December 21st, 2022
Ah, the days when I would regularly post something new on here… perhaps I should get back into that, eh. For now though, this Year 2022 Retrospective will have to do.
As I mentioned in the previous post, we released a new Doppelplusungut album earlier in January. We’re not doing a new one this winter, as I want to spend time on some other projects that have been stacking up since a long time. Also participated in DiHalt’s beeper compo. Only came in 4th this time, even tough I’m actually pretty happy with my work.
Over the course of the next couple of months, I finally made some progress on Bintracker again. The core application is now pretty much feature complete. I also started to tackle Windows builds, but didn’t manage to get them working before the gardening season. I’m planning to start up work on that again in the coming months.
Not much artistic work got done from mid spring to the end of autumn, as driving our homestead was taking up pretty much all my free time. I’m fine with that, since it’s such an exiting process that involves learning many new tricks and techniques. Still, I wish the days had 48 hours, so I could do other things as well.
In June, I co-organized the famous C64 Lounge at Reilfest in Halle (Germany). I love doing the Lounge there, but I think this was my last time. Sadly, the Reilfest event has grown beyond any healthy proportions, making it an extremely exhausting experience.
In July, I helped organize Chipwrecked in Denmark, the largest outdoor Chiptune festival in the world (albeit slightly down-scaled from previous years due to Covid concerns). That was a blast. So good to meet old friends again after the pandemic years, make some new ones, and listen to an excellent and diverse selection of music on the big system. As expected with such a massive line-up, there were a number of acts that I didn’t know before who really blew me off my feet. My personal highlight was probably the turbo blasting set by synchronously headbanging metalhead duo Doktor Ziegel from Malmö. Also loved Eggstempo’s glitchy Chip Hop set, a rare sight these days.
During the next months, I participated in Rabenauge’s Transactor demo for the Commodore PET, which took 1st place in the Oldschool compo at Deadline. Not entirely happy with the end result, as the music in the demo isn’t playing as intended, which I learned only after it was released. Nevertheless, it was a fun experience, and there’s always a chance to do things right the next time.
The past few weeks I’ve been indulging in a ZX Spectrum beeper coding spree. I published four new beeper engines, and discarded another half a dozen designs in the process. After 7 years, I finally managed to beat my own record for smallest beeper engine with nanobeep3. Pindsvin and Pulsatilla are two engines combing Squeeker synthesis with PFM (pin pulse) and Pulse Interleaving, respectively. Finally, there’s tftone, a Tritone port that eliminates row transition noise, and runs at approximately 4 times the speed of the original Tritone.
So, overall it’s been an eventful and busy year. Hope to continue the good run next year. Until then, happy end-of-the-year festivities everyone. Stay safe, and see you all back in 2023.
January 8th, 2022
Another year, another Doppelplusungut. After last year’s online experiment, we both were craving to go back to the Rotz and do an album in the classic ++u way: a colorful mix of vastly different music styles executed with blissful incompetence, wrapping up a pun-filled, dadaistic radio play (in German). For the latter, we went with a fairy tale set in a bizarre underwater world this time. A gory fairy tale, that is.
As the custom demands, we release this album exclusively as a small run of home-made CDs. Who even has a CD player nowadays? If you do, and you want to own the latest or any of the previous twelve Doppelplusungut releases, get in touch. And speaking of last year’s vinyl release, it appears some of these rare disks are actually available for sale online now.
January 6th, 2021
Ah, winter. Nothing better than a good old rant to brighten up the day in this dull gray weather we’ve been having for several weeks now. Normally, dat zekt and me would have locked ourselves in at the studio for the month of December, to record a new Doppelplusungut. But well, things are a bit different these days. Long story short, as we live in different countries, we simply couldn’t meet up this year. So instead we went looking for a way of collaborating online without blowing through the rather tight monthly data limit I’m currently “enjoying”.
For the PC side of things, we normally stick to a mix of Milkytracker, HammerHead, Hydrogen, and Buzé, with the main sequencing work being done in Audacity. However, we knew this wasn’t going to be feasible this time, considering the constraints. So dat zekt suggested we give LMMS a try. Initially I was rather sceptical, since I strongly disliked LMMS the last time I tried it out. Then again that was more than a decade ago, so I felt that maybe it was time to give it another try. And so we did. And, to my surprise, the experience hasn’t been completely awful. So, after using LMMS daily for the past month, I’d like to share a few thoughts on it.
January 26th, 2020
A new year, a new Doppelplusungut release. For the 11th time, my mate dat zekt and me spent the end of the year creating a complete music album plus a radio play from scratch in one month’s time. After a techno-heavy release last year, we return to a more classic Doppelplusungut sound this time. This year’s main theme is “smart devices & social media”, as you may have guessed from the title (which translates to something like “Swipe & Gone” in English).
As usual, the album will only be available on CD. Get in touch if you want a copy. We also made a video again which should eventually find it’s way onto Youtube.
January 26th, 2020
I guess you’re all looking forward to Chipwrecked 2020? Just in case, linda8bit and me made a little stop-motion animation to get you hyped up.
We filmed everything on a nice day at the beach shortly after last year’s edition of Chipwrecked. Now we finally got around to adding some silly noises and finishing up the whole thing. Used Blender VSE once again, which remains my favorite tool for editing videos on Linux, despite giving me a few headaches this time (adding an effects strip to actually enable transparency for a PNG which already has transparency, seriously?).
Anyway, I’m not 100% sure if we can make it to Chipwrecked this year, but we’ll try my best.
November 10th, 2019
Brought the site over to a new server a couple of days ago. This one offers SSL out of the box - unlike the old one, which actually had the guts to charge for a LetsEncrypt certificate. In any case, the transition went pretty smooth as far as I can tell. The only issue might have been that mails to utz at this-domain may have bounced in the last days, though that should be fixed now.
After hacking together a new layout for bintracker.org last weekend, I got the itch again yesterday. So I spend the past 1½ days on upgrading the tech stack that powers irrlichtproject.de. Since launching my own site in the year 2000, I always hand-crafted everything directly in HTML and CSS. For the Bintracker site, I tried out a static site generator for the first time, since I needed some results fast. I quickly got used to the workflow, and since it was about time to implement pagination for the irrlichtproject.de front page anyway, I thought I’d give static site generation a try on here as well.
October 15th, 2019
Wow, another 6 months have passed already. Time for an update.
Most of my time goes into MDAL and Bintracker these days. As some of you may already know, I abandoned the original C++ implementation, and started from scratch in Scheme. To sum it up, things are coming along nicely, and I’m confident that Bintracker will become the all-powerful chiptune audio workstation that I envisioned. Recently I gave a few talks on the project, and there’s a proper website at bintracker.org now.
I also went to Chipwrecked this year and played a show there. Absolutely loved the festival and hope to be back there next year.
In May, I took a break from my usual activities to write the soundtrack for İzler (Traces), a Turkish film about the aftermath of the Balkan Wars. Needless to say it was pretty challenging, as I’d never worked on a film soundtrack before, but I think it turned out pretty good. The film is yet to be released to the public, will post another update when that happens, of course.
Furthermore, I briefly returned to writing ZX beeper engines. Archie is a weird beast that approximates sine waves with two asynchronous square waves, among other things, and Velvet is a pin pulse engine with support for state-of-the-art noise technology pioneered by Kurt James Werner.