-
     Okay, this is sort of a new idea.  If this works out, then it may
  become  a semi regular column.  The idea for this  possible column comes
  from two things.  First, this is a journel of  sorts.  Not only are we
  here because we like to be, but we're here to  bring information to you.
  However, not everyone has enough to say to  write a full article.  This
  leads into the second thing:  You, the  readers of Static Line, have
  opinions.  If prompted, I have a feeling  you'll want to share them for
  the benefit of the rest of us.  You've  seen our opinions with music,
  programs, demos and what-not.  Now, let  everyone see yours.

     Here's how this is going to work.  Each of these articles will have a
  topic.  I'll get you started on my views, and then you can reply with
  your views.  It's similar to a talk show.  If all goes well, and this
  column continues -- then it may end up in two parts each week:  The
  responses from the previous week, and the next topic.  To share your
  views, reply to me:  Coplan (coplan.ic@rcn.com).  Now onto this month's
  topic:

  -=- Are Tracking Unions Worth Much? -=-
     First of all, what do I mean by Tracking Unions?  These are the web
  pages such as Trax-In-Space (http://www.traxinspace.com) or United
  Trackers (http://www.united-trackers.org).  In theory, the biggest
  advantage to these "union websites" is that you can simply display your
  music.  You can even get your music reviewed by your peers.  Internet
  Music Monitor (http://www.cyberverse.com/~boris/IMM2) and many others
  also support such features, but handled in a different manner.

     I have heard many people complain that such "Unions" are a "breeding
  ground for bad music," or "lamers helping lamers."  I've also heard many
  comparisons to the classic (and ever famous) Hornet Archive.  Now, let's
  be honest.  First of all, most of the people who activly dislike such
  unions are tend to be "oldskoolers," or the guys who have "been there
  and done that."  I can claim to be such an oldskooler anymore, though
  not as old as some.  Back when I joined the scene, all that existed was
  the Hornet Archive.  The number of trackers was about a quarter what it
  is today (if that).  The number of experienced trackers was even less.
  But what about today?  Where can new trackers get recognition, or any
  feedback at all?  Such places as Trax-In-Space or United Trackers.

     What about the feedback though?  Hornet simply had a rating system,
  and  maybe a comment here or there when the could keep up.  Internet
  Music  Monitor (IMM) has a small volunteer staff to review tunes, as
  does  Trax-In-Space (I gotta be honest, I am not familiar with United
  Trackers).  But is it worth it?  In some cases, especially where quality
  is enforced.  Last I knew, IMM made requirements on how well a song was
  reviewed.  Fairly good quality reviews.  Trax-In-Space?  I've gotten
  some poor reviews, but keep in mind -- I've "been there and done that."
  At my stage in tracking, "I like this part, dislike that part, key
  changes would be nice..." doesn't help me much.  I need technical data.
  But what about the new trackers?  It can help.

     So, my opinion?  For the starters out there, the unions are somewhat
  helpful, and worthwhile.  At least you have a place to hang your hat.
  For the oldskoolers:  If you're any good, people will know where to find
  your music.  If not, you're best to send it to someone you can trust to
  give you a good review.  But I wouldn't depend on your peers to give you
  what you need.  It's your job to find a reviewer.

     Your opinions?  Let's hear them.  What experiences have you had with
  such unions, and what is your general view of such organizations?  Is it
  all worthwhile?

     Send your mail to:  coplan.ic@rcn.com

                --Coplan


--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Advertisement
     Theralite's 100th release
----=--=------=--=------=--=--
  Theralite has made their 100th release:

  "There goes the neigbourhood!"
  (a music disk)

  Music By:  Smash
  Code By:  Whizzter and Razor1911
  GFX By: TMK, Inferno, Flood, Markus, Argus, Xhale, Filter and Orome


  There are 8 acid-jazz / funk tracks in this 7 MB musicdisk.  Check it
  out!

  http://theralite.avalon.hr
     or
  ftp://ftp.scene.org/pub/music/groups/theralite/1999/tlt_100.zip



  -=- Editor's Note -=-
  You too can advertise milestones and happenings of your group.  Only
  non-profit organizations may advertise for non-profit reasons.  For
  information, e-mail me at coplan.ic@rcn.com.

                --Coplan


--=--=--
----=--=------=--=------=--=------=--=------=--=------=--=------=--=------
  Editor:             Coplan / D. Travis North / coplan.ic@rcn.com
  Assistant Editors:  Ranger Rick / Ben Reed / ranger@where.are.u.com
                       Subliminal / Matt Friedly / sub@plazma.net
  Web Manager:        Dilvish / Eric Hamilton / dilvie@yahoo.com
  Columnists:         Coplan / D. Travis North / coplan.ic@rcn.com
                       Calvin French / frenchc@cadvision.com
                       Dilvish / Eric Hamilton / dilvie@yahoo.com
                       Louis Gorenfeld / gorenfeld@vrone.net
                       Seven / Stefaan / Stefaan.VanNieuwenhuyze@rug.ac.be
                       Virt / virt@bellsouth.net
  Staff Writers:      Acell / Jamie LeSouef / jlesouef@melbpc.org.au
                       Darkheart / Zach Heitling / darkhart@san.rr.com
                       Setec / Jesper Pederson / jesped@post.tele.dk
                       SiN / Ian Haskin / sin@netcom.ca
  Technical Support:  Draggy / Nicolas St. Pierre / draggy@kosmic.org
                       Jim / Jim Nicholson / jim@kosmic.org

  Static Line on the Web:  http://www.ic.l7.net/statline
                           ftp://flerp.scene.hu/scene/DiskMag/StaticLine

     To subscribe to the Static Line mailing list, send an e-mail message
  to "majordomo@kosmic.org" 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
  month.

     To unsubscribe from the mailing list, send an e-mail message to
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     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
  (coplan.ic@rcn.com).

     See you next month!

-eof---=------=--=------=--=--