French Tracking Scene
Written by N.r.t.h.
This title may sound quite nationalist, however there are some interesting projects in this scene which have to be emphasized on. Furthermore, I think Makke wouldn't mind too much if we, the French guys, intruded in his music-section of the mag. Sweden rules (too), Marcus, for sure, and nobody tracks Kraftwerk like you do!
One last precision before starting: this article is a kind of "screenshot" of this scene, as it is now, that is to say I won't write about an older period of it, with composers such as Moby, Clawz, and Audiomonster.
We are quite numerous, and of course I couldn't make a complete list (because some people might track in their spot, or do not have access to the web, or don't want to be involved in any kind of scene ... and because I don't know everybody as well!), and I even may have listed some non-trackers.
Sorry for the forgotten ones (don't hesitate to mail me if you're among them, so that I know you or/and so that you can flame me):
Alexel, Alkama, Djam(m), Double, Flod, Garou, Gryzor, GrosQuick, Hardfire, Hiscan, Hornet, Kalmindo, Kervala, Klang, Knos, Kooki, Lluvia, Lucifer, Med(CG), Mercure, MooMoon, Mr. T, Noiise, N.r.t.h., Poulpy, QuirK, R(ed)R(ibbon), Rez, Snes, SwartehMonia, tOrOne, Traven, Will Be ...
Anyway, if we ask a random fellow scener (from anywhere) to name the handle of THE French tracker, he will answer djam(m) for sure, and well, he would be right (though if we asked this same fellow the same question, adding only the word "girl", he would answer Lluvia! By the way, there should be an interview with her in Fleur). Of course, one could answer Mercure, Snes, Will Be,... as well.
He (djamm) is one of the main guys behind the scene we are talking about here. First because of his tracking-skills of course. Whether they are chip-music (like in the winning intro of the Volca#5) or not, his tunes kick ass! Remember the music in the Moai demo? At least the funky part? Yes you do! Oh well, just download some of his tracks at http://www.error-404.com/djamm/, you will find many well-composed songs of different styles.
However, having been in the scene for a long time (Atari oldskool scener), Djamm tries to expand the whole French tracking scene with several ideas and projects. (Read more about him in his interview in this issue of Hugi.)
Djamm, Will Be (and Mercure, and quite a lot of others, no one can actually remember exactly) opened an IRCNet channel called ... #frcomposers? (In glory to #nlcoders?) No, #traxfr. The original #trax is often flooded by messages in Scandinavian languages that we do not understand at all. This new channel is where trackers talk to each other. Although the French already have one demoscene-related channel, #demofr, the trackers felt that they had to create their own place in order to avoid annoying coders by interrupting their serious discussions! (Really serious?) This channel leads to other projects as well. Chatting is a good way to find ideas (and sometimes even a good way to stay chatting instead of setting up this idea!) However, the French tracking scene appears in a better shape, thanks to #traxfr linking musicians together.
In fact, Djamm remembers the beginning of the channel. He writes: "Born in August 1998, #traxfr has first appeared as an alternative channel. Actually, I was a bit fed up to meet the French musicians on #demofr. They were not at the right place, their talks seemed to in the coders' way. Knowing that, I had the idea with Mercure, Will Be and some other musicians to create a channel entirely dedicated to the French tracking scene. We just needed a Bot (thanks, smurfie), and it was done! After quite a slow start due to a lack of information, the channel has found its people, that is Lluvia, tOrOne, Mercure, Knos, Kalmindo, Kervala and many more. It's always with pleasure that we welcome new trackers, and they are sure to find good advice in the channel, whatever their level of skills is. Everybody is equal, and everybody has the right to state his opinion!"
http://www.error-404.com/tuner/ (French - Djamm)
This site contains a compo with samplepacks made by anyone who wants to (trackers of course!). Unlike many other compos, it's quite human. I mean, there is not a bunch of attempters who don't know them and just participate to the compo for the glory.
http://trashcan.planet-d.net/ (French & English - Med, Quirk, RR)
This one contains nonsense and kind of "bad" modules. You might ask yourself what the hell it's doing here then. Simple, dealing with tracking in this way is its aim. If Trashcan was a demo-compo, it would be the wild one!
To make you understand this strange concept better, Med sent me an IRC-log about the birth of Trashcan. Here are some excerpts from it (roughly translated):
<tOrOne> http://www.infobiogen.fr/~cussat/Music/comknos.zip <tOrOne> For the ones who want to laugh at me. ... (Knos would like to point out that the only link between him and this terrible tune is due to the fact he made the sample pack for this compo!) ... <Med> Here it is, I think I've got it :) ... <Med> It's starting... <Med> Live torone's zik :) <Med> Wow the keyboards ;)) <Med> Wooooooow, super trip! It's strange <tOrOne> Med: Euh... yes, that's the word... I told you "I wondered if in the night of its release I was not drunk" :o) *** kervala (~firstname.lastname@example.org) has joined channel #traxfr ... <tOrOne> Well... I was right not to submit it to the compo :o) <Med> For sure, it's good at home, keep it there :)) <Med> but anyway, it's fun listening to failed songs ... <Med> Should do the failures of musicians :))) <tOrOne> Med: Yep :o) ... * Med has an idea: create a compilation of musicians' failed attempts <Med> Who votes YES type in 1, NO type in 0! <Med> 1 <QuiRK> 1 ... <tOrOne> 1 <Med> OK, we've got the majority :) <Med> So beware, the tunes shouldn't be failed or well done intentionally!! :) <tOrOne> Med: I've already got my submission :o) <Med> COMKNOS power!!! :) <Med> Djamm? <Med> We held a survey about something that could interest you <Med> Well, the voting was fast talk, we found a new game :)) that's all :) <Med> Djamm? <djamm> What? <Med> Bah, we found a new game, djamm. <Med> We're gonna collect the failures of musicians, but undeliberate fails <Med> Cool no? <Med> Stupid zics :) <Med> or funny zics :) ... <djamm> Wow! <Med> Are you interested, djamm? <djamm> Huhu, I warn you, I won't create the page :) <Med> The first contribution is torone's song. <djamm> Ahah! ... <Med|cigar> Who wants to create the site? <Med|cigar> I can, but I need a host. <djamm> Open one at multimania. ... <Med> I need someone to help me. <djamm> I really do not have the time! <djamm> I've already got enough sites! <Med> I know. <Med> Quirk or torone? <Med> RR? <QuiRK> Med: Yep, I can help you. <Med> Thanx :)) <Med> OK, we'll start when you want to. <QuiRK> We first have to find some mods. <Med> Yep, not the good ones of course. <Med> I'm opening an account at multimania there. ... <Med> 12 Mo. <Med> How can I get 20? <QuiRK> And on citeweb; how much space do they propose? <Med> Less I think, and citeweb is slow. ... <djamm> Multi multi is the best.
Well, finally they decided to move in to planet-d.net (maintained by Gandalf/Pulse). The name "Trashcan" was also established by public voting on #traxfr, though the log proves that djam has voted three times.
Currently they're organizing a compo. When you read this article, the results should already be available. The winner is Traven with his Mousebite MP3. Notice that the samples used in all the modules should be only "voice" samples.
They also planned to prepare a wild entry for the Arf!Party in April, which was not finished in time and shall now be released at the LTP3 Party (at the end of summer).
About graphics! Strange thing to mention this word here. However, Falken (Nomad|Cocoon|Greuh!) designs most of the main French-tracking pages: Tuner, Trashcan, and the personal page of Djamm. He is the one and only music- pixeller! (However, he not only does that. See http://www.falkenzone.com.)
Thanks to Djamm, Knos, Med, and Quirk for their comments and help.