An interesting 2nd-generation tracker program created by Oskari. The concept is focused on a flowchart-like machine view, where you daisy chain "machines" together. There are two types of machines; Effects and Generators. Generators provide the actual waveforms/chords/music-making sounds, whereas Effects tweak the sound to whatever your liking. You can connect any machine to any other, creating an essentially infinite combination of squeaks and squawks for you to mangle into a song. Add to the fact that you can further change dozens of parameters in each machine (attack, delay, reverb time, and the like), and you have a veritable smorgasbord of options.

The learning curve is steep, as the whole concept of linking machines together, putting down hexidecimal numbers in long columns, and then sequencing these patterns into the actual song is a bit much to grasp. Once you understand the basic premise, though, you get the nuances of the program quickly.

The beauty of the program is that while the program itself isn't open source, anyone can develop machines for it. This allows anyone with good programming sense and a love of music to bust out a custom effect or phat-sounding machine.

The current version of Buzz is 1.2 Beta. It's been in beta for about 2 years, as Oskari lost the source code in a rather unfortunate and vague hard drive accident. Apparently the cost of repairing the HDD is out of his price range, so the users of Buzz are forced to put up with the random crashes, program instability, beta machines, and odd quirks of the program that add character. (for instance, the hard drive recorder that outputs the sound to .wav files cuts out the first tick of the song, meaning that the first 1/16 of a measure is cut out, unless you add in an entire measure of silence preceding it) Even with all of that, though, the people that use it love it with a holy passion. Well, I do anyway.

The community is small by most standards, with a mailing list (grudgingly hosted using Yahoo!'s ad-ridden groups service), a chat channel on Efnet called #buzz, and a few scattered web pages on free accounts or ISP-hosted accounts. A large amount of Buzzers are European, so language is sometimes an issue when communicating between musicians.

I never understood why the leaders of the community didn't just break down and get a hosted page... it's not like the community is so large it sucks down large amounts of bandwidth. In any case, that's what mp3.com is for.

The file format is in .bmx, which is shared among the Buzz artists, but to distribute the music out of the community, .mp3 or .ogg are used. .bmx files, assuming they don't have dozens of .wav samples embedded in them, are usually quite small (under 500k), even for 30 minute space rock operas or the like.

As far as I know, Buzz isn't used by any commercially-successful musicians, however Sascha once used Buzz to create a track called Bloodlock, that was put onto his latest cd. The main reason for this, I would suspect, is that most Buzzers create harsh Drum'n'Bass, Ambient, Industrial, noise art, or some other random genre that the majority of people that buy cds don't buy. Not that there's anything wrong with the genres, and most hardcore Buzzers are VERY talented, but there isn't much of a commercial market for their musical interests. As usual, I could be wrong though.

Wonderous Buzz musicians include Djlaser, Canc3r, Mute, Lowpass, Whitenoise, and Oskari himself, who releases under Goa Way.

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