This is an album of two halves, entirely recorded during my childhood.
Selected Amiga/BBC Micro Works 85-92 is a curious mix of throwaway song-titles, rave- and videogame-influenced programming and pubescent reimaginings of the musical themes of the time. It is a fascinating precursor to "With Love To Mummy" - the next stepping stone on the path to the subsequent Max Tundra sound - also available here on Bandcamp. It is fairly easy to infer the kind of music I was listening to as a kid, some of which is still buzzing around my head these days.
Tracks 1-13 were created on my old Commodore Amiga 500. Tracks 14-23 were done on a BBC Micro at school. The latter were produced first - from the age of 11 - but I've put them at the end so as not to scare you off.
Tracks 1-13 (Commodore Amiga 500, 1MB):
Programmed using a variety of tracker sequencers, before eventually settling upon Teijo Kinnunen's marvellous Med v2.13, with which I then went on to produce almost everything on my three Domino albums. Not bad for a free floppy disk on the cover of Amiga Format magazine (Issue 31, December 1990).
All sounds via the Amiga 500's Paula sound chip, with four 8-bit PCM-sample-based sound channels and no external instruments as I hadn't rigged the thing up to MIDI yet. Panned centrally and compressed slightly, but otherwise untweaked.
Tracks 14-23 (Acorn BBC Micro Model B, 32k):
Recorded in the computer lab at Alleyn's School in south London, onto a compact cassette tape recorder, the microphone of which was shoved against the tiny external speaker of the BBC Micro, hence the insistent background chatter of eighties schoolchildren.
The "sequencer" was a BBC BASIC program someone had written, which played a bleepy version of "Close (To The Edit)" by The Art Of Noise. The notes and "drum" sounds were represented by a string of letters and numbers in quotation marks after a bunch of complex code. I would sit at my Granny's kitchen table with squared notepaper and a biro, writing out representations of songs which would then replace the letters and numbers in "Close (To The Edit)" so as to reproduce the tune in question.
Bodmix and Bodmix 2 are my first attempts at "megamixes", and are influenced by the "Max Mix" compilations I heard once on a summer holiday in Spain. It is with these two tunes that I really feel I pushed the squared-paper-and-biro working method to its limit.
All sounds created within the constraints of the BBC Micro's inbuilt Texas Instruments SN76489 sound chip, which provides three square-wave tone generators, plus a white-noise generator for approximating drum sounds. Additional sonics are the clunking and hissing of a tape recorder and the aforementioned pupil-based background noise.
released 06 April 2014
All songs programmed by Ben Jacobs between 1985 and 1992.
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