In keeping with my recent activity here (and so, well, you can see where the writing has been going), here's its infofile, greatly expanded:
. . . . . MiSTiGRiS PROUDLY PRESENTS: . _________|`\ ____,___|`\_| |___33 . * __, __, __, `\(____- ,_,'_, _______ #|' |' |' |' ,\__, `|' _|' |# . * . @|___,___,____-__(____,__,'___,__,'@ (mistigris) (music disk #1) (12/14) . .the bells of yule .1 hr 45 minutes. * . * .of new and vintage computer musics. . . . 2014 20th anniversary re-issue . .--._.--.--.__.--.--.__.--.--.__.--.--._.--. _(_ _Y_ _Y_ _Y_ _Y_ _)_ [___] [___] [___] [___] [___] [___] /:' \ /:' \ /:' \ /:' \ /:' \ /:' \ |:: | |:: | |:: | |:: | |:: | |:: | \::. / \::. / \::. / \::. / \::. / \::. / jgs \::./ \::./ \::./ \::./ \::./ \::./ '=' '=' '=' '=' '=' '=' In late 1994, we at Mistigris were posed with a formidable proposition from the fine folks at Digitallusions: here is a 5-piece suite of original instrumental holiday music, in turns joyous and upbeat, moody, melancholic and modal, and at times downright grim and eerie -- in short, a corpus appropriate for summarizing the time of year when things are at their bleakest nadir out on the blasted, lightless heath... but in brightly-lit rooms, fragile human bodies congregate to reject and refute this physical reality with a merry rebellion, filling their cold darkness with warmth and light, hoping that in some magical way it makes the sun come back. Would we like to distribute this music? Releasing it in an artpack would be unthinkable due to the filesize- bloating effects of large quantities of sample-based computer music on 1994-era modem transmission speeds. And yet clearly not releasing it simply wasn't an option. And so we went for a Third Way, the poorly-understood option of the Music Disk. Just how did a music disk differ from an artpack, anyhow? In short, the latter was expected to be packed with visual computer creativity, while the former would of course be touting audio digital creations instead. Outfits that really had their act together would present their music disks alongside executable music player software in which to experience the tunes, skinned with visual art of their own creation and offering commentary and visualization options informed by the longstanding demoscene traditions of loaders, intros and cracktros. Our outfit could not really be described as having its act together. Though its members would eventually achieve all kinds of greatness, at that point by and large we were flying by the seat of our pants, faking it until we made it and making it up as we went along. So the Mistigris music disk was an archive consisting of a pile of .MODs thrown together, along with a recycled FILE_ID.DIZ and a painfully uninformative infofile -- this 15-year-old's fourth crack at writing one up, not quite there yet. We shopped the highly seasonal collection of music around to the best of our ability, by which I mean: we spent several hours uploading the archive to a few BBSes, in the hopes that it might find its way to other area codes courtesy of some independently wealthy long distance caller. Who knows, if we could get it on something called an FTP site, it might really find an international audience on the InterNet. But the early '90s were lean, mean times and while the art was given freely, storage and bandwidth came at a premium. The Mistigris crew disadvantageously straddled two worlds uneasily, too close to the pirate wareZ-associated ANSI art scene for our music disk to be hosted by upright, decent and legitimate demoscene music resources, yet too modem-breakingly large (weighing in at a kingly 1.47 megs -- this alleged music "disk" wouldn't even fit on a 1.44 inch floppy diskette!) for it to be hosted by ANSI art mirrors -- at least, not without a heck of a lot more visual appeal than we wrapped it in. So the archive bumped around local BBSes in the 604 area code for three or four years, and then when the last of those went down circa 1998, suddenly it became unobtainable... at least, until now. Computers can greatly streamline and facilitate creative activity, but for longevity, the methods of the 19th century have got it lapped. Paint your image on a canvas, write your words in a notebook, commit the notes of your song to sheet music, and it can live on for centuries -- write your opus magnum on a computer and you've got maybe a 10-year window of opportunity before backward compatibility with your genius goes out the window and all you have left are the memories. Maybe the greatest piece of computer art to emerge from Vancouver in the '90s was William Gibson's Agrippa for the Apple Macintosh, but how are you going to prove it? But I digress. The point is: for reasons I can't adequately explain, to anyone else and perhaps least of all to myself, I hung on to it -- all of it, or at least as much of it as possible. I desperately clutched at the high points, to hold close to my heart, and the faux pas, to remind myself not to repeat my mistakes. (This music disk I like to believe is one of the former.) On hundreds of rotting floppies and miles of useless magnetic tape and through the Russian doll backup approach of recursive hard drive upgrades, I kept it near. I hung on to work that was released and work that never was, work that was complete and work that was unfinished, work by people whose real names I never knew and whose faces I'd never seen, because such was the unwritten compact of our onetime interactions: you be creative, I will try to get it out there. But we did not anticipate that creative work, once released out there, would ever cease to remain out there. Here lies one whose name was writ on Geocities. Bafflingly, I hung on to prime work that had cost me only the time of downloading it when its creators, who had devoted countless nonrefundable hours of their lives to making the work, no longer had copies of it. Did they all suffer calamitous hard drive crashes? I could not accept the historically traitorous shrugged implication: that what we were up to back then was unimportant, and besides nobody could prove otherwise. To make a long story short (OK, to keep a long story from getting even longer), here I am, proving otherwise. This is a formidable music disk -- the original eight songs more-than-doubled, bolstered by a bonus nine more -- to help keep your igloo or server room chill with vintage holiday sounds. We hope you enjoy these tunes -- some of you for the first time with some of them, and others for the first time in 15 years -- and remember: please don't party like it's 1999... that's nowhere near far enough back. - Cthulu, Mistigris founder, Nov 20 2014. SO ENOUGH ABOUT THE HISTORY OF WITHERED TECHNOLOGY, WHAT ABOUT THESE SONGS? HB-BELLS.MOD 1.44 mins Carol of the Bells Hero Bob / Poison FRQ-BLKN.S3M 3.04 mins Black Noise Freaq / Independent Both appearing in the original, 1994, run of this music disk, Freaq is nothing less than the musician that Hero Bob would mature into. The first file is a 4-channel rock arrangement of the traditional Christmas carol, dating back to an earlier 1991 release, while the second is a season-agnostic, but chawesome, original tune intended for a demo by Sonic Equinox that was not ultimately to be, despite Leslie's sultry vocals. As best as we could find, it was never re-issued anywhere else, so to ensure access to and posterity of the plucky l'il file, we were obligated to include it here once again despite its lack of obvious Christmas appeal. (Blasting tracks on the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, == "Black Noise"? I'm stretching here.) ONX-GIAB.S3M 3.19 mins Grinch in a Blender Onyx / MiST ONX-SOFT.S3M 2.22 mins Soft Crystal Onyx / MiST Two further contributions by a supporting composer, the prolific (to damn with faint praise) Onyx included GIAB and its techno remixings of the holiday cartoon's musical themes in the original, 1994 release of this music disk after composing it on Christmas Eve of that year. The bonus track, Soft Crystal, is intended to evoke a somber mood of snowfall, and is folded in here due to thematic resonance despite remaining available in its original Mistigris artpack release of December 1997 (that one composed Christmas Eve Eve.) YULEBEL1.MOD 9.27 mins The Bells of Yule 1 Admiral Skuttlebutt/Digitallusions YULEBEL2.MOD 10.23 mins The Bells of Yule 2 Admiral Skuttlebutt/Digitallusions YULEBEL3.MOD 10.00 mins The Bells of Yule 3 Admiral Skuttlebutt/Digitallusions YULEBEL4.MOD 9.58 mins The Bells of Yule 4 Admiral Skuttlebutt/Digitallusions YULEBEL5.MOD 12.47 mins The Bells of Yule 5 Admiral Skuttlebutt/Digitallusions The centrepiece of the original music disk, lending it their name and serving as its raison d'Ãªtre, this epic suite remains as striking in December 2014 as it was 20 years prior. Basically you won't find another song cycle comparable to this in the wide and varied annals of computer music history. Their original blurb remains very apt: "A fantastic voyage through the ranges and depths of sound and emotion, these five tracks deserve to give the disk its name. Each one is a masterpiece in its own. Listen and enjoy!" As a bonus, the original composer Melody has digitally remastered all of the original Bells of Yule files with digital production techniques unavailable to the Atari ST hobbyist in 1994, included here as mp3s attributed to her current Empress Play imprint still today pumping out tunes on the regular at https://soundcloud.com/empressplay BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! CT-W.S3M 2.05 mins Winter Eyes Cthulu / MiST Originally released December of 1997 alongside Soft Crystal and The Xmas Rave (see below), this peculiar serving of classical music was composed the night of Cthulu's first great shearing, to settle a disturbance in this sensitive character in response to a colossal dispute between himself and his landlo-- parents. (The second great shearing was in 2010, in front of an entire northern village, and it seems to have stuck.) A theme and variations type exercise iterating through styles of blues progressions, Mike Oldfield (ah, but I repeat myself) and J.S. Bach, its original release was hampered by unintended dissonance in the ice bell samples; it has been nominally remastered to switch out one variety of dissonance with another one, amidst a burying blanket of cold Sputnik beepings. Think of it, if you will, as a rewrapped, regifted, unwanted holiday fruitcake. Eventually it will be to someone's taste! XMASRAVE.MOD 3.19 mins The Xmas Rave Admiral Skuttlebutt/Digitallusions Also first appearing in December 1997, this later piece is thematically consistent with the Yulebells of three years prior -- and also enjoys a complementary MP3 remastering at Melodia's expert hands, included in the archive. (And to prove that the composer is not a one-holiday specialist, keep your eyes and ears open for remastered editions of the original and remixed versions of their New Year's hit "1995: A Rave", a couple of weeks shy of its own 20th anniversary.) Bells of Yule 2014 Reprise 5.03 mins Melody / Empress Play Christmas in Marioland 7.29 mins Melody / Empress Play Jingle All The Way (To The Dance Floor) 4.27 mins Melody / Empress Play The Christmas Santa Was Murdered 5.42 mins Melody / Empress Play The War On Christmas 8.16 mins Melody / Empress Play Rounding out this disk, just prior to release we discovered that Melody had been working on more Christmas music. Quite a bit more. Indeed a full five more to meet and match the original five compositions in the first release of the Bells of Yule. And since the disk had always been conceived of as a testament to the singular vision of her bold musical demiurge, it made a lot more sense to include these new tunes rather than trying to stifle and sit on fresh compositions for perhaps some companion music disk to be released in Christmas 2015. (If there's one lesson I can impart upon the reader gained from my keeping the music disk's original files on life support in a cold and uncaring world for 20 years, it's this: never release tomorrow what you could release today.) Including one more (final?) return to drinking at the Bells of Yule well, exploring some alternate takes on themes from the original suite, these new offerings hold true to the earlier songs in offering approaches to both of the winter moods: bleak despair and defiant hope. And I couldn't ask for a better note than that to close on! .--._.--.--.__.--.--.__.--.--.__.--.--._.--. _(_ _Y_ _Y_ _Y_ _Y_ _)_ [___] [___] [___] [___] [___] [___] /:' \ /:' \ /:' \ /:' \ /:' \ /:' \ |:: | |:: | |:: | |:: | |:: | |:: | \::. / \::. / \::. / \::. / \::. / \::. / jgs \::./ \::./ \::./ \::./ \::./ \::./ '=' '=' '=' '=' '=' '=' CREDITS: Music by: Admiral Skuttlebutt of Digitallusions and Melody of Empress Play Hero Bob of Poison and Freaq Onyx of Mistigris Cthulu of Mistigris _ Infofile by: _[_]_ Cthulu of Mistigris (") `--( : )--' ASCII art stolen from: ( : ) jgs. I didn't even ask permission, I just took. jgs ""`-...-'"" Look! There, I'm doing it again! At least I preserved the signatures and extended proper credit. FILE_ID.DIZ: recycled from our first artpack with permission courtesy of Eerie (who in 12/94 was affiliated "Relic/Mist/Union/Shiver". Too much talent to be contained in just one group!) Greets go out to the old New Media Productions crews from around the 604: EuphoniX, The Immortal Syndicate, Trideja, Radiance, Sonic Equinox, and Happy Fetus Records, who we were never quite able to get on board, as well as the other, "lost", Radiance -- Fire's music division -- whose disappeared music disk on the Mistigris World Tour we should be re-releasing soon as part of our spree of archival liberation -- and ACiD's music division, pHluid. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- "MiST... more bite for your... er... byte."