2024-05-13: trackers

no, not like the now-ubiquitous sites that track your movement on and between sites online. more like...music software back when it was harder. when i was younger my friends immersed themself in electronic music via programs like scream tracker and impulse tracker. i tried to get into it, but it never stuck. it was their scene, not mine. (still is)

and yet my whole life i've always had music going through my head, like it's some sort of radio. it can be stuff i've already heard, earworms or whatever, but it can also be new. i very occasionally do proper composition (originally in lilypond, now in musescore), and should probably do more of it. and lately i've been getting back into electronic music, or rather chip tunes, via famistudio.

a few years ago i downloaded famitracker, and confronted with the familiar tracker interface, i kinda froze up and just never did anything. if we're being honest, i never really took to trackers, did a couple songs in impulse tracker on my old 486, but never got into it like my friends did. but famistudio is different, and i've found i'm liking it a lot.

it's much more user friendly — horizonal piano roll rather than a vertical sequence of letters and hex codes. and i think knowing that i'm hyper-constrained (i'm playing around with making nes-style music) is much more helpful. in scream tracker or impulse tracker, you could create your own samples, import them — & my friends did, going what they called "sample-walking" with a hand-held recorder to collect various sounds they could remix later. but there's something about two square channels, triangle, and noise that is kind of freeing. you've got a very limited set of channels, a small number of ways to shape the notes and envelopes. get crackin'.

so i have been. and it's really fun. probably the end result of this is i have some music squirreled away on my google drive that i'll never share with anyone, but that's okay. i'm having a lot of fun! we'll see where this goes.