Yamaha FM Synth Music Appreciation Thread
Another thread got me thinking about Frequency Modulation Synthesis (or FM Synth) and how much I appreciate that specific sound. If you've ever played an old DOS game or a Sega Genesis game (and I bet many of you here have) then you know exactly what kind of sound I'm talking about: that specific type of synthetic sound that comes from the most primitive of waveforms, tweaked and modulated to make interesting sounds, then put all together to make something that sounds deep and interesting and yet completely detached from what we consider to be "real."
Yamaha, the world's largest manufacturer of musical equipment, is particularly tied deeply into this sound, as their family of sound chips were used very widely across personal computers, arcade game cabinets, video game consoles, and even real "big boy" synths. I'd like to share some of my favorite sounds to come from the family of Yamaha FM Synths with you all.
"Spinner" by Jesper Kyd, from Red Zone, on the Yamaha YM2612 "OPN2" (This song actually got reimagined a couple of times by Kyd over the years; you might recognize this as "Apocalypse" from Hitman: Blood Money.)
"Asteroid Dance 2" by Alexander Brandon, from Tyrian, on the Yamaha YM3812 "OPL2" (The legendary Alex Brandon's first professional gig, and imo it holds up against his most popular work to this day.)
"Wondering About My Loved Ones" by Bobby Prince, from Wolfenstein 3D, on the Yamaha YM3812 "OPL2" (I love how melancholy and wistful this is, and imo it really does sound best in FM Synth form. I haven't heard a single good cover or "glow-up" of this.)
"Hacking" by Ryu Takami, from EVE: Burst Error, on the Yamaha YM2608 "OPNA" (What a meaty bass riff! Love the Morse code-esque beeping rhythm, and that melody definitely sounds like Ace Attorney's progenitor.)
"Opening" by Ryu Umemoto, from Yu-No: A Girl Who Chants Love At The Bound Of This World, on the Yamaha YM2608 "OPNA" (Umemoto is imo the most criminally slept-on video game composer of all time; all of his work is incredible and nearly all of it remains unheard of in Western ears.)
"Intro" by either Tim Ries or Greg LoPiccolo, from System Shock, on the ESS Technology ESS1688 "OPL3 clone" (This particular version isn't rendered on a Yamaha chip but a workalike clone of one. It has its pecularities which up making this song sound even more brutally sharp and electronic.)
Anyone else in love with this sound? I'd love to hear what you guys have to share!
I remember someone releasing a Doom map with music from this game, and maybe it was this exact song but a shorter abridged version if so. I wonder where the author downloaded it from!
Diode Milliampere is an incredible artist in the "tracker" scene who is using Yamaha chips.
I urge you to check out his recordings https://diodemilliampere.bandcamp.com/album/direct-digital-remasters-vol-1
Some of his tracks are part of this set
Also to mention Teppica and Nuke.YKT (famous for the nuke adlib emulation core and other retro PC hackery) have a good collection of game soundtrack recordings on YouTube I often listen to in the background. This one I can listen over and over and over again
Interestingly, it has only been a couple of days that I have discovered Luke Jansen's renditions of classic games music, and I enjoy so much his "glow ups" of Wolf 3D Menu theme and Nightmare 3D music. However for me the real gem is his take on Lightspeed/Hyperspeed soundtracks.
So, I'm curious if quality AdLib recording of the original Hyperspeed soundtrack have been spotted, as I'd very much like to listen to them.
Diode Milliampere rules. I nearly soiled myself when the drop came on this track of his:
There's a lot of really cool stuff in the tracker/chiptune scene with people making music nowadays not explicitly for a video game. Savaged Regime probably knows the YM3812 better than the layout of his home:
naruto2413, best known for "Artifical Intelligence Bomb" and more focused on PSG sound chips, also does some cool stuff with Yamaha chips:
Here's one that's straight up a 1970's anime OP, complete with lyrics specifically about FM synth:
My girlfriend Noyemi is way into this shit too, specifically making stuff with Music Macro Languages like PMD (Programmable Music Driver). These are interesting because unlike composing music in sheet-like notation like in a tracker, it's described with macros and commands, like a markup language. This lets you do cool shit like have separate lengths for your rhythm, melody, etc., meaning shit can loop for a long time without actually sounding similar.