Sane listened to the new Cheesy Listening musicdisk and asked what it has to do with cheddar cheese and the resurrection of Alcatraz.
Cheesy Listening – inside out
Done by Sane / Monk
Early February of 2022 the Amiga Scene was rejoiced with an outstanding production. We were still mourning the fact the holidays had passed that quickly and most countries in Europe and the rest of the world were still in some sort of lockdown because of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, but then an OCS musicdisk hit the Scene and brightened our days. Three Scene legends connected to no less than three different legendary Amiga groups (Rebels, Offence and Alcatraz) delivered a more than excellent release to our subculture.
And the great thing is that this superb musicdisk runs on a 512k Amiga 500. On Amiga that is as unexpanded as it gets. :) Just like it is stated in the musicdisk itself: „Probably works on other Amigas too. Probably. But why would you have a different Amiga?“ And that is exactly right! It is a new OCS production in the long list of OCS productions that have seen the light of day since 2013, when Rink a Dink: REDUX by Lemon. was released.
The Sceners involved are Nosferatu, Critikill and Virgill. Nosferatu is responsible for the sweet code, Critikill did the marvelous graphics and ace musician Virgill composed all the tasty tunes. The release of Cheesy Listening, as that is the name of this lovely piece of art, was just in time for the deadline of Jurassic Pack 19. So, I could ask Virgill a few questions that were on my mind after I had first listened to Cheesy Listening. Listened to it and loved it.
I guess everybody who has been attending the Amiga Scene in the past 30 years or so knows exactly who Virgill is. Jochen Feldkötter is a versatile Scener. Amongst others he is a composer, but also a coder (AmigaKlang!). He is a very dedicated and highly active musician who has been composing tunes for the Amiga Scene for decades now.
Once he was a member of the late legendary German democrew called Sanity. When he was a member of Sanity, Virgill composed one of the most catchy and most valued Amiga modules in the history of the Scene: the tune for Interference. That specific tune sounds so rich, it is almost unbelievable Virgill could only use 4 channels for that song. Being as active as Virgill is for such a long period and always delivering class A material is reason enough to get into touch with the always friendly German musician. The release of Cheesy Listening is an extra reason to do just that. Let us hear what Virgill has to say about (the making of) Cheesy Listening.
Sane: In the scroller of Cheesy Listening you wrote you started Pretracker in November 2021 and instantly got addicted again. You composed a new tune every 2-3 days and shared them in the preamp discord channel. The idea of doing a musicdisk grew on you. How did that process work exactly and how did it materialize? And why Pretracker?
Virgill: I always wanted to do an Amiga remix of my Galvanize tune. I first thought doing it as standard mod. But I decided to give Pretracker a chance, because it can bring more life to chiptunes due to its modulation capabilities. So I sat down three afternoons and I was satisfied with the result. But I somehow got into my manic mode. I sometimes have those phases. So I could not stop for 4 weeks. :)
Sane: The Scene is grateful for your manic phases! :) Can you tell us something about that preamp discord channel also?
Virgill: This channel is where all the cool guys hang around who contributed to the Pretracker preamp musicdisk series. I donated a tune and a coop track with Tecon for the preamp 2 musicdisk, so I was allowed to join the elite club. <3
Sane: That is really cool! I was wondering; did you first have all the tunes ready or did you first pursuade Nosferatu and Critikill to help you out before you finished all 12 tunes? And how did you pursuade those two Sceners to help you out? Were they instantly eager to help you out or did you really have to pursuade them?
Virgill: After I presented 5 or 6 tracks in the channel, I made a joke about making a music disk. It was not meant serious at first, but the spark was planted. After finishing almost all tracks I started to collect info´s about how much time it would cost me to do it by myself. And since I forgot almost everything about graphic coding on amiga the last 30 years, I decided to get some help. Thank goodness Nosferatu was willing to do the code, if I would organize a gfx guru. The first one I asked was Critikill, and he immediately jumped in. <3
Sane: Why did you want to make it an OCS musicdisk?
Virgill: We wanted to make it run on low end Amigas. And OCS is the real thing! :) Btw, you don’t even need a memory extension to run it.
Sane: I can’t agree more with you on that matter! OCS definitely is the real thing. <3 Who came up with the catchy name ‚Cheesy Listening‘ and who thought up the cheese handles?
Virgill: Critikill listened through all the tracks and came up with some different titles and draft graphics. There were some really cute things in our shortlist, but Cheesy Listening got stuck. He also had the idea of the cheese handles and we all loved it. Hope we can use his other drafts somewhen in the future.
Sane: Very funny! I think the cheese handles are a really neat idea. Why did you choose for the cheese alias of Cheddar? Is that a particular cheese you like or do you just like the sound of it?
Virgill: It wasn’t me. Critikill gave me the name. I never questioned why. LOL.
Sane: So I now have to ask Critikill why he sees you as a Cheddar cheese. Lol! How much time did the development of Cheesy Listening take in total?
„Fun thing was to implement the VU-Meter…“
Virgill: Approximately four weeks for the music and another four weeks for the rest of the musicdisk. It was so nice to work with those both professionals. I didn’t have much to organize or care for. It was just running perfect. We were finished one week before our self-set deadline and thought about doing some short teases for social media. The response was bigger than we expected. So thanks to all who wrote those nice comments!
Sane: In the scroller of Cheesy Listening you already told us a lot of information about the tracks, but is there some inside information you didn’t share in the scroller and which is informative nonetheless?
Virgill: Fun thing was to implement the VU-Meter, since the Pretracker replay does not deliver data for those from scratch. We had to „freeze“ the replayer and look into the memory where the addresses change which contain the volume data. Thx Pink for the tip! It reminded me on those times cheating on C64 when I freezed games to search for the lives-counter. :)
Virgill: I thought it was about time that Alcatraz gets active again on Amiga after 28 years of deprivation from oldschool machines.
Sane: You re-tracked some of your older pc 4k songs because you were curious how they would sound as Pretracker chiptunes. There are also conversions of bigger Amiga modules. I like them a lot! Are you also that happy with the result? Which version do you prefer now?
Virgill: Hard to say, since the sound of the remakes are completely different. Maybe both – original and remake – have a raison d´etre.
Sane: Fair enough! And last but not least: why did you dedicate this musicdisk to Kimi Kandler?
Virgill: Short story: We sooo hoped for a thumbdown from him on pouet. He dislikes cheesy music. :)
This was it. You now know all you didn’t know about Cheesy Listening yet. All your questions have been answered. At least mine were! We have to let Virgill go, so he has time again to compose the next ear pleasing module for the Scene. I can’t wait! And I know you can’t too. I want to thank Virgill for his detailed answers and his extremely fast response. Thanks to his swift and smooth reply, I was able to write this quick article just in time for the deadline of Jurassic Pack 19. And Cheesy Listening really deserves to be put into the spotlight. I am sure you will agree.
Sane / Monk a.k.a. sAner
Btw.: In case the player on our website is making troubles once again and you’re too lazy to install an emulator, use this direct link in order to watch and listen to Cheesy Listening on YouTube. And don’t forget to have fun!