AMIGA alive

AMIGA alive

Friday, February 1, 2019

Does Muse's "Algorithm" steal from "The Last Ninja - Wilderness"?

Retro is hip. Calvin Harris and many other contemporary musicians openly state the influence the nowadays called "retro-scene" had and has on their work. Do Muse owe more than just a bit to "The Last Ninja"?

"The Last Ninja" is frequently listed among the best games ever for the Commodore 64 and the Amiga (as "Ninja Remix"), and on either platform it's blessed with an outstanding soundtrack. Among all of "Last Ninja"'s music tracks, composed by Ben Daglish and Anthony Lees, the best known is probably "Wilderness", of which many remakes can be found on the net, including live band renditions.

In 2018, Muse released their album "Simulation Theory", and on first sight you get the (semi-)retro idea they obviously had. The cover instantly reminds you of "Blade Runner" , "Strange Days", "Tron", and the likes, the whole bunch of 70s to 90s science fiction cinema classics. Equally does the music take you back a couple of decades. The opening track's drums almost speak out "eight-zero-eight", and it's classic analogue synth sounds all over the place.

So let's start at what could be the beginning:

Commodore 64, "The Last Ninja" - "Wilderness" by Ben Daglish & Anthony Lees, 1987

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbBENI8sHFE

A masterpiece of 3-channel SID composition. The only thing it lacks is a distinctive drum sound, but once you get it, it still has a strong underlying groove, and on top of that some beautifully crafted melodies, mostly in the pentatonic scale, along with lots of arpeggiated chords.

Three years later, Jochen Hippel creates a remix of the same composition for "Ninja Remix", with added drums, emphasizing the groove (and adding an uptempo section):

Amiga, "Ninja Remix" - "Wilderness" by Jochen Hippel (based on original C64 version), 1990

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjFO9VxTo-Y

Fast-forward to 2018, Muse's "Algorithm" from "Simulation Theory", listen especially to the chords after the drums have entered, and some of the melody sections:

Muse - "Algorithm", official music video, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8f5RgwY8CI

Isn't it staggering? There's even arpeggiated chords. Matt Bellamy from Muse has also openly stated his Amiga-roots, even that "...Muse wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the Amiga 500...", so it's no surprise we hear a lot of the then-common sounds and styles in Muse's music. Portions of "Algorithm" almost sound like a direct hommage to the Commodore 64 and Amiga game music composers at the time, and in this case even some of the chord progressions match.

Did Ben Daglish & Anthony Lees' "Wilderness" slip into "Algorithm"? Did Muse steal from the composers? Well, fortunately there's no copyright on chords and sounds alone. The overall composition of "Algorithm" is very different from "Wilderness", and especially the vocal sections evoke a very different mood, so there's probably no question "Algorithm" is a standalone creation. But still there is a huge "Oh yeah...!", as the similarities to 80s and 90s video game music are undeniable, and obviously intentional. Certainly not directly taken from "Wilderness", but at least on a subconscious level it is possible "The Last Ninja" has left a lasting impression in the back of the Muse's minds (or Bellamy's). And if it's not "Wilderness" specifically, then it's the blend of game music by composers like Martin Galway, Chris Huelsbeck, Rob Hubbard, Ben Daglish, Anthony Lees, and others, and the technical equipment available at the time - including an Amiga 500 - that certainly have contributed to "Algorithm". It's as if Muse are giving a friendly nod, maybe even taking a bow, to the generation of 8-bit musicians. Retro computer music has become a part of music history. Given Muse's popularity, one could say it has left it's niche existence somewhere between children's bedrooms and demoparties, and reached the open mainstream.

Ben Daglish passed away on Oct. 1st 2018.
Anthony Lees passed away in Aug. 2016.
R. I .P.

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Additional sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Ninja
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_Theory_(album)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Bellamy
http://hol.abime.net/982
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB2gNA0cQYo
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/matt_bellamy_muse_wouldnt_exist_if_it_wasnt_for_video_games__my_amiga_500_pc.html
https://www.remix64.com/news/ben-daglish-is-no-longer-with-us.html
https://c64audio.com/blogs/news/anthony-lees-an-obituary 

All used names and material belong to the respective owners.

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What's your opinion? Leave a comment in the comments section below!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Microbotics/Paravision M1230XA page update

The "Microbotics MBX1230XA accelerator information" page has received a few updates/errata:

https://amigaalive.blogspot.com/p/microbotics-paravision-m1230xa.html

Friday, December 21, 2018

AMIGA alive mousepad!

Support AMIGA alive, and get something useful along the way!

If you like these pages and want to support AMIGA alive, you can now buy a mousepad with the epic "AMIGA alive" Cinema4D rendered title picture.

Size: ~23 x 19cm, 5mm thick
Material: sponge rubber, textile

Find it on eBay Germany:
https://www.ebay.de/sch/58058/i.html?_nkw=amiga+alive


Monday, December 17, 2018

The chicken is back: "Tiger Claw" released!

If you don't remember "Bruce Lee" from the Commodore 64 you shouldn't even be here. If you do, on the other hand, rejoice!

Ok, if you don't remember "Bruce Lee", you're of course still free to rejoice, too: One of theee classic C64 games of all time has been remade as "Tiger Claw", originally for the C64, and is now being commercially released for the Amiga! (And Windows, MacOS, Linux, btw.)

"Bruce Lee" original C64 version title screen (1984)

Developers Lazycow and Saul Cross weren't lazy at all, and have updated their game since 2014 with extra features, a training mode, and even a deathmatch arena. Now they've created ports for the several platforms, including the Amiga (1MB RAM required). Heeeeeee-haw!

"Tiger Claw" Amiga in-game graphics (2018)

The release appears to be just perfect: you can download digital copies from itch.io for all platforms, in several different file formats (.iso, .adf, ...) - but the real fun starts with the awesome physical release: The beautiful box (see image below) contains a bootable, labelled CD-ROM in a jewel case, a floppy label for your private backup copy, stickers, a poster, a 20-page manual, pin-buttons, postcards - man, you even get a shuriken!
"Tiger Claw" box artwork - awesome!

This is a no-brainer, a must-have. "Tiger Claw" is probably the most lovely game release the Amiga has seen since "Frontier - Elite II". The game alone is really great, but the physical packaging is just outstanding. Check the links below (see "Sources") for more information if you're still hesitating.

In other words:
Yeeeee-eeeee!
Fight your way through to https://rgcd.bigcartel.com/product/tiger-claw-amiga and buy your copy!
Haaaaww!


Sources:
http://amiga-news.de/en/news/AN-2018-12-00032-EN.html
http://www.lazycow.de/tigerclaw/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Lee_(video_game) 
https://rgcd.bigcartel.com/product/tiger-claw-amiga
https://assets.bigcartel.com/product_images/228527633/anim.gif
https://assets.bigcartel.com/product_images/228527426/RGCD+Dec18-4.jpg

Monday, November 26, 2018

AmigaOS 3.1.4 digital download edition back online

AmigaOS 3.1.4 is available for digital download again!

This re-release apparently isn't motivated by a change in the legal situation between Hyperion / Itec / Amiga Inc. / Cloanto / ... , but a poll held by Hyperion via facebook.

Go here to purchase your digital copy of AmigaOS 3.1.4:
http://hyperion-entertainment.biz/index.php/where-to-buy/direct-downloads/188-amigaos-314

Or get the physical media edition from a dealer near you:
http://hyperion-entertainment.biz/index.php/where-to-buy/dealers


http://hyperion-entertainment.biz/images/stories/OS3.1.4/005.png


Sources:
http://amiga-news.de/en/news/AN-2018-11-00044-EN.html
https://www.facebook.com/HyperionEntertainment/posts/2482976675262312

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

WARP 1260 accelerator board

Oh this looks and sounds sooo good: a new 68060 accelerator for Amiga 1200 is underway. And it has some awesome features.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DrE0XLFWsAAon3V.jpg