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                       cRu|________\     |    |                   Issue #43
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 February, 2003                          ||    /  \ \__/   /   /   /___// |
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--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Tale Of Contents
----=--=------=--=------=--=--
     Opening:
        Message From the Editor
        Letters From Our Readers
     Features:
        Lessons Learned -- An Interview With TiS's Saurin "Mysterium" Shah
        Review and Response -- Final Responses
     Reviews:
        Music:
           In Tune --
           The Lineup -- Monthly Music Listings
        Demo:
           Screen Lit Vertigo -- MFX and Condense & Mandarine and Cocoon
           Demo Review -- "Singing in the Rain" by SquoQuo
     Opinion / Commentary:
        Editorial -- Personal Goals
        Inside My Mind -- How Vill Got His Groove Back
        Early Dawn Reflections -- Teamwork
     Link List: Get Somewhere in the Scene
     Closing: Staff and Contact Information


--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Message From the Editor
----=--=------=--=------=--=--
  Well, it's been yet another exciting month.  My company recently
  transferred me to an office that is much closer to home.  The upside to
  that is that I'll likely have more time for the 'scene.  Therefore,
  hopefully less late issues of Static Line and more improvements to
  SceneSpot.

  I am now looking for any PHP coders that might be able to help me with
  SceneSpot.  We're using a core system that has a pretty good community
  and pretty good documentation.  I will still be doing a huge amount of
  code for the site, but I would like some help if at all possible.  If
  you think you might be of some help, send me a message.

  We have a very interesting interview for you this month.  Novus managed
  to strike up a formal interview with Saurin Shah, aka Mysterium, of
  Trax-In-Space.  Ever wonder about his side of the story?  Now's your
  chance to find out.

  Until Next time.

                --Coplan


--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Lessons Learned:
     An Interview With TiS's Saurin "Mysterium" Shah
  By:  Novus
----=--=------=--=------=--=--

  When the merits and problems of a website are still being debated well
  over  a year after its formal closure, you know it left an impact.
  Indeed, when it  comes to Trax In Space, this may be the one aspect of
  the site that both its  supporters and detractors can agree on.

  Founded in 1992 by the CyberLegion Artist's Network, Trax In Space soon
  became the solo project of Saurin "Mysterium" Shah, a teenaged Texan
  tracker  with big plans. From humble beginnings -- 250 megs of songs
  personally  reviewed by Mysterium -- TiS eventually added other
  reviewers in 1997 and  soon swelled into the largest tracker music
  archive in the history of the  tracking scene before its collapse in
  2001. With its commercial aspects and  Mysterium's goal of
  profitability, TiS forced us all to question how many  concessions to
  capitalism our non-commercial music scene could make -- if  any --
  without "selling out."

  Recently, Mysterium agreed to sit down and chat with me for his first
  major  public exposure since the collapse of TiS. Our conversation
  covered the rise  and fall of TiS, the lessons he learned, and his
  advice for the scene's  future. He also gave me an unparalleled inside
  look at TiS, providing  details that most former business owners would
  never dream of revealing.

  NOVUS: In 1997, did you have any idea just how big TiS was going to
  become?

  MYSTERIUM: No, but I did have grand plans -- even then. It all really
  starts  with my take on music, and me personally as a musician. The
  reason I began  the TiS project at all was because, back then, very few
  of the established  artist groups would take me. I thought I was not
  bad, but in reality I was a  terrible musician. But I wanted a place for
  people like me to go and to be  accepted and most important of all, to
  be in a place where they could become  better as musicians.

  NOVUS: At its peak, how many songs and members did TiS have?

  MYSTERIUM: Approximately 45,000 musicians and over 200,000 songs.

  NOVUS: That's... um... way past 250 megs. :)

  MYSTERIUM: Way past. At our peak we had six dual-processor, server class
  DELL machines running this. In fact, the database machine had up to 4
  processors and had the XEON CPUs. Our storage capacity, after
  considering  the multiple-RAIDS that we had, was past 300 GB.

  NOVUS: How quickly did TiS grow? When you added more reviewers in 1997,
  did  the numbers start to explode, or was it a slower growth over time?

  MYSTERIUM: TiS's growth started off slow, but I would say around 1998 it
  just exploded. You see in 1998, I had achieved a threshold needed of
  visibility in the scene. Still not huge, but enough where each new
  artist  put me on an exponential growth curve.

  NOVUS: Kind of like critical mass, then?

  MYSTERIUM: Yes, exactly. There is no doubt that we were the largest
  scene  site ever. In fact, we were listed in the top 10 music sites in
  the world by  several of the real industry watchers.

  NOVUS: Quite an achievement. :)

  MYSTERIUM: I did not do it alone, but thanks.

  NOVUS: I want to come back and talk about some of the day-to-day
  operations  of TiS in a little bit, but for now I'm going to jump ahead
  to the end of  the story.

  MYSTERIUM: Ok, go ahead and jump ahead, I'll follow. :)

  NOVUS: A lot of people already know that TiS collapsed, although very
  few  people, if anyone, know the hows or whys. So, in your words, and
  take this  in what ever direction you want to... just what the heck
  HAPPENED anyway?

  MYSTERIUM: Alright, it was another critical mass situation. But you have
  to  understand the build up, so I'll give you the punch line, but you'll
  have to  ask me about the steps leading up to it.

  NOVUS: Okay, I'll follow. :)

  MYSTERIUM: Essentially, with six-servers and the serious amount of
  traffic  we received (we were about half the traffic sometimes for the
  ISP we used),  it was expensive. It actually mimics the dot-com busts.
  Too much cash going  out, not enough coming in to support the
  operations.

  NOVUS: I've gotten the feeling not a lot of people ever realized HOW
  expensive bandwidth can be.

  MYSTERIUM: Or how much six servers can be. We also had our own dedicated
  T-1  and spilled over into the T-3 node of our ISP. Plus none of us had
  outside  jobs. It took 5 people working 10 hours a day to run TiS.

  NOVUS: So, TiS basically was your full-time job, for you and several
  others.

  MYSTERIUM: Yes. It was our dream jobs in fact. We had a love affair with
  TiS, the music, and everything about it and its patrons.

  NOVUS: And yet you had to meet reality, which meant you had to make TiS
  profitable. That meant taking it in a commercial direction, which is
  probably where the bulk of the criticism of TiS was aimed.

  MYSTERIUM: Yes, but the criticism never bothered me (okay, maybe
  sometimes).  But yes, the reality. We expanded too fast. I was a novice
  when it came to  the real-world of business.

  NOVUS: If you don't mind my asking, how much did it cost to keep TiS up
  and  running per month?

  MYSTERIUM: Well, we had other divisions, but TiS itself... I would say
  approximately $25,000 per month. I mean, we had to buy insurance,
  health-benefits (what if one of us became sick), our pay (though believe
  me  it was not too much), etc. I had a responsibility to all the other
  TiS  people to make sure that I took care of them.

  NOVUS: Did TiS ever break even or make a profit, even for just a short
  time?

  MYSTERIUM: It never did. But being realistic, it takes an average
  business 5  years to just break even. We really got going in 2000, so we
  still had time.

  NOVUS: A lot of small-business owners never realize how long it can take
  to  get profitable. TiS had several different "profit centers:" paid
  memberships, CD sales, t-shirts and hats, advertising... which one of
  those  worked out the best revenue-wise?

  MYSTERIUM: The best had to be the Advertising and the Paid Memberships.
  The  Paid Memberships were my best bet, but I understood our users and
  knew that  it had to survive for 3 more years before it would take off.
  I also had the  scene working against me in a way. Many people were
  pie-eyed utopians. They  wanted a commerical-free scene with the
  benefits of a commercial industry.  And since many sceners were still in
  college or younger and never had a real  job and had to support a family
  or themselves, the real world had not met  them yet. About 90% of my
  paid memberships were from people 28 yrs and  older. And I will let you
  in on another secret, no one knows.

  NOVUS: Go ahead.

  MYSTERIUM: TuCows wanted to buy my site in 1999. They offered me my own
  Ferrarri with all the insurance paid plus a ridiculous salary.

  NOVUS: Goodness! So, what happened there?

  MYSTERIUM: For the scene and to make sure that it did not become
  "commericial," I said no. I could have been a wealthy young man, but the
  music and artists meant more to me.

  NOVUS: Wow... that would've been nice to throw at the critics who said
  TiS  was already too commercial. I wish I'd known that at the time. :)

  MYSTERIUM: Well, I did not tell people, because I wanted people to
  genuinely  appreciate the site for what it was and not because of me.
  Though the site  was me, and I was the site; I could not differentiate
  for many years. Let's  just say that the salary and bonus had *many*
  zeroes.

  NOVUS: Looking back with 20-20 hindsight, would you have taken that deal
  if  it had meant TiS would last longer?

  MYSTERIUM: No, that part I would not have changed. I knew AOL was
  courting  TuCows, and TiS was meant to fight the likes of Time-Warner.

  NOVUS: Those are two scenarios that make trackers everywhere shudder:
  either  AOL-Time Warner or Microsoft getting involved in the scene. ;)

  MYSTERIUM: It was never about the money, but I should have paid closer
  attention to that aspect. Now, did you also know that ModPlug and
  Digital  Music Magazine were a part of TiS?

  NOVUS: I knew about DMM, but MODPlug, that's news to me, and that
  actually  gets into one of my later questions. :)

  MYSTERIUM: Well lets just say that on the back-end, I was trying to
  unite  the scene -- and there was a reason behind it. But Kim (ModPlug)
  was free to  run ModPlug that way he sought fit; I did not want TiS to
  influence it at  all.

  NOVUS: I did an availability check on the domain name traxinspace.com
  yesterday, and noticed you're still the owner, with Kim "Mister-X" Kraft
  of  MODPlug Central listed as the Tech Admin. Is this leftover from when
  TiS was  still active?

  MYSTERIUM: Yes, when I closed TiS (which you can ask me about later),
  Kim  still wanted to run ModPlug, so I gave him the traffic. Kim is a
  great guy  and a real asset to the scene.

  NOVUS: So that's why www.traxinspace.com was pointing to his StudioKraft
  side project for a while?

  MYSTERIUM: Yes. Kim still wanted to do this full-time, so studiokraft
  was  his way of paying the bills. I now work for Counsumer Credit
  Counseling  Services (CCCS; www.moneymanagement.org), a non-profit that
  helps people out  of debt. Ironic, isn't it?

  NOVUS: Heh, I work indirectly for a credit counseling service myself. :)

  MYSTERIUM: I tell you what, this is a tongue-in-cheek analogy, but we
  seriously felt like the "USA" and the rest of the scene was the United
  Nations.

  NOVUS: Being a red-blooded American and suspicious of the UN, I think I
  get  that. ;)

  MYSTERIUM: LOL... I guess only the american readers would get that,
  hehehe.  Basically, we had criticism from everywhere because we were so
  successful  (in terms of visibility, traffic, and artists).

  NOVUS: What was it that made you look around and finally decide to pull
  the  plug on TiS?

  MYSTERIUM: A few reasons. One, I needed a job; living off of nothing and
  being in major debt was not a life goal I wanted to continue. Secondly,
  I  needed a break from everything. There was a whole other part to TiS
  that its  about time I told. Thirdly, I wanted a change and a chance to
  sit back and  rethink my goals, and I think I finally know what I want
  to do. You are  going to have a huge article. LOL

  NOVUS: That's fine, Static Line set a length-record last month, and I
  intend  to break that single-handedly. ;)

  MYSTERIUM: :)

  NOVUS: Besides there's always the magic of the Delete key. ;)

  MYSTERIUM: That's true.

  NOVUS: So, on the second point, what's the whole other part to TiS that
  you  need to tell?

  MYSTERIUM: Well if I had $25,000 outgoing a month just for TiS, and we
  also  had DMM and ModPlug, how did we pay for it?

  NOVUS: Ah, I knew I'd left a question dangling somewhere. I would assume
  loans?

  MYSTERIUM: In 1999, I got my parents, their friends, and the owner of
  the  ISP to give me $1 million to get started. Too much for a kid just
  out of  college.

  NOVUS: That sound you just heard was my jaw hitting the desk.

  MYSTERIUM: But I had some senior help from two men who were supposed to
  be  very experienced businessmen.

  NOVUS: "Supposed" to be?

  MYSTERIUM: Well, one of them I think is alright, but the other... hmmm.

  NOVUS: I've met guys like that... radio is infested with 'em. ;)

  MYSTERIUM: While I handled the sites, the others were supposed to raise
  more  money and manage it. In a few months, all of the money was gone,
  some of it  still not fully accounted for. We don't know where it went.
  I had a  blind-eye to the financial side, because 1) I was too engrossed
  with the  site, and 2) I trusted them blindly. I was young, just out of
  college, why  wouldn't everyone do their job properly when i did mine
  well? Naive. We knew  that the sites could not survive off of just $1
  million; we needed more so  that we could reach the critical point of
  profitability. Now that being  said, not all the business we made were
  wise. We could have been much more  spend-thrifty than we were.

  NOVUS: So, it's 1999, your investment capital is gone, and the site
  needs  thousands a month to operate. Where did the rest of the money
  come from?

  MYSTERIUM: Well in November 1999, I raised the money. In August 2000,
  the  money was spent. For the next few months, we all worked off our own
  good  graces while the ISP gave us the bandwidth for free.

  NOVUS: Okay, so it almost lasted a year. What then?

  MYSTERIUM: I then found out that bills were under my name -- lots of
  bills.  I was already in debt. It was time for a job. And time to
  rethink  everything. Not only did the sceners not support TiS as much as
  I had hoped  (though I could have done things better I think), but I had
  made a mistake  in picking the people to watch the money. A mistake
  which cost me dearly,  because my dad lost a huge part of his savings
  (he gave it to me to show me  he believed in me) and his friends took
  out their anger on me and my  parents. I almost went into depression,
  but thank goodness I did not.

  NOVUS: I've been there, and believe me, that's not an easy hole to climb
  out  of.

  MYSTERIUM: I took at as a war scar and decided to take it easy and
  replan  life. So we have the site getting bigger and bigger and getting
  real  industry coverage: front page of Computer Music Journal, in
  Keyboard  Magazine, Houston Press, and more... and even on ABC News.
  They interviewed  me. On top of this, TiS costs too much and is not
  getting money, and the  money behind the scenes is being spent like
  water. I did not give up until  November 2000, when everything reached a
  breaking point for me personally.  It was too much to have to defend
  myself to a group of utopic sceners (of  course just some, not all) and
  deal with the real financial problems facing  me and my closest friends
  -- those who worked on TiS and ModPlug. They were  like my family and I
  felt as if I had failed them.

  NOVUS: So, November 2000 was when you stopped active work on the site?

  MYSTERIUM: Yes. Then I put it on auto for a few months.

  NOVUS: And when was the plug pulled entirely then?

  MYSTERIUM: You could say September or so of 2001. I don't remember
  exactly  when. Just one day the site went down and I let it stay down.

  NOVUS: I've been told you at least had some free bandwidth towards the
  end,  due to your domain-name registrar screwing up and improperly
  selling off the  name traxinspace.com.

  MYSTERIUM: No, that's not exactly right; the ISP had put in some money
  into  TiS and they wanted and hoped that it would turn around. The
  domain name  fiasco was crazy. Someone in Singapore or Hong Kong was
  waiting to buy it...  until I pressed their Australian parent with a
  legal fight, and then they  relinqueshed.

  NOVUS: And that's when you got the domain back.

  MYSTERIUM: Yes.

  NOVUS: What would you say was the most unfair criticism that TiS faced
  while  it was still up-and-running?

  MYSTERIUM: Basically 1) Why were we so big. 2) Why were we trying to
  make  money, didn't we know the scene was not about that. Those were the
  two  biggest. The first one is a no-brainer, my answer -- why not?

  NOVUS: Nobody ever complained about how big Hornet was. ;)

  MYSTERIUM: That's true. The second one should become easier to answer
  now.  But they did complain about TiS -- even compared it to Microsoft.
  There were  "fake" sites mocking TiS like the Microshaft and other
  sites. I was actually  quite flattered and bookmarked those pages.

  NOVUS: You know you're important when people feel strongly enough about
  you  to parody you. ;)

  MYSTERIUM: Yes, exactly, it was a badge of honor to have parody sites.
  :)  You see, to help musicians become better evolves naturally to
  allowing  people with talent and the will to succeed as a musician for
  their  livelihood. Many people in the scene did not like that; they did
  not want  others to succeed as musicians, which I still can't figure out
  why they  would think like that. It's almost communist -- everyone
  should be subject  to being failures in the public world of music as
  much as they are. For  someone to succeed and do it for a living is just
  wrong. But behind closed  doors, they would make music for games and
  commericials and so on.

  NOVUS: There's the USA comparison again. ;)

  MYSTERIUM: Yes, another USA comparison, but I can't help it. I embrace
  those  ideals and it was very evident in TiS.

  NOVUS: I butted heads with quite a few people in your defense over the
  money  issue, but even I had no true idea how much the site was costing
  you to run.

  MYSTERIUM: Thanks, I needed friends everywhere I could get them. :) It's
  not  easy being a pioneer; I just hope I have broken the ice and made it
  easier  for those who try next. TiS was a channel for those just
  beginning to become  better through their peers and then to take their
  talent and showcase it to  the world. The size and visibility meant that
  the world watched. The TiS  Charts mattered -- they really did matter,
  and I know it has helped some  artists.

  NOVUS: So, to take the question in the other direction, what was the
  most  accurate criticism of TiS?

  MYSTERIUM: The most accurate was that it WAS too big (not WHY was it too
  big), because it grew too fast.

  NOVUS: So, the growth rate, rather than the size itself.

  MYSTERIUM: Yes, the growth rate was an accurate criticism. And that
  sceners  would not accept TiS. That was true, but again I felt that as
  the sceners  grew older and if they had a serious forum for their music,
  then as they  matured as people and musicians, they would not leave TiS.
  The paid  memberships clearly showed that I was right about that.

  NOVUS: A common area of criticism was the quality of the reviews, and
  this  was the topic where I was quite critical of TiS. What did you
  think of your  reviewing staff overall?

  MYSTERIUM: Thats true, too. Thanks for reminding me. :)

  NOVUS: No prob. :)

  MYSTERIUM: I thought that the reviewing staff overall was representative
  of  the peers. The paid memberships were supposed to help those serious
  about  music get the best reviewers. After all, it was peer reviews. The
  critics  have only themselves to look at. We gave as much guidelines as
  we could. In  the end, it's not us writing the reviews and bringing with
  us our personal  experiences that make each reviewer different.

  NOVUS: I always saw TiS's growth as the culprit behind that: with so
  many  songs flowing in, the only way to possibly review them all was to
  throw a  huge team of reviewers at it. But such a huge team makes
  quality-control  nigh impossible.

  MYSTERIUM: Yes, though we tried and tried and tried. It's almost
  impossible.  I had ideas about placing some limits and such that would
  have helped. In  fact, I know some of my ideas would have worked. But I
  ran out of time.

  NOVUS: Any advice for anyone else who wants to run a scene mega-site
  someday?

  MYSTERIUM: Yes. Watch the growth rate, be very careful. Plan out how you
  will spend money (whether it's your own or someone else's). Be realistic
  --  music may be artistic and ethereal, but there is a reality also. And
  don't  give up or listen to the criticism; trudge ahead with what you
  truly believe  in and make your visions happen.

  NOVUS: When TiS went down, a lot of good music went down with it. Is
  there  any hope at all of recovering any of those songs?

  MYSTERIUM: I had hoped to recover them, but there were too many issues
  and  we could not unfortunately. The servers were too big and no longer
  belonged  to us since we could not pay the lease. And they were located
  very far from  us. All that combined made it very difficult to recover
  the songs. I wish I  could have though.

  NOVUS: Have you ever seen the e-mail that your right-hand man Ronald
  "Roncli" Clifford sent to me before TiS collapsed?

  MYSTERIUM: Nope, RonCli and I did not talk about TiS too much afterward.
  It  was a mutual understanding that we needed a break -- both of us. You
  could  send me his email or paraphrase it if you can. You have piqued my
  interest.

  NOVUS: You can read it here:
  http://www.united-trackers.org/2000/bbs/viewpost.asp?post_id=4509 -- He
  gave  me permission to take it public.

  MYSTERIUM: No prob.

  NOVUS: I was going to ask what you thought of it, and at the time, I
  thought  there was a rift between the two of you based on what he said.

  MYSTERIUM: He did not know the entire story.

  NOVUS: I'd always wondered that.

  MYSTERIUM: I did not tell him, because it was still going on at the time
  and  he had already sacrificed enough. I wanted him to have an easier
  break from  it all than I had to endure.

  NOVUS: A lot of what he said makes a lot more sense now in the context
  of  this interview. Do you and Ron still keep in touch?

  MYSTERIUM: Oh yeah! He works at CCCS also. In fact, his cube is across
  from  mine. :) I helped him get the job there, and he is very successful
  there.

  NOVUS: Wow, that worked out then. :)

  MYSTERIUM: I have no problems with anyone except the "senior staff."

  NOVUS: The "senior staff" being the aforementioned "experienced
  businessmen"?

  MYSTERIUM: Yes, that's correct.

  NOVUS: So, do you still have any leftover TiS merchandise that never got
  sold?

  MYSTERIUM: Yes. Some, I kept some for keepsakes and the rest I don't
  know  where it is. I live in a one-bedroom apartment, so I could not
  take too  much.

  NOVUS: Darn, I was gonna ask for a t-shirt. ;)

  MYSTERIUM: Yeah, I don't know where any of that stuff is now. If I had
  more  room I would have taken it all.

  NOVUS: Would you ever consider letting someone else, like Kim Kraft or
  Ronald Clifford, pick up the TiS banner and try to resurrect it?

  MYSTERIUM: Maybe. Someone asked me recently and I said no, because one
  day I  may want to do it again -- in a few years. I have seriously been
  wanting to  get back into the music industry and make change. With my
  experience (TiS)  and now work success coupled with a good education, I
  think I may want to  become a music industry analyst. I could help the
  scene so much like that by  bringing to light the strong sites and
  leaders. The battle is not over for  me yet. I'm just on R&R.

  NOVUS: Well, don't get too sidetracked away from that... to quote Dave
  Matthews, "Don't lose the dreams inside your head / They'll only be
  there  'til you're dead." Would you ever consider being an admin for one
  of the  scene's existing sites?

  MYSTERIUM: Maybe, or even an editor for a scene magazine (or
  contributing  writer). I think that being an orator is just as important
  as running a  site.

  NOVUS: Well, I know Coplan's looking for writers for Static Line... ;)

  MYSTERIUM: Well if I hear from Coplan, then there might be another
  writer  for Static Line. :)

  NOVUS: I'll pass that along. :)

  MYSTERIUM: No problem. I would like to say that I hope that this sheds
  some  light for the scene -- not for a personal benefit, but for those
  people who  come next.

  NOVUS: Well, if this marks your return to the scene, I imagine we'll
  hear  quite a bit more from you in the future.

  MYSTERIUM: LOL... Maybe so, maybe so. Two years off is just about right.
  I  am putting my life on track -- going for an MBA at a top ten school
  and then  armed with that, I plan on helping the sceners more. It's in
  my blood. It's  like the NBA commercials -- I love this stuff.

  NOVUS: There's a slogan... "I love this scene!"

  MYSTERIUM: Exactly. :) I love this scene.

  NOVUS: Imagine... TV commercials with Necros and Skaven, and the Second
  Reality demo running in the background. ;)

  MYSTERIUM: Exactly, that would be something to see.

  NOVUS: Well, I now have a mammoth task ahead of me, copying-and-pasting
  this  all. I really should've thought this through and expanded the
  log-file  settings in mIRC. ;)

  MYSTERIUM: I have the log I think, let me see... Yes, I can e-mail it to
  you.

  NOVUS: Excellent! So, on behalf of myself, Coplan, and Static Line's
  readers, thank you for taking the time for this. It's hard to pick this
  up  from reading, but we've been chatting for almost 2 hours now.

  MYSTERIUM: You're right, two hours. My wife is telling me too now that I
  am  wasting her day. :)))

  NOVUS: Sorry if your wife is mad. Just blame me. :)

  MYSTERIUM: I already did blame you. :)

  NOVUS: Heh. ;)

  MYSTERIUM: Thanks for giving me a forum to tell my story. I want people
  to  understand.

  NOVUS: This should help with that. Take care!

  MYSTERIUM: Bye!

                --Novus

--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Your View and Response
     Final Responses
  By:  Coplan
----=--=------=--=------=--=--

  In the previous issue of Static Line, Issue #42 (December, 2002), I
  asked readers to respond with their favorite demo of all time.  I got a
  few responses, and I will post the two cleanest responses here.

  -=- Response from Nauthiz -=-
  I'll admit, my favorite demo, Paimen by Coma, is on the MindCandy DVD,
  but in my defense I'll claim that I thought of it before I saw it was on
  the DVD.  When I show my friends a few demos to give them an idea of
  what the whole thing is about, many of them don't see why I enjoy them
  so much.  Usually, Paimen is what convinces them that demos are art.  It
  was the first demo I saw that made me stop and think for a few minutes,
  and it has done the same to a great many people I know, too.

                --nauthiz

  -=- Response from Dilvie -=-
  My favorite demo of all time is the 64k Paper, by  Statix & Vic.  When
  it was first presented at a party (wired '96?), people were throwing
  paper airplanes all over the place (I wish I had been there).  It was
  probably the most imaginative demo to date when it was made, and puts
  even modern demos (64k or otherwise) to shame.

  If you have not witnessed this classic bit of PC demoscene history, you
  need to.

                --Dilvie


  -=- Conclusion -=-
  I'm glad that some of you responded to these two issues of this feature
  column.  In the future, I may return and ask again for your response.  I
  learned a lot about my readers, and I would hope to learn more.  But for
  now, I don't have any new challenges.  But feel free to continue sending
  me comments about your favorite demos and music.

                --Coplan


--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  The Lineup
  By:  Novus
----=--=------=--=------=--=--
  Welcome to The Lineup! Every month, I scour through the hundreds of new
  releases on the scene's major archive sites to find the best new music,
  saving you the trouble of having to download 20 instant-delete songs to
  find  1 that's worth keeping.

  I'm proud to say that right now, The Lineup can claim a 100% customer
  satisfaction rating! Yay for me! :D (Never mind that I've only gotten
  feedback from one person so far... it was positive feedback, so 1 out of
  1  customers were satisfied, which is 100%. So there.) Here's what
  Flamingo had  to say:

  "Well I think mostly you've done a very good job. At least 10 of the 23
  were  very good tracks. I also liked that you select tunes from
  different genres,  not only trance. All the weakest tunes were from
  trance genre, except  self.it was marvellous. Thank you for this great
  music pack!"

  You're welcome, and glad you enjoyed it, Flamingo! And if you'd like to
  add  your feedback about the job I'm doing on The Lineup, e-mail me at
  vince_young@hotmail.com. Just think of it as critiquing someone's song.
  ;)

  Static Line took last month off, but The Lineup didn't, so the following
  are  the best tunes that were released in December and January:

  THE BEST OF THE BEST: JANUARY
  "Beyond Forever" - Crenton & Slash - demostyle
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2121

  THE BEST OF THE BEST: DECEMBER
  "Conquest Of Farakhan" - Gopher - orchestral
  http://www.planetheck.co.uk/~gophers/download/gh-cof.rar

  THE REST OF THE BEST:
  "All Alone Now" - Rave-N - dance
  http://www.cutetrancegirls.com/ctg/song.php?id=2

  "An Age May Pass" - FleshDance - fantasy
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2279

  "Axiapo De Presto Estrala" - Link - pop
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=1950

  "Back In The Fields" - Cooth - orchestral
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2251

  "Beat F" - Phred - fantasy
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2271

  "Bitter Sweet Love" - Jeva - pop
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2010

  "Cherry Jam" - Reed - funk
  http://reed.planet-d.net/tunes/cherryjm.zip

  "Chaos: Tohu Vavohu" - Xavt - techno
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=1986

  "Clamberdown" - Reed - celtic
  http://reed.planet-d.net/tunes/clamberd.zip

  "Clear Conscience" - DJ Attack - trance
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2255

  "Codswollop" - Reed - celtic
  http://reed.planet-d.net/tunes/codswoll.zip

  "Cranberry Cruise" - Reed - funk
  http://reed.planet-d.net/tunes/cranberr.zip

  "Crimson Flight" - Little Elk - fantasy
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2072

  "Cyborg At War" - Pro-Xex - techno
  http://data.modarchive.com/C/cybatwar.it.zip

  "Dancing With Birds" - Crazy Man - fantasy
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2258

  "Decompose" - Spoz & Copie One - jungle
  http://www.subwoofer.32k.org/swf-dcom.zip

  "Digital Nova" - Cadra - trance
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=1882

  "Disco Del Copstation" - Reed - funk
  http://reed.planet-d.net/tunes/discodel.zip

  "Dots" - Ballistique - electronica
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2037

  "Echo" - Link - pop
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=1954

  "Elephantism" - Reed - funk
  http://reed.planet-d.net/tunes/elephant.zip

  "Ethereal" - Dronir - fantasy
  http://koti.mbnet.fi/dronir/WS_ETHER.IT

  "Falkenna" - Link - rock
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=1951

  "Fallen Angel" - Morgan - dance
  http://data.modarchive.com/F/flnangel.xm.zip

  "Flight" - Butch - demostyle
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2211

  "Fugue State: Iquion Part 9" - Spoz - jungle
  http://www.subwoofer.32k.org/swf-iqn9.zip

  "Generator" - Timewyrm - experimental
  http://www.timewyrm.de/mod/47Generator.zip

  "Ghettos Of Wroclaw" - Reed - funk
  http://reed.planet-d.net/tunes/ghettos.zip

  "Halitosis" - Reed - funk
  http://reed.planet-d.net/tunes/halitosi.zip

  "In Flux" - Solo - electronica
  ftp://ftp.scene.org/pub/music/groups/hellven/hv051_-_solo_-_in_flux.zip

  "Inside The Sun" - Aulin & Slash - trance
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2182

  "Invisible Movement" - Butch - electronica
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2191

  "Ivory Tower" - Ivory - orchestral
  http://data.modarchive.com/I/ivtower.it.zip

  "Kadapoé" - Iwellius - fantasy
  http://www.8ung.at/iwellius/Mods/kadapoe.zip

  "Lake Of Sand" - DJ Keys - trance
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2083

  "Last Dawn" - Argh - fantasy
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2198

  "Let The Dragon Fly" - Little Elk - fantasy
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2074

  "Masootm" - Phred - electronica
  http://cgi.ethz.ch/~phkeller/modules/masootm.zip

  "Mystique" - Butch - electronica
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2210

  "Ninety Minute Cassette" - Chisel - dance
  ftp://ftp.scene.org/pub/music/artists/chisel/dtac/ninety.zip

  "Orbiting Saturn" - Solo - electronica
  ftp://ftp.scene.org/pub/music/groups/hellven/hv031.zip

  "Rain Light Sonata: Part 1" - Crazy Man - light rock
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2257

  "Rez" - Zond 3 - techno
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2190

  "Savage Lands" - R6k - drum'n'bass
  http://lysis.audio-stream.net/unbeat/musakki%5CUB-Savagelands02.zip

  "Sixty-Four" - Uctumi - pop
  http://data.modarchive.com/U/uc-sixty.xm.zip

  "Sky Chase" - DJ Attack - trance
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2254

  "Sky Cruiser" - Butch - electronica
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2267

  "Sunday Afternoon" - Argh - light rock
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2063

  "The Arpegiator: Part 2" - Herr Weltschaft - trance
  ftp://ftp.scene.org/pub/music/artists/herr_weltschaft/31337%2102.zip

  "The Classical Triplet" - Crazy Man - orchestral
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2245

  "The Quest For The Ardesy" - Xcalibur - dance
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2131

  "There's No Way" - DJ Attack & J. Ferreira - trance
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2253

  "Track On" - Kristjan - trance
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2206

  "Turquoise" - Reed - funk
  http://reed.planet-d.net/tunes/turquois.zip

  "Ulf's Vibrator" - Edzes & Loonie - pop
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=2223

  "Waterfall" - Storm - dance
  http://www.homemusic.cc/Songs/songs.get.php?soId=1930

                --Novus


--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Screen Lit Vertigo
     Productions by MFX, Condense & Mandarine and Cocoon
  By:  Seven
----=--=------=--=------=--=--

  -=- Various ramblings: -=-

  * Everyone who had still some hope left that The Party would reverse its
  decline from a demoparty to a LAN-party can stop hoping now. There were
  so little contributions that the 64K intro, demo AND wild compos had to
  be merged in a single compo, and even then the quality was at an
  all-time low. I'd rather review some demos I like.

  * Regrettably no reviews of Planet Loop/Mad Wizards (1st at TUM) or Raw
  Confessions/Cocoon (1st at SOTA) either, because they do not run
  correctly on my Radeon :( I'm really looking forward to patches, some 3D
  parts of Raw Confessions run OK and they look sooo impressive...


  -=- "A deepness in the sky" by MFX (party-version) -=-

  Found at www.scene.org
  2nd place at the State Of The Art democompo

  System requirements:
  5.3 MB HD, Win9x "a gf4 or similar for full enjoyment"
  (My ATI 8500 shows it just fine, and that's about as powerful as a
  Geforce3)

  Test Machine: PIII 900 640MB, SB1024, Radeon 8500 LE 64MB, Win98

  The Credits:
     Code: Droid, Uncle-X
     Music: Little Bitchard, Uncle-X

  The Demo:
  If you like science fiction, you might know that the title of MFX's
  previous demo,"A fire upon the deep", was taken from a Vernor Vinge
  book. "A deepness into the sky" is the name of the sequel to the book,
  and MFX took it as the sequel to their demo. Nonetheless, MFX denies any
  relation to the book.

  "A deepnes in the sky" is a techno-demo that actually consist of a
  single big effect, that gradually becomes more complex. It starts with
  hundreds of tumbling cubes and beams, arranged in the form of a disk
  with a pillar through the center. It looks a bit like a spaceship IMO,
  and travels through a tunnel of solid black cubes. The music is a very
  monotone techno track, it slowly evolves but is always dominated by the
  same bassline, except for a short break in the middle. Three times per
  second (synced to the beat), the camera viewpoint switches, together
  with the form of the spaceship: the cubes are replaced by bars, the disk
  pulsates etc. During the course of the demo, lightning-blue streaks
  start to appear, first in the center of the ship, later in the disk and
  the tunnel itself. Also the background lightens up gradually, so the
  darkness at the start becomes almost a single white flare near the end.
  There are no logos or images, and only one texture.

  Overall:
  I'm not a fan of MFX's music, it's too droning for my taste, but the
  visuals are really excellent. I know cubes are boring, but in large
  swarms, with rounded edges and lots of little flares attached, they can
  still be beautiful. The bad side of this eyecandy is that it requires a
  pretty fast videocard... The continuous evolution grabs your attention
  at the start, but gets predictabel near the end: 5 minutes is a bit too
  long for this demo IMHO. I just realize the qualities "looks good,
  boring music, too long" remind me of Kasparov/Elitegroup, so if you
  liked that one, be sure to give this one a shot.


  -=- "Superjam Superheroes" by  (party-version) -=-

  Found at www.scene.org
  5th place at the State Of The Art democompo

  System requirements:
  Nothing listed. 13.5 MB HD, Win9x. Should run on any reasonable machine.

  Test Machine: PIII 900 640MB, SB1024, Radeon 8500 LE 64MB, Win98

  The Credits:
     Music: Med
     Gfx & DemoPajaing: Ak

  The Demo:
  This 3D-less cooperation between Condense & Mandarine was a refreshening
  break from the usual compo stuff at State Of The Art. It's very short
  (under 2min30, less then Cocoons demo takes to load) but very
  entertaining. It's about two superheroes, Wonder Wiggy Man (Med) and
  Moustache Boy (Ak), who apparently protect us against evildoers. But who
  those evildoers are, what they want and how the heroes foil their plans
  is left in the dark.

  The effects are done with Demopajaa, a demo scripting system from Moppi
  Productions that let you add your own effects as plugin DLLs. All
  effects are old and simple: a low-res plasma, image warping, blur etc,
  and there's not a single 3D object in sight. But that's OK, the aim of
  this demo is not to impress, but to amuse. The tong-in-cheek images are
  the best part IMHO: the wacky group logos, the shady criminals, the
  various images projected by the heroes cars headlight (f.e. Spiderman
  holding up a sign with little hearts and the wig-and-moustache logo).
  The heroes themselves are shown with some short movie clips. The speed
  of the first part of the demo is right on: you've just enough time to
  read and watch everything, before the next part comes up. There's a bit
  of a lull during the greetings, though. The syncing with the excellent
  jazzy soundtrack is quite good as well.


  Overall:
  You may think that Superjam Superheroes is a joke demo, with the funny
  content and the simple code, but that wouldn't do this demo justice.
  It's quite polished and everything fits together nicely. It reminds me a
  lot of Mutant Poulets Projects 2/Mutant Inc (a weird graphics-intensive
  demo about a worldwide attack of chickens, released at LTP4). The only
  bad point is the size/time ratio: With an MP3 soundtrack and the short
  movie clips, it weigth over 13 meg, which is definately on the large
  size for a 2.30 min demo. But if that's no concern for you (broadband
  rules!), make sure you check this one out.


  -=- "Raw Confessions" by Cocoon (beta-version) -=-

  Found at http://cocoon.planet-d.net/raw/!Raw_Beta.zip
  (divx version: http://cocoon.planet-d.net/raw/RawConfessions_Cocoon.avi,
  for the people with more bandwidth than 3D-power. 85 MB)

  1st place at the State Of The Art democompo

  System requirements: 17MB HD, Windows, Geforce3 or higher

  Test Machine: PIII 900 640MB, SB1024, Radeon 8500 LE 64MB, Win98

  The Credits:
     Code: Guille, Atc
     Gfx: Tenshu, Nytrik, Zaac, Azo, Mr Whore, Skorp
     Music: Syl East, Simon Robinson

  The Demo:
  My first demoparty was Wired98, whose democompo was deservedly won by
  Cocoon & Syndrome with the demo Shad: a very dark metal-demo full of
  blood, lightning, and spare body parts. Cocoon made several more demos
  in this dark style, but at Takeover'01 they surprized everyone with
  Glon243, a funny cartoon-demo with "No more blood, and nearly no
  violence". But their foray into comedy seems to have been only
  temporary: in Raw Confessions, they unleash their inner demons once
  again in full force.

  Loading the demo takes over two minutes on my P3 900. In the meantime we
  can admire a reel of film showing a crucified man on a destroyed
  background, with half-readable text fragments overlayed. This is an
  accurate foretaste of what is to follow: the demo starts with a damaged
  living doll, crucified at one end of a large tunnel which is filled with
  TV's flashing messages about porn and murder at subliminal speed. At the
  other end, there's a large syringe aimed at a giant human eye which is
  embedded in machinery. As you can guess from the Geforce 3 in the
  requirements, Raw Confession is mainly a 3D demo. Almost all scenes are
  very detailed, with high-resolution textures, superb models, realistic
  animation, and either a very dark athmosphere or an overkill of flames,
  lightning and flares. Some representative scenes are a circular assembly
  line where human torsos are mutilated with welding torches, an old man
  with a swaying TV connected directly into his brain, and a little girl
  running away in a house full of hanged people. A few scenes with an
  infrared colorscheme are far less detailed (f.e. a whole stair made of a
  single poly and texture), probably to save GPU power for the 2D twirl
  effect applied to them.

  The music is loud and fast, some trash-metal/industrial song that fits
  the demo very well. The lyrics (screamed by a lip-synchronized blind
  zombie with a metal bar through his head) are connected with the
  visuals, f.e "Watch your TV and shut you mouth!"

  Overall:
  If you like the shocking style, Raw Confessions is a real masterpiece.
  It has solid design, high-quality visuals and a soundtrack to match. The
  hardware requirements are high, but that's to be expected for this kind
  of demo. This version works also with ATI cards, unlike the party
  version that needed an Nvidia board. The only glitch I noticed were two
  grey polygons making a spike from the TV-connection to the eye of the
  old man (I checked with the DivX-version and it's not supposed to do
  that). The _Beta in the filename suggests a final version is on the way,
  I hope that one will shorten the loading time. The waiting every time I
  rewatch it is getting boring...

                --Seven


--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Demo Review
     "Singing in the Rain" by SquoQuo
  By:  The Watcher
----=--=------=--=------=--=--

  Found at www.pouet.net
  1st place at 0a000h 2003

  System Requirements:
  300Mhz CPU, 128MB ram, OpenGL 1.2 compatible 3D card supporting
  multi-texturing, DirectX 7+

  Test Machine: PIII 700Mhz, SBLive!, GeForce 256 DDR, Win98

  The Credits:
     Code: Hopper
     Design: Hopper, Bugger, Yoda
     Music; Hopper
     Additional code: Toxie/AInc
     Exporter Help: Avalanche
     ASCII Logo: Elend

  The Demo:
  One of the comments on pouet.net read: "This intro is so ugly that
  several parts of my body started bleeding instantly..." After this very
  promising remark I happily downloaded the intro, run it (and it run like
  a charm), and few minutes later I could only come to one conclusion:
  whoever made that remark, he was completely right! This intro must be
  one of the most ugly things I ever saw. But, I have to add, also one of
  the most funny, and definitely most original ideas I ever saw. I wish I
  could have been at the party-place when this was shown, I know this
  would have blown me away after 48 hours without sleep.

  On to the actual content: when the intro starts we see a robot (if you
  would have a three-year-old model a robot, it would look like this)
  'walking' (well, at least his legs are animated and he is moving
  forward, so technically he is indeed walking) through the 'rain' (if you
  squint your eyes hard enough, the weird stretching texture-effect could
  indeed be mistaken for heavy rain-showers). More important than the
  graphics is the sound: we can hear a synthesized, high-pitched
  robot-like voice singing the lyrics of the famous song 'singing in the
  rain'. Speech-synthesis (singing-synthesis to be more precise), even
  though it is not very intelligible and it needs karaoke-style subtitles
  to make things more comprehensible, is (as far as I know) a novelty in
  64k intro's. The fact that it doesn't sound very good is actually made
  into a positive feature, because music and graphics fit each other
  perfectly in their mutual ugliness and make this intro very, very
  stylish.

  While the song goes on and on and one, we watch the robot walking
  through the street, in the background random objects (just as ugly as
  anything else in his marvelous piece of art) move across the screen as
  if they are blowing in the wind... and then a 'gabber'-house-part kicks
  in. Although I'm not sure that the intro really needs this part, it is
  still quite funny to watch the robot 'dance' (the dancing is actually
  animated a bit better than the walking).

  I know there are many people out there who just don't get this intro,
  and think it is a disgrace that it won the competition. If you are one
  of them, I think you should ask yourself the following question: what do
  you think is the scene about? Is it about creating the perfect looking
  incredibly boring scene-flyby style intro's that all seem to strive to
  look and sound the same, or is it about originality, trying new things
  and having fun? I think the scene could use some more groups focusing on
  the latter, and SquoQuo is definitely one of them.

                --The Watcher

--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Editorial
     Personal Goals
  By: Coplan
----=--=------=--=------=--=--

  There is a certain aspect about my role within the scene, I have a lot
  of deadlines and goals that I strive to reach each month.  These
  personal goals help me to keep on track, every day, every month, and
  throughout the year.  If I did not have any of these goals that I set
  for myself, I'd probably have to spend some time in a padded room with
  straight-jacket.

  Goals come in two forms:  A goal set upon you by another person, or a
  goal you set for yourself.  The goals that one sets for themselves is
  going to be a bit more realistic, a bit more reachable, and you're most
  likely going to be able to keep them.  When it comes to your involvement
  in the scene, it would be best for you to set goals for yourself, and
  try to keep them.  If someone else trys to set goals for you, negotiate.
  Or offer a more realistic goal.  Don't complain, simply specify why you
  think it's unfair (if, in fact it is).  But don't be afraid to set goals
  that are above and beyond those that may have been set upon you.

  Of course, setting and having goals is important in real life as well as
  in any of your hobbies, including the Demoscene.  In relation to the
  scene in paticular, you have to set goals to improve your abilities as
  coders, artists or musicians.  Back when I was still learning Impulse
  Tracker, I had a goal to use one new effect for each of the songs that I
  worked on.  I learned the program inside and out and learned what
  effects I liked and didn't like.  Eventually, the tracking program
  itself was no longer my obstacle.  And because of the goal that I had
  set for myself, I no longer am limited by my inability to use the
  program.

  So one really needs to ask oneself:  What do goals really do for you, as
  a person?  Maybe that's not really the question one needs to ask.  Maybe
  one should better ask:  What don't goals do?  It might be a matter of
  opinion, but one that is commonly shared, but goals don't harm anyone or
  anything.  Instead, goals put into your hands what was yours all along.
  If you thought something was unattainable, then you weren't setting
  goals for yourself.  If, on the other hand, you realize that your
  ultimate goal is just so many steps away (so many smaller goals away),
  then you know what goals can do for you.

  I will close with this statement, and that will be all:  My ultimate
  goal is to one day write an orchestration that can be considered an
  opus.  I want to write the ultimate demonstration of my abilities as a
  musician.  I want to write something that is worthy of being performed
  by any major city orchestra, or a philharmonic.  Obviously, that goal
  has yet to be attained.  Do I feel that it is out of reach?  No.  But I
  realize that I have many smaller goals to reach before I can consider
  that within my immediate grasp.  But the point is that even if I never
  reach that ultimate goal, I will certainly have reached a long way up
  until that point.  I will have learned a lot.  I will have acheived a
  lot.  So what do I have to loose?  Nothing.

  Everything is ultimately within my hands.  And it is yours as well.

                  --Coplan


--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Inside My Mind
     How Vill Got His Groove Back
  By:  Vill
----=--=------=--=------=--=--

  Whump, whump, whump, whump. I can reference a few things by saying
  whump. Most trackers will think of their first module ever; we
  collectively had the greatest idea of mankind: dump the bass drum every
  four clicks. Brilliance ensues and cheap techno is born.

  Further down the line of the whumps would have to be smile-inducing
  click tracks. There are few things on this glorious earth that I hate
  more than click tracks. When trying to rock a little midi piano into my
  song, I feel like my computer is mocking me. HaEHAEheaeHA, you foolish
  human, there is no possible way your analogue mind can compete with my
  digital perfection. Oh, you’re off, you’re so off, that’ll never break
  down into 128th notes. I slam my head on the keyboard to the computer’s
  never-ending 120bpm chuckle. However, despair not! We have an ally, we
  have a friend, we have the  quantize tool. Oh yes, sometimes I feel like
  I’m married to the little “Q” tool that bumps and slides all my midi
  input into Perfect Time.

  As all the blocks of midi input stand like soldiers in a line I lean
  back and smile. But what’s this? Where has the personality of my track
  gone? Why does it sound so… plastic? The timing is blatant and obvious
  to a point of distraction from the song. I am a metronome, I can count
  the beats of my track with my entire body, and the computer has won yet
  again – the groove has been sucked out of my song.

  One day I did something a little daring; see ladies, I am a risk taker,
  action just emanates from me, for I neglected to quantize my small blips
  into perfect time. Mind you, I played the riff relatively in time, I
  just decided to leave the little human errors in it. The imperfections
  ended up adding a human element to my song. My song actually sounds
  real, and I think it flows just that much better.

  Neglecting to make everything so perfect has not only injected the
  groove back into my tracks, but it has also cut down on prodction time.
  The less anal you are with meaningless polishing, and in this case,
  quantizing, the eaiser you can keep your rhythm and flow going. This is
  just another way I am able to keep my grip on those rare fits of
  creativity.

  As always, with all the screaming goats, vile thoughts, and
  ear-covering, head-thrashing goodness, I hope you enjoyed being inside
  my mind.

                --Vill


--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Early Dawn Reflections
     Teamwork
  By: The Watcher
----=--=------=--=------=--=--

  For the first time in years, the snow is fiercely blowing against the
  window of my living room, and I'm gazing to the soft white world
  outside, a glass of Irish Mist (one of my favorite drinks) in my hand.
  My mind is occupied with one of the fundamental questions of life: why
  has no coder ever managed to do a snow-effect that looks nearly as good
  as the real thing?

  After not being too active a demo-coder for quite some time, I finally
  might pick up coding as a member of a demogroup somewhere in the near
  future. That also implies I'll probably be doing some teamwork with
  other demo-coders once again.

  Working in a team for the first time can be a pretty scary thing. The
  typical newbie scene coder consists of about 95% hot air, 3% talent and
  2% skill, and spends a lot more time bragging about his l33t
  coding-skillz than doing any actual coding (I know I did). And then,
  suddenly, you find yourself part of a novice demogroup and, to make
  things worse, people actually expect you to do some work. So you work
  your ass off, ripping and learning from tutorials and sources, and being
  still in school and having quite a lot of time on your hands, you
  actually manage to produce something fairly good looking, and your
  group's entry wins a price at some demoparty.

  Now that the group has gained some fame, another coder is willing to
  join. And the other group members expect 'their coders' to produce the
  technical basis for the perfect demo together. Now there is a scary
  thought: you will have to work closely together with someone who
  actually understands what you are doing. What if he sees straight
  through your bluff and calls your code for what it is: a collection of
  beginners botch, covered with a layer of swank? What if he is so much
  better than you that you'll become totally useless, and get kicked from
  the group?

  None of that happens of course, and you soon discover two important
  things about working together: 1. it is a lot of fun and 2. keeps you
  motivated. Although being in a demogroup in itself is a strong motivator
  to keep your focus on coding, nothing beats another guy doing the same
  stuff as you are, working on the same project, being there when you need
  to do some rubberducking (for those of you unacquainted with the term:
  rubberducking is the process of comprehensively explaining a difficult
  problem to someone else, with the intention of finding the solution
  yourself). You really don't have to do pairprogramming, staring at the
  computer while the other guy does his thing... the knowledge that the
  other guy is eagerly waiting to see your new piece of code, and vice
  versa, is enough reason to keep going.

  Although the little story above is about coding, I know the same holds
  for musicians. Some trackers do co-productions even though they are
  capable of doing far better tunes working apart. Working in a team can
  be very inspiring, but maybe even more important is the simple fact that
  you don't want to let the other down. The chances of a song getting
  finished improve a lot if there are two individuals are working on it. I
  am not sure if the same holds for doing graphics though. I can very well
  imagine two artists working on the same picture, but I have no idea how
  common that is.

  So here is a message to all those sceners who are still struggling on
  their own: find someone to work with. You will be glad you did.

                --The Watcher


--=--=--
--=--=------=--=------=--=----
  Link List
----=--=------=--=------=--=--
irc channels:

dunno (this is gfx portal like gfxzone.org)
ZpiXel ........................ www.zpixel.by.ru

  Portals:

      SceneSpot (Home of Static Line).......http://www.scenespot.org
      CFXweb.......................................http://cfxweb.net
      Czech Scene................................http://www.scene.cz
      Danish Scene..............................http://demo-scene.dk
      Demoscene.org.........................http://www.demoscene.org
      Demo.org...................................http://www.demo.org
      Diskmag.de...................................http://diskmag.de
      Hungarian Scene........................http://www.scene-hu.com
      Italian Scene...........................http://run.to/la_scena
      ModPlug Central Resources..........http://www.castlex.com/mods
      Norwegian Scene........................http://www.demoscene.no
      Orange Juice.............................http://www.ojuice.net
      Planet Zeus..........................http://www.planetzeus.net
      Polish Scene...........................http://www.demoscena.pl
      Pouet.net.................................http://www.pouet.net
      Russian Scene..........................http://www.demoscene.ru
      Scene.org.................................http://www.scene.org
  <*> Scenergy on-line (8bit)............http://www.scenergy.natm.ru
      Scenet....................................http://www.scenet.de
      Spanish Scene............................http://www.escena.org
      Swiss Scene..............................http://www.chscene.ch

  Archives:

      Acid2.....................................ftp://acid2.stack.nl
      Amber.......................................ftp://amber.bti.pl
      Cyberbox.....................................ftp://cyberbox.de
      Hornet (1992-1996)........................ftp://ftp.hornet.org
      Scene.org..................................ftp://ftp.scene.org
      Scene.org Austra........................ftp://ftp.au.scene.org
      Scene.org Netherlands...................ftp://ftp.nl.scene.org
      Swiss Scene FTP...........................ftp://ftp.chscene.ch

  Demo Groups:

      3g Design..............................http://3gdesign.cjb.net
      3State...................................http://threestate.com
      7 Gods.........................................http://7gods.sk
      Aardbei.....................................http://aardbei.com
      Acid Rain..............................http://surf.to/acidrain
      Addict..................................http://addict.scene.pl
      Agravedict........................http://www.agravedict.art.pl
      Alien Prophets.....................http://www.alienprophets.dk
      Anakata..............................http://www.anakata.art.pl
      Astral..............................http://astral.scene-hu.com
      Astroidea........................http://astroidea.scene-hu.com
      BlaBla..............................http://blabla.planet-d.net
      Blasphemy..............................http://www.blasphemy.dk
      Bomb..................................http://bomb.planet-d.net
      Broncs..................................http://broncs.scene.cz
      Byterapers.....................http://www.byterapers.scene.org
      Bypass.................................http://bypass.scene.org
      Calodox.................................http://www.calodox.org
      Cocoon..............................http://cocoon.planet-d.net
      Confine.................................http://www.confine.org
      Damage...................................http://come.to/damage
      Dc5.........................................http://www.dc5.org
      Delirium..............................http://delirium.scene.pl
      Eclipse............................http://www.eclipse-game.com
      Elitegroup..........................http://elitegroup.demo.org
      Exceed...........................http://www.inf.bme.hu/~exceed
      Fairlight.............................http://www.fairlight.com
      Fobia Design...........................http://www.fd.scene.org
      Freestyle............................http://www.freestylas.org
      Fresh! Mindworks...................http://kac.poliod.hu/~fresh
      Future Crew..........................http://www.futurecrew.org
      Fuzzion.................................http://www.fuzzion.org
      GODS...................................http://www.idf.net/gods
      Halcyon...........................http://www.halcyon.scene.org
      Haujobb..................................http://www.haujobb.de
      Hellcore............................http://www.hellcore.art.pl
      Infuse...................................http://www.infuse.org
      Kilobite...............................http://kilobite.cjb.net
      Kolor................................http://www.kaoz.org/kolor
      Komplex.................................http://www.komplex.org
      Kooma.....................................http://www.kooma.com
      Mandula.........................http://www.inf.bme.hu/~mandula
      Maturefurk...........................http://www.maturefurk.com
      Monar................ftp://amber.bti.pl/pub/scene/distro/monar
      MOVSD....................................http://movsd.scene.cz
      Nextempire...........................http://www.nextempire.com
      Noice.....................................http://www.noice.org
      Orange.................................http://orange.scene.org
      Orion................................http://orion.planet-d.net
      Outbreak................................http://www.outbreak.nu
      Popsy Team............................http://popsyteam.rtel.fr
      Prone................................http://www.prone.ninja.dk
      Purple....................................http://www.purple.dk
      Rage........................................http://www.rage.nu
      Replay.......................http://www.shine.scene.org/replay
      Retro A.C...........................http://www.retroac.cjb.net
      Sista Vip..........................http://www.sistavip.exit.de
      Skytech team............................http://www.skytech.org
  <*> Skrju.....................................http://www.skrju.org
      Spinning Kids......................http://www.spinningkids.org
      Sunflower.......................http://sunflower.opengl.org.pl
      Talent.............................http://talent.eurochart.org
      The Black Lotus.............................http://www.tbl.org
      The Digital Artists Wired Nation.http://digitalartists.cjb.net
      The Lost Souls...............................http://www.tls.no
      TPOLM.....................................http://www.tpolm.com
      Trauma.................................http://sauna.net/trauma
      T-Rex.....................................http://www.t-rex.org
      Unik........................................http://www.unik.de
      Universe..........................http://universe.planet-d.net
      Vantage..................................http://www.vantage.ch
      Wipe....................................http://www.wipe-fr.org

  Music Labels, Music Sites:

      Aisth.....................................http://www.aisth.com
      Aural Planet........................http://www.auralplanet.com
      Azure...................................http://azure-music.com
      Blacktron Music Production...........http://www.d-zign.com/bmp
      BrothomStates.............http://www.katastro.fi/brothomstates
      Chill..........................http://www.chillproductions.com
      Chippendales......................http://www.sunpoint.net/~cnd
      Chiptune...............................http://www.chiptune.com
      Da Jormas................................http://www.jormas.com
      Fabtrax......http://www.cyberverse.com/~boris/fabtrax/home.htm
      Fairlight Music.....................http://fairlight.scene.org
      Five Musicians.........................http://www.fm.scene.org
      Fusion Music Crew.................http://members.home.nl/cyrex
      Goodstuff..........................http://artloop.de/goodstuff
      Hellven.................................http://www.hellven.org
      Ignorance.............................http://www.ignorance.org
      Immortal Coil.............................http://www.ic.l7.net
      Intense...........................http://intense.ignorance.org
      Jecoute.................................http://jecoute.cjb.net
      Kosmic Free Music Foundation.............http://www.kosmic.org
      Lackluster.....................http://www.m3rck.net/lackluster
      Level-D.................................http://www.level-d.com
      Mah Music.............................http://come.to/mah.music
      Maniacs of noise...............http://home.worldonline.nl/~mon
      MAZ's sound homepage..................http://www.maz-sound.com
      Med.......................................http://www.med.fr.fm
      Miasmah.............................http://www.miasmah.cjb.net
      Milk.......................................http://milk.sgic.fi
      Mo'playaz..........................http://ssmedion.de/moplayaz
      Mono211.................................http://www.mono211.com
      Morbid Minds..............http://www.raveordie.com/morbidminds
      Moods.............................http://www.moodymusic.de.vu/
      Noise................................http://www.noisemusic.org
      Noerror.......................http://www.error-404.com/noerror
      One Touch Records......................http://otr.planet-d.net
      Park..................................http://park.planet-d.net
      pHluid..................................http://phluid.acid.org
      Radical Rhythms.....http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/merrelli/rr
      RBi Music.............................http://www.rbi-music.com
      Ruff Engine................http://members.xoom.com/ruff_engine
      SHR8M......................................http://1st.to/shr8m
      Sound Devotion................http://sugarbomb.x2o.net/soundev
      Soundstate.........................http://listen.to/soundstate
      Sunlikamelo-D...........http://www.error-404.com/sunlikamelo-d
      Suspect Records........................http://www.tande.com/sr
      Tequila........................http://www.defacto2.net/tequila
      Tempo................................http://tempomusic.cjb.net
      Tetris....................................http://msg.sk/tetris
      Theralite...........................http://theralite.avalon.hr
      Tokyo Dawn Records........................http://tokyodawn.org
      Triad's C64 music archive.............http://www.triad.c64.org
      UltraBeat.........................http://www.innerverse.com/ub
      Vibrants................................http://www.vibrants.dk
      Wiremaniacs.........................http://www.wiremaniacs.com
      Zen of Tracking.........................http://surf.to/the-imm

  Programming:

      Programming portal......................http://www.gamedev.net
      Programming portal.....................http://www.flipcode.com
      Game programming portal...............http://www.gamasutra.com
      3D programming portal.................http://www.3dgamedev.com
      Programming portal......................http://www.exaflop.org
      Programming portal............http://www.programmersheaven.com
      Programming portal.....................http://www.freecode.com
      NASM (free Assembly compiler)......http://www.cryogen.com/nasm
      LCC (free C compiler).........http://www.remcomp.com/lcc-win32
      PTC video engine.........................http://www.gaffer.org
      3D engines..........http://cg.cs.tu-berlin.de/~ki/engines.html
      Documents...............http://www.neutralzone.org/home/faqsys
      File format collection...................http://www.wotsit.org

  Magazines:

      Amber...............................http://amber.bti.pl/di_mag
      Amnesia...............http://amnesia-dist.future.easyspace.com
      Demojournal....................http://demojournal.planet-d.net
      Eurochart.............................http://www.eurochart.org
      Heroin...................................http://www.heroin.net
      Hugi........................................http://www.hugi.de
      Music Massage......................http://www.scene.cz/massage
      Jurassic Pack...........................www.jurassicpack.de.vu
      Pain..................................http://pain.planet-d.net
      Scenial...........................http://www.scenial.scene.org
      Shine...............................http://www.shine.scene.org
      Static Line................http://www.scenespot.org/staticline
      Sunray..............................http://sunray.planet-d.net
      TUHB.......................................http://www.tuhb.org
      WildMag..................................http://www.wildmag.de

  Parties:

      Assembly (Finland).....................http://www.assembly.org
      Ambience (The Netherlands)..............http://www.ambience.nl
      Dreamhack (Sweden)....................http://www.dreamhack.org
      Buenzli (Switzerland)......................http://www.buenz.li
      Gravity (Poland)............http://www.demoscena.cp.pl/gravity
      Mekka-Symposium (Germany)...................http://ms.demo.org
      Takeover (The Netherlands).............,http://www.takeover.nl
      The Party (Denmark).....................http://www.theparty.dk

  Others:

      Demo secret parts....http://www.inf.bme.hu/~mandula/secret.txt
      Textmode Demo Archive.................http://tmda.planet-d.net
      Arf!Studios..........................http://www.arfstudios.org
      #coders..................................http://coderz.cjb.net
      Demonews Express.........http://www.teeselink.demon.nl/express
      Demo fanclub........................http://jerware.org/fanclub
      Digital Undergrounds.....................http://dug.iscool.net
      Doose charts...............................http://www.doose.dk
      Freax................................http://freax.scene-hu.com
      GfxZone............................http://gfxzone.planet-d.net
      PC-demos explained.....http://www.oldskool.org/demos/explained
      Pixel...................................http://pixel.scene.org
      #trax e-mail list.............................................
         .............http://www.scenespot.org/mailman/listinfo/trax
      Underground Mine.............http://www.spinningkids.org/umine

  IRC Channels:

      Scene.........................................ircnet #thescene
      Programming.....................................ircnet #coders
      Programming....................................efnet #flipcode
      Graphics.........................................ircnet #pixel
      Music......................................irc.scene.org #trax
      Music.............................................ircnet #trax
      Scene (French)..................................ircnet #demofr
      Programming (French)............................ircnet #codefr
      Graphics (French)..............................ircnet #pixelfr
      Programming (German)........................ircnet #coders.ger
      Scene (Hungarian)............................ircnet #demoscene
      Programming (Hungarian)......................ircnet #coders.hu
 <*>  Zx-spectrum scene..................................ircnet #z80


--=--=--
----=--=------=--=------=--=------=--=------=--=------=--=------=--=------

  -=- Staff -=-
  Editor:          Coplan / D. Travis North / coplan@scenespot.org
  Staff Writers:   Coplan / D. Travis North / coplan@scenespot.org
                    Dilvie / Eric Hamilton / dilvie@yahoo.com
                    Novus / Vince Young / vince_young@hotmail.com
                    Psitron / Tim Soderstrom / tigerhawk@stic.net
                    Setec / Jesper Pederson / jesped@post.tele.dk
                    Seven / Stefaan VanNieuwenhuyze/ seven7@writeme.com
                    Tryhuk / Tryhuk Vojtech / vojtech.tryhuk@worldonline.cz
                    Vill / Brian Frank / darkvill@yahoo.com
                    The Watcher / Paul-Jan Pauptit / watcher@tuhb.org
  Tech Consultant: Ranger Rick / Ben Reed / ranger@scenespot.org

  Static Line on the Web:  http://www.scenespot.org/staticline

  Static Line Subscription Management:
     http://www.scenespot.org/mailman/listinfo/static_line


     If you would like to contribute an article to Static Line, be aware
  that we will format your article to 76 columns with two columns at the
  beginning of each line.  Please avoid foul language and high ascii
  characters.  Contributions (Plain Text) should be e-mailed to Coplan
  (coplan@scenespot.org) by the last Friday of each month.  New issues are
  released on the first Sunday of every month.

     See you next month!

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