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HVSC Composers Opinion Poll
by DJ Gruby/Oxyron

This issue's opinion poll deals with a well-known music library in the context of its possible influence on ways people compose their music. Two questions I asked have been answered by an elite of C64 musicians and collected here in this chapter. Establishing this opinion poll was basically motivated by the following two concerns that I tried to get answered by the most popular artists:

1. How HVSC changed the way you think about the C64 music?

2. Has it somehow influenced what and how you compose new tunes now?

Let's see what response has been delivered to Attitude's news desk regarding the first one of these questions...

BOOKER/ONSLAUGHT

Hard to say, really. I always thought C64 music is great and nothing has changed in this matter. :)

CADAVER/COVERT BITOPS

It has exposed me to a lot of music and composers I wouldn't have known otherwise. Also because of HVSC I and a few others (Ian Coog most notably) started to catalogue the different C64 music routines using the SIDId utility, and that has produced interesting statistical data, as well as insight into how the various music routines do things. I'm sure my understanding and proficiency on the SID would be a lot poorer without HVSC.

CONRAD/ONSLAUGHT/VIRUZ

When I first downloaded the HVSC collection back in 2004, it really did impress me on how much the musicians have pioneered in controlling the SID chip to its unknown capabilities. In the beginning, I was only brought up on C64 music that were from pre-1990 scene. Missing out the different styles and tricks of SID music from the following 20 years had really shocked me, and I was absolutely amazed on how the quality of music had improved ever since, and that it is still going strong today.

DA BLONDIE/RESOURCE

Actually, not much. By the time HVSC came into existence I was already a long-time SID fan and had a pretty stable idea of what C64 music is. What actually changed my perspective is not the music itself, but STIL: as a first shock, I had to realise that a lot more songs were covers than I previously thought (honestly, who would have thought that Commando was a cover, too?). On the other hand, reading comments by JCH or Hubbard was a great experience.

DALEZY/TRIAD

It didn't exactly change the way I think about C64 music, as HVSC is basically taking over the function of being the whole package of released C64 music. Broadening the horizon by going through the whole compilation is usually up to the listener. :) The semi-regular updates with new additions give a good example of how the techniques and styles changed over the years, thus one doesn't have to stick to a Hubbard/Galway-diet if that's all he/she remembers about non-contemporary C64 music.

ED/WRATH DESIGN

HVSC made me discover lots and lots of new/old talents I never heard of before. It also made me find old songs long forgotten. In general it was quite obvious that there were a lot of covers in the scene and the collection has given me a better overview of the vast amount of producers and songs produced in the scene, genres and other remarkable features to unfold.

GOTO80/HACK'N'TRADE

Before HVSC and the internetification and massive collection of C64 software and the improved emulators, I guess C64 music had a more "romantic" touch to it. It felt more unique, somehow. It could be difficult to find songs, just like with vinyls or whatever, and you needed the right hardware. It's hard to separate HVSC from this "postmodern" developments in general. Having a huge database of C64 music is amazing and useful, but, personally I also find it a bit boring. :) I still mostly use HVSC when I want to find a particular song, or explore a specific composer. Since there is so much crap in there (of course), I'm too lazy to find new artists in there.

However, I'm looking forward (I think) to when the potentials of HVSC is explored more, in terms of generating statistics, data, information, etc. When was what player used, and where in the world? Which tunes in HVSC use unorthodox tonal scales or tempos, etc.? Linus Akesson's SID theme search engine is a good example.

RADIANTX/PANDA DESIGN

I don't think it's changed my way of thinking about C64 music, mainly because there wasn't much there to change when I first found out about it in the late 90's. I supposed it helped me learn a few names besides Rob Hubbard and Chris Huelsbeck when I went through it looking for some of the game tunes I liked as a child. I completely left the VARIOUS folder alone (there be dragons!) until I actually started learning about the C64 scene, though.

WACEK/ARISE

For me it allowed to get so much closer to so much C64 music in so little time. ;) Seriously, no more situations like: "what was the name of the demo with that awesome acidish track by Metal?", or "wonder if there is any track from Danko that I haven't heard yet?" :)

Having such a huge, well organized and documented collection of SID tracks is an incredible convenience. And, from a musician's point of view, an (almost) endless source of inspiration and motivation to do my own thing. :)

These were all the answers to the following question:

1. How HVSC changed the way you think about the C64 music?

The second question asked was:

2. Has it somehow influenced what and how you compose new tunes now?

BOOKER/ONSLAUGHT

Definitely. Very encouraging! HVSC is one of these things, which should happen for C64 music scene. Epic! Keep it up HVSC crew!

CADAVER/COVERT BITOPS

I don't think I compose differently because I know my tunes will be eventually included in HVSC, but related to question one, without the knowledge I've gained from the music contained in HVSC I'm quite sure my tunes would suck more. :)

CONRAD/ONSLAUGHT/VIRUZ

I certainly have changed the way I compose music ever since I looked through HVSC. Some of my old late 90s tunes were based on pre-1990 C64 music style, which would be laughable in today's scene. This was due to no Internet, no connection with the scene, and not knowing the true capabilities of the SID. I'm not afraid to say that my current work is technically based on most of the newer stuff I have listened to, though I am slowly picking up my own style as well. So yes, HVSC has certainly influenced the way I compose now, though I think being 12-13 back in the 1999 was another reason on how I've improved over the last 6 years. :)

DALEZY/TRIAD

It probably did. The players evolved throughout the last years and people eventually came up with new and interesting things. Due to the variety of genres that can be found in the big bag of tunes, I got tempted to try something different myself. I kind of quit doing the "traditional" kind of C64 music (think Vibrants, MON) and went on to the more experimental, technoid side of things.

DA BLONDIE/RESOURCE

Yes, certainly. By having everything neatly organized at one's fingertips, it makes easier listening to SIDs and it paves the way to overdosing on, say, JCH. :) And if you listen that much the songs of a certain musician, it will surely have an impact on how you compose.

ED/WRATH DESIGN

Just as with demos and magazines, the work of other artists influence me. HVSC has in a sense influenced me in collecting my own stuff and looking at my own past. It has also made me better understand my own position.

GOTO80/HACK'N'TRADE

Not that I know. Nowadays when I compose C64 music I usually do it for live performances or recordings, making music that is too large/CPU-heavy to be used in demos.

RADIANTX/PANDA DESIGN

Well, I didn't start composing C64 music (excluding some BASIC experiments at the age of 9) until several years after learning about HVSC, so that's hard to say. I think it's been a bit influential, since I know it brings me a certain amount of exposure beyond the hardcore C64 scene. I sometimes think about how a stranger would perceive my HVSC directory, and what I could release to change that perception.

WACEK/ARISE

I have to admit that I am more influenced (motivated, driven - however you call it) by the MUSIC that gets released nowadays, not just by the collection itself. There is a lot of quality SIDs coming out almost every day, many skilled talents pushing the chip to it's limits... As for technicalities, it did not change much the way I compose or prepare the tracks for release.

As you could have noticed, some composers have found the music they'd discovered on HVSC very much influencing, while others deny that this huge SID collection could have changed their way of thinking about the C64 music. Whether these opinions were expected or not, judge it by yourself. Have you maybe had a different point of view on this topic? Don't be afraid to share it with us!

DJ GRUBY/OXYRON

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