Updated: June 12th, 2011
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So there.


Archives: 2007

Back by popular demand! 2007 was the year in which enough people poked me often enough about returning to what was left of the tracking scene that I finally decided to give it another go. I of course wrote a few more short essays, but my biggest project by far was The Novus Compo, a monthly public-voting music competition for -- get this -- MP3s! Sadly, the compo flamed out after a hot start, and by mid-2008 I had given up on it. Thus ended my last major involvement in what could now be fairly called the post-tracking scene.

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

Novus Compo ends - May 1st, 2008

Due to dwindling participation, I've decided to end the Novus Compo. Full details are up on the compo website.

In the meantime, I plan to start writing more reviews over at Trax In Space and CTG Music in the near future. I won't start right away, but when I do, I'll probably also start posting those reviews here, so you won't have to look far.

Watch this space for details. You haven't seen the last of me. :)

(EDIT in July 2014: I never did get back to writing reviews on TiS or CTG Music. Just thought I'd save you some time so you don't go looking for them.)

Compo news! - January 28th, 2008

The BarryVan Compo is a brand-new music competition from Barry van Oudtshoorn, a regular contributor to the Novus Compo. Very interesting idea... Barry selects a source of artistic inspiration such as a poem or painting and gives you a month to write a song around it. Then he pre-screens the entries, picks the top 6, and puts them up for voting for another month. Then he does it again, 6 times a year in 2-month cycles.

The first entry deadline is coming up in the next couple of days, but thus far there has only been 1 entry! Fortunately, some people can crank out good music fairly quickly, so you still have time to enter. The inspiration this month is Edward Lear's surreal, absurdist poem "The Jumblies," and I'm looking forward to seeing what people come up with. And of course I'll be voting when the votepack opens up in a few days. :)

Speaking of voting... The Novus Compo is still up and running, and right now voting is open for January's Overall Round, featuring the best songs from the genre rounds earlier this month. Voting is only open through Wednesday, and then February's rounds start up, so hit the website, check out all 5 entries, and cast your vote!

More samples - December 18th, 2007

Just an addendum to last month's massive sample linkhaul... The Canary over on Trax In Space just tossed up another big batch o' samples on the TiS forums, so I thought I'd flag it up in here too.

TiS: Some More Free Stuff from The CanarY

That is all.

A sampling of samples - November 29th, 2007

One of the most widely-asked questions in every corner of the online music scene is "Where can I find good samples?" It's a question that gets asked fairly commonly on the various forums I hang out on, and I finally just decided to put together a list of links to those various forum threads for my own use. And then I figured, why not share it? So here ya go. :) All of these come from the forums over at CTGmusic, Trax In Space, The MOD Archive and MODPlug Central. I make no guarantees that the links in these threads still work, but try 'em anyway. There's worse things in life than a 404 error. ;)

CTG: 282MB free samples is never wrong.
TiS: Thousands of free samples.
CTG: Free 2gb library - this time from Yellow Tools
CTG: Free EastWest sample library
TMA: Good sources for samples
TMA: The freesound sample database
MPC: Sample sites
MPC: The VST Instruments topic
TiS: VST's
TiS: A whole bunch of Japanese VSTis
TiS: Free Plugins
TMA: Nifty sample resource
MPC: Some good electric or acoustic guitar VST instrument?
MPC: Good IT drum kit?
CTG: hardstyle samples
CTG: Looking for strings...
CTG: Metal guitars
CTG: Looking for a sample...
TMA: Guitar Samples
TMA: Chip32
TMA: I'm so looking for chip samples.
TMA: Wanna make your own Chip Samples? Use vChip!

Share and enjoy! :)

Shuffle up and deal! - November 7th, 2007

It's been a while since the Music Vault section really accurately reflected my own personal tastes in tracked music. Of course, it was never quite meant to do that, since the main purpose of that section all along was to stress music that I considered to be "good" on an objective level.

I think it's time to change that. :)

I've done some shuffling of the songs in that section so that it reflects more how much I like each of those songs personally and subjectively, rather than any attempt at objective opinions. Give it a look and a listen. There are some very good songs waiting for you, and I think you'll like what you hear!

The Novus Compo: October's round begins! - October 3rd, 2007

Yeah, I've been quiet on here lately. Got a lot on my plate, but I do at least want to take the time to remind you that The Novus Compo is still going strong! September's voting is done, and October's voting has just opened, so check out the compo site to see the results, cast your vote, and maybe even enter your own song. :)

The Novus Compo: voting deadline is near! - September 17th, 2007

There's less than 48 hours left to vote in September's mini-compos in The Novus Compo, and then we'll transition over to September's overall compos. Go cast your vote!

Stirring up trouble since 1998! - September 14th, 2007

It may surprise you -- or maybe not, actually -- to learn that long before I managed to piss off at least one-third of the tracking scene at once with The Novus Manifesto, I managed to piss off at least one-third of the tracking scene by writing a set of DOs and DON'Ts for trackers looking to improve their skills. Some were offended by some of the particular tips I wrote, but amazingly, some were offended that I would dare write any tips at all! I was stifling people's creativity, they said, chaining people to arbitary rules that they had no need for and that would limit their true musical potential.

Of course, none of these critics bothered to ask any of the trackers who needed help and were looking for help what THEY thought. If they had, the critics would've heard that they found my tips helpful and useful, and while they may not have agreed with or followed 100% of them, reading those tips still gave them a starting point for improving their musical skills. And of course, none of these critics stepped forward to offer any tips or advice of their own, because it's so much easier to criticize those who are trying to help others. Actually stepping forward to help people in a better way is work! You might, oh, I don't know, sprain a thumb from answering e-mails or something. ;)

"Bitter, party of one." (Sorry, inside joke there.)

Anyway, I wrote the first version of these tips in 1998, and I made various changes and edits until 'round about 2001, at which point I kinda left it alone. And so those DOs and DON'Ts have been sitting pretty much unchanged since 2001, growing increasingly irrelevant with each passing year.

The time has come to take them down.

I have no regrets about writing those DOs and DON'Ts, and I make no apologies. Those tips helped people, and I know this because they e-mailed me and told me. But it's been a few years since the last such e-mail. Given that there's still the potential for controversy, I figure if those tips really aren't helping people anymore, I might as well take them down.

I'm also taking down the Publicity and Communication pages within the University section of this website. This here inter-web is WAY different then when I wrote those pages. The links are outdated, and so is the advice. There are whole new options and ways of reaching far more people far more easily nowadays. Rather than modernize those two pages, I'm just taking them down as well.

That leaves nothing in the University section except for The Best of TraxWeekly. THAT I'm keeping up, because there's some great info there for musicians of all kinds, trackers and non-trackers alike. And heck, I may still have some more articles to dig up and a few other things to add to that section, so stay tuned. :)

Just thinkin'. - September 11th, 2007

I'm feeling extra contemplative today, probably because it's September 11th, and that day always puts me in a sober and thoughtful mood. But of course I don't like my mental agenda to be controlled by some murderous jackass halfway around the world, so it was with some relief that a couple of certain someones from my tracking past gave me something else to think about this morning.

Of course you know by now that I'm running a new MP3 compo, and I was quite pleased this morning to see a vote and an entry from someone I've had a rough history with: Vizion. He and I patched things up quite some time ago, of course, but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. And it's the cherry on top of the huge showing of support this compo has seen from all corners of what's left of the tracking scene. The reaction has been almost entirely positive, and the negative reaction has been limited, muted and extremely civil. Votes and entries are coming in at a pretty good clip, and while it's way too early to call this thing a success, it's certainly heading in the right direction.

It's just amazing to me that, after all the fool stunts I've pulled and all the people I've pissed off over the years, people are still willing to overlook all of that and welcome me back in. Personally, I think y'all are crazy. ;) Hell, just 9 months ago I was openly mocking Louigi Verona over on the CTG forums and calling him na´ve for wanting to start an MP3 compo to jump-start the post-tracking scene. And what I am doing now? Running a fricking MP3 compo. And instead of pointing out this dichotomy, Louigi has smiled, entered a song, voted and has been nothing but supportive as I do the very thing I was making fun of him for wanting to do. I don't think the word "irony" applies here (man, is that word overused), but whatever the word is, this hasn't escaped me. Louigi, you're a fricking saint and a kick-ass musician, and I mean that.

Things are starting to get exciting. There's a buzz building. Trax In Space is up and running. CTG Music has bounced back nicely from last month's server issues. Things just feel... different. I think my compo is only a tiny part of this buzz, as it was already starting to build before I joined in, but I'm glad to be a part of this.

As one brave man said six years ago today... "Let's roll."

Aaaaand they're off! - September 7th, 2007

September's 5 mini-compos over in The Novus Compo are up and running! There's some pretty good music there, so you may want to mosey on over, download a few, heck, maybe even cast a vote. :) Voting runs for 2 weeks, at which point I'll tally up the results and the 5 winners plus 1 wild card song will advance to the overall compo. Voting for the overall compo will run for 2 weeks as well, and then we'll start it all over again for October.

Okay, NOW I'm back. - August 27th, 2007

As hinted at before, here it is: my brand spankin' new monthly MP3 compo.

Click the link button, and all the details are right there.

Also, while I was designing a new logo and link button for The Novus Compo, I figured I might as well re-do the link button for this-here website as well.

I've used this old link button for... geez, just about 8 years. My brother Andy and I designed it together in his college dorm room while I was visiting him, and I've used it on all of my websites ever since. It's one of the few creative projects he and I have ever collaborated together on, and it was fun, even if it was just a link button. I hate to stop using it, and I'm certainly not going to delete it from my webspace anytime soon.

But this... this looks a bit cleaner, doncha think? :)

Anyway, go check out The Novus Compo, and have fun!

*tap**tap**tap* Is this thing on...? - August 14th, 2007

So, yeah, I've pretty much done everything I can do to make it clear that I have no interest in the post-tracking scene. And yet for some crazy reason I still get fairly regular e-mails and contact attempts from grizzled veterans and fresh-faced newbies alike who still want me to get involved again, as if I haven't caused enough trouble already. No, it's not exactly a deluge of e-mails, but it happens often enough that it's pretty clear that the "Go away and leave me the hell ALONE!!!" approach has failed miserably, because people are neither going away nor leaving me the hell alone.

But I've also quit the scene so damned many times at this point that if I WERE to rejoin the scene -- for, what, the 8th time now? I've lost track. Anyway, if I were to rejoin the post-tracking scene, I have no bloody clue if I'd be taken seriously at all. Not that I'm whining about it, that's just the situation I've put myself in, which is why I resorted to the "Go away and leave me the hell ALONE!!!" approach in the first place. Which has failed miserably.


I'm thinking of starting a compo. An MP3 compo.



(There. Let's see if anyone's paying attention.)

A funny thing happened on my way to obscurity... - May 6th, 2007

Long-story-short, I've cleaned up the dead song links here on the site. But hey, admit it: I'm much more entertaining when I'm telling the long story, aren't I?

If you've already read through the resulting carnage from my last visit to the tracking scene last December on the forums over at CTG-Music, you're aware that one of my biggest frustrations when it comes to tracking is that, despite the fact that I clearly want to be left alone, every few months somebody e-mails me to ask me a question about tracking, or to seek my advice, or to otherwise try to drag me kicking and screaming back into the tracking scene. This, of course, gets me thinking about the tracking scene, which in turn dredges up some rather painful and aggravating memories, which in turn gets me quite cross, which in turn makes me want to do something like, say, storm onto the CTG forums and kick everyone's sandcastles over and what-not. This, understandably, makes people get quite cross with me in return, and has the effect (highly desired by me, actually) of getting people to leave me alone for a bit... until the next sodding idiot, blissfully unaware of this pattern, e-mails me and starts the whole cycle over again.

December's events led to me pissing off several otherwise-very-cool people. In lieu of an apology to them, I'll simply posit that it would be best for all involved if they continue their current policy of making no further attempts to contact me. But being the otherwise-very-cool people that they all are, they likely already understand this.

But here I am, updating this here website again. And surely, if you have any pattern recognition skills at all, you'll realize what has just happened:

Some sodding idiot has just e-mailed me about tracking.

Oh, stop cringing. Your face will get stuck like that some day.

This well-intentioned n00b's e-mail was overall complimentary of novusmusic.org, and he implored me to "keep it fresh." I sent off a terse reply that me keeping this website fresh was not bloody likely. I'm sure he hates me now too, which means he can now join the exclusive Club For Otherwise-Very-Cool People Who Think Novus Is A Jerk. Membership in the CFOVCPWTNIAJ has its rewards, including a 15%-off benefit with Amazon.com.

But anyway... that got me thinking about my site, and it occurred to me that there must be a lot of links up here that have gone bad over time, especially in the Music Vault section and over on my now-defunct Monthly Invitational Compo. And I have some annoyingly perfectionistic tendencies, so this started gnawing on me, and before I knew it I was up to my elbows in HTML code and FTP uploads.

Of course, I'm cleaning up dead links. But for quite some time I've also been storing megs and megs of tracker files here on my website, in many cases songs that could be found nowhere else at all, and I've been paying for that storage space every month. I've also been paying for a whole lot more storage space that, while nice to have handy in a just-in-case sort of way, has been sitting empty and unused. So, I've taken those megs and megs of rare stored tracker files, dumped the whole lot of them over onto ftp.modland.com (VERY fine site, by the way, so check it out), and deleted them from my server. This will allow me to move my site to a significantly smaller server space and will cut down drastically on my web-related expenses, which is quite clearly a Good Thing.

This also means that, for once, instead of taking out my frustration on your website, I'm taking it out on mine instead. Quite a bit healthier, I do believe.

Oh, and before I forget... no, I'm not "back," whatever the hell "back" means. Meh.

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