100% Open Source Music

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100% Open Source Music

Louigi Verona
Hey everyone!

My music "career" started with mod music. Nope, not the music and fashion subculture from the late 1950s, but this mod music, when people used programs called "trackers" to produce stuff. It was either this or buying expensive hardware.

Although people associate MOD music scene mostly with chiptunes, it was much more than that, and has its own pantheon of musical gods who produced tracks ranging from synth pop to jazz, from orchestral to realistic folk instrumentals. Immersed in this music, I severed my link to the mainstream idea of songs with their standard verse/chorus, and endless drivel about relationships. That link has not been restored. My mind was opened to music that was so unlike anything I'd heard before that it felt a bit like walking through that door in the wall. (Is this H.G. Wells reference too obscure? :) )

My heroes were Elwood, DRAX, Awesome. Who even knows these names? I once created a Wikipedia page for Elwood and it stayed up for many years, but recently I discovered that it was removed. And yet Elwood is a legendary musician and producer in the MOD scene, who has inspired and awed several generations of fellow tracker musicians.

Some names have gotten enough traction to stay on Wikipedia. Purple Motion is one clear example. Several producers, famous today, started out using trackers. Here is an incomplete list. It mostly lacks artists who made their names in the tracking scene, but did not become notable outside of it.



It's been a while since I went on a nostalgia tour, but due to my recent project of putting out an album of old tunes called "Only Slightly Embarrassing", I decided to cross further into the continent of "back in my days", which brought me straight to ModArchive. Eventually, I was convinced that I should try making more tracked works, at the very least because my early works were so shitty that I felt I had to make up for that.

Long story short, I realized that MOD music is the true Open Source Music. I mean, think about it. The most widely used software today is GPLed (OpenMPT). The modules you release are open source too, just like JavaScript. You open your XM or IT file and inspect how the tune was created. And you learn.

And there is surely stuff to learn. Not all of it is even tracker-specific. People had no EQs, no compressors, no reverbs. And yet so much of tracked music sounds just incredible. How did they do it? It turns out, there are ways.

Of course, all of that leads to a bit of self promotion. I would like to draw your attention to the two tunes that I've written in the past month with OpenMPT and which you can download and see how they were made. (Or don't. You can instead explore ModArchive's Top Favorites.)
You can just use an Online Player to listen to them in a browser, or you can use almost any modern player to play them. Audacious, VLC, for example.

An interesting thing is that the MOD scene has its own cultural backdrop: it is primarily melodic oriented, and having melodies means a lot. If you don't like melodies, you go for trance. I am putting out minimal house, rominimal even. So, I am sure I will get little love.

But for those of you who enjoy this style of music, I think you might like these. I am personally very happy with the sound and how both of these turned out. And yet - no EQing, no nothing. Just volume envelopes, volume levels and panning work. *a little proud*

It's somehow interesting to me that this is open source minimal house music. Not a lot of those out there.

p.s.: fuck my tracks, listen to this






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Re: 100% Open Source Music

tom
On 2019-10-24 01:06, Louigi Verona wrote:

> Hey everyone!
>
> My music "career" started with mod music. Nope, not the music and
> fashion
> subculture from the late 1950s, but this mod music
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Module_file>, when people used programs
> called "trackers" to produce stuff. It was either this or buying
> expensive
> hardware.
>
> Although people associate MOD music scene mostly with chiptunes, it was
> much more than that, and has its own pantheon of musical gods
> <https://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_chart&query=topartists>
> who
> produced tracks ranging from synth pop
> <https://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_by_moduleid&query=35280>
> to
> jazz
> <https://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_by_moduleid&query=135135>,
> from orchestral
> <https://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_by_moduleid&query=120901>
> to
> realistic folk instrumentals
> <https://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_by_moduleid&query=155605>.
> Immersed in this music, I severed my link to the mainstream idea of
> songs
> with their standard verse/chorus, and endless drivel about
> relationships.
> That link has not been restored. My mind was opened to music that was
> so
> unlike anything I'd heard before that it felt a bit like walking
> through
> that door in the wall. (Is this H.G. Wells reference
> <https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/door-wall>
> too obscure? :) )
>
> My heroes were Elwood, DRAX, Awesome. Who even knows these names? I
> once
> created a Wikipedia page for Elwood and it stayed up for many years,
> but
> recently I discovered that it was removed. And yet Elwood
> <https://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_artist_modules&query=69004>
> is a legendary musician and producer in the MOD scene, who has inspired
> and
> awed several generations of fellow tracker musicians.
>
> Some names have gotten enough traction to stay on Wikipedia. Purple
> Motion
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonne_Valtonen> is one clear example.
> Several producers, famous today, started out using trackers. Here is
> an incomplete
> list <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Tracker_musicians>. It
> mostly
> lacks artists who made their names in the tracking scene, but did not
> become notable outside of it.
>
>
>
> It's been a while since I went on a nostalgia tour, but due to my
> recent
> project of putting out an album of old tunes called "Only Slightly
> Embarrassing"
> <https://louigiverona.com/?page=projects&s=music&t=slightly_embarrassing>,
> I decided to cross further into the continent of "back in my days",
> which
> brought me straight to ModArchive <https://modarchive.org/>.
> Eventually, I
> was convinced that I should try making more tracked works, at the very
> least because my early works were so shitty that I felt I had to make
> up
> for that.
>
> Long story short, I realized that MOD music is the true Open Source
> Music.
> I mean, think about it. The most widely used software today is GPLed (
> OpenMPT <https://openmpt.org/>). The modules you release are open
> source
> too, just like JavaScript. You open your XM or IT file and inspect how
> the
> tune was created. And you learn.
>
> And there is surely stuff to learn. Not all of it is even
> tracker-specific.
> People had no EQs, no compressors, no reverbs. And yet so much of
> tracked
> music sounds just incredible
> <https://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_by_moduleid&query=134387>.
> How did they do it? It turns out, there are ways.
>
> Of course, all of that leads to a bit of self promotion. I would like
> to
> draw your attention to the two tunes that I've written in the past
> month
> with OpenMPT and which you can download and see how they were made. (Or
> don't. You can instead explore ModArchive's Top Favorites
> <https://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_top_favourites>.)
>
>    - Lid
>    
> <https://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_by_moduleid&query=186854>
>    - Twizzy II
>    
> <https://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_by_moduleid&query=186855>
>
> You can just use an Online Player to listen to them in a browser, or
> you
> can use almost any modern player to play them. Audacious, VLC, for
> example.
>
> An interesting thing is that the MOD scene has its own cultural
> backdrop:
> it is primarily melodic oriented, and having melodies means a lot. If
> you
> don't like melodies, you go for trance. I am putting out minimal house,
> rominimal even. So, I am sure I will get little love.
>
> But for those of you who enjoy this style of music, I think you might
> like
> these. I am personally very happy with the sound and how both of these
> turned out. And yet - no EQing, no nothing. Just volume envelopes,
> volume
> levels and panning work. **a little proud**
>
> It's somehow interesting to me that this is open source minimal house
> music. Not a lot of those out there.
>
> p.s.: fuck my tracks, listen to this
> <https://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_by_moduleid&query=34427>
>
>
Thanks for this overview Luigi, that's nostalgia at its best!
Another blessed artist from the time was Frédéric Motte (Moby).
Check the tune "Knulla Kuk", still sounds amazing given only 4 channels.
I've tons of Amiga Disks (Sample Disks named ST-01 ... ) and Modules
archived. If anybody has the tools to read them back and eventually
convert to 21st century, I'd happily provide these disks.
Greetings from an 1992 "The assembly" attendee :)
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Re: 100% Open Source Music

tom
On 2019-10-25 16:16, Benjamin Niemann wrote:

> On Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 3:45 PM Thomas Brand <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I've tons of Amiga Disks (Sample Disks named ST-01 ... ) and Modules
>> archived. If anybody has the tools to read them back and eventually
>> convert to 21st century, I'd happily provide these disks.
>
> As in "physical 3.5" floppies"? Might not be necessary to go the
> "hardware route" to get the data back (at least for the samples), as
> they are still available on good old aminet:
> http://aminet.net/search?name=st-&path[]=mods/inst
>
Indeed, those. Remaining the 3.5" modules, which is a funky mix of
ripped (MKII action replay) and hand-crafted/unreleased tunes.. i guess
most of it is in the online archives which is great to see curated.
Greetings
Thomas
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Re: 100% Open Source Music

Benjamin Niemann
On Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 4:26 PM Thomas Brand <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On 2019-10-25 16:16, Benjamin Niemann wrote:
> > On Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 3:45 PM Thomas Brand <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >> I've tons of Amiga Disks (Sample Disks named ST-01 ... ) and Modules
> >> archived. If anybody has the tools to read them back and eventually
> >> convert to 21st century, I'd happily provide these disks.
> >
> > As in "physical 3.5" floppies"? Might not be necessary to go the
> > "hardware route" to get the data back (at least for the samples), as
> > they are still available on good old aminet:
> > http://aminet.net/search?name=st-&path[]=mods/inst
> >
> Indeed, those. Remaining the 3.5" modules, which is a funky mix of
> ripped (MKII action replay) and hand-crafted/unreleased tunes..

Just in case the ".ch" in your mail address correctly implies that
you're in Switzerland:
There will be the "Vintage Computer Festival" in Zürich in ~1 month:
https://vcfe.ch/doku.php
That might be a place to find people who still have the needed hardware.

-Ben
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