Oh FreeDOS You Damn Heartbreaker.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 9, 2017 by Q

Really, it’s not your fault. You can run on modern hardware, but there’s a big catch.

So, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for DOS, and DOS games. I didn’t even know up until rather recently that there was a modern version of DOS called FreeDOS. I discovered this once I started looking into some sick chiptunes that were produced under DOS with Adlib Tracker II. I wanted to give this a try myself, and start learning the software and using DOS as a music making tool. How sick would that be?

While the prospect of playing with DOS again was exciting enough, I discover a new version. Something that can support modern machines. I have been all Apple for an awful long time now. I was obsessed with Macintosh as a kid (it was my first computer) as well as the journey of growing up. I remember feeling so happy with the notion that I had my Mac formatted floppy disks, the schools had Macs, and nobody else could work as easily as I could on school things since I had all the same software available, and anyone else that had a computer had a Windows computer. Anyway, I nonetheless had plenty of DOS and PC exposure too because that’s what my dad had. I played a lot of DOS games. Tinkered around plenty too, and at one point when he had an upgrade, he gave it to me at so I had both my Mac and a PC. Good ol’ DOS, lots of memories.

So anyway, while I’m basically all Apple in the modern day, I have an older HP tower around with a Pentium 4 dual core chip, 4 gb of ram, and SATA hardware. It’s been a tinker toy for things like Plan9 and BSD, but I discover FreeDOS and am immediately happy to wipe that machine and make it a native, pure DOS machine. Look how awesome. FreeDOS supports large memory, supports long file names, has much better support for networking, and lots more. I’m ready to gung-ho and rock DOS a little religiously for a while. But damn it, do you know what my experience with FreeDOS has been? It’s like putting a bottle of iced water inside of an unbreakable safe and plopping it down on someone who has been frying in the christian idea of “hell” for a few decades. No really. My excitement was crushed when I realized that FreeDOS is really only useful on ancient machines, despite it’s abilities on modern hardware. Why? It’s missing one immediate component: SOUND. God damn it. If you aren’t using archaic sound hardware that has DOS drivers available, then it becomes a completely lost cause. It’s even advertised to be a fantastic system for retro gaming. Kind of kills the enjoyment when it’s in complete silence. So as I said at the beginning, no, it’s not really FreeDOS’ fault. In my case, the tower has an integrated Intel HDA chip. There is no DOS support or Blaster emulation for that. I really want to cry dammit.

I know I know, use DOSbox they all say. Maybe I don’t want too. That’s right, I’m old. Late 30’s, so yeah I’m old. I don’t want to emulate the operating system, I want to run the real thing, on the real hardware, native and pure just like I like my chiptune. Don’t get me wrong, I have DOSbox running on my MacBook. It hits the spot when I’m in the mood for a little DOS gaming. Still, I would love to have a proper, dedicated DOS machine, and I definitely don’t want to make chip music under an emulator. If I were OK with that, I might as well fake it right use some kind of DAW. Nah, that doesn’t float my boat. Anyway, unlike the people who’s digital religion is GNU/GPL, free for all non-proprietary license free etc etc., I don’t rightly care about that shit. If Microsoft’s implementation of say himem.sys or emm386 were better for my use, I’d drop ’em onto the system in a heartbeat. Same with audio drivers, I’m more than satisfied to use proprietary stuff if it will do the job. Since I was a kid who grew up a Macintosh worshipper, I was around when Apple and third party licensing were to things that didn’t go in the same sentence. Their refusal in the early days of Mac to get into that game almost killed the platform, barely any third party software and all. Now, as much I would like to see an open source driver for sound, I would happily go either way if it could just work. But it doesn’t. So no, as it appears, there is no way to get any sound on a modern or semi-modern machine under FreeDOS.

As far as Adlib Tracker II goes, I’m going to have to spend a little money if I want to do a DOS album and procure an old school machine with ISA slots. I could very well use FreeDOS there but then since I’m not a GNU fanatic, what would be the point? Might as well use the original king itself, MS-DOS 6.22. For the record, I have tried assorted Sound Blaster drivers and generic drivers under MS-DOS 6.22, the hack compilation that people affectionately refer to as MS-DOS 7.10, and FreeDOS with my little HP tower. No Blaster emulation means no go I suppose. I’m not a DOS expert, but I did my best and tinkered for too much time trying to get this to work. Guess I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the future. In the meantime, despite this major letdown (you know, the no sound thing), I still have to tip my hat to the folks who have made a modern DOS than can generally run on modern hardware, and that’s sort of a miracle since we’re talking about the idea of an operating system that was in regular use what, more than 20 years ago? The retro computing nerd in me still loves the general idea.

Till later!
–BitPusher

Reminiscing: Young MC

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2017 by Q

I generally keep it music on my blog and that’s what I’m feeling like talking about today. I felt like giving a shout and some love to Young MC.

Anyone old enough to remember him? The guy was never one of my top 5 or something but I have a certain fondness for the dude because more by coincidence than anything his music has been a part of my whole life.

Everyone has heard “Bust A Move” when it was new and popular. That particular song, I actually did not like it at all. That aside, I have written in the past about the music aspect of my childhood, from being able to recite “Jam On It” at the age of four to how I was obsessed with certain groups and having a huge collection of cassettes before I had even reached 12 years old. The album with “Bust A Move” was called Stone Cold Rhymin’ and it came out in ’89, which makes me approximately 7 years old.  My mom was careful about what she would let me buy if she could help it, trying to keep away tapes with parental advisory stickers, let alone having a cousin with alot of music and letting me borrow stacks of tapes to boot.

This one was considered a mainstream release at the time and mom got it for me. I listened to Young MC’s album on the regular, often fast forwarding thru just a couple of tunes including the famous Bust A Move. I liked the guy and the music, and what do you expect from a 7 year old kid?

I guess he had done some other music after that but I didn’t know about it until I was about 13 (the album had already been out for a while) but I came across another Young MC album called “What’s The Flavor?” and picked it up having had some sort of a connection with him in the past. Again, there would be just a couple of tracks I would fast forward thru but most of the album I liked…alot. East Coast hiphop was getting harder and  more boom-bap at this point in the time and the beats on this album were sick.

Now, I hadn’t seen or heard anything from Young MC for years after that. Me being me, I would occasionally in the course of a year go back and listen to those songs. I had acquired them both on CD by junior high so they were around. Then I flash forward to the year I graduated high school, 2000. He had a brand new release I spotted by sheer coincidence at Best Buy for $10. I remember feeling almost confused because as much as hiphop had changed by 2000 (and in my opinion mainstream had it going down the toilet) I thought Young MC was long gone from music, plus he wouldn’t exactly be so young anymore anyway. Nonetheless, I remember looking over the tracks and case artwork for a minute and without a doubt whatsoever had to buy it. I remember thinking it was so cool to have something new from someone so “old school” to me personally. I had a system in my car too so I was banging that album for a bit. Felt good to have a childhood connection like that.

Finally, history repeats itself a little. He had an album in 2008 called “Relentless.” I didn’t know he did more after that 2000 release but by this point it was 2010, my ex had already been broke up with me for a while and I was at the music shop browsing the used stuff. *Footnote: this was the same year my BitPusher2600 persona was still just a tinkerer’s idea in the back of my head, and it was in fact “BitPusher2600” instead of BitPusher because I had barely any ambition of creating much of my own music anyway let alone did I forsee myself going past making a couple Atari 2600 chiptunes. Fortunately, BitPusher2600 evolved into BitPusher and now I’ve done all kinds of cool shit 🙂 So back to the story, there sits this relatively new album for a whopping $5. I pulled it out of the case and looked at the year, and just like with that 2000 release it was a “what the hell?” kind of moment and I bought it. Talk about sounding different, it was musically rather modern, lyrically it still had that style Young MC has always had. It also struck me as crazy that his voice sounds very similar to how he sounded in ’89. I like this album. Once again, now a full grown adult with a baby and here’s a new Young MC release. Damn.

So yeah, there’s my story for today. My biggest obsessions from the youngest age up with hiphop were Kurtis Blow, Kool Moe Dee, 3rd Bass, KRS and BDP, and Public Enemy. Hands down. But Young MC was someone I liked listening to that managed to randomly pop up by absolute coincidence a total of four completely separate stages of growth and life. Childhood, early teen, high school graduate, and full grown adult with a kid of his own. So as I said before, I’ll always have a certain fondness for the guy. Hell, I wish I could do a track with him, wouldn’t that be some bizarre irony.

So yeah, long life and good health to my man Young MC. Thank you.

  –BitPusher

Wasting Space On DeviantArt

Posted in Uncategorized on July 4, 2017 by Q

Hello world.

Just wanted to drop a quick mention on my blog that I am now a member at DeviantArt, where I am just experimenting and having a little fun creating pixel and glitch garbage. That’s right, a total shit fest, and it strikes me as odd that people can look at pixelized or glitched imagery and call it “art.” Don’t get me wrong, I like it. I was born in the early 80’s afterall, so I grew up with the earliest home computers and video game consoles. I remember when things would crash and distort. I think it looks cool as shit, but to call it “art” I don’t understand. Nonetheless, I’m very occasionally crafting up some extremely craptastic stuff and keeping a little image library of my own. Come on over and visit my assorted “galleries” at:

BitPusher2600.deviantart.com

In the meantime, if I can ever get my motivation back I need to continue work on my 2nd Gameboy album. I have five different WIP’s sitting on that cartridge barely begun but enough to get rolling on, yet I can’t get motivated. I wish I could understand why I’m like this. I struggle with efficiency when it comes to tracking, but I love LSDJ and even feel good when I’m cranking out sounds within it. There’s just that taking time to stop everything and actually pick up the damn Gameboy and begin. Then of course there’s distractions out of the blue just like this one. Tinkering with digital crap art. Hey, on the brightside everything I’m doing is at least original or original ideas.

Thanks for tuning in.
–BitPusher

 

Forever Unknown. Forever At It. (A Status Update)

Posted in Uncategorized on July 2, 2017 by Q

Hello world. How are you liking Digital Bass 2017?….is anyone even listening to it?

I’m actually joking a little, because somehow this album has actually sold more copies and seen more downloads than any of my past works. That to me is surprising. Still never see feedback though, good or bad. That aside, thanks to anyone out there who has tried pushing these bits thru their systems. This was all for you.

So then, what’s going on? I rarely write on my blog, so I thought I’d swing thru for a moment and do that. There has been a change in my life, or more specifically my job that has been, let’s call it significant. I’m in a place I’m just not used to and between the hours and sometimes crushing stress that comes with it, music is something I have not had much time or drive for. That said, I find myself still writing these things believing that someone reads it with interest. Despite all my years in music, I am completely unknown but keep at it anyway. Why? I guess ultimately for me. I’m proud of everything I do and it all means something to me. Being that confidence has always been a bit of an issue for me, I rarely have an easy time accepting compliments let alone believing them. I see no feedback or anything anywhere on my music, but then how do I have so many downloads and CD sales? I love the feeling that comes with that, and I really do appreciate the people that somehow find me and check my music out. Even if my talent for composing is poor, or my music in general for that matter, I keep going at it anyway. Slowly.

With all that said, I am still planning to drop another Gameboy based project at some point, and eventually I want to create another bass CD too. The gist of all this mindless rambling I’m doing right now can be summed up like this:

I am constantly busy thanks in most part to my job. My motivation to create music is weak at this point in time. I am however never quitting and want to let everyone know that I’m still around, I’m not going anywhere, and I will be doing more music at some point.

Love!

  –BitPusher

BitPusher Presents: Digital Bass 2017!

Posted in BitPusher2600 News on April 15, 2017 by Q

The ultimate digital assault on your system!


So hello everyone. I’m proud to announce my latest release, and what a wicked one it is. This is my 2nd bass CD, and countless measures improved over my 2014 project G33kmuz1k.

In all honesty, having been obsessed with electronica and particularly bass music since a very young age, I was so proud to have dropped a proper bass CD when I did that 2014 project. I felt like I was stepping into a realm of music that was personal. It was always my belief that a majority of people who bought bass CDs were only using them in brief periods of time to demonstrate or work out their system. Then there’s me not even 10 years old with tons of these cassettes and loving them for their music as a whole. When I learned my way around the software I was experimenting with, well there it was. Bass. Still, unlike working purely with 8-bit, there is a good deal more that goes into mixing and mastering than I knew anything about. I also feel that on that release, I tried a little too hard to mix 8-bit and car audio oriented bass.

But why am I talking about all of this? To share a little history because unlike 2014, I have since acquired a little studio equipment, and more importantly alot more production knowledge. The boom you will hear in a majority of my new album is pure and beautiful. Unlike the common techniques you hear so often, such as time stretching or pitch bending kick drum samples, there are no samples for low end here. My bass has been composed using digital FM synthesis, and has been tightly modulated. It is a purely digital signal, allowing for pure sound. As for the rest of the instrumentation, the audio levels are exactly where I want them, and although I am no studio engineer and don’t have professionally trained ears, I do have a passion for bass music and have put a good deal into my own system. I believe everything on this new album sounds just right, and I hope if you are reading this you will give it a download (or if you’re really into pure and lossless digital audio, buy the CD on Amazon.)

I have put sincere effort into these tracks. Some are thicker and composed, some are a little more simple, but all have a 100% attention to detail when it comes to the bass. Depending on what song and at what point you are listening, you will experience sub bass frequencies that range from 80hz all the way to 15hz. I wanted to keep it “me”, so there are a small multitude of subgenres here. There is some electro, techno, hiphop, a couple good ol’ fashioned slow and low DB drag style tracks, and even a pure tone sub bass woofer excursion test track that has zero music or other sounds, just bass sequences. Due to the way licensing and things work nowadays, I intentionally chose not to use any sort of vocal samples, which are one thing any old school bass CD had in abundance. Still, even with the sounds of modern hiphop or electronic music, there is nothing that pushes a system quite like a proper and genuine bass CD, and I would take the purity of digital FM synthesis against fake 808-ish trickery any day.

Before I go, I want to share one little secret (thus making it not a secret anymore, I know.) The title, artwork, and even the face of the disk itself are a small tribute to one of my most favorite groups (in either the bass or general music category) ever, Bass 305. I had their first album “Digital Bass” on cassette when I was a kid. I knew that tape front to back and it was and still is a favorite. As such, I did the entire layout for this CD with that particular album in mind. The mixer in the front cover here is a zoomed and carefully shot picture of my own mixer board, as the sloped slider shot on the back cover. All that aside, I am always myself. Not one sequence or one melody is reminiscent of any of 305’s music, I just don’t go for that. Still, this CD’s design is a heartfelt nod to one of my largest electronic music influences.

Wanna check me out? Download the full album in compressed format right completely free right here:

http://www.bitpusher2600.net/digitalbass2017.html

Or if you prefer uncompressed and purely lossless audio mastered directly from its digital source, you can by the CD on Amazon right here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LTIODJK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_7lkwzbE48SHXQ

Enjoy! And love to my fellow bassheads and woofer junkies.

  –BitPusher

Bassheads & Car Audio Junkies: A Blabber From BitPusher

Posted in Uncategorized on February 4, 2017 by Q

boomers

See those discs above? These are what I felt like writing about. This is my statement (unwavering opinion) on what is SUPREME for your system.

Let me explain something, please follow if the subject of bass music is of interest to you.

I am as of this writing a 35 year old man. I knew the words to “Jam On It” by Newcleus when I was four years old. I have been obsessed with music (hiphop and electronica) literally my whole life. I wasn’t even in my double digits of age by the time I had shelves full of cassettes. Most kids ask or beg their parents for toys and things, but me? I was always begging and pleading with my mom for a new tape, although now and again I would ask for a video game. ANYWAY, my cousin and her husband used to babysit me alot, and they had a system in pretty much every vehicle they ever owned. Nothing competition like, in fact usually cheaper shit. Nonetheless, my obsession with hiphop and electronic music was nurtured strongly by them, and hearing my music bump so hard always gave me goosebumps.

Over the course of my pre-teen and teenage years, I don’t know. I would have to sit down and really think on this but as an estimate, I guarantee you I have owned over 100 different bass albums. Yes, pre-adult. I had stuff from everybody, including Pandisc Records, DM Records, Newtown Records, IBP Records, and on and on. I was extremely fond of playing my video games and just listening to those songs. That music always connected with me.

The point of this story? What is the best for your system? The younger generations probably don’t even know, though I hope so. You see, there are (I believe) in majority two types of bassheads:
Type one: the person who simply wants ‘loud.’ They want people to hear them coming down streets, and care little about the more technical side of things. Just loud and booming. Budget does not matter here, high grade or cheap, boom is their singlemost priority.
Type two: the purist, or the nerd. The types who drop big money into competition systems and compete fit here. But it’s not just them. Even those on a low budget, but care greatly about brand, about configuration, and complete/overall quality. They invest time in researching and are particular about many or all aspects of their system.

I consider myself type two. Still, one thing that anyone, no matter what their preferences and priorities are, want a fantastic experience. They want bass and is especially critical at such a personal depth for the basshead.

Now, to put all of this together, it is my declaration that the two CDs I have pictured above are the supreme discs you NEED to have to demonstrate the both quality and decibel crunching power of your system. NOTHING compares. Of all the ridiculous mountains of bass music I have owned and loved since my childhood, and including the many experiences I have gained over the years (from dicking around with my own or friends’ setups to having been a spectator at some actual competition shows), I can attest, again my personal opinion, nothing compares to these two discs. Younger generations who weren’t anywhere near being born when this stuff was being produced have probably heard nothing like the old bass music. But if they have, I’m glad for them. ANY decent system with ANY modern music can certainly slam. Monster systems can shake the air out of your lungs with just about anything. So people love going for modern hiphop, trap music, modern R&B, or any one of a couple dozen subgenres of electronic music to toss into their system and boom the hell out of it. Likewise, ANY bass CD will definitely push your setup nice and hard.

All I want to say is this; if you are any breed of basshead, car audio junkie and fanatic, etc, find a copy of Bass 305’s “Digital Bass” or Techmaster PEB’s “Bassgasm” and just listen. Sure, like most modern produced electronic music the entire production is completely and purely digital from top to bottom, just like these albums were. Digital composition, digital recording, digital processing, digital mastering. Yeppers. There is still something more to these albums though. Of all the bass music I have owned and heard and know from front to back, the sound quality and production of these two albums are simply unparalleled. I value these two CDs more than any music I own. My attachment to Bass 305 is extreme anyway, and perhaps my bias is present here since I had Digital Bass on cassette, and it was in my headphones often when skating around the neighborhood and so on.

I’m not all that talented of a musician myself and have limited capabilities, so I am not able to produce music of this quality and this composition. Believe me, you have no idea how badly I wish I had the equipment and such studios. But please at least take one second to consider my personal history here and then think why would this person make such a statement about these albums? He’s not a child, he’s been around a few years suffice it to say, so why does he hold such a strong opinion? Look, some nobody and his blog can’t really influence anyone to do jack shit, not to mention the likelihood that anyone targeted here would even see it or read it. Still, if you do, get those CDs. Yeah I had those cassettes, and later got them on CD not just because I loved them so much as a kid, but because as a pure basshead, I believe them to be absolutely essential for testing your setup, and for the listening experience they provide. I will repeat myself for the last time: these two CDs are the finest possible choice any basshead can make to demonstrate both the sound quality and raw power of their system. The absolute best of bass music. Just because you might not be the type who would casually listen to this kind of music like I do does not mean that they can’t serve you as a tool. Tune your system with these. Especially Bass 305. Absolutely gorgeous. DO IT RIGHT! Don’t download those albums as mp3s and expect gorgeous fidelity. If you really don’t know any better, understand that mp3 and similar compressed audio really do effect music in many negative ways, but make small files in return. Fortunate are the people who can’t hear the difference between an mp3 or iTunes aac vs a CD. When you get into higher-end equipment though, this begins to really matter, most of all with bass music since we’re talking about music with extremely low frequencies which take some real damage from the many processes involved with compressing audio into one of these “lossy formats.”

To all those who understand and live with the addiction I do; I love you guys. Bassheads for life.
–BitPusher

How Can I Improve? Wrong Question Chiptuners.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2017 by Q

I hate question although when people first get invovled in the chiptune community that is some kind of dogma, the question everyone seems compelled to ask.

If I could offer just one valuable, genuine idea in the form of an answer to the question “how can I make better chiptune?” Don’t ask. You ought to quit right now if that is your biggest question.

Asking people how to better implement a specific software technique, how to better process audio, better methods for executing such a such a function, surely. Ask away. You can expect snobbish assholes to throw you the “read the manual” and “search the web yourself” attitudes (they can be correct there however), or help you out.

But all aside, you go into a forum or the like asking people how you can improve your chiptune? I despise that mentality because all you are really doing is asking a group of people on a forum what they want to hear. You are honestly taking other people’s opinions of what sounds good and what doesn’t upon yourself. Consider this; one person could love hardstyle tracks and the sounds that come from that, vs someone who prefers softer, more rhythmic sounds vs someone else who loves uppity pop style tunes, and you want them to tell you how your music is wrong. What could you do better? By whose standards? Hell no. Absolutely not.

If you want to make chiptune or any music for that matter, quit daydreaming of being a big star or building some kind of admiring fanbase like a goof because if impressing people is where your head is really at underneath it all, you are really, truly missing the point or at least you are aware of that fact and your goal is to be plastic. If people like your sounds, great. Attention is always nice, but if people don’t like it, so what? You should be happy to hear your own creations and shamelessly play them in your own car or headphones and still feel good that they are your tunes and you made them. That right there, that’s what it’s really all about.

I’ve been pushing my bits since 2010 and have had brief moments here and there of recognition, but I’m largely unknown and I don’t have fans. So I’m a shitty musician with shitty music? That’s cool. It’s now 2017 and I’m still at it, at my leasure not going wildly far out of my way to promote and sinking alot of time into that effort. I love making music and my pride is stroked every time I hear my own tunes banging out of my system. I hear them and remember nearly every step of constructing the tune, and the journey (long or short) to its completion. As I said, this process and this feeling are what it should be all about, especially something as niche as chiptune.

Quit asking. Be yourself and love it. Also, fuck corny cliches. Please consider my words.

  –BitPusher