Editorial: January 2005

Long time no see

Neil Carr
It’s a strange place isn’t it? Not the world, but how you go away from something and when you return everything seems to be different. Well, that’s what I’ve just realised when entering the remix64 admin. It’s all different!!!

Yes, yes… I’m back blah blah and I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things here at remix64. It’s been so long since I wrote anything for this site that I don’t know where to start. I’m joining remix64 after a break of a few years and I’m hoping my little bit of input will inject a little life to the magazine sections. It’ll prove interesting working alongside Markus and Chris who both have done wonderful things since I’ve been away, and maybe, just maybe my return to remix64 might help towards reviving those magazine parts that have sadly died since my absence.

One of the first tasks, I want to get my teeth into is to bring back the interviews. Since I’ve been away there have been so many new faces… Lagerfeldt, Romeo Knight, Chronblom to name a few. You guys are already on my marked list, so it might be a good idea to start searching for a hiding place soon. There are also many people who I missed last time around, so you guys are not safe too. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

I think however first and foremost is that I need to get used to the admin at remix64, it’s so very different now. It’s like learning a new language or switching from imperial to metric. Things just take a little time to get used to and in the end you don’t miss the old system (too much). This month will be a little quiet still as I work out a plan for example…Who’s first on the interview list, a little research and a lot of button pressing within the admin. I’ll get there in the end.. Trial and error as they say.

It’s that time of year where we all make resolutions, I normally don’t… But this year I plan to make remix64 a better place. My resolution to stop smoking always fails; let’s see if this one does

Technically flawed, Perfectly acceptable

The one thing I noticed this month is how I appreciate certain tunes whose technical merit isn’t quite up to the scratch as some of the other tunes. I know some of my favourite tunes at RKO aren’t necessarily all that great in the technical level department. In fact, some of the remixes have serious flaws. Regardless of these flaws I find something in the tune to enjoy while other higher technically crafted tunes I tend not quite to enjoy.

It’s a heart-warming message I feel. We all know there are a few musicians out there who earn a living making music and technical prowess is of paramount importance, but most people either don’t have the knowledge or the money to purchase equipment to max out a tune. But should that matter?

In truth no, no it doesn’t. If the average Joe enjoys your work as I do with many technically problematic tunes then it makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it?

A classic case of this I feel is Infamous. I listen to his work and instantly know that his tunes have major flaws yet while I might argue the problems I secretly enjoy his work. Infamous is typical of the type of musician I mean. So, what if his mixes are technically flawed?! All I know is that while there are problems, there’s enough creativity and passion that he can pull off a great mix. And I for one respect him for this, because I get hours of pleasure listening to something I wouldn’t have done if he’d have said: Sod it! I can’t do it!

There are many more examples of tracks that just don’t cut the technical level, but on a creative level just simply ROCK. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves about what is enjoyable. Just because something isn’t mastered using the highest standards or someone doesn’t own an awesome guitar or keyboard to make something sound that 10% better doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate the track for what it is.

Long live the remixer in his bedroom with his Casio I say! Because without him this place would lose out!

With that food for thought, all that's left to say is on behalf of the team may I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Neil Carr

Chris Abbott

babies and commodores

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome back Neil!

So, they sold Commodore again, huh? This time around, my response has been markedly different to last time. Last time, Ironstone were friendly and approachable, had great plans for the brand, and a roadmap that made sense. So much for that. Things are not quite as they seem, though. The purchasers of Commodore are no strangers to this revival: they've been part of it from the start, working with Tulip. And so since Tulip's main goal seems to be to offload Commodore as quick as (in)decently possible and make a profit, the torch passes to someone who might (gasp) even care about the brand enough to envision a future with the C64 DTV hardware offshoots. Here's where I help them. I can think of a number of products which would actually appeal to a wider audience than us, that would use the new C64 technology, and even suggested them to what I thought were the relevant ears. But they weren't the relevant ears: those ears were closed to everything but profit. Anyway, enough of my whining, now some positive ideas, a lot of which aren't really new, but seem to have been forgotten. What about perfecting the new SID technology in the DTV (currently flawed) and marketing it as a replacement or additional LSI in mobile phones or children's toys? What about creating a new Sidstation with multiple SIDs that you can charge several hundred pounds for on the basis of sonic credibility? Why not add in the dirtiest sonic arsenal you can build in, and market it as the first punk keyboard! Dirty, rude, noisy… you could even have a knob called dirtiness which goes up to 11 😉 Another idea. My son is two and a half, and he's now using a Commodore 64. What is he using it for? For typing! Switch it on, and you can press keys and you get letters on the TV (and delete them, and scroll, and change colour). Can you buy ANYTHING in Toys R Us that do this? You can't. All the laptops have crummy low-res screens and crappy keyboards. My son loves to type, but we can't let him use the PC, so on the C64 he sits there in front of a big clear TV, happy as Larry typing away on the C64, typing letters in time to Sesame Street songs (or just the alphabet!). Later on, he'll learn some simple programming and play some nice games, too with a nice simple joystick that doesn't have fifty million buttons (maybe Boulderdash!). And text adventures, great for mental visualisation skills, spatial awareness, typing, english, problem solving and reading. There is NOTHING in the market for children that can do this. A mini-C64 with a nice interface for children costing maybe $50 that could take flash cards… now that's a useful learning tool. I'm just glad I don't have to wait for that product, since I've got a C64 and a disk drive Imagine a mini-C64 that came with a selection of Infocom adventures in ROM, a basic tutorial, a mini synthesiser software (learn about the science of sound), etc, etc. It would be as educational as anything else I can think of. This makes a virtue out of the C64's weaknesses compared to modern gaming platforms. Ironically, this time, it could really help with homework (and load it up with some games too, preferably good ones to help hand/eye co-ordination!!). Why not embed one of those programs you created animated letters with (with SID music), and allow a limited email account for children? Or C64 web surfing with a GEOS interface? A safe form of Internet from a computer the child actually owns and grows up using, if they design it right. The C64 hardware is a toy compared to machines today: and of course, that can be its future: but a toy which can still deliver educational value much better than the current crop of toys. It would be kind of ironic, since we bought it to help with your homework (in the immortal words of Hey, Hey 16k) was a common reason for buying a C64, if the main lasting impact of the revitalised C64 brand was an educational machine which was subversively used for other purposes such as programming, playing games, and music making! I think that's where we came in.. 😊

As has this chap, who here demonstrates the perfect way to listen to a heartbeat and guide the baby out of the womb…


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