The Haunted House

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Electronic Critters Multi Buy Special Offer

Now Electronic Critters 2 is going through the manufacturing process, I have put up a special offer on the Haunted House Records site. If you buy both Critters 1 and 2 on DVD you will get a 20% discount, so the price is £31.99 instead of £39.98. That's £7.99 off the full retail price. Pretty good Credit Crunch beating offer I think :-)

Your £31.99 gets you nearly 4.5 gigabytes of crazy yet intricate sound programming for use in your own music compositions or film and TV project.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Electronic Critters 2 Now Finished

Electronic Critters is now completed. The final DVD image is currently uploading to the manufacturers FTP server ready for manufacturing. I have included some renderings from the case artwork below. The first batch of DVD's should be here in a couple of weeks. Thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered their copy. I will get your disc out to you as soon as I have them.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Electronic Critters Demo and Pre-Orders

The image above is the new DVD case for Electronic Critters. The sounds on this new version of critters are based around noise recordings from a high end radio scanner. The noises consist of random speech, to static, pulses, data transmisisons, radar beacons etc. These noises have then been processed through lots of DSP effects to create sounds that are completely out of this world.

If you go to the Electronic Critters site, you can download a free demo pack from the new critters disk. Also on the shop you can pre-order a DVD copy. The DVD version costs £19.99 instead of £24.99. Any discs pre ordered will be shipped out around mid November.

I am just making the final tweaks to the collection and the finished DVD image will go off to be manufactured. You will also be able to buy Electronic Critters digitally from Sounds/To/Sample within the next few weeks.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Theramin Fun

A colleague of mine and fellow musician, Jake, of the band Izzy The Push was good enough to lend me his portable Theramin for a week or two between gigs so I could have a go at recording it. I do not know why they call them Theramins. I think portable sine wave emitting hell beast would be a better name.

After a few minutes of tinkering with this thing I can honestly say, Theramins rock!!!! Even Amanda had a go and she looked like she was enjoying herself trying to replicate R2D2 :-) I have recorded about 10 minutes of weird noises so far and had a go with some additional processing.

For a laugh I have uploaded a simple warbling example. The first section is the raw Theramin straight into the computer with no processing. The next 2 examples use some gated modulation effects and a grain delay. You can download the mp3 here.


Great Electronic Critters Review in RemixMag

I just found out that Electronic Critters has received a great review in Remix Mag. It is available on their online addition, but is due in next months printed version.

They don't give scores, but they do write quite descriptive reviews. Review text is below...


In preparation for his latest album, Distant Horizon, Derby, UK-based Stephen Haunts—aka Creature—spent several months circuit bending and sampling electronic children’s toys. He enjoyed the process so much that he continued developing the sounds, soon collecting enough tweaked-out specimens to release them as a sample library. Electronic Critters contains 750 raw samples of circuit flows being interrupted and Stephen using his body as a giant resister (prodding custom-installed body contact points on the toys) to further twist the sounds in real time. A second folder contains more than 250 complex textures and atmospheres, created using heavy processing and stretching of the raw material. All samples are provided in both 16 and 24-bit, at 44.1 kHz.

Every ounce of the raw material sounds incredibly cool: A toy phone is made to sound like C-3PO swallowed Tweety Bird. A re-wired Furby spouts off incoherent phrases as if scrambled in digital transmission. A glitched Major Morgan produces dissonant tones across several octaves and then distorts into siren-like effects, while My Little Talking Computer serenades you with crunchy, flipped-and-chopped 8-bit renditions of “Old MacDonald Had A Farm,” spoken numbers and phrases such as “choose a game.” Of course, there’s the venerable circuit-bending favorite, Texas Instruments’ Speak & Spell—to the tune of 330 raw samples. Quite often it’s difficult to recognize the source of these raw sounds, the way that syllables hold ad infinitum, tones abruptly loop and release and Stephen’s body contacts produce all sorts of cool ring-mod and legato/glide pitch like effects. With DSP processing, these sounds turn into unnerving dark drones, space-gongs, alien-choirs, suspenseful elements, animated rhythmic sequences and more. This brilliant and unique collection also comes at an unbeatable price.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Shopping Cart

There have been quite a few changes that I have wanted to make to the Haunted House Records website for a while now. I have now completed the first few.

Firstly the whole concept of running Haunted House Records as a label isn't really working. Having the time to find and develop new artists is something that I just don't have the time to do. With the previous line up, Creature has done really well, but anything else released just has not made any impact what so-ever. So the first change is that HHR now only has 1 artist and that is Creature. The website is going more in the direction of a personal website that will represent my music work and sound design business. This will help me align my work with more advertising and licensing agencies, which is something I am starting to steer towards. The first of these being some film trailer work.

The second change I have made is the online shop. Previously the site just directed you to online digital retailers to buy downloads of my music, and I had links to CDBaby for the CD versions. Also with Electronic Critters I had a single buy button which just let you buy that one product. This was fine and served me very well, but now Electronic Critters 2 is nearly finished I wanted the shop to be more flexible. So now I have incorporated a full shopping cart model. This shopping cart is provided by PayPal and is now live on the website at this link.

For each product you can add it to the shopping cart, and then on the left hand side of the screen is a view cart button where you can check out. Postage is calculated based on what you have in the cart. Customers have the option of paying with a credit card / debit card, or by using their existing PayPal balance.

So these are the first of many changes, I hope you like them....


Rough Rider - Vintage Style Compressor

Another credit crunch busting plugin in Rough Rider from Audio Damage. They have made this excellent compressor, FREE of charge and it sounds really nice. Of course, they have done this as a promotional thing so you hopefully buy some of their other products and this is fine :-)

I have been using some of the Audio Damage plugins for a while and I can honestly say they are excellent and priced very attractivly. So go on, download and install Rough Rider and start compressing the shit out of those drums loops and bass lines.


Great FREE VST Music Plugins

A while go I mentioned about an excellent free vst synths that models a Roland SH101. Well the people that provide that synth also have lots of other goodies available on their site. All FREE, which in our current credit crunch is a great thing.

A lot of free ware synths and effects normally tend to sound a bit pants, but I really like the sound of their stuff. All plugins are available for PC and MAC, so everyone can join in the fun. They have the following:

Virtual analogue bass synthesizer. Improved version of U-No-60.

VST TAL-BassLine
Virtual analogue bass synthesizer.

Tube and amplifier emulation plugin.

VST TAL-Flanger
Vintage flanger effect.

VST TAL-Phaser
Vintage phaser effect.

Vintage delay effect.

Virtual analog synthesizer.

Juno-60 like chorus vst effect.

VST Vintager
Virtual analog synthesizer.

VST Real Synth
Kunz & Knobel Virtal Analog Mono Synth.


Firefox FTP Client

When updating the Haunted House Records website I normally use an FTP client called Smart FTP to send the files across to the server. This used to be a free program and it was quite good. But it has now changed over to a paid for program. I was going to buy it, but someone recommended me an FTP client called FireFTP that integrates in with the firefox browser. I gave it a try yesterday and it is excellent. Really easy to use and fast and more importantly, FREE.

You can download it from here. So sorry Smart FTP guys, your software is good, but this is better :-)

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Electronic Critters 2 : Coming Soon

For more months than I care to remember I have been busily working on the 2nd edition of my Electronic Critters sample Library. The first edition was based on Circuit Bent children's toys. Electronic Critters 2 will be based on something different, which you can probably guess from the above image :-).

I will post with more details soon. I am nearly finished making the sound content. When that is done I need to get the demo and information up on the Haunted House Records site.

What I can tell you is it will have a lot of content on it. It will sound just as crazy as Electronic Critters 1, and will still only cost 19.99gbp. It will be available on DVD from Haunted House Records, CDBaby, direct from out distributor in the US, and also as a download from Sounds/To/Sample. Hopefully this new edition will be as popular as the first :-)


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Family Wedding In London

Last weekend we went down to London on the Saturday for My cousin Claire's wedding. The wedding was in Chingford and the reception was near Chigwell. We set off on Saturday morning fairly early and drove to my parents house where we got changed.

From my Parents house we drove to the church. It was quite nice going back to Chingford as I was born there so it is always nice to go back there. The wedding started at 2pm and my family on my Mums side were as rowdy as usual. With the typical heckling in church. It was quite funny.

After the religious bit was done and dusted we headed off to the hotel for the reception. We all had a really nice meal and then got ready for the evening party. The wine was flowing a little too well by this point. God only knows how much we got through.

By the end of the evening I was well and truly trollied. The next day I had an evil hangover. I don't really drink a huge amount these days, so when I do, it hits me like a ton of bricks :-) Was a good day though.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Holiday to Gran Canaria

Last month Me and Amanda went away for a 2 week holiday to Gran Canaria. It's taken me a while to write it up here because I am lazy :-) We flew to Gran Canaria from East Midlands airport on the Monday and got to our hotel around 10pm.

We were staying in Puerto Rico which is on the south west of the island. The resort is quite built up and in a bit of a valley with hotels all the way up the mountain edge. It was very touristy but also really nice. Our hotel was a self catering apartment with a really nice pool on the roof.

The first week was fairly quite in the resort. This is because it was the week after all the schools went back. This was good as it was easy to get a space by the pool. We planned on doing quite a few excursions around the island, but we didn't rush into it and spent a few days relaxing around the resort.

The weather was excellent. The temperature was between 28 and 31 degrees for most of the time we were there, but there was a gentle breeze blowing which made it not feel to scorching. One of the first excursions we went on was a day trip on a catamaran boat. We both really enjoyed this, especially swimming in the sea which was actually quite warm :-)

Another excursion we went on was to the capital, Las Palmas. We went on an organised tour to here as it worked out about the same price as getting the normal bus, so we got a bit of history too. The cathedral was really impressive, but unfortunately we couldn't go inside as they were preparing it for the king and queen to visit the next day. They were holding a state funeral for all the people that died in the Madrid plane crash a few weeks before. A large proportion of the people on board were Canarian residents.

We also did a few trips up into the mountains. One of the trips was an off road jeep safari. The scenery in the mountains was stunning. I definitely recommend spending time up there if you go to Gran Canaria. The part they refer too as the Canarian Gran Canyon is especially breathtaking.

There was another port a few bays along from our resort that was quite nice called Peurto Mogan. We got a ferry there and spend some time looking around. There is a lookout point up in the cliffs where you get a good view over the port. It was a really steep walk though getting up there :-)

As usual is was quite sad to come home. We could have definitely done with another week here. I have been back at work for 3 weeks now and what with project pressures and a collapsing banking system in the UK it doesn't even feel like we were away. Oh well, until next time.