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What am I?
Hi there. I am Joris Wittenberg and I compose MIDI music. I was Born in Nijmegen, The Netherlands on November 1st 1974. I started music composition on the good old ZX spectrum 48 K (remember, with the rubber keys). The 'music' were compositions based on variations on the 'bleeb' and I used the sound of white noise to simulate drum sounds. It allowed 3 channels simultaniously.
Next, my dad purchased an AT PC with an Adlib soundcard. I endulged myself with FM sound synthesis. Of course it still sounded pretty dumb, but I did gain practice in sequencing techniques, which actually were quite similar to modern techniques.
I purchased a Soundblaster PRO from Creative Labs. Sadly, the built-in sound 'synthesis' still sounded like toy-music, but I kept composing regardless. I also composed pieces with digital audio and multitrack programs. I made quite a lot of songs ('modules') based on this system, but it never really grabbed me to a full extent. I think composing with the samples was quite limited, since the samples soon started sounding odd as the pitch was varied from the original source. Also, I felt like I was pasting samples in a program rather than composing something.
At this point I had become more familair with the possibilites of General MIDI and decided to invest in proffesional music equipment, which is described in the gear section.
Aside from MIDI, I also play bass in a rockband and I play saxophone, although sadly it is still in a case with dust on it. Oh and in daily life I am a 'functional application manager', managing databases and their interfaces for the ministery of agriculture, nature and fisheries.
My music style is not easy to descibe. It started out as typical game-music, with nervous fast patterns and catchy melodies. Lately though, the compositions tend to grow an unique style. I think it is kind of dreamy and 'out of this world', but not too 'soft', as there is always some sort of underlying threat in the music. My ultimate goal is to create music which makes people think of something. The music should create a 'landscape' before your eyes. I prefer to tell a story with music, rather than to just tell music.
My music has been described as 'Movie-style', 'game-style' and 'hypnotic', to name but a few.
I listen to a lot of different music styles, but those bands that have more clearly influenced my music must be Tears for fears and Dream Theater. But then again, I also listen to Megadeth and Tori Amos. Weird eh? I have no interest for modern 'hip' music though, such as techno, R&B, drum 'n' bass, house and the like. Sometimes I try to compose such a piece just for fun, but I always loose interest before it is finished. Dream Theater definitely is my favorite band at the moment. It shows a little in some of my compositions, as they got me interested in using less common time signatures. I am also inspired by their use of synthesizers.
The thing I am perhaps most proud of is that I don't let the 'limitations' of the General MIDI format get in my way! I manage to squeeze some sounds out of MIDI that many people haven't heard from MIDI yet. I don't mind using ultra low, bended and twisted instruments that hardly resemble their original name any longer. If an instrument is called 'saxophone', it will not necessarily mean that it will sound like one in my work. This, along with extensive use of panning and volume makes my compositions sound more expressive. So many MIDI files sound so dull and mechanic.. I am not planning to join those.
Experience & Mile-stones
I launch my first homepage 'Nostromo'. It's one of those 'personal homepages', only visited by people you instruct to. Well what did I know. It had a MIDI section though, and it was evident that this was going to be the most interesting section, both for me and the visitors.
I focussed on the MIDI section and upgraded it to 'Nostromo MIDI'. Much to my surprise (and to my delight), requests for music usage came rolling in.
I launched 'The Midiots' site as a side-project. It started of as a 'list of MIDI composers' but it turned out to become a big site about MIDI composing. I still invest much time in this site, with pleasure.
I received my first requests for original MIDI composition, intended for games. I started composing, but totally lost contact with the writers. Still don't know what went wrong. But it was exiting that it came close.
I was approached by a creater of levels for the game 'Doom'. He needed a morbid tune, and I gave him one ('ReVulsion').
Got a mail from the founder/chief of what is now 'Miraesoft' and I agreed to score the entire soundtrack of a game which still in development. The entire score is ready and waiting (about 9 tracks). I'd like to give you a sneak preview, but he won't let me :-p
A student from a movie acadamy needed a score for his graduation movie. I started working right away, be again contact and plans diminished. I believe he was more interested in live music in the end. Pah!
A conductor was interested in re-arranging 'Dragon Stance' to an orchestral performance. Work is still in progress but he promised that he'd send me a tape of the eventual results when it is done.
It's been a good year for MIDI! Both The Midiots and this site are running well. I enjoy every single mail I got from anyone who says he or she enjoys my music. It's what keeps me going and I'd like to thank you all for your support. Many people also asked advice concerning problems with MIDI setups, and I will do my best to help as much as I can.
Due to the continuation of MIDI requests and email encouragements I upgraded my MIDI site again to 'IO Sound Design', the site where you are now. In doing so, I decided to move my site to a new server in order to get rid of the pop-ups and other GeoCities aches.
During my stay in Western Australia my webhost called it quits witout any prior notice. Got online at my new webhost: Virtual 9
Team up with Elmer Productions for scoring the soundtrack for their upcomming game 'Igor and the Time Machine'. Release details and downloads will also be available at Miraesoft.
Agreed on scoring the soundtrack for a Quake mod to be released called 'Divided we Stand'. Unfortunately this projects seems to be at hold.
Also joined Steel Kats Design, who are producing an Alien level for Duke Nuke'em 3d. For details, check out their website.
Succesfully took the challenge of making music for the sad Pages of Hope, resulting in the composition 'Hope'.
Created soundtrackfor the upcomming game 'Assassins in the Kingdom'.
Agreed to make three versions of "happy birthday" for a postcard site, which can now be found at afreegreetingcard.com.
I am about to wrap up an entire soundtrack I composed for a new motorcross game that is going to be available through freeloader.com, published by Pure, created by Dawn. The soundtracks comprises several techno and jazzy tunes that also utilize XG controllers.
Written several pieces for a video presentation of my current day job, part of the Ministery of Agriculture.
I am working together with my friend D. Stant on some rock material. Guitars and basses are recorded for real, other accompagniement is going to be MIDI-ed.
Wrote the soundtrack tunes for a new 'sitcom series' which appareantly is a show with live actors being broadcasted on
The Year after
Wow, has it been a year already? This year I have been working on upgrading my equipment as well as more permanently working with audio. I have been gaining a lot of practice with samples and samplers as well as recording multitrack. I have been very busy with recording and mixing a demo for my band Counterpoint (still in progress) and working on the Landscape project.
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