C64Audio.com Newsletter, online version #1!
In this issue:
C64Audio signs Seth "8-Bit Weapon" Sternberger
C64Audio signs Tonka for new album, BASICally!
C64Audio.com to release Markus Siebold's latest album
New-old material from Marcel Donne, Chris Abbott and Makke
Reyn Ouwehand to release new CD: "The Blithe, the Bland and the Bizarre"
Back in Time Live 2007 - June 22nd 2007
Jeroen Tel re-confirmed this week for Back in Time Live 2007, the latest in the eccentric series of C64 live events which have proved in the past to be unmissable... the acts are Jeroen, Reyn Ouwehand (who will be performing lots of instruments live like in his Garfield video), Danceaway (who will surprise you all, in a good way!), and the Las Vegas duo of 8-Bit Weapon and ComputeHer, who were the impetus for the event.
Myself and Paul
Skitz Hadrill checked out the venue at the end of last month and we were very happy with what we found. Lots of sound equipment, a stage which can handle it, a toilet that's clean and spanky, and a bistro attached that you can eat at if you get peckish. The location is good too, since it's right in the City of London. You can't sneeze without getting your snot all over an eaterie of some description.
There are still lots of tickets left, so I'd be grateful if you'd continue buying them! At the event Seth will be bringing some bootleg copies of his new cover album, which should be titled
Have you contacted Hot Pussy yet??, but which is actually a much improved version of his last cover album. I'm also going to be putting his stuff on its own separate section in the new shop, since I'm expanding that side of things now the digital download stuff is in place.
Did you know that the Back in Time Live 2007 product holds a lot of bonus material about the previous Back in Time Lives? You don't need to have bought a ticket to download most of it, and there is tons of material: Videos, documents from the organisers, music tracks which have been created for or only played at BIT Live, etc...
Anyway, it will be an excellent occasion which can only be better in one way: YOU have got to be there 😊 There's also a remixer hangout the day before centered around a yet-to-be-decided pub near to the hotel all the remixers and scene personalities seem to be staying at.
If you've bought a
ticket, you might be wondering where it is: well, it's a guestlist affair. I haven't forgotten about my promise of a PDF file, but really if your name is on the list, that will be enough to get you in. We're not, like, ticket Nazis or anything 😉 There may be the ability to buy entry on the door, but you'd be silly to count on it if you're coming from any distance.
The other CD released at the event will be Reyn Ouwehand's
The Bland, the Blithe and the Bizarre, which is an incredibly jolly CD with lots of favourites on it: some of them have been previewed on Boz's show on Slay Radio, so you know what to expect 😉
So: be there or be square, and spread the word! I need you!! And you can meet Boz, Ziphoid, me, Jeroen Tel, Reyn Ouwehand, Marcel Donne, Slaygon, Kwed, LMan and Sunflower, me (again, since I'll be so stressed I'll have forgotten you from the first time), Anna Black, Makke, Romeo Knight, Skitz, and loads more!
Go here. Now!
Nexus 6581 Reappears for the last time in physical form
Thanks to the incredibly generosity of Reyn Ouwehand, we've got 20 more copies of the incredible Nexus 6581 for sale. This is the last edition, so use the opportunity wisely! Underappreciated on release, its stature has grown with time, especially as Reyn has proved his skills on other CDs and most importantly on stage and on video, so people can see the wonder of Reyn for themselves!
The album (and its sequel) will be available on digital download forever more, but the album is strictly limited edition. And of course, like most CDs on C64Audio.com, comes with a free digital download if you buy the real CD. The downloads are currently DRM-free high quality MP3, but we'll be adding FLAC later, just as soon as I get time.
FTC Kind of releases new album!
Kind of releases?
FTC is one of my favourite remixers on this earth: not because his stuff is particularly technically well mixed, but because he's one of the most talented ideas-men I've ever come across in my years of remixing. Not only does he have a John-Carpenter-esque/Vince Clarke type mechanical sound I adore, but he's able to take the simplest of subtunes and turn it into a four-course banquet. And, importantly, he stuffs each remix with so many ideas that some hooks and ideas appear just for a fleeting moment, when a lesser talent would make an entire track out of them. Using Fruityloops, he is able to create a consistent worldscape and sound which just, frankly, makes me happy.
He's also very prolific! And like most prolific artists who work quickly, his stuff can be hit and miss. The only person I know who can take a mechanical sequencer like Fruityloops and make it sound chaotic and organic sometimes veers too far from the comfortable norm (check out some of the bonus tracks for proof of that). But when he gets it right, as he does often, it's sheer uncomplicated joy: not technically flashy, no guitars, no virtuosity: just sheer synth sounds and a joyful vibe. This was stuff done for the sheer joy of remixing, and it shows. And, to add icing to the cake, the original stuff he adds to remixes is often better than the SID it remixes. And that's very rare. His original stuff, to me, stands up to his remix stuff, and occasionally betters it.
almost released?. Well, I've been planning (for years, actually) to remix and remaster his stuff to polish it up and remove some of the technical limitations inevitable in working in just one software package. I will still do that: and anyone who buys the album now in its digital form (it will probably not see a physical CD release), will get free access to any tracks I subsequently add. That's the idea behind the new shop: if new resources are added, you get access to them without paying extra.
Now I've got to create a nice jukebox to highlight the album: but I'm really looking forward to remixing his stuff: it's not a commercial thing, it's just that he inspires me!!
Richard Joseph Tribute album (supporting Macmillan Nurses Cancer Charity)
I loved Richard Joseph. He was a true musician, and a great human being. I regret that I didn't catch up him that much after he made his move to France, but before his lung cancer struck he was enjoying the South of France, and finally getting back to game music on simple devices (mobiles/handheld consoles), and much happier because of it.
Anyway, in the days following his untimely death, the Remix64 messageboard came up with the idea of a tribute album to Richard, which collected tracks together. Given the licencing difficulties surrounding the original Amiga soundtracks, myself, Makke, Press Play on Tape, Jan Zottman, Neil Carr and Reyn Ouwehand came together to bring his tracks into one digital download. The proceeds of this download will go to Macmillan Nurses, a wonderful charity devoted to helping cancer sufferers, and a charity we can all support.
To mark solidarity for one of his heroes, Boz has also made available his Perhaps-a-Doobie
album Clips in the Key of Meh with again, all proceeds going to Macmillan Nurses, and I have been making my own Back in Time 4 preview/prototype donate to the same cause.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far!
C64Audio signs Seth
8-Bit Weapon Sternberger
With the new C64Audio.com shop finally open, I've reached an agreement with Seth to release his material, old and new, through the C64Audio.com shop. It's really a match that should have happened sooner, but my site was continually in a state of flux, and being a one page catalogue shop, it wouldn't really have done it justice.
So, Seth's stuff (heaven for micromusic fans, both of SID and Gameboy) will be appearing soon in a natural home for it. We hope to include Thermostatic and other noted artists as well soon. Now we're like Amazon and iTunes put together (but without the evil Corporation bit!).
His next project for us will be his latest remix album which is as Seth as you would expect 😊 SID and beats, but done well.
Incidentally, Seth just finished work for Nokia and Disney which utilised SID sounds, and has even played the big video game shows in Las Vegas where stars like Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of Mario) loved his work. A real star who has never lost touch with his roots: including funding his own journey to London just to play for the C64 fans... the man's a legend!
C64Audio signs Tonka for new album, BASICally!
Dolloway Tonka is a man of few remixes: but they're all classics! A sid composer as well (check out his stuff in HVSC, it's amazing!), his versions of
Last Ninja Palace Loader and
Wizball High Score, as well as perennial Slay Radio wind-down tune
Belong, are in many people's all-time favourites!
Well, he's finally doing a whole album, which breaks the mould. But it's not remixes! Instead, he's producing an album composed entirely of SID (in fact, he's using a Prophet 64 Dual SID-chip setup), with gorgeous vocals from a female who crosses Bjork with Dido and sounds even better. Real songs, expertly written (did I mention Tonka is a writer?), 100% real SID.
The album is called
BASIC, and he's working feverishly on it, but we have no release date as yet. However, he da man!
One thing I'm looking forward to is that his stuff on this album should be great fodder for people who want to remix them: to add the tracks that he didn't. I'm shivering!
Tonka is also contributing a track or three to the forthcoming Remix 64 Volume 3 album. You mean I didn't mention it before? Are you sure? I could have sworn...
Oh yes, Tonka? Announced it to the world, now you've got to finish it... ha-ha! 😉
C64Audio.com to release Markus Siebold's latest album
Composer of Turrican 2 and more, Markus Siebold has been quietly releasing gorgeous CDs (very reminiscent of classic Jarre, actually) for some years. We're officially going to be selling his first CD
Mechanical Dreams soon in the shop, and then his second when it's officially released: it's called
Life & Death. We'll be selling the physical CD too!
Watch this space...
Back in Time 4/5/6 - What's that about??
I was serious when I said there wouldn't be a
Back in Time 4/5/6 trilogy to follow the first three CDs. However, all projects that start attract tracks to themselves, and unfortunately some tracks and images are finished that are gorgeous!
Back in Time 4/5/6 was meant to be a trilogy spanning a storyline: Back in Time 4 was the story of a female soon-to-be Ninja (who looked not a million miles away from Emily
Bouff Booth) dragged
Back in Time (geddit?) from modern day New York for a quest (which happened to involve a stay at a Monastery: cue lots of subtunes from martial arts games!!). Back in Time 5 was the story of an ordinary village hero (who looked not a million miles away from Jason
Kenz Mackenzie) who had .. a quest (hey, I'm a musician, not a fantasy writer!!). Back in Time 6 covers the meeting of these two storylines and their journey across forests and deserts to a far-eastern kingdom where they vanquish their foe.
Although I could hear the entire Cd in my head, getting it down with the kind of quality that people expect nowadays (and coupled with children and a general saturation of the C64 CD market) kind of persuaded me that people wouldn't miss it that much. But one day, on impulse, I decided to string together a preview of what BIT 4 would have sounded like: mostly from other people's remixes. And of course, the whole BIT 4/5/6 project attracted some great tracks, such as
Long Lost SID,
Kentilla (both orchestrated and performed by Rob Hubbard himself), and Wizardry and Ghouls and Ghosts that never left beta: even a performance of Super Huey by Paul Norman himself! Plus I had all the storyline and some great artwork concepts by Arvid Weber and Steve Barrett. There's even a couple of long-lost WIP tracks from well known remixers that were lost in the mists of time. It's lucky I keep my inboxes, that's all I can say...! Hope no one minds!
So, it seemed like a good idea to stop sitting on all this data and get it out to the fans in aid of charity. So I did! (and thanks to all the remixers who produced remixes I used in the full-length concept prototype!!).
New-old material from Marcel Donne, Chris Abbott and Makke
One of the features of the new shop (hey, I spent five years writing it, I'm entitled to a bit of a boast!!) is that the CDs feature a hell of a lot of bonus material: both attached to a track (the Back in Time 1 tracks have the Back in Time + tracks attached: for instance, check out Delta 97. In addition, the products have lots of bonus tracks. Sidologie for instance has almost an entire album of great bonus stuff from Marcel and O2 which sounds very different (mostly) to the album tracks, and includes some original material from both chaps.
Makke has just sent me a lot of bonus material for
It's Binary, Baby, including WIPs that never appeared on the album, documents and I'm scanning in a letter he sent me giving me details of each track on the CD and the history behind it!
And, each of the CDs I've been involved with has a number of bonus tracks: BIT 3 has the most bonus material: even a novella! Written by Steve Leese, it fleshes out the storyline skeleton I did on Back in Time 3 into a proper story, which inexplicably I've held onto for about six years (shame on me: sorry Steve). There's also the videos, beta tracks, and a lot of the stuff which appeared at the time on Kenz's
Back in Time 3 Companion CD-ROM. The Karma64 CD also has some great freebies, and Crystal Dreamscapes will gradually attract enough of the material that didn't make the original to contitute a free
Crystal Dreamscapes 2.
Before I leave this section, I've got to mention Project Galway: this has gigabytes of bonus material: for instance, check out "Terra Cresta": apart from the track off Project Galway, lovingly recorded by Boz, you get all the other subtunes in MP3 and FLAC, and ringtones too, lovingly ported by me! And those subtunes were also recorded by Boz during the Project Galway sessions! That man was amazing...!
Err... C64Audio.com is
Amazon meets iTunes...
Ok, I keep talking about it, mostly because I'm very happy at the new shot of life I've been given as a result of having a whole new world open up...
By now, if you've clicked on any links, you've seen the new shop. Basically, it's Amazon meets iTunes meets
DVD Special Features: but DRM-Free, and with unlimited download capabilities (and the shop might serve you anything from text files to PDFs to standard MP3s and FLAC).
Probably the most astonishing aspect of the shop is the depth of content: if you've been around for a while, you might remember the old days when C64Audio.com used to host lots of miscellaneous files: a bit like finding lost treasure. The new shop was clean and bright, but it lost that feeling. Well, it's back. Thanks to the new CMS underlying the new site, I could shoehorn in all the bonus content, lost tracks, documents, and stuff that I'd been hoarding on DVD-R all these years. Bonus material is in two places: either attached to the product on a Disk (you can see these tabs in the product page, such as this for BIT 3, or attached to a track within a product, if it makes more sense that way (such as this for Rambo on BIT 1, which gives access to the BIT+ version if you buy the track or the product).
It's made me very happy to know that I can finally put all this stuff out in the open, a lot of it for free (the Back in Time Live stuff is almost all free).
Other clever/nice things the shop does:
It tracks your spending on products (for instance, if you buy a track on BIT 1), and then it gives you an equivalent discount off the price of the album. In other words, it's a
complete my album price. Only we had the idea way before iTunes did. And buying a digtital album gives the equivalent discount off the physical CD. i.e. you can upgrade without penalty).
Buying a physical album or DVD gives access to all applicable downloads instantly.
Referring a friend generates a discount for them and credit for you: once you've ordered, you can log into your account and use this feature to generate instant credit for yourself to spend on more stuff. Websites can also use the referrer ID to generate credit in the same way.
It now offers Paypal and Credit card again (after a spat I had with Paypal back in the day, let's hope they behave sanely this time!).
And content creators, composers, etc, can see the royalties from the digital downloads mount as they happen 😊 I'm particularly proud of this.
Most of all, I'm excited about being able to release stuff quickly and easily without necessarily having to go through the whole CD process. We're still releasing CDs, but some stuff deserves to be heard but will never sell the 500 minimum copies that a CD requires. That means the release schedule of
one a year will be compressed to
lots a year, which is a great boost for the dedicated listener.
Anyway, you probably don't really know what the new cart means to me... I've been designing and thinking about it for five years and come close repeatedly... but it's never happened: the time hasn't been right, the money hasn't been there, the skills haven't been there... the concept has been too way out...
It's just a cart, you're thinking... but for me this cart removes the barriers to self-expression and service to the customer that have been put there since 1998. So, I'm happy about it. Obviously I'd prefer a few more customers, but hey... that will always be true 😊
One encouraging thing is that the availability of digital downloads hasn't discouraged people from buying the CDs. Sometimes there's no substitute for a nice disk and a booklet, but it's nice to be able to listen to the material while you're waiting for my visit to the Post Office...
Ahem, anyway, that's it for me on the subject.
Reyn Ouwehand to release new CD:
The Blithe, the Bland and the Bizarre
I think I mentioned this in the Back in Time Live section, but I've written so much text it's probably best I mention it again.
Back in the Old days, I was very fond of doing simple yet wholesome covers of small tracks: such as Super Pipeline 2, Finders Keepers, or Mugsy's Revenge.
Well, it turns out Reyn loves these old tunes as much as me. But he does them better... oh, so much better! His CD, as well as being a masterclass in performing, perfectly captures the feeling of the old "fun" tunes: the ones which give you a nice retro wibbly feeling: like, for instance, Garfield, or Zeppelin, or Super Pipeline. And, for good measure, he throws in some of the bizarre tracks, such as possible the definitive version of Mutants (much as it pains me to admit it: Reyn nails the piece and makes it sound like it always sounded like that!).
The CD is regularly previewed on "Boz's Bowness Bit O' Bollocks" radio show (Wednesdays, 20:00CET, http://www.slayradio.org), and bits of it are already available: for instance, "Stifflip and Co" done as a tribute to Richard Joseph is on the Richard Joseph tribute album.
I love this stuff, and I hope you will too: it's a real physical Cd, as befits a giant of the remixing scene, and released at Back in Time Live.
Er, that's it... for now...
Right, now I've finished abusing Remix64 for my own personal glory and financial gain (!), I'll sign off, and hopefully see you at Back in Time Live. I guess I'm due another revolution in my life in another 5 years... I wonder what the world will look like then...
One thing's for sure, this man will look less and less like this...