Friday, October 19, 2007

Excuse me while I Ad Lib this...

So... back in the diz-ay while I was a freshman at OSU, I had a roomee by the name of Todd. He was cool. His computer was cool. It was a DOS machine of course. Probably DOS 5. He even had a sound card. An Ad Lib sound card, one of the first commercially available (and useful) sound cards available. He used to create crazy ass music with the music software that came with it, namely, Visual Composer and Instrument Maker. Visual Composer let you, well, visually compose music with a little graphical keyboard. Instrument Maker let you craft 'instruments' by tweaking FM Synthesis values (at least I think it was FM synthesis). He had albums (or cassettes) of this stuff. Rodomontodd is the title of one I can remember. And I thought the stuff was fantastic since it didn't always conform to what one would normally call music. Sometimes there wasn't a specific melody. Sometimes, it seemingly lacked structure all together. Until you looked at it in Visual Composer. Then it made all the sense in the world. It was like painting music. But Todd spent only a couple of quarters at OSU and then he went away. Taking with him his Ad Lib rigged computer and his cool ass software and music.

Around 1997, after finding another tape of music he had given me, I looked him up again on that new fangled and growing by the day thing called the Internet. We got back together and began making music together. Not in a gay way but in a musician way. Unless you talk to the cashiers at Kroger's, then they might swear by the previous.

Annnnnyyyyywwwaaaaayyyssss, from the minute we got back together, we had talked about getting that Ad Lib software back up and running. Unfortunately, we have difficulty in doing so. Windows had come along and DOS was going by the way side. Neither of us had DOS disks anymore. We tried for years in vain to get it to work. 10 years to be exact. But to no avail.

Then, the other day, a mutual friend to Todd and I posted some old music for a group that consisted of Todd. Of course, it was some of the Ad Lib music stuff. So again, my interest was piqued and I began trying to figure out a way to get this running again. I figured I might try loading up Windows 95 on an old PC I have at home and seeing if maybe I could resurrect the Ad Lib music software. I still had all the binaries with me since I made copies of the disks during the one moment in 1997 when Todd had located them. I believe he's not sure where they are at the moment. No matter. I have the files.

Recently, I also started getting back into old game emulation. Things like emulators for the Atari 2600, Intellivision, the Sega Master System, etc. As I was surfing today, I ran across a sweet little program called DosBox. It's been around for a few years and I even remember telling a friend about it a few months back when he was getting into playing the hundreds of old DOS games he still had lying around. I had totally forgotten about it until I stumbled over it again today.

So this evening, I came home and DL'd DOS Box and found the Ad Lib software on my drive and gave it a run. And wouldn't you know it. It f^@#ing worked!!!

I present to you, the first song written by me (and quite possibly anyone else in the world) on the Ad Lib Visual Composer, which features the scrapings of a custom instrument called 'screech' created in Instrument Maker. The song is called "Yeah Baby!" for 'yeah baby' I got the Ad Lib stuff working!!! Wheeee!!! Enjoy!

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Here's what it looks like in Visual Composer.


Todd Says: said...

OH F**K YEAH!!!!!!!

I need to get me some o'Dat.
That f***kin' ruled!!!!!!!!

That takes me back about 18 years.

good times.
good times.

thanks for the bio, too. LOL. I'm gonna use that in my memoirs! :-)

And you know what else that means????


::: said...

do more

Amber said...

Hey Darrin -
I am totally going to be lame here and do some serious begging.

I have been looking for a copy of the Adlib Composer software for ages and can not find it for download ANYWHERE!!!

Would you possibly be willing to send me a copy of your adlib software? I even re-built a vintage machine so I can run it. I just don't have my disks anymore.

If you would be so kind as to consider this, you can contact me at the address on this page:

ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease... :)

Sali said...

Adlib was the greatest ever. I've been looking for something like it for years. Does anyone know of anything similair?
If not does anyone know where I can get a download of music composer?
I used to spend hours and hours working on music when I was in high school. I'd love to use it again.
Thanks for the help!

Christopher Brannon said...

You are not alone in the AdLib Visual Composer world. I have gone through generations of computers, and have lost the ability to play the 30+ disks of songs I have collected or written during my college days. Unfortunately, I have lost my AdLib software. I too have not been able to find it again. Would you be willing to share the program?

Amber said...

I feel bad for starting something here. Darrin, you were so nice to send Visual Composer to me, and now you will be harassed until the end of time for it.

I put the file on rapidshare. I think it is safe to assume it is abandonware.

Luis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yoders.6 said...

On August 14, 2008, Amber wrote:
"I feel bad for starting something here. Darrin, you were so nice to send Visual Composer to me, and now you will be harassed until the end of time for it.

I put the file on rapidshare. I think it is safe to assume it is abandonware."

Thanks a bundle for posting the URL, Amber. And you are correct: Ad Lib went out of business a few years ago, so it is indeed safe to assume that it's abandonware. I would also like to thank Darrin for mentioning the Ad Lib sound card that has really changed the way I listened to video game music. If you really want to know which game made me feel this way, it's called MegaRace, with music composed by Stephane Picq, a pioneer in video game music.

I took a chance on using the link, thinking it was deleted, but to my surprise, the file is still there, and it was a near-instant download, unlike some of my other downloads from the same hosting site.