Yo, sup all. DjjD here.
Yes, this album did come out in 2012.
It always astounds me how much one can do with older software. Originally called ModPlug Tracker in 1997, it allowed users to listen to several music modules from file extensions such as .it, .s3m, and .mod. For its time, it was one of the most unique and well optimized audio trackers released. In 2004, the source code for the ModPlug was released and maintained under an open license; eventually, paved the way for OpenMPT: a newly designed, Windows interfaced tracker with VST plugin compatibility and ASIO support.
From the first track, you imagine a vivid sunrise from the deck of your futuristic Corvette. Top down, you stare at the glare in the rear view mirror and look forward to see the city approaching, hundreds of miles ahead. The road is long, but your mind is clear. The city moves closer. What this composer does, he does incredibly well. and every song gives you a calm uncertainty. Just know that every melody is filled with a unique complexity that will challenge the headphones of even the most high-tech audiophile listener. It has that power.
You might say that the album qualifies as dated but, I say it’s a just a damn good album. Before this review was even written, Hoodie and I discussed if it was too late to talk about; it ultimately came down to: it’s never been reviewed here at ChipWIN HQ. As confident as I am to say you’ve probably all heard it, this album is worth discussing again and again. Fortunately, we were able to contact the man himself and ask a few questions!
DjjD: I think I first heard your tune, “Pancake Department” back in 2012, but how long have you been composing and producing for?
FoD: I guess there’s technically more than one answer to this question. I started sharing and releasing my own compositions in public as “Fearofdark” in 2009; nearly 5 years ago! However, I’ve actually been making music on trackers since 2004 or so, tho I never shared them over the internet. In addition, I’ve been studying the piano on and off for longer than I remember.
DjjD: I’m really quite impressed how much you get out of trackers, what do you normally use?
FoD: My first and most common tool of choice is OpenMPT, in addition to several sample packs and things I can find. I’ve also been using Famitracker a lot since 2010. Other than Those, I use things like Beepola for making 1-bit Beeper tunes, and occasionally dabble in other things like Raster Tracker.
DjjD: About the album, I remember hearing a couple of tunes before ‘Motorway’ was released, such as “Surfing on a Sine Wave” or “Rolling Down The Street, In My Katamari”, were they always meant to be part of the release?
FoD: Yeah, pretty much. I made “Surfing on a Sine Wave” initially as a stand-alone track, but then once I started planning the album I decided to include it. “Rolling down the Street” was going to be an opening track but once I got really stuck into the album, the track order went through several changes, things got cut and so on.
DjjD: ‘Motorway’. These tunes certainly are the driving type but did you have any sort of theme in mind when writing these?
FoD: Not particularly. To me, as a whole, “Motorway” will always remind me of the idea of leaving home and traveling. Some songs were written with that idea in mind; “Fast City” was inspired by a trip to New York, for instance, and the final track itself. Others really weren’t, like “An Age of Planetary Pride.”
DjjD: Sort of an odd one but I’ve always wondered, why the name fearofdark?
FoD: It’s a username I came up with when I was really young. Since then, I’ve kinda stuck with it. It has nothing to do with Iron Maiden, as some people might be disappointed to know.
DjjD: To switch things up, I was kinda curious about the S3XMODIT Mania Entries. How did those all come to be?
FoD: S3XMODIT Mania was a weekly knock-out competition held by the Battle of the Bits community, which I took part in. Samples were provided by the members of Botb and each week we’d be given a random (and often ridiculous) sample pack, and then we’d be given about 4 days to submit an it/xm/mod/s3m. It was a pretty fun thing to take part in.
DjjD: Simple one: What are your influences?
FoD: Aha, a lot of things.. too many things probably. I suppose in chipmusic terms, I’ve been heavily influenced by the likes of Kulor, Blitz Lunar, virt, a lot of the regular Famicompo Mini entrants, a lot of the people from Botb and who were on 8bc before its demise (in other words, too many to name). As far as non-chipmusic is concerned, I like listening to and studying a fair amount of classical music – my favourites are J.S Bach, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky and Beethoven. I also used to listen to a lot of Funk and Prog-Rock (Tower of Power, Frank Zappa, King Crimson, ELP, Funkadelic and so on), but I’ve started looking at electronic music a lot more as well (again, far too many to name). I also get sidetracked by pop music from time to time too.
DjjD: Do you have anything planned for the future of fearofdark? Exciting new projects?
FoD: Hmm, maybe ;) I’m working on a couple of solo projects, which are slowly getting there and might not see their release until late 2014. I’m also working on a couple of things for compilations too. That’s really all I can say.
DjjD: If you had one bit of advice to give to future composers/producers aspiring to use trackers, what would it be?
FoD: Keep practicing, don’t be afraid to take part in competitions and community projects and most importantly, throw love, flair and passion into whatever you make.
DjjD: If you were a genie and a person asked you this wish, “I wish you would not grant me this wish” what would you do?
FoD: Divide by zero… or give them a cat; who doesn’t love cats?
Steve manages to keep my attention throughout this whole album with little effort, but there’s more than meets the ear. You can listen to this album casually no problem, but listen a little closer and it will seem as if the song is yielding more notes than before. Layers upon layers, verses upon choruses ensures that this album never gets boring. Two weeks ago, I was on a trip that took me from here in Arizona, to Alaska (by flight), to Indiana (by car) and FoD was a most popular choice among the 3 MP3 players my friend, Jesse and I had.
This is an amazing album. By far, my favorite track was: Funknitium-99.
First off, I’m all about the journey tracks. If it’s longer than six minutes and sets you on an adventure, that to me equals perfect. I can’t speak highly enough of this one, guys. It’s super good ‘n funky.
Sure this album is a couple of years old, but why not give it some more attention. I love you, Ubiktune. Yes, that’s a personal statement of love. I come to you, looking for music and you kindly in return deliver things of the highest quality I couldn’t have possibly imagined.
Fearofdark is one hell of an artist, and if you’ve already heard ‘Motorway’, check out his latest creations on Bandcamp which include his S3XMODIT Mania Entries hosted by Battle of the Bits. A little different than ‘Motorway’ but equally as awesome. So diverse. I can only stand by and watch this guy perfect his craft. Highly recommended. All of it.