Sometime in the early 90′s, I was introduced to the DOS app ModEdit, a sample based compositional environment, known as a tracker. I never produced a finished piece of music, though I did screw around with it quite a bit. When I discovered Future Crew‘s Scream Tracker 3, I basically went through the same process, with the exception that I actually composed and released my first mod “Lore.” Terrible, it was.
Then came along Triton’s Fast Tracker II. This was light years ahead of trackers that came before it. It had an exceptional user interface, and many highly useful features not present in other trackers. It was very crude, yet an effective 8-bit era recording studio. And I have a lot of fond memories surrounding FT2.
DOS as an operating system is dead. Though it has been resurrected in the form of DOSBox, a cross-platform emulation environment that runs legacy DOS apps. Including Fast Tracker II.
Though I doubt I will ever again use FT2 as one of my primary compositional tools, I’m grateful that I’m able to revisit dozens of unfinished works, as it’s been fun recycling old mod loops with Ableton’s Live.
My only regret in life is that I never sent Triton my $20 dollars.
Though today’s tech can easily render similar styled graphics without blinking an eye, Second Reality still holds up after all of these years thanks to Future Crew’s outstanding art direction and hypnotic soundtrack.
Not only is Future Crew responsible for the definitive demo, they also had their hands in developing one of the most historically important pieces of music software, Scream Tracker.
“Scream Tracker supports up to 100 8-bit samples, 32 channels, 100 patterns & 256 order positions. It can also handle up to nine FM-synthesis channels on sound cards using the popular OPL2/3/4 chipsets, and, unusually, can play digital and FM instruments at the same time.” – source @ wikipedia
To this day, it still boggles my mind that this demo ran in real-time on a 386. The music has secured a permanent spot on my ipod.