Try to deTECT it.

Hello friends,
I was trawling my old music collection and found a chiptune remix of a song you may recognize. Check it oot!
It was one of a handful of tunes for a PC game that didn’t quite materialize, attached to the webcomic Goats. It had something to do with kittens and poptarts, and for whatever reason we decided that all the music should be chiptune remixes of well-known 80s songs.

The above link takes you to 8bitcollective, where a couple of other remixes of mine are held. Enjoy!

New site design

Heya, folks.  I spent a few hours fiddling with the site design and made it prettier.  I hope everything works the way it should.  I’m still trying to add twitter functionality, so the sidebar
(over there ——> )
will show my recent @zath tweets.  I’m also tooling around with a Contact page, because ultimately this site should be a portfolio site and allow potential clients to reach me for a quote, yeah? :)

Genesis tracker?

What I don’t understand is that if TFM Music Maker works as a music-tracker for 2 YM2203 chips (sounds like the FM in a Genesis but monaural) and Mod2PSG can work as a music-tracker for SN76489 chips (the PSG in a Genesis or Sega Master System or Game Gear), why they can’t make a single music-tracker that has both kinds of chips, and some kind of fake DAC, and arbitrary stereo? That way, in order to make Genesis chiptunes, I wouldn’t have to match two different kind of tempo settings in two programs and, even after that, artificially stretch a wave output from one to match the other?!

I suppose the answer is that the goal of emulation is to make the end result authentic.  So they’d rather make a tracker with one YM2612 chip that is capable of working with the SN76489 and its own DAC rather than all that jury rigging.  And perhaps the speed/tempo settings on YM2203 and SN76489 chips are incompatible but the YM2612 can control the SN76489 or they’re both controlled by the Genesis central processor… or something.  I should ask somebody who knows about this kind of stuff.

Reality selected

The alternate reality that I inhabit is the one where I don’t get $ quickly enough to join the program this year, and then the program falls through because too many other people have the same problem.  I am told that there are plans to try and get the PNWFS certificate program attached to a university of some sort in order to become accredited, so the banks will consider all students as “in-school” and maybe even allow students to obtain federal financial aid.  If this happens, I will do my best to go next year!

Infrequent blogger

So!  I had that recital I mentioned in my previous post.  It was a collection of computer music, a piece for cello and “tape”, a film score, and the bridges piece.  I need to revise the film score so it can be recorded and accompany the film on the soundtrack.

Reed and I will be moving to Seattle before September 7, because that’s when the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring program starts. Totally awesome!  I’m currently immersed in a world of apartment hunting, which is exciting.  I like to think about how this decision would influence a lot of potential outcomes, and therefore would theoretically work as a central point from which several alternate realities spring.  But that’s really nerdy so I’ll just ponder that one on my own.

The school itself will be on Mercer Island.  We may end up moving into an apartment on the island itself, which is cool.  I’ve never lived on an island before (unless you say “This Island Earth” but then that’s less unique because there’s X Billion others in the same boat).  The alternative would be to find a place in Seattle or Bellevue and then ride the bike to class, which I would also be fine with.  There’s also the question of finding some kind of part-time weekend or evening job to make ends meet.

I recently completed a 4-week class on the history of electronic music.  Interesting stuff.  My appreciation for cerebral music is increasing, but I think I’ll still be able to handle “that sounds nice”.  The class was taught by Christopher Penrose, who is working on a spectral synth for the iPad called Synthtronica.

I’m sure there’s more to say but I’m not sure what it is just yet.

Here’s a youtube video of one of the pieces I presented at my recital:

Recital program

I feel compelled to write about what I’m up to, compositionally.  I think it’s because my friend and fellow composition student, Reed, just posted a recital playlist on his own blog.  I am a copycat!

First and foremost is the project I’ve been kind of working on for most of the year: a miniature for each of the bridges that cross the Willamette in Portland.  The instrumentation is Violin, Cello, Flute, Clarinet, Piano, and Percussion.

As far as the movements go, Sellwood, Ross Island, Marquam, Hawthorne, Morrison, Burnside, Steel, Broadway, and Fremont are all finished (save some editing).  I’m partway through the movement for the 10th bridge, which got me interested in this project in the first place: the BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) Railway Bridge 5.1, which I didn’t know existed until last summer.  Last is the St. Johns movement, whose inspirational bridge is pretty and large, which means the movement should be as well.

Next up is a score for short film.  The film is 7:45 or so, and only about 3 minutes of it has any kind of a temp track set up by the director.  I’m not sure if that means I should just write music for the parts just with temp track or take the initiative and score the whole thing (something to ask the director).  Most likely the film will be projected during my recital, accompanied by live string quartet and piano.  Then, this summer, the performers will be recorded for the film’s actual release.  Exciting!

Those are the only two “I’m going to do these on my recital for sure” pieces I’ve programmed so far.  I have a few other ideas to write between now and then (June 5, come see my recital!)

Some possibilities include:

  • Sonata for Clarinet and Computer
  • Electronic music for short silent film (emphasis on public domain)
  • Percussion piece for non-standard instrumentation (details to follow!)
  • Electronic, Musique Concrete style piece using mouth samples
  • Viola duet

My target duration is an hour, let’s see if I make it!

In other news, I picked a new theme and title for my blog’s site, which was a very productive waste of time!  And I’m thinking about trying to get into a 1-year film scoring certificate program up in Seattle… mostly because Reed said he was going to do it, which is another copycatism (but would be totally awesome).

A chiptune cover

Figured I’d post something I did a few years back for a game that didn’t really come out (but gave those of us who were working on it a lot of amusement).  My contribution was all of the chiptune covers of 80s (or not) songs.  Here’s one of them:

Everybody Wants To Chip The World

On reflection, we probably would have needed to get permission from the original bands before distributing the game.  Eh!

WIP: Cover of Orbital – Way Out

So, what do I work on instead of homework?

      1. zath_wayoutvrc6wip01a.mp3
17-Jan-2010 03:16 2.2M

I’m not going to let myself complete it until I’ve got some breathing room at school, but… it’s so fun making chiptune covers!