FM Fridays (formerly fmfridays.tumblr.com) was a Tumblr account dedicated to uploading and sharing obscure FM synthesis music from computer programs and video games. Music uploaded to the account was typically from games for the Sega Genesis or Sharp X68000, dedicated arcade hardware, or various Japanese computers, like the PC-98. I followed the blog back during my Tumblr days, but at some point something happened and they pulled the plug on the whole thing- basically deleting their entire account alongside all the music they've shared. To add oddity to injury, trying to access any archived copies of their Tumblr is impossible since popping their old URL into the Wayback Machine returns a "this URL has been excluded" "error". It seems like they made a pretty dedicated effort to erase their digital existence for one reason or another. Fortunately their departure from Tumblr was softened by a download they provided of all the music they uploaded. Most of the tracks provide just enough information to let me find and fill out the remaining metadata, so this isn't exactly a 1:1 "clean download" of the same zip they provided- I've added song titles and source information when applicable and just overall fleshed out whatever I could, since the absence of matching Tumblr posts for each song means the games, hardware, and composers affiliated with each track are otherwise lost. Consider this a "skeleton crew" pack dedicated to finishing up what they started, for the love of old FM music.
Disclaimer: the focus and purpose of this archive is to maintain and make accessible the music originally shared by the aforementioned account. I have zero interest in anything otherwise (including any drama related to the deletion of the original account). I am a preservationist foremost and will continue to preserve what I find necessary regardless of the circumstances. Thanks. (--)/
Currently in the process of cleaning up this pack. Please wait warmly.
When I was younger I was a big fan of a music genre known as chiptune or chipmusic, a type of electronic subgenre that revolves around using old video game consoles and computers to produce music (typically within the limitations of the original hardware). The thing about 8-bit music is that it's less of a genre itself and more of a specific type of instrumentation, if that makes any sense, sorta like how the guitar or the piano were instruments that could be used in a variety of different styles and genres- "8-bit video game music" isn't really a genre. The music in Mario 2 is ragtime, the music in Castlevania is baroque rock, etc. The 8-bit medium was a technical limitation that was imposed on whatever musical pieces were written for the hardware.
Chiptune definitely has a sound, though. It takes the 8-bit element and focuses in on that, utilizing disjointed melodies and harsh, shrill blips and bleeps to its advantage, typically sounding like a sort of broken-yet-beautiful mess, like a Game Boy singing out on its own, free from the shackles of whatever mascot platformer or puzzle game it's been doomed to hum along with for most of its life. Despite that, chiptune came in all sorts of flavors just like its origin- new songs were being written in all sorts of styles ranging from reggae to dubstep, but I usually stuck with the dance and drum'n'bass-adjacent stuff. Chiptune had its own sort of niche nestled in with a certain subgroup of weird nerdy emo/scene kids, and you can really hear it in the music. It really blew up during the MySpace era and it was sort of a cross between this cyberpunk concept of pushing old video game hardware to pump out crazy music unlike anything you heard from it before mixed with people just earnestly fucking around and having fun.
The dominant system of choice was the Game Boy, and the dominant software of choice was Little Sound DJ, a homebrew tracker program that could be flashed onto custom cartridges, although Nanoloop and even the Game Boy Camera DJ minigame had a place in the genre. LSDJ could utilize the link cable to connect multiple Game Boys running the software to allow for beefier songs with twice the sound channels where both machines would sync up and play together, altho I've never personally messed around with it so I'm not totally familiar with how it works in the actual program. I spent a lot of my last few years in high school messing around with LSDJ making simple loops but in all honestly I'm much better at listening than I am composing.
In the time since I've mucked around with it LSDJ is now free for personal and educational use altho donations are still accepted (and I highly suggest you do donate, if interested). You can grab it here.
Now, I need to preface that by the time I got into chiptune, I was already figuratively wandering abandoned halls. The epicenter of the genre, the main site that encompassed pretty much everything related to it as well as nearly the entire community itself, was 8bitcollective, and by the time I went poking around for it the site was long gone. I have brief memories of flipping around on 8bc back in 2010 but I was never a member and I didn't stay long. Apparently some sorta spat related to finances, server hosting, drama, etc. occurred and took the site with it.
Most of my time with the genre was spent on 8bitpeoples, listening to random albums late into the night. I also joined chipmusic.org, but I was never an active forum member. I wrote and posted one full song before I realized I wasn't really that great- which is natural. Nobody starts off a master. I just had so much other stuff going on in my head tho that dedicating time to music production just didn't seem feasible- music was what inspired me to do so many other things, and sitting in silence and trying to squeeze music out of my brain proved more difficult than I thought.
I still have a very strong affinity for chiptune, but like most things I was late to the party and now it's pretty much over. The old guard of the genre who've still stuck around might argue the opposite, but there's really no contest- the community that used to exist alongside chiptune was another element of the old web that's long gone. Modern equivalents just aren't that active anymore, and social media platforms like Twitter seem to have become the main home for prior genre greats, who, in some cases, are now indistinguishable in terms of content from any other Twitter user. Some of these greats have switched genres entirely, abandoning the complex melodies they put out during their MySpace days for woefully generic DnB loops with Katy Perry samples. To top things off the main major chiptune-related musical event, Blip Festival, ceased operation back in 2012, effectively closing the book on the golden age of the genre (which had already began to pitter out a couple years prior). Some chiptune-adjacent bands like Anamanaguchi are still (thankfully) going strong (maybe even stronger than ever) but there's no arguing that the genre and the community surrounding it just isn't what it used to be. Say it's not the end!
This video of maru303 playing "Insane Youth" (from the album Lo-Bit Music of the Fairy Tale Insane) on a busy Japanese street was uploaded to YouTube on January 21st, 2007 under the title "GameBoy Music". I found it a few years later and I remember it totally blowing my mind.
Back in 2011 my life really sucked. I was living with my mom and stepdad and I was being regularly abused, but I took solace in the internet and YouTube especially. My stepdad, a violent, loud-mouthed wackjob who used to make his money pulling worker's comp fraud scams (by getting hired somewhere, getting hurt intentionally, and then leaving to take on worker's comp and a painkiller prescription as opposed to... y'know... working) had a general tendency to scream and holler at everyone else in the household that we were all crazy and he wasn't. Which is clearly a very sane, normal thing to do to your family, or anyone else for that matter. Long story short, I used to listen to Maru's "Insane Youth" religiously back then as a sort of ironic escape, trying to redefine the words my stepdad would shout at me in a context that made them less painful.
A few years later, after I had moved out from my mom's and in with my biological dad instead, I had an intense nightmare that I was back in my bed at my mom's house, as if everything else had been a dream- as if I hadn't left at all. I bumbled down the steps from my attic bedroom and ran into my stepdad, stanced up angrily and waiting for me in the living room. He flew off into a rage and began berating me as usual and I pushed past him and bolted out the front door, rushing out into the street before stopping to realize two things: For starters, the sky was solid black, and the outside world had a weird white "aura" around moving objects, like passing cars. The world itself wasn't necessarily dark like night, but it was dim, and each car that passed had its headlights on.
The second thing was that Insane Youth was playing out of thin air, very, very loudly. Like a weird background track to everything going on.
I started running as fast and far as I could past oncoming traffic and down the street, running for miles until eventually I made it to the Walmart my mom worked at and sprinted inside trying to find her and explain everything- which didn't really matter, because she didn't understand a word of what I was saying, like I was speaking a completely different language.
When I finally woke up I was back in my bed at my dad's house and scared out of my mind. For a few years after that I was real screwed up over that dream.
The Super Mario World hacking scene is incredible and has been since its inception. Its home on the internet is SMWCentral, and the tool responsible for the whole shebang is FuSoYa's Lunar Magic, a program that can do pretty much anything. I have very fond memories of completely submersing myself in the SMW hacking scene many years ago, discovering all of it for the first time and being locked in a constant state of astonishment at just how cool everything was. Before Mario Maker there was Lunar Magic, and even after Mario Maker Lunar Magic still kicks its ass by allowing for such unprecedented levels of creativity and freedom. I could continue blabbering about SMW hacking (and maybe I will on a separate page) but the point of this section is the custom music, which I used to convert from SPC to MP3 using WinAmp in my early teens to send to my friends or listen to whenever.
The playlist and pack below is a bunch of random music I converted to MP3 back then, some of which is still readily available on SMWCentral's music download section, and some of which isn't- stuff scrounged up from old Japanese websites that are long lost to the sands of time. Nowadays I just wish I had downloaded more.
You know what really sucks? How boring and basic the menus are on the Everdrive line of flashcarts. I know some people prefer the flat, basic, largely-monochromatic look for utilitarian purposes. It does its job well, and let's be real- you're not really buying this thing for the menu, you're buying it to play roms. Time spent in the menu is already at a minimum, but even then, custom colors or fonts might be nice. The Everdrive 64 remedies this, going as far as even offering custom background support, and the SD2SNES by Ikari01 even has complete custom themes, so not all is lost when it comes to pimping out your pirate paraphernalia.
Pictured above: the SD2SNES theme I use, made by mrpopsicleman on the Everdrive forums.
The reason I bring this all up now is because the Super Wild Card DX has an extremely charming menu, complete with its own background music and a wide variety of options for backgrounds, animation styles, and logo colors. All of this is kinda ironic/funny in comparison to the original non-DX Super Wild Card menu, which had an extraordinarily drab and basic white/green/red/black menu.
Okay, well, maybe not, since a soliloquy would be more of a monologue than anything else, and I definitely write all this crap as if it's addressed to somebody other than myself, but I also sure do love to ramble (spiral) about all the fond memories (traumatic existentialism) I have of the old internet (a once free and open landscape annhilated and consumed by the never-ending blight of capitalism).
I've noticed a trend where a lot of dialog about the old web sorta devolves into a "capitalism vs. communism" thing. Unrestrained capital/Corporate America basically infected the internet like a cancer and rotted it out into a bleak and minimalist landscape devoid of the freedom and self-expression it once had, now designed instead to churn profit through whatever means necessary- advertising, data collection, the sale and commodification of literally everything. Although this section focuses on and emphasizes how capitalism is largely responsible for this catastrophic loss of culture (among many others), I'm not advocating for communism as the answer. To me that kinda feels like going from one extreme to the other, and my own personal beliefs are more in line with distributism, but that's neither here nor there. I hate corporations and the state! (Woody Woodpecker laugh)
To sum it up (by pasting the "short and sweet" summary of the issue that I posted on Twitter in a vain attempt at spreading this notion on one of many platforms very much responsible for the issue itself):
The infinite pursuit of profit just bulldozes over everything you know and love. The internet lost its soul when social media meant more than MySpace. Freedom of creative expression was torched in the name of clean, basic, ad-friendly bullshit. I rant a lot about nostalgia and all the shit we lost in the last decade but it's because I can't fucking stand the way everything gets sacked over money. America itself is a husk, go walk around any major city and gawk at old architecture retrofitted into McDonald's and Starbucks. The internet followed the same path as the world before it. It was suffocated in the name of monetary gain. The way corporations see it, soul means nothing if it can't be sold, so now we're stuck in this sterile social media shithole where cyclical anger generates revenue. Welcome to the modern Internet. Welcome to the modern world. It's one and the same, now.
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