Norja - Vuonoja [WM Recordings WM071]
NORWAY: Fjords under OCTAMED
OctaMED is a popular sound tracker for the Commodore Amiga, written by Teijo Kinnunen. The first version, 1.12, was released in 1989 under the name MED, which stands for Music EDitor.
In April 1990, version 2.00 was released with MIDI support as the main improvement. In 1991 the first version with the name OctaMED was released, so-called as it could replay eight independent channels on the Amiga's four-channel sound chip.
OctaMED was developed on the Amiga until 1996. The last version, called OctaMED Soundstudio, had features like MIDI file support, ARexx support, support for 16-bit and stereo samples, hard disk recording, and support for up to 64 channels. Teijo Kinnunen handed over the development of OctaMED to other programmers soon after the final Amiga version was released. The new programmers later released a Windows port, but the lack of features and presence of noticeable bugs meant this edition did not achieve the same level of fame as the Amiga release. More versions of the Windows port were later released. It was subsequently renamed to MED Soundstudio, and has had several releases under that name.
Although there are relatively few people still using the Amiga computer, RBF Software claims to still have people working for them to develop a new version of OctaMED for Amiga.
When the project NORWAY started in the city of Porvoo (Finland) in the early 90's Rumpan L??k & Kukkiva Kunnas had used Octamed few years already. At the time they were discussing a multimediaproject and somehow Norway and its fjords were selected as the main theme.
The actual reason for this is unknown but as memory serves it could have been a great project to apply for a grant in the future.
Faust Messiah joined the group and work started immediately. The multimedia was supposed to include separate films of different fjords and music would be played with three Amigas live. Voicesamples wouldn't be included in the tunes because each one has a story about the fjord in question. In a live situation the story would be played as subtitles or it would be recited before the actual tune/film, this never came to happen. Composing started together (2nd tune is Faust Messiah's first with Octamed) but later composing was done mostly separately by each member. See if you can guess which one is by "Lennon", which by "McCartney" or "Harrison".
The original music was recorded to 4-track cassettetapes. In 2002 most of the Norja material was transferred from the cassette tapes to digital files and some EQing and stereo expanding took place. Some of the fjords were left out because of some reason we can't remember.
Future releases might include a DVD-version of the project because that could give great opportunities to add commentaries, stories read in different languages etc. The most expensive part of the project would have been filming fjords in Norway and postproduction (effects etc.). The group started to plan the trip immediately and hopes were high. In the meantime you can check out our website for original liner notes to NORJA-project (as soon as we are lazy enough to put them online): www.toijanniemi.net/bignose.
The trip to Norway hasn't happened yet.
OctaMED is reportedly used by Calvin Harris for the production of his 2007 album "I Created Disco". The current version is available for Windows and AmigaOS plaforms, called MED SoundStudio.
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