w0rpzone

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My Minor Spiritual Music Project

What Is This All About?

Jason Scott, computer historian and archivist, has said on several occasions that it is important to try and preserve your own digital history. As far as the history of popular or important figures goes, someone else will probably make an effort. When it comes to things that probably only hold some significance to you, you might be on your own.

I am going to make a small attempt to make mention of something I did, which was of interest at least to myself. I might seem perhaps obsessive about this particular thing that I did, but that will be fine. Because even if what I did was only of any real significance to myself, by the end of this blog post I will be able to say that I will have at least made some effort to explain what it was that I did. What I did was something very minor, but potentially entertaining.

A few years ago, I managed, with a modicum of skill and a burst of creativity, to embark on a musical project. This was a very short lived project which was directly the consequence of my involvement with a very minor imageboard and BBS community, paired with an IRC channel. For a time, we, as was our culture, kept much of our culture, what little culture there was, as some kind of closely guarded secret. This secrecy was also again part of our culture; some manner of ironic joke. Feel free to make the jump from "ironic joke" to "hipster." We would probably find that funny.

What Was SAOVQ?

First, a little bit of history. What we were as a community was a collection of anonymous and pseudonymous Internet users who had a variety of shared interests, none of which were probably that compelling. They included the following.

  1. Anime and by extension Japan in general.
  2. A love for the modern day BBS.
  3. A love for imageboards.
  4. A desire for ridiculous, but still clever humour.
  5. A love of the idea of secrecy and niche community.

So, as you might guess, we all had some attraction to communities like 2channel, 2chan, and of course 4chan, among other communities. Amidst all of these communities, we all had a shared affection for 4-ch.net, particularly for the DQN BBS, which amazingly has survived to this day. Who we were was a Western collection of self proclaimed VIPPERS, inspired by the 2-ch BBS news4vip. Our fun community was the rather humourously named the Secret Area of VIP Quality.

I could go on about this in much greater detail, but I shall leave the completely unimportant history of this extremely minor community to one side. A fellow VIPPER has already made the effort to host a rather amusing wiki for some time which explains much of this already, which I have personally assured is backed up hopefully for all time on the Internet Archive.

Where Did the Music Come From?

Japanese and Japanese-inspired BBS communities used to do, and as am I still aware, still do a rather novel thing. Out of bursts of creativity, a desire for a little bit of fun, and perhaps some boredom, every now and then people in the BBS or imageboard would take it upon themselves to do creative works of art. Text art, Flash movies, small or even large video games, and of course music. What was novel about all of this is that a lot of the music was credited only anonymously or to some kind of Internet pseudonym, and none of it was ever taken seriously, which I believe made it more enjoyable. So the focus wasn't on the person who was making the creative work, but more the creative work itself.

After a time, the DQN BBS started to follow in this trend, and the first thing to come of it to my mind was the concept of song threads. A song thread was a rather fun way to transform mostly noise into something entertaining.

  1. Start up your song thread.
  2. List particular post numbers as being contributors to parts of the song.
  3. Allow people to post over a period of time, until all the parts are ready.
  4. The parts make up one complete song.
  5. An amateur music producer can then step in and make an actual song out of it.
  6. You then end up with something like this.

I still find this fascinating and endlessly entertaining, due in part to my strange sense of humour. After a time, this led to the creation of a very long thread. This then resulted in, of course, A Really Long Song. Some of the tracks, despite being formed entirely from random comments, took on some kind of hilarious structure with hilarious results, like in track #2.

And so the track went...

...
under the moon, loli to issho
Young man, do mannaka wari komi, Ryoute hiroge FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!
Show me! Show you! KIKKOMAN, KIKKOMAN
...

The final line quoted there actually comes from another creative BBS effort. I mention this track in particular because of its significance for myself. I found this track to be hilarious, and amidst the album that one stood out for me. I actually kind of remembered the lyrics, which still amazes me, given that the lyrics are really just random noise from a thread somewhere. So one day when it came to the point where I needed to choose a pseudonym for myself. I thought of things that were relevant, and I thought, "I'll just go with Soy Sauce Warrior Kikkoman." Of course, that being too long I thought, "I'll shorten it down with an acronym. So I'll go with SSW_Kikkoman."

So I had my affection for music, and a dumb name for myself, and time would pass. Eventually, other DQN people would come to produce music that was A little less totally random and a little more really fucking awesome. The DQN Electronics albums were a hit with us SAOVQ people, and we honestly got a little bit jealous of all of this great content being the result of not stricly our community, but the DQN guys. So of course after a time we decided to post our own effort. The results of all of them are currenty hosted here. It is this series of albums where my efforts finally come in, as the track list went...

  1. VIPPER – hello
  2. Italian VIPPER – Birthday
  3. Reisen-Udongein-Inaba・平沢進 – Lotus ft.巡音ルカ
  4. VIPPER – DADDYCOOL
  5. SSW_Kikkoman – Satori

... and so on. So what happened was that I contributed a total of four album tracks, and a few things that I wasn't quite happy enough about. All of which I have now hosted on SoundCloud.

So What Did You Make?

What I made was some very basic tracks with a number of contraints. Some of these constraints resulted from my limited skill and resources. They were as follows.

  1. The tracks would all be produced entirely using my low to mid range desktop computer of the time.
  2. I would produce the tracks from Linux, using entirely free software.
  3. The tracks would not contain any lyrics, just music.
  4. Every song would have a title which reflected some kind of spiritual idea, and the song would attempt to present the way this idea felt.

So given these constraints, here is what I ended up doing.

  1. I produced the tracks using LMMS and Audacity.
  2. I used my computer's regular keyboard and a computer mouse to play with sounds and arrange the music.
  3. I made heavy use of reverb to give the tracks a sort of choir-like feel, like a church choir.

So, with limited resources, very little skill, and probably more time spent producing the tracks than it would take for a professional to do it, I went and did it. Let's get to the actual tracks now. We will look at the important tracks, in the order of their production.

Satori

SoundCloud
Satori
Album
Homegrown VIPtronic Album, track #5
Spiritual Concept
Satori
Hidden Tag Comment
"I close my eyes so the room will be empty."

This was my first contribution, and I produced it based on the idea of Satori. There was a joke in there from a programming board about programming in the language LISP leading to some form of enlightenment. The track has a flow through it that is designed to make you feel a certain way. A few simple notes, and over time more and more of a chorus builds up into what is supposed to be one large collection of sound. All designed to symbolise a combination of ideas building towards enlightenment, then serenity.

Battleborn

SoundCloud
Battleborn
Album
Tabitha “Tablecat” Catherine’s Super Off-Table Formula VIP, track #5
Spiritual Concept
The Crusades, and other conflicts.
Hidden Tag Comment
Struggle breeds conflict. Conflict gives us reason to breathe.

This was my second contribution, not nearly as good as the first, I believed. I produced an earlier version named Battleworn, which was very Metroid theme inspired and was much slower. For the album I sped it all up, threw in a kick drum, and gave it a more uplifting name. The track is designed to give a feel of some kind of glorious ongoing conflict which breeds some manner of spiritual significance. That's why I made it so punchy.

(P)ryamid

SoundCloud
(P)yramid
Album
Authentic Viptronic Triptych, track #2
Spiritual Concept
The myriad gods of the Shinto religion, and other pantheons.
Hidden Tag Comment
Myriad with a (p)ulse. Too much, too minimal to much too minimal.

This track was again originally much slower, with less of a kick. It was named Myriad. I again punched it up and gave it a pulse for the album. The track is supposed to use reverb to give a feeling about some kind of infinite space, inhabited by the many gods, real or imaginary. I wasn't sure what to name the result, and then I discovered that if I took an anagram of the old name and threw in an extra p, I would also get the word "pyramid." This made me think of ancient Egypt and their many gods. So that is what I went with.

Nepsis

SoundCloud
Nepsis
Album
VIPTRONIC FIVE, track #5
Spiritual Concept
The concept of Nepsis, and generally spirtuality as it applies to Christian life.
Hidden Tag Comment
(Nothing)

This was my final VIP musical contribution, and effectively the end of my shortly lived amateur musical project. I tried to make the track more explosive in some sense than my previous tracks, and I hope that a sense of my getting a little better at what I was doing comes across. The track is designed to give you this feeling of the mental states you must go through in maintaining a spiritual state of watchfulness. The track has small beginnings, running bursts of melody, and ends on an extended outro to attempt to give this feel.

I absolutely must note that someone made a fucking incredible remix of my final track after I vanished, without my knowledge, and put it on the very next album, attributed to me. You must hear this track right now if you have not heard it. I was absolutely blown away by it. Seriously. I am very happy that I at least managed to inspire this creative work, if for nothing else.

Sum It Up

  1. I am an Internet geek.
  2. I had some geek e-friends.
  3. We liked music and junk.
  4. I made some fun stuff.

That's about the grand total of it all. It was a fun project for a while. I might pursue similar interests in the future some time. I hope whoever took the time to read all of this enjoyed the post and maybe even got some fun music to listen to out of it. Maybe it also made you think.

Did you like any of my music? Well you might like the VIP albums or the DQN albums. Search on a PirateBay mirror for a torrent with all the DQN albums. I still seed that torrent myself from time to time.

Have any thoughts, comments? Why not leave them in my comment section? Did I fuck up programming my comment section? Send me an email using the icon above and tell me about it.

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