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A music club in your livingroom

>> Friday, March 9, 2007

Robert Pepperell founded Hex in 1990 along with Miles Visman and Coldcut members Matt Black and Jon More. They wanted to exploit the creative possibilities of personal computers especially exploring the convergence of distinct media such as music, video, animation and visuals. A number of ground-breaking products were released on various formats including CD-i with Escape, Antistatic and Headcrash. Hex went throught many transformations and was finally wound up in 1999 after internal tensions came to a head. However, the name and spirit of Hex continues through its bastard off-spring Hexstatic and the legacy of its audio-visual experiments can be seen in the work of a number of digital artists and performers.

The three titles Hex released on CD-i (also available in a triple pack released in 1995) are based on the same engine but the latter two are improved clearly over the original Escape title. Basically it's about dance tracks with a graphics editor so you can create your own visuals to play during the tracks. I remember Escape was also audio CD compatible but I don't know about the other two (Do you know?). You can choose between loads of different animations which pop up everywhere on the screen, blurring and spawning as big and colourful as it gets. The package offers a nice visual blend for you to play with. Antistatic follows more ambient tracks and automatically appeals more to me personally, both Escape and Headcrash are about retro dance tracks.

In April 93, Hex released "eSCAPE" on the CD-i platform. eSCAPE combines trance, ambient and techno trax from artists such as Irrisistable Force, Eon, B12, Mind over Rhythm, Coldcut, Warez D00dz and Psycore with state of the art cybergraphix. The idea is to listen to the music through your hifi whilst viewing the graphics on your TV. A complete cyberclub in your living room! Interaction is a key feature of eSCAPE as you can play with the visuals eg by making a dancing figure animation move in time by using the CD-i joystick. Playing with eSCAPE is a compulsive experience, a bit like a cross between playing a computer game, listening to an album, and making your own pop video.

Released in February 94 AntiStatic was one of the most powerful and original CD-i titles to be released by Hex. A mixture of danceable trance and dreamy-ambient audio tracks, specially composed by Hex, provide the background to a world of 3D organic landscapes that were created using custom fractal mathematics and random image generation techniques (coded by Miles Visman). Beautiful 2D animations melt and merge into this world of diversity and surprise. Use of the Remote Control allows interaction with the visuals by selecting animations, sequences, patterns and colours. The music from antiStatic was released simultaneously by N-Tone on CD and vinyl.

HeadCrash was the third and most impressive in the series of interactive CDi's produced by Hex. It throws in the face of the user full-on graphics pulsating to screaming hardcore techno tracks including music from Digital Poodle, Protozoa and Hex. Multiple layered routines made up of randomly loading animations, trippy backgrounds and sampled foregrounds mean a new sequence each time a track is played. Interactivity with the remote control allows the user to edit routines by selecting elements individually or in combination - with the option of changing colour, direction and pace. Raw and powerful, headCrash was a 21st century toy for the headstrong.

Personally, I find the music in Hex' CD-i titles a little dated. As music is the main theme of the discs, it's important that you enjoy it! However, the way how you can create your own visuals following the dance tracks is fun to do, and the graphics look awesome on CD-i, especially when you realize no digital video cartridge is needed. Antistatic is the best one in my opinion as I feel they went a tad too far with the music of Headcrash. So, if you don't like the music, you're done with the titles pretty quick ;). The technique however was a large inspiration for Microsoft's own Windows Media Player, offering the same kind of visuals.

1 reacties:

jacksson,  March 11, 2007 at 7:42 PM  

I loved these titles on CD-i, it was awesome to play them on the background and the screen was changing in line with the music. Very cool, I'm a hardcore fan and grown up with this type of music, so it's all memories for me. Thanks!

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Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
7th Guest, The - Philips Freeland Studios
Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
Mutant Rampage - Body Slam - Animation Magic
Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

Compact Disc Interactive

Compact Disc Interactive

Games N-Z

Name that tune - Philips Fantasy Factory
New Day - Bits Corporation
NFL Hall of Fame Football - Philips POV
Othello - HMO
Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
Thieves' World - Electronic Arts
Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
Uninvited - Icom Simulations
Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

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