Wonder Wednesday

Ahhh, anyone else remember MOD files?  For the uninitiated, this was a musical file format (with some later derivatives) that were big in the late 90s and early to mid-90s.  They weren’t a sound file, instead they were, much like a bank of samples coupled to a piano roll.  When you played them, the software would essentially act like a multi-track synthesizer, playing the samples using the instructions on the piano roll.  Because it was procedurally generated, these files could be small, holding minutes worth of music for several hundred kB (not even a single MB!).

And what grand music and creations did people make with them!  Some were amazing takes and remixes of existing songs, such as this one of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence (including audio from HAL 9000), or this extended version of Harold Faltermeyer’s Axel F (you likely know it better as the song from Beverly Hills Cop) that takes the base version and then plays with the different musical layers to stretch it out to 10+ minutes.  Good stuff.  (Note: you can play these tunes off the linked website directly in your browser.)

Then there’s the fun ones;  there were remixed pop culture references, like this megamix of cartoon/TV themes, while others took things decidedly non-musical and turned them into something unique, such as this piece using AT&T phone operators.    (Obligatory aside:  remember phone operators?)

Of course, there was also tonnes and tonnes of great, original, straight-up music as well.  Just as today people were sharing their creativity with the world.  Some of the most classic include Nemesis, 12th Warrior, and Ice Frontier.

Have a listen!  I’m off to seek out more… the format never died completely, and there’s great new stuff to discover.

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