March th, 2017

2017 Q1 Updates

It’s been quite a while, so I guess it’s about time for a roundup of things I’ve been up to lately.

As usual, I spent the end of 2016 with my mate DJ dat zekt, recording a new album for our trash-punk project Doppelplusungut. It was pretty tough work this time, but in the end it was worth it. Highlights included a guest appearance by Fido from Cirucs Elawuti and his singing saw, and finally using our Busch microtronic 2090, an educational 4-bit computer from the early 80s, which we transformed into a gate sequencer with some TTL logic and some software coded on paper using the 2090’s pseudo-assembly language (source code). As usual, the album is exclusively available on CD-R. Drop me a mail if you want a copy.

In January, I quite successfully participated in the annual Winter Chip competition at - each of my 3 entries scored gold in their respective categories (ZX beeper, Channel F, TED/Plus4).

I also wrote a new sound driver for the Fairchild Channel F. Sleizsa Trio features 3 tone channels, noise mode for one of the channels, and the usual interrupting click percussion. I opted for a Squeeker-style OR synthesis core this time. As I had hoped, this synthesis type turned out to be much better at overriding the Channel F’s fixed-frequency generator than the pulse-interleaving technique used in Sleizsa Duo, to the point where the annoying high-pitched whine is almost completely eliminated. Check out the demo tune on my soundcloud, and feel free to grab the source and XM converter from the github repo.

In February, I released what will probably be my last ZX beeper engine for a while. BeepModular-1 takes the polymorphic synth code method from wtbeep and takes it to a new level by making it entirely modifiable at runtime and combining it with a new, fast and light-weight volume envelope generation technique I discovered by chance at the end of 2016. Consequently, the engine can produce almost any sound ever produced by a 1-bit engine, in addition to a whole new range of sounds never heard before on ZX beeper. Needless to say I’m pretty proud of this one, even though for the time being it’s pretty much unusable due to the lack of authoring tools. In the meantime, check out the source code on github.

The MDAL project has progressed nicely as well. Introduced some major changes in the backend to allow support for an arbitrary number of different block types (patterns, fx tables, etc). There’s still a long way to go before it will be mature, though. In the meantime I also started to work on a new, ultra-secret project that I’m not going to reveal just yet, but stay tuned for an update on that in the next couple of months.

Last but not least, I was invited to contribute to Balearic Beats vol. 43, a tongue-in-cheek chill-out chiptune compilation organized by Kittenrock and Chippanze. Send in a TI-82 HoustonTracker tune, which is probably as un-balearic as it gets (as are most of the other entries).