Blog

Back from Assembly 2007

I just arrived home safe and tired. We’ve had delays for boarding, delays for landing and 15 minutes flying in circles over a completely uninteresting area of London, while we got some way for our plane…

… and I’m too tired to write anything very deep and/or meaningful.

But before going to sleep at what was 1am in Helsinki but is now 11pm in London, I’ll just say it seems that anything with a colour scheme consisting only in 4 colours is pretty much hopeless in certain places, even if it looks neater and has a better direction that some of the arse-looking (literally) stuff which was released.

I loved it anyway! Here is my moral winner

And what else did I say you?

I anticipated our song was going to be disqualified for not reaching a minimum standard1 (whatever the standards were, some songs sounded awful for my tastes). Well, it turns out that it wasn’t disqualified but it actually didn’t qualify, which is pretty much a limbo-like status. Like this: … you’re not in but you’re not out either, since I couldn’t make up my mind in a clear way… mmm let me think… oh well… anyway… try again next year!

Although even if it wasn’t played, it has been distributed. Not that I care too much about that, if somebody downloads the song and likes it, great! At the end, it can be a good exposure. But for god’s sake, MAKE UP YOUR MINDS!

You know, the thing with the qualify/disqualify duality is that they are like binary states. Something is “on” or “off” but it’s not in both status at the same time. Either that, or the device it’s just malfunctioning2.

So I have decided that if I ever come back to Assembly, I’ll release the same song. And I’ll do an instrumental uberremix of the same song. And release a demo with the same song. Until they come to a decision.

Torturing? That’s so 90’s!!

This is called insistence!

Good night.

1 You know that standard itself is a very funny term. Even if it’s supposed to be something commonly accepted, it’s not generally the case, and that’s why there are several standards, depending on who created (and obviously agreed to) them.

2 I hope you’re not saying our song is malfunctioning!

Assembly 2007: Do I look like a Finnish?

Helsinki

I finally went for a walk in Helsinki. Funnily, I have been asked for directions three times. The three times I obviously had to explain that I didn’t speak Finnish.

I haven’t seen all the city, I have left half of it unseen for having a look tomorrow, also just in case trace and blackpawn want to have a look, so that I still have something to see hehe.

I didn’t try to follow any special direction, just went towards whatever looked interesting or photogenic.

This is a very hard city, or at least the area I have managed to see; there’s concrete everywhere, specially in that kind of industrial buildings meant for people to live inside but which do not look like a place where one would like to live. Maybe it is not brutal enough for being described as Brutalist architecture but I think it’s not too far from there.

When entering the party I was again spoken in Finnish and the same in the Kioski1, I’ll end up with an identity crisis, looking at myself in the mirror and wondering where do they find the finnish traits in my face :-)

I had a look at the Scene Booth but there wasn’t anybody known there, so I went and took some pictures and videos of the party place. But I’m connected on wireless because I forgot about the network cable so I’m not uploading any videos or I’ll die waiting for it to finish.

Speaking about finishing, trace and blackpawn are working hard on their strange looking demo. I am idling here as you can see, waiting for my feet to recover from the city walk…

Socializing comes when feet do not hurt.

1 I love that brand name, sounds very funny if you know that there’s a word in Spanish, kiosko, that we use for categorising that type of stores. It sounds like a diminutive name for kiosko.

Assembly 2007: These finnishs are crazy!

The ride until the airport, the check in, security checks and flight have gone all smoothly. We got asleep for pretty much all the time and woke up with some marks in our faces and pin and needles in the arms, then we were waved goodbye by the supersmiling cabin crew (I have never seen people so happy and kind in a plane before, I think, without seeming stupid, that is).

Ohhh and there was another cool detail, the screens which usually are used for showing the average speed and temperature were used for showing the view from a camera placed in front of the plane, so you could see more or less what you could see if you were in the cockpit. Not a very impressive technological achievement but nonetheless cooler than just one schematic map of where we came from and where did we headed to.

As soon as we left the bags and all that in the hotel (which is also very good), we went to the party place. The Areena is surprisingly close to the hotel, but it is smaller than what we thought. I don’t know the numbers exactly but I’m pretty sure there are more people in Euskal party than in Assembly.

That said, these Finnish know how to make things impressive. There’s lot of equipment and decoration in the party, and just beginning with the simple fact that the inside is darker already helps to get into that underground feeling that any decent party needs.

Additionally, the Assembly TV not only is broadcasting live by internet but there’s also some TVs placed in the corridors surrounding the main area, showing whatever is currently being played on the AsmTV. That means there’s a lot of demos being played for people which probably won’t see them otherwise, and that’s always good. Even though there was no sound but I understand they don’t want to pollute more the sound environment, which is already quite filled in with stuff, with all the sponsor stands etc.

But the funnier part are the rules. There are lots of rules. I spent yesterday hours trying to read all of them, and I expected them to be followed, so when I came and found lots of big stereo systems in the party place I wondered what happened to the rules! It looks like little mini-raves or mini-environments are created by the people which bring even their own disco-ball. I haven’t taken any picture because I was deeply impressed but I’ll probably do it tomorrow. Or you can imagine it. Add some 1.5m tall speakers with 75cm wide subwoofers to the descriptions so it is richer.

When we came back this evening after meeting blackpawn which had just arrived, I had my bag searched. I knew that was going to happen (because I had read the rules!). So that was more rule-compliant, and I agreed with that. It seems I agreed so much that the guy inspecting my bag had to assure me it was everybody been looked for, not only me. Ahhh I collaborate too much!

It seems there is also a rule which prevents people from drinking and/or bringing alcohol inside the party. As it’s not something which really worries me I inadvertently forgot that I had read about that, and asked Leia: where’s your beer!? when I met her. And she said: but you haven’t been here before, have you!!!??

Ha! Of course not!

But it seems that I was kind of assuming that in a place which has lots of ads for Lapin Kulta all around (which happens to be a famous Finnish beer) they would serve beers to adults only. But they don’t trust the adults neither the teenagers in the party so what do they do? Ban all the alcohol!

I don’t have anything against that; somehow is a way of slashing the probability of incidents due to alcohol down to a minimum, so if I was an organiser I would try to cut down incidents to a minimum, always! But it doesn’t prevent it to look funny.

Then we’ve also found Sir Garbage Truck and all the rest of people: Gargaj, Zania, and people whom I know their faces but not their names :-D

Truck was very proud of his creation: scenebooth which happened to be a place to which newcomers can go and meet sceners and enjoy demos and learn about the scene and great things to come! So he managed to move all of us from the oldskool area and bring us to the physical representation of the Scene Booth. I’ll probably hang around there tomorrow when I am done with having a little walk around Helsinki (while trace and blackpawn finish their demo).

They also did a Demoscene outreach panel, featuring Gloom, Truck, Waffle and Gargaj, and although it was funny for people which knew what was the demoscene about, I can’t but presume that all the newcomers left the seminar area in a very confused state of mind. If you have to talk about demoscene to someone which doesn’t know anything, golden rule: Show them a demo!

But it is a good beginning. There should be more demoscene outreach * wherever possible. The Scene Booth itself looks promising. We need more of these initiatives, and I hope some people gets interested into all of that, specially young people which as it was commented, just consider a computer as a household resource and don’t think of it as a creative medium.

And basically that has been today. Now if you don’t mind I’m going to sleep a bit :-)

PD I finally managed to finish and upload my song into the Party management system. It took ages to upload and I had to ask for help because the form is quite confusing to understand but at the end it worked. Oh well, I should say our song because -trace- r08028 also did some work on it when he saw me creatively stuck. In BCN party style, place your bets. Will it pass preselection?

Assembly 2007!!

It’s less than one day (hours!!) for arriving in Helsinki and I’m quite nervous about it! In fact I’m getting more and more stressed the more we approach the party :-)

I have been giving the finishing touches to one song for the freestyle music compo, although I’m 99.9999999999999% sure that I don’t have a single chance to pass the preselection1, but I can’t go there without even trying! At least someone will listen to the song (the jury! HA!).

The not 100% percentage is motivated by the statistics calculated by last.fm which assure I’m in a way similar to Little Bitchard

So people which like Little Bitchard may have a chance of liking my song too2

In what regards to the travel arrangements and all that, I still haven’t prepared the suitcase and worst of all – still haven’t decided which book will I bring with me to read during the flight. We depart at 7.30 and arrive at 12.25, it sounds superfrightening! Obviously we need to take into account the 2 hours of time difference but nevertheless is a good three hours inside the plane.

Or I could simply try to sleep, but I always find it hard to do, with all those announcements for discounted eau de toilettes, the general noise in a plane, and also the damned air conditioned which they always place in Freeze all passengers so they don’t ask for anything mode.

Trace is also very happy about going to Assembly, as well as Blackpawn (well, he’s more exactly psyched, and will have an angry cat waiting for him when he comes back to the States). Sml will join us there too and I heard Timescratchers (the mighty group which could easily fill in a complete party if all of their members gathered there) were coming there so it’s going to be a fair amount of Spaniards in the Hartwall Areena.

I was curious about who else from UK scene was going there. Tried to connect to irc’s ircnet this morning but all servers simply refused to accept my connection so I couldn’t contact anyone. Yep I could have sent an e-mail but I’m not that curious (yet).

I’ll try to write something while I’m there but I can’t promise anything :-)

1 With legends like Little Bitchard entering the compo as well, what do you expect!?

2 You know I’m just making fun of statistics, don’t you? If you don’t know it you should know it by now.

D90 Low noise High Position

10 years ago tape version

Remember the cassette days? I usually not! But I was listening to one song which I remembered I had recorded into a cassette tape years ago, and I suddenly realized how pristine the sound was, and how badly did the cassette version sound. But it didn’t really matter!

There was something amazing about cassettes. Maybe it was its ubiquity… you could take one tape with you and wherever you went there was a tape player. Or maybe because they were cheap and resisted quite well to be listened once and once again. Or because they were easy to copy and produce your own little megamixes.

My favourite one was the CD-Ing II model. I always tended to buy the 90 minutes versions, so I had an extra 30 minutes which meant like half a normal 1 hour cassette. People said you shouldn’t buy tapes longer than 60 minutes because the sound quality was terrible, but I personally didn’t care much about that.

TDK CD-Ing 90

And how picky we are now about sound! Demanding 256kbps mp3, or ogg vorbis or even flacs! It’s all about sound quality and the medium but there’s no talk about the music itself, which I find somehow sad.

Oh and I just remembered… I only bought one 120 minutes tape, and it was a complete disaster. It seems it was so thin that it split in two parts. But you know that analogic problems have analogic solutions: I sticked the two parts back together with a piece of cello tape. It just sounded a bit weird when the head was reading the cello tape part, but the rest of the tape could still be listened. You can’t do that with a broken CD!!

I also used to do my own covers of course. I don’t know if I enjoyed more listening to the music, preparing the mixtapes or the covers.

Then there were also the particular tape glitches. Like when you listened to a tape while in a car and the player was doing those hummm ahmmmm because the tape moved slightly with the road bumps. Or when you began recording and it still hadn’t stabilized the head position but was already recording, so there was some strange transition which to me sounded as if the tape was melting in that very point.

At the end it was all a bit annoying also. Rewinding tapes… pressing play and rec at the same time, the loud clicks of some buttons, cleaning the heads periodically… And what about the tapes which became blocked? Endless hours spent unrolling tapes which decided to became a mess, with a ballpen and loads of patience!

An ipod might be less analogic but is way more convenient, definitely :-)

By the way, I uploaded the soundtrack of re:fritos to archive.org. Grab it while it’s hot and place it in your ipod or favourite mp3 player!

PD I did the tape image with the online Cassette Generator