[2006-04-06]

Unofficial Machinae Supremacy Advocacy FAQ v0.35

 

What's new?

2010-12-31 - THIS FAQ IS TOTALLY OUTDATED, IF YOU HADN'T NOTICED. DON'T RELY ON THIS FOR ANYTHING. Now kept around as a historical curiosity.

 

What was new?

2006-04-06 - Added the official translation for the Japanese in Kaori Stomp. Updated discography.
[...]
2003-08-11 - 0.1 of FAQ created.

 

Introduction

This FAQ is meant to answer some common questions about the band Machinae Supremacy as well as explaining why you too should take the time to become a true Machinae Advocate.

If you're new and wondering, "what's this?" simply go to the official homepage and download some tracks to listen to.

 

Table of Contents

 

Section 1: Background

 

Q1.1: Machinae Supremacy?

They're a band playing a unique style of rock music under the influence of 80s and 90s computer game music. Formed in 2000, the band has so far produced quite a few songs, many of which are available at their official homepage.

When asked about their history, Robert (singer and guitarist), had the following to say:

We'll probably make some sort of history when there's something more to tell... Right now it's more like, we started, Tobbe played drums for a while then Tomas took over and we played a couple of gigs and more and more people liked our music and we got to the point where we had done 25 songs and just added them to the page one by one (well, kinda) and we felt that we wanted to do something more than just keep adding new songs to the page...

The current lineup is:

Kahl Hellmer, bass, moved and left the band in 2005.

For more information about the group you should visit the about page of the official site.

Q1.1.1: How do you pronounce Machinae?

I'd say that most people, including the band itself, pronounce it as "machine". Robert:

Well, the inspiration for the word in our name is indeed from latin ... But WE still pronounce it the same way as the english word "machine" ... If you want to pronounce it any other way, feel free to do so ... In that respect, it's still a free world...

There's also the school of thought that prefers to pronounce ae as Swedish ä which -- and I'm going in at the deep end here -- is a little like the vowel phone ae in English bat.

Q1.1.2: No really, what genre?

I'm just going to call it "Rock with computer game influences". Some have proposed "SIDmetal", the band is known to have used simply "New Frontier" and "Alternative rock".

Q1.1.3: SID?

SID/MOS6581 ("Sound Interface Device") is the name of the sound chip used in the Commodore C64 home computer. It's one amazing device with a very unique sound. There are a lot of us out there who simply adore the SID chip and what can be done with it, so many that a small industry exists selling special SID-stations, which is one of the instruments used by the group.

You can get a taste of SID music by downloading and listening to the tunes in the High Voltage SID Collection.

Q1.2: Why should I support Machinae Supremacy?

There are numerous reasons to support Machinae, here's some:

The Music

Obviously, you should support Machinae iff you like their music. As odd -- even impossible as it can seem -- some people genuinely do not enjoy Machinae. My own experience is that almost everyone who were active during the 80s, playing the C64 and Amiga, really understand, identify with and enjoy the music of Machinae Supremacy.

Their Generosity

Machinae Supremacy is, as of writing, distributing 24 full length songs at their homepage, representing some 1h48min of very high quality music which you can download and enjoy gratis. What's not to like?

It is my hope that they will validate the hypothesis that freely distributing the output of ones craft is a viable way to build an audience and a market, which ultimately will provide the craftsmen with a source of revenue.

Vorbis

Machinae Supremacy is supportive of the sound format Ogg Vorbis. Any group that have the good taste to support this to MPEG1 Layer 3 ("mp3") vastly superior format, is worthy of support in turn.

There's a huge potential for cross-pollination between Vorbis and Machinae advocates here.

For more about how, when and how to properly conduct advocacy, see section 3.

Q1.3: Have they released any records?

Yes. They've released two [physical] albums so far.

Their debut album "Deus Ex Machinae" (2004). Track list:

1. Insidious
2. Super Steve
3. Dreadnaught
4. Flagcarrier
5. Return to Snake Mountain
6. Player One
7. Deus Ex Machinae
8. Attack Music (album version)
9. Ninja
10. Throttle and Mask
11. Killer Instinct
12. Tempus Fugit
13. Blind Dog Pride
14. Machinae Prime (instrumental)

DEM exists in two editions, the second edition -- which signifies the second and above print of the CD -- adds the track Soundtrack to the rebellion. The first print features a bright/white CD cover, while the second is dark/black.

Deus Ex Machinae, of course, is from Deus Ex Machina, Latin meaning "god from the machine", which in turn refer to the way the plot in plays and movies is sometimes "resolved" in a manner most sudden, confusing and inconsistent.

The follow up is "Redeemer" which was released in March 2006 after a long wait:

1. Elite
2. Rise
3. Fury (*)
4. Ronin
5. Kaori Stomp (*)
6. Hate
7. I know the reaper
8. Seventeen
9. The cavern of lost time (*)
10. Rogue world asylum
11. Through the looking glass
12. Oki Kumas adventure
13. Reanimator (March of the Undead III)
14. Prelude to Empire (*)
15. Empire (*)
16. Ghost (beneath the surface) (retail edition only)

Redeemer is available in two editions; "Underground Edition" (UE) or "Retail Edition" (RE). The UE is the album as it Is Supposed To Be. The RE includes the track Ghost, but excludes four other tracks, denoted by * above, which are only available on the UE.

There's been some talk about similarities between material on Redeemer and the Jets'n'Guns OST (2005). The official position is that the Redeemer material came first.

Q1.4: Are they signed?

The band was previously in a relationship with UK-based mdbrecords, for their first album, Deus Ex Machinea. When mdb went under, the band was left without a way to distribute their follow-up album, Redeemer.

In conjunction with the opening of the updated official site in early 2006, the band announced, via Robert that:

Eventually, we were approached by a record label (JMT-Music) who offered us initially a master deal for Redeemer (but when I sent Redeemer to Tomi at JMT, he changed the deal to a "normal" multialbum deal (3 albums, 4 years)). We turned it down, but another deal has been made, to make use if JMT's distribution channels while retaining our freedom to use our name as we please.

So not only is the answer 'no', they actually turned down an offer in order to stay in control.

To put things in a historical context, here's Robert in a lengthy post, written before the release of Deus Ex Machinae, about their view on this part of the industry:

It is true. No record contract. Although, we can't claim to have tried. We sent out like four demos or something in the beginning of 2001. Since then we haven't sent a single one.

I hope that we score a distribution deal or perhaps a master deal on this album, which means basically that (in the first case) we provide the cds ourselves and the label only gets it to the stores etc, or (the second case) we provide the master recordings for the label and they print and sell the album...

Hopefully, at least a distribution deal would allow us to still retain the freedom to release our songs on our webpage like always. I don't know if I speak for everyone in the band (since we haven't really discussed this, really) but I feel that there would be absolutely no point in stopping releasing songs on the website. I want those who feel it is worth it to be able to buy an album, and those who do not to still be able to enjoy the music without breaking the law (not that I really care about the law that much, but you know what I mean).

This is why I am going the extra few centimeters to support and advocate this band. Not only do they produce good music, but they seem to get it. A classic recording contract would involve the group signing away their rights on the promise of quick cash up front. That is the old way of doing it. Now let's do it the new way instead, the right way.

Q1.5: How about a tip jar / PayPal?

No. We can all support the band monetary-wise by buying the CD and getting others to do the same. Also, you can support them by purchasing merchandise.

Robert: If you want to help us right now, then just let your friends know about us. Help us by way of street promotion instead of €$£...

Q1.6: What about gigs, do they play live?

They sure do! I haven't had the pleasure myself, but I've heard that they really rock on stage.

Doing gigs can be expensive, and touring definitely is, so most of us won't have many chances of seeing our favourite band on stage... yet. Robert had this to say:

A thought I've had this summer is that since this summer is so totally dedicated to making this album material I was hoping to make 2004 a real gig-year, hopefully maybe even plan a tour as opening act for some bigger band in some country / countries... Now, I don't really know exactly what or how to do this, since we don't have any real connections and so on, but I and the guys will do our best to make it happen.

Ideas and thoughts will be appreciated. And yes, we _do_ want to come to YOUR country and play. But we can't afford to just go there and play, we need some sort of resources - means of transportation, some budget that'll keep us alive during this period and so on...

I myself am going to start working to make these ideas happen on at least some level as soon as the leaves start falling from the trees. By then we'll have some album material finished so that we can send out to arrangers and booking agencies.

Any tips, ideas, addresses, connections, whatever you guys can provide, it would be appreciated. I'm not really sure what I'm looking for, so I'll leave it up to you people.

Peace. -out-

If you can be of service, speak up!

 

Section 2: The songs

 

Q2.1: I've heard tales about another version of the song Fighters from Ninne?

The tales are true, there exist a version 1 of FfN which isn't currently distributed by the band. However, you may legally acquire it from another source, should you find one. Here's Robert again:

If you have it people, share it with your friends. [...]

The first fighters is just ... Imo lamer than the newer one, and therefore we replaced it on the page with v2.

At 3:05 the original version is a tad bit shorter than V2 at 3:15. The production of V2 is much better and when compared side-by-side, V1 sounds very much like a demo. Of course, as an advocate, you're expected to keep a complete collection of Machinae tunes around.

Q2.2: I've also heard something about an instrumental version of Hero?

Again, true. In Machinae lore, the instrumental version of Hero is ancient. Here's Robert:

The instrumental of hero was the original, the one we made for the Jets'n'Guns project that never happened, and we decided to make a 'real' song out of it when we realized its potential...

Of course, Jets'n'Guns happened eventually.

Q2.3: What about the beginning of Attack Music?

It's from the Futurama episode "Mother's Day", where Mom commands all robots to revolt. The line is spoken by the female news-anchor.

Q2.4: Who is the woman talking in the beginning of Origin?

The voice belongs to Joanna Pacula and was sampled from the movie Virus.

Q2.5: What about the beginning of Earthbound?

The spoken line is from the movie Nemesis.

Q2.6: Fighters from Ninne? Woo-style?

Woo-style refers to John Woo who is well known for his Hong-Kong action movies where people really really like to shoot at each other.

Ninne is, according to Robert, "a fictional land that doesn't exist in the real world, but it's pronounced "nin" (iow, not like "nine" or "ninney" or sth)."

So there you go.

Q2.7: What does the Japanese lyrics on Redeemer say?

For Kaori Stomp it's:

You got the style, So cool
I remember
When you are here
you make others seem invisible

Q2.8: What about ...?

Sheeesh, you people can't leave a few mysteries around? Here's Robert:

The samples in Timeline are from the Witchblade tv series...

The background chatter in Apocalyptica is recorded from the actual N.Y.Police radio on 9/11.

The woman saying Kung Fu Bouff in the beginning of Sidology 3 is the same as counting down her own theme song 'Bouff', Emily Booth.

The cryosleep samples are from Pitch Black and Ghost in The Shell.

This and more at Wikipedia.

Q2.9: Sidology, what tunes are played?

Here are the tunes included in these medleys:

Sidology part 1 - SID Evolution

00:00 Cybernoid 2 (Jeroen Tel / Maniacs of Noise, ©1988 Hewson)
01:57 Rocky Star (Kim Christensen / Future Freak, ©1988 Dexion)
03:38 Deflektor (Ben Daglish, ©1988 Gremlin Graphics)
04:42 Outrun (episode one) (Jeroen Tel / Maniacs of Noise, ©1989 US Gold/Probe)

Note that there are many different versions of the Outrun tunes out there.

Sidology part 2 - Trinity

Incomplete table of contents:

00:00 Supremacy
04:00 R-Type
05:51 Skate or Die
06:15 ?
06:42 Super Mario Bros
06:44 ?
06:48 Legend of Zelda
06:49 ?
07:10 Last Ninja 2 (/Ocean Loader?)
07:59 Meteroid Prime
08:16 International Karate
10:21 Turrican 1 (/Loader?)
12:10 Meteroid Prime

Robert lists the songs in this forum post.

Sidology part 3 - Apex Ultima

00:00 Flimbo's Quest (Reyn Ouwehand & J. Bjerregaard, ©1990 System 3)
01:10 Bubble Bobble (Peter Clarke, ©1987 Firebird)
02:07 Arkanoid ( Martin Galway, ©1987 Imagine)
02:47 Monty on the Run (Rob Hubbard, ©1985 Gremlin Graphics)
04:26 Commando (Rob Hubbard, ©1985 Elite)
05:34 Outrun (episode three) (Jeroen Tel / Maniacs of Noise, ©1989 US Gold/Probe)

To play these files you can use one of the many SID-capable players that are out there. I use Foobar 2000 with the SidPlay plugin included with the 'Special' release. There's also a Win32 stand-alone player in SidPlay/w. Linux versions abound.

Q2.9.1: Sidology, what about Sidology Episode 2?

For the longest time, a very very very frequently asked question. Why? Because it didn't actually exist, even though the band had a plan for it. However, that all changed in early 2006 when the plan was revealed to have been implemented, and the near 13 minute epos was finally released.

Q2.10: Which songs are covers?

Sidstyler

Sidstyler is a cover of Finnish duo Bomfunk MC's song Freestyler which was popular in the nordic countries during 2000 and made it to the top of the Swedish charts.

I turn to you

This song of course is a cover of Melanie C's song with the same title. I haven't been able to track down the proper credits for this one, but I know that Rick Nowels -- which was Melanie's producer on her debut album -- is credited as co-writer, likely together with Melanie herself.

Gianna Sisters

A cover of the main tune off the classic Super Mario Brothers clone The Great Gianna Sisters. Did I say clone? I mean "highly original work". Originally by Chris Huelsbeck.

Kings of the Scene

Based on the Spiral SID by Otto "SounDemoN" Järvinen.

Q2.11: Are there any tablatures available?

Tabs for some of the songs can be found in the tabs forum. Tabs are also available at the discography page of the official site.

 

Section 3: Advocacy

 

Q3.1: Okay, I want to become a Machinae Supremacy Advocate, what do I do?

You spread the word. Let the world know about Machinae Supremacy and their music.

The best way you can support Machinae Supremacy is to spread the word. Tell your friends about us. And concert arrangers and festival people too! And when we get that album finished, you can buy it if you want to.

We now have over 250 000 unique (and uninterrupted) song downloads from our homepage. That's quite a lot of downloads for an 'unknown' band. And all of that is really thanks to people letting others know about us when they find us. So just keep doing that for now.

One way to spread the word is to clothe yourself in Machinae-wear. Check Sqream for t-shirts.

So crank Attack Music and get working!

Q3.2: Feeling kind of alone here...

You're not alone! You should of course check the official homepage regularly, but the best thing you can do is to join the community and meet the band, fans and other advocates at the Machinae Supremacy Forums.

There are also #machinaesupremacy IRC channels at IRCnet and Quakenet.

Q3.3: I'm not seeing any openings for mentioning Machinae Supremacy. Help!

Be alert! There's always some way to slip in a reference, link or anecdote about how Machinae Supremacy put meaning back into your life.

Say someone is having trouble with his song player software, such as Winamp. He's playing his mp3 files but there's no output, or they sound weird. Politely suggest he try some Vorbis files instead, and what better files to test with than the songs of Machinae Supremacy?

A discussion about Hidden Markov Models and Dynamic Bayesian Networks drift into "piracy" -- Happens all the time, we've all been there. Someone gives the standard "Downloading music online is evil"-routine. Politely inform him of his error, and point to Machinae Supremacy as a completely legit source of online music.

You participate or see a discussion about covers. Suggest the participants try the Machinae version of I turn to you.

You can drop The Great Gianna Sisters into any discussion about C64-music, -games or -covers.

People talk about music all the time. You must always be prepared, always ready to talk about your favourite band.

Q3.4: I wanna do more!

Of course you do! You could try and get Machinae Supremacy played on the radio, for instance.

There are other things you can do. I recommended the band to approach wopn.org, now Freematrix Radio to get airtime there, which they did. I've also approached SVT and Musikbyrån about doing a story on the band and their approach to building a fanbase via free distribution of their music and support of the Vorbis format. No luck so far, but you gotta try.

Q3.5: What's the best way to abbreviate the name Machinae Supremacy?

I'd say it's a context thing. Always use the full name when addressing a new or mixed old/new audience. Most fans use Machinae between them. Some doesn't feel okay shortening it all the way to MS, but I think that is actually okay if the communication is a closed group and/or the situation is such that the context is clearly Machinae Supremacy and any misunderstanding impossible.

One alternative would be MaSu, but that one is not established and might never be.

Recommendation: Stick with Machinae for now.

 

Section 4: Contributors

 

This FAQ is a combination of questions/answers culled from the message board, and my own thoughts and opinions. Contributions are most welcome.

Robert, Tomas, Gordon and the rest of the band.
Lestat, Skvate, kunphuzil, Laser Turret, HVSC, Layson Juravis, Michail Pishchagin, Ari Lavander, Mashed.

... and many more.

Please email me your changes and additions.

©2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 Eddy L O Jansson & Contributors. All rights reserved. All trademarks acknowledged.