You don’t actually have to put foliage on your desktop to inspire you to conserve energy, unless it, you know, helps. A lovely Ubuntu screenshot by Akira Ohgaki.

A challenge to efficiency brings some terrific results. We’ve got tracks for you to hear, a few quick tips on production with Renoise, a place to go talk about the tracks and how to optimize them for netbooks, and a new extended deadline. And if you’re curious what kinds of music can be made with trackers, now’s a perfect chance to give folks from this community a listen. You may be surprised by the breadth of what you hear.

The forward march of transistors has led to maximalist ideas in music technology. The only problem: musical composition often benefits from efficiency. I remember in the early days of Cakewalk for DOS wondering what I would do with their thousands of promised tracks – and that was before digital audio, soft synths, 64-bit, and the like.

The Creative Commons-licensed Indamixx + Renoise + CDM music competition we introduced last month returns to that idea of efficiency. You use a tool with a different creative approach (Renoise, a modern tracker), then work to conserve computer resources instead of squander them. The music can then successfully run on – and you can win – a lovely, ultra-compact Indamixx Netbook.

And while you’re doing more with less, we’ve decided to give you a little more … time. We didn’t want to exclude anyone from getting in entries, so the deadline has been extended – meaning if you submitted already, you have a chance to revise and polish or respond to feedback (including, importantly, CPU optimization feedback).

New deadline: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25

New full-blown entry + discussion site (with audio, full XRNS files, and plenty of chatter on improving production quality and optimization):
http://www.renoise.com/competitions/indamixx/

Need help with testing? Once you’ve got an entry in, Ronald Stewart of Indamixx has offered a free download of their Transmission OS (based on Linux), which you can run on your laptop for testing purposes. Contact him via the inquiry form, and be sure to mention you’re entering the contest!

And folks, so far, some brilliant work. The contest organizers (myself, plus the folks from 64 Studio, Indamixx, and Renoise) have been going through entries and are blown away.

Tips

We got some tips from users contributing I wanted to share:

Cmd+C, V, and P will help you a lot!

-subtacted aka Steven Nguyen

Generating Drum Kits in the instrument mode is definitely something some one should look into if they’re slicing beats like an old school tracker (fast-tracker II? It’s before my time, that’s for sure). It’s definitely helped me plug in breaks super fast.

And learn your effect columns! They can help you achieve some of the coolest sounds that I find are really hard to emulate outside of Renoise.

-Dave Smith-Hayes

I’ve used the effects columns to balance out the bass, midrange, and treble parts of the sound, it helps to give me a balanced sound in a quick-and-dirty fashion.

Vocoder is Vocov2, vocals recorded using Ardour.

-chunter

This contest has been a great learning experience. I wrote a quick summation on John’s site that approximates my account.

what else….hmmm… I guess that, as usual, the mp3 is not as great as the .wav or listening in Renoise. I recommend listening in Renoise.

Renoise is time and again the program that I really go to get my work done. I don’t feel like there are a lot of hip hop makers out here that use Renoise but it really has helped me do good work. If you don’t use Renoise yet, download the demo, open the tutorials and demos and restart your creativity!

-84 Caprice

This track for the competition I used Renoise as a Live improvisation tool with traditional and non traditional instruments. After many layers of improvised live piano, synthesis, and machines, Renoise allowed me to cut up what I wanted and used.

-Silent Strangers

Don’t rely too heavily on vsts, remember tracking all started by sampling. Also, if you enjoy vst instruments a lot but want to optimize for lower cpu usage, don’t forget that you can render your channels and turn that instrument sound into a sample – great for live play efficiency and great for techy edits. ;p

-K-Rai

Tips? Hmm… Just do your own thing and don’t give a f*k about what others are doing.. If it sounds right, do it. And always use the flux capacitor mixdown technique.

-Custard

See, every time I mix that way, I wind up back in 1985.

Also, don’t forget to make use of file optimization with this free, omni-platform utility:
XRNIRipper – Renoise XRNS/XRNI inspector, ripper and OGG compressor for Java

Blog Journals and Process

A couple of people were inspired enough to blog about their efforts:

These days I typically use a piano to work out ideas and then graduate into software to execute them. Renoise tends to be my favorite place to land as it loads up like butter and is quick for nailing down concepts. The implied constraints of this contest, however, had hoisted a series of difficulties in my process. The first being that while I like to use VST/VSTi’s in the process, non-native sound creators or effectors were not to be used in the final version. The second concern was the size of the Renoise file as the winning entry will be used as one of the demos within the program (I haven’t had to deal with file size since I turned my 1.44meg floppies into coasters). Third concern – CPU usage. I was shooting for a great track weighing in under 5 megs. My rough track was loaded with complex VST/VSTi’s and was well over 20 megs.

The process was actually more focusing than I imagined.

84 Caprice Featuring Prof – Karma the Uh Oh Beat [AudioCookbook]

Me being who I am had to enter. Not that I’m in it to win the computer, nor a Renoise license because I’m perfectly happy with my Mac and I already own a Renoise license. So why then? because it’s fun, and I should really start using Renoise now that I bought it.

The result is “Cow in a can”

Cow in a can, my entry in the Renoise-compo. [Johan Larsby]

The Music

In no particular order, I wanted to compile some of the latest tracks I’ve got. Of course, you should absolutely go vote and discuss these tracks on the official competition site.

Renegade Jazz by Custard

Void Pointer – Rampensau (192) by Void Pointer

AcrossWorlds by fengland

Compact Electronic Desktop Music by chunter

Tangeble by dvoraktunes (on drop.io)

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Persecution Theory by phila (on drop.io)

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Save File: persecution-theory_ogg.xrns

UNGHpsycho2009-140bpm by megadrives

Space Shuffle by ASCII Death Star (on drop.io)

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

I think this track is Renoise-based, if separate from the competition.
The Love Affair of Man and Machine (Synthesizer Quartet and Solo Piano) by SilentStrangers

Oh yeah, and I do love the title of this track:

You Know CDM by subtracted

  • http://simonthibaudeau.org Simon

    This contest was a godsend. I was stuck in a creative dead end with regards to a project I conceptualized months ago and that just wouldn't get off the ground. I had dozens of tracks recorded and none of it I liked. So I downloaded Renoise, and spent some time with it and just fell in love. I don't think I'll have anything ready for the end of the contest (I am not that fast) but my project finally makes sense and I think I'll be able to finish it!

    And my Renoise license is coming up.

  • Steven Nguyen

    So many wonderful submissions! I love that tune by chunter, and everything else is great too.

  • http://www.hardbop200.com Josh

    A bit OT, but you mentioned Cakewalk for DOS, which brought a tear to my eye. :) I *still* think the world would instantly fall in love with an updated version of Cakewalk 3.1 for Windows, updated. Just MIDI, only MIDI, simple MIDI. ("Back in my day…")

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I'd go with Cakewalk 4, but fair enough. :D Hey, I'm pro-tracker, but I'm not anti-sequencer. I loved those simple sequencers, and it's likewise nice to see MIDI improvements still hitting new Cakewalk builds. I think Cakewalk might be game for re-releasing Cakewalk 4 unofficially, if we can find a working image. It should work fine under DOS emulators.

  • http://www.indamixx.com Ronald Stewart

    I am so impressed I just might start pressing 12" vinyl records again in So Cal. Indamixx Records in colored vinyl. Vote for you favorite color!

    Thank you

    Ronald Stewart

    Indamixx

  • Dave Smith-Hayes

    I feel so inexperienced compared to all the other submissions. They're all so good.

  • Johan Larsby

    @Ronald, cow-colored please :)

  • Anon

    I happen to know that at least one of these entries was done by a somewhat famous artist working under an alias. Anyone care to wager a guess?

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Indamixx + Renoise + CDM Music Production Contest: Tracker Ninjas, Now’s Your Chance

  • Bynar

    I've been converted!!! After initially struggling with trackers, I'm now in love. I just got my license for Renoise and have decided to postpone my Logic 9 update. I haven't had this much fun making music in a long time! Maybe I'll come up with something for this contest.

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » More with Less:”Efficient” Renoise Music … | Games Space

  • CLombardo

    Hey Peter, yes my track (the Silent Strangers one) is Renoise based, why was it noticed as separate from the competition?

    Im really psyched for this competition and all the insane entries Ive heard.

  • http://www.larsby.com/johan Johan Larsby

    Oh, and Peter, could you please spell my name crektically?

  • Human Plague

    Wow. Great submissions. Back to the drawing board for me. Let's see what can happen between now and the 25th.

  • http://www.sevenoi.com 7oi

    Good news! I was hoping to take part in this and had just started learning renoise, but then my wife went into labour and now we have a little girl. Maybe I'll be able to do something later, but then again I might not. The daddy job is quite a demanding one, especially with a few day old girl and with a two year old energybolt running around as well.

  • clombardo

    7oi, congratulations thats fantastic!

  • http://www.indamixx.com Ronald Stewart

    There are many impressive songs in this contest.

    I spent most of my free time this weekend just listening to everyone's styles and interpretation of their sound and production.

    I encourage more contestants to submit in this final week.

    Epic contest… a contest to remember.

    Keep em' coming :)

    Thank you

    Ronald Stewart

    Indamixx

  • shamburglar

    I've been using Renoise a while… but using to write a whole song forced me to learn the pattern sequencer and through that I discovered something that will change the way I work with RN forever…

    "join patterns"… if you select multiple patterns in the pattern sequencer and right click there is an option to join all of them together into a longer pattern… this is particularly useful if you've made a progression that is say 4 patterns longs then you can consolidate all 4 into 1 pattern… duplicate and make that unique and add a lot of variation…