Since the festival was held in November and that means Nanodrawmo (in which I am taking part), I thought I would try to draw whatever I remember about the event and use it for an unusual chronicle :-)
The festival was held at the old Fabra i Coats factory. It used to be a thread factory, so it was (sparely) decorated with some sort of threads which were lit with UV lights later on, as when we arrived there was still daylight. It seems the local council has been left without funds and thus they haven't been able to complete the refurbishment project as they initially expected, so apart from a few "modernities" here and there, the building is really bare and industrial, which was quite cool.
The first thing we noticed were the strange sound installations in the Sala Petita (the smallest room). There were three huge custom-built instruments from Les Luthiers Drapaires, seemingly using discarded and recycled parts, and boy were they noisy!
"No signal 25" was an array of old VGA monitors, displaying an occasionally rhythmic arrangement of coloristic patterns which reminded me to the patterns that ZX Spectrum created on screen when loading from a tape. That was accompanied by an extremely intense series of waves that from time to time sounded like sml's tracks (when asked later on, he said he hadn't played a part on this).
I quite liked this one and in fact was mesmerised for a while, trying to find out the relation between the sound and the matricial graphics, but I'm not sure I got it right. At times it seemed like lower pitches corresponded to reddish output (as if the output was only using the opposite of RGB... masking R as the lower values). But sometimes you got very high pitch at the same time that completely red values were shown, so I don't think I figured it out.
"Tubòfon" was a series of draining pipes (from old swine farms if I remember properly), reconverted into a huge xylophone which got played automatically with those little hammers that were triggered according to certain patterns. It didn't sound bad but was very subtle compared to the brutal square waves emitted by the No signal 25 and the...
"Màquina del amor" which required two people touching each other (and the electric terminal) to produce some noise--that explained the name of the instrument: "Love machine". It was some sort of Theremin and Tesla stuff crossover, and I'm pretty sure it would never be allowed to be displayed in an English museum without a huge yellow warning from Health and Safety warning about the dangers of playing with electrostatic.
It was certainly scary and I didn't really feel enticed to try it out... Most of the people seemed a bit confused about its behaviour (it seems people don't "get" the concept that you need things to be connected in order for the current to flow).
DOSF were really awesome. I have no idea how they did it --although I have several suspects-- but they played quite cool music extremely well synchronized to the visuals (or the visuals were extremely well synchronized to the music). They were somehow minimalistic, but sometimes they evolved into some bizarre geometry that was really hypnotic. You couldn't but stare at the screen and marvel. It was great.
They were also using an iPad for controlling some parameters of their sound/video, which apparently was a great source of pictures for the photographer that could be seen behind them taking pictures like crazy of the guy who was waving the iPad over his head, like: "look at me!! I'm using an iPad! an iPad! hype hype!"
"Caputxeta Intergalàctica" by Insectotròpics was what we in Spain call "a performance", with a certain disregard even. An actress dressed as Redhood performed in front of a camera, in a little square with a screen behind, while she was recorded on camera. The output got then overimpossed drawings that several people were doing on the other side of the setup, using two computers behind her (one using Modul8 and the other one Resolume, which we thought dead already). And the final mix was projected over a large piece of cloth which was hanging on the main façade of the factory.
The story was quite... challenging to follow. It reminded me to the old Planeta imaginario animations that usually followed Sesame Street on TV, only this one seemed a tad dirty in every sense of the word. But it was certainly entertaining, and I guess if I'm speaking about it it's been successful enough... At least it's got some sort of narrative, which can't be said about every performance. And the title is just fabulous (Intergalactic hood).
While we were outside watching this, we suddenly were greeted by someone--which scared us to no end, as we weren't expecting anyone to address us out of the blue! It was sml, with fthr from tpolm, and two more friends: the "Argentinian Ricardo" and another Finnish guy whose name I can't remember right now :-/
A bit after that, Cyteck and Esther showed up unexpectedly too! I hadn't seen them since bcnparty100, which in other words means almost six years ago. That was a nice surprise.
And later I was introduced to mighty Miguel-underscore-eedl (who I found was from Valencia too) and Joan, from eedl too. Woooo! I told them I liked their music and they were very humble about it, that was funny! :-)
Fhtr also introduced Kettel to Mr.doob, who was just so nervous that did hardly say anything to him. It reminded me to one day when I was a child and went to see one of those child-singers famous back then, and then for some strange reason we got onto the dressing room (as my mum knew the singer mum or something of the sort??) so that she would sign her LP for me. I got terrified and nervous and... began crying like there was no tomorrow! Luckily mr.doob didn't cry! ;-)
Kettel managed to get most of the people dancing and even waving their arms! It seems he's quite well-known as lots of people cheered when each song started, as in "yes! I like this one!. Either that or the drugs they had taken were working cyclically.
The visuals seemed somehow weak at the beginning, as they were mostly photographs of beetles and soil fading in and out, but then they caught on and were a bit more inspired and, dare I say it, appropriate, more urban. There were some sequences of lightnings and storms over Barcelona, which seemed really fitting as it was raining cats and dogs outside.
And a bit after this one was Plaid's live, which featured nice "properly mapped" visuals over that strange and pointy amalgamation which was the stage. Unfortunately I can hardly remember anything about this one because I just couldn't breathe thanks to the dumb idiots that decided that smoking bans don't apply to them, so they started smoking inside the hall. Since it is not a club, but a simple factory refurbished to act as an exhibition space, it doesn't have the sort of air conditioning and filtering that clubs have. So there was an incredible amount of smoke inside, and it was not only annoying, but unbearable.
We finally left a while after the Plaid concert finished. We might have stayed longer, were it not for that unbreathable atmosphere. So I totally wish those unconsiderate smokers catch a horrid cold like the one I caught this week. And I wish them it lasts for the entire winter, and they feel as horrid as I felt, having cough attacks and all. Hopefully they will stop smoking for good. Idiots.
So here's a short post recommending some music I've liked more or less recently:
First I'll talk you about this really intriguing artist called moji moji. His real name is Lucas Page and he's from Buenos Aires (Argentina). As such, the track names for his two published releases are poetic and evocative by themselves. As for example:
El laberinto de la noche nos conduce a Cachi, which could be somehow translated to "Night's laberynth drives us to Cachi". Whatever or wherever Cachi is, I'm already intrigued enough to listen.
And listen I did, and you should do it too! These are his releases:
- N, published in the always nice Resting Bell netlabel
- Detroit de la Mare, published in Hipidukimuzik
If you're into postrock I absolutely recommend it.
Now for something a bit more frantic, so to say: mixtapes! Ne7 recommended this website from one fellow demoscener from mighty TRSi demogroup a while ago: DJ Placebo. It contains several mixes in different styles, and the ones I liked most were the ones in 'oldschool' styles, such as for example Alte Schule or Back to Oldschool.
And finally for the total oldschool awesomeness! Dj Hoffman of Unstable Label has recently released an Amiga Musicdisk with a total of twelve (12) modules in (mostly) jungle style. It's 8-bit jungle and if you're into Amiga or mods or jungle or are simply curious you would do well downloading it. The file includes also the original mod files without encryption or anything, and a 'mixed' mp3 with all the songs in order, without gaps in between.
That's all for (maybe) the following six months ;-)
The people from True Chip Till Death organised a fundraiser campaign in order to help the people of Japan. It's called Chip In: Japan and as I write this we're on the verge of the $5000 target, which is incredibly cool.
This new version sounds smoother and more polished, which is quite understandable taking into account that the old one was done with Impulse Tracker and was less than 10Kb in size (because it was for a chiptune party compo), whereas the newer one has been done with Renoise, which has a way nicer sound engine and effects... Which means smooth mixing, proper delays, nicer compression, etc... :)
You have a few options for getting/listening the song (I'm spoiling you for choice!):
Bandcamp (buy the FLAC for $1! yay!)
Soundcloud (you can't buy it there, but you can heart the song! <3 <3)
Simple download from this site...
I added it to chipmusic too. Why not?
Don't forget to leave a comment, say something... don't be shy :p
I'm going to release something this year! This is my own deadline. If I don't do that you can remind me and I'll feel embarrassed to death. Cheeks blushing with shame and all that. I promise.
In order to push myself to finish the album, I'm going to release the tracks as I do them, and this is one of the tracks that will be in the album. So you get an idea of how it'll end up sounding.
Since YouTube was considering my DOSBox 640x400 captures as only deserving 360p, I set myself to do something about that. 360p is just not enough for showing tracker commands; everything comes out too blurry. The answer, as usual, was ffmpeg.
This is what you need to upscale a DOSBox video from 640x400 to 1280:800 (double its original size):
ffmpeg -i dosbox.avi -vcodec libx264 -vf "scale=1280:800" -r 60 -vpre lossless_max -acodec copy -threads 3 resized_output.avi
The -threads 3 option is totally optional. It tells ffmpeg to split the encoding work into three threads, which is useful if your computer has three or more cores.
Here's a sample of a song captured and upscaled this way, running Impulse Tracker 2 inside DOSBox:
(For best enjoyment play it full screen!)
When I released my 10 years ago compilation, don't ask me why, but I was very disorganised. I trusted my memory would keep working as well as it had done until then and I would be able to link a song with its source filename forever. So, let's consider my song titled "tQOH". You would expect the filename to be something like tQOH.extension. But it wasn't. In fact, its filename was HOUZE.XM. Totally unrelated.
I had also noticed that some of the songs in the compilation weren't available as single songs in the website--quite a shame! But looking and matching their filenames to their titles was very hard... and to make things worse, the source songs were scattered in lots of several different folders. Such as unfinished, unfinished1, unfinished2, finished. You would expect unfinished songs to be only in the 'unfinished' folders, right? Poor fool. No, there were all sorts of songs in there, both finished and unfinished.
And it doesn't end there. Some of those folders were duplicated in another folder, because I initially copied them from my old desktop to my (then) new laptop, and then the desktop had to be formatted and so we made another backup, but at that time, my laptop was already old news, so I had already transferred the first copy to my new laptop. Which makes it the second copy, in which there were changes. So I copied the desktop backup to the laptop too, just to make sure I had all data. Did you get lost? :-D
This was a disgrace!
So I decided I would put an end to this. Therefore I'm slowling trawling through those Folders of Hell and sorting the songs out, removing duplicates, adding the missing ones to the website, with its MP3/OGG render so that they can be listened online, filling its profile with whatever I can remember about the song, etc.
It's been such an interesting experience. A bit boring at times but very rewarding... specially when I found an IT.RAR file which not only contained the latest version of Impulse Tracker I used, but also a bunch of songs that I thought had lost the sources of. Plus very cool almost finished songs that I didn't even remember having tracked, and some fresh promising sketches that could be ace (once finished). It was like in the
Amelie movie, when the guy gets its old metal box--that RAR file was full of memories and unexpected surprises. It was very moving.
And my hopes were quite high when I found an XM.RAR file too... but unfortunately this one wasn't nearly as interesting as the IT one. It just had a copy of Fast Tracker 2, and that's it :-(
Today I've finally completed the sync with
10 years ago. I can proudly say that all the songs in the compilation are finally in the website as well! Yay! That makes the count of songs go up to 164, and there are still more to be added! (I only have to sort 7+Gb of files, haha!)
I'll make it easy for you, and detail the list of newly added songs:
- Agresiva (1996)
- the probe (1999)
- p4p1 (2004)
- Melodía (1996)
- Quick Christmas (1996)
- Best Dance Story I
- Instrumental One
- ethnic interlude
- Fuck away
- (I'm) shocked!
- Let's beat'em!
- The rising sun
- Near the limits (Jacko Fantasy Dub Remix)
- m41d4 v4l3
- Progressive hypnotrance
- The Transformator
- (I'll see you) Tomorrow
- Unreal Love
- Instrumental II
- I stole Spöntz's fucking piano
- (I am)tQOH (1999)
- World of emotions (1997)
And while I was on it, I also added three more songs:
- Jasmine flowers (chippy mix) (2010)
- el counter es incompatible con la fast music (2003)
- p4p1 (trace vs supersole mix) (2007)
... and also took the opportunity to test DOSBox's render to video functionalities, and recorded one of my very old songs playing under Scream Tracker. Wooohooo!
(I wonder what does Sami Tammilehto think when he sees ST3 screenshots/videos still being posted to Youtube et al.--if I meet him one day, I have to ask him for sure!)