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Old 21 August 2013, 06:58   #1
Mark Wright
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A personal apology to Karsten Obarski re Soundtracker...

Erm... this is a bit embarassing, but as I sit here red-faced, let me offer a quick premable for Amiga old-timers:

I've just spent a few leisurely hours messing around on YouTube and the Stone Oakvalley Amiga music archive, listening to some of the original Amiga tracker music of 1987/88. I used to consider myself a bit of an authority on this era; well-able to spot an SLL MOD from a Titan, an Oberheim MOD from a DJ from Fashion, etc.

Fast-forward a decade or so to late 1997 and I had cause to hurriedly toss together a celebratory Soundtracker article based on my (by then distant) memories of the its early era, for my long-forgotten website LAZARUS. Given the scant degree of online info at the time, I strived to cover its history in as much depth as possible - all from memory.

With the feature well-received, I was proud that - gulp - my article was quickly considered to represent the definitive history of Soundtracker.

Except it didn't.

It was full of errors. Much of what I wrote was corrected in subsequent private e-mail correspondence between myself and the likes of Mnemotron/Spreadpoint (one of the early updaters of Soundtracker) and others. However, I never thought to update my original, presumed-ephemeral article, expecting that it would soon be forgotten or superceded.

Fast-forward sixteen years and not only do I now, shame-facedly, discover that it's **STILL THERE** (http://www.textfiles.com/artscene/mu...enobarski.html) but that it's been quoted from again and again as definitive, even in PUBLISHED BOOKS (e.g. Freax - The Brief History of the Computer Demoscene) and even makes up part of the current Soundtracker WIKIPEDIA PAGE.

Mortifyingly, there are also countless quotes from *ME* all over the internet, if you search for Soundtracker or Karsten Obarski.

I'd now like to raise my head from shame and to put this right after all these years - but I need your help!

* * *

While I try to locate my old Imoega ZIP discs containing old Netscape-era email archives and so on, can any of you refute or confirm some of the (presumed) rubbish I wrote?

Please read the article linked-to above.

* I think I assumed that Obarski was part of EAS (who produced Rally(e) Master) as he'd written the music. Surely he was freelance (if indeed he was ever paid for work!) as he wrote music for everyone and anyone?

* The "reviews" of Soundtracker that I claim to have seen ---- I'm not sure I ever did - was it ever really a commercial release? I might have made that up!

Soundtracker deserves a better entry in Wikipedia, in spite of Obarski's reluctance to have it preserved, excised of all my amateur teen journalism.

I'm off to have a long shower now, but please add your *ACTUAL* memories of Soundtracker here so we can finally piece together a proper, correct history...
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Old 21 August 2013, 17:15   #2
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Quote:
Fast-forward sixteen years and not only do I now, shame-facedly, discover that it's **STILL THERE** (http://www.textfiles.com/artscene/mu...enobarski.html) but that it's been quoted from again and again as definitive, even in PUBLISHED BOOKS (e.g. Freax - The Brief History of the Computer Demoscene) and even makes up part of the current Soundtracker WIKIPEDIA PAGE.
Freax is full of wrong information, it should never be regarded as reliable source for information about the early days of the Amiga scene!

Quote:
once EAS had given up on it and released the source code to the public domain, the legend began.
To my knowledge the Soundtracker source was never officially released back then, the updated versions were based on resourced versions of SoundTracker.

Quote:
The first noteworthy update to Soundtracker arrived in 1989. Swedish programmers Mahoney & Kaktus released "Noisetracker" to a rapturous response. Many of the more worrying bugs had been ironed out and the program was vastly more configurable. The real major enhancement, though, was the removal of the "15 Instrument" limitation. Noisetracker allowed for upto 31 instruments to be used in any one composition.
This is wrong, NoiseTracker didn't introduce the 31 samples feature. It was implemented by Unknown/DOC and appeared in SoundTracker 2.3.

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However, the Soundtracker legacy continued. In 1991, the release of the "Pro Tracker" saw yet more bug-fixes and additions to the ever-evolving system.
First Protracker was released at the end of 1990.
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Old 22 August 2013, 04:35   #3
Mark Wright
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Originally Posted by StingRay View Post
To my knowledge the Soundtracker source was never officially released back then, the updated versions were based on resourced versions of SoundTracker.
I expect that's absolutely right, but I definitely remember being in possession of a disk containing dilligently labelled and commented Seka source for something called "Shandy Tracker" (Soundtracker in all but name). This would have been late 1989 or thereabouts, giving ample time for all those who'd resourced the original/subsequent ST versions to finesse their efforts. That said, I've *never* seen any online reference to "Shandy Tracker" so perhaps I'd acquired the disk from someone who never finished/spread their update.

As for my reference to magazine reviews, I think that I was mis-remembering the likes of Commodore User and Amiga Format featuring later incarnations of ST/NT in their regular PD columns (long after the fact). UK public domain distributors (and mags) seemed to often be blissfully unaware that some of what they advertised/reviewed was - erm - "less than legit."

Was I right about Mark II/Darius Zendeh's Sound System being available before a useable ST hit the underground? I was a staunch user of Linel's Sound FX (which was marked "for internal use only") long before - and long after - I'd ever encountered Soundtracker, but I suspect that simply reflects my own personal circumstances.

Can anyone remember whether "scene" musicians were releasing ST MODs contemporaneously with Karsten's own efforts? There did seem to be a lag at the time before the likes of SLL and Andreas Starr came along.
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Old 23 August 2013, 01:17   #4
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I remember LAZARUS! Great site.
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