Editorial - October 2002


THANK YOU!
by LMan

Welcome to October's editorial. Time for huge changes behind the scenes here at Remix64... Things have been really haywire since Neil announced his retirement from the scene. I want to use this opportunity to send my gratitude towards everyone who offered help with the site (in chronological order):

Dr. Future
Chris Abbott
Craig Granell
Octave Sounds
Bart ten Brinke
Boz


Thanks to these people, the editorial team at R64 has now expanded massively: you'll see the results of this over the coming months, so don't be surprised at new names appearing on the site... and don't be surprised at a fresh new approach to celebrate R64's future!

- Markus

LMan


MAKKE'S COLUMN

As many of you are already aware, Neil decided to retire from the scene. He first announced
a time out, but later came to the conclusion that a full-scale retirement was the better
solution. We all know the shite he's been through the past year and I think I speak for all
of us when I say he'll be greatly missed.



Let me also point out that I am not taking over after Neil. However, there's some changes
going on behind the scenes at R64 at the moment. Right now is not the time to announce
what these changes are or who is involved because all will be revealed in due time.
Obviously you might have figured that I'm involved, so on the behalf of the new R64 team I
want to thank everyone who mailed and offered help! All help is of course encouraged, but as
for now I don't think we need any more members to the team.



Makke

The 80's/Symphonic compo is still on! So don't go slacking off with the entries (there's still a month to go!) I hope I personally will have something ready in time.



Don't know if you are aware of the demoscene diskmagazine Hugi (http://www.hugi.de), which is the biggest PC-scene diskmag. I took over the music-section (again) a month ago and wrote an article about the C64 remix scene for it (check it out at the end of this editorial). I don't know if it'll do any promotional work for us, but at least we'll make people aware of us or make people already aware of us realize that there's been a lot of improvements the past two years. As I've experienced it most people are only aware of the old Instant Remady and TDG songs.



There have been many good releases this month! N-Joy's "Commando" remix is really neat (though not my cup of tea stylewise) and I hope the return of FeekZoid didn't slip you by! Also Slow Poison's "Wizball" is recommended, plus I released my first remix since "Hell on earth…" and judging from the charts it's not too bad.


That's all I have to say for now! Hope you'll enjoy the article I wrote.


- Makke


PART OF A WIDER PICTURE
by Chris Abbott

With the near-1000 files on remix.kwed.org, it's tempting to think of the C64 music scene merely in terms of the established norms: remixes of original game themes. However, the scene is actually part of a wider picture, which you may not be aware of. There's quite a movement now with bands who have bought Sidstations, and who are composing music with a definite 8-bit slant. They're people who may not give a damn about the composers and the games of yesteryear. And unfortunately, listening to a lot of their stuff, I get the feeling they're not too keen on melody or structure either. A lot of this genre hurts my poor ears... But of course, there are always good and bad. Some artists have the talent to back up the sound!
Chris Abbott

Bastian is possibly the most well-known commercial artist with C64 connections: he uses one on stage, and his affiliations are well flagged by his website at http://www.bastianmusic.nl. Mikron 64 are also fans of the C64: it's obvious from their C64 cover on Output64, and their videos which use C64 game footage. Irritatingly, their site is pretentious waffle which fully forgets to even mention the Commodore 64 by name: or at least the last time I looked.



http://www.8bitrecords.com has some earbleeding toonz, and if you're really into it, the place to be is Micromusic (http://www.micromusic.net). This is a true home to devotees of the pure 8-bit sound, and they run numerous live events, too!


Other artist to mention include BIT Live attraction Seth Sternberger (8-bit weapon) who lives at the quality end of the spectrum with tunes that don't scrape your eardrums with a knife, and Tonka has also done some extremely provocative music using the sounds of the 8-bit. There are many more!



It hasn't escaped my attention that, far from becoming dated, the sound of the SID is actually becoming more revered. Ironically the engineering bugs in the chip are pretty much what makes it unique: the variable filter, the ADSR bug, the samples, and all the little quirks that make a sound recognisably SID. We're also getting an increasing call to release CDs of SIDs recorded from a real SID, cleaned up, and slightly bassified for the car. This is extremely similar to the Binary Zone non-profit CDs. Obviously selling CDs of SIDs seems at first glance to be taking the proverbial urine, but people do keep asking me to do it, even though my instinct is against it. What should I do, what should I do?


- Chris


C64 remixing - Pure nostalgia or true passion?

by Makke - for the Hugi diskmagazine (www.hugi.de)

Many of today's sceners have their roots in older systems, such as Amiga, Atari and C64. A few are still active on these systems, even though they're sadly decreasing in numbers. We can safely say that the war of the systems (Atari vs. Amiga) that was raging back in the day did breed a more fanatic devotion to its followers than today's PC-scene can offer. Sure, there's still a bit of Mac vs. PC going on but most of us HAVE grown away from the PC is better than Mac attitude and can by now admit that each system have their pros and cons.

However, what still lives on strong from these systems is the unique sound of the music that was produced on these machines. Hundreds of Amiga and Atari songs are spinning everyday on scenemusic.net. Is it purely for nostalgic reasons or because of the sound and spirit of these old machines? For me personally it's a little of both. They bring back good memories from a time in my childhood when I had not a care in the world, something most of us probably miss somewhere deep inside of us.

The machine that has gathered the strongest following because of its music is by far the C64. From the beginning Commodore activists who switched form C64 to Amiga converted their favourite C64 songs to the new platform. Hundreds of remixes in different formats are around, but nowadays the MP3's have taken over the remix-scene and it has become a scene of its own. C64 music fans from around the globe have come together for the past few years to share remixes, music experience and knowledge. Many demosceners are familiar with some of the names of these remix-sceners, such as Instant Remady, SoundWavers and The Dead Guys. But these are only a few of the enthusiasts. The cream of the crop some might even say.

Though the old Triad c64 MP3-remix page, c64audio.com and the R.K.O. archive ( http://remix.kwed.org) distribution of quality remixes has been assured. C64audio.com has even turned into a record label (High Technology Publishing) run by Chris Abbott as a hobby, releasing C64 remixes in different styles on CD. The already classic Back in Time series (at the time out in three albums), Karma64, Instant Remady and Reyn Ouwehands (Galway Remixed and Nexus 6581) are either produced or distributed via c64audio.com.

We ask Neil Carr, organizer of the biggest c64 remix portal www.remix64.com, why he thinks the C64 music is still around and appreciated today. Well it's probably because the SID chip was the first real chip that could produce what you'd call music, I mean can you really say the spectrum had music capabilities? So because the c64 had a great little chip inside of it, it caused quite a stir with programmers turned musicians. These musicians produced a type of music on the c64 that was never whitnessed before, and with it being the first computer to really have sound potential the music is remembered more than any other computer and that includes the Amiga, Neil says but he also believes it's because todays game-music is more of atmospheric music, like film scores, which is not as catchy as the old game music. The days of Sanxion, Wizball type tunes have long since died, but we have never forgotten those strong melodies and pumping basslines of the c64. People love the music that much that they want to bring the humble sid chip into the newage, taking the strong elements of the sid and mixing it with modern style sounds. None of us wish to forget the sidchip and by remixing these classic c64 tunes is one way of keeping the memory alive.

The past two years has really been a prosperous time for the C64 remix community. The average quality of the remixes has increased enormously. This has caused some stir in the community as some people believe that many of the remixes on R.K.O. that are free has the same high quality as the CD-releases, and that the CD releases harm the community because not all can afford or want to pay for the listening. True as this might be, one has to think about the things that the income of the CD's has brought to the remix-community. For instance, the Commodore 64 disco-series Back in Time Live would never have taken place if it wasn't for the income of the CD sales. Back in Time Live 1 was for sure a historic moment as old musiclegends such as Rob Hubbard, Martin Galway, Ben Daglish, Fred Gray, David Whittaker and many more gathered at the same place for one (drunken) evening. Question is, how long will this remix-movement last?

This is something I've thought long and hard about, Neil comments. Unless c64 music becomes more mainstream and open to the public outside the scene, it hasn't got long. Whilst interviewing for remix64.com I've noticed that most of the remixers are aged between 25 and 35. This age group remembers the c64 with fond memories and I would consider this would have been the prime age group of commodore 64 users back in the 1980's. Do you think people will still be remixing c64 sids when they are 60? I'd be very surprised since most of us will have arthuritus by then ;) But seriously 10 years is about the most hopeful.



For more information about the C64 remix-scene, head over to www.remix64.com and c64audio.com. And if you're wondering what C64 remixes to download, there's always the remix64-charts where the regulars vote and rank new releases.