How to be a remixer October 10, 2017 14:24
Getting started as a Remixer
You want to remix C64 tunes yourself?
- Auf Wiedersehen Monty
- Comic Bakery
- Cybernoid II
- Giana Sisters
- Human Race
- International Karate
- The Last Ninja
- Last Ninja 2
- Last Ninja 3
Now, let's assume you've found a tune to concentrate on:
What's the Next Step?
YES, then you have that all-important thing which will make people respond to your music: an IDEA!
Lazy Jones) had an idea.
It was very successful, though of course the legal background to that is decidedly unsatisfactory.
It doesn't matter if you use free softsynths or thousands of pounds worth of hardware: lack of ideas shows through instantly. The days are long gone when the fans applauded any C64 cover.
Assuming you've made it this far without being depressed, it gets more exciting.
How DO you recreate a C64 piece?
Which sequencer do you use?
- Music 2000 (Playstation 1)
- Fruityloops/FL Studio
- Logic Audio
- Evolution Audio
- Ableton Live
MIDI sequencers(which tend to take a linear approach to composition and which are designed to drive external MIDI hardware as well as VST Softsynths), and
Trackers, which take a more pattern-based approach. Sibelius is a scoring package, so everything is done with sheet music.
If you want to include SID from games in your remixes, you have many choices:
SIDPlay for Windows will save a SID as a WAV: though it will be an emulated WAV, and thus imperfect, though the quality has vastly improved. The JSidplay player also allows you to mute channels, which is perfect for remixing and has an oscilloscope view.
VICE and other C64 emulators will also output sound now.
SIDFX is a cool solution to put into your real C64 to add dual/swappable SID chips, and has noise reduction. It can be used in conjunction with a control panel application downloadable from CSDB. There is currently a waiting list for the second batch.
- Record from a real C64 using the video port (though this tends to be noisy), and the quality you gain from recording from a real SID chip is lessened by the noise.
- Mssiah cartridge is also worth a look: it turns your C64 into a MIDI synthesizer, 4-bit wave player, sequencer, etc.
Older solutions that are less accessible now included:
Midibox - a DIY midi board with a SIDchip on. The schematics were free, and it had Sid playing. Search it out if you're curious.
Catweasel - a multi-function card for the Amiga and PC which amongst other things allows you to play SIDs through a real SID chip. It was good, but PC technology changes left it incompatible with modern PCs. Individual Computers, the manufacturers, do many other good things.
HardSID card. This card will allow you both to record SID music, and use the card as a MIDI device. It was brilliant, but again, modern PCs left it behind. However, the HardSID 4U is still functional (though drivers are unsigned).
- Sidstation: the most expensive SID player ever, now itself part of history.
A note from the Legal Side
Well, many of the original pieces are now registered with MCPS/PRS/STIM/GEMA, whatever. So permission to cover them (but NOT to sample the SID) is already granted, subject to the normal royalties charged by these organisations (which deal with all music). However, all SIDs are under copyright to someone. No one minds if you upload covers to Remix.kwed.org though.
Contact us if you want to use C64 music in a film or TV Programme.
We'd be delighted to help out.