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Archive for June, 2009

Late night hack attack!

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Hackers

In case you actually visited this site at some point within the last 24hrs, this quick test post is just to let you know the site is slowly making it’s way back online after a hack attack.

I cannot pinpoint the exact cause of the problem but after a extensive research I found I was not alone in my suffering. Other Wordpress users had suffered the exact same fate. Some nasty so-and-so has been exploiting a Wordpress, or possibly Filezilla bug and posting IFRAME code across random pages of blogs.

Needless to say I took stock of the situation and ran, taking the decision to start fresh seeing as I had backups of my data. With the site still in it’s infancy I have the luxury of starting fresh. Some may not be so lucky, I feel for you.

I’ve taken appropriate action on the security side of things too so hopefully this will not happen again. Hopefully the exploit will be covered up soon enough (whatever it is that is found to be the problem).

For now, please bare with me as I get the site back up and running.

Written by The Editor

June 30th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

New album project revealed!

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Music Sequencer

After much humming, fiddling and general brainstorming I have finally made a few decisions regarding my next album project. If you have not read the earlier post made announcing the new project read it now! Essentially this is a small project to keep me occupied, not (initially now anyway) a commercial project, just something put together casually for the joy of making electronic music. It has been some time since I have made anything new and with the extended break I feel it is also time to use a new artist name.

New artist name

Many moons ago I used the name ‘Delörean‘ (the ö was added to make it look extra German and therefor assumed to be extra ‘techno’, hey, everyone has been guilty of it in the electronic circles at some stage). The name was taken from my love of the best film ever made, Back To The Future. With a fresh start and a different outlook on the music I want to write I decided said fresh start requires a name change. I had a bit of a brainstorm and to be honest most of the monikers I was scribbling down sounded like something found on a badly photocopied flyer for a warehouse party circa August Bank Holiday UK 1992.

It was after several hours of listing useless artist names that I came up with the idea of using the internet in the hopes of finding a name generator specific to DJ culture; what luck, I found one! A quick bit of Google action brought me to this fantastic little random name generator by James Moss called the ‘Electro DJ Name Generator‘ (note: some results generated make use of rather colourful language, you have been warned).

This simple yet wonderful random name generator initially threw up a mix of comedic nonsense and coarse electro crudity results, none of which perked interest. The longer I clicked through random names the more I came across genuine results that I actually thought I could use. It was at this point I decided there was no point in trying too hard to come up with something ‘extra cool’ by myself and to actually let fate decide via the use of this random name generator and see if I could actually get something I genuinely liked and would use.

It is at this point I am going to have to come clean and tell you that as of right now I am not going to reveal what artist name I have chosen. The reason for this is because I have not yet secured the domain name (which at the time of typing this is still available) and do not want to end up with someone reading this (because my blog is so popular!) and squatting on the name. All in good time, keep reading the blog and all will be revealed!

Album name

It’s too early really to comment on the album name, I’ve only just started laying down beats for goodness sake! However I can divulge a little about what the album will be about and it’s style.

What I am planning is a mix of several styles to feature on the album ranging from minimal techno to hard, funk-encrusted techno, ambient journeys and breakcore (for want of not using the silly ‘IDM tag’). It’s not really a decision made for want of being a bandwagoner but rather techno (in it’s purest form), ambient soundscapes and fast, complex technical breakbeats are something I have enjoyed listening to and creating for years.

If you want a biographical lesson I would probably date my interest in these genres back to some of the first vinyl and cassette recordings I ever owned. While others were running to the high street stores snapping up copies of Now! 8 (ok, I admit I actually bought this too, it was one of the first compilations I ever bought) I was (also!) out hitting record shops scouring out early recordings on the R&S label from Belgium.

While the kids were enjoying the latest material by The Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran and Morris Minor And The Majors (as was I of course), I was also savouring incredible tracks such as the awe inspiring and brain twisting brilliance of Mentasm and Energy Flash by Joey Beltram. This snowballed in to the discovery of other artists such as Outlander, Dave Angel (the link points to one of my favourite tracks of all-time), Peter Lazonby, Dave Clarke and the incredible Jeff Mills. I could sit here all day typing name after name of those that captured and shaped my musical imagination but I think you get the point!

The essential idea and theme of this project is based on airports and the age of flight both past and future (by that I mean the imminent age of space tourism and therefor the advancement by mankind to the next, new age of flight).

Each track is going to be titled after an airport that I myself have passed through. The idea is to capture the feeling not only of flight, future and technology but also to add a vibe exclusive to that particular destination. For example, let’s use Miami airport. This could be composed mainly of a techno style but peppered with latin flavour to acknowledge the impact the Latin community has on this particular area of the USA.

FREE album sample download!

That is just a quick example to express my intentions for this project. To actually give you a sample at it’s most basic, have a look below at a small clip of a track I am working on right now. If you cannot see the player below you will need to install the Adobe Flash Player in order to play the audio sample.

Bare in mind this is a clip of some beats I threw together very quickly just to get started and to show you a little taste of what I am working on right now. I actually think I spent more time adding aircraft effects and panning than I did with anything else it is that early!

I will be posting more samples as I work on this project so do stay tuned to this blog for updates. Please do leave your comments I would love to read and respond to what you have to say.

If you are a musician I would love to check out your work too! Hopefully now you will have an idea on what shaped my musical interests and what this new project (I remind you it’s just for fun, a hobby if you will) is all about.

Stay tuned for future updates as well as a reveal on my new artist name and full breakdown on the album and track titles.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Written by The Editor

June 25th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

I’m heading back to the studio

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Music Sequencer

A fair æon or two ago I would spend many an hour making music. A minor amount of success was attained as I was awarded Electronic Artist Of The Month by Yahoo! and Real for some pieces I wrote earlier on this decade. I also managed to get one of my pieces reviewed in (now defunct) MP3 Magazine which was a fantastic personal achievement considering I never really promoted any of my stuff on my old Besonic account! It’s been a couple of years now since I have written anything new but I’ve got a taste for it again and am starting toying with ‘beats and pieces’ (sigh!) in the aims of putting together some new material.

As I am living abroad right now and don’t have my full quota of equipment to hand I am looking in to some alternative packages to put simple music together, just to get the creative juices flowing again. One of my favourite packages is Fruity Loops although I also like to work with some of the great tools and the flexibility of Adobe Audition too (not really a fan of the multitrack feature so much though).

To whet your appetite I have included a link in this post to a track I wrote some time ago called Love (How Do You Say?) which I wrote under my artist moniker of ‘Delörean‘. Feel free to download it, redistribute it, remix it, cut it up, mash it up whatever your whim although if you do perform any of these actions please do pass the credit back. I’ve hosted the file with popular file storage guru’s MediaFire so as not to zap what little bandwidth allowance my hosting provider provides.

If you have any difficulty using the link please do leave a comment and I will fix it asap. Enjoy the free track, I would love to read your comments on it and keep a look out for future posts of new material!

CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOAD LINK

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Written by The Editor

June 24th, 2009 at 4:02 pm

あれまあ! Giant robot attacks Japan!

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Life size Gundam

You may have seen this on your travels across the Internet already but this is the first I have seen of it and it’s honest to God (as a huge Gundam fan myself) one of the greatest things I have ever seen in my life. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the birth of the global phenomenon that is Gundam, the Japanese government (yes you read that correctly) comissioned a life size RX-78-2 replica standing at a towering 59 feet tall complete with moving head and over 50 lighting spots and a collection of awesome audio and visual effects.

You could sit this next to Michaelangelo’s David, Donatello’s Chellini Madonna and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa I feel it is that important. The sad thing is in 2 months time the whole thing will be dismantled. Head over to this blog and have a look at some awesome photos and a full report on this amazing exhibition. Even better if you can get to Japan or live in Japan, go take a look for yourself! In other news, enjoy this video of a man with a samurai sword slicing a baseball traveling at a million miles an hour in half.

NOTE: The Gundam photo used to create my header was used without permission but can be found here.

Written by The Editor

June 23rd, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Posted in Only In Japan

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Ghost Town

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Ghost Town

I first saw a trailer for Ghost Town on television quite some time ago. I remember thinking the movie actually looked alright and at the same time promised myself I would catch said movie at the earliest appropriate time. That time happened to be last night, some months after I first saw the trailer on television for said film.

Starring Ricky Gervais, Tea Leoni and Greg Kinnear, Ghost Town is a mix of dark comedy and (somewhat out of place it would seem for Ricky Gervais) romantic comedy. It tells the tale of British dentist and all round “prick” Dr. Bertram Pincus (Gervais), a man who hates everything, including people. Dr. Pincus pays a visit to his local hospital for a routine colonoscopy only to find during the operation he actually died for 7 minutes and has been left with the extraordinary ability to see dead people <insert random Sixth Sense gag here>.

The film excels on the comedic level with Gervais notably firing all cylinders (if only we could break him away from the whole ‘David Brent’ thing) and certainly keeps the British end well and truly up with his role as Dr. Pincus. I wasn’t sure quite how to prepare myself to see Gervais in a romantic comedy role, my perception of this before watching the film was certainly well and truly overturned as the romantic element of Ghost Town is handled expertly.

It also pays dividends that the cast convey good on-screen chemistry. I very much doubt Ricky Gervais and Tea Leoni would not be anyone’s first choice when asked to choose a romantic movie couple but it really is a joy to see the genuine on-screen chemistry between them in the screen time they do share together in this film.

Ghost Town is further boosted by the handful of supporting cast members. Greg Kinnear does his best to help Gervais carry the film along and provides a wonderful comedic alternative if you begin to grow tired of trying to get David Brent out of your mind every time Gervais appears on screen. Being typecast can often be one of the biggest downfalls of anyone in the entertainment industry and thankfully Gervais almost pulls it off with Ghost Town. Occasionally his antics begin to grate but as the film rolls on it seems he has embraced the character more and those David Brent thoughts playing in your mind gradually begin to ease off.

Sure Ghost Town suffers from the odd plot hole here and there (most romantic comedies do for some reason) and the occasional ropey special effect (shadows on ghosts anyone?) but the overall package is a low budget, cheeky little comedy that will certainly push all the right buttons and, when the final credits roll to the beautiful ‘The Heart Of Life’ by John Mayer you really are left with that satisfied feeling that the last hour and a bit of your life were not wasted.

It’s a real shame that Ghost Town was overlooked on it’s cinema run, hopefully it will prove successful on the home market, it really deserves to be. A surprisingly good film that deserves a viewing, if you missed it at the cinema you have no excuse now.

8.5/10

Written by The Editor

June 20th, 2009 at 7:07 pm

What’s with the strange barcode?

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QR Code billboard

If you are clever, or even if you are not clever, you may well have noticed on the sidebar of this website/blog/collection of words lies a strange barcode-esque image.

What is it?

That, dear reader is what is known as a QR Code aka Quick Response Code. It’s actually very simple but incredibly clever. I’ll spare you the technical mumbo jumbo and get straight to the point. A QR Code is an image designed to be read by specific QR Code readers or (and this is the good bit) by your camera-enabled cellphone. The QR Code image itself is an image that is made from letters and numbers. For example, the QR Code on my website, when interpreted by a camera phone or a QR Code reader will display the text http://www.stuffiwrote.co.uk on the screen. An appropriately set up device can then transfer the results from the captured QR Code and take you to my website. Novel huh?

You may well have seen QR codes cropping up all over the place. Most notably in magazine advertisements or on billboards and fly posting perhaps. It is becoming quite the hot “in” marketing tool today.

One of my favourite uses of QR I have seen so far is a custom t-shirt with a QR logo on the front. Favoured by cheeky singles it’s assumed said wearer hits the local bars and nightspots using said shirt as a chat-up line to offer a member of the opposite sex their phone number. Cheesy but genius!

QR is still in it’s infancy in terms of how it is captured and used by the end user and for marketing purposes. Using a camera phone to capture QR codes requires the camera to be at the right angle with the correct amount of light exposure on said capture in order for the information to be read correctly. Of course you will also require a device capable of deciphering your images or a dedicated QR code reader alone.

QR however has been a staple part of the daily lives of those in (yes, you guessed it before I even had a chance to type it) countries like Japan, China and South Korea. Heck the Japanese are looking to introduce a QR Code on their new resident cards, aka Juki cards.

I like it, it’s interesting, novel and cutting edge. Prepare yourselves in the west for a tidal wave of QR Code action and prepare to be sick of it this time next year! Feel free to give my QR code a try and maybe try out capturing some QR codes yourself. Either way now you know what that odd looking bar code type image is doing on this site!

Written by The Editor

June 19th, 2009 at 3:44 pm