Tag Archives: beta test music

Originals: “Last Minute Research Paper”

February’s 8static really got me inspired to assemble some originals to perform in the future.  Naturally, as a newcomer to the chiptune scene, I need to see what the scene… well… is!  I’ve been listening to everything and anything, trying to absorb every sound and style in the chiptune genre.  There’s so much out there!  I’m actually impressed with the overall quality I’m finding.  Mostly, you can tell that people put an incredible amount of time and effort into each track.  For a great example of quality and craftsmanship, I would check Chipocrite’s new album:  8bit Lebowski:  100% Electronic.  And it’s not just this album- there’s tens of thousands of albums out there to explore.  It’s really awesome.

Either way, performing as “Steve L” is only going to get me so far as it would appear that everyone has a stage name.  I didn’t want to be presumptuous and assume it was okay to just make up a stage name, having very little experience and what not…. but I ended up doing so anyhow.  I’ll be performing under “Ap0c” from here on out, as a homage to the Relic Scythe from Final Fantasy XI.

Nerdy inspiration for a name… but a bad-ass scythe.

For the past month, I’ve been working on pieces for Beta Test Music as well.  We will be performing our very first NYC show this weekend, in fact.  Details here.  It will feature 2 works for the band+20a3/VRC6 that I’ve arranged.  Our drummer is busy this weekend… so I just whipped up some NES audio to go with Pokemon to cover for him.  I’m also tweaking my arrangement of music from Castlevania III because I’ve learned SOOO MUCH about sound creation since the original performance that I feel like the work was a bit amateurish and could easily be fixed to make a lot more sense.

Anyhow, “Last Minute Research Paper” is supposed to invoke that feeling of a race to the finish.  I imagine sitting down at 9 PM, attemping to finish a paper that is due at 8 AM the next morning.  The music goes through ups and downs, progress and lack of progress, and should have a push and pull kind of feel.  Ultimately, the paper is finished but at what cost?  Too dramatic?  Too bad.

Below you’ll find the live performance of this piece at 8static 33:

One thing instantly noticeable is my snares are kind of out of control at times.  On my headphones, it didn’t sound nearly as crashy and crazy.  It’s really just at the beginning.  It would appear I dropped an “F” in Famitracker for the noise channel and forgot to remove it.  You can hear it activate at around :11.  I think it stays up at the volume for a while before receiving another command not to be so loud.  Most of my volume controls are built into the instruments so it probably took a long time before I put another command in.  Oh well.  I need to remember to just put in “analog” controls more often.  It will also help when I have a full rig so I can mix stuff more on the fly.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed it!  I have some other cool things I’m working on too so I’ll put them up here when they are complete.  It’s my Spring Break (yep, a perk of being a college professor) so I’m going to try to aim to clean up some half-completed posts, including Virus, Part 2 of Dr. Mario, and some other interesting Research in Game Music topics.  Happy Monday!


Covering a Tune: Arranging Music for Groundhog’s Day with Beta Test Music – Part 5

On February 2nd, my band, Beta Test Music (betatestmusic.com), will be performing another big concert of video game music and other nerdy favorites at First Unitarian Church in downtown Philadelphia (see here for information and tickets).  This series of posts will highlight the music that I arranged for the concert, explaining the choices in musical selection, instrumentation, and overall presentation.

Man, I love Amano’s artwork.

In Part 1 and Part 2, I discussed my musical selection process/performance considerations for my medley of music from Akumajou Densetsu (Castlevania III) for Beta Test Music and 2a03+VRC6.  In Part 3, I discussed my arrangement of music from Earthbound/Mother 2.  In Part 4, I talked about my arrangement of tunes from Nintendo’s Pokemon – 1st Generation (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow).  AND TODAY – in the FIFTH AND FINAL INSTALLMENT of my posts – we’ll talk about my arrangement of music from Squaresoft’s (it was still Squaresoft back then, I believe) Final Fantasy III/VI.

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Covering a Tune: Arranging Music for Groundhog’s Day with Beta Test Music – Part 4

On February 2nd, my band, Beta Test Music (betatestmusic.com), will be performing another big concert of video game music and other nerdy favorites at First Unitarian Church in downtown Philadelphia (see here for information and tickets).  This series of posts will highlight the music that I arranged for the concert, explaining the choices in musical selection, instrumentation, and overall presentation.

In Part 1 and Part 2, I discussed my musical selection process/performance considerations for my medley of music from Akumajou Densetsu (Castlevania III) for Beta Test Music and 2a03+VRC6.  In Part 3, I discussed my arrangement of music from Earthbound/Mother 2.  TODAY, in Part 4, I’ll talk about my arrangement of tunes from Nintendo’s Pokemon – 1st Generation (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow).

Continue reading


Covering a Tune: Arranging Music for Groundhog’s Day with Beta Test Music – Part 3

On February 2nd, my band, Beta Test Music (betatestmusic.com), will be performing another big concert of video game music and other nerdy favorites at First Unitarian Church in downtown Philadelphia (see here for information and tickets).  This series of posts will highlight the music that I arranged for the concert, explaining the choices in musical selection, instrumentation, and overall presentation.

In Part 1 and Part 2, I discussed my musical selection process/performance considerations for my medley of music from Akumajou Densetsu (Castlevania III) for Beta Test Music and 2a03+VRC6.  Today, in Part 3, I’ll discuss my arrangement of tunes from Nintendo and HAL Lab’s Earthbound (Mother 2).

Continue reading


Covering a Tune: Arranging Music for Groundhog’s Day with Beta Test Music – Part 2

On February 2nd, my band, Beta Test Music (betatestmusic.com), will be performing another big concert of video game music and other nerdy favorites at First Unitarian Church in downtown Philadelphia (see here for information and tickets).  This series of posts will highlight the music that I arranged for the concert, explaining the choices in musical selection, instrumentation, and overall presentation.

In Part 1, I discussed my musical selection process for my medley of music from Akumajou Densetsu (Castlevania III) for Beta Test Music and 2a03+VRC6.  Today, in Part 2, I will discuss the specific methods I used to arrange and compile the entire piece.

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Covering a Tune: Arranging Music for Groundhog’s Day with Beta Test Music – Part 1

On February 2nd, my band, Beta Test Music (betatestmusic.com), will be performing another big concert of video game music and other nerdy favorites at First Unitarian Church in downtown Philadelphia (see here for information and tickets).  This series of posts will highlight the music that I arranged for the concert, explaining the choices in musical selection, instrumentation, and overall presentation.

In Part 1, I’ll discuss one of the biggest arrangement projects I’ve done in my entire life – Akumajou Densetsu (Castlevania III) for Beta Test Music and 2A03+VRC6 (FC/NES) accompaniment.  Yep, that’s live music + pre-programmed NES.  On this blog, I talk about these chips all the time.  Now it’s time to actually use them.

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Covering a Tune: “Ground Theme” from Super Mario Bros.

Hey guys!  I’m going to be writing a couple blog posts over at betatestmusic.com about our upcoming video game music concert!  For info about the concert, check here!

In my first post, I discuss the issues surrounding arranging game music for our instrumentation as well as the considerations I made when covering “Ground Theme” from Super Mario Bros.  Please check it out-  ARRANGING VIDEO GAME MUSIC FOR A VERY BETA CHRISTMAS – PART 1.

Hope to see some of you there this weekend!