[Retro] Classic Amiga Tracks Remixed

Pic by Neofob - click to visit Flickr page

Pic by Neofob - click to visit Flickr page

If there’s one thing I remember fondly about my old Amiga (in fact there are many things, but never mind), it’s the music. For the first time in the annals of home computing history, the A500 (and to a similar extent the Atari ST) offered home users the chance to not only hear high quality multi tracked samples, but through genius software like Protracker and OctaMED (the latter my personal favourite), get involved themselves.

The result was a generation of Amiga users inspired to create some great music, despite the limitations of the machine. As the C64 had done a few years earlier, the Amiga’s innate audio-visual prowess birthed a vibrant demo-scene. For years the back pages of Amiga magazines were full of listings for demo software available for the price of a few blank floppies from public domain libraries. Some of these became classics in their own right – and the scene itself created companies still forging ahead today. DICE, creators of the awesome Battlefield series began life as a bunch of guys programming demos of Commodore hardware. Team 17, the makers of Worms and Alien Breed grew out of PD library and coding shop 17-Bit Software.

The upshot of putting such a great tool in the hands of so many talented people was some classic, if cult, work. It wasn’t just the hard-working amateurs in the demo scene either. Commercial software houses woke up to the possibilities of music in their titles. The Bitmap Brothers were famous for the great music in games like Gods, Speedball 2 and Magic Pockets. Tim Wright at DMA, and later Pysgnosis, worked wonders on titles such as Lemmings and Shadow Of The Beast II. My personal favourites included Magnetic Fields thrash metal inspired theme to Supercars II, and of course the great grand-daddy of them all; Chris Huelsbeck‘s Turrican 2.

It’s testament to the genius and catchiness of so many of the tracks Huelsbeck composed for Rainbow Arts run-and-gun platformer that they stand the test of time so well to this day. The only downside is having to listen to samples degraded in quality until they could be crammed side by side of a floppy desk and rendered through hardware capable of just four simultaneous channels of output. Imagine what they’d sound like if they were remixed with modern equipment. Wouldn’t that be something?

Well imagine no more. While browsing for something or other I can’t even remember I stumbled upon AmigaRemix.com, a remarkable, if confusingly organised, archive of classic 16-bit tracks remixed using modern hardware and software by a dedicated community of amateur musical enthusiasts. As you’d expect there are a lot of Turrican remixes in there, as well as new versions of most of your favourite Amiga game and demo themes.
It’s a nostalgic paradise for Amiga music lovers – and well worth checking out if you have the time. There’s a comprehensive forum for those of you interested enough to get involved, and for the rest of us an extensive archive of downloads. Be warned though that the downloads aren’t particularly well sorted, so it can take a bit of digging to find what you’re looking for. I’ve put links to a couple of the best tracks below, but make sure you check out the site itself for more info (if you can find it).

The Last Sun 2010 (Official Remix) by Gibs [Original by Frederic Hahn – frederichahn.com]

Turrican 2 Main Title (Dosk Misk) by Dreamtime [Original by Chris Huelsbeck]

Speedball 2 (Brutal Method) by SNeaR [Original by Nation XII]

Supercars 2 – TiLT [Original by Matthew Simmonds]

As an aside, if you’re a Chris Huelsbeck fan check out his album Symphonic Shades, a full orchestral rendering of his best work, including tracks from Turrican 2.


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Categories: Retro

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