Sunday, 31 March 2013

Bubble Bobble / Taito

Another excellent video game port on the Atari ST and one I enjoyed playing with my brother on twin joysticks. Loads of levels, power ups, co-operative play, needing some strategy based on level design and occasionally just a bit of luck. It's a childish, pleasing game with some cute characters and solid platform gaming, with enough nuances in the game rules to learn that mean that you can really start ratcheting up the points.

As for the music, this was a lovely bit of Atari ST music, featuring some truly heavy square bass lines and arpeggios that played throughout the game. Even hearing just a bit of it sends me straight back to my childhood!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Akai Miniak

I've just picked up a new bit of kit for my bedroom after spotting a bit of a bargain on Gumtree for just £100 and a trip down to leafy Kenley in South London (barely Zone 5) in the snow. It's an Akai Miniak and in pretty decent shape as well – if only for the missing knob cap on one of the endless controller knobs and a couple of video game stickers on the unit itself that came off with zero fuss. Thanks to some isopropyl alcohol that made the whole unit stink like it had just been dumped in a vat of vodka, the stickers left no marks either and in general the unit is solid, working and with no scratches or dents at all. This post is more of a kind of "first impressions" review after I've had a better chance to sit down and play with it for a few hours.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Buying your way into the charts

A recent article on the Beeb (that's the BBC for overseas readers) caught my eye the other day, which claimed that chart topping artists had at some point fabricated their successes in order to get noticed by DJs, record labels and other artists. In singles out a company that would arrange for videos on YouTube or tracks on Soundcloud to receive set numbers of hits and accompanying comments to back up the legitimacy of the "traffic". In doing so, this increases the visibility of the work on the site, at which point it starts to pick up organic hits and thus into the headspace of industry professionals.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories rumour roundup

Well after the somewhat anticlimactic change to Daft Punk's website late last year, which had then reverted back to its older logo before finally changing to its most recent incarnation, it is now clear that the French duo are set to release a new album after several years. In case you need a history lesson, the last true album they released was Human After All, with the rather lacklustre Tron Legacy soundtrack punctuating the gap. It's also great to note that Daft Punk continue to generate gossip and interest after quite so many years of silence, with no tours or solo albums for over three years. So what exactly do do we know about this new album?

Escape from the planet of the robot monsters / Atari ST

Despite its long name, Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters is an excellent isometric shoot 'em up, with plenty of zappy, Dan Dare-esque action. Set on the synthetic industrial planet Planet X, the evil Reptilons invade and enslave the human workforce to create an evil army of robots with a plan to invade Earth. Team up with a friend or go it alone with your trusty ray gun and blast away at a variety of enemy robots while arming up with bombs to destroy Reptilon bosses and saving hapless slave hostages to increase your lives.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Android and music: we have the technology

The only thing that Android seems to lack in terms of applications at the moment is proper support for music making. Not to sound like a complete anti-Apple person (they just priced me well out of the market, is all!), but Apple's low-latency audio drivers and substantial market share for the iPad have allowed companies like Arturia, Korg, Moog and Propellerhead (to name but a few) to develop touch-enabled software synthesisers, as a way of bridging the gap between virtual synths on desktops controlled through a DAW and a fully blown standalone hardware synthesiser. There are even iOS versions of full DAWs including FL Studio and Garageband, bringing full mobile music to anyone who has these devices.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Monday, 4 March 2013

New Track - Scandium

A nice departure for me that uses a pad to determine the key and the bassline works off of that. Really enjoyed making this one and playing with Protoplasm TSM for the pad. The breakbeat I ended up using is the Worm break and I liked the ability to mess around with proper old-school rave break downs as well. As to whether I will do something similar in the future, who knows?