Tomas Diablo's
"original" tracks

For 28 consecutive monthly issues, Tomas Diablo supplied the music for the CD-ROMs that accompanied Computer Gaming World (CGW) magazine. It all started when he took an ancient digital 4-track program (SoundEdit 16) and created a song made entirely of samples of Frank Sinatra (except for the most sampled beat in history - James Brown's 'Funky Drummer').  The song was called 'Kickbeat' in, and it wasn't long before the editors at Computer Gaming World heard it, and asked if they could feature it in their magazine.  The following month they asked him to create another.

The tracks played on the main screen of the CD, and gave each one it's own distinct vibe. For the issue with the DoD (Day of Defeat) mod for Counter-strike, Tomas created 'The Sacrifice', a majestic piece with samples of FDR, General Patton, a rich orchestra, and a lone horn playing 'Taps'. For the magazine's 200th issue, he reunited Ella and Louis, accompanied by bossa nova, trip-hop, classical, and funk in 'Dance With Me'. 'Quarter Cavalcade', assembled completely from sound clips of arcade games from the '80's, was for all those other old-school video game enthusiasts. And 'Logan' was assembled for a Game Boy Advance game ad (Roswell Conspiracies).


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Original Tracks
(Feb 2003) A melancholy piece that samples Paul Simon, Billie Holiday, Marvin Gaye, Ani Difranco, and strings from an Ella Fitzgerald ballad.

Super Rockin' Cuts

(Jan 2003) Louis Armstrong vs. Liz Phair. Howard Jones meets Public Enemy. The Violent Femmes and the Stone Roses. Can you say 'Happy'?

Quarter Cavalcade


(Dec 2002) "Quarter Cavalcade" pays homage to those glorious monoliths that ate rolls and rolls of our quarters; the Mr. Do and Donkey Kong machines at the pizza parlor, the coctail Pac-Man machine in that dive bar, the Sinistar you vaguely recall mocking you in the mall arcade. That's right - with the exception of some of the beats, "Quarter Cavalcade" is nothing but samples of arcade machines.


Crucify The Verse


(Nov 2002) This track begins with the sleepy strings of Bossa Nova King Antonio Carlos Jobim, but quickly evolves into a majestic piece that samples both standards from the Jazz world as well as from new breakbeat and electronica classics. Snippets of three different Sarah Vaughn ballads, including a modified supporting string section from Gershwin's "Someone to Watch Over Me", are grounded by a crisp b-boy beat from the days of breakdancing, and eventually explodes into a massive jungle beat from electronica pioneer Luke Vibert.

This Urge

(Oct 2002) The main loops from the Police and the blaring guitars from Yes combine over a vocal loop from Moloko. The beat in the beginning is actually a Nina Simone beat that has been severely slowed down, and you may remember it as the central beat to a very early Tomas Diablo track, "Tribal Twinge".

The Rumour Mambo

(Sept 2002) The Rumour Mambo begins with a simple mambo beat, supported by vocal percussion, but quickly becomes something quite different. A James Bond-esque guitar from a Henry Mancini cover combines with an all too familiar bassline from the founders of Lollapolooza. The track continues to evolve with two separate samples from Siouxsie. By the end of the track Brian Setzer, singing "But there's something you should know," mirrors Siouxsie's "I heard a rumour", further distinguishing 'Rumour Mambo' as the bastard child of Alt Rock and Lounge.

Logan - Video Edit

(Aug 2002) This spooky industrial ditty was used for an advertisement for Roswell Conspiracies for Playstation and Game Boy Color. The game was based on a cartoon that was basically the X-Files for kids - a government agency keeps tabs on aliens, and these aliens disguise themselves as warewolves, banshees, and other mythical creatures. Trust me, the plot sounds more interesting than the show actually was, and this track is much more entertaining than the games. And I should know - I was subjected to playing the game to film the footage.

My Love Fills the Sky

(Jul 2002) After the bitter darkness of 'Madness' and the synth-pop anthem 'Shadow Lover', this track marks a return to jazz samples for Tomas Diablo. The snappy bass line was actually taken from the intro to a Harry Connick Jr. song. The original was quite sleepy and seductive, and I had to speed it up and tweek it a bit to give it the bounce that this track deserved. The horn section is borrowed from Saint John Will-I-Am Coltrane, and the frantic percussion is actually 3 different drum beats layered on top of each other. I heard the vocals of this track resounding through my mind long before I managed to patch it to the beat. There's no denying the sensual prowess and virtuoso inflections of the sultry Ms. k.d. lang. And you just have to give props to a woman who manages to be successful in the music business while completely dismissing the usual gender stereotypes. k.d. looks better in a suit than most men, yet her luscious vocal stylings portray a full range of emotion and temperment that are nothing if not feminine.

Shadow Lover

(Jun 2002) "Shadow Lover" samples from a wealth of New Wave synth-pop, topped off with a great jazz/blues vocal. This may be the first time that New Wave has been combined with blues vocals in almost 20 years, as Yaz members Vince Clarke (founding member of Depeche Mode and Erasure) and blues vocalist Alison Moyet disbanded in 1983, leaving in their wake a largely unexplored realm of musical expression.

Dance With Me (Edit)

(May 2002) I started with that all-too familiar beginning to 'the Girl from Ipanema' as performed by Getz/Gilberto, then layered on Mozart, reunited Ella and Louis, and merged beats from Portishead and James Brown. Composed for CGW's 200th issue.


(April 2002) At the time I put this piece together, twisted and downright evil things were going on in my life. So I decided to compose a track from many of the artists I had been listening to to get me through those dark days. 'Madness' should make anyone of the goth persuasion quite happy, as it samples from a wealth of dark music - including the Bauhaus vocal, the Skinny Puppy piano and build-up, and a distorted visit from the Cure.

Hero's Theme

(March 2002) A bouncy instrumental featuring Miles Davis and Depeche Mode..


(Feb 2002) The driving force (excuse the pun) behind the track - a simple piano progression - is actually the first few notes of 'So What' by Miles Davis and John Coltrane. As Tori Amos describes driving throughout the night, U2 echoes back "...ready to let go of the steering wheel".

Crazy Groove

(Jan 2002)

Watch the Rotation

(Dec 2001) Assembled 1 week after 9/11, this track captured some of what I was feeling at the time. It starts and ends all nice and bouncy, but has an angry and sinister center. What starts off as a chirping bossa nova unfolds into a metal-guitar dirge, and eventually returns with a sigh to the computerized bossa nova.

The Sacrifice

(Nov 2001) Originally composed to mirror the feel of the 'Day of Defeat' MOD for Half-Life, which I was playing a lot of at the time. This track was featured on the CD-ROM that hit the newsstands weeks after 9/11, so many people felt it was a reaction to current events. But if you listen, you'll hear General Patton ("The sacrifices these men have made must not be in vain") and FDR ("I hate war!") talking about WWII. This was actually the first song I've done where I haven't created hybrid beats. I pushed myself to let the song rely solely on the orchestration, crisp brass, and the vocal samples.

This and That

(Oct 2001) Based primarily on a Django Reinhardt sample, played at two different speeds simultaneously (The same trick Soul Coughing used in 'Screenwriter's Blues'). I had the chance to again reunite Ella and Louis, this time layering her voice and his horn with a hint of Erin McKeown and some Tomas Diablo beats - a little THIS AND a little THAT.


(Sept 2001)


(Aug 2001)

Subliminal Speedie

(Jul 2001) Named 'Subliminal Speedie' because it sounds like she's saying "I get stoned". This track also has the distinction of having been the music for a girl-on-girl porn video.

The Dark Place (Twin Mix)

(Jun 2001) My first attempt at a truly dark track.

Little Bit of Soul

(May 2001) Ever notice that a trumpet at half-speed sounds like a harmonica?

Progressively Funkier

(Apr 2001) I grabbed the words "Progressively Funkier" from the introduction to a live track, and when I heard it repeating to a beat that I set up behind it, I felt as if it was challenging me to get just that - progressively funkier. The most obvious sample is that phat beat by Portishead, which, as I got progressively funkier, I spliced with another beat and tweeked.

Dance With Me

(Mar 2001)

Plane Funky

(Feb 2001)

With My One

(Jan 2001) The sultry soul-wrenching voice of Billie Holiday and the easy jazztripic beats of acid jazz seem the best pairing since chocolate sauce and sloppy kissing.

The Crawl

(Dec 2000)Other than the drumbeat, which is the same Led Zeppelin drumbeat used by the Beastie Boys, the entire track - every snare snap, every tone (derived from his guitar), and every growling lyric, comes from his classic song "Crawling King Snake".

Kick Beat

(Nov 2000)This was the track that started it all. I had this silly idea that I wanted to attempt to create a dancey song that, other than the drumbeat, was solely created from snippets of Frank Sinatra. Everything. Every string, every horn, every word, every Oo and Ah. Somehow, I created it. And when the editors of CGW heard it, they decided they wanted it on their CD.