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Friday, December 20, 2013


I just received this information from Nicholas Rezmerski -- thanks for the info, Nicholas! 

 For those of you who'd like to remix old video game music or use OPL2 instruments to write your own music, YouTube user "theycallmebruceful" (I think he's bsutherland on github.io) "wrapped the OPL2 emulation code from DOSBox (hardware/dbopl.c) in a VST instrument. Almost all the available parameters are programmable. Each instance of the plugin emulates a complete chip."

He goes on to say that he loaded MIDI note data ripped from the game [Syndicate] into Renoise, and loaded an instance of the VST for each instrument. Instrument parameters were programmed as closely as possible to the originals by running the game in DOSBox and capturing the register writes to the OPL device. He's named the VST JuceOPLVSTi.

Here's the YouTube demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI7U5XxTSW0

And here's the VST (32 bit): http://bsutherland.github.io/JuceOPLVSTi/

When I have some spare time, I'm going to check this out. I'll be interested in what any of you have to say about it after you try it out.

Nicholas said he has been listening to Doom midi files using this plugin.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Artistic Creations That Die

Computer game music is among the creations that die. They die because some corporation owns them and doesn't see the financial benefit to keeping them alive -- listened to.

That's where the remixers fill the void. Probably few of them have paid for a mechanical license to record and distribute the songs -- but they definitely do a huge service to society by keeping the songs alive.

A man named Bob May created "Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer." He created a Christmas poem for his daughter. He worked as a copywriter -- that is a person who writes copy (usually for advertising) -- for Montgomery Ward, the WalMart of the day. He recited the poem at a company Christmas party and his bosses at Montgomery Ward wanted to print it for distribution to customers. They paid a nominal fee to purchase the rights. By 1946, the book had been distributed to the tune of at least six million copies.

Bob May decided that he wanted the rights back. He explained to the CEO of Montgomery Ward that he had composed the poem for his daughter after she lost her mother to cancer in 1938. Believe it or not, the the CEO returned all rights back to Bob May.

As interesting as this is, fate would have it that Bob May had a brother-in-law named Johnny Marks, who wrote songs. Johnny composed "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" based upon Bob May's poem. He shopped it to several notable singers, including Gene Autry, who was already a singing cowboy movie legend. Autry was like the other singers -- he wanted nothing to do with the song. But, Mrs. Autry heard it and demanded that Gene record it. The rest is history. His recording was released in 1949. It was an unbelievable success, and has sold more records than any other Christmas song, with the exception of "White Christmas."

Do you think that there's a CEO today who would do the same as Montgomery Ward's did?

Only in our wildest dreams!

Remixers -- keep on keeping on!

PS I researched the story of Rudolph back in the 90's when I was writing a Christmas song of my own (finalized with my wife's lyrical assistance and singing in 2008 -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St_FctDTKc8). I searched everywhere for a copy of Bob May's poem. Finally I ordered the book. I was sorely disappointed in the poem. I didn't think it was that great -- but it was a great story. This proved to me that Johnny Marks was a great songwriter. He took the poem and told the same story in a little over three minutes of music. He wrote some other memorable Christmas songs. You can read more about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Marks