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Science Fiction PC Speaker
....and here we have the world's least marketable tribute album. Science Fiction PC Speaker represents the collision of two of my most embarrassing obsessions: video game music and The Rocky Horror Show.
Download science_fiction_pc_speaker.zip (29.1 megs),
or get it from Archive.org, where you can also write a review.
Most people don't even realize this, but your computer has a speaker inside which has no volume control and is capable of playing one note at a time. These days you only ever hear this speaker emit a short beep when you boot your PC, but there was a time when this was the only sound hardware that the average PC had, and it was really suitable only for simple melodies and sound effects. Sometime in the late 1990s I obsessing over the soundtracks from various stage productions of The Rocky Horror Show, and it occurred to me that it would sound great played on a choir of PC speakers. I'm probably the only person who has ever had this uh, "epiphany."
The sort of thing I was imagining would have taken a great deal of work to pull off, so forgot about it for awhile. Every once in awhile the idea would resurface, and finally, in 2004, I started work on it. The project was constantly "on the back burner" because I didn't think I'd have the patience to finish it, but fifteen months later, I had a finished album. You can tell which ones took longest, because they tend to be the more creative arrangements. The Time Warp is an especially good example—it's a song I've heard a hundred times in a hundred different arrangements, and I'd become so bored with it that I had to make pretty serious changes just to hold my interest. It's hard for most people to keep up with the melody, but I can follow it. On the other end of the scale are songs like Sweet Transvestite and Planet Schmanet Janet, which were fun to work with, and which came out quite well, if I may say so.
Anyway, the final product will appeal to a limited (very limited) audience, but I'm very happy with it. PC speaker music offers a lot of challenges, but there are a lot of opportunities to do things you wouldn't do on a different instrument, such as jumping between octave that would normally be too far apart, simulating a chord by playing fast arpeggios and grace notes, and working with a lot of 32nd and 64th notes. It was an immensely satisfying project, though I doubt I'll ever want to do something like this again.