By Thomas Schuerger
There are some applications that are Amiga-only in that they use special features of the Amiga's architecture that you just can't find anywhere else.
And then there are programs that are only found on the Amiga because it takes a crazy Amiga guy to think of them. AlgoMusic is solidly in this category.
Simply put, AlgoMusic creates random songs of the "techno" variety from a large stock of instrument and voice samples, according to algorithms of the author's devising. All you need to do is give it a random seed--or let it generate one of its own. AlgoMusic even comes up with a "title" for the song based on a small dictionary of words.
AlgoMusic can be driven from the shell, or you can call up an MUI-based prefs program. You can change AlgoMusic's song as it plays, even from the shell, although it's much easier to do from the prefs program. And when you tire of the roughly two megs of included samples, there are instructions for creating your own.
AlgoMusic is so ridiculous it's amusing. I've run it many times--it's easy to just set it up and let it roll--and haven't heard the same song twice. The algorithms do keep things pretty different. But what is it that we're doing here? We're creating random silly techno tunes. It sort of renders a lot of MOD authors obsolete, it would seem.
Which, incidentally, brings up an important point--AlgoMusic is not a mod player or tracker, and you can't save its work out as a MOD--if you want to play a song again later because you love it so, you'll have to write down the random seed to plug in at a later date (which as far as I can tell requires you launching from the shell rather than inputting the seed in the GUI--perhaps an innovation for the next release?)
Obviously, Mr. Schuerger has some sort of appreciation for the artform, but I wonder if he intended AlgoMusic to be as much of a tribute as it is a parody of the techno/acid music form. It's a techno composer you just double click on. It will (quite literally) churn out an almost endless stream of techno pieces. Sounds like a lot of people, not just MOD authors, could be out of work.
If you want to play around with AlgoMusic, the easiest way is just to mess with the BPM (beats per minute) and Finetune (a sort of global frequency setting) sliders. You can go from body-flinging dance music to more, um, "bedroom" sounds by bouncing between 84 and 200 BPM, and high or low pitched vocal samples are always fun.
Schuerger will never be remembered with the great composers of the world, but he has put together a reasonably good alternative to downloading every new MOD on Aminet. AlgoMusic is fun for the novelty value if nothing else, sort of like Steve Headroom from a couple of years back.
What someone should do is pair AlgoMusic up with a MindEYE and an A1200, place the whole contraption in a rack-mountable case and sell it to dance clubs as the "Infinite DJ" at a substantial markup. Feel free to cut me in if you give it a try.
AlgoMusic is available on Aminet, in mus/misc.