(Topic ID: 207399)

Chris Granner rocks!


By Vino

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 63 posts
  • 32 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 months ago by Bwilson
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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There are 63 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 1 year ago

Hey guys,

My son recently scored big on his 4th grade oral report on the topic of tornados, and because he is my pinball partner in crime, used Whirlwind’s backing music as a part of his slideshow presentation in class.

It’s really amazing to hear Chris Granners work away from the game itself, and realized I tend to gravitate to his contributions to pinball (system 11/wpc).

Do you have a favorite?

I’d love to hear more about his career and what he’s been up to these days.
Thanks all!

#2 1 year ago

Chris also does PinBot.

#3 1 year ago

Fishtales

#4 1 year ago

Yes. Yes he does.

#5 1 year ago

Taxi main theme is just sublime.

#6 1 year ago

Yes, and forgot to add “the dude” too!

#7 1 year ago

I, too, am blown away by hearing some of these tunes "out of context" and away from the game, on the System 11 Music Showcase compilation, a copy of which was provided to me by a very generous Pinsider after a futile search for an original copy. Listening to the tracks without any other distractions to the senses (ie. playing the game) is amazing.

I think Granner's System 11 masterpieces lie within EATPM and Taxi. His music on Millionaire and Road Kings far surpasses the gameplay on the games in which they appear.

#8 1 year ago

His soundtracks are fantastic! I've always loved Whirlwind's soundtrack, especially that jackpot groove, but I've grown to enjoy White Water's amazing stackable soundtrack just as much. Taxi is another great groove!

He incorperated some really nice effects in his soundtracks as well:

Most notably from the System 11 era, he crafted little "ball drain" cadences that would sound good/and in place regardless of when the ball end jingle would interrupt the main play tune, jackpot tunes, and any other musical break when the ball drains.

In Whirlwind, Earthshaker, and to a lesser extent, White Water (and perhaps others), he used the "Shepard's Scale" (an auditory illusion that gives the impression that the music is infinitely getting higher and higher in pitch, even though it's not). In Earthshaker, it's used for the ball launch sound when "Aftershock" is achieved, and in Whirlwind, it's used as a bonus count down, and in White Water, it's used for multiball restart. Really fantastic way to hype up a player.

Lately, with pretty much all new games being based off of licenses, that musical creativity has fallen by the wayside. One of the biggest disappointments for me was the music in Dialed In. I was hoping for some tasty Granner riffs, in the same spirit as ES and WW, but alas... No dice. The only game with inspiringly original music that I've played recent was TNA.

#9 1 year ago
Quoted from spiroagnew:

I, too, am blown away by hearing some of these tunes "out of context" and away from the game, on the System 11 Music Showcase compilation, a copy of which was provided to me by a very generous Pinsider after a futile search for an original copy. Listening to the tracks without any other distractions to the senses (ie. playing the game) is amazing.
I think Granner's System 11 masterpieces lie within EATPM and Taxi. His music on Millionaire and Road Kings far surpasses the gameplay on the games in which they appear.

Any chance I can get a copy of this? Thanks!

#11 1 year ago

Will be checking this out. Thanks for posting this.

#12 1 year ago

Thx for link mswhat, awesome.

#13 1 year ago

I too love Chris Granner. Really impressive what he could do with limited sound technology in the late 80's/early 90's. My personal favorite is White Water. So cool how the music builds as you work your way up the river.

Chris is on record saying his favorite pinball music he created is for Taxi (which I also love). He said he was going for a Little Feat-esque jam rock sound.

Clay Harrell did a really great interview with Chris that is still available on his pinrepair site. Link here:

http://www.pinrepair.com/topcast/topcast_47.mp3

#14 1 year ago

His work on Elvira and the Party Monsters is legendary. That is SUCH a killer theme and the overall sound package is stellar. Chris Granner is definitely one of the best ever to compose for pinball.

#15 1 year ago

Granner's best work IMO was his original DCS composition for Twilight Zone, which according to lore was supposed to be released with TZ, before Bally decided to ditch DCS at the time. He's released it for Pinsound boards so you can enjoy TZ now with the intended soundtrack. Anyone with a TZ who hasn't yet bought a Pinsound is missing out.

#16 1 year ago

I like the TZ sounds and music but there's too much extra on that Pinsound board for me. Thanks for the video link.

#17 1 year ago

Funny this thread popped up...I’ve been noticing Chris Granner name more on games I’ve been looking at recently. Just brought home a HUO Whirlwind and have been diving into it a lot. Really enjoying the catchy tunes. Also picked up a Pinbot and was thinking the soundtrack is really perfect for the game theme....yes, Chris Granner. Another of my favorite soundtracks is Granner...T2. Guy deserves any and all recognition he gets.

#18 1 year ago

The music and sound effects in Pinbot are the best in pinball imo. So otherworldly that I'm amazed a human could compose it.

#19 1 year ago
Quoted from Elicash:

My personal favorite is White Water. So cool how the music builds as you work your way up the river.

That is excelent, agreed. And a feature like that was never possible on DCS sound. So think about that next time you see "DCS introduced much better sound quality". In my view, that statement is only partially true.

#20 1 year ago
Quoted from soren:

That is excelent, agreed. And a feature like that was never possible on DCS sound.

I never thought of that! If they wanted to reproduce that with DCS, they would've had to re-orchestrate an entirely new tune for each raft, but with the YM2151 chip, they could add channels on the fly. White Water would've had to have had 9 separate tunes for each raft, plus the multiball tune, gold rush tune, whirlpool tune, enter initials tune, PLUS 7 different tunes for each of the hazards during Wet Willies. That's 20 "songs" in total. Plus all the speech and sound effects and other jingles. I don't know much about how capable the DCS boards were, but I don't know of any pinball machine of that era that would've been capable of all that. It's amazing how they accomplished it with White Water on "inferior" hardware.

What always amazed me with William's sound and music engineers though was how well they used that particular chip. Those Yamaha FM sound chips all have a very distinctive aggressive "Sega Genesis" sound to them, but somehow with WPC, they made everything sound so natural.

#21 1 year ago

I chose BOP as my first machine based mostly on the sound. Not the best criteria for choosing a game, but I don't regret it.

#22 1 year ago

I had the pleasure of doing a Pinball Expo seminar with Chris back in 2014. We talked about the history of sound in pinball and also debuted the unused DCS audio music for Twilight Zone that Chris had saved on an old DAC tape. He's honestly just a really great, passionate guy.

Here is the seminar: http://www.pinballnews.com/shows/expo2014/baileygranner.mp3

And yeah, his Yamaha FM synth music is some of the best in the world!

#23 1 year ago
Quoted from TimO:

I chose BOP as my first machine based mostly on the sound. Not the best criteria for choosing a game, but I don't regret it.

BoP's music and sounds are incredible. I'd put it in the top 10.

#24 1 year ago
Quoted from jar155:

BoP's music and sounds are incredible. I'd put it in the top 10.

I believe Dan Forden was responsible for the sound and music on Bride of PinBot. Chris Granner did the music on the original PinBot. Bill Parod also contributed some sound and music to PinBot, specifically the high score theme (which was originally slated as the main theme until the team agreed to try something more abstract sounding).

#25 1 year ago
Quoted from Elicash:

Clay Harrell did a really great interview with Chris that is still available on his pinrepair site.

I universally love Clay's interviews but I cringed when Clay said he didn't like System 11 music. CG was then awkwardly trying to say how much he liked that era.

I'm pretty sure I've never disagreed with Clay more than I did on that topic.

Bonus: Here are some additional great stereo remixes of several S11-era music pieces:
http://gamearchive.askey.org/Pinball/Audio_Files/

#26 1 year ago

Brian Schmidt has probably created some of my most favorite tunes in pinball, but Chris Granner is definitely my most favorite composer in pinball overall. I've said this before, but the sound package on Whitewater is probably my favorite in any pinball machine out there. Also, I really prefer the sound of the pre-DCS games. FM-Synth just has more charm IMO and, as others have mentioned, allows for some really cool effects that aren't easily done by using audio files like DCS uses.

#27 1 year ago
Quoted from TimO:

I chose BOP as my first machine based mostly on the sound. Not the best criteria for choosing a game, but I don't regret it.

My first pin as well and no regrets ever, and I believe Granner did Pinbot too.

And agree, Whitewater has to go down as one of his best.

#28 1 year ago

DCS was cutting edge, sure. The first commercial product utilising compressed sound, the Sony Minidisc, was barely introduced in 1993. And surely DCS gave more freedom of musical expression, recording of real instruments, more instruments in the mix etc.

But, it was also limited in both fidelity and capasity. And as a result, the DCS music tracks are usually 20-40 seconds pieces looped over and over. Whereas with the older system, they where able to make tunes.

If you, added to this, like the synthesized sounds (us 80's videogamers, synth-pop listeners, oh yes). And with the crisp fidelity. Well, I say that DCS was not universally a leap into "much better sound". Least of all, when it comes to the music.

#29 1 year ago
Quoted from alveolus:

The music and sound effects in Pinbot are the best in pinball imo. So otherworldly that I'm amazed a human could compose it.

The sounds and music, IMO, are what makes Pinbot better than just an average game. They make the experience.

#30 1 year ago

Curse you mswhat for posting the archive!

I haven't been able to get the opening theme of Whirlwind out of my head since listening to it on the archive several days ago!

#31 1 year ago

Chris's pinball sound is so good because his themes immerse you in what's happening at that moment in the game. From the F-14 multiball theme to the White Water main theme, his tunes fit so well with whats going on in the game. He's a great guy outside of pinball as well. Maybe he'll chime in and say hello. [paging CG]

#32 1 year ago

If I was in a room with all the big names of pinball designers, I would be most excited to meet Chris Granner.

37
#33 1 year ago

You cats are SO awesome! Thank you so much for the kind words, can't even begin to say how much it means to hear stuff like this about music that has been forgotten by many.

No actual promises, but you may have inspired me to clean up & modernize that archive -- gotta get in & edit the links so they just link to the mp3s like normal modern music archives.

One guy above referenced the DCS version of TZ. As Pinwizkid mentioned, it was cool to dig that DAT out of mothballs and get some music out there that was otherwise completely lost, so there's that. But I have to say my feelings about TZ in general, and especially that soundtrack, have really evolved. As you all astutely point out, DCS was hardly a one-way-street to "mo' better" sound -- not having that ability to manipulate the pitch and tempo of a melody was a huge setback, one I still struggle with to this day in games now that ALL sound is basically pre-recorded and played back through a multi-channel digital mixer: Yes, you CAN'T do what we did with Whitewater without a huge footprint of audio which we obviously didn't have in 1993, or even in 2003. But more importantly, you can't do those manipulations INTERACTIVELY, IN REAL TIME. IMO the best example of that stuff is in Taxi: listen to the "musical car horns" as you make loop and return lane shots. Always transposed to the chord the tune is currently in...EVEN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HORN LICK. I just think that's so sexy. (Yes I am the geekiest guy you ever met, I admit it...)

Anyway, TZ: we had kind of drifted away from doing that crazy interactive stuff by then, there's some but not much. What the WPC version of TZ has, is MORE MUSIC AND SOUND than any other previous game. And, it's all done by a team (Rich Karstens and myself, directed by Pat, Larry & Ted) at the very pinnacle of our skills...from the last .01dB of clarity we managed to squeeze out of the CVSD speech system, to the giant wad of EPROM they gave us when they bailed on DCS, allowing us to digitize lots of little foley sound effects with the drum machine in glorious EIGHT-BIT PCM (woo hoo!), to pretty much the peak of all the hundreds of little tricks we had all evolved over 7 years of making Yamaha sounds: I've basically come to the conclusion that TZ is the best pre-DCS soundtrack in pinball. (My FAVORITE overall soundtrack is still Fish Tales, and my favorite single tune is still the Taxi main tune.) Side note: I don't care for the Pinsound version of TZ much. Not 'cause of the music...but the last version I heard, they still hadn't implemented proper interactive mixing, and things aren't nearly as well-balanced as the WPC version. Would be happy to hear this has improved in the last year or so...

To me, the game that made all that stuff possible, and the game that brought us squarely into the modern, story-telling, theme-immersing era of pinball...was PinBot. Yes, it was an awesome theme, yes it had the best of both Yamaha and previously Sys11 sounds...the revolutionary thing about PinBot was, "I ... SEE ... YOU." THAT was THE IDEA for the game: you (the player) bring a MACHINE to LIFE. And you know what? THAT'S WHAT PINBALL IS, HAS BECOME. And we pretty much owe that to Python. (It's also a REALLY cool soundtrack -- a first in several areas, and the theme fit the technology better than pretty much any other theme, ever.)

OK gotta go to work. Thanks again, everyone, SO VERY MUCH! Keep playing, and keep writing! (thanks to Greg and Brendan for tipping me off to the thread!)

Best,
-cg

#34 1 year ago

Some amazing things were possible with the Sys11/WPC Yamaha sound system. Brian Schmidt wrote an article a few years ago that touches on some of the capabilities.

https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/BrianSchmidt/20141104/229404/Interactive_Audio_in_Black_Knight_2000_The_Importance_of_Integration.php

--Ted

#35 1 year ago

Great article, Ted. Thanks. Many of those later System 11 games (Fun House, BK2K, Dr. Dude, Whirlwind among others) really had TIGHT sound packages. I always appreciated how the games would wait that 2-beat delay to tie in the sound to whatever just happened in the game. It's most noticeable at the end of a ball when the game waits for the track to hit the point where the next track comes in (see Dr. Dude when Heart or Magnet music is playing). Today that stuff is largely gone. I love Metallica, but none of that exists. Every tune just runs into the next one. When the ball ends, it just lowers the volume of the track. I miss those pre-DCS days!

#36 1 year ago

Shoutout to Diner's 8-bit MIDI 50s rock. Forget the guy bagging on it in the "worst sound/callouts" thread. Cool to see Mr. Granner drop in on this one.

Quoted from Pinwizkid:

I believe Dan Forden was responsible for the sound and music on Bride of PinBot.

It was, and BoP's sound is very Mortal Kombat-ish in spots, especially the effects when you shoot the shuttle ramp to advance the Machine's faces. TOASTY!

#37 1 year ago

That is VERY cool that Dr Granner is posting in here! He has a point about the interactivity with music, and being able to change things on the fly. This is possible now due to the better processing power we have now, but I doubt there’s a code infrastructure in pinball to support it (there is in video games).

I’m conflicted about the PinSound comments - that board was what reawakened my interest in pinball, but I certainly get where he’s coming from. The good news is, there is much better mixing integration now, the ducking code works better (music gets quieter during call outs, sfx). And even better, the Wpc soundtracks still kicks ass!

#38 1 year ago

Mr. Granner, thanks for providing your insight and thanks of course for all of your priceless contributions to pinball.

I sometimes play the main Taxi theme around the house and recently my 10-year-old started asking me to play it. So your brilliant legacy will carry on!

#39 1 year ago

Hey. Great to hear from you Granner. And thanks for the music. And all the hard work you and the guys put into the games.

Quoted from Granzo:

IMO the best example of that stuff is in Taxi: listen to the "musical car horns" as you make loop and return lane shots. Always transposed to the chord the tune is currently in...EVEN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HORN LICK.

I am stunned. Perfecting game design by people who wanted to push it. And bringing some ingenuity into the possibility the platform was serving them. Great fact to share.

Tell me, Granzo. Can you, at the top of your head, think of say three (if any) examples of non-percussive digital sounds you used the 8-bit DAC for. I know that because of the highly limited ROM capasity, the DAC was mostly used for drum sounds. But I am curious, did you every use it for sound effects where the CVSD was just too shallow to carry out the playback? And was it samples or realtime waveform generation?

Greetings.

#40 1 year ago

As I originally stated, this started with a love of our Whirlwind music that inspired my ten year olds class weather report.

Mr Granner, thank you for jumping in and sharing - we are both blown away!
Your contributions are an invaluable part of pinball past AND present.

No obligation at all, but clearly there’s an audience who may want to hear more from you at some point on either a podcast or other format.

Thanks again!

#41 1 year ago

I like the Gran' D fan fare

#42 1 year ago
Quoted from Shredso:

Any chance I can get a copy of this? Thanks!

Times two!

#43 1 year ago
Quoted from spiroagnew:

I, too, am blown away by hearing some of these tunes "out of context" and away from the game, on the System 11 Music Showcase compilation, a copy of which was provided to me by a very generous Pinsider after a futile search for an original copy. Listening to the tracks without any other distractions to the senses (ie. playing the game) is amazing.
I think Granner's System 11 masterpieces lie within EATPM and Taxi. His music on Millionaire and Road Kings far surpasses the gameplay on the games in which they appear.

Definitely PM me with info on how to get that compilation...would be awesome to listen to.

Dayum...I didn’t realize Road Kings was Granner, too! RK was my first pinball and absolutely loved the soundtrack on it. Granner truly Rocks!

#44 1 year ago
Quoted from soren:

Can you, at the top of your head, think of say three (if any) examples of non-percussive digital sounds you used the 8-bit DAC for.

Well I can think of two (categories): 1) the whitewater "rapids" ramp sounds -- the CVSD versions of these were basically just a wall of noise. 2) basically, every small playfield sfx in TZ -- the clocks ticking, a lot of things that used a loose ping-pong delay effect with a fair amount of feedback, and just starting with little clicks, gave it a very spacious sound IMO. Of course those all came directly from the DCS version; they gave us the extra EPROM space so that we could speed up porting the game to WPC/YamahaVille.

Once we were past TZ, it was all moot obviously...and before that very unusual circumstance, EPROM footprint was a pretty severe limitation, so VERY little of that sort of thing went on. Good question.

#45 1 year ago

I see. Interesting stuff.

Cute remark, actually. The sound of rapids is a noisy sound by nature. I know what you mean, of course. (smiling)

#46 1 year ago

I want to thanks Chris for all the stories he shares with us pinhead. I really loved to dig the sound rom of those sys11 / wpc, and would like to ask something to you, if possible.

There are some "chords" from the main mode music in TZ roms, like those used on TAF bonus count: was intended to use them in TZ bonus count too?

I would like to thank you for releasing TZ DCS soundtrack. I understand it was less polished than the final Yamaha one, but let me say how I love that Multiball Ready music (the one with the synth voices). Thanks... Thanks a lot!

7 months later
#47 9 months ago

Bump for more Granner!!!

I’m picking up a Fish Tales next week (to go along with WW, WH2O, and TZ, among others)...was reading the Pinball Magazine’s Mark Ritchie feature on FT. Low and behold, there is a few page interview with Chris included on it. Now I am really getting excited to add this to the collection!

Chris Granner Rocks!!!!

#48 9 months ago

Thanks for Bk2k!

2 months later
#49 7 months ago

A few of my favorite “pieces” that Chris has done:

** TZ Skill Shot Plunge music

** WH2O Boulder Garden when 1) the tools are “tinging” and 2) when the ball shoots out into the north/south rubber ring before it goes out in front of the slings and makes the “pee-yoww” sound.

** WW high score music

What are some others’ favorites??

#50 7 months ago

I think Chris has worked on half the games I have in my house.

The guy is nothing but a GENIUS!

I don't think a lot of people understand why they like pinball as much as they do but Chris's sounds and music HAS to be apart of it. He knows how to set the tone to let you know the game is fun, he knows how to make things intense, and he knows how to celebrate you when you are doing well.

I think Whirlwind might be his greatest work.

I am holding onto 2 games now where I really don't like the rules but LOVE the sound.

Chris loves to use DEEP male voices in a lot of his games and I'm not sure why but I just love it!
The only other 2 games that have done deep voice call outs that I really like are The Hobbit with David Theil, and Iron Maiden with Jerry Thompson.

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