Thunderstorm – 8-bit Remix

Note: The original Thunderstorm article has more info.

Note 2: I’m going to attempt to post something every week, for as long as I can. So it begins!

I talk about MAGFest a lot here, don’t I? I mention that, because this is once again a MAGFest-inspired project.

I’ve covered Thunderstorm already, so I’ll focus on the new elements, and keep this semi-short.

So, at MAGFest 2020, I found out about a program called FamiTracker – a music program that not only lets you work with NES/Famicon emulated sound, but includes the feature to compile your projects into a format compatible for the original hardware. I find that insanely cool.

I found out about it at an excellent panel about leitmotifs (which has yet to be uploaded on the MAGFest YouTube channel, but which I’ll hopefully link to once it is), and then found out in a stroke of irony that there was a tutorial/workshop for it at the con itself that night. I attended, and had a wonderful time, but sadly didn’t learn too much. I came away with an unsatisfactory understanding of the program.

After the con, I had a few days before a trip to Chicago for Undertale Live (which I hope to post a review for here soon), and I used a sizable portion of them to learn FamiTracker. I supplemented my understanding from the workshop with Ben Burnes’ excellent FamiTracker tutorial. He’s still responsive in comments, despite it being over four years since the series’ release. I can’t recommend it enough.

Thunderstorm is an old favorite of mine, and usually what I use when I need a random melody to plug in somewhere. As such, it was the logical choice for my first FamiTracker piece – especially since it’s repetitive to a fault, which makes it perfect for learning frames (FT’s method for storing and reusing segments of a song per track).

I’m highly happy (alliteration is the anthill I will abate atop) with the result – I don’t think Thunderstorm has ever sounded better. I’m especially proud of the ending, both in terms of the percussion recap as frames old and new play, and in terms of the last few seconds – mostly, the last few seconds. I am incredibly happy with the final fill and release – it just sounds so… full! FamiTracker is a great program, and I can’t wait to do more with it.

You may notice that the video is more edited than my previous ones. That’s because it’s my first-ever experience with Adobe Premiere! I decided to go all-out for this one. My impression of editing is as follows: a bit more tedious than I expected, about as complicated as I expected, and a lot more fun than I expected. I’m concerned for my health, because there’s a risk of getting sucked in. Oh, and if you’re here from the YouTube video, and didn’t get the answer to the challenge from the description, here it is: the editing mistake is at the beginning – the logo jumps up the screen a bit right as it shifts and shrinks for the in-program view.

Enjoy!

Credit to Danny Lopatka (@MusicontheDLo on Twitter), whose Final Fantasy panel inspired Thunderstorm (as you can see in the original article). Shoutout to my college’s Composer’s League, whose members’ feedback reminded me just how repetitive Thunderstorm is. Even so, I’m proud of it, and feel like I mitigated that problem as best I could with this cover. Thank you for reading, and the original FamiTracker file is available for download on request!

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