Mapping the World of Amiga Samples

Mod Sample Master is a new project to look into samples in mod-files, and how they relate to each other. This is pretty amazing because it lets us delve into 30+ years of a digital music movement, to see how samples have traveled between songs, people, time, place. 75,000 songs and a million samples.

At the moment, the method for matching samples is very simple. Either it’s a perfect 100% match, or it’s not a match at all. For example, if I copy a sample from someone else and crop even just a fraction of it, it is not a match anymore. Still, there are plenty of matches. A lot, actually.

More than a third of the samples were used in two songs or more. Many of them are from the ST-01 sample pack that was extremely popular in the early Amiga years. Others are “chip samples” – tiny samples that are looped to produce beeps and stuff. Here’s a top-5 list to give you an idea:

Great to finally see Popsnare2 in the charts! And looking further down the charts, ST-01 (and 02) keeps popping up. It’s not surprising, because there were a lot of people making mod files in those days, and it wasn’t easy to record your own samples or modify them.

What surprised me was the prevalence of chip samples. I didn’t really think that people making chip mods would just reuse the same sounds over and over. And, well, then I remembered that’s how I do it myself.

I, the Triangle Thief

Here‘s a chip sample with a triangle waveform, used by 51 songs in the archive. Most of them are mine. I remember that this sound used to be part of my “palette” back in the days. (still is, tbh) I don’t know where it came from. But looking at other songs using the sample, it’s safe to say that I didn’t exactly sample it myself. 4mat used it for chip mods like Anarchymenu_06, and I’m pretty sure that’s where I blatantly stole it from. So my thoughts and copyright prayers are with 4mat in these troubling times. I hope he can find it in his heart one day to forgive me. :–)

Samples don’t really have names in mods. I mean, they do, but they are mostly used for writing messages to the listener. So when millions of sample names are listed alphabetically you get stuff like this:

On the other hand, if you list all the names that a sample has been given you get fragmented poetry like this:

It was common to make a sort of animation with the sample names. As you scrolled through the sample names, it would look animated.

Some listings are a bit like ASCII art:

Well, I’m pretty sure I’m going to spend way too much time playing around with this. And I hope this project will continue to grow. Some ideas moving forward could be:

  • Set “master names” to known samples (ST-01/02 in particular)
  • Include artists in the database, so you can see eg which artists that use the same samples
  • Expand the “exact matching”
  • Playing samples
  • Links to mod-files

Big up to Fred for making this!

One Response to “Mapping the World of Amiga Samples”

  1. MOD: Mobile Open-ended Datum | SID Media Lab Says:

    […] 2019年10月、Fredによって.mod Sample Masterなるサイトが起ち上げられた。 その名の通り、このサイトを通して、私たちは2020年1月現在、85927 の.modフォーマットトラックから100万を超える膨大なサンプルを検索できるだけでなく、それらがいかに他のトラックに再利用されているかを確認することができる。類似サンプルの参照機能も追加されているので、改変されたサンプルも見つけやすい。広い文脈でのサンプル共有が可視化されているのは画期的である。goto80が述べるように、「サンプルがいかに楽曲と人々と時間と場所を経巡ってきたかを見るために」モジュールという古くも新しい人工物を新たな方法で調査できるようになったのは驚くべきことだ。(今のところ、インストゥルメント番号に対応するサンプルが存在しない場合は、「No Sample」としか表示されないことに注意。).mod Sample Masterは即座の恩恵を与えないかもしれないが、Kestra Amiga Demo DatabaseやMahoneyのScrolltexts.comのように、デモシーンの泡沫的なプロダクトをロングタームで新旧の文脈に位置づけなおしたいときに、必ずや役立つだろう。 […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: