Updated: August 27th, 2007
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My favorite tracker music.
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Who am I, exactly?

© 2013, E. Vincent Young.
All rights reserved.
So there.


Archives: 2005

Once I got 2004's frustration out of my system, I started reaching out to some of the people I'd clashed with in the past and made some apologies. Then I started to run a tracking blog, but it didn't last long, as it quickly became clear just how far behind the times I was. Over the previous year, the tracking scene had become a shell of its former self, which got me frustrated all over again for a whole new set of reasons. I shut down the blog, and this site was mostly quiet again for over 2 years

Blog & Essay Archive: Main Page
2007 -- 2006 -- 2005 -- 2004 -- Jul-Dec 2003 -- Jan-Jun 2003

Never mind. - June 2nd, 2005

Today's news:
The temptation to ramble on for a while here is going to be hard to resist, but I'll try to distill this down to the basics.

I've gotten e-mails from Nifflas and Louigi Verona in the past couple of days that have made me wonder why I'm doing this, why I'm spending two hours a day, every day, running a website in the defense of tracker music. What started out as a light-hearted jab at MP3s has turned into an Inbox full of examples and rebuttals and counter-arguments from Nifflas, all of which have combined to make me realize how truly out-of-touch and out-of-date I am on this topic. And Louigi Verona sent me a rather lengthy e-mail yesterday that pretty much says that it's time for me to take all of the things that I used to do in the tracking scene and shift them forward into the brave new world of the modern, wider online music scene rather than staying so firmly in the past, in the tracking scene.

The problem is, I don't have the slightest bit of interest or excitement about the modern, wider online music scene.

Yes, from a technical standpoint, the modern, wider online music scene has the potential to leave the tracking scene in the dust. I'll go ahead and concede that point right now. But the problem is that the modern, wider online music scene really isn't much of a scene. I don't really see much of a community there, any real connection, any true spirit of cooperation on a wide scale. The old tracking scene had TraxWeekly and United Trackers and compos and all sorts of websites and publications in which trackers got together and worked together and offered advice and support and assistance and very, very personal interaction. There was a warmth there, a sense that things were thriving. The tracking scene was big, but it felt small. I was just a small fish in that big pond, but I could still make waves. I could have an effect, an impact; I could make a difference.

But the wider online music scene is an ocean, and if I moved from the pond to the ocean, I'd still be the same small fish. But a single fish has absolutely no discernible effect on an ocean.

I could be okay with that if the ocean was at least an enjoyable place to be, but it's not. There's no equivalent to TraxWeekly or United Trackers in the modern, wider online music scene, no thriving community, no wide sense of cooperation. Yeah, there's isolated examples of people being nice to each other, but that's not the same thing at all.

So, that leaves me with the tracking scene... such as it is.

I took a look around today. Over on CTG Music, there were 375 songs released in the month of May. Only 12 of them were tracked. Over on MODPlug Central, there were only 16 songs released in the month of May. 16. Period. That includes MP3s and OGGs. (Of those 16, only 3 were tracked.) Over on OSMusic.net, there isn't a single tracked file to be found anywhere on the site, ironic when you consider that the OS stands for "open source." It's all MP3 and OGG, which is about as closed-source as you can get.

That's today's tracking scene: 15 tracks a month.

Remember when it was 15 tracks a day? An hour?

So, it seems to me I can either: A.) spend two hours of each day on a website devoted to a method of creating music that nobody gives a damn about, or B.) spend two hours of each day on a website devoted to a modern, wider music scene that I don't give a damn about.

Or I can: C.) find something better to spend that two hours a day on.

At least I'm not angry anymore. Even if this site woke up again for only a short time, it was worth it. I buried the hatchet with Vizion, got back in touch with old friends, looked at my past mistakes, and remembered what I loved about the tracking scene. But that tracking scene just isn't there anymore, and this website won't change that.

I just hope that Nifflas and Louigi don't look at this and think, "Oh, crap, I broke Novus!" Relax, guys, it wasn't you. I probably would've reached this point on my own in another couple of weeks anyway. I know what you were trying to do: broaden my perspective, educate me, and invite me into what you obviously see as a bright new future. I just don't see it that way myself.

Go ahead. Have fun spending hours and days and weeks and months and years learning how to tweak your VSTs and filters and compression settings to create the kind of music that makes you happy, and don't let me stop you. I mean that in all sincerity, I really do. And hopefully you'll find someone else to be the "Novus" of the modern, wider online music scene. Just keep in mind that it isn't going to be me.

All I ask is to be left alone in a simpler time, where it was possible to only take 9 months to develop enough skill to write a song that had the power to change people's lives the way "Revealing" did at the time. That's no longer possible; if I released "Revealing" as a new song today, it'd get picked to death by people complaining about the poor sample quality, muddy mixing, and overall amateur sound, and everyone would miss the point of the song itself entirely.

I refuse to call that "progress."

But if per-chance you ever stumble across a Changing People's Lives VST, go ahead and e-mail it to me. You know the address. ;)

Oh, and just to make it officially cliched... The Scene is dead. Yep, I actually said it. Took me long enough, eh? ;)

It's been fun, y'all. Keep it real, and I'll see you on the flip-side.

-Vince "Novus" Young

Rain, rain, go away... - June 1st, 2005

Today's news:
The weather here is ugly this morning, and rather than wrestle with power surges while I'm trying to update the site, I'm just giving up now. Double-update tomorrow.

Yep, she's still reading it. - May 31st, 2005

Song of the Day: "Ancient Stories: High-Quality Version" by Awesome - XM - 724k - Fantasy
A new take on Awesome's classic, re-mastered and somewhat re-arranged with some interesting new twists.

Link of the Day: Roncli
An archive of thousands of old backed-up TiS files, along with the music and thoughts of Ronald "Roncli" Clifford.

Today's news:
Yep, my girlfriend is still reading this site, and now she's starting her own blog in retaliation.

This is gonna be fun. ;)

Also, new Best of TraxWeekly goodness today. And I'm outtie.

Clown colors - May 30th, 2005

Song of the Day: "Halitosis" by Reed - MOD - 57k - Pop
A funky rolling piano riff backs up a catchy synth melody, with tasty results. You'd never guess this was 57k and 4 channels if you didn't already know.

Link of the Day: UT: Articles Page (Dead link removed)
Fingersoup has some great info up here, along with some thought-provoking editorials and a deep archive from the ancient beginnings of United Trackers.

Today's news:
The MP3 debate rages on today, but first...

A bunch of the broken links in the Music Vault have now been fixed. For the uninitiated, that's the section of the site where I list all of my favorite songs from other trackers. The fixed links are for some great tunes, so check 'em out!

Also, while I wasn't looking, some nice person uploaded a bunch of my songs to Modland, something which I kept procrastinating on but now no longer have to get around to doing myself. Thanks, dude!

So apparently my girlfriend is still reading this site. I got smacked in the stomach last night for blaming her for Friday's late update. ;)

But then again, she might figure that I'm not going to make that mistake again and might stop reading the site now. I mean, she's really not all that interested in tracker music, and she seems to prefer spending her online time looking at cute anime hamsters and reading political rants from people that she disagrees with and getting really really angry about them. So, it might be safe to mention that, after I left her place last night, she called me at work to announce that she had dyed her hair in a variety of assorted colors... "clown colors," as I put it. She prefers the term "rainbow colors."

I'll see her again tonight, at which time I'll find out two different things: how the dye job came out, and whether or not she's still reading my site. :D

Anywho, Fingersoup e-mailed me a few days ago in response to my MP3 challenge of last week, and like Nifflas, he makes some good points, especially the parts where he agrees with me. Everyone makes good points when they agree with me. ;)

"One thing you couldn't do in MadTracker that you could do with an MP3? I can think of a few... 1. Convert a track using 40MB of natural sounding samples into something more manageable for distribution..."

Okay, granted... although if the final result is going to be a lossy, compressed file, why are you going to the trouble of using such high-quality samples anyway? I still don't get that.

"2. Allow playback of high CPU usage songs (due to VST/VSTi) on lower spec computers. I have seen Psycle songs use 100%+ CPU usage on an Athlon XP2500+. As VST is possible in Madtracker, and Modplug for that matter, it's theoretically possible there too. Say what you will, but Distorted guitar sounds much better when I add distortion to a clean guitar afterwards with a VST plugin than with pre-distorted samples... I can also save on the number of samples loaded in the tracker for easier management."

Also granted, although again I have to wonder about this: how can someone be so concerned about the difference in sound quality between a pre-distorted guitar sample versus VST-generated guitar distortion, and yet be so un-concerned about the loss in sound quality that results from MP3'ing the song?

But still, even some non-VST tracks can be resource hogs. I have several Mad Tracker 2 files in my collection that I can only listen to at work, because my poor poor home machine collapses under the strain of trying to play them, and none of them use VSTs. In that case, I really couldn't object to releasing the songs as MP3s... though I'd still object to releasing them only as MP3s. Put the MT2s out there as well and let the listener decide which they prefer. Probably the best pro-MP3 argument I've heard so far though.

"3. Reach a wider audience of those uneducated in Tracking? How many non-trackers know what an .XM file is?"

Well, you could teach them what an XM file is. ;) And besides, if everyone stops releasing XMs, then of course non-trackers won't know what an XM is. That one kinda hits me as a circular argument. To be fair, though, there are music websites out there that only allow you to post your songs as MP3s, and I can't exactly fault a musician for trying to get their songs out to a wider audience. But that brings me back to my earlier point about releasing the MP3 and the source tracked file.

"Of course, I fully support the distribution of Source files, based off technical merit, educational value, building a sense of community, and the fact that for the most part you are right. Too many people choose MP3 for the wrong reasons."

I think it goes even further than that... there is a palpable sense out there among a disturbingly large portion of the tracking scene that if you're releasing your songs as XMs or ITs instead of as MP3s, you're not worth taking seriously as a musician. Read through the song comments over on CTGmusic.com sometime and you'll see what I mean. And like I said to Nifflas a couple of days ago, I think that comes from the fact that so few people in today's modern scene really understand the full capabilities of modern tracking software, and truly believe that the only way to do certain effects is through post-production with a WAV editor after the tracking itself is done.

But thank you, Fingersoup... I think your last sentence perfectly sums up my attitude. It's not really trackers using MP3 that bugs me as much as it is the reason that trackers are using MP3, truly believing that "it's the only way to go." It's that attitude that disturbs me more than anything else.

"There are legitimate uses of MP3 though, although as an open-source advocate I prefer (ShamelessPlug)OGG Vorbis(/ShamelessPlug)... Many times when using a HIGH BITRATE MP3, the difference in quality is minimal. However, to stick with 128kbps or lower, is a detriment to your music."

Again, like I said to Nifflas a couple of days ago, I can hear the difference between a straight WAV and a 192kbps MP3. But I can also hear a stark difference between 192kbps and 128kbps, so the point about bitrate is certainly a point worth making. And I've heard good things about OGG... when I have more time, I'll repeat my Collective Soul MP3 experiment from a couple of days ago with OGG and see how it sounds.

"Glad to see you stirring the pot again! Things just weren't the same without you :)"

You're welcome, and thanks for not being afraid to try to knock some sense into me. ;)

"PS. Thanks for the kind words about the articles a while back!"

Oh, you mean (dead link removed) these articles? ;) No prob, Fingersoup! You do a great job with that section of the UT website.

Tracking tips from Nifflas, more reader-emails, and more updates to The Best of TraxWeekly, all coming up later this week! And if you're so-inclined, you can keep the MP3-debate alive by e-mailing me at vince.young@gmail.com.

Better judgement - May 29th, 2005

Song of the Day: "Abandoned" by Rage - XM - 261k - Demostyle
Mid-tempo demostyle with epic overtones.

Link of the Day: Mick Rippon Music
The definitive collection of music from the legendary tracker Mick Rippon.

Today's news:
Again, just recapping, since the update schedule's been weird this weekend... there were updates for both May 27th and May 28th, just in case you missed 'em.

I'm in a bit of a mood, thanks to work... it's not that I had a bad night at work per se, just more of a naggingly annoying night at work, the sort that sneaks up on you with a thousand tiny inconveniences until you're ready to take it out on some random piece of computer hardware or something... and then a random piece of computer hardware sneaks up on you and bites you on the keister, just to be ironic or something. Yeah, it was one of those kind of nights.

History tells me that this is not the sort of mood in which I should be getting into debates with, say, Fingersoup, on the topic of, say, MP3s. Plus on top of being annoyed, I'm also sleepy. So, I'm opting for a quick new article for The Best of TraxWeekly, followed by going to bed.

192kbps ought to be enough for anybody - May 28th, 2005

Song of the Day: "Linearity" by Screamager - IT - 616k - Electronica
Kickin' beats and catchy melodic rhythms make this one good to groove to.

Link of the Day: Modulez.org
This site is often overlooked as a good source of both webspace and good tracker music, but it delivers on both counts.

Today's news:
First of all, in case you missed it, there was in-fact a full update for May 27th. Just so you know. :)

Alrighty... as mentioned before, Nifflas took some exception to my MP3-bashing a couple of days ago. His entire e-mail is a little lengthy, so if you'll forgive me for clipping it down to excerpts, I'll do my best to keep everything in context. And by the way, you can weigh in yourself via e-mail at vince.young@gmail.com.

"First, the quality of an mp3 depends a lot on the bitrate, and what encoded which was used. If you for instance use lame, one of the highest quality mp3 encoders, the result will sound 50x better (i'm not making this up, the difference is that huge), than if you use a crappy mp3 encoder..."

Granted, that certainly could make a difference. No argument here. ;)

"Besides, most people use 160 or 192kbps encoding. Believe me - you won't be able to hear the difference between the mp3 and the wav. Only a few people uses 128kbps, and even that can sound ok with the right encoder (like lame) although it messes up the high frequency range a lil bit."

You'll forgive me for some initial skepticism, considering the number of people over time who've had the brass spheroids to tell me that MP3 at 128kbps is "CD quality." Granted, they were people who didn't have an f'ing clue what they were talking about, but that crowd is out there.

On the high frequency range, I'd beg to differ on the "lil bit" part. You can really hear that distortion on strings and violins, which quite a few modern songs toss into the background nowadays.

Now admittedly, most of my MP3 experience involves 128kbps. So to be fair, I ripped a WAV of "She Said" by Collective Soul and used Lame to compress it to MP3 at 192kbps, 160kbps and 128kbps and compared all 3 to the original WAV. The higher bit-rates are better for sure, but even at 192kbps I can hear some distortion. The sound gets muddier as more and more elements and instruments get added into the song. And when the violins swell up in the background for the refrain, there's distortion there as well. It's not much, but it's noticeable, especially when played back-to-back with the WAV.

Yes, I'm biased, so maybe I only hear it because I'm looking for it. But I could swing that the other way too... you don't hear it because you're not looking for it.

And besides... the WAV is 44 megs while the 192kbps MP3 is 6 megs. I simply can't believe that cutting 38 megs out of a file isn't going to affect the sound quality somehow. That's why it's called lossy compression: you have to lose something.

You're right on one thing, though... the difference between 192kbps and 128kbps is stark, and the 128kbps is 4 megs. If you're going to MP3 it, adding on that extra 2 megs to go 192kbps is very much worth it. That's certainly a point worth making as a concession to those who are gonna keep MP3ing anyway. ;)

"The second thing of course is that post production isn't always done the way you describe, like rendering the song to a .wav and editing that file. Usually we apply VST effects to the individual tracks or instruments in the song. Like putting a reverb on one instrument, perhaps a chorus or phaser on another."

I do already understand that; in this case, I was guilty of oversimplifying things for the sake of being punchy and sarcastic, i.e. being Novus. ;) But reverb most certainly does not need to be done outside of the tracker. Necros was sharing reverb tricks in TraxWeekly for Scream Tracker 3 back in 1995, and the more-modern Mad Tracker 2 actually has a built-in reverb effect that is native to the program itself.

Other effects such as chorus and phaser are another story, yes. But I'd still argue that whatever you gain in sound quality from adding those effects in post-production, you lose when you compress the song down to MP3. Plus I would think that you could simply open up the source sample file in your audio-editing software, add in, say, the chorus effect to the source sample itself, and use it along with NNAs in the tracker to get a similar effect. Granted I haven't tried it myself, but if you did it right, I think it would work. But if you disagree, I'm certainly open to hearing why.

Now that is the key phrase: "if you did it right." It's certainly not easy to get a native tracker file to sound professional and clean, but it can be done. See "Cosmic Outflow" by Falcon, done in 1996 with Fast Tracker 2. See "Soundtrack To A Midnight Kiss" by HomesickAlien, done in 2003 as an IT. Lesser-mortals would've laid down the basic piano, string and oboe tracks, saved the individual WAV tracks, applied reverb with an outside editor, and MP3'ed it. The results? Compressed sound, distorted high-range frequencies, and a 6-meg file. HomesickAlien did it with a native tracker, got a sound that is every bit as clean with none of the compression, and clocked in at half-a-meg smaller than the MP3 would've been.

Personally, I believe that's why MP3'ing has become so popular. Getting these sorts of high-fidelity effects out of a tracker is not easy; it's so much easier to push a few buttons in an audio-editing program and letting it do the work for you. And if you were to release the final results as a WAV or an audio CD, I'd be hard-pressed to argue against that method. But that's not what we're talking about; we're mainly talking about people who release their songs for free over the Internet. File size becomes a very important practical factor, and the holy grail is shrinking file size without sacrificing sound quality. But when you MP3 a song, that's precisely what you're doing: sacrificing sound quality. That's why it makes no sense to me to spend so much time and effort on post-producing extra sound-quality into a track and then compressing it all right back out again. If people would take the time to learn the full capabilities of modern tracking software, they wouldn't need MP3 anymore.

But most people don't learn those capabilities. Instead, they fall into the trap of thinking that tracked format equals antiquated, and that post-production plus MP3 equals modern. And that creates a cycle. Very few people out there are pushing tracking programs to their full capabilities, which feeds the idea that tracking programs aren't capable of creating songs with a professional sound, which leads to fewer people pushing tracking programs to their full capabilities, which feeds... well, you get the point.

And of course, there's the old stereotypical argument that you can crack open a source IT file and learn from it, but you can't crack open an MP3. That has a VERY noticeable effect on the community aspect of the tracking scene. People used to load up TraxWeekly with tips for Impulse Tracker. How many people nowadays offer tips for CoolEdit or Reason on Scene Zine?

"If I've not understood things wrong, you don't seem to be into mp3's that much. I mean, if they sound bad, it could simply be the music or the tracked file itself which sounds bad."

Fair enough.

"But have you payed any attention to more skilled musicians like xerxes or troupe? http://www.ctgmusic.com/xerxes or http://www.ctgmusic.com/troupe ... oh, and I could spam a little for my own music although they're a lil bit more skilled. http://nifflas.ni2.se. I'd say the way their music sounds, can prove that sometimes releasing a plain .IT isn't simply an alternative."

Alrighty, I'll take that as my next assignment, and I invite everyone else to do the same. :) To be honest, though, I've never heard of Troupe. And Xerxes's older non-MP3 tracks, though impeccably produced from a sound-quality standpoint, always underwhelmed me musically; I never did get what all the fuss was about with him. But I'll certainly give them a shot.

Anyway, thanks for firing back, Nifflas! You make a very compelling case, and tomorrow, Fingersoup will as well.

For the moment, I'll set The Best of TraxWeekly off to the side, since this MP3 discussion is both more-relevant and rather time-consuming. Nifflas's article on tracking triads will be up in the next couple of days as well. And if you want to jump in on this MP3 debate, feel free to e-mail me at vince.young@gmail.com.

Believe me, I'm a liar - May 27th, 2005

Song of the Day: "Autumn Air" by Oxide - XM - 408k - Light Rock
Straightforward, solid, no-frills acoustic guitar pop. Sometimes, simplicity says it best.

Link of the Day: Trax In Space
Oh, sure, it doesn't look like much now. But wait 'til they get the new curtains installed.

Today's news:
The previous update is full of vicious, vicious lies and should not be trusted whatsoever. This is the real update for May 27th, 2005... because it's still May 27th in Denver, Los Angeles, Alaska and Hawaii, and for all you know, I am in one of those locations. Or all of them at the same time, according to certain theories of quantum mechanics and probability. I could very well be the walrus too. And the eggman.

Okay, okay, yes, I'm in Florida, and the current time is 1:30am on May 28th, so technically I'm late. I find it ironic that I actually seem to have less free time on days where I don't have to work as many hours as usual. But like I said before, you can just blame my girlfriend. ;)

Anyway, I'm about to go to sleep, but first I'll let you know that now Fingersoup has weighed in on my little anti-MP3 diatribe. So when I have more free time (i.e. when I'm actually at my job) I'll read what both Nifflas and Fingersoup wrote to me and compose a counter-argument of some sort. Or heck, maybe I'll actually agree with both of them. You'll just have to stay tuned.

See, that's what we in the business call a "teaser."

Oh, and I did manage to throw together another edition of The Best of TraxWeekly. The main reason I even started that section is because I can usually grab some random article by, say, Necros, copy-and-paste it into Notepad, add some HTML tags and post that sucker, and there you go: instant update. Unless it has charts in it. I hate charts. They laugh at me, mocking me in my dreams and tearing down all that I consider to be right and holy.

Sleep. Yes, sleep. Sleep is good. Sleeping keeps me from writing really dumb things and posting them on my website.

Overslept. Meh. - May 27th, 2005

So, my girlfriend reports that she saw me blaming her (among others) for the late update last week. Heh. I didn't even know she checked this site, so I suppose I have to behave myself now. ;)

Anyway, I overslept today, and doing a full update would eat into time I could be spending with my girlfriend instead. So, double-update again tomorrow.

This time you can just blame my girlfriend. ;)

Delaying the inevitable - May 26th, 2005

Song of the Day: "Redemption" by Mandelbrotjulia - XM - 1272k - Fantasy
A fantasy-laced orchestral composition, starting quietly and building up to a powerful climax.

Link of the Day: Nifflas
The website of the musician Nifflas. For more info, keep reading. :)

Today's news:
I will never understand why Mandelbrotjulia never got the attention or praise he deserved for his tracks. Philisitines! You're all Philistines! Meh.

Anyway... not much time today, and Nifflas's response disagreeing with my MP3-bashing really deserves more time than what I have, so I'll have to put it off. But just to prove what a nice guy he is, he's also written an article on how to track triads, a neat little trick that I've only ever seen done by Chris Jarvis and... well... Nifflas. :) So, this weekend will probably be a Nifflas weekend, and in gratitude I've included his website as the Link of the Day.

In the meantime, The Best of TraxWeekly rolls on with a nifty little combo-trick from Pinion. Take an already-reverbed drum sample, use the Sample screen in your tracker to add a ping-pong loop to the reverbed part of the sample, put in a straight volume envelope on that sample in the Instrument screen, and voila! Extra-nifty reverb! It's just the sort of complex multi-step trick that makes me re-read it several times before I finally go, "Oh! THAT'S what he's trying to do! And yeah, that WOULD work." Hopefully you'll pick it up quicker than I will. ;)

Gee, I think he wants me to post it. - May 25th, 2005

Song of the Day: "London Taxi" by Louigi Verona - IT - 650k - Progressive Pop
A shifting synthetic sonic specimen of progressive pop.

Link of the Day: Lysis Factor (dead link removed)
"Webhosting for the scene." I'm not sure if they're still accepting requests for free webspace accounts, but at the very least you can browse the sites of the trackers who already have sites here and check out their tunes.

Today's news:
Only got one response to yesterday's challenge, but Hawkeye sure made it entertaining:


I read today's news article where you discussed how, er, dumb it is to spend so much time in postproduction finalizing your wav then to toss it all away with a mp3-convert. Well, I'm here to say,


You've got quite a point there, mate, and as long as you don't, *ahem*, go off on the deep end with it, I think it'll be well recived as a wakeup call to all of the conposers out there :D I'm not one somebody who spends a lot of postproduction time tweaking reverb and the like, but you've definately got a valid point. Go for it!"

I didn't change a thing. That's exactly how it looked in my inbox, complete with the quad-sized, bold, italicized, underlined font.

I like your enthusiasm, Hawkeye, but isn't that, *ahem*, going off the deep end? ;)

Anywho, I'd still like more feedback before I actually go and do such a foolhardy thing, and I should certainly come up with a more diplomatically-phrased way of posing that challenge. But it'd sure be fun.

Besides... I'm Novus. I'm supposed to go off the deep end. It's in my contract, ya know. ;)

Anyhowitzer, The Best of TraxWeekly continues today with Basehead's take on writing leads. And thanks for e-mailing me, Hawkeye! Welcome to the site. :)

(And heh, I was just to about to save and upload when I saw that Nifflas had weighed-in as well, and a quick skim shows he disagrees with my take on MP3s. But more on that tomorrow... I've done enough damage for one day. ;] )

The native is restless. - May 24th, 2005

Song of the Day: "Mooltrull" by DCE - XM - 1892k - Electronica
Quirky and creative... the uniqueness of this tune makes the style hard to pin down.

Link of the Day: MadTracker 2
If anything ever finally pries me away from good ol' Impulse Tracker, it will probably be this.

Today's news:
I don't know about you, but I think it's getting boring around here.

I'm in the mood to stir up some trouble, and I think I know exactly how: wade into the forums at CTG Music and ask this: Why exactly do people pull together 4 megs of samples into their favorite tracking software, put together a decent song, save it to a WAV, put lots of painstaking work into post-production reverb and filters... and then lose every single bit of that post-production improvement through the "magic" of MP3 compression? Seems to me it'd be easier to simply use the advanced features that modern tracking programs all have to emulate the exact same post-production tricks and release the straight IT or MT2 file as-is. The file size would be about the same, but you'd have a 4-meg clean and uncompressed song instead of a 4-meg lossy and compressed mess.

Seriously, name one thing that people do in "post-production" that can't be duplicated by the native commands and effects in, say, Mad Tracker 2. Just one.

Yeah, okay, some effects are probably easier to do with a WAV-editor than with the tracker's native commands, but it just doesn't make sense to me to go to all that trouble and then just MP3 the darn thing. What are you really gaining? It's like spending days of work painting a beautiful piece of art, then taking a Polaroid picture of it and showing the Polaroid to people instead of the painting itself. What's the point?

Y'all have 24 hours to convince me not to go post that. ;)

In the meantime, today's Best of TraxWeekly is an article by Pinion about New Note Actions, just one of the many nifty features of tracking software that can give you professional results without having to MP3 your song.

Swing, batter batter! - May 23rd, 2005

Song of the Day: "Trip To Home" by Vibe - IT - 807k - Pop
Smooth and swingin', and as cool as the other side of the pillow.

Link of the Day: No Error
This moderated scene news site is a great way to generate publicity for your website, project or new release.

Today's news:
Okay, so Basehead and Zinc taught you how to drum. But do you have rhythm? It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing, but don't worry: Necros will be glad to help you find it in today's Best of TraxWeekly.

I'm trying to keep it short today since I have to go get my car worked on in a few minutes, but PartySan e-mailed me last night (yes, I remember you :] ) to ask if it's okay to e-mail me with suggestions for Song of the Day. It certainly is! If there's an awesome song that I've overlooked, hit me at vince.young@gmail.com.

Vultaire also wrote to give me props for The Best of TraxWeekly, and confirms for me what a useful resource that section could turn out to be. TraxWeekly was great in its day but seems to have been forgotten by more and more people over time. Many of the entertainment articles are obsolete now, but the tips never stopped working, and I figured it was time for someone to draw some attention to them again. I'm glad you find it helpful, Vultaire... thanks for the feedback!

The beat of a different drummer - May 22nd, 2005

Song of the Day: "Lake Of Sand" by DJ Keys - XM - 1208k - Trance
A smokin' trance tune flavored with Egyptian modes. Original, creative and very slick to hear.

Link of the Day: ModShrine
A semi-regular one-hour compo on IRC. The website gives times and dates; all you have to do is wait for the right time, fire up your IRC client, connect to your favorite Espernet server, and head for the #mod_shrine channel.

Today's news:
And the beat goes on... the percussion hit-parade continues today in The Best of TraxWeekly. Today's article is from Zinc, allowing you to march to the beat of a different drummer. I guess the theme of the website has been caught in a snare, but it gives me the chance to drum some good habits into you and fill out your knowledge. Hopefully you'll see that I'm not just taking you for a ride, and that Zinc's tips deserve a tip of the hihat and a cymbal of your gratitude.

Okay, those puns are painful to my eyes, and I wrote them. I should just hit Delete right now. But then if I tried to come up with something else to write, I'd probably just get stuck in a loop.

I'm sorry, was that tom much to handle? I must be driving you bongos!

That's more like it. - May 21st, 2005

Song of the Day: "Alliance" by Drax - XM - 276k - Pop
The samples practically scream "demostyle," but this melody is pure pop at its most-effective.

Link of the Day: Nectarine
This is the standard by which all online tracker music streams should be compared: a wide selection of songs, a fully-working request system, high sound quality, and very little downtime. No other tracker music stream even comes close to Nectarine.

Today's news:
Wow... actually doing the update for May 21st on May 21st. What a concept, eh?

Yet another new addition to The Best of TraxWeekly, this time an article on creative drum tracks from Basehead. It's quite a read, and Basehead certainly knew what he was talking about. Check it out!

Also, if you're wondering what happened to the May 20th update, scroll down just a little bit more.

Missing day? What missing day? - May 20th, 2005

Song of the Day: "Put The Wrong Things Right" by Phred - IT - 2007k - Trance
Somewhat-unconventional trance, oozing with atmosphere and deceptively simple.

Link of the Day: The Hornet Archive
Back in the day, this was THE tracker-music archive. Now it's more of a time capsule for the early days of the internet-based tracking scene circa 1994-1998, but hey, that's when a lot of the good stuff was tracked. There's lots of goodies here that have aged quite well, thank-you-very-much.

Today's news:
Wow, May 20th has been going by so quickly that it almost feels like it's May 21st! (Insert dopey-looking open-mouthed innocently-wide smile here.)

Bah, who am I kidding?

Yes, I missed a day; it's actually been May 21st for about 7 hours now as I write this, so I owe you an update. Therefore, this is basically a very very late May 20th update, and the REAL May 21st update will come later today, probably in a few hours. If you want someone to blame for the lateness, blame George Lucas, Dean Koontz, Kerry Killinger, Paris Hilton, my girlfriend and the leader of my girlfriend's storytelling ensemble. But don't blame me; nothing's EVER my fault. Never. Never ever.

Since I didn't get to pan "Star Wars 3," I'll pan something else instead. Stereo pan, that is. That just happens to be the topic of today's edition of The Best of TraxWeekly. It's by Necros again, and it has another little chart, but this time I cheated. But I have a good excuse: see the list in the preceding paragraph.

Impressive, young Skywalker. - May 19th, 2005

Song of the Day: "Humanoideja" by Mellow-D & Stinger - IT - 642k - Fantasy
A stylin', laidback fantasy-electronica trip.

Link of the Day: Un4seen Developments
If you're not using XMPlay to play tracker music, you really should be.

Today's news:
Yes, there's yet another update to The Best of TraxWeekly, but who the hell cares? "Star Wars 3" is out!

Okay, "Star Wars 3: Revenge of the Sith" is flawed. Let's get that out of the way right now. When it comes to handling love and emotions, George Lucas is, to put it kindly, woefully inept. If you thought the doughy-eyed love scenes in "Star Wars 2: Attack of the Cliched Movie Title" were annoying, you won't get much reprieve here. Granted, you'll get a little reprieve, since the emotional issues between Anakin and Padme this time are much more complex than "We love each other so very, very much!" There's a very, very compelling emotional conflict buried underneath the banality of the actual script. Plus this time Lucas asked for some help with the screenplay, and it shows -- not much, but it shows. But there's only so much that good actors can do with bad lines. Honestly, I don't know if George Lucas is married or not, but I sure as hell hope he comes up with smoother lines with his wife in real life than the ones he gives to his characters.

More on the topic of emotion... there are three big turning points for Anakin Skywalker, and I thought the first two were a bit hurried and forced, though Hayden Christensen does an admirable job of making them work anyway. A deeper look into his mind and a bit more dialogue between him and... well... another character (trying to avoid spoilers here) would've helped in both cases.

But overall... what can I say? The third time really is the charm. For me, "Revenge of the Sith" actually made it worthwhile to sit through the first two movies, which had their wonderful moments (but not quite enough of them) and their truly cringe-worthy moments (and more than enough of them). The first two movies were the set-up, and this is the payoff: a rollicking two-and-a-half hours that pretty much reminded me of why I was so excited before "The Phantom Menace" came out.

It's also a sucker-punch to the gut at several points. This movie is dark. Very dark. Especially at the end. Maybe I'm a wuss, but I came very close to getting teary-eyed at 4 different times in the final hour. But that makes it all the more compelling. We are watching the corruption of a flawed and conflicted man who still wants, very desperately, to do the right thing, and who finds it harder and harder and inexorably harder to even know what the right thing is anymore. By his motives, Anakin Skywalker is one of the purest characters in the movie; by his actions, he is one of the most defiled. The final 60 minutes is, without hyperbole, some of the best cinema I've ever seen.

If it just wasn't for the gosh-awful screenplay...

George Lucas has never been good at emotion, script, or really even directing. But he's a genius at visual impact and the overall art of telling a damn good story. And that's what makes the third movie work. All the problems of the first two movies are still here, but this time around Lucas remembers how to tell a damn good story, something he seemed to forget in the first two. In this case, it makes all the difference. All the difference.

My rating? Give it 3 stars out of 4. This still could've been so much better, but hey... it's f'ing Star Wars!!!

(Oh, and can we stop it with the "Darth Sidious is a metaphor for George W. Bush!" nonsense? It's a fricken' movie, and if you're turning to George Lucas to validate your basic political philosophy, you need help, my friend. Sorry for the politics, but I had to get that off my chest somehow, and now my blood pressure is returning to normal. And oh, hey, sleep. Sleep is good. I'm going to sleep now.)

Glutton for punishment - May 18th, 2005

Song of the Day: "Improvise" by Wizard - IT - 816k - Acid Jazz
A trippy concoction of brass, piano and guitars backed by an infectious jazz groove.

Link of the Day: United Trackers (dead link removed)
Yes, UT is actually alive again. 'nuff said.

Today's news:
So yeah, I actually got talked into watching a midnight-showing of "Star Wars: Episode 3" tonight. I've been of a mixed mind... on the one hand, it's f'ing Star Wars!!! On the other hand, it's f'ing Star Wars. I dunno... I think hearing that George Lucas actually hired somebody other than himself to help write the screenplay unlocked the door. Seeing reviews that all pretty much say "Actually, it's pretty good... no, really, it is!" opened the door. But what really swung me away from the Dark Side (i.e. waiting until... I dunno, Sunday to go see the darn thing) was hearing about Steven Spielberg weeping openly during an advance screening -- not because it sucked, but because it was just that good.

But then again, Spielberg also thought "Hook," "Always," "A.I." and "The Terminal" were good too.

And it's f'ing Star Wars. Meh.

At any rate, I'm lazy today, so this is a short update. But it does include a short article by Necros for The Best of TraxWeekly. Yeah, it has another stupid little chart in it that I had to wrestle with, but this time I was able to copy-and-paste the chart from a couple of days ago to speed up the HTML'ing. And now, I'm going to sleep during the day, work my part-time job tonight, and then go watch "Star Wars" at midnight.

Hopefully, the part-time job won't end up being the most entertaining part of my day.

(Greetz to Tim Gentry from down-undah!)

Simplify! - May 17th, 2005

Song of the Day: "Sanctuary Of Love" by Lluvia - XM - 787k - Trance
Hypnotic, exotic, and oh so smooth. This girl could track!

Link of the Day: Transmissions (dead link removed)
Vowthorn's new underground music 'zine online, with close ties to the tracking scene, in-depth artist interviews, and music and album reviews.

Today's news:
Okay... getting Necros's and Leviathan's charts to look right on the Best of TraxWeekly page the past couple of days has been a pain in the caboose. (Want a laugh? View Source on that page and look at the code. I did that all myself. By hand. In Notepad. Ugh.) That said, I chose today's addition to The Best of TraxWeekly solely based on one criteria: can I simply copy-and-paste it into Notepad, add some Paragraph-tags and be done with it in 2 minutes? Oh, I can! Good, that's today's article. :)

It ended up being a fortunate choice, though... "The Importance Of Music Theory" by Future Assassin. It ties in with Leviathan's article as well as what I wrote myself yesterday. And it also turns out that Future Assassin went through the same musical issues 9 years ago that I'm going through now: a complete and utter inability to get stuff from my head to sound right in a tracker. Not to mention FA taking so long to write a song, a problem that's plagued me for my entire tracking "career." And it offers an interesting answer to the infamous question of "Why should I give a flying fornication about music theory, anyway?" You expect a guy like Leviathan who eats, sleeps and breathes music theory to wax evangelical about it, so the perspective from a guy like Future Assassin who didn't know music theory is intriguing.

But who cares? Click here for cute puppy pictures.

By the way, greetz to Princess_XM and Mary Beaird (Hail, Mary!) who both checked in via e-mail. Great hearing from you again!

And I still have Gmail invites, just in case any of you care. You don't seem to, but I'll offer 'em anyway. Just e-mail me at vince.young@gmail.com and I'll set you up the bomb.

Taking the lead - May 16th, 2005

Song of the Day: "G2" by John Douskos & Mister Bla - XM - 1855k - Trance
A relaxing melody juxtaposed against fast beats with drum'n'bass stylings.

Link of the Day: Modland
An excellent FTP site with a great selection of hard-to-find tracks from hard-to-find artists. Navigation's a little tricky since the files are organized first by format and THEN by artist, but the quantity and quality of the tunes is impressive.

Today's news:
There's another new addition to the Best of TraxWeekly page today, but there's something else to take care of first.

I wasn't planning on having a "Mailbag" segment on this site, and certainly not so soon, but I got a request for advice today, and I figured others might find the answer useful. Douglas Carmichael writes:

"Any ideas on how I can make the process of lead/bass creation more 'fluid'?"

Such a simple question, such a complex answer. :)

I'll address bass first. It used to be that I treated bass in my songs as just another background element, nothing more than the lowest note in the background chords and something to add more "oomph" to the overall sound of the song. But then the same Chris Trawick who originally introduced me to .MODs finally caught up with me and my music for the first time. He was a bass guitarist and felt my basslines were way too simple and unfulfilling, and he set about trying to re-educate me. The biggest thing I picked up from Chris is how versatile a good bass line can be. It can just be an extra note in the background chord, or it can be a harmony or even a counter-melody, or it can be a percussion instrument in its own right, an extension of the beat created by the drums. But a truly effective bassline is all of those things all at the same time.

I'll even share with you the example Chris shared with me after hearing my song "Beacon." The simple quarter-note hops on the bassline drove him almost as crazy as the bassline staying on the same tone for eight notes at a time. He actually ran out to his car, came in with a Sarah McLachlan CD and a pair of hi-def headphones and made me sit down and listen to the song "Possession" with an ear for the bass. The song has a style similar to "Beacon" and a bassline that, on the surface, is similar in style as well... but only on the surface. The bass on "Possession" is also built around quarter-note hops holding on the same note, except that it skips up or down to different notes fairly frequently and cuts in with eighth-note grace notes all over the place and the occasional note slide. The bass establishes an even stronger rhythm than the drumming does, adds an air of menace to the lyrics and vocals, and acts as a counter-point to Sarah McLachlan's soaring alto voice.

A trick I also use sometimes is to use the bass to foreshadow an upcoming change in the song or chord progression just a note or two before the change actually hits. Take the bass up a few notes or down a few notes while everything else around it keeps doing what it's "supposed" to be doing. It's not always approriate, but it's a gimmick that can sometimes help smooth out an awkward transition in a song.

As for leads... that's a bit trickier for me. I really don't set out to "create" leads. Usually what happens with me is that I'll be at work or driving or doing something completely and utterly unreleated to music, and for some reason my brain will start playing around with short little melodies, nothing spectacular or interesting... until something will just click in my brain and recognize that I've just come up with a melody that's a little more noteworthy. At that point, I'll run the melody around in my brain a few dozen times and just trial-and-error the hell out of it, all while making a mad dash to a pen and paper to jot down that melody for later use. I really can't make good melodies or leads... they just sort of "happen" in my brain.

On top of that, when I track, I tend not to use the stereotypical long-note synth samples that demostyle tunes are known for, or even lead guitars. I tend to go with the piano, or maybe short guitar notes, something with a hard initial attack and a fast fade-out. That changes the sorts of melodies I can do, and makes many other people's tips on "how to write leads" difficult to apply to my own music.

Studying up on music theory can help though, if for no other reason than that it gives you a starting point by letting you know which notes NOT to use in your melody. I'm hardly an expert on music theory; I have kind-of an intuitive sense of how it works and why, but when someone starts talking about a sustained chord in Locrian mode in the key of F#, my head starts spinning. Fortunately, yesterday on the Best of TraxWeekly page I posted up an article by Leviathan about the basics of music theory, chords and modes. It looks complicated, but trust me... it's a LOT easier to read than most of the stuff on music theory you'll find with Google. Read it through and tinker around with notes and chords, and see if it helps you.

Another guy who really knows his stuff is Necros, and he once wrote a great tips article for TraxWeekly on how to spice up your leads. I've posted it up on the Best of TraxWeekly page today, and hopefully it will help as well.

Fullmetal Gargoyle - May 15th, 2005

Song of the Day: "Alchemy" by Gargoyle - IT - 1623k - Pop
Mid-tempo experimental pop with a twist of rock.

Link of the Day: OSMusic.net (dead link removed)
Roncli's new archive for "open source music," including tracker music. It's been open for 8 months now and shows a lot of potential. Check it out!

Today's news:
Hooray! Day one of this site's new modus operandi, and so far so good. And I have a treat for you, an entirely new feature: The Best of TraxWeekly! The page itself gives you more detail, but basically I pull useful articles out of old issues of TraxWeekly and post them up for your convenience. Now you don't have to skim through 4 issues full of IRC transcripts and interviews from 1996 with people who stopped tracking in 1997 just to find some tracking tips. I've started with an article from Leviathan about the basics of music theory, chords and modes. And there'll be plenty more in the future. Click here. You know you want to.

By the way, in case you missed it yesterday, I have Gmail invites. If you're one of the rare, poor schlubs out there who wants a Gmail account and doesn't have one, just e-mail me at vince.young@gmail.com and I'll send an invite to you. Right now, Google is still beta-testing Gmail, which means the only way to get a Gmail account is to get invited by an existing Gmail member, such as myself. It's pretty nifty; read yesterday's post for more info.

Day by day. - May 14th, 2005

You know, my biggest problem with running websites is that I don't seem to believe in the existence of minor updates. You know, just writing a paragraph or two, saving the file, uploading it, and moving on with my day. No, I have to do everything BIG. The problem with this is that when I think "Gee, maybe I should update my website," my brain automatically translates it into, "Gee, maybe I should undertake a massive re-writing of the DOs & DON'Ts page, add a couple of hundred new songs to the Music Vault and bring the Links page into the post-Sadaam era." Not exactly something one does over breakfast, right? And since I already work 66 hours a week and devote a sizeable portion of my choppy segments of free time to things like sleeping and occasionally seeing my girlfriend, updating the website is not high on the ol' priority list, especially when I look upon it as such a gargantuan task and decide, "Y'know, I think I'll go play chess on Yahoo! instead."

So, I need a new philosophy. Fortunately, the newly blogolicious nature of my website makes this quite possible. Instead of re-writing the entire DOs & DON'Ts page in one fell swoop, I should just re-write a short section at a time and post it right on this here Index page as a new entry every day. And when it's finally done, I can then assemble all the pieces into one big page, upload that mutha-fugga, and move on to something else.

Come to think of it, I can also pick out one song a day from my Huge List o' Songs To Add To The Site and post it here too.

Come to think of it, I can also pick one new link a day and post it here too.

Sounds like a plan, and it has the added benefit of officially making this a daily-update site, which in turn should boost site traffic, which in turn will allow me to sell off half of the page as ad banners and turn all you suckers' click-throughs into cash. Oh, whoops, I wasn't supposed to say that last part out-loud.

Anyhoo, that's the plan, and it starts tomorrow.

By the way, I have something extremely rare and valuable to offer you: Gmail invites! "What's so rare about that? All of my friends have like 50 each of the darned things and they're always trying to foist them off on me," I hear you cry. Well, here's the rare part: everyone may have Gmail invites, but only I have Gmail invites from NOVUS!!! And the crazy part is that I'm giving them away for free. All you have to do is e-mail me at vince.young@gmail.com and I'll send one to ya. You know, just in case you're the one poor sap in the universe who actually wants a Gmail account and doesn't have one. The spam-blocking alone is worth it, and the massive amounts of storage space are a bonus. I've had this account for 9 months now, and the only messages I've had to delete are the 9 pieces of spam that have somehow managed to sneak through. That's, like, 1 spam a month. Of course, I've also jealously guarded my e-mail address from spammers like a Trekkie guarding his Spock ears, but still, it's nice to know that Gmail knows a random-address spam-bot when it sees one.

(Actually, I had to delete a 10th message as well, but it wasn't really spam, but instead was from a rather-confused young woman from India who seems to think that the best way to get people to follow Jesus Christ is to send e-mails written in some Hindu language to people who don't understand the aforementioned Hindu language. Apparently, Yesus Kristus means Jesus Christ in Hindu. I guess it worked with SOMEBODY out there, or else she wouldn't have tried it again with me, but whatever.)

Be with you in a minute... - March 25th, 2005

I think I've listened to more tracker music in the past 6 days than I have in the past 6 months. Kinda fun, actually. Back when I was still in my "the scene can rot in Hell" mood I just couldn't hold any interest in any tracker music, not even my own. Too many negative associations, I guess. And recently I've been side-tracked with various audio-editing projects in my free time, so it's really only been this week that my sound-card hasn't been otherwise-occupied. And man, I'd almost forgotten how good some of this stuff was.

Anywho, I've had lots of work-related drama lately, along with the aforementioned audio-editing spare-time projects, which means I've spent a grand total of 0 minutes working on my planned overhaul of the DOs & DON'Ts page, though at least I've spent a lot of time thinking about it. So, it's still in the works.

In the meantime, Fingersoup has struck again, and I'm not referring to yesterday's gross-out news story about someone finding a fingertip in their fast-food restaurant chili. (Ick.) No, this Fingersoup is MUCH tastier... it's the one who writes editorials for United Trackers, like this brand-new one (dead link removed) about the considerable advantages that tracking STILL has over other forms of computerized music production, even as Impulse Tracker and Fast Tracker 2 pass their 10th birthdays. There's a lot of sceners who bandy-about the idea that Reason and Cubase and sequencers and MP3 are THE way to go in 2005 and that trackers are sooooo 90s. You can feel that way if you'd like, but at least read Fingersoup's article, and maybe you'll understand why people like me are still so devoted to keeping the old ways alive.

Skeptical? - February 15th, 2005

I need your feedback on something; more on that in a minute.

I've been very heartened by Vizion's reaction to this site. I was afraid he'd be put off by my big, loud and public approach, something that Randor also questioned in this thread on the CTG forums. (The same thread also has a great summation of what an idiot I've been for the past two years, for those of you who missed it.) Basically, when I'm wrong, I believe in saying it just as loudly as when I think I'm right. I want to keep the conversation between Vizion and I private for now, but what he's said so far means a lot to me. Believe me when I say that Vizion is definitely a stand-up guy, and I can't believe how blind to that I was for so long.

If you're skeptical of my sudden change of attitude, I can't really blame you. To be honest, I really haven't changed all that much. I get into that with Georg in this thread over on the MODPlug forums (dead link removed). Bottom line is that quite frankly, in many ways I'm the same as before, and still quite opinionated. But I've gone about things all wrong for the past 2 years, and hurt and angered a lot of people in the process. That was wrong of me, and to add insult to injury, I accomplished nothing.

But while I haven't changed much, the way I do things can certainly change. My most likely starting-point is with my controversial DOs & DON'Ts page. For starters, it was written back in 1998, and I'm better at both writing and music now, so it needs updating for that reason alone. It could also use a new philosophy anyway, since going with a Do/Don't approach has needlessly alienated a lot of people and given them an entirely incorrect view of what I'm really trying to do. As a result I've spent years yelling, "No, you idiots, THIS is what I mean," and not surprisingly, that hasn't worked very well. So instead, I'm gonna try less Do/Don't and more If/Then. Details are here in this (other) thread over on the MODPlug forums (dead link removed), and here your participation is strongly encouraged. You all have told me for years that I was doing it wrong. Now's your chance to tell me how to do it right. For once, I'm actually in a mood to shut up and listen.

I'll wrap this up with a neat article from Fingersoup over on United Trackers about controversial departures from the tracking scene (dead link removed). It was written a week after my   The Novus Revolution   rant, so it's a little out-dated now, but it's still one hella-good piece of writing. Fingersoup didn't get my reasons for leaving entirely correct, but that's only because he's not psychic. He really did his homework, and it's a great read that I highly recommend.

"Hey man, nice shot." - February 10th, 2005

Yes, it's really me, Novus, and I'm really saying something nice about Vizion. (And yes, the title is a reference to Filter. Somehow, it seemed to fit.)

Yesterday, I clicked on over to Vowthorn's newly re-focused website, Transmissions. It's basically a small-scale underground music 'zine on the web, and it's pretty cool, so check it out. He just released Volume 1 last week, including an interview with Vizion. I read it yesterday, and I just re-read it today. And I think I see Vizion in a whole new light.

See, I think what's gotten into me lately is that I'm just plain tired of being angry. The main reason I'm angry is because I have so many enemies. And the easiest way to not have enemies is to stop making them in the first place. And while I certainly had a lot of enemies, the fiercest of them all, by far, was Vizion.

Why was Vizion after me so ferociously for so long? I could chalk it up to a personal grudge, and for our later run-ins I'd be right. I hated him, and he probably hated me. But back when Vizion first disagreed with me in public, we'd had absolutely zero personal contact, so it couldn't have been personal yet. That was impossible.

So, why did it start? Because Vizion saw my message, my philosophy and my attitude as harmful to the scene. If it'd just been a philosophical disagreement, he probably would've been more civil and would've given me credit for at least having good motives. But thanks to the brash approach I took, he saw me as a dangerous ego-maniac who was trying to take over the tracking scene. I had to be stopped, at any cost.

That was my fault.

I was trying to help the scene. Believe that if you want to, or stay skeptical, it's your choice. Only I really know what was in my head. What I wanted was this: to find a way that would help the tracking scene and benefit me at the same time.

It's kinda like former President Bill Clinton stepping up and spearheading the fundraising effort for tsunami relief here in the USA. (If you're already rolling your eyes at me, then you're already missing my point. Just hang on a minute, and you'll see where I'm really going with this.) You could say Clinton was just trying to twist a monumental tragedy into free publicity for himself. Or you could say he was using his stature to raise more money that could benefit the victims. Me? I think both are correct. Bill Clinton got involved because he could do a lot of good for others while at the same time making himself look better. It's a win-win. He has selfish motives, but he has selfless motives as well. It's two sides of the same coin. Just because you do a good deed for a selfish reason doesn't turn the deed itself evil. Whatever his reasons, Clinton made the right decision, and that should be praised.

No, I'm not putting myself on that pedestal; my goal was obviously far less important and far less laudable. But I saw a threat to the viability of the tracking scene, and I thought I had a way to fix it that would benefit both the scene and myself. But I made one key mistake: I made it too much about myself. That made it impossible for people like Vizion to see anything BUT the selfish side of the coin. He couldn't see the selfless side, because my ego was so big that it blocked him.

Is it any wonder he came after me so ferociously?

I can't say that I agree with Vizion's view of the tracking scene, or with the methods he chose to attack me. But I can say this: Vizion was fighting tooth-and-nail for what he believed was right. I was too personally involved to see that at the time, but I see it now, and I just can't continue to see Vizion as an enemy with that in mind. So, I owe Vizion an apology.

Vizion, I'm sorry. For everything. The world needs more people like you, people who actually fight for what they care about and what they see as right. Far too few people do that anymore. So, I'm sorry for everything, especially for ever doubting your motives.

Curiosity killed the cat. - February 9th, 2005

(Posted by me on the old MODPlug forum, which has since crashed.)

I know, I know, I only lasted 4 days before I got too curious. Sue me.

I'm not responding yet, though. Too many different things I want to say, plus I want a few days to digest things anyway before I say anything more...

...except for this. Vowthorn, if nobody cares what I have to say about the scene, then why were you reading my site, and why did you link to it from this forum? You've done more to promote my site in the past 5 weeks than I have in the past 5 months. Just think about it.

And that's as confrontational as I'm gonna get. You all gave me a lot to think about, even Vowthorn. Feel free to write more (dead link removed), not that you need my permission anyway.

Okay, now that THAT'S out of my system... - February 5th, 2005

You are hereby cordially invited to insult me.

No, seriously. No strings attached. No sarcasm intended. This isn't the loud and brash 2003-model Novus or the brooding and bitter 2004-model Novus, or even last month's "Fuck the world, please, I want to get off"-model Novus.

You can read all the details here (dead link removed). (Bear in mind, I posted this on page 3 of an active message board thread, so you may want to start at page 1.) Or if you're too lazy to click, keep reading here.

I'll even be nice and summarize it for you first, since it's kinda long-ish. Okay, now I'm being redundant. I wrote it; of course it's long.

Basically, this: I wrote the Novus Manifesto, and the scene read it and reviewed it and gave it a 4 on a 1-to-10 scale, saying that the musical composition was okay, but the sample selection sucked and the mixing was amateur. And rather than building on that, I acted like some TraxInSpace n00b and whined because you didn't give me a 10, because I'm all 1337 and should never get anything but a 10, or maybe a 9 when I try some experimental shit just for fun. And then I kept writing, and y'all kept rating it with 4s, and I got pissed off and left. And now I don't know if I'm really back or not, but I do know I'm ready to try and sit down and shut up and actually fucking learn something from y'all.

And now, this is the part where you click here and read (dead link removed). The part where you get to insult me is near the bottom.

And for those who are still too lazy to click, I'll just use the magic of copy-and-paste...

MODPlug forum thread: My belated reply - February 5th, 2005

(Posted by me on the old MODPlug forum, which has since crashed.)

Replying here is probably a mistake, but what the hell... the criticism of me in this thread is actually rather restrained, compared to what I've taken from... shall we say, "other corners." Maybe this'll actually be productive or someshit.

Not sure why it took me so long to make this connection, but I probably have to thank John-string-of-numbers-in-his-name for whining about my reviews in those other threads.

Back when I still used to actively review around the scene, I developed a reputation as a bit of a pit bull. I saw people all around me handing out 9s and 10s like candy, and I wanted my 9s to actually mean something, dammit. So, I graded low and reviewed harshly, and I pulled no punches. And if the artists didn't like it, I didn't care, because I wasn't reviewing for the artist anyway; I was reviewing for the poor listener who was about to download a lousy song until he read my review and changed his mind.

So, I'd write scathing reviews, and artists would take great umbrage with that, and I'd shrug them off as immature idiots who weren't willing to be honest with themselves about their own music, who didn't see any need to improve.

How embarrassing to finally realize that I've actually BEEN that artist ever since I wrote the Manifesto.

I had a neat idea that I wanted people to think about, but I figured if I just quietly posted it on my site, it would go nowhere.

But if I took a bigger approach...

Hey, what could go wrong? If people didn't like the idea, they'd ignore it, right? Nothing changes, no real harm done. At least they'd read it and think about it.

Oh, people read it all right. But they didn't really think about it, because they were too busy thinking about my attitude instead of my idea. In the aftermath of the Manifesto, the bulk of the criticism was about my approach, my attitude, and there wasn't really much direct criticism of the actual POINT I was trying to make.

It was quite frustrating. The idea went nowhere, AND on top of that I pissed off half the scene, while the other half shrugged and moved on.

Basically, the scene gave me a rating of 4, and in their review they said the musical composition was okay, but that the sample selection sucked and the mixing was amateur.

And so I did the equivalent of Johnny-number-seed in that other thread: I fought back. I railed against all the idiots who weren't willing to expand their minds, to embrace a new form of creativity, to open up to something that they wouldn't normally like. Something was wrong with all of them, and they didn't understand me and weren't even trying. I wrote my follow-up Reloaded essay and some other stuff, and the flames kept rolling in, and time after time after time the focus of the criticism was on my attitude, not my idea. I kept getting 4s, and I kept believing the problem was everyone else, not me, so I refused to change.

Honestly, guys, all along, I was trying to help, and I wasn't getting any credit for it, or even just some benefit of the doubt. THAT is what got me so angry, time and time again.

But hey, if I keep trying to get to the other side of a brick wall by punching it repeatedly when there's a perfectly good unlocked door 15 feet to my right, is it the wall's fault when I end up with a bunch of broken fingers? Or is it my own fault?

So, here's your chance, boys. Y'all keep talking about me refusing to see my own mistakes. Well, point 'em out. If you want to, be blunt. Be rude. Hell, go dig up Marc Crouch and Sergeeo and Vizion and Spoz and unleash them here. It might be the only time in their lives in which I ASK them to insult me.

I'll be back in a week to read 'em.

And then I'll be back in another week to reply.

(I tend to be short-tempered at times. Hopefully, this will alleviate that.)

This doesn't mean I'm back. I may just decide that nobody wants me around and to just let this drop. But come on, guys. I have time. I have money. I have webspace. I have above-average musical talent. I have some level of skill with the written word. I have the ability to teach. I have experience. I have dedication. I have organizational skills. I have things I can offer the scene, and I've been trying to give 'em to y'all for the past 8 years. Do you want 'em or not? Just let me know.

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