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Last Ninja II tribute

After a horribly hectic day of work during which I was wondering what’s wrong with the software world, asking myself if it’s worth to work as developer and speculating if it would be better to opt for an artistic way of life, but at the same time reminding to myself that I don’t like to surrender my own ideas to commercialism or guidelines normally and that it would not work, I decided to not to do anything when I came back home.

So if I wasn’t going to do anything, I should think of something to do for not doing anything. Something counterproductive… playing a game! Undoubtedly it had to be the Last Ninja 2. I had been browsing some pixel graphics sites on Sunday and for some reason I ended in Lemon64, whose top games ranking included LN2 as one could obviously expect, and I thought I would play it as soon as I could.

The version that I used to play was the Amstrad PCW one, that means no colours (everything in green shades) and no sound (at all!). So I missed completely Ben Daglish tunes, until I managed to get an emulator some years ago and play the C64 version.

Today I wasn’t that lucky… for some reason Lemon64 is not willing to load the disk image and so I was left to my own procrastination sense. Began wandering around the Last ninja archive, ended in Wikipedia’s Last Ninja page and finally found a musical tribute to Last Ninja 2 by Puffy 64, in the style of other C64 bands like Press Play On Tape.

This tribute sounds slightly home-made (specially the percussions, they do sound a lot like General MIDI + reverb!) but it’s a group of very interesting versions. I would have loved to hear more synth-rawness in it, not only chippy blurbs but some more square textures. Anyway, I guess that’s what happens if you have been listening to the original ones for a long time: you want something completely different, but myself I’m more a techno-fan than a metal-rock one so I guess I would have pushed a bit into the synthetic direction if I had had any vote on the final output :-)

For example, I quite like the combination of chip and guitar at the beginning of track number 5, The basement (ingame). A bit after it turns to a more dominant guitar sound which is what I commented before. That said, one must recognize that the guitars are very well played (I would love to be dexter enough as to play like that!).

There’s also a couple of extras: Last Ninja hymn, which sounds strange to say the less. I mean, maybe it’s just me being too neutral but listening to a ninja describing his job feels a bit awkward. Then there are two acoustic medleys so it’s a lot of things to listen and appreciate in the tribute. And you can even print your covers if you’re into burning cd’s and printing covers.

As an anecdote, track 2 reminds me of It never Rains in Southern California, I don’t know why. I think it’s the chords progression, I’m almost willing to begin singing the It never rains… :-)

If you have never seen Last ninja I also found a crazy guy which decided to record how to finish the whole game in a longplay.

Part 1:

Part 2:

And to think that I spent the whole summer of 1990 trying to finish the game… YAY! :-)

Low pass filter applied to creativity

walking on iceland

So far past week-end was highly productive, even if I was coughing and sneezing and feeling really weak, I still don’t know how but I managed to almost completely sketch three songs in one run. If we compare this with my recent trajectory (which is somehow doing one song each six months) it’s easy to see there’s something extraordinary about that.

The only problem was that my ears are quite blocked since say… Thursday. Which on one hand is good because it’s like using noise-reduction phones, without the annoyances of having the pods inserted into your ears all day and night long. But it’s also quite bad because I can’t hear the higher frequencies. And what does it mean? You can’t mix songs if you can’t hear them!

Today I got a couple of false alarms and thought I was going to finally be able to experience the full sound spectrum again but they were just that, false signs. Some minutes after, my ears were blocked again. Thus I can’t finish these songs yet. And I hope to not have to regret that later: if there’s something I need to improve is the ability to get back into the mood of an unfinished song to be able to finish it. I have hundreds of unfinished sketches which back in the day when I made them sounded very interesting, but if I listen to them now I can’t find the point to most of them. I think I just don’t delete those drafts because I’m a sentimental (and because they hardly use disk space) :-)

Funny thing was that these songs weren’t planned at all, but when adding pictures from our trip to Iceland on February I suddenly got more ideas for my future Iceland EP, so I will add two of these songs1 to the tracklist, so it’ll be five songs in it. One song (Reykjavík – Höfn) has already been released: it entered the high quality competition on past bcnparty. Unfortunately it wasn’t weird enough to end last, which kind of disappointed me. Some people liked the song and they told me so, and I also got some comments from people which hadn’t dedicated enough time to let the song assimilate them, but that’s something that I was expecting already, so it wasn’t news to me. They just need time…

So if you can’t wait for the final EP you can use that song as a little snack, while I sort little things such as getting rid of this temporary low pass filter which is preventing me from finishing it, and making some artwork and all that. The usual stuff!

1 The third one doesn’t fit at all with the mood in the EP, I’m afraid.

By popular demand...

… I have added feeds for the pictures. Yes, feeds! And because two is better than one, you can follow either the most recently added pictures or the most recently shot pictures.

It just depends on whether you want to see fresh stuff and don’t care about older pictures which I occasionally add or not.

Or maybe you could subscribe to both ;-)

PD: I have tested the feeds with the feed validator. It is extremely happy with both of them. In the unlikely event that your feed reader isn’t happy, tell their programmers to fix it, since the feeds also work with google reader, netvibes and firefox’s reader.

Snotty baby

I am enjoying my n-th 100% pure Barcelona’s cold1 – have been all day sneezing and feeling pretty much annoyed by it, but it’s getting better, specially since my head is so full of ideas gathered during bcnparty that I can’t stop ignoring my throat ache and thinking of the best new plan for dominating the world.

Right now I’m learning to use cmake2. I managed to automagically build my first Xcode project with cmake this morning. It’s so cool! (I hate setting project properties in Xcode). If it does the same for linux and windows (devcpp anyone?) the world will be a great place to be3.

I was going to write a report about the party but I’m not really focused on it right now. After I uploaded some pictures from the party, I kind of felt like if I had done my part, although that’s not entirely true. It’ll probably wait until the week-end, but in any case it was a great party, and I enjoyed it very much. Just so the organisers knew. For great justice and for the win (and fuck the what!!!111one) :-)

1 It happens to me 90% of the times I stay in Barcelona. Surprisingly it doesn’t happen when I go to Valencia.

2 That way I won’t scare Corsario again when saying that I’m creating makefiles manually.

3 Reasons for portability are a lot but basically preventing the code from being tied up to a certain system and thus having it clean of specific stuff, which allows us for running it in even more systems in the future, or put it simply, in the computers I may have in 10 years time.

Getting ready for bcnparty (not!)

I was firmly decided to leave everything ready for bcnparty today:

  • pack the big compo entry (won’t give details so that it’s way more exciting!),
  • decide which song should I enter in the high quality compo
  • track a chiptune and
  • track a multichannel

while the two first points are easy to do and it’s understandable to leave them for later while making room for some procrastination, it’s not normal to leave the two latter ones for later! Specially if I haven’t been seriously tracking like … in ages1!

And instead of getting my IT skills back into work, I have spent some half of the evening browsing sites with midi files for my cellphone. Luckily I wasn’t in the mood for looking for themes and skins and so on. Otherwise I wouldn’t be even writing this :-D

Oh well… I’m going to try to decide about the high quality compo. I have around three songs and since all of them are so weird I don’t know which one would end last faster.

Does anybody dare to enter an extra official competition for ending last? HA!

Will voters surprise me once again and will the song rank better than other normal songs I released on previous editions?

The answer … in a few days!

1 I think my one-pattern tests with Renoise and Reason can’t count as a serious attempt.