Back In Time II

From ExoticA
Back In Time II
Back In Time II album cover.
Studio album by Peter Connelly, Jogeir Liljedahl, Chris Abbott, Fred Gray, Darren Izzard, Warren Pilkington, Mark Cooksey, Gareth Dolloway and Tomas Danko
Year Published 1999
Genre Game
Length 73:53
Producer Chris Abbott
Catalogue No. C64CD2

Back In Time II was a collaborative album co-ordinated by Chris Abbott (trading as High Technology Publishing Ltd) and published in 1999. The album was a sequel to Back In Time and consisted of studio versions of Commodore 64 game soundtracks, which, in certain instances, were arranged and performed by the original composers.

Back in Time 1 generated some money which went straight back in to new equipment, and getting artwork. I always wanted an Aztec Challenge inspired cover, and made the mistake of contacting an artist whose work I liked generally and asking him to do an Aztec Challenge cover. Unfortunately the resulting artwork was terrible: the Aztec looked like someone had stuck a spear up his arse. Normal behaviour for an Aztec of course, but not welcome in this context.

Then I contacted another artist (who was more expensive) who did the cover you see now. Actually the rough sketch (black and white) looked quite lot better than the coloured in version, but at least it was more like the vision I had.

Equipment used on my tracks were the usual MU-80, a Korg Z1 and a Novation Supernova. The Z1 was used extensively in "Driller", but I don't own it now. The Supernova can be heard most clearly in Warhawk, Driller and Rydeen. For Warhawk, I actually wrote a routine in MS Access to import the TXT dump from a SID2MIDI rendition so I could examine the sounds and recreate them on the Supernova. Later on I wrote an export for that which actually produced MIDI files which would work on the supernova, using SysEx to alter the patches in real-time to recreate the Ring modulation offsets over time for things like Knucklebusters.

There's a lot more third party stuff on this album because I was working full-time and had hardly any energy, and because the work being produced by everyone else was really good. For my own collaborations I was inspired by Darren Izzard's tuneful renditions of difficult pieces such as Driller and Tetris. He produced them in GM, and we took them into the studio to put through the expensive equipment. I especially loved Scarabaeus: it's just such weird and out-of-this-world music, and the Z1 really made it sound eerie.

The most difficult piece for me was Fred Gray's Batman, which was a nightmare to get right, going through numerous versions, even though it was based on Fred's own MIDI file for the piece. I joked in the booklet that Fred played the guitar, but he didn't: it was just a sample.

Another sample it took ages to find was the flute thing on "Thalamusik", which was a simple go at producing a high-definition rendering of the old Zzap!64 tape which by now was noisy and warped. I was pleased how the rendition came out: not identical, but very close to what I was trying to do.

Jogeir's Galway is God is still one of my favourite tracks: at 3:30 there's a spine tingling moment, though Martin said he preferred the original XM since it was more syncopated. Terra Cresta slowed the original down and turned it into a monster: still my favourite version of the track.

Peter Connelly did inspired versions of Aztec, and especially turning Forbidden Forest into a Danny Elfman track. Man, I would have loved him to do a "Beyond the Forbidden Forest" medley.

Danko's Comic Bakery came about because Tomas Danko himself wasn't overly keen on Back in Time 1: so I got a track from him for Back in Time 2 to prove he could do better. And, to be fair, he did.

Tonka's Wizball 2000 is an amazing track that was originally called "Wizball 98" and (I think) predates the release of Back in Time 1. Although it sounds like SID, it was created using a Cheetah MS2000 (I think that's what it was called). There's no SID on it, which I think is absolutely amazing since it's the most SIDdy track.

The cover of Rydeen ("Daley Thompson's Decathlon") replaced "Elektraglide", which was a Darren Izzard MIDI file I couldn't really make exciting. Rydeen has a unique place in the history of C64 music, being the piece (when used on Sega's "Super Locomotive") which inspired Martin Galway to become a game composer. This was one which was also very difficult to make interesting until Warren Pilkington lent a helping hand and we decided to make it as sparkly as possible.

But why is there virtually no Rob Hubbard? Back in Time 2 almost never happened because Rob didn't like the way his tracks for BIT 2 were going. I had done a version of Chimera which he said was a "backwards step" over what we had achieved in Back in Time 1. I had to plead to the fans for support emails to show Rob, but the CD only went ahead when the pieces that weren't working were removed from the CD. There was enough to replace them, so that was OK. Chimera eventually appeared on Karma 64 and Crystal Dreamscapes (as well as RKO), sounding a lot better than the initial versions which had not impressed Rob.

Back in Time 2 pressed 2000 copies and sold around 1500. It was a better album than Back in Time 1, but the tracks were less famous. Many of the tracks have aged extremely well. Mine, ironically, sound more retro than ever, but stuff like Tonka hasn't dated a day.

As was the custom of the time, the Back in Time 2 CD-ROM contained third party remixes from lots of people active at the time, including the SoundWavers. Up until around mid-2001, had more free remixes on it than did. Of course, this didn't take long to change.
- Chris Abbott

Track Listing

  1. Peter Connelly : "Aztec Challenge (Tribal Mix)" - (3:10)
    (Paul Norman)
  2. Jogeir Liljedahl : "Galway is God 2000 (CD Mix)" - (7:38)
    (Martin Galway)
  3. Chris Abbott : "Warhawk (MagnetoMixe)" - (4:31)
    (Rob Hubbard)
  4. Jogeir Liljedahl : "Roland's Rat Race (Yeeeeeeah 12" mix)" - (3:47)
    (Martin Galway)
  5. Fred Gray and Chris Abbott : "Batman The Caped Crusader (Radio funk mix)" - (3:30)
    (Fred Gray)
  6. Jogeir Liljedahl : "Terra Cresta (Apocalypse mix)" - (4:21)
    (Martin Galway)
  7. Darren Izzard : "Scarabaeus (Spacestation mix)" - (3:44)
  8. Chris Abbott and Warren Pilkington : "Rydeen (Daley Thompson's Decathlon Loader)" - (3:11)
    (Yukihiro Takahashi)
  9. Mark Cooksey : "Ghosts 'n Goblins (Spook Rock Mix)" - (4:29)
  10. Jogeir Liljedahl : "Ivory Tower (theme from Helikopter Jagd)" - (4:30)
    (Klaus Doldinger and Giorgio Moroder)
    Based on the "The Ivory Tower" piece taken from the 1984 soundtrack album of the movie "The NeverEnding Story" by Klaus Doldinger and Giorgio Moroder.
  11. Peter Connelly : "Forbidden Forest (Elfman mix)" - (3:31)
    (Paul Norman)
  12. Gareth Dolloway (Tonka) : "Wizball 2000 (Lara and Enya mix)" - (7:08)
    (Martin Galway)
  13. Darren Izzard : "Driller (Thundermix)" - (8:37)
    (Matt Gray)
  14. Chris Abbott : "Thalamusik 2000 (Zzap!64 reborn mix)" - (5:41)
    (Rob Hubbard)
  15. Tomas Danko : "Comic Bakery (Danko mix)" - (6:05)
    (Martin Galway)

External Links