• Commodore Free Magazine, Issue 87 - Part 6

    From Stephen Walsh@39:901/280 to All on Wed May 6 11:55:59 2015
    iant job, especially
    with presets used from the included songs. Excellent if you have no MIDI cartridges and it's a good compliment if you do, tweaking all the more fun
    from your own styles.

    In short, you export your three-channel MIDI from your DAW - recording
    software - of choice, convert it to a working file with the Wizard MS-DOS
    wedge in the Command Line, before lopping off the output file's .PRG
    extension. Then simply import that to a disk image and you're away. A
    further program on the Sid Wizard floppy itself converts your finished
    working file to SID for play elsewhere.

    \SID-Wizard-1.7-smallpack\application \SWMconvert.exe

    I also use: WinVICE, D64 Editor, SidPlay 95, and Star Commander.

    This is where the convenience of sticking purely in the virtual world - emulation - really comes up trumps. You can spend a fuss-free project
    bouncing project files internally before finally transferring to a real 64
    for the final mix dub. Or investigating the stereo spreads with Sidplay.

    There's much in the program to play with, such as ADSR, waveforms,
    real-time keyboard input, and the other classic synth-y bits, so hit F8 for
    the options. Anyone looking over your shoulder will think you're a real clever-clogs to make music from what looks like the stock exchange index screen. But it's really very intuitive, stacking the tune by notes and
    octave number.

    (Watch out to insert a preset number above the channel parts you're filling
    in, or else only playback in Wizard will output a sound.)

    Quick doodle: www.concept-single.net/SID.mp3

    AVAILABLE: csdb.dk/release/?id=129031

    PC: KIRNU CREAM - Free with COMPUTER MUSIC back-issue 210, here's a lovely real-time MIDI chord and riff VSTi (virtual instrument), working first
    place in a chain across DAW multi-tracks. Think of it as a virtual synth-effect controller. And it's easy.

    Attached to MIDI track one, select the MIDI OUT and MONITOR options in
    Cream's Plug-in menu, before opening a virtual instrument on a second MIDI track. On that, select the sequencer's internal MIDI line as data source
    input because that's where CREAM pipes its output.

    Then simply play whatever, with your input keyboard monitored by the Cream channel, and out comes magic. As the tracks record, you will have both straight and affected MIDI lines laid on these two tracks. You can monitor each or both and have a ball experimenting with the controls.

    One thing about Cream is arpeggiation of the input MIDI, with various randomisation and pattern options. This allows for some accompaniments,
    such as this drum line for a quick MIDI keyboard doodle, using other
    virtual instruments: www.concept-single.net/Doodle.mp3

    (In addition, try the free BASIC64 virtual instrument for similar ARP
    functions when playing with SID sounds.)

    Also with the same issue comes Cumulus, an interesting WAV-based rompler
    where sound snatches are played from colour-coded markers on the imported audio. Plus Energy CM, which is a far more straight-forward arpeggiating monosynth.

    AVAILABLE: www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/music/computer-music-magazine-ba ck-issues/computer-music-november-2014-issue-210/

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    I've also been answering questions about using the Commodore in-studio. If
    you want more, you can always join the Lemon or Commodore Remix boards and
    ask me (Commie User) a question.

    Of course there have been plenty more I haven't covered, such as BAND IN A
    BOX (which is also just peachy) and doubtless more to come. But try these
    for a cheap collection of obscure gems and to help yourself sound a pretty
    good dilettante virtuoso!

    (Commodore fiction based on real
    By Lenard R. Roach

    The physicians met behind closed doors while I waited outside on the sofa, wondering what they were talking about. I could only imagine what the conversation was going like-

    "I don't know what to do with Mr. Roach," one doctor might say. "We've
    tried just about every medicine on the planet and nothing seems to help

    "If it wasn't for his insurance being so well packaged, I would have sent
    him home long ago and let him live out his life there with this condition running through his mind," another might say.

    "Let his family deal with him!" a third might exclaim.

    One doctor, probably the one who attended me most during my stay in the
    psyche ward, may have stood up in front of his fellow physicians and said, "People, maybe we are approaching Mr. Roach's bipolarism from the wrong direction. We are trying to shove a drug store down his neck; maybe
    there's a therapy we haven't tried yet."

    "Perhaps, but which one?" a voice would ask from the far end of the table.

    That's when she rolled in. She was an elderly lady, stricken to a
    wheelchair for some years by a debilitating disease that I don't know
    about. Her hair was cut short and powdered with white and black strands.
    Her features made her look like a strong stage actor whose presence would
    draw applause for her just showing up. She was thin and not well built.
    There was nothing about the woman that would attract any suitor, but she
    wasn't interested in dating; she was interested in healing the sick.

    She rolled up to the table with all these educated people staring at her,
    not to stare at her handicap, but because they knew that if any had any suggestions to help me, it was her. She may have stopped her chair just
    short of the doctor sitting at the head of the table. She may even have
    tried to stare down the others who were there, but all focused their
    attention on her.

    "Give Mr. Roach to me," she might have said. "I think I may have a

    Without any hesitation, the physicians pointed me out, sitting just outside
    the door. She wheeled herself out the main door and into the psyche ward waiting room where I sat. She came up to me, smiled, and took my hand.

    "Are you ready to try something different?" she asked me.

    "I'm tired of medications," I responded, "nothing seems to work with me."

    "This isn't medication, this will be therapy. Something I think will help you."

    "I'll try anything," I said, "just make me think like a person again."

    "Then meet me in the patient lounge at 10:30 and we'll begin with the other students in the group."

    At 10:30, I walked into the patient's lounge and there sitting with the
    woman in the wheelchair was a group of folk who seemed to have it together. They communicated with each other intelligently; they laughed and smiled
    and none of it seemed like their facial expressions were psychotic or
    unreal; they were - human. On their laps were clipboards with paper and in their hands were pens and pencils. I was ushered into the room by a
    gesture from the woman. She pointed to a funny looking device that I would later discover was called a keyboard, a disk drive, and a monitor.

    "I understand from your profile that you can type pretty good," she said.
    "This is a typewriter of sorts. It's a word processing program loaded from
    a disk in that disk drive into what is known as a Commodore 64. This will
    be your instrument to use during our sessions. No one else has the
    privilege to use this unit but you. I'll show you how to load and run the software later; right now it's ready to go. Don't worry about the
    semantics of the program, just do what I tell you and the rest of the

    I sat down at the funny thing which seemed to have more wires running to
    and from it than my dad's old 67 Bel Air station wagon, but I saw on the keyboard that the keys were arranged just like they were on a standard typewriter. I poised my fingers on the keys like a concert pianist ready
    to give the performance of a lifetime, and waited.

    When the woman in the wheelchair saw I was ready, she turned to the rest
    and spoke. "Now students, I want all of you to start writing about the
    time when you felt the most betrayed. Be as detailed or a vague as you
    want; make your statement as long or as short as you want, just get your feelings out on paper. Go."

    With the ten or so people in that room, each of them scratching with a pen
    or pencil, it sounded like a cat digging into the cat litter covering its latest deposit. The sounds I made were completely different - ticka,
    ticka, ticka - as I started out slowly trying to get the feel of this non-typewriter typewriter, but soon the emotions started to flow as I
    thought about when I was hurt the most. I typed faster and faster as the moment came back to me in full review, but the faster I typed, the more mistakes I made. I found the delete key and backed up several times, each
    time breaking my stride on the emotional tidal wave.

    "Don't worry about mistakes in your writing," the woman in the wheelchair explained as she came up behind me, "just keep going and don't let that
    moment escape you. Write it all down; every second, every emotion, every action. Don't correct anything, just keep going."

    With great fervor I pounded on that poor Commodore 64. I was getting so
    fast that really thought that for a minute I was Clark Kent at the Daily
    Planet beating Lois Lane on a story, with me having the power to type 5,000 words a minute. Before I knew it the hour for the session was up. Many of
    the patients were done and milling about the lounge, some were still
    working on the assignment like me, but they only had paper and pencil or
    pen, while I had the help of the Commodore 64 word processor, I had more
    done, but even after the session was over I was still typing. The woman
    put her hand on my shoulder.

    "You can stop now, Lenard," she said. "You've done enough for today.
    We'll pick this up again tomorrow."

    I got up from the chair and the Commodore 64 and she rolled herself into my place. With a few clicks of the keys, the disk drive roared into action
    with red and green lights flashing like it was Christmas morning. After a
    few seconds the drive settled down. She lifted a lever in the front of the disk drive and out popped a flat, square plastic plate with a hole in it
    dead center. She turned her chair around to face me.

    "I've saved all that you've written onto this disk," she explained, "and
    I'll read what you have written on my own Commodore 64 at home. Go have
    some lunch, but before you go, tell me, how do you feel now?"

    I never thought about my emotions for the hour I was on the Commodore 64.
    I was pouring all my emotions into the Commodore there in the lounge,
    spelling out every emotion and feeling that I could think of, and not
    thinking of anything else, but for the first time in a while my thoughts weren't running 100 miles an hour, thinking of hurting anyone else or
    killing myself. For the first time in many months -

    "I feel...great," I told her. "I feel calm, collected, in control; I
    haven't felt like this in months." I looked at her with amazement. "How
    did you do it?"

    She chuckled a little, then looked into my eyes with her own blue eyes.
    "Me? I didn't do a thing. You did it all yourself. You've always had the capacity to help yourself, Lenard, you just needed someone to point you
    into the right direction, and I think, by golly, that we may have found
    that direction."

    For the remaining two weeks I was in the psychiatric ward at the hospital,
    I looked forward to 10:30 and the little woman in the wheelchair who seemed
    to have the power to open my soul on a Commodore 64's word processor. She
    even taught me some basic Commodore commands so I could load the word
    processor and save my work to that very same disk she took home every day.
    The students (I was surprised she never called us "patients" but
    "students") and myself were always working on something different every day
    for those two weeks, never taking a day off; we even attended on weekends.
    It was the best stay I've ever had in a psyche ward.

    Two weeks later I was sitting on the same sofa, but this time with my bag packed and ready to go home to my wife and children, but there was still
    one more behind closed doors meeting that the doctors had to have
    concerning me, this time with the little woman in the wheelchair attending, sitting at the head of the table. I could only imagine what they might be saying now.

    "I don't know how you did it, doctor," the head physician in charge of my
    case might say, "but Mr. Roach has made a complete 180 and is ready to go home. What in God's name did you do?"

    I'm sure she gave him and the rest of the attendees a brief but direct explanation of what she did, my "treatment," as it were, and how that, with less medication, I was able to function again with the rest of society.
    The head doctor, I'm sure, leaned back in his chair with a big smile on his face.

    "Good work, doctor," he might say. "Mr. Roach is discharged and ready to
    go home." The head physician would look at the attending nurse next to him. "Please give Mr. Roach his list of medications to take before he goes

    "Right away, doctor," she would respond and exit the board room. All the doctors left at once, with the woman in the wheelchair coming out last.
    She rolled herself over to me on the sofa.

    "You're free to go."

    "What will I do now?" I asked. "What's my next form of treatment?"

    "You'll be visiting a therapist for the next several months. The nurse
    will be bringing you a list of medications that you need to go to the
    pharmacy and fill." She put her hand on my shoulder again. "And never,
    ever, ever, stop writing. Put your feelings down on paper or computer
    every day. You've got some talent there, Lenard. I'm not surprised that you'll be a successful author someday."

    I looked down at my hands. "I never thought of that before," I told her,
    "but you've opened a whole new world for me. I don't know how to thank

    She chuckled again. "You can thank me by going out there, live your life,
    and never let me see you back in this facility again."

    "I'll try."

    "Yoda said, 'Do, or do not. There is no try.'"

    "Yes, doctor. Thanks for being here. Good luck and God bless you and your work."

    The nurse came out of her station and gave me my list of medications to

    "Watching people like you walk out of this facility a lot better off than
    when they came in, I think He already has."

    I grabbed my bag, stood up, and waited for security to open the door to the outside.

    "One more thing, Lenard, "the lady in the wheelchair said, "you're wife and kids have a surprise for you when you get home."

    "What is it?" I asked.

    "If I told you then it wouldn't be a surprise."

    She laughed as security opened the door and escorted me to the waiting cab.

    My wife threw her arms around me and squeezed the dickens out of me when I walked into the house a new man, a new husband, and a new father. Behind
    her were my friends who took care of my family while I was in the hospital. They all shook my hand and mussed up my hair as I stood there with my

    "The doctor said that you have a surprise waiting for me."

    My wife and friends spread out like Moses opening the Red Sea and allowed
    me to see, sitting in the living room, an exact copy of the Commodore 64
    that I used while I was in the hospital, complete with disk drive and a printer. I walked slowly over the machine and lightly touched its keys, remembering the unit that was in the patient's lounge at the hospital. I looked over the disk drive and printer like an archaeologist checking a
    rare artifact. I glanced back at my wife.

    "The doctor said you could use one of these," she said with a smile. "It's
    a hand me down, but it still works."

    My friends rolled an office chair up to the Commodore 64 and invited me to
    take a seat. I sat down at the machine and looked into the monitor, where
    the same word processor I was using at the hospital was loaded and the
    cursor was flashing, waiting for input. I looked around at everyone with a tear in my eye, then looked back at t

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