Skyhigh 10 ch22 Music Chapter

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              music chapter

       the party'93 music review

by pri/tia/oxyron.

hello everyone! in  this article  i will
be taking a  close look  at  each of the
tunes  which competed  at the party, ex-
cept for the following ones: doh/crypto-
burners, which i was not  able  to get a
working  version of, the  fake  tune  by
"herr tie/mtv", and  of course syndrom's
and mine. first i will analyse  each tu-
ne, then display a survey of the results
and finally give  a short comment on all

i have  made up my evaluations after the
following four main aspects:
1. ideas: does  the  composer have ideas
   of his own or does he use rather com-
   mon patterns?  what is the quality of
   the themes, melodies, rhythms,harmony
   patterns, etc. he uses?  do all these
   components match?
2. structure: what is the order the com-
   poser has put his ideas into, and how
   convenient is it?  are  there  things
   such as intro, different recognizable
   parts, breaks, soli, recurring parts/
   themes, variations, end?
3. instruments: what  is the quality  of
   the sounds used (e.g. pulse, vibrato,
   filter, wave-sequence)? how well does
   the composer handle the  hard-restart
   (which avoids having the typical his-
   sing sound which can occur when using
   an  instrument  with  waveform $80 at
   the beginning of the wave-sequence) ?
4. atmosphere: what kind  of  atmosphere
   is generated  by the three components
   above altogether? what general impact
   does the listener get; does the  tune
   affect him or is he rather bored?
the overall result equals the average of
the four components  above. let's start!


the tune starts  off  with a quite short
intro (4 bars) after which  already  the
lead voice  comes in. there is, however,
no explicit theme or anything else reco-
gnizable; it rather seems  like some un-
coordinated  variations  over the  chord
pattern  f-c3-dm-c  which  ody sticks to
during  the  whole  tune. only sometimes
there are little passages where there a-
re chords only. after some minor changes
and some more variations the tune is fi-
nally faded out.- there almost always is
the  same  simple bass/snaredrum-groove,
the bassdrum only comes  in  once during
a  short  interlude. ody  uses  only one
leadvoice which is a bit too static; ge-
nerally  the pulse  vibrato  should have
been  increased  on most of the  sounds.
furthermore, the  hardrestart  does  not
work out too well. the  mood of the tune
is quite happy, but because of its  sim-
ple structure it gets boring easily.

ideas:     35% instruments: 48% OVERALL:
structure: 20% atmosphere:  25%      32%


the intro of this one starts with a nice
melody,after which bass,drums and chords
come in after one another. the simple 2-
bar chord pattern c-f,a# is stuck to all
through the tune, over which  some moti-
ves are introduced and varied in the le-
ad voice. there  are some "question-ans-
wer"-sections  where  also ringmodulated
sounds  are  used. after a short tom-se-
quence there is a sudden  end.- most  of
the sounds are somewhat above the avera-
ge, only  the  bass  does not appear too
clear. on the whole this  tune  is quite
powerful and happy, however, the  chords
dominate over the lead voice action, and
as  the  chord pattern  is so simple, it
gets boring later on.

ideas:     60% instruments: 66% OVERALL:
structure: 30% atmosphere:  45%      50%


this tune falls in two parts, namely one
main part  and a  kind  of epilogue. the
main  part is  based on the harmony pat-
tern cm-g#m-fm-g.sus4,g. after the  the-
me has been introduced and repeated (2nd
time some staccato fill-ins  are added),
amadeus immediately comes over to a lar-
ge  solo section  where  he  regrettably
keeps on using the same leadsound. after
that follows the  harmonically  slightly
different epilogue, after which there is
a  sudden end.- the theme itself and the
single motives used  in the solo section
are not  bad  really, however, the  solo
section bears the  danger  of getting on
the listener's nerves  as it mostly con-
tains notes of the same (fast) value,but
no pauses for the listener to "breathe".
the  hardrestart  on both drums and bass
is not handled very well, which is quite
disturbing  as  the  bass is quite  loud
through the whole tune. furthermore  the
bass drum  lacks  deep  frequencies, and
there's too much pulse waveform  on  the
snare. there is no real intro or ending,
and the structure is  quite linear with-
out  any  major changes, so i repeat my-
self: it can get boring later on.

ideas:     50% instruments: 37% OVERALL:
structure: 25% atmosphere:  35%      37%


this "technos/ambient" tune  is restric-
ted to rhythm and percussion only,except
for some  small  melodical breaks. there
is a big variety of sounds,many of which
use sync or ring modulation, and  also a
big amount of  rhythm patterns which are
not structurized too badly.the bass drum
seems to have an  unwanted "aftersound",
but there are many  interesting effects,
although  some can get on your nerves if
repeated too often. in comparison to the
unmelodical   rest,  the  few  melodical
breaks seem rather misfit.- the  evalua-
tion of this tune is  difficult as major
components such  as  harmonies, melodies
etc. are left out totally.

ideas:     43% instruments: 50% OVERALL:
structure: 28% atmosphere:  30%      38%


this tune is one  of  the more alternate
ones. it is structured clearly and  made
up of a nice  variety of chord/bass pat-
terns, rhythms, tempi, themes  and melo-
dies. using 3 different filtered  melody
sounds, echo  does  some nice  moivical-
thematical work, furthermore  rhythmical
and  also   stylistic  variations  (when
switching over to the techno part in the
middle of the tune). the different parts
are  well  separated by  breaks. only in
the slow b-part  the composer shows some
insecurity  concerning the usage of sca-
les (d# over a#/5-harmony doesn't match)
except for the  techno-part, a delay-ef-
fect is used constantly in the lead voi-
ce, which sounds nice but can "lull" the
listener "asleep" if used too often. an-
other characteristic is the bass' actave
glide down and up again. only the  intro
which is  only  half a bar long seems to
be a bit fucked up?- the instruments are
definately  above  the average, the bass
sound only lacks deep frequencies  which
would have given the tune more power.

ideas:     74% instruments: 71% OVERALL:
structure: 79% atmosphere:  66%      72%


the intro starts  with an accelerando of
arpeggio-like   chords  (mpf,  technical
terms in foreign languages..) which form
the basis for the following nice melody.
after that the chords come in,and final-
ly a short cool break  leads over to the
main  part. the  quite overused  harmony
pattern 1-6-7-1 is  varied  to the  good
here (cm-g#-a#-d#/c). in  the melody zy-
ron does some nice thematical work which
regrettably is  not always  congruent to
the current scales. later  on  he varies
the  bassline  and  also comes over to a
rhythm part with some cool trioles play-
ed by  tom-like  sounds  which, however,
could sound the end the sounds
and the structure of the intro are taken
up again,and the tune ends with a decce-
lerando - neat idea! - regrettably, in
the main part  there is not too much ac-
tion concerning  variation  of harmonies
and grove, also the  hardrestart  of the
octave-lead doesn't work out  very well.
the  rest  of  the instruments, however,
sounds nice.

ideas:     79% instruments: 69% OVERALL:
structure: 65% atmosphere:  70%      71%


this tune uses the unvaried harmony pat-
tern  mentioned above (1-6-7-1) which is
slightly varied to 1-7-6 in the b-part -
not very inventive. the groove is always
the  same, the  quiet chord layers  only
form the background over which the melo-
dy does some motivical work. some trans-
pose  up, some  transpose  down, and  no
real intro  or  ending.- the non-working
hardrestart in the bass  is quite incon-
venient, the rest of the  instruments is

ideas:     45% instruments: 52% OVERALL:
structure: 35% atmosphere:  50%      45%


this is probably the most weird, or bet-
ter, individual tune after the one by e-
rik af ekhage. when listening  to it for
the first time it seems quite confusing,
but soon one recognizes  that it is made
up of many little parts which are struc-
turized  to some different sections with
different  tempo, feeling, mood, instru-
ments. these  sections, however, do  not
have any relation to each other. finally
there is a short  percussion-"epilogue",
followed by a  strange dissonant ending.
- sometimes there are  strange doublings
of tempo or melody licks which, however,
always correctly  go along with the sca-
les. some of the sounds  are quite indi-
vidual, but  mostly  good, although  the
hardrestart does  not  always  work  out
100%. i am  not sure if this  tune is to
be taken  fully  seriously  or if it has
some  wanted  irony (caused by the weird
licks and the  strange ending) in it. by
the way, the four  sections are indepen-
dent modules (entitled: 1001 ride - x2 -
explotion - jungle  fever)  which  are
switched "manually" (=everytime the ras-
ter  bar  flickers). this  also explains
why the tune occupies so much memory.

ideas:     68% instruments: 72% OVERALL:
structure: 57% atmosphere:  55%      63%


this one combines good instruments, cool
grove and nice structure. there are dif-
ferent parts  containing melody and soli
as well as varied  moods, drum/bass pat-
terns and harmonies, separated  by vari-
ous breaks. like  the  first melody, al-
most  the  whole tune is  of quite happy
character. there is some nice thematical
work to be found, and also the  soli are
built up  well. at the end (cm-f/c-a#/c-
f/c) a harmonical relation  to the intro
(c-f/c-a#/c-f/c)  is   established.  the
instruments sound rather good (very con-
venient:  a  combined  bass/drum-sound),
and the happy mood and the nice structu-
re never allow  the listener  to get bo-

ideas:     84% instruments: 87% OVERALL:
structure: 75% atmosphere:  87%      82%


after the intro, formed by two voices u-
sing a delay effect,some powerful chords
come in. after that  the theme is intro-
duced, which, however, does  not  appear
too clearly  as the delay-effect here is
squeezed  into  one  voice. there is not
much action in the bassline; emax mostly
sticks to the  current keynote here. the
end is formed by a sudden  stop.- on the
whole the tune is not bad, but there are
no extraordinary things to be mentioned,
either. i  repeat  myself - the tune ap-
pears too uniform and lacks changes!

ideas:     61% instruments: 68% OVERALL:
structure: 53% atmosphere:  60%      60%


this tune includes some  quite different
parts of mood, sound, rhythm, harmonies,
melodies  etc. the  intro, consisting of
bass  and  chords only, is  maybe  a bit
long; shark  also  does  not always seem
certain using scales, but there are also
some real good passages to be found. re-
grettably the bass sound  lacks  hardre-
start, the  rest  of the instruments  is

ideas:     78% instruments: 71% OVERALL:
structure: 70% atmosphere:  70%      73%


in  the intro, the  fifth-interval (g-c)
is played  constantly, which gets on the
listener's nerves from  the  start. also
in the main part licket uses almost only
the keynote as ending for his licks, and
the motive g-c is much too dominant. the
ending  is formed by a final chord.- the
melodical action is not very good, there
are no recognizable themes; the spectrum
of notes licket uses is too small. again
the harmony pattern is 6-7-1; the sounds
are not too good, either, especially the
drumsounds and the bass, where  the fil-
ter always jumps over.

ideas:     28% instruments: 40% OVERALL:
structure: 24% atmosphere:  30%      30%


the intro features a filter-lead perfor-
ming some quarts downwards,which regret-
tably do not  always match to the harmo-
nies; also the melody in  the  a-part is
not too convenient. the following b-part
is better  there, also in the harmoniza-
tion. slowly the pace is quickened up to
double-time feeling and returns to half-
time again, when  the intro-sequence co-
mes  in  once  more to end the tune. an-
other good point is the recurring  chord
passages representing something recogni-
zable for  the listener. regrettably the
filter-lead  used  in  the  intro  lacks
hardrestart, which would have been quite
important there as these  hissing sounds
always  become  most  obvious in a  lead
sound. the rest of the instruments is a-

ideas:     50% instruments: 45% OVERALL:
structure: 52% atmosphere:  45%      48%


b.i.o. uses an asymmetrical double play-
er which he manages to create some real-
ly neat sounds with. the intro  contains
a percussion grove, after  which a  cool
"question-answer"   part  of   bass  and
chords follows. after that a neat melody
is performed by a  good  lead-sound; the
bassline  is  very  dynamic.  some  more
parts follow and recur, and suddenly the
tune ends.- b.i.o. has put  some  really
cool  ideas  into a very good structure,
in which most parts recur and so find a
better access to the  listener's ear. in
most tunes bass, drums and  chords  only
serve as background for the melody, whi-
le here  all  components are equal. also
the instruments are rather good. perhaps
b.i.o. could also have included some mo-
re (different) harmony  patterns  or an-
other lead sound, and, to  round  things
up, a real ending.

ideas:     80% instruments: 81% OVERALL:
structure: 80% atmosphere:  77%      79%


danko  uses  three  samples - bass drum,
snare drum and a minor-chord (inversion:
1-3-5) - which  he  combines in a reggae
style (bass-chord-snare-chord). further-
more he uses two more sid-generated ins-
truments: one bass and one lead. the a-
fore mentioned  reggae pattern  runs all
the way through the tune, which  already
makes  the  structure  somewhat  static.
the motivical work in the melody  is not
bad, but the melodical action  generally
lacks  variety. later  on there's a part
where the bass dominates, and after that
again a melody part which  kind of forms
an "answer" to the first one: there  the
harmony pattern was "1,7", while  on the
second one  it is "6,7,1" and  so  leads
back to the tonic again. so here we have
again that overused harmony scheme, how-
ever, in a more variative form. finally,
there  is  no  ending, but a loop  which
leads over to the  start.- in  fact, not
only the samples  but  also  the rest of
the instruments have already  been  used
a while ago, namely  in a tune which was
included  in  the second part of wonder-
land 10.

ideas:     62% instruments: 69% OVERALL:
structure: 55% atmosphere:  62%      62%


in the intro  tango  uses  a nice octave
arpeggio bass with a closing filter,how-
ever, the constantly played sus4-riff is
too dominant. also the following melody
uses  almost  only  note material out of
sus4. after a  chord-sequence, a  diffe-
rent lead performs a somewhat better me-
lody. finally, the  intro  riff  recurs,
and the tune ends  in  a loop.- the lead
sounds tango uses sound  nice, the  rest
of  the  instruments  is mostly average.
there is, however, nothing  really  spe-
cial to be found; the overall melody ac-
tion i not too goo, and  there is always
the same harmony pattern.

ideas:     40% instruments: 51% OVERALL:
structure: 40% atmosphere:  32%      41%


here we have  the second tune using sam-
ples, namely bass-drum, snare,a scratch,
and  the words "one-two-three-yeah". the
intro  is formed  by  rhythm only, after
which bass and chords come in. there are
different  parts  where  melody, chords,
bass and rhythm  have  different proiri-
ties. also the tempo is varied  now  and
then, and in between parts sometimes the
"1-2-3-yeah"-sample is  filled in - neat
idea. the  tune  ends in  a pentatonical
lick downwards.- regrettably, morbid al-
so used the harmony pattern 1-6-7-1,how-
ever, he  varied  the  chord voicings by
inversion. for my taste the chord passa-
ges sometimes are too long, the  melodi-
cal action  should have been  given some
more  space instead. in contrast  to the
tune by danko, the  balance between sam-
ples and  the rest of the sounds here is
shifted on new sid-chips, so the samples
sound much too low. the  sid-instruments
are somewhat above the average.

ideas:     72% instruments: 65% OVERALL:
structure: 68% atmosphere:  63%      67%


right  from  the  start a not  too  good
sound keeps playing  sequenced chords o-
ver the not  very  convenient  harmonies
d#-dm-f-gm. as this runs all through the
tune,it really can get on the listener's
nerves. after that, drums and bass  come
in, and finally the melody starts. again
there are no  major  changes to be found
to  keep  the listener  entertained, and
what is more, the alien totally fails in
using  scales, so the melody  is totally
unsuitable to the harmonies. the instru-
ments are not too good, either, so there
are not much points to be given here...

ideas:     18% instruments: 42% OVERALL:
structure: 20% atmosphere:  15%      24%


the intro  features  a nice quart-fifth-
sixth-lick. the vibrato of the leadsound
used in the main part does not sound too
good, and  the snaredrum  sounds  rather
bad as well. also  the  hardrestart does
not  always  seem to work. later on yoko
leaves out drums or bass, and at the end
elody  and the afore mentioned riff play
at the same time. again, there's nothing
that really keeps the listener entertai-
ned, and the tune also lacks power.

ideas:     32% instruments: 30% OVERALL:
structure: 29% atmosphere:  20%      28%

over to  the  next  point: to sum every-
thing up, here  is a  survey of  all the
results.  id.=ideas, st.=structure, in.=
instruments, at.=atmosphere, ov.=overall

pl. composer.      id. st. in. at.   ov.

 1. MH/MOZ(IC)ART  84  75  87  87    82
 2. BIO/CREATURES  80  80  81  77    79
 3. SHARK/REGINA   78  70  71  74    73
 4. echo/cp.       74  79  71  66    72
 5. zyron/antic    79  65  69  70    71
 6. morbid&rrr     72  68  65  63    67
 7. blues/light    68  57  72  55    63
 8. danko/censor   62  55  69  62    62
 9. emax/trsi      61  53  68  60    60
10. red devil/flt  60  30  66  45    50
11. thor/extend    50  52  45  45    48
12. trident&dane   45  35  52  50    45
13. tango/triad    40  40  51  32    41
14. erik af ekhage 43  28  50  30    38
15. amadeus/meka   50  25  37  35    37
16. ody/eastgang   35  20  48  25    32
17. licket/noice   28  24  40  30    30
18. yoko/fiction   32  29  30  20    28
19. the alien/bcd  18  20  42  15    24

these results  of course  are absolutely
subjective, and they also differ totally
from  the "official" competition results
(which i  doubt  to be  correct anyway).
but this is the difference you get  when
analysing every single tune very closely
instead of listening to them  only  once
at a competition show.

what stroke me in the negative sense du-
ring reviewing were the  many  similari-
ties especially between tunes at the lo-
wer places. it seems  most common to use
that  harmony pattern 6-7-1 and  then to
find a  melody  over  this  which mostly
ends up in  totally uncoordinated impro-
visation.  furthermore,  the   structure
mostly is much too  simple. many  compo-
sers tend  to build  a whole tune on one
single pattern which they hardly vary at
all. this is of course very easy for the
composer himself, but  the result mostly
is rather poor.
so what i am trying  to say  is: be more
inventive  and  individual! don't always
do these these "cm-g#-a#-cm-speed1-dur03
-jam"-tunes; try to vary  the structure,
include intro, breaks, endings,different
parts and let them recur so the listener
really remembers something about the tu-
ne. vary  and  enlarge  your  harmonical
sources  by using seventh-, ninth-, ele-
venth,- (etc.) or  alterated chords. use
slower and faster tempi  than  1/8 note=
duration.06, do shuffles  or even 5/4 or
7/4 bars. don't  always  base your tunes
on harmonies only, but  on  definite mo-
tives and themes. etc!

maybe i will do a kind of music workshop
in the future issues of skyhigh in which
i will give some detailed  hints and in-
fos  about  the subjects above and more,
for those who are interested and perhaps
don't know too much about it yet.

anyway, thank you for reading this arti-
cle. i hope you enjoyed it, perhaps even
as much as i enjoyed writing it.

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