The Haunted House

Monday, May 19, 2008

Walk Around Matlock and Cromford

After trying lots cheese and chutneys at the food festival on Saturday we went for a walk with Neil and Caroline. We kept it fairly local and did a walk around Matlock and Cromford.

We set off about 9.30 in Cromford. There was a fair amount of walking up hills in this walk. The most difficult bit was walking up near the heights of abraham in Matlock Bath. Shouldn't complain though, it's all good exercise.

The total walk was around 8 miles in the end. Not bad going really. As we got back into Cromford Amanda and Caroline found a little stall selling pots of herbs and chilli plants, so we got a load of them. They only cost 25p per pot, so not bad.

The best part of the walk was climbing to the top of the Black Rock in Cromford. The view was stunning and the weather was nice. You could see a good view of Matlock from there. Unfortunately though to the left was 2 huge quarry pits which where a blot on the landscape.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bolsover Food Festival

Today Me and Amanda, along with Neil and Caroline went to the Derbyshire food festival at Bolsover Castle near Chesterfield. We have been planning to go there for months now. Neil and Caroline picked us up at 9.30. We decided to take our walking boots as the festival was outside and the weather was forecast for rain.

At the festival there was all the usual local food producers with their stalls. You could buy such food items as cheeses, jams and pickles, meat and alcohol. We bought a nice quiche, a load of asparagus and some chutney.

We also found a stall selling nice terracotta kitchen ware. We have been talking about getting a decent Tagine pot for a while, so we decided to get one. Neil and Caroline also bought one. Amanda managed to get us a 10% discount from the seller because we was buying 2 of them.

The festival itself was a lot smaller than I was expecting. Although it was certainly bigger than the Belper food festival we went to last year. After we had looked around the stalls a couple of times we got a coffee and something to eat and then went for a little walk around the castle grounds.

Inside the castle grounds there were some medieval craft demonstrations. One of them was carving bowls from beach wood and another one was a traditional iron forge and metal works.

By the time we had looked around, it started to rain, so that was a good time to head back to the car park. It was a good festival, and it only cost £2.50 to get in. As I said, it was smaller than I was expecting, but we had a good time. I don't even need lunch as I tried lots of different things there :-)

We don't have a lot planned this afternoon except relaxing. It has been a busy week so we just want to chill out today. We might go for a walk tomorrow though. I might make a tagine tomorrow night so we can play with out new terracotta pot :-)


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Derwent Edge. We Can See Where We Are Going This Time!!

The weather this past week has been amazing. Well especially for England. It has been a bit of a stress full week. At work I had an internal interview for a new position which involved a lot of preparation, but luckily, both interviews were done Friday so I didn't have to worry about it over the weekend.

We planned to do a walk at Kinder Scout today, We starting driving up there around 7am, but as we got near the start of the walk we found out one of the roads was closed. The diverted route took us out near Ladybower reservoir. So as a last minute snap decision we decided to do Derwent Edge again.

The last time we did this walk was with Neil and the weather was quite bad. It was so foggy that you couldn't see 50 feet in front of you. Which was a shame as the scenery around this area is really breath taking. Luckily today, the scenery didn't disappoint.

We started the walk about 9am, and the walk, according to the book, is around 7.5 miles, although the GPS said 8.6 miles by the end. The temperature today must have been in the mid 20's. It was really nice. I was certainly glad I wore shorts.

After a particularly rubbish week at work, getting out into the country for a good 5 hours was really great. It was also good to burn off the dinner Amanda made the night before. Every 3 weeks we have what we call our Master Chef night. This is when we take it in turns to cook a really posh meal. Last night was Amanda's turn as we had scollop's for a starter and pan fried duck for main course. For a dessert we had a Lemon, creamy star burst, which was amazing.

The whole walk took us just under 5 hours, and we was rewarded with a nice ice cream once we got back to the visitors centre. Once we got back to the car we drove to rowsley as I needed to get some new shoes for work as my other shoes were looking a bit tatty.

We got back home just after 4pm. We sat down and had a few drink, then I started dinner. Yesterday in Belper we had our monthly farmers market, so we bought a big tub of field mushrooms. I made us a nice mushroom risotto for dinner and it was great.

All we have planned latter is to watch the last pirates of the Caribbean film and then watch lost. Then tomorrow it is back to the office :-)...


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Sound Mangling Tools : Part 3

The next sound mangling tool I am going to have a look at is AudioMulch. This is the blurb from the site, as they can explain it much better than me :-)

AudioMulch is an interactive musician’s environment for computers running Microsoft Windows. Bringing together the popular with what has up to now been considered experimental, AudioMulch merges the worlds of mainstream electronica and electroacoustic sound composition to create a fluid sonic environment only limited by the artist’s imagination.

While many of the processes featured within AudioMulch are not new to computer music programs, it is the software’s ability to carry out these traditionally "studio" or "non-real-time" signal processing techniques in real-time that emerges as its major asset. With AudioMulch, music that has for so long been limited to the pre & post-production practices of a studio can emerge in a new LIVE and interactive context.

Through the essentially unlimited (only by the power of the computer) combination of a network of synthesis and processing contraptions, AudioMulch allows the user to extend their current audio processing capabilities or create new music within their computer without additional expensive software or hardware systems.

The lure of this tool was just far too tempting. Unlike Audio Paint, this tool is not free. You can use it on a 3 month evaluation. The first 2 months, the program is fully functioning. The final month, save and sound export is disabled. The cost of the program is very cheap though. It costs US$89. So around £45 of our English pounds.

The screen shot above is a simple mulch device I put together myself. As you can see it is a modular system. The graph on the left shows the connection between different in built devices. The right hand side shows the parameters for each of these devices. The bottom section of the screen allows you to automate parameters over time. My first device was only a quick test, but it yielded some interesting results. You can listen to them by downloading this mp3. The first 2 sound bytes are directly from Audio Mulch. The remaining sound bytes is me re-processing the sounds in Ableton Live.

The screen shot above shows one of the example patch files with AudioMulch. This is a self synthesis module, that will literally go on forever. I like the idea of self synthesis, and this is something I plan to utilise to some degree on the next Creature album. I have rendered out 2 minutes of this example for you too have a listen too. You can download the file from here.

AudioMulch also supports the use of VST effects. So you can build your vst collection into your modular patches. Again, like AudioPaint, this tool is for Windows XP only. There are other similar systems you can use on both PC and MAC, like PD, MAX, Plogue Bidule etc, but none of these are as intuitive as AudioMulch.


Sound Mangling Tools : Part 2

The other day I started an entry about sound mangling tools, and I started off with Audio Paint. I didn't really get time to put an example together earlier in the week, so I have done one now. As stated before, Audio Paint, turns images into sound. The length of an image depicts time, and the height of the image determines how many oscillators are used. The image I used below was 8000 pixels by 4000 pixels.

I rendered out 2 sound files, the first was the normal image and the second was the same image, but darkened and the colors tweaked in photo shop.

If you click this link you hear a sound example. The first sound byte is from the first image. The second sound byte is the second image. The remaining examples are composits of the original 2 sound files with extra effects applied to them in Ableton Live.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

creature - promo1 Now Available

My new promotional album, promo 1, is now available to download. This 10 track album is completely free to download. You can even give it away to your friends. In fact, let as many people know about it as possible. I even encourage you to upload promo1 to torrent sites and news groups.

The first 9 tracks are from all my releases to date, so it gives a nice historic cross section of music. The final track, Glide, is a completely new track. I am hoping that Glide, is the first industrial inspired track to use a set of coconuts as part of the drum section. Strange yeah!! Well go and download it to hear for yourself :-)

The album is encoded as 256kbs variable bit rate mp3, which you can download from here. Enjoy.