October 2, 2010
September 19, 2010
All of them were done in the hidden "dly" mode, which seems to be much more useful for jamming purposes (it has 16 beats instead of 8, you can set the loop size to sub-beat increments, and — apparently this is a bug but it's a fun one — changing the loop size during playback also affects the recorded loop).
It's a fun tool for experimenting, and also for creating new loops (rhythm loops especially) which I will sure to be use in other songs. It's a lot more fun and natural-feeling than sequencing it in a step sequencer or whatever, at least. Note control is very imprecise but that's also not really the point to it; it's more about navigating through an evolving soundscape than about playing a specific song.
It's also surprisingly handy to just screw around with it at work and have a looping bed playing while I write code. Unfortunately, it's also a distraction because I start to mess around with the music while it plays. I am of course keeping it at home from now on.
September 2, 2010
They also hid the AirPlay (nee AirTunes) stuff in a little tiny widget in the corner, which makes it much less clear if AirPlay is available, and they just use a gray vs. blue icon to indicate whether it's active. You have to click on it to learn what your particular configuration is. Considering they're really trying to push AirPlay now, this seems like a curious design decision.
I was also a bit annoyed that when I started it up, it was in "group with album art" view, which I usually turn off, but they've done a bit of tweaking to it to make it actually useful (even though the vast majority of my music doesn't have album art) and so I'm leaving it on for now.
So of course I tried out Ping, and was immediately annoyed by the following aspects:
- It requires your real name, which is tied to your billing account
- It requires your gender, which is of course the binary male/female
- You are only allowed to select up to three genres you like. The list of genres is pretty pathetic and mainstream anyway, though.
- There is no way for independent artists to add a profile (hopefully that will change in the future)
- The "privacy" settings are just "do you want to let people follow you?" and nothing like, for example, "do you want this information to be available?" Apparently, no, they haven't learned from Facebook's bad example.
- The only activity it records is actively purchasing and rating things on the iTunes store. So much for Last.fm-style discovery.
August 2, 2010
Not that it matters or anything. I'm much more interested in the potential for getting noticed on Amazon's retail distribution channel, although that also seems fairly unlikely. Maybe I should make my music, you know, good first.
Meanwhile, I'd still appreciate getting reviews on the CDBaby page (or even on the Amazon page, when it finally goes live).
July 31, 2010
July 28, 2010
July 13, 2010
July 1, 2010
Note that despite the name, we're not actually doing anything on Haight Street (just as how in Seattle we didn't get wet or wild, and in Santa Cruz only a couple people got high).
May 27, 2010
May 26, 2010
I especially like what it did to Baby, Be Quiet — it completely changed the song's character. Run Faster didn't fare as well (although it gets better once the guitars kick in). &counting actually worked pretty well; it's a bit ironic that it had an easier time with the beat on that than with some of my other songs. And of course, Sometimes It's Hard To Keep Yourself Moving was conventional enough that it worked out.
I did try a few other songs, which just became unlistenable (due to stretch artifacts) and didn't even get any rhythmic modifications (such as Sorry To Inform You and Double Take).
May 17, 2010
Also, stop rushing.
May 16, 2010
- Took 101 on the way down. Kept regretting taking that instead of 1. Then I hit LA and traffic got terrible but I repeat myself. I think the extra time for 1 would have made the final part that much more annoying.
- Thursday night went to Tokyo Wako, which is a terrible, terrible restaurant. I was hoping for some simple sushi but everything there was best characterized as "too much of everything." Both rolls I got (one spider roll, one unagi roll — helpfully called "eel roll" instead for us poor Americans) were loaded up with avocado and disgustingly-sweet teriyaki sauce, and the pieces were too large to fit in my mouth and fell apart and so on. It's basically a local chain version of Benihana. NOT RECOMMENDED.
- Friday I went to the aquarium, which was nice, except that it happened to be the same day that a lot of LA elementary schools were taking a field trip, so I had a hard time taking any pictures or reading the signs or enjoying a nice quiet day at the aquarium. So, not very nice.
- Went to Zephyr, had half a grilled tofu sandwich (which was good but I didn't have much of an appetite before my set and after my set it was too late for me to eat anything per GERD treatment protocol), and had a great performance after a couple of false starts. Unfortunately, the stream crapped out just as I was getting good (or at least, I like to think so, but I haven't listened to the recordings yet). Got most of the musicians in the crowd to join me for a rousing chorus of Night Terrors, which was a wonderful trainwreck (in a good way).
- Saturday, wandered around the area near the hotel before going to a barbecue at Ross Durand's house. I showed up early (because traffic was way better than expected), and met his family, and slowly other Song Fight people trickled in, although the two who I really wanted to see again (MintyHandy and Johnny Cashpoint) couldn't make it due to bad circumstances. But that's okay. Got the next fight's title from Spud over the phone, and Alex (of the Seamus Collective) wrote an absolutely brilliant song, which we recorded in bluegrass style. I played cello. We're probably going to collaborate on improving parts of it over the next several days pre-submission (Ross wasn't feeling comfortable enough with his dulcimer playing to record it along with us, for example, and I'd like to record a separate cello part for the bridge and maybe some vocal harmonies) but even as recorded live it was wonderful. I got video, which I will post after the fight goes live.
- This morning, woke up at 5 AM and couldn't fall back to sleep. At 7 AM a badly-organized gay pride parade circled around the lagoon by the Hyatt. There were maybe 20 people in it, and their chant was: "What do we want? JUSTICE! When do we want it? NOW!" and of course it was not in a place that it would be seen or heard by anyone except tired out-of-towners.
- Now I'm just trying to figure out if I want to take 101 back (semi-pretty drive, but I've already seen it), or 1 (very pretty but also a grueling endurance test), or I-5 (a little faster than 101, boring). Will definitely be stopping at Chris's on the way in any case.
May 14, 2010
May 8, 2010
April 6, 2010
Specifically, what I'd really like is the ability to load a MIDI file or Logic/Sibelius/whatever score, select one or more instruments to display, and one or more instruments to play as accompaniments, as a means of practicing my instrument.
Although I suspect that I could already do exactly this with any number of MIDI-based scoring environments on the Fujitsu tablet PC I just bought off eBay for $260. (But that wouldn't be Shiny and Revolutionary.)
Anyway I guess what I'm saying is that I don't really care about the iPad, and I will roll my eyes severely at "the first iPad band" because it's like people forget that musicians always use whatever they have available to make music, and it's not like music software is anything new.
March 3, 2010
January 25, 2010
December 1, 2009
Things I like about Beatmania:
- It has an incredible variety of music. When R343L came by she said, "Oh, it's like Rock Band but with techno," but she just happened to come by when I was playing a techno track. If she'd been there for the previous one she'd have heard some Motown-style funk, and the next one was new-wave fusion jazz. There's also classical and rock and pop and IDM and who knows what the hell else. Much of it is hard to classify, like most of my broad tastes in musical styles.
- You are actually playing the music. On most rhythm games you're just hitting buttons, and hitting the wrong button will make the overall pre-mixed track mute, or (on a good day) play some random jarring instrument noises. On Beatmania, though, you are actually playing a sampler keyboard, whose sample triggers are changing as part of the timeline. It is totally transparent to the player, BUT it means that if you mess up the timing or miss a note or play the wrong key, you actually get off-time or partially-missing or wrong samples. Another side-effect of this is that you really have to play with your ears as much as your eyes, and so it doesn't matter that there's no way to calibrate it for display lag because if you're looking at the event line, you're doing it wrong.
- Relatedly (and completely unlike DJ Hero), when you are scratching it is actually scratching. Okay, it's not speed- or direction-sensitive, and the metaphor of the turntable can vary often (sometimes it's a scratch, sometimes it's a spin, sometimes it's just another sample trigger) but when you're on a scratch-heavy track, every scratch you make produces a separate scratch sound. You have to be able to count small numbers very quickly, which is a lot harder than it sounds.
- You get a hell of a lot of music on each disc. Yeah, in the days before DLC, you had to buy additional CD-ROMs to get more songs. But each disc has about an hour's worth of songs. (Because the tracks are composed of samples, and often have the same samples used across songs, you easily get a CD's worth of music, sometimes more, even with all the audio tracks being separate.) Yeah, some of the later mixes have repeats from the previous discs, but so what? Each disc is a unique gaming experience.
- The visuals! Most rhythm games give you basically nothing interesting visually. Oh, yay, a band on stage, big deal. Beatmania gives you fun semi-interactive music videos that react to the song and to how you're doing. And the visuals are fun, with crayon scrawlings and tongue-in-cheek discotheque visuals and occasional IDM-ish weirdness.
- Winning doesn't involve just not failing, but ending on a high note. (Actually it's possible to completely bomb out at the beginning and then recover towards the end. Finishing strong is more important. Except in expert mode.)
- Even though it's over 12 years old it's still fun and challenging, and the later mixes took it a bit further and provided multiple difficulty levels and even multiple arrangements of the songs. Okay, sure, Guitar Hero and Rock Band have the multiple difficulty levels, but that's just adding more events you have to hit more or less on-cue to keep the same sounds going as always. On Beatmania, the fact you're playing the notes directly means the advanced difficulties actually start to fall apart in different ways, and you know it. And there's always new challenges, too — expert mode (where you have a budget for mistakes for an entire setlist), double mode (two controllers one gamer), special challenges (key randomization, hidden/sudden/extra-fast note markers), and probably lots of other stuff that isn't even occurring to me right now.
It's also a shame it's so hard on my wrists because holy cow did I miss playing this wonderful game.
I have basically every worthwhile mix for the PS1 (except Sound of Tokyo, which I should be receiving soon, having finally sourced a copy on eBay), and the first Gameboy mix, which is basically a "best of" for the first few PS1 mixes, in chiptune form, and the chiptunes are exceptionally well-done. Right now I'm considering also getting either an import or modded PS2 so I can start building a IIDX collection, even though IIDX didn't really seem so much fun (since it seemed to be all about the difficulty instead of the fun). It's just too bad I didn't get back into this stuff a few years ago when it was still easy to source a PS2 modchip. (Maybe not so bad for my wrists though.)
November 23, 2009
While you think you may be speaking in your own interest, anyone who has wanted to download pirated versions of the Beatles catalog has likely already done so, as there are many avenues by which to do that which don't involve an official EMI release. All you are doing by insisting that EMI recompense you for any pirated "leaks" of an official EMI downloadable version is preventing the people who want to buy them legally from doing so.
October 13, 2009
However, there is still one issue with it which has been bothering me since version 7 at least (and maybe even earlier): it would be really nice if it were smarter about prefetching upcoming audio files, so that if I've, say, had a project open and idle for a few hours, it doesn't give me an "audio engine overload" error every single time the playhead touches a new uncached file for the first time.
The easy workaround is to just do an offline bounce but that's silly, and only partially solves it for extremely complex projects. Most of the time Logic is sitting there with an empty HD load indicator, so I know it could be better about actively prefetching assets. It's not like playhead motion is a Turing-complete problem or whatever (it only moves in one direction and usually doesn't even change speed that much).
Obviously, freeze tracks aren't the answer, since it just replaces a bunch of small un-cached files with a bunch of large uncached files.
Maybe there's a buried setting. It's not like Logic is short on obscure preference panes after 20 years of accretion...