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Archive for August 2011

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DVD creation is a pain in the ass!

tatt pics 3 31 08 010 When i Got my Tattoo, I decided to take the money i had saved up, and go and get a 5 hour session on my first go.  I was so excited to get it done. The idea of a circuit inspired tat had been kicking around in my head for years.  i had waited long enough! I wanted it NOW!  So i went to the tattoo place and the artist explained to me blah blah blah, the pain would send my nervous system into shock after about 15 minutes and it would be more tolerable, yadda yada…Let’s get on with iiiiiiiiiiii….OOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW!!!!AHHHHHHHHGGGGHHHHHH!!! WTF is this pain!?!?!  it was like getting stung py one persistent psychotic bee…for 5 hours!!  And then, just when i thought,”Ok, i think i can handLLEEEYYEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAHHHHGGGGH!! and it was even worse!  especially around the elbow…actually, anywhere near a bone.  The point?  I love my tattoo with all my heart, but had i known ahead of time how painful it was, i’d have probably, and unfortunately, been more sensible and spaced out the sessions.

Thus it is with DVD creation.  I believed that it was like making a big CD; drop some files on there and you’re good to go.  I envisioned a hybrid audio/video DVD with pictures, and notes and patches and its all pretty and fresh n shit.  what i am learning is that DVD’s are a pain in the ass to author and their passing will cause no one any loss of sleep. 

first, why cant i have video content followed by audio content on the same disc? and what’s with all the formats?! dvd,dvd-a, hd-dvd, dvd-ram, dvd-rom, blue ray…seriously?!?  and  none of them are compatible (not strictly true,but i’m pissed…).  but luckily, just as with getting my tattoo, I am hard-headed and don’t like being made to feel like i cant do something that i should easily be able to do.

first, i find that you cant just copy video files onto the disc and call it a day. no…you must convert them to some format then they have to be placed in a folder just for video, with a load of text files for…who knows wtf they are for…they’re there and they are neccessary.  ok.  so you think you should be able to add music…its just movies with out video, right? wrong.  so i first had to (thankfully, open source to the rescue) use an app called DVD flick to create a video DVD, then, after spending 2 days to realize that wavelab creates audio DVD in the DVD-A(audio) format which is incompatible with many DVD players, I discovered Audio DVDcreator which will create a music dvd that will play in normal DVD players THEN, i will use ANOTHER  application called DVDRemake Pro to “merge” the two DVD’s into one cohesive entity, after which i am assured, by way of research, that i can add anything i want to the root directory and it will show up when placed in a computer while not interfering with DVD player functioning.

needless to say that for the next campaign, i will be distributing anything that doesnt fit on a CD, on flash drives.  holla.

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My first feature Magazine article! De:bug Magazine.

Never has there been a more perfect reason to get serious about my German Language studies than this!  De:bug Magazine, a German magazine with a focus on the geekier side of music and arts, has published an article on yours truly.  I can read about 20% of it, but then i also have google translate for the rest.  I’ll let the article do the talking.

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The 21st Century Musicians Guide to Busking, vol1; Implementation

Oh IMG_0156 yes…it is getting more and more real everyday, baby!  Idon’t hink Malcolm Gladwell is losing any sleep over the possiblity of my book hitting #1 on the bestsellers list, but I’m happy with it!

I’ve been playing around with this book for 2 years!  and this is just the first volume of 3; Implementation.  Iwanted to write a book that was for laptop and electronic musicians because, my theory goes, if there is a resource to help them be the best they can be, then people wont freak when they see electronic artists playing onthe street.  freaking is good, when its about the way the music makes people feel.  its bad when it makes the cops come and scrutinize everything you are doing.  its bad when people think that you are down on your luck because they believe that busking is for artists that couldnt “make it”.  Busking is an art and it is my hope with these books, to create a resource that hopefully gets artists to do it properly and to respect each other and the space they are performing in so that people see that busking is not a last resort, but rather a viable additional artisitc outlet.

IMG_0153 being that i am not endowed with loads of cash, i made the books myself.  my way of saying thanks to those that contributed to my crowdfunding campaign.  5 people went for this particular perk so i will be mailing out 5 books later today.  first i must make some spiffy clear plastic covers, to go with the bolted on binding, which is drilled.  i want it to have the vibe of a users manual.  the type of thing one would bring into the field and reference regularly. 

using word to make it into a book was tedious, but not unneccessarily so.  they actually have a folded book mode!  hahaha! nice! i was able to adjust the inside margin and averything.  yeah, i know thats nothing new or whatever, but its new to me and i found it cool.

IMG_0150 I will write the next volume deep in the winter hibernation.  I am working on integrating the beatjazz control system and a new busking system i designed, much more intimately and i will detail my finding in the next volume.

so now that this is done, i am compiling the DVD for the TRON campaign contributors.  I hope to have that in the mail by monday morning.  tuesday morning at the latest.  once that is in the mail, i will officially begin the new campaign to pick up where the last campaign left off and MAN, its going to be some other ish!  its killing me not to go into detail, but everything in due time.  l8r.

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Test Driving Windows live writer

 

Sunny day-Mauer Park summer 2009

In my continuing quest to test various offline blogging functions, i have now downloaded and am testing windows live writer for win xp.

One big advantage this seems to have is that it downloaded all of my formating from my blog so it actually feels like i am typing directly onto my site, rather than some editor that will later  be posted to it.  I can see how it looks right away.  I havent published yet, so it could all be a mirage, but so far so good.

My gold standard up to this point has been the editor from google blogspot.  it made it very easy to just flow with writing and add stuff without having to deal with too much backend business.  I know me well enough to know that if i have to deal with all of that stuff, i will blog less, hence the drop in blogging over the last few weeks.  I had attempted to write posts in blogspot then cut and paste the html here, but the formating was always off. 

no more! now it looks and feels better than ever.Picture 022   adding this picture was  much easier than in webbased editors.  with many options for rotating, color correction, resizing, etc, all while still giving the feel that i am adding it directly to my blog rather than playing around in an editor window.

There are loads of plugins for adding other functionality too.  why am i just discovering this tool?!

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Gearing up for some new geek adventures

As I mentioned before, and repeatedly, I apologize for the dearth of posts. The last few weeks has been crazy. Magazine interviews, shows, project completions. I love it!! But it can be a bit of an attention hog.

One aspect that had slowed me down a bit was the blog editor I was using. It was very hard to get things posted and formatted the way that I liked as easily as I liked. I am far from a web guru. I like to be able to vomit thoughts onto the screen then post it and move on but the inbuilt editor had me checking and rechecking things too much which curbed my enthusiasm quite a bit.

Today though, I am trying out the blogpost feature in word 2007. My internet guru Jason Martin, over at Belzomedia, got all my permissions sorted and this is my test post to see if everything worked the way it should. If so, its about to be a new day! Especially with a new campaign coming up soon. There are so many perspectives to tell that I am really hoping this system is fluid and stable.

Stay tuned. I just came up with some stuff that I hope blows your mind as much as it blows my mind. L8r.

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The Evolution to Exploration

Well, it would seem that I and Tacheles are destined to be inextricably linked this year.  This is footage from the "We Support Tacheles, vol.2" concert from July 2, 2011.  This was easily the biggest show I’ve played, to date, with the new system.  The night was a rousing success but there a few screw ups.

Firstly, I must figure out what this "intro" bug is.  It seems that my sound checks are flawless but as soon as I step out on stage for the actual show, something freaks, but is soon thereafter it is rectified.  I think it is cellular interference.  I will change the channel settings on my radios and probably create a system to change them dynamically to see if that cures it.

the other is my number one pet peeve...the one that has been the cause of any/all show related conflict in the last 10 years; DON'T %*^& WITH MY SOUND!! A person, who should really know better (and shall remain nameless) unplugged me in the middle of a %*^#ing concert!!!  Who does that?!?!  And then stood there looking like it was cute. It wasn't  

After those adventures, the night was AMAZING!  They really had an eclectic line up and a great sound system.  Tom Plummer and crew did the multi camera video shooting.  I need these cats at EVERY show.  They are the bomb! And really professional.

I'm starting to feel more comfortable with this concept.  On this particular night, I was using the newly integrated mic system.  I had to redesign the system, placing it on my back, which gave it a much more cyber-punk vibe.  I will almost be sad to hide all of these mechanics in the helmet because I dig the "cable out the back of my head" look of this setup.  It much more mobile and helps with the expressivity of movement. Looking forward to taking it further down the rabbit hole for the show at HKW on Thursday (more on that further down)

Last week we went to Weimar for the International Pure Data convention where I was scheduled to perform and present the beatjazz controller.  This is a gathering of the "braintrust" of the Pure data world.  It was the geek equivalent of a muggle going to Hogwarts for the first time.  These guys are really really REALLY smart and made PD do things I didn't even think were possible.  Just from what I saw there, I am going move forward into areas such as video and DSP that I was afraid to go near, before the convention.  Really exciting stuff.

I have finally compiled a collection of live recordings from the beatjazz control system.  I decided to name the EP "exploration".  The whole of the last few months, as well as the foreseeable future, have been focused on exploring the sonic possibilities born of this new system.  The sound is grittier and more intense than some of my earlier recordings.  I think that is owed to the increased narrative potential of having the hands free to create independent parameterization.  I am happy with the results especially considering that I still do not have viable lip pitch control although I did recently discover that now that the pressure tube is positioned directly in front of my mouth, I don't even need the mouthpiece.  I like this "naked" tube vibe because it’s much easier to discern when I am playing, singing or neither.

There are two big differences in this EP than previous releases.  First is that it costs $5.  The reason for this is that the people that contributed $5 or more to my campaign receive this EP.  I feel that it is only fair that I keep it at that price point.  And the other difference is that this release isn’t self "mastered"(mastering is when you make a recording sound really good).  This one was mastered by Vernon "d. German" Hill who has played with Dwele, Slum Village, Phat Kat, J Dilla and the Platinum Pied Pipers, Greg Dokes, Luniz, Joy Delelane and Calvin Richardson and a load of other cats.  He somehow "de-squashed" my live recordings and made them sound crisp.  Magic? Possibly.  Same magic that he brings to all his projects, me thinks.

As for upcoming shows, I have a show this Thursday that the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of world culture) on Mocky's "POST-EVERYTHING STAGE" at 10pm.  I'm on the bill with Peaches, Bonaparte, and Joel Gibbs.  I plan to keep moving on my trajectory toward abstracting bits of Dubstep with slivers of 8-bit sound.  i may even throw in some 80's techno sounds i've been building.  i want to paint a picture of Berlin as it is to me, sonically.  The tickets are 12/15euro.

til next time.  Let me know what you think of the EP.  l8r.
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So so so much to do!

Let me apologize for the dearth of posts in the last couple of weeks.  i can not begin to go into how much stuff is going on right now.  and its getting busier.  I am trying to adjust and settle into the new groove but some stuff slacked a bit, such as my blog, but i promise i am getting back into the swing of things.
Spent most of the last week learning the hard way, AGAIN, that using a force sensing resistor to measure lip pressure used to control pitch bend, is not the droid i'm looking for.  this time it worked for about a week before failing due to my faulty design.  but even when it did work, it was "spongy" feeling.  inaccurate.  hard to control and generally not very dynamic.  i'm going to start researching hall effect (magnet) sensors again.  i think they will work much better now that i have the silicon material Uli gave me, to work with. putting the finishing touches on the MAKE mag article right now.  I am building the first beatjazz controller that will be played by someone other than myself, so i can photograph it properly with a decent camera.  and i am re building the code so its readable by my new fellow beatjazzer and works well with the gestural notation i created for it.  all of this should be finished by weeks end.
I am also scanning thru all the recordings i've made this year to find the bits that give a nice picture of the state of this project.  there are some parts that were surprisingly singular and it is my hope that you dig the parts i've selected.  these will make up the contributor EP which will be ongoing thru the rest of the year. both of the above items as well as scans of my notes and the first draft of my book "the 21st century musicians guide to busking" will also, magically, be compiled onto a DVD which will also contain video and extra content.  this is part of the push to wrap up the first campaign and prepare for the second (more on that next week).
It is now official that its time for my wx5 to find a new home (ebay link).  I cant really see a situation that would make me want to ever play it again.  i thought, once i finished my beatjazz controller, that i would at least double on it; play my controller sometimes and the wx5  sometimes but ha!  as soon as the beatjazz controller was making noise, the wx5 became a relic of a bygone era.  I even thru in the kenton wireless midi system so whoever buys it next can be wireless right away.  I hope it brings its new owner as much joy as it brought me.
Next week I present the controller to the Pure data community at the Pure Data Convention in Weimar, germany.  really excited about this showing because the convention will be packed with many of the people whose projects inspired mine and i fully expect to learn quite a bit more stuff from these people while there.  hopefully Miller Puckette ( the creator of Pure data) and Hans christoph steiner (the creator of pduino and firmata, the arduino firmware that allows it to interface with pure data) will be there and i get a chance to chat about all things PD, open source and futuristic.  very exciting stuff.
on a final note.  I will be in the US from early Sept to early/mid Oct.  me and, what i refer to now as the MkI beatjazz control system, will be looking to spread the gospel in between corporate gigs and family visits.  If this sounds like something you or your company would be into, drop Susanne a line at booking@onyx-ashanti.com and lets hook it up. Ok, back to work...l8r.

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