Bye Bye Caustic

May 29-June 2, 2024

READ ME FIRST This article is about my feelings towards the Caustic 3 DAW, and in between paragraphs, I'm going to place some tracks that I've made. They probably won't be sorted, but I'll provide a short blurb about each track. The songs usually won't have anything to do with the text, but I didn't really find the time in the text itself to talk about the actual songs I made nor my process, so I'll shove them in boxes like this haphazardly so you get an idea of what I'm talking about. NOTE: I didn't know what mixing was when I wrote these!! Not to mention that some of these are super repetetive, drone on too long, and are overall pretty rough and unfinished. For every okayish sounding track, I've got (quite literally) 40 more that sound substantially worse. Though it might not come through as much on this site, the whole reason my music name is 909crime is because I wanted to write party music. I wrote a lot of hip hop, house, and disco in the beginning. Most of the ones I've picked are not too bad, but I'll put in a little notice if I fear any of these will blow out your eardrums. Thanks for reading and thanks for listening! CW: Depression, Bullying, Addiction

"The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart." - Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Ya know as I was thinking about this article, I couldn't help but think about the nature of change. Sometimes it's forced upon us suddenly and unexpectedly, other times it slowly but surely edges us to new and uncomfortable directions. In some ways, the shuttering of single cell software was both of these for me. Single Cell Software created Caustic 3, a "toy" DAW for mobile phones. For you to understand my connection to this program, i'll need to tell you a story first.


This track seems to have been untouched since September of 2016, perfect for the beginning of this story. Back then I really liked to sample windows sounds. Kinda weird too, since most of the songs I was making during this time were made using the built-in caustic samples and synths. I feel like I might have watched a tutorial for writing the amen break, and I put the windows 9x intro over it. Either way, I remember explicitly being really proud of how this came out.

I've always had a passing interest in doing music. But I never had the patience for full instrument lessons. In around 2010, I found an app called pixitracker, which I convinced my mom to install on her phone. I was pretty sucky at it, but being able to draft up ideas at a moments notice was pretty cool. I didn't really stick with pixittacker that much though, and it was always sorta just a fun pass time. Fast forward to about 2016 when I discovered Caustic 3. Coming from a mostly music tracker background, Caustic 3 first felt like a bit of a whiplash. I quickly got acquainted with it's workflow, and found it far more intuitive than all the other mobile DAWs I'd tried. The time difference between having an idea and having a beat on the pattern editor of what I wanted to make went from minutes to seconds as I fiddled with the DAW more and more. Mind you, remembered when I said I sucked at pixi tracker? I SUCKED at Caustic. Most of what I made in high school is C tier music at best. But strangely, I didn't really mind making the terrible beats. The work flow was so fun and freeing that it was honestly more fun and rewarding to interact with the software and to try to express myself in new ways. The ease of use put my head into a flow state, similar to what I feel in tetris or twinkle star sprites, where time basically stops, and the music begins to write itself.

tonal whiplash incoming lol

Now not many people know this, but in 2016 my sophomore year of high school, I was extremely depressed. I had an English class, and my teacher absolutely hated me. She would single me out and make fun of me in many subtle ways in front of the whole class and to me directly. "My husband is black so i can't be racist to you".. why the fuck would you say that to a 16 year old? The homework she would give was busy work that I never was able to do right, and it took a huge toll on my mental health. There was so much wrong with that teacher, i ended up blocking most of it out. I don't like remembering that class. Not to mention I was doing cross-country at the time, and due to daily training that was not really good for my body, I'd arrive home every day in a state of total mental and physical exhaustion. My grades started to suffer, and I felt like I was nearing the end of my wits. Though I eventually did quit cross country running, the agony of that English class did stay for the rest of the school year. In order to cope with this, I'd spend numerous nights in the Caustic 3 DAW. Oftentimes, I'd stay up till 5AM on school nights just tinkering with Caustic with no regard for anything but making music. I can't tell you how many hours I spent in the DAW, but it was probably very unhealthy. I was absolutely addicted to it. By the time the school year ended, Caustic was a second home for me. Whenever I was feeling any sort of emotion at all, it would somehow render itself on my phone as a song in Caustic 3. Now by this time I still sucked at it. But I found a bit of a correlation between my emotional state and how hard I was willing to focus on creating good music (feeling bad = good music unfortunately). As you lot know, I have Autism and pretty extreme focus issues, and Caustic was one of the only things I could consistently conjure up hyperfocus to do the things I wanted to do. I wasn't diagnosed with anything then though, I kinda just buried all my hopes and dreams into the shitty beats I was making.

Ethics.wav (40MB)

This export is dated May 2017, I wrote this on my way back from a certain boarding school I did a semester in 2017. My experience wasn't very good and I felt overall pretty isolated there. The program itself was still a big thing for me though, so I wrote this track to convey my feelings about it. The bass instrument is from a Fairlight CMI sample pack I nabbed from somewhere. I really do love that bass, it's perfect for goofy computer music like this.

In many ways Caustic to me was an extension to my own body. It was a form of meditation that eased a lot of my stress. I felt more connected to myself when writing music in this mode than anything else I've ever done. Nevertheless, this bond did not completely last. Although my Caustic addiction persisted throughout high school and into college, I rarely ever got any constructive feedback on my music. And when I did - oh boy it was harsh. Writing music for 6 years in a bubble of raw unfiltered willpower will teach you how to express yourself in the realms you understand, though without critique, self or otherwise, you won't get better. My music was odd, mushy, and dissonant. I opted for hip hop samples and pads that barely went together, but crafted an extremely dank vibe that I personally craved but others seemed to find bizarre at best. After I landed the gig writing music for RPGs, I needed to clean up my act and fast. I needed sample bank of consistent quality, and Caustic being a toy DAW without VST support, did not really deliver on that front. After months of trial and error, I eventually settled on using a Yamaha MU 2000 ad my main synthesizer of choice, and using Renoise as the program to send data to the synth to control it going forward. As much as I would have wanted to use Caustic instead of Renoise, Caustic does not have MIDI out, and the workflow for making usable MIDI files in Caustic (writing tracks using a shitty sound font, exporting the midi file, editing/cleaning the midi file again in jazz midi sequencer, running through cleaned-up midi thru the synth and back into my audio interface) leaves a lot to be desired. Along with the music theory and other things I did to fix my composition style, this essentially made Caustic neigh irrelevant and most of my music making endeavors. I still do use it for generating sound effects for games, as the built in synthesizer are still quite powerful. Although Caustic was not free, it was apparent that the developer abandoned the program sometime in 2018. Later on, the website for single cell software was hacked, and in some browsers (firefox) the domain name redirected the user to malicious software. Activity on the forums began to slow down, and as of today in 2024, the website is completely down and Caustic is removed from the android play store. I still have the old APK and unlock file for the app, but neither will install on my S24 Ultra.

Empty halls.wav (15.7MB)

This one's dated December 7, 2017. I wrote this while thinking about one of my favorite sites on this website, emptyhalls! I'm 99% sure this site was the push I needed to get off my ass and make a site on here. Please do check it out when you can. It's such a lovely rabbit hole. This song mostly samples the 3M Cantanta 700 Variety Library V168 album. I'm pretty sure it samples three different songs in the set, but it goes together pretty nicely.

Now I get it. The android phone architecture changed and I can't run the app on my new phone. But almost feel like this should not be the case. How often do you run apps that are older than 5 years on your PC? Pretty often, I'd wager! I think the android operating system should have a compatibility layer for things like this. Furthermore, the API as it is controlled by Google changes far far far too often. Most of the applications I write are not so demanding that they require the newest phone, and now Google is punishing developers for supporting older API versions by making them inaccessible on modern android, even if the app would have run fine otherwise. From a software and hardware perspective, developers and users are pressured into updating frequently, to a degree that I belive is unsustainable. I'm not a Luddite, and I don't think technology should stay the same forever. But I do think that backwards compatibility and legacy support should be made a priority to extend the life of our technology. Of course things will change about our operating systems, but I suppose they change way to fast for me, especially on mobile phones. There was a commercially released game my company made and released just last December, and I can't even install the app on my S24! When is enough enough?

188Mph.wav (26.1MB)

From December 3, 2017. I don't remember writing this one at all, but it's serine in a sort of eerie way. I have a few tracks like this that I really like. You'll hear them very soon!

Caustic 3 was and is abandonware. The developer will never release an update, and aside from some heresy and fan projects, the entire Caustic ecosystem has been snuffed out. Although my relationship with this program wasn't the best, and although Caustic had some stability issues among other things, there was an empowering feeling I got from working with it that I've yet to find anywhere else. If I had an idea for some song or a remix I wanted to do, I could conjure up a rough sketch in 10 minutes or less. The expression I was able to pull out of this app was invigorating, and I really really enjoyed my time with it.

Isolation Waltz Parts 1 and 2 (24MB)

The date for this one is marked March 24, 2018, but there's a chance it's older. Here's the Isolation Waltz! It's a pretty good example of the iterative technique I like to use when writing tracks. I'll make one track, rip out the peices I like and try to turn it into a new track. Both tracks are pretty nice, I'm much more partial to the second one if I'm being honest.

After the movie2.wav (19.6MB)

The pad samples in this might be from one of Legowelt's packs. He's a pro sampler, please go check him out. I wrote this in mid 2018, and shortly after going on a lovely movie date with my then-partner. I think I captured the vibe of going out with someone you love here. This is one of the first times I got the hang of the Tremolo effect.

Nothing is really stopping me from using this app today. I still have my old phone, and Caustic has a PC port which runs just as well as the mobile version. Why the eulogy then? The truth is, I wanted to grow with this program. There's still so much that can be done with it that I've yet to figure out. Ever since the its abandonment, I knew I was digging myself into a hole by continuing to use the software. And I guess this blog post is about that fear. What's the point of pouring everything into learning a tool that's eventually going to become unusable? If a tool is FOSS, I could at least understand, since you could contribute to the project's source code and keep it alive. But a lot of us creators know that there's often no comparison between the commercial software and the open source counterparts (the former is often much more fully featured and better supported than the latter). Why not? Caustic was commercially supported and it died. Cakewalk was commercially supported and it died. My point is this: I LIKE Caustic. The UI was unique and properly designed for very fast access. Now that it's abandonware, there's no grunted that it will continue working tomorrow, and I've since had to relearn another DAW in order to continue to grow as a musician. There's a lot of value that we creatives get out of stability — once you learn the tool, you can focus on just creating the art you want to make. I'm finding that it's harder and harder to find that stable creative environment, especially in the mobile space. I think that Google and other mobile platform holders should respect their developers and respect their customers by treating their systems like managed ecosystems instead of a grassland to be grazed and trampled to death time and time again. Programs solve problems for people, giving developers a stable ground to build on will make it easier to build, maintain, and support everyone long term. In the meantime, I'll be prioritizing FOSS when possible.

Emebrs.wav (4.2MB)

From December 2022. THis is a much more recent song, you can tell since it's much less full of samples and whotnot and really just focused on a fully thought out melody. I dont remember why I wrote it, but I think it was for practicing writing some compelling RPG music.

Alright no more venting. Just music from here on out. Thanks for coming to my ted talk!!!!

Cookie jar.wav (6.2MB)

This one's from 2020. If the date is correct, I was recovering from a really really bad case of coronavirus. I also think I had a bit of a UK Garage phase at the time, I think I did kinda alright capturing the drums at least. I wish I didn't transition the song in the middle though. Current me would have added some chords in there to make it sound fuller.

Alright this isn't the end, I'm actually going to bundle some songs together to talk about genres. It will make sense, trust.

Dolphin Ass.wav (8.8MB)

THis is from 2019 or 2018. No logic to why I called it Dolphin Ass, so don't try to read into it lol. I name my tracks out of literally anything sometimes. This uses another one of those ol 3M samples, but this time it's a lot more like a boom bap style. Is boom bap the right genre? Idk. It's kinda nice tho. My brother overheard me playing this one and really liked it so I think that counts for something.

Escape from cyberjail (47.6MB)

From 2017. Here we have the ol 3M sample, we have the ending theme to Tengai Makyou 2: Maji Maru (i love that song), and some mario shit idk. When I was writing this, I'm pretty sure I was thinking about either something from the minute hour, or something from rick and morty idk. I was minute hour crazy in 2017!! Still am tbh. By the by, did ya'll know I contributed to mighty lighthouse? I'm not sure how many issues there are now, but my poem is in Issue 3-07!

Going with what I got (28.6MB)

This export is dated May 28, 2017. I showed this off at a talent show when I was a freshman, it was pretty weird to hear one of my song played in front of a hundred people, but kinda nice nonetheless. It was well recived, but I thought I coulda done some stuff different. I think the sample might be from donkey king country or something? Also got yugioh in there too. I used to steal a bunch of samples (including the drum loop) off reddit so uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Game remixes (34.3MB)

In fall of 2018, I asked some people to give me songs to remix and sample, and the first one i got was a song from fire emblem!

This next one was a request right on this site, and it was the windfish from uhh link's awakening. I don't think I used any samples with this one besides the drums.

Hot (8.87MB)

This one kinda reminds me of bugs for some reason. Every time i think about it i think about some funky little bugs dancing around. From 2018 or 2019

Nice Shirt (14MB)

Another one from 2018 or 2019, i deffo wrote this while in my dorm room. This one is easily one of my favorites. It's got such a unique vibe. I'd put it in the category with Welcome Home and 188MPH. My brother said it sounded like Rhianna's "Work"... and he's kinda right!

Space out (32.2MB)

Soundscape type of music. Very very murky and atmospheric, love how this one came out. I think the sha sha shaaa noises are from some Fairlight CMI sample pack. I like to think a lot of these songs could be used in some dungeon crawler. From October 5, 2019

I'm realizing that this is more about a lot of the music I wrote with it rather than the program itself. Notation is super duper important to the way I like to craft sounds, so I suppose it's also a goodbye to these styles of composition as well. Not to say that I stopped writing music, far from it actually! It's just that my process has changed so much that I feel like my style has gone into a very different direction. I also think that there's already plenty of videos on Caustic on youtube.. (some by yours truly!), but not enough yapping about the silly stuff i guess. Kinda like my silly doodles webpage I made, I wanted something like that for the music I write too. I quite literally have >1000 of these tracks that I never really spent the time in sharing with people, so I figured now is as good of a time as ever to finally get it all out of the way. Furthermore, I start a new job tomorrow, and I doubt I'd have the time to do all of this in the future.

Earthbound Inpsired (16.1MB)

Earthbound was a great inspiration for me early on, so here's a little complation of a lot of the Earthbound-style songs I've made.

This one's called "Stint". Mostly using the Fairlight samples. The export is dated October 8, 2019, tho it could be older. Sometimes I make tracks, ignore them for years, then come back and update and or export them.

Music for trees (9.31MB)

I forgot what I named this song after... maybe it was named after some ambient album? Was it called music for trees? It was called music for something but I forgot. Anway that album kinda freaks me out, and so does this track. This song gives me really bad vibes for some reason. I slowed down an arp from one of legowelt's sample packs and put some chords over it. Very mushy but it makes me really really uneasy at the same time. If you dare to press play, consider yourself cursed!! Bwahahahahahaha... from 2019 or 2020... srsly this track is haunted

Flamingo (20.8MB)

HOT LIKE A PARKED CAR! I sound weird like remix with a hard R... or something idk. I mighta done this remix from memory. The WAV file says it was last modified on October 8, 2019, but it could be older. Who knows! (This is a reference to Childish Gambino's Bonfire btw, the snares are kinda hard, maybe don't listen on full volume)

General Midi Madness (20.8MB)

As I tried to expand my horizons into the world of midi, I realized Caustic has some limits. Caustic can't do midi out, so no controlling my synth. However, I could load in a general MIDI soundfont into the sampler and do the arrangement that way, THEN export the song to a MIDI file, reload it into an actual DAW with midi capability, and reassociate the general midi channels with their respective instruments for playback on a real synth (Yamaha XG or Roland GS based). These songs though are rendered with Caustic 3 in the latter half of 2021, and both the soundfont and caustic's sample playback are pretty crusty, so don't expect too much in terms of sound quality. I also may or may not have placed a bitcrusher so it sounds like game boy advance music. teehee...

Island Hideout from 2021, hear those goofy ass drums?? Lol, it kinda reminds me of the crazy instrument choice in the Phantasy Star IV arrange album or the Galaxy Force II soundtrack for the FM towns. I love it!! THis was really fun to write too.

Here's Winceton2 from 2022! I don't remember anything about this. Super dissonant, but in a way kinda homey.

It's happening!!!

What if smash bros melee's menu theme was like a JRPG? Alright this one is pretty half baked. The next song is pretty similar but is slightly more interesting.

As promised, here's the song! It's called "Air of War". Yeah it's slightly more developed, but not so much so. In my head, these two are the same song. Each channel is a single GM instrument from a soundfont. When played on a real synth it sounds pretty nice!

OK I PULL UP!! Don Toliver's After Party was a fun song. What if it was from a SNES game? That's the question I wanted to answer here.

In 1987, Atlus wasn't the only game company to get the liscence to Aya Nishitani's horror adventure novel "Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei". Nihon Telenet worked in parallel to make a PC game of the same title. Now, the game is a wittle rough, but the music is catchy! So I used it as a base for this arrangement of the main overworld theme. I really like how this one came out!

I think some of these are already on youtube. I have a lot more I wanna show but playing MIDI files in the browser is like... not the easiest. Let me know if you want me to upload the files for your downloading and viewing pleasure. The in-browser midi file players kinda fuck up the mixing so I dont wanna put them thru that.

Just One Look (16.1MB)

Export dated 2020. One day my mom made me memorize this song for some reason. I kinda look back on the memory fondly. Either way, this is probably my only good future funk/house remix of this style. I'm pretty proud of it!

Infusion (24.4MB)

Funny story about this one! My friend was messing with his DAW, and sent a really crazy synth with a fuckton of reverb on it. This sample just spoke to me, so I locked in and made this (AND the music video, in windows movie maker LOL) in about 40 minutes. The film is Time Stranger, and the samples are really just my friend's synth sample, the intro to His & Her Circumstances, and maybe one pad from legowelt's kit, if it's not from some windows pack already. January 14, 2022.

I realized I don't have nearly as much time to update this page as I thought I did. I have dozens of tracks I want to share, but time toils on and is taking me with it. Bon voyage caustic! Don't be a stranger!

probably still gonna come back to the DAW from time to time.. there's so much more I want to do with it :(... anyway what mobile DAW do you guys use?