The Haunted House

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nutcracker Played On A Bike

This is a great piece of music. A music composition and sound design agency was commissioned to write a track for a bicycle parts company. The end result can be heard here at the website for the specialized bike parts company. You can also download the mp3 :-)


The Vegetable Orchestra

You think I'm strange with the circuit bending? Well These people are even stranger, yet very compelling to listen too. They are the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra. The blurb from their site says it all.

The Vegetable Orchestra performs music solely on instruments made of vegetables. Using carrot flutes, pumpkin basses, leek violins, leek-zucchini-vibrators, cucumberophones and celery bongos, the orchestra creates its own extraordinary and vegetabile sound universe. The ensemble overcomes preserved and marinated sound conceptions or tirelessly re-stewed listening habits, putting its focus on expanding the variety of vegetable instruments, developing novel musical ideas and exploring fresh vegetable sound gardens.

You can hear excerpts from their album on the website, and it really does sound odd. I really quite like it. I would never have thought that you could make a flute out of a carrot and use a pepper as a trumpet like mute. This is just another example of how flexible vegetables are, cooking, music, and stuff that can't be shown on TV.

I found a video of them creating their instruments and then using them in a live concert. I really urge you to watch the video, it really is quite original and mind expanding. Who needs the London Philharmonic Orchestra, LOL. You can watch the video by clicking this link.

I am wondering how far this can be taken. For example with my circuit bending exploits I use extensive post production techniques to create very alien soundscapes, I wonder what this same process would sound like using vegetables. I might try it some time, you never know, my next set of industrial style evil sound textures could be made possible with a stick of celery, a punnet of strawberries and a marrow. Once I have recorded them, I could make soup. Right I'm off to the green grocers :-)


Wierd Circuit Bending Video

I have been trawling though my favourite TV channel again, youtube, and I came across an interesting video about circuit bending. A few people have found my circuit bending exploits a little strange, but these guys are off the chart.

They make "music" using just raw circuit bent sounds, something which I am not to keen on. I prefer recycling the sounds using lots of post production to make more ambient and spacey textures. It's an interesting video though.

After watching it, I really want to get hold of a Texas Instruments, Speak and Math. I will have to get Amanda to do her EBay magic and pick me one up cheap :-)

Click here to watch the video.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Final Distant Horizon Artwork Layout

Below is the renderings of the final CD case artwork for my album Distant Horizon. The artwork was created by Neil of Neil Duffin Photography.

The image for the CD and case insert was taken as a macro shot of the speaker plate on my circuit bent furby.

Everything is almost ready to send the final CD image to the manufacturers, this will be happening Wednesday.

All nice and exciting. The digital version of the album is appearing on some of the sites. At this present time it is available from Napster, MP3 and eMusic. It should clear on iTunes with in the next few weeks.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ableton Live 7 Getting Close

I have been using Ableton Live as my main music sequencer for a couple of years now, and I probably couldn't live without it. Version 7 is nearly upon us with some amazing new features. Instead of waffling on about them, I have found a video that demonstrates some of the new features. You can watch it here.

It should be available in December on both PC and MAC. I am definitely going to upgrade to the new version, but will wait til after Christmas, as I have only just finished an album, so don't want to start the next one straight away.


Discovering Electronic Music

I was having a browse through some videos on YouTube, and I came across a 3 part program from the 1970's about electronic music which I thought was quite interesting. It gives a really good introduction to sound synthesis, which is still relevant today. The videos can be watched from the following links:

Of particular geeky excitement is the many references and demonstrations of the old Fairlight Computer Music Studio. This thing back in the 70's could laterally cost more than a house, a street infact!! It is a synth, sampler and sequencer in one computer and keyboard unit. By today's standards it is not very powerful at all, but back then it was an incredibly powerful tool. It was used lots by Jarre and the Pet Shop Boys. All in all an interesting set of videos, hope you enjoy them :-)


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Optimizing Windows XP for Music Production

I have recently found a great article on optimizing Windows XP for music production. This list of steps tells you what you can disable and tweak to get the most performance out of your computer. You can read the article here...


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Distant Horizon Now Ready For Release

I now have the mastered mixes for the album and it is sounding good. I just need to listen to them a little more and I will get the delivery to the online download stores sorted. As soon as that is done I will get the CD version available :-)

The final track listing is below. Click on the links to hear a sample clip:

01 - Indigo
02 - Carbon
03 - Tenge Misuser
04 - Metrified Outfielding
05 - Flatlets Luteal
06 - Rise (Free Track)
07 - The Architect (Part 1)
08 - Helter Skelter (Free Track)
09 - Flutter
10 - Omega
11 - The Architect (Part 2)
12 - Not Enough Time
13 - The Luna
14 - Creep

EDIT: The album has now been delivered to the aggregator and should appear on iTunes, Napster, eMusic, Rhapsody, Amazon MP3 very soon. Woohoo :-)


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Cavedale And Lots Of Wind

Today we went out for another walk with Neil and Caroline. The plan was to head up to Castleton again and do Cavedale, Mam Tor, and Loose hill. This would have been a total of 12 miles.

In the end we decided to reduce the walk too just Cavedale and Mam Tor as the other walk would have been a bit much, especially as the weather looked a little bad. If you want to see what this walk looks like when the weather is nice, check out when I did the walk before by clicking here.

We got to Neil and Carolines at 8am and headed off. By the time we got to Castleton it was a little drizzly and windy. This was ok though, we were prepared. We started the walk around 9.30.

After about half an hour of walking it started raining quite hard. Because it was so windy the rain was coming at us sideways. This really stings your face :-)

As we reached the foot of Mam Tor, the wind really started picking up. As we started our ascent it was getting really difficult to stay on your feet. No kidding, standing up was challenging.

Neil took the picture below on his camera phone. I wasn't putting my arm around Amanda to be romantic, it was to stop her blowing away in the wind. We started having second thoughts about going to the top of Mam Tor and the ridge as it would have been even windier up there.

We decided to go back down the hill and not carry on as we thought it would be far too dangerous with the sheer drop either side. It looked like lots of other walkers had the same idea, as some of the walkers we saw going up the hill, had turned around.

In the end we walked in front of the hill and back towards Castleton via Winnets Pass. We did around 6.5 miles in the end, so not bad. Knackered now though, gonna start dinner soon ;-)


Friday, November 09, 2007

Musical Tesla Coils

As you probably know if you read this blog, I quite like bizzare ways of making sound and music. Well this one is billiant. Some people have built 2 Tesla Coils which with the right voltages applied, plays the Super Mario Theme tune. You can watch it by clicking here.

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Autumn Walk To Curbar Edge

It has been a few weeks since we went out for a country walk, and after 2 very busy weeks at work I really needed to get out of the house. Amanda's aunt Sandra also drove down this morning from Newcastle, as she likes going out for walks.

We met up with Neil and Caroline just after 10am and got the car loaded up. We was going to go to Castleton and do a walk near there, but we ended up doing the Curbar edge walk again as we didn't want to start the walk too late.

We started the walk about 11am. I was expecting the weather to be bad today, but luckily it was very sunny and warm. Not bad for November.

The walk was around 7 miles in length. The last time we did the walk, it was longer, but we changed the route this time and made it a little shorter. Still, 7 miles isn't bad :-)

We finished the walk around 3.30pm. On the way back we stopped at the new Sainsburies supermarket in Matlock and stocked up on beer and wine.

We were all quite knackered when we got back and very hungry. I made a big curry for dinner. Sandra brought up some Onion Bahgis which I warmed up too. We were completely stuffed afterwards.

I am typing this whilst everyone watches the X-Factor on TV. I personally can't stand the program. Not just this program, but any of these so called talent contests. All that is left for today is to drink lots of beer :-)