News for nerds: one of the musicians who was most adept at coaxing intricate music from chips is set to make a return. And that means it’s time for some chip music.
Nowadays, the MOS Technology SID chip might as well claim its place as an instrument, not just a chip with a particular game legacy, but among beloved classic synthesizers. And if instruments from the Minimoog to the Roland D-50 are seeing a return, it’s because there are particular techniques you can apply to those synthesizers. (For instance, our friend Francis Preve has delved into remaking the D-50’s synthesis approach, with or without Roland hardware – while we’re talking about the 80s.)
And this isn’t just nostalgia, partly because this stuff takes practice.
Talk about practice: Martin Walker makes the SID sing.
The radar engineer-turned programmer-turned composer, Mr. Walker is something of a legend in chip music circles. His productions are just dense. It wasn’t just chip music, either – he’s gone on to other projects, including circuit bending, composition on other instruments (like he likes the Chromaphone plug-in as much as I do), and has seen bylines in Sound on Sound.
Commodore Format reported yesterday that he’ll make a return to C64 music for the first time in almost 30 years.
Here’s the thing: far from nostalgic, those 80s creations sound positively forward. Here are a few:
Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis
(this is a funny one for me, as this game was oddly a favorite of my composition teacher in college…)
Speedball 2 [love this]
And a whole collection of “Walker’s Warblers”:
Full list of his creations:
And his own site/label/project:
We’ll be watching Commodore Format for the news this Friday, because… the future ain’t what it used to be?