Atari ST • Interviews

gwEm interview pt 2


This is the second part of our interview with gwEm, you can find the first part here.

LB – In the maxYMiser FAQ you make the comment that the other trackers available for the machine lacked in some way, I was curious which limitations encouraged you to start on maxYMiser.

gwEm – Well, there were 3 different trackers all doing something different, I wondered why.. then I read a deeply inspiring interview (note: links to zip of May2003 issue which contains the interview) with the legendary Tao, which went into details about his techniques. I decided to put all the effects into one tracker.

LB – Did you develop maxYMiser in secret for a while or were you getting input from other Atari experts?

gwEm – I make most of my projects secret, since I don’t want to disappoint, maxYMiser was a big secret though. I got input just from Dma-Sc on the interface – he tried all the early versions, from the very first mock up. I asked him, since I am a big fan of his music style, he seemed interested in trying a new tracker out, too – he was one of the first to move to Triplex. After the first couple of releases I got advice from 505 instead, since Dma was busy. Except for those two guys, I didn’t really listen to anyone else. But they are, in my opinion, the best two musicians on the Atari ST demoscene.

LB – How did the ST community react to maxYMiser?

gwEm -Well, I released some stuff – firstly the song ‘maxYMise’ as a compo tune. ‘maxYMise’ didn’t do that well, which effected motivation. I realized then, its not all about fancy effects. Next thing was ‘The Phatt Demo

Continue reading gwEm interview pt 2

Atari ST • Chipmusic • Featured • Interviews

gwEm interview pt 1


Pictures used with kind permission of Bit.Shifter

I was lucky enough to chat a little to gwEm, author of Maxymiser, hell survivor, Hardcore rave tunesmith and International Rock Star.

LB – Thanks most kindly for doing this.

gwEm – No worries!

LB – What came first for you, music or computers?

gwEm – Hard to say… Today music comes first though, I don’t care too much for computers. I was very young when I had my first computer, so I can’t exactly recall. Maybe I had a musical instrument before then..?! No idea :)

LB – What was your first machine?

gwEm – It was an Oric Atmos 48k

LB – Not the most popular of machines at the time, did you start coding on it?

gwEm – Yes, but I was very young, and didn’t do much worth speaking about. It was all BASIC stuff.

LB – Did you hop from that to the Atari series or was there something in between?

gwEm – No, the Oric broke, and then our family got an Atari ST.

LB – Did the sound chip capture your imagination right away?

gwEm – I’d have to say no – that came much later. The late 80s demo scene didn’t attract me at all. Atari ST was based around the megademo format – which in retrospect is kind of cool but at the time I thought it was an ugly way to present screens. But it only took a couple of years to get into making music on the ST.

LB – Which trackers did you start on?

Continue reading gwEm interview pt 1

Atari ST • Chipmusic • software

maxYMiser v1.29 updated


gwEm writes:

  • Improved buzzer arbitrage
  • ‘Fast As Possible’ SID and syncbuzzer routines – Defjam/Checkpoint request
  • Volume control on YM digidrums – an effect last heard from Lotus/Hotine back in the golden age
  • Pitch slide command

You can download the new version at:

But thats not all! Old skool YM wizard Excellence In Art has been using
maxYMiser recently. He contributes:

  • A stonking new example track
  • A maxYMiser beginners guide, including a basic example track

You can look at ‘maxYMiser a Musicians Guide’ and the basic example tune

Don’t forget to look at the maxYMiser official homepage for cool
additional resources :)

Chipmusic • TCTD 2008 Awards

Best Software

A truly great software tool is often an transparent gateway that facilitates easy to use, and powerful control of all that  a chip has to offer.  A great developer needs to combine community input,  in depth knowledge of his platform, and the ability to separate feature glut from usability all in  a tool that makes the creative process easy even for the most basic user. Here are the nominees  for Best Software of 2008

LittleGpTracker – The little LSDJ clone that could kicked it up a notch with tons of usability fixes and more sound design options. With the handheld worlds arguably owned by LSDJ and Nanoloop, more options for different types of sound synthesis and song design are always welcome, and few are as feature rich and usable as LGPT.

maxYMiser – Developer gwEm is one of the Atari ST’s most outspoken advocates and he has produced an extremely well featured and usable sequencer that takes fine advantage of the built in hardware features such as midi and the advanced abilities of the newer ST machines.  Of all the chip platforms, maxYMizer has perhaps the lowest barrier of entry to running your sounds on true hardware, and gwEm is doing his best to let everyone know about it.

Famitracker – Probably the number one entry platform for NES music is turning the corner with experimental support for many expansion chips and advanced midi controls to integrate with an existing studio setup.  With its use in many demo productions, game releases and scene tracks, NSF composition is on a decided upswing, and Famitracker deserves a good portion of the credit.

Hively Tracker – This ambitious new tracker, with cross-platform aspirations shows that the innovation is not limited to retro sound chips alone. With various player support across many devices, 2009 is poised to be a big year for this feature rich and community friendly synth tracker.

Loopy tools for PowerPak – Loopy has given Nesdev and the PowerPak a real shot in the arm with various mapper support, expansion chip additions, and a NSF player that has made it easier than ever to play whatever esoteric NES sound file on true hardware. Its usually a collection of smaller less glamorous tools that really give certain segments of the scene a kick in the teeth, and Loopy has really gone the extra distance for everyones benefit.