Category Archives: Music

Train Crazy

I am going to Sweden in August for a music festival, Way Out West. This is not the first time that I have gone to Sweden for a music festival. Back in 2008 I went to Rip It Up. I say I went but I never made it. The festival was in a small town just north of Gothenburg called Säffle. It was a small festival but I was excited nonetheless. First time in Sweden and getting to see loads of little bands I knew and never thought I’d see play live.

Alas it was not to happen. Well I made it to Sweden but the day of my flight I started getting some small spots on my chest. Thought nothing of it thinking I was just run down from work but by the time my plane arrived in Gothenburg after a stop over in Copenhagen I was covered in them. Got to the bed & breakfast I booked and just went to bed. Next day I had to go to the hospital. Ended up I had to get a plane home and take the next month off work. I had chicken pox.

When I heard that Refused were reforming for a few gigs in 2012 I was absolutely over the moon. I first heard them around 2003/4 and really had my musical world opened up. They’re the reason I listen to so many Swedish bands now due to the former members being part of so many musical projects from AC4 to A Heavy Feather. Any connection they had I wanted to know of. This lead me to listening to other artists not even directly connected with them and now I have a musical home in Sweden. For this reason I wanted to see them live, in their home country and when Way Out West date was announced I was already there. Another chance at Gothenburg and a chance to see so many Swedish bands that I have listened to for years. Excitement is not even a word I can use to describe as to how I’m feeling still 3 months before it.

Since I have had bad experiences with Sweden and planes I honestly do not want to fly there. This left me with either driving or getting public transport and after 16 hours+ getting a bus from Edinburgh to “Dublin” I am also not a fan of road based public transport. With no car in possession and a love from anything on tracks it left me with Trains! Getting a ferry from Dublin to Holyhead I am all booked up on trains from Holyhead to Gothenburg with a few stops along the way. I have bought myself a mobile broadband dongle as well as sorting out my data plan on my phone meaning that I will most definitely be blogging the entire way. More on the how later, but firstly I have to show my route.

Sound Off

I recently, as in today, have got the inkling to research audio synthesis. I namely just want to see how to do it in PHP as that’s where my main skillset lies these days. Through initial searching I could not even find out, ore more likely, couldn’t get my head around how audio files are generated. An awful amount of search just kept sending me onto OGG containers, vorbis codecs …. etc. That’s good and all but I just wanted to know how to make audio in it’s simplest form, a tone.

 

^^I might be tone deaf, but damn I can sure as shit knock those tones out^^

 

After a bit more rummaging, and helpful tweet from Mark Pettersson(@konop), I finally found what I was looking for. wavforge is a nice little api for generating WAV tones within PHP. Developed by sk89q, it looks like exactly like what I was wanting to make myself. I just installed the scripts and here’s the example at play [TONE]. It takes a little while to load, so just sit back and wait. Time to now read through the code and learn how and why things are done and then time to do it for myself. Fun fun fun.

Sounds Good To Me

This post is mostly just for me but I’d thought it’d be best to share it with everyone. Here’s a collection of sounds that I love. There’s a vibe of Speak and Spell and 2-XL. Robot talking FTW in my books.

Bezerk

I kind of knew of this sound, “Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!”, before but thanks to it being featured in my favorite episode of Futurama it has become implanted in my head.

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

Is there much else to say about this? I just love the way the evil guy (Cats) says it:

Transformers

The two films, and the soon to be released third film, have a place in my heart. Namely due to the sound design. I just pure love the films up really loud with LOADS of bass.

The Matrix

The part when Neo is being a bold boy and playing with the mirror, the sound when the mirror goes down this throat. I love that.

Grum – Cybernetic

This whole song is just pure orgasmic on my ears. This one NEEDS to be loud with huge bass to fully appreciate it.

A lot of these samples all have speech synthesis in common and I am, albeit slowly, trying to write a small application relating to speech synthesis mainly for myself. I’ll be sure to post about it when there’s something more tangible done as for at the moment it’s just me reading a few papers on the subject and trying to play around with public libraries. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these sounds as much as I do and if you have any suggestions of your own, please just post them below or message me.

30 Days Too Much

I started the wee 30 Day Song Challenge this month. I thought it wasn’t much of a challenge and was great fun trying to explore my musical tastes. I had on numerous occasions had to go back to Last.fm to find out songs that I loved as I just plain old forgot what I listen to.

As I mentioned it was fun to try and find and remember all these song but it appeared many of my friends were getting sick of me updating daily with new songs. It didn’t really help but even for me, my news feed was getting full with some of my friends updating loads as well. To try and work around musical fatigue I have just complied the last of my songs into one simple, easy to read blog post. Do note that due to Sony Music Entertainment and EMI not allow some songs to be streamed from WordPress.com you will have go to YouTube to listen. Oh big music companies, I hate thee.

20 :: song that you listen to when you’re angry
Don’t really listen when I’m angry but the song title generally gets my sentiment across of when I’m angry. Note: My first scrobble on last.fm.
Fuck The Fuckin Fuckers – BlackSmoke

21 :: a song that you listen to when you’re happy
As with the same as my “angry” song, this song really just is happy and so I’ll assume I associate it with when I’m happy.
Fascination – Alphabeat

22 :: a song that you listen to when you’re sad
I really am thinking this list was done by a teenage that plays their music loudly to let out their emotions as again, nope I don’t listen to this when I’m sad, it just has sad tone to it.
Hurt – Johnny Cash

23 :: a song that you want to play at your wedding
Let’s be honest, I’m a man, at my wedding I’ll be the groom, my only job will be to turn up. That’s all I’ll be allowed do.
Cum On Feel The Noize – Slade

24 :: a song that you want to play at your funeral
I’m not some egotistical fuck to want to rule peoples listenin habits from the grave. So here’s just a song, that I cannot dance to.
Something Good ’08 – Utah Saints

25 :: a song that makes you laugh
Ha, I’m laughing just thinking of this song. Great music is in as well. (All in the name)
Cock Mobster – MC Paul Barman

26 :: a song that you can play on an instrument
none.

27 :: a song that you wish you could play
None. Many I would like to play but well, don’t have any instruments to learn on and will probably someday learn.

28 :: a song that makes you feel guilty
Guilty in the eyes of the law. THE LAW!
I Fought The Law – The Clash

29 :: a song from your childhood
I remember this video from when I was a wee lad. Scared the jaysus out of me.
Stay – Shakespeare’s Sisters

30 :: your favorite song at this time last year
This song has good few scrobbles on Last.fm from around this time last year. All due to it being used in LittleBIGPlanet 2 teaser.
Sleepyhead – Passion Pit

1 Person, 1 Project

This month I have mostly been working on a project. Along with another 3. There is one thing when you are working for yourself in comparison to working for a business, I can do what I like. It is because of this philosophy that I am currently in the middle of 4 projects. It is a bad thing to do but I find it a little more fun bouncing back and forth between either one when I get stuck or frustrated by something. I will now give a little description on what I am trying to achieve with two of the projects:

Phantom 1052 Last.fm Scrobber: This project I have technically working on since January though I have redesigned how it works numerous times. At the moment I am trying to cut down the complexity of  it for an end user. This means that it is all web based. The main technologies I am using for the application are javascript, PHP, and XML. At the current moment it is working well(ish) for a single user but multiple seems to throw a few errors.

Dynamic Radio Player: This one comes from looking into the future and seeing how the simple media player, such as iTunes, WMP, Spotify, is so socially unaware. Then you have online music streaming services which can work from your personal favourites or similar artists but these just have no personality. I feel nothing can replace the radio presenter and the general banter that they present, along with the hourly updates of news/weather. To overcome this I am developing a small app that will allow users to listen to own music, popular new music, music endorsed by radio presenter, along with news/weather updates. This may seem confusing to other folks but it is bright and clear in my head. This is not a design document.

Currently with this project I am just streaming either own library music or recommended artists through Last.fm API. The next stage to get the push functionality for a radio presenter blurb working. I will give updates when possible.

So yes that is a little bit that I want to talk about at the moment. I will be posting a full walk through of the Phantom 1052 Last.fm Scrobber is the coming days once it is all up and running.

One More Time

Bonjour everyone. With it being pointed out to me, again, that my blog hasn’t been updated in an age long enough for civilizations to rise to power and crumble to nothingness. This of course is going to change, again.

I feel like I’m starting to become like a broken record but yes I am actually needing somewhere to post up my work and post about my doings and experiments. You know what that wee sentence hinted at? Oh yes the plans are back. These plans involve the following:

  • Games
  • Web Standards
  • Proxies
  • Mobile Apps
  • <secret>
  • Awareness program

So yes you can just sit back and either wait to hear what all these involve in detail or to try and figure out what I might mean by lets say, <secret>.

Until next time, enjoy.

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April and Me: Part 1

Ok this updated thing of my links really does seem to have started becoming just a monthly thing!!! Though suppose if I had more stuff to post it would get updated more often!! Well not to have anyone wondering what the Internet for the last month has been getting up to here are my favorite links: (EDIT: Just noticed that I had 120 links to go through since the last post, I really should update more often! EDIT EDIT: That’s it I am breaking this into 2 posts at least!)

Ron Carmel, co-creator of World of Goo at SxSWi 2009: This is co-creator of World of Goo which really is a hella fun game to play. I find it so much more fun to play that it could have essentially been built by myself and my fellow students and friends (well with some help from some network contacts).  … little taster of World of Goo [here]

Analogical Tetris (Translation: Real Life Tetris): This really is just FTW!! Well until the person dropping the blocks gets bored and/or you run out of blocks!! Just goes to show that RL isn’t all that much fun for some concepts!

University Face Off: This is a rather funny story of how the university I attend (Abertay Dundee) were to face off with Dundee Uni in a series of sports! I knew it was coming up and one day asked fellow members on the GAA team when was our match, the answer was “Today!” … we didn’t play! They win!! Boo!

Xylophone for me: This is a very fun little web app that tells you how every this! Simple as! I really got a lot of joy out of it though!

Break Time: Mortal Kombat – Techno Kombat

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XNA Game Studio 3.1 revealed: This is great news for anyone that is even wanting to dabble in any game development!! It’s well easy and really does let you do a lot!!You can eventually get your games bought by other peoples but the ROI is horrible so I just find it best of quick and dirty proof of concepts!

GDC09 OnLive: Debut Tech Interview: This is just a quick interview with the OnLive people about how they really did create a massive uproar in the industry on where it is going!! Well looking forward to see what is going to happen!

Last.fm to start charging international users a fee: This would have hugely affected me if I were still living at home but I really did just gloss over it!! But still doesn’t take away from the fact that the service may take a massive hit if it shoots itself in the foot like this!

Break Time: Fight Like Apes – Tie Me Up With Jackets

GDC09: Braid cost 200k to make, says Blow: More fun Indy news from GDC! This time about how much it really cost to get out a critically popular game on DD! So if I can find any wee bit of investment along these lines I’m sure to get a game out! *cough*

Are there any funny computer jokes?:  A nice little article on how computers and jokes are well …. not all that well suited for each other!! It’s all bad puns and jokes most people would just stare blankly at! All that said, the IT Crowd is doing well for itself!! “MEMORY IS RAM!”

GDC09: Media Molecule talk Little Big Planet: A nice little chat with two of the guys from Media Molecule, the creators of Little Big Planet!! It’s a great watch and listen and the second part should have it’s link somewhere in there! (At the time it didn’t and I had to go searching!)

Break Time: Hello Saferide – Arjeplog

Sony to match dev budgets in return for exclusivity: Dubbed the “Pub Fund” this is a great chance for any small and/or indy devs to essentially get more money into their games!!! Very good idea in my mind!!

Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time: The Debut trailer for this game!! Cannot wait for it!! Actually made me go back and play through Quest for Booty again!! Also another fun game!!

Video games ‘can improve vision’: Another fun PRO games report!! This one is loads of fun because it gives you the excuse of saying “Don’t disturb me when I’m improving my vision!” :p … Though totally contradicts what was said about Sight Training on DS!

Fever Ray Tour Promo: Fever Ray is doing a tour don’t ya know, and here is a teaser of what you’d be in for if you go!! Very cool looking in my opinion!!

DOUBLE BREAK TIME! Because I can:

LOTTE:

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NY EXCUSE – Soulwax (Justice Remix): (Note: Stuck in my head big time)

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Facebook traffic tramples MySpace: This just announced that MySpace is no longer “teh shiz!”. Sad day because I find much better music on MySpace … and I really do hate Facebook sometimes!!

LED light bulb, 7.5 watts and it lasts 10 years: Absolutely brilliant concept!! Pity about the serious mass production needed to drive down the price!! But sure let’s create electronically luminous paint in the mean time!

Star Trek Extended Trailer HD: This film had nothing for me for ages, then one day, BANG!! I cannot wait for this to be out!! Am I someone that gives into hype??

Break Time: Plants vs Zombies Music Video

PS2 Took Twice As Long To Hit $99 As PSOne: Just a fun post about NUMBERS!!! Who doesn’t like numbers! But who can really comprehend the series of numbers involved in this stuff!! The amount of money involved well …. well I wouldn’t mind having a wee slice of it!

Happy 20th Birthday, Nintendo Game Boy: Is is the month of the birthday of the Game Boy!! What a brick is is, but what a fun brick it is! The amount of games I must have played on it!! … 10?? Mostly Tetris and Pokémon … GBA SP probably got more play!! Not sure why!! I love my Game Boy!

Giant Star Wars pool toys and kites: Now who does not want to float around a pool on FUCKING Star Wars ships??? I can spend enough time in a pool as it is!! I really want sunshine, and a pool, because of this!! The kite not so much, never got into them!

Pixel Art Commercial: Daft Punk – Around the World: Great pixel version of Around the World! Really makes you think what a Daft Punk game would be like?( [here] – shit by the way)

Break Time: Freeland – Under Control

March Right On

Where has this month gone?!?!?! I knew when this month was starting that it would be manic at one stage (namely birthday time) but I seems that every celebration has just led into each other since the first of the birthdays at the start! Then I got my TV which was great craic with the SingStar and well …. it’s been a massive blur since!! Stuff happened, more stuff happened and then well … more stuff happened! I somehow managed to keep posting links up on my Facebook so here are the top ones in my opinion:

Gamasutra – Quake Live Beta ‘Slammed’ By High Demand: This was Quake Live apparently not knowing how damned popular it was proving to be! I was in the beta and haven’t been back since I just got flash backs of my youth and dying loads!

Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children For The Apocalypse?: Pretty does what it says on the tin. Well are they??

The Hot 100 Game Developers of 2009: I somehow didn’t make the list!! Bah humbug to them!! Student this, hasn’t done shite that!! BAH!

City Of Savannah Announces Free Rent For Game Developers: Free rent you say?? I might sink low enough to develop games if I can get my rent paid!

Break Time:

Forget sweets, Church wants you to give up texting for Lent: This just had me going as not only do they want you to stop texting, but also STOP PLAYING GAMES! Right so …. what?!?!

Guess what? Games development can be fun: You read that somehow right!! Developing games can be fun?!!? Ya gotta be kidding MATE!

Derren Brown: Zombie Arcade Videogame:
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Another Break Time; Jape – I Was A Man:

My Gawd Damn 23rd: This was a fun day! Besides all the midlife crisis stuff and old age banter that went on! Craic was had and twas mighty! Though I think I only made it home with my card and no presents oops!

Simian Mobile Disco’s Horses Can’t Be Wrong: After Clock EP which was good but not memorable at all I got these tunes and by gum these’s feckers need me to to seriously rock out to them live again sometime soon!

Google Street View coming to Ireland: Only found out today that it is already here in Dundee but I am far more excited for the Irish view of drunkards!! Atleast I’ll know the damned streets rather than going “Oh so THAT’S where I was!?”

Caught on Camera — The Best of Google Street View: And while talking about it, here is a collection of some of the funniest things found on Google Street view!! Are you going to be blurry famous??

Last break time; Republic of Loose – The Steady Song:

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Cheating in Game Design: For those that didn’t know, cheating is everywhere! Nothing is what it seems!

EA: The Human Story: This is THE fun story of how shit EA were and had to seriously change! I never posted it when it happened for I was a n00b then! Also I was still enjoying the fun of dial up internet and probably a shit computer I built and broke myself!

HD Tetris: Oh my feck!! I am well annoyed with this game!! Clear a line, easy right??? Go on and try it!

And now a nice treat for bothering to get to the end of this post: 100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers

Still needs 42 to change I think!

My Internet #1 Steaming Music

Since only recently someone decided to tell me that using my Facebook account for an RSS feed sucks (you have to log into facebook to view it) I’ve thought to combine the best of my daily(ish) updates to it on here! These are stories from around the internet that interest me, so it’ll be mostly games though technology, music and randomness do come into play. So here we go:

Games for the Unemployed :I feel that this has some connection to me being unemployed. Though that is hardly true as I am employed by my unpaying and evil education! Bah!

Square Enix signs up to Steam : This really is awesome cool news! Mostly because it means more games are on Steam! Hopefully I will never have to use any alternatives like GFW or EA shit!

PlayStation-induced palm lesions identified by Swiss scientists : Has never happened to me, but who knows, with more training and time I could make it!!

Old Game Characters : This is actually a rather fun post! Game characters looking more real than they should be! Lara Croft is still hot though!

Killzone 2: Creating Helghan: This clip is just getting me rather excited for Killzone 2! Just now if I could afford to buy it?! I don’t need to eat now do I??

And last but not least PAPER TANK! These guys do know how to rock and they have just finished their new EP! It’s called “It’s a Boy!” and you can download it here!

Diversifying The Sound

I went and looked at my Last.fm page to see what my top bands/artists were. I thought that the list was rather diverse but that’s only my opinion! What do you all think?? Do you know many of the bands/artists named in this list??

The List:
Daft Punk, Action Biker, The Presets, The Young Punx, David Sandström Overdrive, Justice, Ladyhawke, David Sandström, Refused, Simian Mobile Disco, Klaxons, Digitalism, Mylo, The Chemical Brothers, Fischerspooner, Slagsmålsklubben, The Dreamers, The Hives, Charlotte Hatherley, Van She, Death From Above 1979, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Lykke Li, E-Z Rollers, Muse, 80KIDZ, MSTRKRFT, You Love Her Coz She’s Dead, El Perro del Mar, The Beatles, Biffy Clyro, Nine, Crystal Castles, Jape, Kate Nash, Le Knight Club, In Flames, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Chevelle, Boys Noize, Feist, Led Zeppelin, Yoko Kanno, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Aphex Twin, Kasabian, Overseer, Chromeo, The Clientele, Deftones, SebastiAn, Nikola Sarcevic, Rory Gallagher, Shinichi Osawa, Alexisonfire, Buy Now, Text, Promoe, Hadouken!, she, Incubus, Finger Eleven, DJ Mehdi, Damien Rice, Queens of the Stone Age, Gay for Johnny Depp, Tiga, The Letters Organize, Kavinsky, The Prodigy, MC Paul Barman, LCD Soundsystem, The Rolling Stones, Vitalic, Lisa Hannigan, Sigur Rós, Millencolin, David Bowie, Cut Copy, U2, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, mc chris, The Lost Patrol, Alphabeat, Underworld, Sébastien Tellier, Ham Sandwich, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Funeral for a Friend, Uffie, Kings of Leon, Thomas Bangalter, Soulwax, Filter, The Bronx, Lostprophets, Jimmy Eat World, The Frames, Blink-182, Rise Against, Me In The Park, Raised Fist, Amy Macdonald, Peace Orchestra, Wiley, The Rise, Vicarious Bliss, The Lost Patrol Band, Valve, Alkaline Trio, Rammstein, Blacksmoke, Jared Emerson-Johnson, Cansei de Ser Sexy, Pendulum, Sum 41, The Honeydrips, Amen, Moneybrother, Bell X1, Idlewild, Slipknot, Tyler Bates, Interpol, Groove Armada, MGMT, Utah Saints, Polysics, Flow Flux Clan, Tool, Fever Ray, Mindless Self Indulgence, 2 Many DJ’s, OutKast, System of a Down, Bright Eyes, Test Icicles, The Lucky Nine, KoRn, The Music, Nobuyuki Shimizu and Kemmei Adachi, Massive Attack, Above & Beyond, Scrapyard Mongrels, Foo Fighters, Pink Floyd, The Offspring, Mr. Flash, We Are Terrorists, Eagles of Death Metal, Gameboy/Gamegirl, Calvin Harris, Warlords of Pez, Goose, Battles, Wilt, Justice vs Simian, Reuben, Snow Patrol, Goldfrapp, Bat For Lashes, Winnebago Deal, Republic of Loose, Fall Out Boy, Busy P, The Mars Volta, Mos Def, Final Exit, Half-Life 2 Soundtrack, Gym Class Heroes, Faint Sounds Of Shoveled Earth, Franz Ferdinand, Nebula, Marco V, Shy Child, Slayer, Shitdisco, Dave Armstrong & Redroche, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Kool & The Gang, Gametrailers.com, Foals, +44, Seryoga, Harry Gregson-Williams, Trivium, Hi_Tack, Kelly Bailey, Simon Viklund, The Ting Tings, Yuksek, Doctor Octoroc, Fatboy Slim, Hot Chip, CKY, Jamie T, The Gossip, Hatebreed!

It is a rather heavy list but to those that bother glancing through the whole thing I will make it up to you soon!