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Karsten Obarski 
Handle: Karsten Obarski
Real Name: Karsten Obarski
Lived in: Germany
Ex.Handles: Chap, Muzak Wizzard, Obi, Carsten Obarski, Carsten
Was a member of: Bamiga Sector One (BS1), ReLine

Modules: 27  online
Interview: Read!
Pictures: 2  online

Interview


    Handle: Obi

    Group: None

    Family name: Obarski

    Given names: Karsten

    Date of birth: 11 May 1965


  • 1-How did your interest for computers start? Which year was that?

  • My first "computer-love" was an Commodore PET 2001 in the year 1981 I think.
    I lend it some weeks from the uncle of a friend of mine and started with
    altering its primitive basic-games to see what happens.


  • 2-What machines did you previously have? What did you do with them?

  • After that first contact, I urgently needed my own personal computer and got
    a Commodore VC20 from Santa (or my parents:). I programmed some simple games
    in basic, which some of them where published as a printed listing in different
    computer-mags. Not much time later I buyed an Commodore 64 and began to learn
    to programm in machine code (really) followed by the much more comfortable
    assembler and did some experimental codings - nothing usefull.

    Over the years with my "64" I already maked music with my Synthesizers which
    where MIDI-connected to the "64" and controlled by software from C-Lab and
    Steinberg.

    After my third Commodore 64 was broken I prefered to buy a (very expensive)
    Commodore Amiga 1000


  • 3-For what specific reason did you end up making music rather than gfx, coding?

  • I simply loved (and still love) to gamble around with this cool synthetic sounds
    and listen to all these funny game-tunes. so - that it was, what I want to do
    too. In these days I admired musicans like Martin Galway, Rob Hubbard for their
    work.


  • 4-Which composing programs have you been using? Which one in particular?

  • In the times of the "64" i've used Chris Hülsbecks "Soundmonitor" to implement
    some music-tunes in my Codings. For my Synthesizers i've mainly used C-Lab
    Scoretrack (and it's predecessor).

    With the Amiga i've ever used my own Composers to make music for Amiga. For
    other purposes I had used an Hardware-Sequencer along with my synthesizers.
    For the Amiga-Music i've started with my well known Soundtracker. Later than
    i wrote an completely new tool named "Synthpack" which used sampled Audio for
    percussions only and realtime generated synthetic sounds for the melodic voices.
    It sounded more like an old 64 which I like very much. But there where only
    the game DYTER 07, ROTATOR and further two other unfinished games where it were
    comercial used.

    Today I am very happy to be able to use my PC for composing with the
    Cakewalk-software. But I did not use any sampling-software or hardware.
    I prefer all these silly generated synthetic sounds from my synths.


  • 5-How did you get the idea of creating Soundtracker?

  • Hm. A friend of mine, who got his first Amiga about an halve year earlier than
    me, asked me if I could write some Music for him (for his first "Arcanoid-Style"
    Game-project) like those themes i've made with the C64 before. At this time I
    had already experimented around with a playroutine on my brandnew Amiga, which
    played music with short sampled instruments and so I told him that's no problem.

    (remember it was the time where all others used only these typical, very long
    and memory eating completely Sampled music about 15 or 20 seconds playtime.)

    So I begun to code an simple to use Editor-Programm to generate the data which
    used by my playroutine. After some improvements my Soundtracker was born.

    So, my very first finished Software ever, was this Soundtracker. The very
    first game which used its playroutine and my very first Song on Amiga were the
    Arkanoid Clone named "Amegas" programmed by this friend who forced me to do
    it: Guido Bartels


  • 6-How did it feel when Sountracker became the most used sound tool and how
  • does it feel now to be the father of the most famous amiga sound format?

    Ok, on the one side I was a litle bit sad, because until that, every computer
    musican were a very special person, because he also must have been a good
    programmer. Since my soundtracker went public, very much persons who were not
    able to code a programm made music which others implemented into their
    programms.

    On the other side a was very proud to had invented an milestone. The
    datastructure of my MOD files are even live today on PCs and all other music
    programms after the Soundtracker had used ripped parts of my programm and my
    modificated playroutine as well. But say - how many people who knows the
    "trackers" and the MOD-Files are also know the roots? Who knows me?
    That's only a few of them.


  • 7-With which module did you feel you had reached your goal?

  • None. Can that really happens? There are only few which I still like today.


  • 8-Is there a tune you would like not to remember? For what reason?

  • Oh, there a some. Because some of the first where so poor :) I was ever a
    better coder than an musican. I never was teached to play an instrument - so
    it took a long time to learn. Today its maybe at the point, where I can
    say: that's sounds ok.


  • 9-In your opinion, what's the value of a music in a demo, game?

  • Whats a an action scene in a movie without a hot beat or an dramatic scene
    with an dark background tune? Music rules the world and all visual impressions
    needs a fitting background-sound by all means. For example I personaly love to
    hear a LOUD hard an heavey music in a fast car rally game, which makes the game
    level much harder on the one side, but it is much more realistic "stress" on the
    other side.

    Without the (matching) audio-athmosphere the game / demo or whatelse, is only
    half as good.


  • 10-At present, are you still composing? For professional or leisure purposes?

  • Today I am only composing for my private fun. Mostly I just gig around for an
    hour or two and have some fun while playing something, or spend my time covering
    my old computer-soundtracks.


  • 11-What do you think of today's pieces of music such as mpeg,wave,midi,etc...?

  • What should I say. There is a lot. And good stuff to, but bad also.
    You also did not find such a lobby for old-style "computer-music" anymore.


  • 12-Could you tell us some of your all times favourite tunes?

  • Puh. there are so much good music which are already out of my mind.
    The best Soundtracker mod I ever heard is "Hymn to Rob" from a french guy
    named Fred. I is just the kind of music which I would compose too. I love it
    very much.

    From my own compositions I like the "Oil-Imperium" themes very much, track 3
    from the Rotator game, the title and ingame musics of Dyter07, the
    highscore-theme from FutureTank and some mods which did not used in games,
    but spread around just like a simple composing called "endtheme".

    But there where so many more brilliant themes from other games.


  • 13-Are you planning to make an audio cd with some of your music remastered?

  • Yes of course, but I have an still unsolved recording problem in the moment.
    Now than my Sequencer programm suddenly works fine without loosing MIDI-sync,
    my high priority USB-Midi-Out causes my at the same time sampled Audio to
    sound like a toilet. I maybe need an second Computer for digital audio
    recording only, or an stand alone CD od DAT recorder. Perhaps next year.


  • 14-What bands are you currently listenning to?

  • So - all my very favorite Bands are off the scene: Queen, Genesis, The
    Electric Light Orchestra ...

    But I also like Music from the Backstreet Boys, Shaggy, Sash, an finally
    Jean-Michel Jarre. It depends on the song. Some I like, others not. But mostly
    these harmonic-style songs or instrumental compositions. No Hip Hop or Techno.


  • 15-What does/did the amiga/c64 scene give you?

  • A lot. It was the pioneer-time where only a few had owned the knowing about
    the programming of these machines. At the beginning of my "Computer-Passion"
    it was an very special scene. Programmers like Jeff Minter seems to me like
    a God. It made such a fun to see your own progress and success of every small
    programming-experiment you've done. I have learned a lot these days, and I met
    a lot of brilliant other programmers too. To bad, that they all gone somewhere.
    :( like me too)


  • 16-Are you still active in the scene these days?

  • No. Today I am just a so called Power user. I did no programming anymore
    since a long time. I its just not neccessary anymore. All inventions are
    invented and there are so much other good programmers and musicans in the
    scene (much bigger scene than in the past), that a single person can't finish
    a "neverseenbefore"-thing anymore, before its already history. The time are
    faster today.

    Now than I am older, I simply haven't time enough to do all what i am
    interested in. I now have my Job as an electronic-specialist at an industrial
    company. Sometimes I programm a little bit at our circuit-board-testing-machines
    - thats fun enough for me ;)

    The other free time I like to spend with my wife, my motorbikes, my old house,
    my synthesizers and my very few left friends.


  • 17-Anyone to greet? Anything left to say? Feel free...

  • My very special greetings may reach all that musicans and programmers who
    where out of this time in the past, especially those who still in that
    business.

    My great secret is: I ever admired Chris Hülsbeck for his creativity and for
    these nice and harmonic tunes he composed.

    I would thank you and all those who cares about the young but forgotten
    computer history with all these great guys

    And of course all others, who have fun to do music on their computer - No
    matter how good or bad they are. The mean thing is to have some nice time
    while listen to your own tunes.

    And at last, have some fun while reading my funny english ;)



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