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The blog is being migrated and merged with multiple Imphenzia blogs so the format and content will be inconsistent for a while.

Nostalgia in Star Supremacy

The excellent browser based space game Star Supremacy features some Imphenzia Soundtrack music. Check out this game trailer with Nostalgia [Retreat Edit]:



I was also happy to see in the forums that the music is enjoyed by some of the players =)

Low Poly Universe Spacesynth

Not very long ago, I became aware of the music genre Spacesynth. The genre has been around since the 80s and I just simply didn't know of it. The most likely reason for this is that “back then” I was always interested in making music, but never really interested in listening to it. Strange, I know, but so am I.

Recently I bumped in to an independent musician (in real life.) He, along with a friend, had just released a new album and it so happens to be in the “Spacesynth” genre. I bought the album, I listened to it, and I also wrote a review of “Triumphant Return” by MindXpander.

I really liked the sound, the melodies, the composition, the atmosphere, and everything about the music. I kept referring to it as “mod music” (with parallels to some classic mods like Space Debris by Captain.) I suspect this may have frustrated MindXpander a bit since a lot of the mods aren’t really that good… But what I meant by this comparison is that it contained the same type of cheerful sound that many of the great mods from the 90s did. As it turns out, the Spacesynth genre is older than the mods I referred to and it’s just a case of the mods that I liked being in the spacesynth genre =) Oh well, at least I learned something.

Following this revelation, I searched for some Spacesynth music through Spotify. I found some real gems (such as Polaris Spectrum) and I will again (incorrectly) describe them as sounding like awesome remakes of old mods!

This was about as far as I could go without launching Cubase. A simple spacesynth inspired beat with kick, snares, hihats, and toms… A snappy bass line alternating notes split by an octave… Some cheerful brass chords… The Ayla patch in VanGuard by ReFX with added portamento and vibrato acted as the perfect spacesynth lead… I was on my way composing my first Spacesynth track.

You can listen to the end result here:

Low Poly Universe by Imphenzia

When I formed/created/founded (or whatever you call it) Imphenzia, I started out by making Goa-inspired music. My favorite artist at the time was Astral Projection. Following the release of my debut album, Sector, my music became more mellow and floated towards trance. I also started to make slowed down “chillout” remixes of my so called trance music. Without too much hesitation I even went as far as to make acoustic piano versions of my tracks.

Despite such a variety in genres, I'm not sure whether or not to release this, or any future, Spacesynth tracks under the artist name Imphenzia or if I should use an alternative name... Any suggestions?

Update 2012-03-17


I released it as Imphenzia today after all. The more I thought about it the more it made sense to do so. I've already released a large variety of genres as Imphenzia and I've never really been to bothered what genre a particular track is as long as I like it =)

It would also require a lot of work to create and promote another artist name. It's taken me about 15 years to build up Imphenzia and a single track by an unknown artist might as well be left unreleased.

 

Beat Ball 2 1.2.1 Cracked in a Week

Beat Ball 2 ScreenshotLast week I had to release a new version of Beat Ball 2 (version 1.2.1) because a recent move from Lightspeed to Apache at my web hotel resulted in the Internet Highscores feature breaking.

Following delivery of HTTP headers, Apache starts off the content by telling a browser how many bytes the content contain whereas Lightspeed did not provide such a figure. The internet highscore feature wasn't expecting the content length so it interpreted the number as an error message instead. I should have intepreted HTTP response better from the start, but you live and learn.

Anyhow, moving on to the topic of this post. Less than a week following the release of Beat Ball 2 (v 1.2.1) a friend of mine spotted it in a 0-day warez release. I haven't put a lot of effort into protecting the game because I suspect it would get cracked regardless of what length I go to in order to prevent it.

Here is part of the Crude .NFO for the warez release:
          ÜÛÛßß             C.R.U.D.E               ßßÛÛÜ
ÞÛÛÝ° P.R.O.U.D.L.Y P.R.E.S.E.N.T.S °Þ²ÛÝ
²ÛÛÜ Ü Ü Ü²ÛÛ
ßßÛÛÛÜÛß ßÛÜÛÛÛßß

Beat Ball 2 v1.2.1

Ü ßÜ Üß Ü
ß²ß ²Ý RLS.DATE.........2012/03/07 Þ² ß²ß
ÜÛß RLS.SIZE..........06x5.00MB ßÛÜ
ÜÜßßß ßßßÜÜ
ÜÛß Ü RLS.TYPE..............Crack Ü ßÛ
²Ý° ßßÜ PROTECTION......Serial+Auth Üßß °ÞÝ
ßÜÜ °Þ² ²Ý° ÜÜß
ßß ÜÛß PLATFORM.............WinAll ßÛÜ ßß

I'm not too bothered about it because I think that those that really enjoy the game support the development by registering a legit copy. If someone downloads the cracked version, I doubt they would have ever considered to buying the game in the first place.

On the other hand, one feature the crackers won't be able to solve. The Internet Highscores will never work on the cracked release =) This is because it requires part of a registered key (that must exist on the web server that hosts the internet highscores) in order for any highscores to be registered. With a cracked version you don't have the key to post the highscores.
              ÝÛÛÞ  NOTE: Remember to turn off www hiscores  ÝÛÛÞ
ÝÛÛÞ from options and block app from the ÝÛÛÞ
ÝÛÛÞ internet with traditional way if needed ÝÛÛÞ

For competitive individuals, like myself, the world wide highscore system is a big part of what makes games fun so it's still worth getting the real deal.

The price of $10 for registering Beat Ball 2 is quite cheap for hours worth of fun as well. About a year ago I added the feature to count the duration of games played. At the time of writing this post the total number of seconds played is 13'222'416 which equals 3673 hours which also equals a 153 straight days and nights.

 

 

Discovery of Planet X

 

I just released a new calm track with 4 additional loop variations. You can listen to all variations in full length on the Discovery of Planet X page for Imphenzia Soundtrack.

If you are into developing games, especially indie games, my library of royalty free music may be of interest to you. I continuously add new tracks to the library and they are very competitively priced (range is usually $5 - $50 and remember - royalty free.)

Until July 1st 2012 you can also use the discount coupon code IMPHENZIABLOG and get 20% off all the prices. To save you from looking you can use this link to get straight to where you enter the coupon code. Prices will update in real time to reflect the discount.

Oh - and about Discovery of Planet X in particular: It is a relaxing space theme featuring a spacious intro with layers of pads. A beautiful melody builds up in layers until it reaches a climax with piano and an electric guitar lead.

It may be suitable for space games, adventures, puzzles, real time strategy (RTS) games for uneventful early buildup stages, or for game over / credits / menu / highscores music for any game genre.

Hope you enjoy the new release.

Ubetoo.com Disappointments

There are a few things that are starting to bother my having Ubetoo as my digital aggreagtor. I use them to distribute my songs to digital stores and streaming services today and I am considering to change.

I am bound to three months notice and renewal is this month so it won't be until next year that I leave but I'll summarize the frustrations that are starting to build up here:

1. Long publishing times



  • I uploaded Time Travel to Ubetoo for distribution on December 22 2011

  • Ubetoo reviewed and accepted the submission on January 2nd  2012

  • Today, 3rd March 2012 (72 days later) the track is still not on Spotify


[caption id="attachment_582" align="aligncenter" width="457" caption="Time Travel Ubetoo Distribution"][/caption]

Meanwhile a friend of mine released his first track through RouteNote.com on 6-Feb-2012 and that appeared on Spotify a few days ago (about 20-25 days.)

That brings me to another issue. In a digital world I seriously question why it has to take days, weeks, and months to release digital music - especially to Spotify. How hard can it be? Copy the file, encode it, insert meta data to the database. It should be automated and apparently Bob is definitely NOT their uncle. They even "outsource" all the hard work to aggregators who take care of the upload interface. Lousy. Poor. Pathetic.

2. Kontor New Media


Not long ago I wrote a post on Kontor New Media detecting my music on YouTube allegedly infringed on copyright belonging to a company named Kontor New Media.

I disputed this to YouTube and I haven't heard anything since then. Today I discovered that Ubetoo is the mastermind behind this.

I quote from the Ubetoo FAQ:
If you receive copyright claims when you try to upload your own music to e.g. YouTube, that means our security system works!

You might receive copyright claims from a company called Kontor New Media (KNM). That's normal.
They are our digital distribution service. If you're trying to upload your own music and receive copyright claims, just ignore them.

Thing is; I don't want to "just ignore them" because the result is that my YouTube videos get ugly overlaying adverts. I want my videos to be advert free but if I did want adverts on them - atleast I'd want the earnings to go to me and not Kontor New Media.

3. Poor Statistics


The statistics presented by Ubetoo for their distribution service has a lot to wish for. Some are easy to identify, e.g. iTUNES - but in general the list is filled with odd names and no specification to what any amounts are based on.

[caption id="attachment_583" align="aligncenter" width="629" caption="Ubetoo Distribution Statistics Example"][/caption]

4. Scam-like Non-automated Payout Process


Final frustration with Ubetoo is their payout process. Every quarter they collect the income from the digital stores and unless I log on to Ubetoo and manually check a tick box to withdraw my funds to PayPal in time Ubetoo get to take the money from you.

I call this a "scam-like" payout process because it relies on the hope that someone will miss to withdraw the funds in time making it Ubetoo's money instead. The moral solution would be allow artists to activate automatic payouts to their PayPal accounts.

High interest loan companies use this method as well. They rarely have automated billing features because a manual process means someone may miss a payment and then there are hefty additional interest and penalty fees involved so they can make up the money.

5. Ubetoo logo on album art


When I released most of my albums Ubetoo required that their logo had to be illustrated on the cover art. Considering they were the cheapest alternative at the time I was okay with that.

A few months following releasing my albums Ubetoo dropped the requirement so the logo was optional. Great I thought.

Well, great if you can be bothered to withdraw all your releases from all 500 digital stores and re-release them again.

This for switching an album image. Let me remind you of frustration #1 - it takes months for the releases to appear again if I were to to this.

Conclusion


As the frustrations listed above build up - and if things continue in the same direction - I will not be renewing my Ubetoo distribution for next year. I will withdraw my releases and go with another aggregator.

I will do a trial release through RouteNote - but one thing I'm unhappy with there is that they only allow MP3 files. Digital services will re-encode tracks and it's never good to re-encode a file that's been compressed using a lossy compression format. Maybe they will allow Wav/Flac by the time I do the switch - unless I find a better aggregator.

End of depressing text.

 

 

Freeform in the Back Seat

I randomly stumbled across this video that I quite liked. I don't create music in the Freeform genre, but I can enjoy it nevertheless. The melodies are there, just at an incredible pace =)