Spirit Chow


I compose music when the fell mood and appropriate fancy strike. I have no formal musical education, but I know what I like – namely, instrumental, influenced by synthpop and chip music.

Most songs are currently only available as tracker modules, but any halfway decent media player, such as WinAmp or Audacious, can play them acceptably. The best songs also have OGG or MP3 versions. If you really like tracker music, get Modplug Player or XMPlay for very precise playback.

Most of these were written using Impulse Tracker and later Schism Tracker, except for any midi pieces or live recorded playing. For direct wave editing and mixing I've previously used GoldWave, Audacity and DDClip. Most of the samples used are blatantly ripped from other sources, though I have touched up or recorded some myself.

Except for most of the samples, these compositions are available under CC0, which is like public domain.

Information table

This is a pretty HTML table listing all my music in a more concise form, along with some statistics. I'm hoping to properly remaster the whole lot and get some streaming links up.

Original music
Mimu Muzak 5 (5:24)   OGG (5984 kb)   IT (165 kb)

My most popular song, most recently retouched on 27-Nov-2011.

Unlike the other modules, this one was originally thrown together using my own MoonTracker. Later I transcribed it to IT format and finalised it. The samples are a bit lo-fi, but they come together nicely. The song is based on two basic, catchy hooks, exploring some variations, perhaps making the song a bit too long. Although originall badly out of tune, after enough retuning, even the funky piano riff has come to please.

There is an excellent chip remix of Mimu Muzak 5, by Iggy Rock, as part of a Vidipro demo program for the good old MSX computer. User dreamerm42 uploaded a recording of it on Youtube.

Mimu Muzak 4 (3:20)   IT (166 kb)

Easy listening. Note the jovial bass line, the basic melodic interplay in the second half, and the slightly out-of-place arpeggio at the end. The string sample I used should probably have been a tad softer.

Mimu Muzak 3 Remake (3:43)   IT (105 kb)

A complete remake of my third original song. A nice piano-based melody; simple, perhaps a bit repetitive, but nonetheless passable. The original version had a certain breeziness which isn't fully captured in this remake.

Catnip (5:49)   OGG (5559 kb)   IT (430 kb)

Mostly built around chorus voices set against bass and rhythm, this song starts with a slow intro, exploding into twitchy action after a hit of catnip. I'm not sure if the ending is really appropriate, as it just repeats the main theme with an added retro arpeggio... but the theme is kinda catchy. For the OGG version, I tried mixing the percussion and melody separately, for subtle reverb improvement.

Vallis Nivis (4:34)   OGG (4661 kb)   IT (669 kb)   mini-ringtone (157 kb)

That's Latin for Valley of Snow, probably. Tinkling snow crystals meet a reverbed synth bass over a basic beat background. The melodic progression in this song is more ponderous than in earlier songs, while retaining a passable chord series for the main hook. Some cheap influence from Jarre may be detected in the bouncy bass.

The Cutesy Board (2:42)   IT (385 kb)

This piece barely got third place in the fourth Kestit music competition. Having to fit everything in just eight channels was challenging. A few chip samples are used, with slides and arpeggios, for a keygen mood. The name refers to a cute message board I once happened upon.

Pause to Consider (4:20)   IT (415 kb)

Approximating a pause for thought or appreciation, this positive song channeled naturally from a random good mood. Slow but determined, it combines burgomeistery timpani drums with soft samples.

Sliding (4:02)   IT (248 kb)

A tune revolving around an avianpiano riff and a progressive sound ripped from my trusty DX-11. The rhythm is too basic and a solo close to the end really should use a proper sample. The piano slinging pervading the piece can also be a bit much after a while. But, Sliding's not all bad, having scored a respectable second place at the music competition of the first Kestit LAN party.

Polite Yet Strict (3:43)   IT (316 kb)

While waiting for a high school math class to start, I was bored and was tapping a rhythm with a pen. Upon realising it sounded good, I built this song on top of it, starting with the promisingly pitch-slid bass line. Alas, the rhythm samples are too hard, and overlapping solo improvisation doesn't always make for good counterpoint. This was the first time I used an intentional diminished 7th chord in a song.

Star Stream (3:38)   S3M (96 kb)

An early work, this is all strings over chords, trying for something different from the usual over-emphasized rhythm. This tries to evoke a star field screen saver.

Praise (4:54)   OGG (4062kb)   Lyrics

The song is module-based, but after putting it together I wrote lyrics to fit that, and went back to improve the module. Recording the vocals and mixing everything together took a lot of work. The melody is somewhat repetitive and I don't know how to make the vocals sink in professionally. Also, I just don't sing that well. Still, Praise has some very nice bass/crystal dual action going on.

Remain My Love (4:32)   IT (309 kb)

This works as a duet, but having learned from the above that lyrics are not my forte, this only has chorus sounds approximating the intended singing melodies. It is pretty well balanced, and I really like some of the synth solo action. This song was based on an old story concept I had, and is supposed to sound suitable for, say, a movie's end credits.

Covers and remixes
Paganini's Chipriccio 24 (4:03)   OGG (4012 kb)   IT (81 kb)

Chiptune version of the very catchy classical violin piece, Paganini's Capriccio 24. Each variation uses a slightly different approach, but where the original relies heavily on tempo changes to modulate the mood for each passage, I'm just juggling chip voices and the counterpoint arrangement. The primary counterpoint, incidentally, comes courtesy of the old C64 game Super Pipeline, which also featured this song.

Chilled Honey (4:26)   OGG (4234 kb)   IT (232 kb)

Noxy wrote Transnoctem's Honey Rhapsody, and I suggested a few chords here and there. I had the feeling the song would work splendidly as a jazz piece, and produced this cover. The song uses only chip samples for melody, with sampled percussion. The end result is a calm, chill-out song. The OGG is recommended, since I applied advanced mixing techniques to fatten the sound... although I may have gone overboard with the compression.

Ace Of Maze Overdone (3:04)   OGG (2819 kb)   IT (389 kb)

Werp made the original catchy Ace Of Maze back in the summer of 1998. The natural thing to do was to hog the song and remix it. Several times. Werp never was too fond of the original due to its simplicity. This cover only maintains the basic outline, with lots of overdone distortion and rhythm splayed all over. The highlight is an original piano solo just before the 2-minute mark.

Munchky Pillars (1:24)   IT (248 kb)

A short but sweet remix of Jeroen Tel's original Noisy Pillars tune 3. Obviously I could not hope to match the dynamicity of the C64 SID sound chip, but this cover is fairly true except for the missing metallic xylophone rhythm sounds. The background arpeggio pretty much makes the whole song.

Scinty Starlet (2:40)   IT (170 kb)

A remix from Ultima Underworld 2, aiming to capture the ethereal feeling of the deserted Scintillus Academy of Magic. The original song is written in the uncommon 5/8 quintuple time, with a section in 7/8 septuple time, subtly reinforcing the mood. The original, really good UW2 soundtrack was credited to Jon Blackley and Dan Schmidt.

Note: Some of the Ultima Underworld fan remake teams have made music remixes as well, many of them more polished than this.

The Sharpest Lives in C minor (3:07)   OGG (1917 kb)

This one's for Noxy, but maybe you'll like it too. This is an instrumental piano cover of The Sharpest Lives by My Chemical Romance. Unlike most piano covers of this song, I play the melody with the middle keys, not the high keys – more appropriate for a rocking song like this, I feel. It took mixing pieces of 6 takes to get a full song without big mistakes.

This is the debut track for my shiny Yamaha P-95B keyboard.

Listen to the cover with vocals on YouTube!