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Alive 14

                            by the YM Rockerz

It  was always going to be hard to see how the YM Rockerz were going  to  be
able  to follow up their startlingly different production  'tymewarp'.  This
earlier  music disk featured a coherent story,  set to some  time-travelling
misadventures and an early eighties arcade machine. We had to wait well over
a year from then, until August 2006, when YM Rockerz sort of did the obvious
thing,  and  carried on the 'tYMe travelling'but flipped the concept on its

"1984, mission accomplished."
"With an earshattering noise, the tYMe-machine vanished into nothingness."

And they are off...

We are treated to something a little bit more dynamic than you might  expect
from a music disk,  a tunnely treat from the rarely seen Ultra, who produces
an ST-tastic warp tunnel effect so reminiscent of the Dead Hackers,  c.1998.
This  is  the  dramatic device used to get our boys from 1984,  to  the  far
future!  The  year  is  2149 AD.Now why does that pattern of numbers  look
strangely familiar? There is a nice and chirpy tune with lots of sid and new
style  effects,  which  turns out to have been done by an old friend of  the
Atari scene, none other than Mad Max!

Unfortunately,  due to a malfunction,  they arrive in rather less style than
they first hoped for!

The gang arrive at a new destination,  but gwEm is still sure it isn't Soho!
In  fact  everything  looks all strange and futuristic.  Upon  entering  the
nearby  Museum of Humankind,  they get into the vast news archive,  and find
out that their dream of destroying the major record labels happened in their
absence, as a result of their disappearance in fact.

I  guess  the public were fearing more attacks from Ninja  Droids,  so  they
boycotted the majors out of existence!?

'warptYMe'inverts  the  membership requirements  of  its  predecessor.  It
specifies  tunes  made with newschool trackers like maxYMizer,  and the  new
versions  of Triplex and Musicmon.  The tracks themselves also have to be as
futuristic  and freaked out as possible,  which seems to be fair enough.  At
this point, the demo reverts to a more conventional menu selection and bunch
of tunes format.

The  menu screen is green but futuristic,  supervised by an alien or  super-
evolved  humanoid  cradling  a  mystical  YM  2149  chip  in  his   fingers.
Incidentally,  if  he  is a member of an advanced species,  what's with  the
tubes coming out of the back of the head? A more primitive homo sapiens like
you  or  I could shout rude names at him,  and it's not as if he could  come
running after us with all that gubbins attached, eh?!

As  always,  a  range of the more interesting composers have been minded  to
take part, here is the rundown on those sounds.

Tao  -  "M143R1"- Starts with an homage to vinyl beat,  an  emulated  long
player record at the end of its tracks left unattended on the record player.
A slowly building tune with fairly standard SID style effects and  melodies,
not really a memorable Tao tune.

Lotek  Style  - "Crushed the Majors"- Initially seems to be  using  earlier
methods  of  soundchip synthesis,  but goes newschool when main part of  the
tune kicks in. Comes across as freaky and funky at the same time.

Timbral - "Junkie 2149"- Straight in with a nice swooping SID melody,  very
easy  on  the  ear,  I like this!  There is a even a little bit of  a  sound
sampled voice creeping in, sort of a micro-rap.

DMA-SC  -  "Trials" -  Mixture of heavy drum  and  bass,  and  soaring  SID
melodies. A very Amiga-soundchip feel in places.

Crazy  Q  -  "Phunky  Shapeshifter  2149"-  Starts  with  a  wacky   beat,
concentrates on the freaky and funky delivery. Lots of twiddly sound effects
are very well deployed.

gwEm - "Future gone wrong"- Mixture of high soaring SID melody and  sampled
drums  give  this  a  heavier and graunchier feel than  some  of  the  other
entries.  There is an impressive use of bass too.  It's more like a Stu tune
later on as well!

Marcer  -  "The 5th experiment"- It's Marcer!  Extreme  soundchip  mangling
takes  place  here!  Marcer  also can carry a tune well,  which makes him  a
double favourite in these eardrums!

505 - "052" - Throws everything into the mix,  zik effects,  samples, but it
is over very quickly.  I get the feeling he was holding back a bit like Tao?
(Especially  considering his totally kick-ass entry for the MaxYMizer  music

Dubmood - "Destroy the template"- Funky,  bassy, erm, running out of things
to say here! There is a melody trying to emerge as well.

Stu  -  "Audiosphere" - Lots of crackling at the start,  followed  with  an
insaniac  combination  of low-res samples and zik  sounds  filtered  through
them.  Uniquely and distinctly Stu and no other! He remembered to fit a tune
in there as well.  In terms of hybrid (chip/sample) tunes,  he is at the top
of that game, with Marcer a close second place.

Upon  dabbing  the 'esc' key,  there is a nice little tribute cameo  to  the
early Exceptions 'Little Colour Demo' as Mad Max gets to say "Wow!"when the
demo exits.

There  is a characteristically wide range of styles and talents on  show  in
this  latest collection.  If I might be permitted a small note of criticism,
maybe  the  'freaky' aspect was stressed a bit too much in  some  cases?  Of
course this is down to my individual preferences,  others may differ on that
view, of course.

The  whole  package  was bound together with some  impressive  visuals  from
Timbraland  Exocet,  the code ticked along with help from gwEm,  Abyssand
Ultra.All of these are names which we hope to see more from in the future.

I  managed  to  read  part of the scrolltext on  the  main  selection  menu,
especially  gwEm's funny piece about the current overblown nature of the  YM
Rockerz team,  compared with its humble origins. Almost like a parody of how
the  mainstream  music  business itself evolved to a  point  of  middle-aged

So  at  the end of this review,  we're asking yet agoin,  how are YM RockerZ
going  to follow this one.  (The "Back to the Present Day demo" as the final
part of a trilogy, perhaps?!)

A neat intro.
Great tunes, of course!
Some *really* killer tunes!
Graphically excellent, sort of like a mini 'Do Things' demo.

Too long to wait since the last time. Over a year, hmmm?
Not  such a great leap in the art of music demos as tYMewarp,  but that  one
would be hard to follow.
Fussy  about  (my?) hardware,  intro worked but the mainpart refused to  co-
operate  for a while,  then it suddenly decided to start working after  all,

                                                      CiH,for Alive Mag,Jan '07.
Alive 14