Back in the mid to late 80’s, and into the very early 90’s, the majority of my musical experimentation was done using my venerable Commodore 64. The Commodore 64 contained a little piece of hardware called the SID, a sound chip which would go on to become one of the most influential 8-bit sound chips of all time. The signature sound of the SID can be prominently found in the recent chiptune resurgence of the past 5 years or so. Artists such as 8-Bit Weapon and Computeher feature the Commodore SID chip, along with other well known sound chips commonly heard in various game consoles, and even use them live in concert. (My jaw hit the floor of the Viper Room when I saw 8-Bit Weapon tapping out melodies on a C-64 when he opened for Information Society a couple of years ago.)
During my high school years I spent countless hours programming music on my Commodore 64. While I created plenty of original music, I also transcribed dozens of songs by commercial artists. I did this out of curiosity, to see just what I could recreate using a choice of 4 monophonic soundwaves and three total voices. There is essentially no percussion in any of the songs I created as I never truly mastered the use of the noise waveform that was available.
The desire to finally archive this early music of mine resulted in me digging my C-64 out of storage about a month ago to see it it even still worked. Even if it did there was still the concern over the age of my original floppy discs. To my surprise, and other than a few worn out keys which need to be coerced to function, it all worked. The featured image of this post shows the new home of my C-64 in my personal studio, Robot Junkyard.
Having a functioning C-64 with access to all of my old music has led to the creation of what I am calling the SIDtastic! Collection. This will be a series of four to five collections of my SID compositions, both original and covers. Other than leveling out the volumes, I will be doing no mastering to these songs, choosing to leave them in their natural raw form.
The first volume is now available to listen to and download. It contains SIDified versions of the songs from The Manhattan Transfer’s 1983 album Bodies and Souls, and can be found here: SIDtastic! Volume 1.