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New EP! Butterflies!

I FINALLY released the EP I have been working on for the last year!

You can get it from Bandcamp. Come on, it's just $4 and it comes with totally lossless tracks plus a bonus sampler track and the full resolution cover that I drew (and coloured) myself!

Or you can download it from here too. And remember… share it if you like it!

”Making of”

I had been working on this EP for over a year now and it was starting to feel a bit annoying and sort of limiting, as every time I felt like starting a new track I would remind myself that I had this other project already started… and I wound up not doing anything at all.

So for this Easter I thought I would just focus on finishing the EP. It was now or never! If I didn’t finish it, I would archive it and move on.

On Friday I gave the finishing touches to three of the six songs which were pretty much done already. A fourth one I had to complete as it was missing a lot of parts and transitions. I posted a few clips in between songs to build some excitement!

And to be honest, I was actually getting excited that I was going somewhere with this work!

Jeff (alias canuckistani) liked my dubstepping vine and he turned/remixed it into a full blown track titled... SoleStep!

On Saturday I completed the two remaining songs and re-listened to everything again and made sure that the loudness was similar across tracks. I had to re-export a few of them after adjusting their compression levels as they were way quieter than the others, and it's better if all of them sound approximately equally loud!

It was sort of funny because back in the days we always joked that the songs from our biggest rival tracker group sounded way louder than ours and that's why they were more spectacular. Ah, the irony!

Once that was done, I worked on the cover. I had a few ideas of what I wanted to make but I ended up going some other way. I drew the figure using a nib and ink, then let it dry and erased the pencil lines. I actually was in a hurry so I used a hand-drier to accelerate the process, and that's an actual lifehack for you all.

Then I digitalised it and added some sort of duotone flat colour using the GIMP and the trackpad. I just want to insist that I made all the selection drawing using the trackpad and that was AN EPIC FEAT. I wasn't planning on adding the colours at all, but somehow I got the inspiration by playing with random gradients. I thought they were tacky and so 90s, so what about some flat colours instead? And that's how we ended with the cover in its final state.

With that it was time to PUBLISH! Finally! I was *so glad* this was over because I had upgraded to Reason 8 half-way during the EP making process, and it introduced some changes in the mixing gear area and it made things very weird for songs that I had started before using Reason 8. There was this constant factor of not knowing which bus were the tracks going to, and also I wasn’t acquainted yet to the new way sequences and clips worked so it was… challenging. Oh and don’t even get me started with how many times I loaded a preset on the wrong instrument or created another instrument instead. That new file browser is… weird.

On Sunday I made a TL;DL (Too Long, Didn't Listen) version of the EP for very busy people. I put it on SoundCloud as I have seen a bunch of people putting their samplers there.

I also learnt that Audacity has a non-destructive envelope tool which came in really handy for fading in/out the song clips.

omgthefeels!

So this is kind of old news but we now have a FEEL GOOD BAND called omgthefeels.

Our one and only hit so far is "ode to the web audio inspector" and is the result of the ingestion of some err... beverages plus me playing my really cheap and so detune-prone ukelele (I had to retune it between takes).

Come follow this fantastic one hit wonder band!

My top favourite songs for 2013

LISTS LISTS AND MORE LISTS!

Who doesn't like a list? Come on, admit you like them. Specially at the end of the year.

These are the songs I've been playing more or less on loop each month of 2013. So it's 12 songs, plus a few bonus versions here and there.

When I play a song on loop it's usually because either...

a) I like it a lot and it lifts me up or
b) I identify with some or all of the lyrics/mood (usually: misery or despair).

I wanted to put everything in a playlist but since some of the artists are so indie they weren't in YouTube, and some weren't in Soundcloud. You'll have to click on each of the embeds separately. Sorry :-/

It's interesting that I didn't know 8 of the 12 songs before 2013 happened. That makes approximately 66% new favourite songs to commiserate to.

There we go:

1. The Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)

Everything was a lie. Or a terrible nightmare.

2. oddy - shiranai (visinin's "lost in london" remix)

I truly identified with the remix title.

3. The Pipettes - Stop the music

"When they play our song, I have to run".

And I love the video, tacky as it might be.

4. The New Pornographers - Go places

I always listen to the "Challengers" album when I travel around. I went places on April.

5. Algora - Viaje a San Francisco

I went to SF.

6. Granit - Aresta

I have pretty much no idea what they are singing (it's in a weird Catalan) but the melodies and the voice are equally fascinating. So sad to hear they have disbanded :-(

7. alt-J - Fitzpleasure (Betatraxx remix)

Sooo dubsteppy.

8. Capital Cities - Safe and sound

Listening to this blasting the car speakers when entering the city, at the end of a long journey: priceless!

The video is truly awesome. I'm mesmerized by the 80s/90s breakdancers/rappers and the lasers.

9. Lidia Damunt - Somos islas mágicas

This song is magic in itself.

Bonus: Lidia singing Edificios con vistas al mar a capella.

10. Espanto - Los hombres

"El día que menos lo esperes... y hay días que no esperas nada..." (approximately: "the most unexpected day... and some days you just don't expect anything")

11. Marina & The Diamonds - Primadonna

Somebody sang this one, a cappella, in front of me. It was amazing, and beautiful.

Extra bonus: acoustic version. I'm not sure which one I like more!

12. Frou frou - Let go

I actually discovered this song watching a movie in a plane while my mind wandered towards unknown territories, and it seemed fit.

I'm letting go.

And guess what... an acoustic version.

I secretly want to have a band and play indie vintage cheerful songs in retro clubs

But maybe it's not a secret anymore, as I posted it here.

Also, HI! After so many years not posting in the blog, I needed some sort of introduction. It's like starting from scratch. Sort of.

And BAAAM, here's this silly version of Suena el teléfono by Cola Jet Set, whose ex-singer also happens to be my musical doppelgänger:

cola jet set

She looks so similar to me that even relatives can get tricked.

Also, this never happened.

Mira! unconventional chronicle

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

"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.

Tubofon

"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

"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

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

"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).

Friends

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

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.