wnd's weblog

HVSC and me

6 Oct 2009 13:00:54 diary

Now that I’m done with up to date copy of High Voltage SID Collection I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry. In a way I should be happy to finish something as time consuming as this but on the other hand I feel sorry that’s it’s done. How did it all begin? While I’ve always been great fan of chip music, I started to actively listen SIDs as late as in 2001. Until then I had only listened to my favourite songs from my Commodore 64 times. I’m not sure what happened back in 2001, but I got this great idea of listening all songs in HVSC. At first I did very little progress. I ofter had the same song players for tens of minutes if not hours. I started from root directory of HVSC and entered directories manually one by one. On the bright side I only needed to keep track of current file. In any case all this trouble caused me to practically forget my plans. At this point I was listening to HVSC 4.2 (update 27), which contained around 16000 SIDs.

Then maybe a year or two later I started listening to SIDs again. I also realised that I needed a better player if I was ever planning to see my plans through. I knew exactly what I needed: a player that would change songs after a few minutes and a keyboard shortcut that would have the player skip to the next song. Luckily this was easily done with combination of command line player such as sidplay2, Perl and extensively configurable window manager such as FVMW2. In late 2005, during the new year break, I was finished with HVSC. Little I knew…

The update to HVSC 44 was big. Apart from changing the numbering scheme, HVSC 44 contained almost twice as many files as 4.2 did. Since many files were either renamed, moved or updated, I decided not to try to follow the updates but to start from zero. I decided that I would listen through HVSC 44 like HVSC had 4.2 never happened. I was glad to realise that HVSC now came with song length information, so after a few tweaks to my Perl-script I was all set for another go.

After four years, some updates to the player script and fine collection of scripts to determine changes in HVSC, I have now listened every single song, including subsongs, in HVSC 51. I’m still unsure why I did this but I’m glad I did it. SIDs have been great source of joy, and at times, peace, when things have gone noisy or hectic at work. Although many songs are simply horrible, most are fine when played on the background. There are many songs I like and some that I really love. I have collected a list of songs I have liked during the years. I may not agree with all the songs on it today, but at the time I liked every single one of them. You can [get the list here][sid].

And then some figures. All in all I have now listened some 60,000 individual SID files. According to Songlengths.txt, HVSC 51 consists of 36,937 files that total in 53,815 subsongs or 1639 hours or 68 days. Since I haven’t listened all songs entirely, I cannot use these numbers as averages directly. It is simply impossible to tell how much time I have spent listening to SIDs, but considering the fact that for example I have listened /MUSICIANS/B/Beben_Wally/Tetris.sid for days if not weeks, I think it only fair to say I have listened to SIDs for at least 68 days. I even think I can go as far as to say that I have listened to SIDs for 68 * (60000 files / 36937 files * 0.75) = 83 days.

What about the artists? According to my list of favourites my top-11 preferred list of artists goes as follows.

  1. Rob Hubbard (14 songs)
  2. Sean Connolly (12)
  3. Chris Huelsbeck (11)
  4. Jeroen Tel (10)
  5. Laxity (9)
  6. Thomas Detert (9)
  7. Tomas Danko (9)
  8. Glenn Gallefoss (8)
  9. Johannes Bjerregaard (8)
  10. Geir Tjelta (7)
  11. Dwayne Bakewell (7)