Sunday, 12 January 2014

Psytronik Software - The 20 Year Celebration CDs!

Firstly, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all you lovely retro people out there!

To mark the 20th anniversary of Psytronik Software in 2013 I decided to put together a soundtrack CD featuring music from various Psytronik releases spanning the 20 year history of the software label.  While I was compiling a list of tracks to include on the CD I then had the idea to include the One Man & His Mic Psytronik Software Special podcast show on a second disk - which not only features tunes and remixes from various Psytronik titles but also includes waffle from little old me giving tasty titbits of info about each release.

Devoting the second CD to the 80 minute podcast show made choosing tracks for CD1 a little more difficult as I was determined not to replicate any tunes from CD2 on CD1 - which means you get 2 CDs filled with completely different tracks from lots of Psytronik titles.  And now for your entertainment and enjoyment I will detail all the tracks I specially selected for CD1 and will regail you with facts and trivia about the recordings I did for this special CD set.

01. Sceptre of Baghdad - In-Game (FeekZoid).

As CD2 features a superb REMIX of the Sceptre in-game tune I thought it would be nice to open CD1 with the original SID tune from the game.  I originally made this recording for The Epic Themes 2 CD (available from Binary Zone) but for this CD set I remastered the track and carefully went through the whole tune to eliminate any clicks, pops or filter clunks present in the original recording, leaving a smooth and crystal clear sounding recording.

02. Archetype - In-Game (FeekZoid).

This is a brand-new recording made using an 8580 SID chip (present in the newer C64C models).  I'm going through a phase of really liking the 8580 SID sound after hearing the recordings done by PVCF from his very own 8580 SID chip (I can heartily recommend his CD - My number is C64 - available from Binary Zone!)  Anyway, I listened to Archetype played through an 8580 chip and was impressed with the crisp, clean sound so that's the version I have featured on this CD.

03. PsykoZone - In-Game (Matt Simmonds).

I decided to include the cool in-game theme from PsykoZone on this CD as I am a huge fan of the Streethawk theme (which this is a cover of).  I also thought it would be nice to include this track as the (tricky!) game doesn't include a pause-mode so a lot of people may not have heard the track all the way through!  Techno-Trivia: An early release version of PsykoZone contained a shorter version of this track but this CD features the complete extended version from the final version of the game.

04. Sub Hunter - Loader (Maniacs of Noise).

The Maniacs of Noise produced a wonderful selection of soundtracks for this extremely popular C64 release so I was spoiled for choice for which tune to include.  As the title-tune for the game is featured on CD2 I decided to feature the loading tune on CD1.

05. Escape from Arth - Loader (Richard Bayliss).

Richard Bayliss has composed many fantastic tracks for Psytronik releases in the past so I wanted to highlight some of his work on this CD.  I really like his pounding loader theme for this game and recorded the tune from an 8580 SID to really emphasize the cool throbbing bass in the track.

06. Mayhem in Monsterland - Intro (Steve Rowlands).

Some classic bouncy SID music from Steve Rowlands here.  I thought it would be nice to include some C64 music from the game on CD1 as CD2 contains a rare track from an unreleased PC version of the game.

07. Joe Gunn - Title (Laxity).

This was an easy choice!  As CD2 contains the in-game theme from the game I decided to record the title tune for CD1.  I do like the Rob Hubbard-esque sounds that Laxity featured in the Joe Gunn C64 themes.

08. The Last Amazon - Intro (Tonka).

Here we have another brand-new recording done using an 8580 SID chip.  With this recording you can really here all the detail Tonka packed into his Matt Gray-esque intro theme - I love the sound effects in the atmospheric track that include jungle sounds, explosions and gunfire.

09. Knight 'n' Grail - Title / End (Hans Axelsson).

This is another popular Psytronik release and for CD1 I wanted to include a medley of tracks recorded from a real SID chip.  I decided to use the 8580 SID for these recordings as I figured a lot of people who had played the game on a real C64 would be used to hearing the soundtracks played from the more recent C64C model.  The 8580 filters work really well with this track - I just love that squidgy Ghosts 'n' Goblins style bassline!

10. The Wild Bunch - Title (Jon Wells).

Jon Wells delivered a superb suite of rootin' tootin' tunes for this release and did a great job in updating the beepy Spectrum music for the fantastic C64 release of this game.  The Wild Bunch was actually one of the first ZX Spectrum games I owned so I get very nostalgic when I play this game - which is why I'm very proud that it is now part of the Psytronik range.  I also had a great time making the cassette inlays for the C64 in authentic Firebird Software style.  The resulting C64 tape inlay is reversible so you get the 'classic' style inlay along with the more 'modern' Firebird style!

11. Oracle III - Perplexed Oracle (Tufan Uysal).

I love the soundtracks for this game - a great selection of ambient and atmospheric tracks that suit this puzzle game perfectly.  This is one of the tunes recorded by Tufan Uysal directly from his very own 8580 SID chip - so you can hear the tune exactly how the original musician intended it to be heard!

12. 2,000 Kung Fu Maniacs - Loader (Richard Bayliss).

I was really pleased with the quality of the games featured on the second Shoot 'Em Up Destruction Set compilation.  Once again Alf Yngve pushed the SEUCK editor way above and beyond it's usual constraints and Richard Bayliss delivered a belting selection of soundtracks for the releases featured in the pack.  For this CD I chose to record the loading tune from 2,000 Kung Fu Maniacs as I really like this catchy and bouncy oriental track.

13. Super Tau Zeta - Title (Richard Bayliss).

I couldn't resist sneaking another tune from SEUDS2 onto this CD as I love this massive powerhouse of a title tune from Richard.  Matt Gray-esque wibbles feature in this soundscape that evokes classic shoot 'em ups from yesteryear!

14. Soulless - In-Game (Mikkel Hastrup).

This track was originally recorded for the Soulless companion CD-ROM (and a rare promo audio CD) and is the FULL in-game tune from the game. Mikkel composed an excellent selection of soundtracks for Soulless and for this CD I chose the in-game tune that accompanies you on your quest.  It's a catchy, playful and atmospheric tune that drives you on while remaining unobtrusive while you play.  Great stuff!

15. Redrunner - Title (Glenn Rune Gallefoss).

As this tune begins with sampled speech I had to record this old-skool stylie from an original 6581 SID chip.  The tune is a superb swirly echoey piece from Glenn with a really catchy hook to it - but don't take my word for it, listen to it with your ears!

16. Assembloids - Title (Owen Crowley).

There was only one way to record the quirky title track from this game - only the 8580 SID can clearly perform the intricate sounds featured in the title tune!  I was very pleased with the resulting recording which successfully captures the original theme in all it's detail.  Techno-Trivia:-  This unusual title tune is actually a very accurate conversion of the music from the original PC game 'Quartet' - which you can play online HERE.

17. Guns 'n' Ghosts - Loader (Richard Bayliss).

Once again Richard Bayliss has donned his Matt Gray hat for this fabulous loading theme from the tape version of the game.  I decided to include this track as it's not featured on the disk version so a lot of people may have missed hearing this one.

18. Sir Ababol - Loader (Linus).

I really like the Mojon Twins compilation that was released by Psytronik, it was a fun release to work on (I designed the tape / disk / cartridge artwork) and the games featured in the pack are great quality.  For this CD I chose to record one of the loader tunes from Sir Ababol, a medieval tune featuring soft bass and pleasant harpsichord style sounds.

19. Cops - The Final Chapter - Title (Richard Bayliss).

Yet another belting title track from Richard Bayliss here.  The punchy tune jumps straight into action with police sirens and dynamic sounds with a propulsive main theme.  The Ultimate Cops compilation was one of my favourite releases for 2013 as it featured stunning artwork by Oliver Frey - and it has always been one of my ambitions to feature Oli Frey artwork in a Psytronik release!

20. Super Carling the Spider - In-Game (Joe Dixon).

Here's your chance to hear a sneaky peek from a 2014 Psytronik Release.  Joe Dixon has been busy updating his popular VIC-20 release Carling the Spider for the C64 and has not only retained all the playability from the original release but has improved on the original game as well!  Joe has composed the soundtracks for the game himself and this is the impressive in-game theme from the as-yet-unreleased C64 version of the game.

21. The Vice Squad - Montage (Linus).

I love the Tim Follin-esque soundtracks that Linus composed for The Vice Squad!  So much so I couldn't decide which track to include on the CD, so I went for a montage instead.  The resulting track includes the title, in-game and game over tunes from the game - a great way to round off the CD!

CD2 - One Man & His Mic - The Psytronik Software Special.

This CD features the full 80 minute podcast show that I devoted to Psytronik Software and produced in January 2011.  The CD contains music from various Psytronik releases from Sceptre of Baghdad up to and and including Hyper Viper.  This CD is different to CD1 as it contains a number of cool Psytronik game music remixes, tunes inspired by Psytronik games along with music recorded from various computer systems including the C64, Commodore Plus/4, Amstrad CPC and PC!

The CD has been pressed using the original WAV recording I made of the show so it is actually better quality than the original mp3 podcast show.  I have also added CD track indexes so you can now skip straight to each tune featured in the show.

There's no need for me to detail the tunes on this CD as you can hear me talk about each track on the CD itself using my actual voice!!  Here's a list of the tracks featured on CD2:-

01. Sceptre of Baghdad Intro (DJ Skitz)
02. The Sceptre of Nu Baghdad (Kate Z)
03. Archetype - FZ vs JMJ Remix (FeekZoid)
04. Nukenin & The Ronin Title (TMR) [C64]
05. PsykoZone Intro (FeekZoid) [C64]
06. Sub Hunter Title (Maniacs of Noise) [C64]
07. Escape from Arth Title (FeekZoid) [C64]
08. Mayhem in Monsterland Title (Tonka) [PC]
09. Creatures Remix (Infamous)
10. Creatures 2 Redux (Infamous)
11. Joe Gunn in-game (Laxity) [C64]
12. Armalyte Loader (Martin Walker) [C64]
13. The Path Of Destiny - Knight 'n' Grail Subtune #2 (Project N.A.)
14. Knight 'n' Grail - Good Ending Orchestral Mix (Hans Axelsson)
15. The Last Amazon Title Tune (Richard Bayliss) [C64]
16. The Wild Bunch (Jon Wells) [C64]
17. Star Sabre In-Game Tune (Targhan) [Amstrad CPC]
18. Armalyte PC Title Tune (Infamous) [PC]
19. Adventures in Time (Luca / Fire) [Plus/4]
20. City Bomber - KateZoid Fusion Mix (Kate Z)
21. Sub Hunter CPC (Herve Monchatre) [Amstrad CPC]
22. HyperViper (Jamie Howard) [C64]
23. Sceptre of Baghdad Outro (DJ Skitz)

The 2CD set is presented with professionally printed full colour artwork featuring a montage I designed to celebrate 20 years of Psytronik releases (with a nice '20 Years' logo by Smila!)  The CD contains a reversible front inlay containing game artwork on one side and loading screens from various Psytronik releases on the reverse.  The CDs feature full-colour on-body artwork and the packaging is rounded off with a card obi-strip.

The Psytronik Software 20 Years 2CD set is now available in the Binary Zone Retro Store.

Thanks for reading, see you IN THE FUTURE!

Kenz / Psytronik 9/1/2014

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