Wednesday, 27 June 2012

UM-TSS Drum Machine

While not a particularly complex build, this particular DIY drum machine, the UM-TSS, captured my imagination as it has well produced artwork from comic books and is made from easy to find parts that are easy to play around with. It gives me inspiration to make something like this of my own.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Chrono Trigger - Main Theme (Yasunori Mitsuda)

I really like all stories to do with time travel and despite not actually ever owning a copy of this back in the day, I became obsessed with playing this when I was in Germany on an emulator. It truly is the pinnacle of an engrossing RPG, with excellent graphics, compelling story, lots of nice touches, a straightforward battle system with an easy learning curve and even multiple endings. Of course, Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobou Uematsu ensure that there are plenty of awesome tracks in the game to listen to as well. In particular, this game uses the main theme as a leitmotif though most of the score and benefits all the better for it. It's nice in that there are some really memorable tracks here and that they fit the scenes where they appear.

I know that the Mega Drive was able to make some excellent FM synth sounds, but it is games like Chrono Trigger that really showed the flexibility of the SNES's sound chip and the main theme in particular gets me pumped before the game and whenever it turns up (usually just before a big fight or a decisive turning point in the story). Excellent title!

Cows react to music

Oh, those Dutch! Mad bunch, the lot of them! This time, two farmers give opposing views as to whether cows like music being played to them and live jamming amongst the animals.

Very bizarre!

PS: Now sporting the brand new Mr Trololol tag for weird shit.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Free Moog is here!

A quick reminder to everyone to go and download your free copy of Arturia's Minimoog V Original VST as part of the World Music Day celebrations. To download, head to the following site right now:

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Figure - iOS

This weekend, I have finally gotten round to adding my new card details to iTunes so I can catch up on other bits and pieces that have come out that I can play with on my iPod Touch. Initially I had a couple of albums that I wanted to buy and then remembered that Propellerhead had released their Figure iOS program and I had been meaning to get hold of it - this had previously been announced during the NAMM 2012 show earlier in the year. 

Given the ridiculously cheap price tag, I thought it was worth having a look at and I was more than pleased after playing around with it. Although it's not a particularly extensive app, it's perfect for making catchy tracks quickly and really fun to make mini mixes.

Intuitive interface
Straightforward and clean design
Easy to change key signature 
Excellent selection of drum kits and synthesisers
Cheap (69p on the iTunes store)


Limited parameter adjustment
Limited genres to work with (anything Amen-base isn't so great)
No output / saving of your music
Only 1 eight bar pattern to play with

More from Propellerhead Software

Free Moog!

Just found something too good to believe and wanted to share the news that Arturia will be giving away a cut down version of their Minimoog V VST. Amazing stuff, I cannot wait to have a listen to this. The only catch is that it will only be on June 21st 2012, so set your watches and alarms, people!

For more details you can head to:

Lovebox = amazing

I've just come back from the Saturday of Lovebox 2012, hosted in my own stomping ground of Victoria Park, East London and I have to say that it was an amazing day. This is also why my Saturday Soundtrack post was late ;) 

Some excellent music all over the park, especially the drum and bass in the Hospitality tent. Definitely worth paying on the door for a day that included Groove Armada, Kelis, Fred V & Grafix, Booka Shade, Camo & Krooked, Adam F, Friendly Fires and loads of other little acts and DJs.

I think I will get round to a quick gig review as well once I get my head down!

H.A.T.E Title Theme

H.A.T.E (Hostile All-Terrain Encounter) was a Zaxxon clone written for most of the home consoles of the 1980s, including the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and of course the Atari ST. It's sad that a lot of the emulated versions of this game don't work as the copy protection kicks in shortly after play. In fact, this game was so obscure that I actually had to upload it to YouTube myself, as there wasn't a copy to link to.
Upon loading up and after a lengthy wait going through developer logos and the Gremlin publisher intro, you were greeted by this; a snarling, loud title track with some excellent emulated toms/drum fills. This quickly moves on to some quirky and catchy square lines and has to be one of my favourite chiptunes from the Atari ST era.


Sunday, 10 June 2012

Hustle Maryama Maruyama 2 - Dynamite Headdy

Dynamite Headdy was a late release for the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis in 1994. A rather kooky title by the guys at Treasure (made of ex-Konami staff, who are famous for the legendary Gunstar Heroes title amongst others), this follows the story of Dynamite Headdy and his quest to free his people from the clutches of Dark Demon. Stranger still, this is all told through the medium of puppets and a stage show, so there are plenty of weird props hanging around, parts where Headdy goes behind the scenes and so on. A truely bizarre and compelling title, this went on to be a cult classic.
Those who were quick to dismiss it as a straightforward platformer had clearly never played it before, as this title combines wild platforming action, shoot em up sections, boss rushes, hidden easter eggs everywhere, varied music score and plenty of cool powerups, where Headdy literally replaces his head to take advantage of faster movement, more damage and even sleep to regain health (except the bastard big head that you have to crawl around, taking damage). 

Even better was the lengthy soundtrack, with some excellent and varied music being squeezed out of the Mega Drive's FM synthesis chip. This is just one good example of the soundtrack and I had a hard time selecting even this one.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Logistics - Fear Not!

Label – Hospital Records
Release - 2012
Length - 15 tracks / 70 minutes
Genres – Drum & Bass, Dubstep, Drumstep.

Not content to sit back on his laurels, Logistics has come back with a new collection of rave-inspired, bass-heavy tracks designed to shake the dance floor; just in time to lay the groundwork ahead of Hospitality festival dates in the summer. No stranger to pumping dance music, this release harkens back to his beginnings in drum and bass and forges new ground with some excellent drumstep/ dubstep material as well.

Monday, 4 June 2012

RIP - Mr Trololol

It seems that all I tend to do these days is mourn the passing of greats and while this particular artist was old and obscure, it's only recently that he has grown famous and beloved by fans around the world.

Eduard Khil, otherwise known as Mr Trololol, died of a stroke in St. Petersburg today, aged 77 years old. A Soviet-era singer with an strong and versatile singing voice, Eduard shot to internet stardom following the widespread adoption of one of his music videos, "I Am So Happy to Finally Be Back Home", as the anthem of trolling on 4chan and beyond in the mid to late 2000s.

This prompted the singer to come out of retirement and begin singing publically again, with television appearances in russian shows. In an interview asking for his thoughts about the video and the reasons behind his success, he said:

"I'm loving it, people doing parodies, having fun; it unites them. The internet can help share happiness: it connects generations. I came to love the internet"

Eduard, your very excellent reaction to people enjoying your music on the internet is inspiring to all of us. If you can't have a laugh and poke fun at your own work, there's not much point in this life.

Goodnight, sweet prince.

More reading and nice video at Russia Today:

The original:

Saturday, 2 June 2012

What's Going On/What's Happening Brother? - Marvin Gaye

Every now and again, I get a little bit upset that musicians who have given an awful lot of awesome output to the world have been taken from us too soon. Marvin Gaye is one such person and this live performance of his award winning single What's Going On from the album of the same name goes to show that a song to the backdrop of drug abuse, rising taxes, police brutality, war and pollution is as relevant now as it ever was. 

Marvin Gaye was one day away from 45 when he was fatally shot by his father in 1984; just under one year before I was born. Rest in peace.

Cannon Fodder Main Theme (Jon Hare)

An excellent, down right fun top down war-themed shooter/strategy game that I only got properly acquainted with once I had the Mega Drive version, but I digress. I first came into contact with this title on the Atari ST and played the demo to death. There's a certain sense of pleasure in the easy controls, no-nonsence game style here: guide between one to four troops around a themed map (jungles, ice plains and deserts) and shoot the living crap out of everything. Later levels heralded RPGs, rocket launchers and more grenades than you could shake a stick at.