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The Purest Form of Anime Collection PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Monday, 08 June 2009 18:12
Back in the day, true anime collectors collected animation cels

Oh sure, you could collect LDs, soundtracks, artbooks, figures... all sorts of stuff.  But none of those things were: the show itself.  All those goods were simply things made to further push the show on the masses...  The cel, however, is an actual component of the show.  Whether broadcast over the airwaves or etched onto optical discs, those images flashing on the television screen are actually pictures of those cels, artefacts that are now in the hands of thousands of collectors around the world.

Of course, now that the world has long since embraced the computer for animation, there are no more cels to collect.  Yeah, you might be able to find cels made for specific purposes (magazine printing, limited edition paraphernalia) but for modern digitally produced anime, cels simply don't exist.  For the collector who is only interested in pure anime collection, what is left?  Even collecting motion picture prints doesn't quite cut it, as those are merely reproductions of an original (and nowadays digital) master.  How does one really collect anime?

Sure, you can continue to own DVDs and goods related to an anime... but how about truly OWNING AN ANIME?

For most people, owning an anime (or at least, rights to production and distribution of an anime outside of Japan) is simply ridiculous.  However, there are some pretty choice gems out there.  The recent bankruptcy of Central Park Media has brought to market some really nice titles.  How many of you wouldn't like to own Area 88?  Or Patlabor?  Or They Were 11Here is GreenwoodSilent ServicePing Pong Club?!

It seems CPM didn't retain permanent ownership in negotiating rights for much of their catalog, so maybe this liquidation isn't as lucrative as it could be.  Still, why not just go abroad and get rights from the source?  Surely it can't be that expensive to get something cool/unique/good from the annals of anime history?  Me, I wouldn't mind grabbing those Yokohama Shopping Log OAVs, or the TV show Kokoro Library.  Given the choice between a new Lamborghini and three sisters struggling to justify the existence of their far off library, I'll take the cute drama (complete with a soundtrack from Hogari Hisaaki that is far better than it has any right to be.)

Too bad I'm a couple hundred thousand dollars short of being able to make that choice...
 
More Music From Way Back When... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 14:57
IMD Senior Thesis Show 2009

So earlier I had shown off some old music.  There were some other ones that I just found that I figured I'd put in a separate post.  Well, here's that post:

ray7.it (MP3 file) was a reaction to Working Designs's reveal of their English opening to the Magic Knight Rayearth Saturn game.  Besides showing off the actual OP song, Vic Ireland also showed a joke version that had the singer rocking out.  Me, I LIKED the joke version, and felt just a little bit of adjusment would push the people on rec.games.video.sega.saturn (any of you guys remember newsgroups?) to understand my position.  I did some EQ on the music, sliced it up a bit, placed it into Impulse Tracker, then added some steel guitar and extra drums to punch up the song.

md-1-1.s3m (MP3 file) was another song from 1998 that made me realize how much I enjoyed writing loops more than songs with beginnings and endings.  It actually has a pretty good sound and groove, and the flute sounds pretty natural.  In the MP3 version, you can hear it with the song looping a bit in standard Japanese game OST style.  Like last time, note how I can't come up with a good song name for the life of me.

1_.it and 2_.it (1_.mp3 and 2_.mp3) had me trying to write music for the game that was in my head.  Of course that game was an RPG, me being infatuated with things like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 3 (6 for you hardcore folk), and as I've established before, I really enjoy loops.  Loops, orchestral, RPG, can't think of names, etc.

Now I personally don't remember ever making tm1.it (MP3 file).  Obviously unfinished and pretty rough sounding, but after finding it, laughed out loud (yes, this is different from LOL) because of just how generic it sounds.  Yeah, I definitely didn't always write winners.  (Not to say that I always write winners now...)

I'll do another music update later on.  Maybe you'll think it's better than this stuff, maybe not... but at the very least, I can promise that it's not more than 10 years old...

 
Music from Back Then PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Tuesday, 28 April 2009 10:42
My video card is borking...

I've been having some really horrible problems with my computers lately.  As soon as I got my sound card responding properly courtesy of a software upgrade, my video card starts glitching out.  Once I've got my hard drive situation squared away, Windows starts borking at me and refusing to search.  It's pretty fun stuff, as you can imagine.

So, while my current music output has dropped far more than acceptable, it has been pretty interesting going through my old music output as I make my way through the burgeoning archive of: stuff.  Here's a couple of interesting things.

SKL-SATI.IT (MP3 version) is an Impulse Tracker file from 1998.  Yeah, I was in that crew of guys trying to make more performed acoustic-sounding music from MOD files.  I was decidedly less successful than others, but hey, we all got to start somewhere, right?  (And yeah, I'm not going to show you the stuff from before this.  That stuff was just sad...)

MD-6.IT (MP3 version) was another mod I did a bit earlier, probably around 1997.  I can't find the original file, but as you can hear it's pretty simple.  If it says anything about me it's: I learned early on to love extremely short loops and I was definitely big on emulating the Sakimoto orchestra sound back in the day.

From 1999 on to about 2002-2003, I didn't really do any music writing.  I was focused more on school work, piano, and basic undergrad survival.  I did have some audio equipment around, as I was doing this snail-like transition from MOD music to MIDI music, but quite honestly, I didn't do anything really cool there.  (I did write some piano solo pieces around this time, but those have been lost, sadly.  Sometimes before writing those pieces, I'd sketch the piece out in Impulse Tracker... yeah, wacky, I know...)  

melon.mp3 is a doodle I did sometime around 2003.  By this time, I had given up on Cubase 5 and did a competitive upgrade to Sonar 2.  It's pretty rough around the edges (for me, the uneven velocities that I never cleaned up really scream at me), but it's not bad.

Some other things I did around this time include: herotheme4.mp3, 20041014_chase_a.mp3, clarinet.mp3, and deliberation.mp3.  The first two pieces were standard random crap while the latter two were among the first things I did for short films and TV.  Besides the fact that they're still not that great, you can see some hints at what may be my most defining characteristic: horrible song naming.

Let's end this post with some of the first music I did for interactive.  In my first year of grad school, I did some stuff for an interactive fiction with The Labyrinth Project and Lynn Hershman.  To this day, I have no idea actually what happened with that project (as soon as they stopped asking me for stuff, I immediately focused my attention on RFID-Flash integration and arcade cabinets as interactive sculpture, no joke) but I made a bunch of music and sound effects for it.

lynn1_c.mp3 and lynn2_c.mp3 aren't bad.  I'm not sure if they really sound Lynn Hershman, but they're definitely more naturally me than any other stuff I had done to this point.  I've toyed around with the idea of returning to lynn1 and giving it a score and not just a sequence rendered courtesy of an Akai CD of Miroslav Mini.  (Oh man, did that Miroslav Mini CD influence the way I write.  To this day, those old school Miroslav sounds are the center of my virtual orchestra...)

So that's basically my music pre-video games in a nutshell.  My computer is still being horrible (installing Windows Vista as we speak) so there might be more coming this way.  I'm hopeful the next time I put some music on here, it will be new stuff!

(Edit: Oh crap... I just discovered Schism Tracker and now I'm rediscovering all these old MODs and S3Ms I did... man, some of these really weren't bad!  yeah, that's definitely for the next update...)

 
Video Games: You Don't Need Drugs, Dammit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Friday, 03 April 2009 08:28

Whenever there's discussion of games like Noby Noby Boy, Katamari Damacy, Flower, or even more conventional games like Rez or Space Giraffe, I see people saying things like:

You know someone was high when they made this game...

or

You have to be high to enjoy this game...

That really annoys me.  One: I'm not big on the whole chemical alteration thing (I like remaining in control, as much as I understand that to mean) and Two: Games are all about these different relationships.  Sometimes those things being related are more absurd than others, but it's all about those relationships.  X = Y.  What's so special about some relationships that it would have required some mind altering substance to conjure up?  Or to enjoy?

In Flower, the player flies through the air by pushing a button on the controller.  A pretty simple connection, right?  Nearly as simple is Noby Noby Boy: one stick controls the head while another the tail of this snake like creature.  These aren't particularly crazy relationships; in fact, they sound rather trite and gamey.  However, these relationships require a little bit of chemical augmentation to understand compared to Gears of War, where hitting the overloaded A button (overloaded does not mean I think it's a bad thing, folks) can result in one of many things happening.  Right?

Or maybe you need a little bit of Mary Jane to actually enjoy something so simple.  Well, if that's the case, how come no one ever brought the stuff up when it comes to dead simple games like Pong, Gorf, and Missile Command?

Or maybe it's just a commentary on the narrative of the piece.  In which case: come on guys.  Surely gamers can enjoy some surrealist or magical realist game literature on top of our well established base of competitive sports, science fiction, and realistic power fantasy without the addition of recreational drugs.

If you don't enjoy or understand a game, please just say that.  That's perfectly okay.  No need to bring recreational drugs into the equation.

 

 
My Old Music Workstation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Thursday, 05 March 2009 11:06
Indie Game Jam 3

Since the release of Flower and a couple of articles on it and its music, I've been getting a few e-mails on the usual stuff: how to get into the game music world, what classes to take in school, what looks good on a resume, things like that.  Seems to be a good thing to jump off of for a few write-ups in the hows and whats of my music making stuffs.

That pic?  Yeah, that's what I was using for music making back in 2005.  The keytar was indeed trés cool.  I'm nowhere near as cool anymore (why oh WHY did I sell it?  Anyone have a Roland AX-7 for sale?) but I definitely have a lot more capability these days.  I'm actually going through a bit of a transition period at the moment, so let me start off with what I was using day to day up to January 2009 and the end of Flower music production...

(If you're not really a music composer guy, this probably won't be of too much interest to you.  If you are, read on...)

Read more...
 
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