Milky Tracker

Milky Tracker

Back in mid-90’s, I was sysop of Digital Dissonance BBS, along with my co-sysops Eric of and Justin of They did most of the work. :)

Digital Dissonance was a community where musicians in the 209/559 area code would come and share music. And I don’t mean trading commercial tracks, but music they had composed or remixed themselves.

Minus a few midi tracks, the music was written almost exclusively with trackers. The tracker of choice being Triton‘s Fast Tracker II.

Via a twitter comment from Eric, I recently discovered Milky Tracker, a tracker that is heavily inspired by Fast Tracker II, if not a modern clone. Having spent a fair amount of time with it over the weekend, I can personally authenticate that Milky Tracker offers a genuine Fast Tracker II experience. While using it, I felt like I was back on my 386 in my high school bedroom.

I’ve kept most, if not all the mods from Digital Dissonance. At some point, I’ll have to put them up on the interwebs. Until then, here’s a track I wrote 13 years, called Clu.

Fast Tracker II with DOSBox

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.