Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Mid-June for Korg Volcas?

According to Absolute Music, the lovely new Korg Volcas are going to be available for purchase at some time next month, though I have been unable to verify this release date and I am super excited to get hold of a couple of them for projects.

As I happened to be in the West End this evening, I checked in to the West End DJ store near Tottenham Court Road and asked if they had an idea on release dates. After they called their UK Korg representative, they were given a street date of end July for the Volcas, but with a limited supply until the Autumn.

While it's nice to get a better idea of when the release date will be (you can't get better than direct from Korg!), it also means trying to foster a bit more patience: West End DJ only managed to order 10 sets of all three and knowing that they will sell like hot cakes, they probably won't be around for long. It's also worth pointing out that this is one of the best things about bricks and mortar establishments - you're never going to get a straight answer from websites that contradict each other.

Well, at least I get a couple of months to save up for the beats and bass combination - I have been trying to hold off of buying a Monotribe as I don't think it really suits what I want to do. I did have a hands-on test with one tonight as well and I was struck by how much larger the unit is than I had been lead to believe. Either way, its limitations are thrown in to much sharper focus when compared to the new Volcas, so I think this is just GAS talking!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Wario Land Stage 1

As Game Boy games go, this one ranks pretty highly in terms of time spent as a kid playing through. A kind of alternative Super Mario Land, this one stars Mario's alter ego and main rival Wario (see what they did there? They replaced the M with a W: genius!) and rather than try and save the girl, all Wario wants to do is to shoulder barge everyone and steal all their money and treasures, so that when he defeats all the pirates he has enough money to buy a super sized castle to live in. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

Now that the marketing hype machine has run its course and whipped music fans up into a frenzy, today marks the release of Random Access Memories, the latest album from French dance duo Daft Punk. Of course, I've grabbed a copy to review and on listening it's certainly a step in the right direction.

Early reviews and news coverage of the album (plus the constant teasing use of single Get Lucky in television spots) have already set the tone for their fourth album; it's less robot rock and more soulful disco and funk this time around. It seems ironic to me that now Daft Punk are trying to recreate the 70s wholesale rather than sample it for catchy hooks and hot riffs, but with quite so much music experience under their belt, the duo do seem to pull it off convincingly.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Mondo Grosso - Shinin'

This isn't just because I bought a PSP on release day (yep, got one of ten 1001 mark PSPs that came to Wallington) or that I think that the PSP is a totally underrated platform for games, but that Lumines was such a standout success for a launch title. Successfully combining bright colours, addictive puzzle action, a straightforward rule set and such great music throughout, this title reminds me of the good, old Sony that used to come out with excellent and enjoyable games. In particular, the cheerful Mondo Grosso's Shinin' is just a joy to hear when starting up a new game and really brings back some good memories of playing this during my year abroad in Germany.

Q! Productions also were responsible for Gunpei, another underrated puzzle title for the platform that I enjoyed, and the port of EEE (Every Extend Extra), which also combines music, pulsing visuals and a spin on shoot 'em up style for a compulsive mix. I'm not sure what they are up to now, but they were responsible for a lot of time spent on my PSP!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

DV247 in dire straits?

Music shop DV247 has announced the closure of all of their UK stores bar the distribution centre in Romford; Essex following their parent company White Rabbit Records going in to administration. In another sad day for the high street, which seems to be shrinking by the day and leaving behind Poundland and Fried Chicken shops, this leaves people unable to demo gear in their regional outlets, though at least for me I will be able to get my fix via a short train journey.

It's a shame to hear, as DV247 keep a wide variety of products available and are perhaps one of the last big names in the UK retail sector for music (I'm thinking of West End DJ now) who still have actual bricks and mortar shops to browse or pick up orders from. Here's to hoping there will be a turnaround for them!

Link to the press release here:

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

New review: I'll Be Your Mirror

Photo courtesey of Efestivals
I've been a bit busy over the weekend with the I'll Be Your Mirror festival, with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs curating an interesting group of bands coming together last Saturday 4th May. It's good to get back into the reviewing season and I am pleased that I have other ones coming up as well.

There was plenty on during the day, though the lack of the second curator meant that there was only the one day rather than the two days in 2011 when Portishead organised the festival. There were also fewer food stands as well - perhaps the credit crunch is having unexpected consequences.

Well worth seeing King Khan and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion as relatively unknown groups that I hadn't heard of who gave really great performances. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs performed a really slick gig whose production values were streets ahead of the others, but then again, it wouldn't exactly be good of them to foul up as headliners, would it?

Link to full review:

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Not dead, honest!

Been a bit busy of late, but will endeavour to update everyone and this blog in due course. Enjoy the sunny weather outside for a change: I have!