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Grayscale Project

Between 1999 and 2002 I nearly stopped my demoscene activity. The reason was quite simple – at that time I was studying Geophysics in Kraków, Poland, and there were simply more interesting things to do in my life at this very moment. In 2002, after the graduation, I moved to Warsaw and started the PhD there. This is roughly the time when I came in touch with Xray / Slight, the well-renowned Atari (and not only Atari!) musician. I still had my Atari with me, so occasionally we met two-three times per week to make some small jam sessions (with quite a disapproval from my wife, who for obvious reasons could not stand the square noises coming from the speakers – she often decided to go on a really loooong walk or stay in the garden and leisure there until we finished). At some point, we decided to formalize this musical acquaintance starting the Grayscale Project and the associated website: http://grayscale.scene.pl (this site is not existing anymore, so I pasted here the link from the web archive page). The name of the project came from Greg and Xray, our nicknames on the Atari demoscene.

Grayscale Project Website as designed by Xray

Activity in the frame of Grayscale Project lasted a couple of years. After Grayscale 2003 Music Competition (see below), our duo become a tercet when BeWu joined our team, bringing some fresh bits to our music. Gradually, towards the end of Grayscale Project activity, I became more and more inactive, mainly because it was a busy time for me – I was preparing the PhD thesis, and started actively looking what I will do with my life after obtaining the doctorate. This is clearly visible in the Mp3 playlist I prepared which contains in total 38 positions with the transition from Xray+Greg team to Xray+BeWu team being the main authors. In summer 2007 I finished my PhD, promptly left Warsaw, and moved abroad to Germany to start postdoctoral research in Potsdam. The jam sessions with Xray were not anymore the case :-/, at least for the initial team. Xray and BeWu continued the collaboration for some time, winning a couple of music competitions on the way and producing marvelous sounds (see the playlist for details). Nevertheless, varying circumstances called life led to the Grayscale Project gradually dying out, and finally stopped. The website itself became inactive quite some years later, and this is why I decided to bring some memories back to life here, on the dedicated page. In fact, after the Grayscale Project, I never returned to the Atari 8-bit chiptune making anymore…

Grayscale project music

Overall, we had a lot of fun I think. I believe we produced a bunch (38) of quite nice tunes throughout this productive time – some of these were presented during music competitions at the seminal Orneta Copy Party as well as a series of “Forever” Copy Parties parties organized yearly by our dear Slovak Colleagues in Trencin (see details in the playlist below). I think all chiptunes were made with a Theta Music Composer developed by Jaskier / Taquart, that was capable to handle 8 channels (so called stereo upgrade, which basically relied on stacking two Pokey chips atop of one another – a more developed version to this engineering solution you can find on Lotharek’s website). As you can see from the photos, there was actually a second computer (PC) involved – this computer was serving as a disk-drive via a dedicated PC software (I don’t remember the name of the software, sorry).

For the purpose of this website, I rendered first the chiptunes to raw waveform (.WAV) files using the newest version of ASAP player (v6.0). Then, raw waveforms were converted to the high quality MP3 files (flat rate 320MBit/s) using the Lame encoder. The MP3s are properly tagged and ordered according to their “origin time”, and contain additional information such as e.g. notes on participation of specific tune in some music competition. All chiptunes are free to download and they are subjected to the CC-BY-NC 4.0 license.

Grayscale music competitions

In 2003 and 2004 we announced two music competitions, where 8-bit atari chiptune authors could submit their songs and others could vote and choose the best one. As the original website is non-existing, I decided to revive it here with a dedicated page and allowed You to download all related Atari chiptunes.

2003 competition

The first Grayscale 2003 competition gathered 8 songs. The winner was Bartek Wąsiel (aka BeWu) with the song “Simply Tune”. As you already know, BeWu later joined Grayscale project. The second place was taken by Slaves / Taquart with module “Revenge” and the third one was awarded to Epi / Allegresse (“Dead boy’s poem”). It is worth to note that the difference in points between all three places were really quite minimal.

Below you can download the archive containing both original submissions as well as the music modules converted to the SAP format:

Archive contains original tracker files as well as tracks converted to SAP (Slight Atari Player).

File size: 43 KB | File version: 1.0 | Downloaded: 29

2004 competition

The second edition of the compo was won by Epi / Allegresse with the tune entitled “Straight Edge?”, followed by “Oldskul filink z newer daj” module produced by Samurai / Taquart. The third place went to “Weird Trip” by Miker / bjb.

Below you can download the archive containing both original submissions as well as the music modules converted to the SAP format:

Archive contains original tracker files as well as tracks converted to SAP (Slight Atari Player).

File size: 85 KB | File version: 1.0 | Downloaded: 33

Other files

Coming Soon!