Good Tracker, Bad Tracker!

Written by Makke

Where has the overall quality of tracks gone? I'm not talking about the musical quality! The musical quality is probably pretty much where it has always been. No. I'm talking about WHEN people stopped caring about how their tracks were MADE, optimized, cleaned etc. etc.!

What I'm talking about is the art of fucking TRACKING!!! Not the art of making music! Tracking is beyond music, if you ask me (which you didn't, I just started to go 'blah blah' anyway). I just thought I'd have to get this little... aggression out. I have TOO many times downloaded tracks that contain samples not even used. I've downloaded TOO many tracks with samples not NEEDED. A tracking program is not a 'load 200 loops and build a song out of it' kind of a program.

Ok, I'll take it a little slower and give you a few examples.

I just downloaded a new song. It wasn't crap, it wasn't good. It was an average track built up by some cheap 'talk' samples ripped from a computer game, a few trip hop drums, a piano and a bass.

To start nagging on this track, it for instance had a piano instrument with five samples in it. Only three were used. My question: What the hell were the other two samples doing there?! If you want to consider yourself a good tracker, you AT LEAST have to delete unused samples! That's an absolute MUST! The fact that the piano was sampled with 16 bit / 44.1 KHz only made the thing worse. Ok ok. Deleting the samples only saved 40K, but they're NOT supposed to be there! That's like driving your car, and bring a spare tank of gas (but only use the spare tank to pour on the road while driving), not very clever, eh?

And what did I mean with samples not NEEDED? Isn't that the same as a sample unused?

Could be, but I didn't mean it like that. I meant it like, instead of using ONE sample and using some effects in the tracker, and some fancy techniques, you sample some new samples that have these effects. Well, yes, it may spare you sometime, but it makes the quality of the track lower, as you didn't use the power of the program. Or showed other trackers what you're able to do with just the tracker. Anybody can make a song good. He/she only has to use the right samples. But making a good track is not the same thing.

A good way to check if you're a good tracker is to make a 4-channel module. 4-channel modules are HARD to get good. Believe me, they are. BUT no one seems to take 4-channel modules for 'real' anymore. A 4-channel module is not a song, it's just some shit you play-around with if you're really bored.

I love a good 4-channel module! I think it's the best! And that's why I get so disappointed when I hear the winner of DreamHack '98 4-channel music-compo. Hey! It's a funny song. But my 14-year-old sister could have done it! (And she only knows how to start the computer to play BackPacker, and half of the times she starts the damn thing I have to help her because she starts Linux instead of Win 95.)

I only listened to the winner and the 4-channeler by Andreas Viklund, so I don't know how the others sounded.

Hum - now I'm going to be a little rude, but I will be telling the truth. Andreas Viklund is one of the most respected and best known musicians in the music-scene. I like his songs, and have nothing against him at all. But he sucks as a tracker! If you compare his tracks to his group-mate Virtuas, you'll see what I mean.

Virtuas is a STUNNING tracker. Have you looked at a Virtuas track? If not, do. 'cuz I love his tracks.

Ok, have you heard Viklund's 4-channel song for DreamHack '98? Well - not to be rude. But it sucked! (I hope Andreas doesn't take this personal.) And why? Ok, it was his 1st 4-channel module! Ok, he probably made it in a hurry, but such a good, respected and talented guy should make better 4-channel modules. If he only took it a little more serious, and became a little friendlier with the tracker.

So, what do I want to have said with this?

I want to say that all you multichannel-freaks out there should try to make a good 4-channeler before calling yourselves a good tracker! I don't think I could pull off this easily, but at least I could (not to be cocky, but I could). Could you? Take a listen to some Dr. Awesome, Moby, B.I.T. or Captain songs and try to do the same. I don't think many trackers in the scene can pull that off! (I for sure can't!)

- Makke / Comic Pirates / Hugi