Saturday, 28 July 2012
From the department of "but it wasn't supposed to do that originally!" comes a fusion of an Atari ST, keyboard synthesiser and arpeggiator. Even better is the fact that thewhole thing is built into old Atari ST hardware - nicely done, guys!
Yes, I took a week off from blogging. In amongst all the other things I usually do, I have been:
- Drinking lots with friends for the opening ceremony for the olympics
- Signed up to twitter (despite my better judgement) - find me at #southern_trax
- Going crazy with getting MIDI to USB to work for my Control Freak
- Watching Hellsing again
- Moving offices
- Playing Stalker, GTA 3 and loads of other games after the Steam sale
- Meeting people from the Netherlands
- Buying silly microphone gizmos (stay tuned)
Saturday, 14 July 2012
Bigger is better
Just been jamming away with my Keystation keyboard, meaning that I now have a proper keyboard of four octaves, complete with pitch bend and modulation wheels. It certainly makes playing with the Moog Original V from Arturia more fun, I have to say. Bit tricking finding space for it but it is well worth the effort.
After popping back to my parents' and having a look through their loft I now have regained my Control Freak, for 16 lovely sliders and buttons. Only drawback is that it is a MIDI only device, so I will have to buy a separate MIDI - USB cable type thing. It is also a lot bigger than I remember it being so I will also have to reorganise my desk so that I can fit it in with my Kenton Killamix Mini. Studio photo incoming shortly I feel...
Oh god more games
Right in the middle of everything there's a SUMMER STEAM SALE, which is seriously sapping my will to do anything other than kill, maim, shoot and otherwise enjoy video games. Lots of cool things on offer this time and I definitely interested in getting hold of Max Payne 3 but I reminded that I still have loads of other titles from previous sales to get into. Damn you, Valve!
Summer NAMM has just started this weekend, giving vendors another opportunity for people to browse their wares. If I can find anything awesome to blog about I will (in the meantime, Matrixsynth always keep on top of things).
I really liked the music in Sonic 3, not least because it happened to be some of the funkiest FM going at the time, but because Acts 1 and 2 featured music that was based around a leitmotif and as such added some nice variety between zones. In particular Act 2 of Hydrocity has some excellent backing lines and funky jams and is one of several great tracks on the soundtrack.
Thursday, 12 July 2012
Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Hot from the presses of e-festivals comes the sad news that the kerfuffle last week with Bloc Weekender has caused the event organisers to go bust and insults are flying everywhere between the organisers, the venue and the security company.
It's a shame it's come to this but here's hoping the good guys come out on top.
More news at:http://www.efestivals.co.uk/news/12/120711b.shtml
Sunday, 8 July 2012
The Bitmap Brothers remain in my mind as one of the finest British game production houses of the 8 bit era, thanks to their understanding of how to make the best of a limited 16 colour palette and game design, producing a number of solid platformers and shoot 'em ups for the Atari ST and Amiga. The list of greats is great reading: Xenon, Gods, Magic Pockets, Speedball and more - all classics.
Xenon was my first exposure to the Bitmaps and their efforts with this heavily addictive shoot 'em up. Your ship could transform from a land tank to plane, offering two different layers of shooting opportunity as you blast your way from bottom to top. As even the screenshot in the video shows, the brothers make good use of blues and oranges alongside various shades of grey and can get a lot out of their metallic colour scheme. But alongside this came awesome pumping music and heavy FM sound effects of explosions, power ups, bullets and lasers - this game pulsed with a raw energy that I hadn't seen in a shoot 'em up before and I was hooked.
The sequel took a more varied approach with Xenon 2: Megablast, which had some licensed music from Bomb The Bass and changed the style of the game as well to feature more exotic enemies and varied colours and this became a classic in its own right. But the original will stay with me forever.
SE-SECTOR ONE! Gameplay below
Saturday, 7 July 2012
After a disappointing time of overcrowding across the site, the Bloc Weekender festival has been closed early by police over fears of health and safety.
I was there to review the night but the review turned into a news story. A shame that I didn't get to see Snoop Dogg after all (or perhaps he refused to go on stage, it's unclear at this point) but at least I got to enjoy Amon Tobin and his wicked stage show. Lots of interesting electronic music fused with gut churning bass and a light show as random and twinkly as the music.
The popular opinion on Twitter and Facebook is that Bloc will be refunding the first day and probably cancelling the second day. As a result, I won't be able to watch Orbital this time around and while it might not be a popular opinion, it is for the best. That said, it is this sort of thing that breaks festival promoters and I will wait and see what happens for the future of the festival. Personally I believe the venue (London Pleasure Gardens) mis-sold the capacity of the venue, which couldn't cope with the numbers of people who attended.
As soon as I have a link to the official story I will post it here.
Update: Bloc have confirmed that Saturday has been cancelled. Damn.
More at E-festivals:
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
Yes I know, I missed this Saturday's Saturday Soundtrack feature. Here it is a couple of days late...
I've just got back from Edinburgh in Scotland after a one-day event I helped put on and after travelling for ages, getting hot and bothered in the day, suffering in a suit and dealing with lots of other niggling problems, I was ready to eat something quick and go to bed. Just as I was going home, one of my friends messaged me to say that Tony Coleman read out the email that I sent them after Lovebox to thank them for putting on an awesome tent of music. Needless to say, this has totally perked me up - cheers Tony!
It's on Hospital Podcast 178 around the 37 minute mark - I'll post a link when it goes live on the Hospital Records website and in the meantime, iTunes has it for download here.