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Title: scots eat haggis - sv
Filename: sv_scot1.it
Posted Sun 20th May 2007
Rated 9 / 10
The themed chip series is an artform in itself and I am glad to see someone take on a subject he knows well. Great song!

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Title: Night Dreams
Filename: db_night.xm
Posted Sun 13th May 2007
Rated 10 / 10
Slower than Decibelter's usual brand of music, and quite different in terms of sample choice, especially in the percussive department, this song is like a long-winded sentence composed of carefully chosen and correctly spelt words, immaculately placed commans (and parentheses) but no exclamation marks, gently making its way towards a logical and quite satisfying conclusion, leaving the listener with perhaps just a hint of a question mark at the very end...?

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Title: Line Of Force 2
Filename: trch-li2.it
Posted Fri 2nd Aug 2002
Rated 9 / 10
You don't hear a lot of tracked progressive rock, so it's nice to hear someone giving the genre an attempt - especially when it's a highly successful attempt like this one. This a really good piece, with all the standard prog elements: unorthodox structure, shifting time signatures, layered synths and - of course - guitars. It sounds rather like Genesis, the synths in particular. I'm not a big fan of the band myself, but that's a different story... The individual parts of this piece all sound really good; a few chords changes might feel awkward at first but you kind of get used to them. However, while the sections in themselves have no major flaws, the way they're put together bothers me a bit. The transitions often seem too abrupt; they don't always make sense. I wouldn't mind if it happened once or twice during the song (it's not that rare in this style, after all) but this is too often. The flow of the music could certainly be improved. But all in all, this is a nicely executed piece of progressive rock, quite accessible - you don't have to be a seasoned prog listener to enjoy it. The themes and melodies are memorable and original at the same time, something that can be difficult to balance. There's nothing to complain about regarding the rythm department either, the composer handles the changes in time signature tastefully. A more prominent bassline probably wouldn't hurt, but still, the arrangement sounds good. Quite impressive. The quality of the samples ranges from decent to great, even though they're all 8-bit. The organ sounds a bit harsh, especially the upper register - perhaps it'd be a good idea to lower its volume in the mix. The guitars are played live and sampled, which of course has both advantages and drawbacks. You get a more authentic sound, while you limit yourself to certain chords/melodies. This module contains only a few different guitar sequences, all fairly short and not used very creatively in the tracker - they're simply played, from beginning to end, with no variations. It adds some predictability to the music, which might actually be a good thing considering the unpredictability of the structure as a whole. Some variation probably wouldn't hurt though, but perhaps the composer didn't want to alter his guitar playing with effect commands. I don't know. Otherwise, no major technical flaws. This guy knows his way around a tracker, no doubt about that.

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Title: Whispers'n the night
Filename: djisox-w.xm
Posted Tue 18th Jun 2002
Rated 7 / 10
This piece begins with the quiet chirping of birds, but after only a few seconds a string orchestra appears out of nowhere and scares the poor things away. The strings start playing a fairly simple chord progression, upon which more instruments are added as the song proceeds. The listener is first introduced to some very good drumming - great use of panning here, and the congas add to the feeling of primitive, natural rawness that the birds established in the intro. Percussion flows very nicely, good job with that. A bass soon enters the mix. It's panned to right, which doesn't sound right to me. I prefer having my basses in centre position. Otherwise, the bassline fits the tune. Some echoed electric piano tinkling is added as well. Sounds nice, although the sound so far is quite monotone. The way the song builds up is very basic and the background arrangement isn't really interesting enough to stand on its own; it needs a melody. Apparently the composer realized this too, and decided to add... ...the flute. Ahhh yes, this is a pretty good melody. Perhaps not instantly memorable, but it grows on you. It's nicely tracked and has a full and rich sound, thanks to some delay and the fact that two different instruments play in unison. However, it is slightly repetitive. It actually adds to the monotone feeling by following the chords slavishly. More variation would be very welcome in this part of the song, both in melody and underlying harmonies. At 1:40, the chords and instrumentation change and give the music a lighter feel. There's some really sweet guitar here, as well as some piano. The flute comes back, playing a new theme. This is definitely my favourite part of the tune; it's quite repetitive here as well but somehow it feels justified. The song comes to an end at almost 3 minutes - it was probably a good choice not making it longer than this. A good song overall. It starts out decent and becomes highly enjoyable towards the end. Not exceedingly original, but still. I like it. No major flaws here. Panning is used in a professional manner, with the possible exception of the bass which I mentioned earlier. Echoes are used to great effect, giving the song a big, yet smooth sound. The flute leads sound excellent with the gentle vibrato and variations in volume. Tempo changes are used quite frequently, but it never sounds odd or awkward. There's a shitload of different samples in this song - 72, to be precise. They're mostly 16 bit and of good quality, fitting nicely together. They could use some finetuning, perhaps, but that's not too obvious. To summarize; the composer did a good job tracking a good piece of music.

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Title: Captured birds
Filename: db_cptrd.xm
Posted Mon 17th Jun 2002
Rated 10 / 10
Decibelter has been releasing some of his best stuff ever lately, and he keeps the standards high with this piece. He's not moving far away from his usual style of funk, but still manages to give every song a generous dose of originality, an identity of its own. This is particulary significant in his recent stuff. I can't find even the slightest trace of stagnation. This song, Captured birds, starts out with a catchy hook, which is to be repeated several times throughout the piece in standard Decibelter fashion. In between these 'choruses' the listener is taken on a bumpy ride through a number of different parts, with constant changes in both mood and direction, harmony and rythm. The soloing is extremely enjoyable, and supported by a tight rythm section and a busy bass - it's amazing how many notes the composer manages to squeeze in without making the whole thing sound like a big mess. Great attention to details here. The structure is highly unorthodox, and might be hard to follow if you're not used to the style. Variation and unpredictability are the keywords, and it will require repeated listenings before you can enjoy this song to the fullest. But it's definitely worth it. It's still growing on me. This is very interesting and original music, and still just downright groovy. Highly recommended. I'm having a really hard time finding stuff to complain about here. The samples aren't of spectacular quality. Most of them sound dull and lifeless on their own, but are given lots of character through the music and the way they're used in the tracker. Replacing them would take away a lot of the charm. Apparently Decibelter made them all himself - some are synth/chip stuff and some sampled from electric bass/guitar. Technically, I have nothing to complain about - the mixing is nice and clean and the effects and features of Fasttracker are used to their fullest potential. Hats off to Decibelter.

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Title: everglan.xm
Filename: everglan.xm
Posted Thu 16th May 2002
Rated 6 / 10
This song starts out with some sampled acoustic guitar strumming. A bass soon enters the mix, and it's very nicely tracked; I like how it does not always follow the rather monotone chords. When using only one sampled guitar chord like this, there's no doubt that you limit yourself harmonically; however this artist has managed to create some interesting dynamics using the bass and later an organ playing other chords on top. It works fairly nicely, although some more variation in the progression probably wouldn't hurt. This part of the song (it changes drastically later) has two main problems. First of all, the drumming. The percussion samples could have been better but that's not bothering me too much, it's what the bassdrum is doing that I just can't stand. It appears to be totally off beat in places, and just moving the notes in question one step up or down fixes this. Same goes for the bassline, but there it's not as obvious. When there's just bassline and guitar you hardly notice it, but once the heavier drumming kicks in it becomes quite annoying. The other big flaw here is the lack of melody - the chords and arrangement really call for a lead of some sort! I can think one up in my head while listening, but that's really the composer's job :) Around 1:45, the song changes direction entirely. The key goes from D major to D minor, and the instrumentation undergoes a similar metamorphosis, resulting in a darker mood. The acoustic strumming is gone, piano and strings play chords while a distorted guitar pumps hypnotically in the background. This atmosphere doesn't last long though, a fast and jumpy flute soon starts playing, bringing back the lighter feel of the first part. Drumming sounds okay here. The song then ends with a pretty cool chord progression, although I'd personally have preferred the final chord to be a minor one. This second part of the song might be more interesting musically than the first, but it doesn't sound as nice and smooth. Overall, this is a quite enjoyable piece of music, not overly original or innovative but nice to listen to. The first part has a lot of potential; with proper drumming, more variation and a lead on top it could be a real classic. Samples are of decent quality; some good ones, like the acoustic guitar, and a few that could be better, the piano for example. They work very well together. If you look at the technical side of the actual tracking there is not much to complain about, except for maybe the fact that the composer seems to have a tendancy to duplicate channels in order to make them louder, when the better solution probably is to lower the volume of the other samples. This results in a fairly loud song. Anyway, not much to complain about here. Effects are use sparsely used, but they're not really needed. Since the composer was kind enough to end his song before it got boring, I'll do the same with this review. :P