Saturday, 27 July 2013

Saturday Soundtracks: Rolling Ronny

Another classic case of Atari ST square waves gone slightly over the top, Rolling Ronny is a side scrolling platformer with a distinctly British sense of humor. You are Ronny, a clown courier on roller skates, who has to deliver a package across town. However, in order to progress through each stage and get to the next level, you have to endure a set of zany enemies, jumping scenes and a time gauge - even then if you didn't collect enough coins you couldn't afford the bus journey to the next level and your game ended. So yes, it's not particularly forgiving, but the music certainly made up for this - a raucous mix of Atari ST blips and blops in a very childish manner that of course appealed to me as a pre-10 year old games player. See what you think!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

5 reasons why I love Play Music

I've been thinking a lot recently about music on mobile devices, especially as I am due a new phone in a couple of months, and I have come to the conclusion that my phone is pretty good as an MP3 player and content management system. To be quite honest, I've not had the time nor the effort to use the other features of my iPod Touch, such as the games or music making apps, to the point where my iPod Touch has actually ran out of power and I have not seen the point in charging it back up again as I am not going to use it.

While I've already got the majority of my music in MP3 format on my computer and arranged via iTunes, I've noticed a few changes in the Google Play store over the last few months that have made me do some testing of the service. And do you know what? It's pretty damned good! Here are my five reasons why I have come to love this service.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

British Summer Time Festival

In a shocking turn of events, Britain has finally experienced a summer worthy of the season. With Glastonbury distinctly not muddy and with the temperature climbing, Hyde Park has been transformed into an inner city festival arena with plenty of top name acts playing, gourmet food stands, loads of bars (though paradoxically never enough) and even some fairground rides. As I write this, the arena is still open for business until the weekend and there's plenty still to come from the likes of Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Lionel Richie and Jennifer Lopez.

Of course, as all of this musical gala is right on my doorstep, I need very little excuse to go out and check it all out, however in another shock turn, I have actually taken a slightly different route to getting in and experiencing this festival. Yes, folks: I've actually become a site volunteer to escort people around, give directions and generally be a go-to guy. After all the Olympic fever last year that I missed out on (for better or worse), I actually enjoyed the chance to see a festival from a slightly different angle. I still have another shift on Sunday to catch Lopez & Lionel, but I thought I would cover what's been going on in the park over the long, hot weekend.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Grand Theft Auto Soundtrack

GTA, the game that started the entire franchise and spawned huge, immersive worlds was just as enjoyable as a top down experience when playing on a Playstation as a kid. I recall a lot of controversy about the game, as playing as a criminal and breaking laws weren't such big things in video games back in the 90s. Characters that were thieves stealing things were often portrayed in cartoon fashion with a lack of blood or were in the context of a spy or espionage genre, so outright criminal rampage was something new. And as history has shown, it hasn't outright lead to the downfall of society and the corruption of youth.

Something that struck me was the music - all the cars had radio stations that would play different music and while all of it was by unfamiliar artists  (and still remain so!), this means that I associate their tracks with this game alone. The hip hop is classy and jazzy, the country and pop tracks are as catchy as ever and the dance tracks are pumping in true 90s fashion. As a result, whenever I hear these stations, I get a big nostalgia hit for the wasted sessions, though sadly it's not enough to make me want to play a few lives. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

New track - Titanium

I do like being able to punt out lots of new music and this track is no exception. I turned it around in about three weeks or so and just wanted it done, so here it goes. Not much to say about this track that I haven't already talked about, though I am particularly satisfied with the rising synthesiser line. As Synth1 has no reverse saw LFO shape, I had to use the triangle shape as a reverse saw. Using a very slow time period hooked to the oscillator pitch and tweaking LFO2 as an amplifier gate so I could do bit of jerky movement as it got higher in pitch, I got it done.

From Soundcloud:

Titanium: because it's heavy stuff. Just kidding - this grew out of my love of seeing Netsky last year at Lovebox in London and loving the sort of trance-meets-drum&bass sound that is going around.

A few modifications to my pads to become strings, add some classic dance pianos and this baby is ready to roll - hope you like it!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Volca Beats / Bass / Keys demos

Not content to rest on their laurels, Korg have been busy making some great videos of their Volca series and presented by none other than hardware designer and chief engineer of the project - Tatsuya Takahashi. Tatsuya is a bit of a surprise; he's a fairly young man, knowledgeable and has an excellent command of British English. Rather than hearing a brash Korg USA representative, it's great to have these demos come directly from the engineers themselves and are explained clearly and calmly. Well done to Korg for such a good series of videos, here are my thoughts on them.