Music AMIGA Maestro!

The 80s and 90s saw the birth of several different electronic music genres: from “Electronic Body Music” to “Eurodance” and from “New Beat” to “Techno”. They all shared one thing in common though: many of them were created on the AMIGA.

The Commodore AMIGA, and especially its entry level AMIGA 500 system gave young artists a chance to experiment with electronic music and lay the foundations of today’s dance chart hits. Whilst there are many successful artists that made waves in the charts back then, some of them were even “sponsored” by Commodore.
One such example is the duo behind 80s Eurodance sensation 16 Bit: Michael Münzing and Luca Anzilotti. The two of them are considered the founders of the Eurodance music genre and are best known for their later work as producers of SNAP!, with which they reached number one positions all over Europe and spent 39 consecutive weeks in the US billboard charts. The tracks “The Power” and especially “Rhythm is a Dancer” will definitively ring a bell!

Now what makes their pre-SNAP! Period so interesting is the fact that the albums and singles they released in 1985-86 apparently had some kind of sponsoring from Commodore. For one, their video clips prominently display the Commodore AMIGA. A recent purchase of one of their albums that I found in a thrift store shows that it went even one step further as it prominently displays, next to the imagery of the AMIGA 500, the Commodore logo. The album inlay is even a genuine advertisement for the AMIGA computer, which reads (translated in English):

“With these 16bits, anyone can make music: Commodore AMIGA 500
Dear Music fans!
It’s nice when others make music, especially when it’s good music. But why let others make the music you like? Now you’re given the chance to do it yourself, with a keyboard and a computer and all of this without the need of an expensive studio, thanks to the AMIGA 500 of Commodore.
A whole orchestra is hidden in this ultraflat, compact device thanks to great music software. Note for note, your own songs will come to life on the colorful screen. And when the last bit is saved to disk, a simple press of a button or mouseclick will thell the AMIGA to transform your hard work into music, and who knows, perhaps it’ll be as good as that of “16 Bit”.
16 bit is also the heart of the AMIGA 500, more specifically (and freaks will know this), the heart is the 16/32 bit microprocessor that brings the AMIGA 500 to life. If you want to know exactly, internally the processor, a Motorola 68000, “calculates” with 32 bit, which makes it incredibly fast. The other computer compents are “directed” with “just” 16 bit.
Amongst the most important “players” are the “Fat Agnus”, “Paula” and “Denise”. Those are the names Commodore gave the chips that were created for the AMIGA.
The concerto of chips in the AMIGA 500 make it a jack-of-all-trades. It composes and simulates, calculates and imitates – even voices, male and female, from bass to soprano. Instruments and sounds are produced true to the originals.
The AMIGA 500 is also a superb graphic artists, in 4096 colors. Just look at the splendid graphics in the AMIGA games!
But all this would be nothing without you, as the creative brain, the true artist. That’s perhaps the best part of it all, as you’ll be able to use the multitude of software for graphic design and music on your AMIGA.
And if you look deep into the eyes of the AMIGA, you’ll lose yourself forever in the world of the computer and you’ll be creating your own computer programs.
Many have started a great career thanks to the home computer and so can you, with the AMIGA 500 that brings the sound of an entire band and costs no more than the price of a good guitar.”

It’s no surprise that Commodore backed this duo, as their love for the Commodore computer was great. They even released an album titled “Lnaxycvgtgb” of which the title references the (132 beats) xycvgtgb that could be played by mapping certain keys in the Tracker program they used. Trackers or raster sequencers again were something that originated on the AMIGA in the 80s and that opened doors for starting musicians.

Even in their later careers Michael and Luca stayed true to the AMIGA as they teamed up with German based software house Demonware to create the AMIGA music utility called TFMX II which would really use all of the power of the AMIGA in creating music. It’s interesting to note that Demonware made the first version of TFMX with computer music legend, Chris Hulsbeck (there’s more info on this package in CU AMIGA’s article “Snap, Crackle & Hip Hop” (July, 1991)”).

I wonder what the world of dance music would have evolved into, if it weren’t for the creativity of young artists and Commodore’s vision of computers for the masses, not the classes.

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One Response to Music AMIGA Maestro!

  1. Pingback: Amiga, the music maker | MOS 6502

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