<-- -!>

Featured Article

Showing posts with label Dreamcast Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dreamcast Music. Show all posts

A homebrew Dreamcast MIDI Interface Cable appears!

Source: Sega Retro

The Dreamcast is home to a number of fairly obscure peripherals and cables, all of which offer enhanced functionality when paired up with either a dedicated piece of software or a flux capacitor. Most of these weird and wonderful oddities were only ever released in the Dreamcast's native Japan, and as such have fallen even further into the abyss of esoterica; with one such item being the HKT-9200 Dreamcast MIDI Interface Cable.

Source: eBay

The Dreamcast MIDI Interface Cable essentially allows the more musically inclined amongst us to connect a device such as a microphone or keyboard (the musical kind, natch) to a Dreamcast. Coupled with the equally obscure O.to.i.Re MIDI Sequencer, it transforms the Dreamcast console into that sentient piano from that cartoon I can't remember the name of. Oswald? Oswald the Piano? No...that's not it. Just a sec.

Oscar's Orchestra! Remember that? No? Well anyway, it was a cartoon with a talking (and slightly horrific looking) piano that could fly as well for some reason (I think). Where was I? Oh yeah - Dreamcast MIDI cables. You could make music on a Dreamcast using a MIDI connector and a piece of software called O.to.i.Re. Here's a superbly translated description from the defunct Sega Japan catalogue page:

You can easily make music by selecting your favorite phrase from more than 3000 types of phrases and pasting it on the track. A completely new musical expression tool. By supporting DreamPassport2, you can attach save data and distribute it to the Internet. You can now share data between users. It's a work I made so much, so I want everyone to listen to it!

You can use a microphone device to convert Hanauta to MIDI data and input / output it as an instrument tone. You can also enter data from an external MIDI keyboard using the MIDI interface (sold separately). (Caution: This software can be used without a microphone device or MIDI interface.)

Naturally, because we live in this version of reality, Dreamcast MIDI shenanigans are now quite collectible (read: expensive), and not wanting to be left out of the burgeoning MIDI-authoring scene, a tech savvy gentleman by the name of Ben Ryves took it upon himself to go above and beyond the call of duty, creating his own fully working Dreamcast MIDI connector from scratch. Here's the video:


Pretty impressive stuff we're sure you'll agree. You can read the full breakdown of how Ben created his (very professional looking) cable at his website here - be prepared to be blown away by the level of detail the directions and schematics go into. Particularly impressive to me is the creation of a Dreamcast serial port connector from a donor PCI Express slot, which reminds me of the work of Luke Benstead and his quest to reverse engineer Dreamcast system link cables from old PC parts.




Personally I don't have a musical bone in my body outside of tapping my hands on the steering wheel when I'm sat in traffic listening to some classic My Chemical Romance or Daphne & Celeste; but for those out there who fancy creating some banging MIDI choons on your Dreamcast, this could be a game changer. Will you be utilising Ben's directions to fashion your own MIDI Interface Connector? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks to Ben for allowing us to use his video and images on here, and thanks to DCJY Discorder Daikath for alerting us. Another reason you should go and join our Discord!

To Dream of Love: More Music of Rez

Much has been said about Rez here at the ‘Yard. Some don’t rate the game that highly, thinking it is either boring, or too simple. To me, that simply means that you do not “get” it. When you get it, Rez is like nothing else I have ever played. Well, perhaps WipEout is about as close as it has gotten for me. The reason I say this is the fusion between the “race” or challenge, the gameplay inputs, the visuals, and the music. To play Rez properly is to wear some bloody good headphones, and dedicate yourself to its gameplay. You can’t appreciate Rez if you have the sound low, off, or simply have a “5 minute bash”. Rez is more of an experience.

Rez went through a lot of changes in development (see video below), but the leaked beta is extremely close to the final game (though it's got a higher difficulty level).



I’ve yet to play Rez Infinite on PSVR, but one is on its way to me as I write. However, I do have the game on Xbox 360 and enjoyed playing through and completing it multiple times. I consider myself nowhere near an expert at the game, but definitely feel I am very well connected with it. When I see people write “it’s boring” or “it’s overrated” then to me, they simply don’t get it. It’s gone over their head. That’s fine. Though putting such things to the page makes me sound like an elitist prick (the data is still coming in on that), to say that I am more invested in Rez than the average gamer would be a fair comment. Most of my posts for the ‘Yard have been on the subject of the game; I have a copy of “Vibes”, the prototype beta of Rez:
So, why am I, once again, writing about this legendary game? It’s because yesterday I put on an album I haven’t listened to in ages; Second Toughest In The Infants, by Underworld. I was taken back into the game. 


10 Times Rappers Have Referenced the Dreamcast in Songs

Continuing with the music theme of Mike's article "12 great punk albums featuring songs from Dreamcast games", I found a way to tie the Dreamcast into an article talking about the second best genre of all time: hip-hop. Or Rap, if you prefer. Being a genre focused so heavily on lyrics, you'd expect the Dreamcast to have been mentioned at least once. Well, turns out it's been mentioned quite a lot. Turns out there's quite a few Dreamcast stans in the hip-hop industry. As you can imagine, a lot of these songs contain naughty words and references to sex and nefarious happenings, so if you don't want to get your sealed game collection confiscated, don't play them round your Mum's house.

1. Del the Funky Homosapien featuring Khaos Unique - "Proto Culture" (2000)
You may know Del the Funky Homosapien from his work with legendary hip-hop group Hieroglyphics. If you don't know who they are, you should at least know him from his rap verses on the song "Clint Eastwood" by Damon Albarn-fronted cartoon megastars Gorillaz.

What you need to know is that Del and collaborator Khaos Unique performed for North American Sega employees at a Dreamcast launch party in San Francisco back in '99. You can view their performance of their song "Proto Culture" here. From the on-stage chatter prior to playing the song, you can really tell that they are hardcore video game heads, and have a lot of praise for Sega. Del even says that he had already been playing Dreamcast games from Japan prior to the US launch.

The beat to "Proto Culture" features a tasty sample of Morrigan's winning theme from
Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, and lyrics to further exemplify Del and Khaos Unique's love for video games and Sega.

"Rival schools, Batsu - purchase you ought to. It came with one free CD, it's like I bought two. I hope they make part II for Dreamcast."

This song was released on Del's album Both Sides of the Brain in April 2000. A sequel to Rival Schools was released on the Dreamcast in Japan during December of the same year, so I'm sure Del was happy to see the sequel he was desiring in his raps.


12 great punk albums featuring songs from Dreamcast games


There are many reasons to love the Dreamcast. We assume you agree with us, as you're currently reading a blog entitled the 'Dreamcast Junkyard'. Arcade perfect gameplay? Check. State of the art graphics (for it's time)? Check. The last great 'hurrah' of the Sega of old? Possibly controversial, but check. Some of the best music ever committed to a video game library? Oh, you're damn right.

Whether it's the funky beats of Jet Set Radio, orchestral magnificence of Shenmue or Skies of Arcadia, eclectic soundtrack of MSR or the pure joy of the Marvel vs Capcom 2 character select screen...well maybe not the last one.. the musical magnificence of the Dreamcast can not be overlooked.

With that, we also had a fairly large number of games featuring licensed soundtracks. Ever since the compact disc became the games medium of choice in the 90's, games have not been shy about popping on some killer tunes to please their consumers. The Playstation was the epitome of this new gaming frontier, as a Sony product was always likely to be, and the merging of games with music was an integral part of the cultural impact the console had on a whole generation.

Thing is, whilst many of my fellow Junkyard writers were probably spending that period in their lives chilling out to the latest trance hit, or techno rave masterpiece (or whatever it's called, it's not my area of knowledge!), I was happily indulging in my own musical journey - one that very much consisted of a bunch of sweaty gigs, slam dancing lunatics and a healthy disliking of authority. Punk. A misunderstood genre, if ever there was one, was in many ways my first love, and it is a love that is well catered for on that little Sega made mistress of my dreams. Whether it's a nod back to the spit covered, pogoing era of the 70's, the DIY led revolution of the 80's or the ska and skate infused 90's revival, there's plenty for the discerning punk fan to enjoy whilst indulging in some Dreamcast gaming.

But I'm not just going to list a top ten of DC punk songs. Anyone who has read anything else I've ever written for the Junkyard knows that ain't my style. Being a punk fan that just about remembers a time before streaming services were king, it's always been about the mighty album for me. Punk albums are wondrous, beautiful things - full of unheard delights, musical experimentation and just plain weirdness, far beyond the narrow view that some have of punk rock. They're often overlooked, criminally so, dismissed as having just one or two good songs - but nothing could be further from the truth. And I think it's time to start setting the record straight.

So come join me as I take a look at a dozen great examples of punk albums, all of which feature songs from Dreamcast games.
Bad Religion - No Control (1989) 
(featuring 'You' from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2)

Bad Religion, more so than probably any other band, were responsible for helping shape the sound that punk became in the early 90's. Whilst they were part of the early LA hardcore scene (the fantastic 'How Could Hell Be Any Worse?' standing right up there with the best of that cities output), they didn't truly come into their own until they ended the 80's with a trio of masterpiece albums, 'Suffer' came first, 'Against the Grain' rounded them off, and this, 1989's 'No Control' is slap bang in the middle. It builds on what came before, 'Suffer' being the template of what the band's sound would become, but everything is that touch quicker, that touch harder, and that tad better sounding (although 'Suffer' remains one of my all time favourite albums). Greg Gaffin's lyrics are always a level above the often simple anti-authority diatribes, and on this he effortlessly melds philosophy, politics and the human condition, all laid on top of a melodic, fast southern Californian hardcore punk sound. Bands like the Descendents, Adolescents and D.I. had done similar things before, but it was Bad Religion who perfected this sound. Songs from this album still make appearances in the bands live sets, and there's a very good reason for that. No Control is one of the very best US punk albums ever recorded.

'You' featured in Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2, and is a favourite amongst many, it's upbeat, high speed skate punk sound perfectly fitting the game.

Stand out songs:
- Big Bang
- I Want to Conquer the World
- Henchman

You can listen to 'No Control' on Spotify here.