Monday, 26 June 2017

Digital Music In The Home, pt 1.44 - HOURS and HOURS...

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Found in a box of bits during a recent tidy-up.  It's a wee doo-dad that turned a Commodore Amiga into a SAMPLER, which was massively exciting back in 1994 when I first got hold of one.  It came with software to edit and add effects to soundwaves, and a simple but brilliant tracker, which for usability and immediacy pisses on anything I've seen since:

Did anyone else here fritter away hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours dicking about with one of these, or similar (the Atari ST was the other one, wasn't it)? 

This quote from Rob Playford, talking about producing Goldie's 'Timeless', will probably strike a chord with fellow sample prodders:

"The breakbeat is actually made up of two mono files on the sampler, which I adjusted separately, so that when I stuck them together, I had the break riding up and spinning around in the stereo soundfield. It sounded like nothing we'd ever heard, it was a revelation -- we listened to that for hours and hours." 


  1. Yep. 512k Amiga with a sampler cartridge. Octamed sequencer. Billions of floppy discs and muffled samples.


    1. Ha ha! Yes! I remember getting excited about floppy disc storage boxes at work.
  2. The mighty upgraded 1 meg Atari ST. I was living in the future (or at least the Jet Age)


    1. Did you use it on anything that you subsequently released?
  3. Did record a couple of tracks using it, that are on cassette in a box in the loft. Maybe might see the light of day sometime.......maybe not. I did spend a lot of time playing F29 Retaliator on it


    1. Excellent. Hang on to 'em - there's bound to be a Soul Jazz / Finders Keepers compilation series of This Sort of Thing sooner or later (if there hasn't already been one?)
  4. 1mb Amiga and Octatrack - brutally simple, but so much scope for experimentation (without today's various avenues of procrastination).

    Two things I particularly remember:

    1. Taking a mono piano loop sample and playing it on two tracks, and shifting the speed of track two slightly to create the phasing effect that was old hat in avant-garde music but completely new to me. Setting the samples to loop and then slowing the tracker down to a crawl to enable hours of slip-sliding audio. Then doing it with spoken word samples, then hearing Orbital and realising it had already been done.

    2. Working out my own method of timestretching vocals by filling the tracker with the same note over and over, and then manually adjusting the start time for each trigger using Octamed's hex commands. Probably as fast as doing in on an S950 once I'd had a bit of practice.

    Before I got my sampler interface (don't remember the make), my only sample source was a disk of Red Dwarf samples. I didn't even know they were from Red Dwarf at the time, I just mangled them every which way I could for months because they were all I really had, apart from a few drum hits here and there.
  5. Cheers, Nick. Do any of your tunes / sounds survive?

    My timestretching technique was all in the editor - copy the sample, fade at both ends and mix-paste over the top a few bleems further on. Repeat. Only worked with drones and noise.

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