Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.

Archives: 2007

November 30, 2007


by Chris Randall

Adam is on forced sabbatical this week, because sometimes coding makes him want to go drown kittens or something. So I've been busying myself working on the Record That Never Ends, otherwise known as Callisto, and fooling about with Processing. During the latter phase of operations, I discovered that while it is fairly good at flipping pixels, it ain't so hot when it comes to sound. (Most Java applications that deal with sound are s-s-s-s-s-stuttery, in my experience, so this comes as no surprise.)

But I was mainly fooling with algorithmic composition, as usual, and I was curious as to what else is out there these days that is Worth A Shit. I still use M and UpBeat because, well, they work for me. And I can generally write my own code in this regard which gives fair to middling results (and thus puts it in the same class as most algorithmic composition software.) What's the Good Stuff, though? What do you use? Why? Turn me on to something I don't know about that isn't Max or CSound. (The former because I don't care for it, and the latter because, well, I have a life.)

November 29, 2007

Just a flesh wound...

by Chris Randall

My MachineDrum has developed a brain tumor. Bummer. The Elektron people are, as usual, quick to respond and very helpful. It's a bit of a drag that they are in Sweden and all (not for them, for me) but there you go. So my lil' MD will be on a big ol' jet airliner this evening, headed back to the motherland for some TLC.

We hates DSP errors, Precious...

November 29, 2007


by Chris Randall

There's some artists which you would give their due acclaim, should the opportunity arise, but you just don't pay close attention to what they're up to in general because they're so fuckin' omnipresent. David Gilmour fits squarely in this category. I mean, he puts out a pretty steady stream of material, and has for several decades now (!!!), but it's just one of those things. I mean, I like Pink Floyd as much as the next guy, and like every other musician on the planet, I know ever single note of Dark Side and WYWH, but I don't set my watch by 'em or anything, you know?

Anyways, yes, there is a point in here eventually. I was flipping through the channels tonight, and I happened upon Rave playing the concert film of the 2006 David Gilmour (and friends, natch) Live At The Royal Albert Hall thingie, and I'm like "oh, this is cool," or whatever. So I'm watching along, and the set is this bizarre fusion of DG shit and Pink Floyd (both the w/ Rog and w/o iterations) songs, with various folks coming up and it's okay and all. I mean, all other things aside, David Gilmour is a fucking excellent guitarist, no mistake.

So it's chugging along, and then in the middle of a bunch of whatever, David Bowie walks out on stage and they bust in to Arnold Layne. While I grant that Rick Wright is the only person on stage that actually performed that song in its original state, so it was more of a cover than anything else, it was (a) shocking, and (b) really fucking cool.

I know that most of the British readers of this site will probably have known about this, because there was a single made of this performance which apparently reached #19 on the UK charts last fall. (I assume #18 was some British indie rock band, and #20 was probably the worst electro-pap imaginable, because the British are like that.)

Okay, so I guess there wasn't actually a point, after all. But I'm a big Bowie fan, and he pwnd the fuck out of that tune, I'm just saying. And whaddya know, here it is on the tube. Who woulda thought it?

November 28, 2007


by Chris Randall

Back from the Big Show. Point of order: you know you're getting old when you're in not-insubstantial pain the next morning and all you did was stand in the sound booth and watch bands play. It's a wonder I didn't break my fucking hip or something.

I got a new favorite band out of the deal, though. Fucking Skeleton Key is teh awesome. I'm listening to the records I picked up at the merch booth last night, and they aren't quite as direct (or, uh, unrestrained?) as the live show, but they're very much a Lower East Side art-o-thon in the vein of Cop Shoot Cop or Carbon or that sort of thing, music that is near and dear to my heart. I'm given to understand the lead singer lives in Tribeca, though, which kind of takes the wind out of my sails in that regard. But then again, I live in Mill City, Oregon (pop. 1054) so what the fuck do I know? Paul Barker was, like, "really?" while looking at my as if I suddenly grew a third arm right in the middle of my forehead.

In any case, they were good, and before doors it looked like a who's-who of 90s Industrial in the club. A little bit creepy. I think the last time that many of us were in one place was in front of the roach coach when Tool was second stage at Lollapalooza, playing Tinley Park. I wouldn't want to make a habit of that.

November 27, 2007

Tuesday Open Thread...

by Chris Randall

Argh. I just got done reading the Underworld article in the new issue of Remix, and someone needs to clean house in their proofreading department (if they even have one.) That thing is so riddled with errors that, well, it's riddled with errors. It's fairly sad. A sample sentence:

The 60-plus lights Cruickshank used at Central Park are mostly Robe 700s, joined by Molefay, ACL, and Par Can strobes."

The thing with that sentence is that you'd have to have a reasonably deep knowledge of concert lighting to see the errors. That's fine, of course. Obviously the writer isn't a concert LD. But there's the rub: the information is for concert LDs, who are the only ones that would find it interesting at all. Thus, it would perhaps behoove the writer to not just Make Shit Up that would necessarily cause a concert LD to ROFL.

The phrase "par can" is capitalized throughout the article; I assume that these fancy "Par Can strobes" are all the rage with the touring electronic-based progressive whatever bands. This isn't really a big deal, but a pretty fair portion of the article, maybe 30% of the four pages, are given over to talk of lighting and video, and I'd say that roughly 30% of that information is correct. He talks about the 20-by-2-inch tubes that cover the stage for a while. Fun, when you change that "inch" to "feet," as prominently displayed in the 2-page picture right above the paragraph they're mentioned in.

This is the reason I find American music magazines (with the obvious exception of TapeOp) to be stupid in general. It seems that the entire point of the magazine is to provide a convenient mechanism by which to fling Sweetwater, M-Audio, and Korg advertisements at the reader. The writing is, it seems, something of an afterthought any more. I'm not bothered by the actual errors. The thing that bothers me is that if I can catch this many errors (I count 23 factual errors in the video and lighting sections of the article) in the talk of shit I know about, how many errors are there in the shit I don't know about, and can I actually trust them as an information source?

Anyways, rant over. I'm going to Portland this evening to catch Chemlab and USSA. By virtue of the two long-ass tours I did with them, I've probably seen Chemlab perform more than any other band, I'd say roughly 125 times. So that'll be a trip down memory lane. In the unlikely event you're at the show and can manage to find me, come and say "hi" and buy me a mojito. But just one. I have to drive home.

Oh, and, the open thread topic (and this should be a hot one...): we're coming up on the release of a couple albums at the ol' Positron HQ, and we're discussing the interesting fact that the only real reason to press CDs any more is for licensing houses. There's really no question at this point that hard media as a delivery mechanism will go away. What's the time frame? How long before a label doesn't even have to consider CD pressing at all?


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