The Commodore Amiga wowed the technology world when it launched in 1985, combining stunning graphics and superb audio to create one of the first true multimedia machines. With its sample-based audio chip, the Amiga represented a milestone in what a home computer could achieve in terms of sound and music reproduction, something that would become one of the machine’s defining qualities throughout its lifetime.
The quality of graphics and sound have always played a major part in the success (and failure) of video games, something that gaming magazines and similar publications have always been eager to praise – or admonish – in their monthly review sections.
At the height of the Amiga’s commercial success, one of the most popular gaming magazines of the time was Amiga Power.
Published by Future Publishing (now Future plc), it gained respect among its readers for its honest – often brutally so – reviews and opinions, earning itself the reputation as one of the most trustworthy publications covering the world of Amiga.
As with so many publications from the pre-internet era, Amiga Power (or simply AP) engendered a sense of community amongst its readership, something that continues to be remembered by fans to this day.
And now, a new Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign looks set to rekindle some of the passion for this long-since cancelled magazine, as well as the Amiga community in general.
Dubbed ‘Amiga Power – The Album with Attitude’, this double CD album of remixed Amiga music is the brainchild of one Matthew Smith. An ardent fan of the Amiga computer and Amiga Power magazine, Matt has enlisted the help from some of the greatest musicians in Amiga video game history, as well as some big names in the music and Amiga remix scene!
We had the opportunity to ask Matt some questions about the concept behind this ambitious remix album, as well as some hints as to what might be in store for Amiga music fans!
ViTNO: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Matt! Your announcement regarding the Amiga Power album sounds very exciting – is it fair to say that you’re a fan of the Commodore Amiga?
Matt Smith: Yes indeed! It was 1991 when I became an Amiga owner; I got the A500+ Cartoon Classics pack for Christmas that year. It was my first ever home computer, and I couldn’t have been more delighted with it!
ViTNO: What was it that inspired you to launch this project?
MS: The Amiga was replete with games that had fantastic music, and in recent years I’ve really gotten into the Amiga remix scene, via websites like Remix64 and AmigaRemix.com, and album such as Paula Agnus Denise and the Immortal series. In 2014 I started commissioning remixes of some of my favourite Amiga game tunes from various scene musicians I admired, simply because there were several tunes I loved that had never been remixed before, and from there I ended up being invited to help co-produce an Amiga remix project organised by a friend of mine.
ViTNO: There have been several successful video game remix projects in the past, but this is the first we’re aware of to have a direct link to a magazine. Can you tell us about your connection to Amiga Power?
MS: My connection to the mag is simply that of reader and fan.
I started buying AP early in its life, way back in 1991, and I loved it straight away; its mixture of incisive reviews, inventive features and irreverent humour appealed to me greatly, and I only grew to love it more as the years went on. I had several letters published in their ‘Do The Write Thing’ section during the final year of the mag’s life, and it was AP that ultimately inspired me to embark on a career in journalism and publishing myself, which I’ve been enjoying for the past 18 years now.
The first disc is full of tunes nominated by Amiga Power writers – i.e. they’re from games that they liked, and hence would have awarded high review scores.
The second CD is officially entitled “The AP Bonus Coverdisk”, and all the remixes on it are inspired in some way by games and demos that appeared on the mag’s cover-mounted disks over the years. Or, in one special case, by something that the AP team wanted to include on one of their discs, but unfortunately weren’t able to due to time constraints.
ViTNO: We’ve seen the impressive list of artists contributing to the project – will they be producing all-new compositions for the AP album?
MS: All the remixes on the AP album are going to be completely new, save for one exception which is quite special in its own right. Wherever possible I’ve commissioned the original artists to remix their own work, and in cases where that hasn’t been possible I’ve sought out similarly splendid musicians to take the reins.
ViTNO: We understand that Chris Huelsbeck and Allister Brimble and other high-profile Amiga artists are involved; any hints as to what Amiga fans can expect in terms of tracks?
MS:The tracklist as a whole is a real mixture of widely-admired classics and lesser-known (but still smashing) tunes, and I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised by some of the more unusual inclusions.
Chris and Allister are both creating more than one track for the album, but they’re only remixing one of their own compositions. Chris is only creating one remix full stop; his other contribution is going to be an original intro theme for a game that never had any music…
ViTNO: When do you expect the Kickstarter campaign to commence?
MS: I’m aiming for early March, if not actually March 1st.