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Author Topic: Latest news  (Read 4457 times)

Offline Alistair

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Latest news
« on: June 28, 2015, 04:53:13 PM »
Hey Sierra music fans,

I apologize for such a long time been updates. I have had a lot of bumps in the proverbial road, with studio integration issues (see below). Every time I think I have hit a winning combination of new synths to go with my old ones, there's some snag. But there's some good news, which I'm finally ready to share with you all. But first..

1. QuestStudios closure
I start this update off with a heavy heart. Sadly, after nearly 20 years of operation, QuestStudios was taken down by Tom Lewandowski in May.
This saddens me to the core, QuestStudios was the inspiration for me (and at the time, Brandon Blume aka MusicallyInspired) to begin this website.
Thanks for being a friend and a helper in the later years, after the earlier years where I was impetuous and rude.

Anyway, vale Tom L. You did an amazing job. I'm very sorry to hear there won't be anything new (although I will continue to live in hope), but I appreciate all you have done for us as a Sierra community. Not sure what your best work was, there was too many choices. Your King's Quest II+ score was a standout as for your original compositions, however. Really improved on what was already a good game.

SMC's current project (see below, update #3) will be in part, and involve a tribute to the great Tom.

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome any QuestStudios forumgoers who used the forum to discuss Sierra music, Sierra and other retro computing, old soundcards, and so on.

Back to SMC:
2. More changes to SMC's studio
I have made a major change to my studio in 2015. I know no music has been released since 2009, so what is the point, but there is a point I promise you. I have had a lot of false starts with SMC and expanding my synthesizer collection. I have invested in the wrong synths, too many synths, synths which sound great but don't work with computer MIDI well, and so on. BUST, right? Well, yes, until recently.

I recently sold my Roland Fantom XR, which I loved dearly and was ready to start recording with, but had a critical problem integrating into my setup. So I took some inspiration from shad0wfax, the guy who had the Fantom XR recordings on QuestStudios, bringing new life into the old tracks. He sold his XR for a Roland Integra-7, the top of the line Roland synth module back in 2012 (and still is now). It has around 6,000 sounds. Pretty crazy stuff.
Like the idea of the XR before it, I dismissed it as a pipe dream that would never happen. But when you invest a small amount of money many times, you start to have some investment. The XR with 5 expansions I had for it was worth more than an Integra! One day I actually realised this and thought- I guess I could see if works better for me.

So, I sold on eBay for a month, hoping to unload everything. Sold all but one part of my surplus synths. Got an Integra on a deal. IT'S AMAZING!! You folks will love it, I promise..
The main purpose is the SuperNATURAL side, which closely mimics acoustic instruments, according to Roland, anyway. Bottom line is it sounds incredible, and the realism is light years ahead of anything I've heard from Roland, or anyone else. And I've had and listened to a lot of synths extensively.
(For those interested: It also has a Roland XV-5080 onboard, and all the SRX expansions. AWESOME..)

It also overcomes the issues the XR had with my setup. So SMC is back in business with a real purpose.

Currently other than editing music for SMC's current project(see below), I'm working on categorizing the Integra's sounds, so when I'm working on MIDI's, I'm not just trawling through thousands of sounds, which would make it useless. Incidentally, if anyone wants to buy me an iPad to use the app with it, I would be eternally grateful ;)

Music:
3. Work on the new 'SMC Volumes' project continues
SPOILER ALERT:
Well, the main news is that there's no news just yet. ;)

But seriously, I'm going to do something different here: Build on a previous announcement. Yes, I've continued a project I started. Don't all keel over in shock, now- then you won't hear the music ;)

It is a continuation of the "SMC Sierra Music Volumes" series (itself a tribute to QuestStudios' "Sierra Soundtracks" series), of which there have been several worked on but only the first released. There will be at least one more legacy one released prior to the new one, also. And yes, it (the legacy one) is finished.
 
Anyway. Work on the new SMC Volume is going along well. It began in November last year, and since then, I have an almost completed tracklist, totalling around 40 tracks, with only a couple of games featuring multiple tracks. Most, if not all, major Sierra/Dynamix games will be featured.

There is a very delibarate point to the project. The new Roland Integra-7 I now have is a beast, and has a wealth of sounds, and GOOD sounds, unlike most sound-loaded synths (or ROMplers as they're called).

I am trying to cover a very wide variety of sound and instruments, and would like to cover the General MIDI spectrum (128 instruments), or at least 100 of them, to not just have the best SMC Sierra music CD ever recorded, but to demonstrate the power of this synth (as well as legacy synths I still have, like the MT-32/Sound Canvas).

From pianos, to acoustic guitars, to saxes, shakuhachis, and much MUCH more, I want this to be a diverse listening experience. Roughly half mellow pieces and half action. A lot of famous Sierra pieces and some obscure or less popular.

I won't say any more just yet, since no music has been recorded. But when I have a sample, it will be up here with the next update, no more until some music happens.
If anyone wants to work on the track list with me, and get a sneak peek, you're more than welcome.

And finally..

4. SMC forum update
With nobody, including me, visiting these forums for a while, updating anything is kind of redundant. However, I thought it was about time to update the forum software to the current version of SMF. If anyone notices any problems, please let me know.


Regards, and thanks for reading!
- Alistair
« Last Edit: June 28, 2015, 05:07:56 PM by Alistair »
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Offline sniktawekim

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Re: Latest news
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2015, 11:28:15 AM »
Glad to hear you are back at it!

Offline Collector

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Re: Latest news
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 04:49:38 PM »
While it is sad that the forums are gone, what about asking Tom if you can host the files and info that used to be in the site?

Offline Caliburn

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Re: Latest news
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2015, 08:48:13 PM »
Hi Alistair,

Andrew603 from the Quest Studios forums has started working on an archive site to host the music that was formerly on Quest Studios. Dianne added a message to the Quest Studios homepage to let people know.

Andrew's reached out to a couple of us looking for any music files that he lacks. I've just PM'd you to touch base about this.

Also, super exciting to hear about your new recordings in the works!
« Last Edit: July 03, 2015, 10:45:18 PM by Caliburn »

Offline Goatmeal

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Re: Latest news
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2015, 12:23:15 PM »
Hooray!

Been checking the board once a week for the year or so, hoping for any signs of life...  Glad to see there's more music in our future!

G

Offline Alistair

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Re: Latest news
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2015, 01:09:57 PM »
Thanks for the replies folks. Good to see there are some still roaming the halls here. :)

I'm talking to Andrew tonight on the phone about this issue, I will post here if anything interesting comes out of it.


There's a lot of music coming. I forget if I'm repeating myself, but this project will be around 40 tracks, will have most of the instrument spectrum taken care of (at least, instruments you'll hear in a GM game), and will have awesome sound.
I was auditioning the guitars in the Integra last night, acoustic, electric, and distortion. WOW, just wow. Definitely the best electric guitars I've heard in a synth. They would be at the complete other end of the spectrum from what I've always used, the MT-32 and Sound Canvas/Yamaha XG guitars.
Although as I said to my brother this morning on Skype, the drumkits are probably the best sonic improvement of Roland's latest technology. Never really heard one I liked on a synth, not many anyway. Many here!

Anyway, I got to get back to SMC work, I'd like to have something recorded in my mini vacation today/tomorrow.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 01:10:22 PM by Alistair »
Sierra Music Central
Keeping Sierra's music alive, because the fans want it.

"I'm currently listening to your music. You're good! <grin>"- Al Lowe

My name is Spike and I am a Warrior- what kind of Hero are you?
The School for Heroes