What can I do with these loops?

In my weekends (and the occasional evening) I like to jam with plugins and MIDI, edit up samples, and make little loops. This is a low-pressure outlet for my creativity. In the last few years this has meant I've had a lot more fun, accumulated lots of rendered audio, and almost stopped releasing music. I'd been looking for a way to combine all these loops into some kind of generative audio wallpaper.

Landscapes are nice

A wee while ago I came across @SoftLandscapes (see also web twitter). I like experimenting with primitive (minimalist?) animation, and I wondered if I could implement something similar in canvas or SVG, so I did some prototyping on codepen.

Press play to hear it! Leave it going for an hour or so to hear everything, or leave it going for a week! Full site here, so you can full screen it in a dark room.

Let's learn about new web tech

I was also looking to get more experience with the Web Audio API, Redux, and React. So I combined all these things into a project that I can focus on and then ship (because real artists ship).

What is it? How does it work?

There are a handful of songs, each split into four layers. The algorithm cycles through all the songs, and gradually adds in, and then removes layers. Each of the layers corresponds to one of the scrolling parallax mountain ranges, so they fade in and out too.

When switching to the next song, as layers are removed, the code decides how soon to bring in the next song - how much the parts overlap. The code also randomly chooses different ways for parts to enter and exit – simple start stop, low and high-pass filter sweeps, or volume sweeps.

There's also a selection of texture/field recording samples which are played over each transition – a random section of the sample is selected and then looped, and filtered in and out as the song changes.

Sometimes, to mark changes, there's a little bit of punctuation – a randomly-selected "hit" sample, such as an air horn or cymbal. These are sent to a dub delay using a Web Audio DelayNode and BiquadFilterNode (hat tip Chris Lowis). Gotta have an air horn. No cowbell though (not this time).

The colours of the mountains are randomised – a front and a back colour are chosen, and then these are interpolated for the middle two mountain ranges.

There's a range of styles in there, things that you might call instrumental east-coast hip hop, dubstep, dark ambient electronica, subdued moody piano, break beat.

Look out!

If I make nice sounds when noodling or jamming, I'll add new songs periodically, so check back in :)

This year I signed up for another 48 Hour film with my workmates (team Arrested Developers). I've been involved a few times now and this year I'm really proud of what we achieved - the film really hangs together well, and is a good match for the genre we were assigned - romantic comedy.

Every year going into the 48 hour weekend I secretly dread it. I'm keen to use the process to try and get quicker at writing & producing, and get a bit of practice scoring films, but I'm usually concerned that I'll end up on Sunday tired with nothing amazing to show for it.

How It Went

This year it worked out wonderfully! The team was really well organised, and produced a simple, filmable script with lots of scope for an interesting score. In fact, there's very little dialogue in middle section of the film.

I spent a little time on Friday night with the script writers, and awoke on Saturday to a charming (and coherent!) script. I procrastinated over the course of the day, playing around with chords I thought might help me write themes for each character.

In the evening, I headed up to HQ (work) and got straight into scoring. There was a near-final rough cut for me to score to (again, fantastic organisation this year!). I wrote scene cues until about 3am, then headed home. On Sunday I spent all afternoon writing & polishing.

Here's the final product:

Sadly, we didn't make the final!

However, we did win Best Costumes and Best Art Direction - well deserved in my opinion. (Not sure what to make of the other "win" Best 70s Porn Score ...)

About the Score

I wrote two chord progressions, one for each character. The male lead's was a dubby, cheerful loop while the female lead's was more wistful.

I used these chords throughout, using a reggae arrangement for the male theme, and strings for the female. For the "action" sections I made a little moogy arpeggio section.

It was a lot of fun hitting cue points in the SMS section, and scoring the denouement.

Previous Teams

Last year I was involved, to a lesser extent, with Arrested Developers. Aidan wrote an incredible, suspenseful score (I contributed a little loop and some drum recordings).

In 2012 I joined team Radial Head. I had a lot of fun, but the score is pretty thrown together, as is the script. The movie looks and sounds pretty fantastic though. Still really like way it starts off with the helicopter shot + darkstep soundtrack. I guess "found footage" is a tough genre!

Today I got an email inviting me to Beatport's new streaming service. Sign me up! I love to stream electronic music!

(By the way, the 'old' Beatport - the mp3 shop - is now known as Beatport Pro.)

Overall, it's pretty great. I'll be using this a lot when I want to listen to curated lists of current, popular dance music. Beatport has a pretty enviable catalogue. Sadly, Cartoon Beats is not on there - yet! - in the meantime here's some stuff involving Haszari and check out our buddies at Newclear Music and Muzikozi.

This experience is a huge improvement on crate-digging via short mp3 snippets!

Beatport Screenshot

Good Things

There are lots of curated playlists for genres, big sellers, new releases, etc. I listened to Deep House Essentials and then Sounds of the Underground which both were great as working background music, and had the occasional gem too. Genre-wise they were actually pretty similar (broadly deep & somewhat techy house), which I found curious.

I like the look and design of the site - it's clean and uncluttered. There's reasonably deep info there too: for example, heart/play counts, and metadata such as key and BPM. When you're looking at a track or release, you get recommendations for other tunes.

As a streaming music player it's pretty good and flexible - you can skip around in songs (by visiting the page for the track), as well as hit next when something horrible comes on. The sound quality seemed pretty fine too (note I am not any kind of audiophile!).

Wish List

While it's a good simple service, there are some things that would make it amazing (in my opinion).

  1. A radio / discover mode. This is the biggest gap for me. I'd like to tell it to keep playing, and have it play stuff based on its related/recommendations data. I don't care if the algorithm's dumb, I just want it to keep playing. (Of course they can improve the algorithm over time!)
  2. Play queue management e.g. "add to up next". It's really basic right now - when you hit play on a list or a track, it wipes out whatever is queued. I'd like to add lots of things from lots of places to my playlist, and then play that on shuffle (and then play related stuff when it runs out).
  3. Shuffle/random playback. Surely this is essential!
  4. Play history.

It'll be interesting to see how the service develops, and how it impacts on the other players in the market (e.g. Spotify, iTunes Radio, Red Bull Music Academy Radio, etc). Nice pivot, Beatport.

I love simple-sounding electronic music: it sounds like it has only three parts & someone's elegantly noodling around the groove.

As you might know from other posts, I find most music-making software annoyingly complicated. I want a user interface that facilitates sketching out little patterns and noodling around with them, yet still allows you to stand up, walk around, dance, and generally not get lost in the software (or in the details of your track).

Auxy is just that. It's a simple grid of patterns, with some really nice instruments & drum kits. The sounds are just what I like to play with - light, expressive, and very electronic.

You can trigger/stop the patterns in the grid like you might in Seq24 (or Ableton Live !). You get two parameters to tweak on each instrument - e.g. a filter cutoff and a delay. Enough to have fun.

The app looks really great too - cute and tidy but really minimalist, so it fades into the background and lets you focus on the music.

I made a little techy jam in about half an hour and this really convinced me how great Auxy is. This is how electronic music should work.

And it's free!

Now .. someone make a desktop version, with automation loops, MIDI out, MIDI sync, and nudge ... :)

UPDATE! Pro Midi ($US10) covers a lot of my wishlist above.

Recently the first Vogel Street Party happened in the warehouse precinct (on the street where I work). The reason for the party was to celebrate the local community making things happen & the general rejuvenation of the area.


It was incredible!


From 3pm to 10pm on Saturday the 18th of Oct (2014):

  • the street was closed to traffic
  • street food vendors sold delicious wares
  • a huge range of activities for young and old were held
  • a HUGE LED wall screen showed animation, video and digital art
  • musicians performed over the afternoon
  • there was an upcycled street-fashion show
  • DJs played into the evening


Also the party coincided with the Dunedin Street Art Festival. Local and international artists transformed walls around the area into vibrant pieces of art.


A strong group of volunteers made this happen. I got myself involved from day one and put a lot of energy into the website, booking the DJs, as well as curating & producing the digital screen content.

I also had the privilege of performing - DJing while triggering my animations on the big screen.


A huge thanks to everyone who contributed to the event, and the sponsors who backed us! I can't wait for the next one.

I finally got Traktor to sync with something else - Reaper - using MIDI Clock (running on Mac OS X, on the same machine). Here's how I did it..

  • Start Traktor.
  • Start Reaper.
  • Open Reaper Preferences, select Devices > MIDI Devices.
  • Double click "Traktor Virtual Input" and select "use this device" and "send midi clock to this device".
  • In Traktor, open the sync panel thing up the top by clicking the metronome.
  • Click "EXT" button - this tells traktor to listen for MIDI Clock.

Now get a track (with an accurate grid!) loaded into a Traktor deck. In Reaper, set up something locked to the Reaper beat grid - for example, an audio or midi loop.

Press play in Reaper so your loop plays forever. In Traktor, the sync panel should show a tempo similar to the tempo in Reaper. You'll notice that it wavers about a bit. Press play on your gridded track and click Sync.

The Traktor deck should be roughly in sync with Reaper! (In fact, it is loose enough that it sounds a bit like a real DJ is nudging it.)


  • If we send the MIDI over a network or MIDI connection to a different machine, will this sync well enough to bother with?
  • Can we sync two copies of Traktor (on different machines) this way?

If you have problems (or corrections), comment below so we can determine what I really did to make this work.

As mentioned in a previous post, I have long dreamed about being able to play electronic music live. I've finally done it!

Here's the audio (freely downloadable if you want to listen later, and I may put it on the beats reality podcast too).
Haszari's First Ever Truly Live Set by haszari

A Rudimentary Approach

As far as live electronic music goes, this is a somewhat primitive performance. There are four songs, each has approximately 3-4 parts, and there are a small number of effects/parameters available for me to tweak. Also I'm relying heavily on a great-sounding dub delay effect which can feedback; I've used it to fill things out, give things dynamics and shape, and also used it (screaming feedback like a guitar amp) for short-term sound effects.

Also, of the four songs, 2 are built from short loops of (my own) previously recorded material - i.e. the notes are not being sequenced live, and there is no synthesiser producing the notes live.

Another limitation is that there are no stabs or manually-played samples/notes/effects; everything is in some kind of pattern which is triggered quantised. (The main reason for this is I ran out of time.)

Limitless Possibility

But I'm really excited about what is happening in this live set. Even though I've heavily used samples, I had a huge amount of control available to me live, and more importantly, it was easy and fun to perform with no plan in an underground bunker (through my low rent sound system, running the whole night off a single power outlet). I had a lot of flexibility, nothing much was planned. What did I have control over?
  • Within each song, I had a level fader for each part, meaning the songs were mixed (in a primitive sense) live. These faders could be set up differently depending on the part, for example one synth strings part had the fader pre-reverb.
  • Each part had at least one other parameter on a knob; this could be a filter cutoff for a synth part, or a fader between two drum sounds for a drum part. 
  • All parts had one or more (looped) patterns, which could be triggered/untriggered (quantised to an appropriate interval) with a button. In the case of multiple patterns, a button allowed me to navigate up/down to select the pattern to play next time around.
  • Some parts had a triggerable variation or fill - for example, hold down a button to play a randomised (schizofrenic funk drummer) fill until the button is released.
  • Each song was assignable to a global (DJ-ish) channel - with a level fader, 3-band EQ, and a send to the global dubdelay. Assigning a song also made its parts available - i.e. I could only trigger parts etc when a song was "loaded" into a channel.
  • Although I only had two songs' worth of hardware control, this was live-mappable and I could easily manage (parts of) all four songs playing at once if I want to.
Of course this was all implemented in handy SuperCollider. I spent a bit over a month or so of occasional evenings and bits-of-weekend developing things and jamming it out. Most of my time was spent on infrastructure - things like setting up the code to live-map a song to a hardware channel, implementing a simplistic EQ/band compressor for the channel strip, factoring out the dub-delay effect so all songs can opt-in to using it, etc.

What made this really exciting and fun for me is that I could treat this like a software project. I could start small, implement a simple beat that I could drop & interact with live, building in more complexity later. It felt like prototyping - sketching out a framework of how things should work, and revisiting different aspects later until I had something much more complex, organic and live up and running.

I may post again with more detail about how SuperCollider supports writing and performing like this - so comment if you want to find out more about something.

I have a new remix out - on Newclear Music. The original is by Squeezer, who are from Auckland (NZ). I don't know too much about Squeezer, but when I heard the parts I put my hand up and said "yes please". I haven't really done that before, because I know it takes me a long time to complete a remix (note - this was probably almost a year ago).

Anyway what drew me to the track was the beautiful guitar part - which for me evoked certain 80s film soundtracks, e.g. John Hughes movies, or Twin Peaks. I aimed for a slightly seventies disco downgrade, drenched in acid 303 lines against a chilled out bass and beat. In all, quite a different sound for me, and I'm pleased!

Also on the EP are diverse takes from none other Newclear honcho nsu, AK deep d&b slow burner Soul Science, breakbeat champion Will Marshall, as well as a new remix from Squeezer (the TSV remix).

Go out and buy the EP! This week!

I have spent a lot of time in my life playing with different music-making software, getting excited about what can be done, and ultimately getting bogged down or frustrated. I have also spent a reasonable amount of time working on custom tools for making music. So what am I looking for? And why haven't I found it yet?

It seems in the past ten or so years, music software and technology has become much more powerful, usable, and accessible (i.e. cheap). This, combined with the convenience and ease of digital distribution, is why Cartoon Beats came about - we are mucking around making our own music, and if we are going to be hustling around labels and DJs trying to get them to promote our music, we might as well release it ourselves. So that's great, but something's still missing for me.

Producing a track, and DJing it out have become completely separated for me - one of them involves sitting at a desk, endlessly tweaking and fiddling with a timeline UI in software, the other involves standing up, bashing buttons, waggling my arms and/or nodding my head while subtly adjusting various aspects of a fixed and unchanging recording. I crave the ability to combine all this into one activity - the power and flexibility of composition and production with the immediacy of DJing.

Alongside this I feel a huge disconnect between how I used to make music, when I was in metal/rock band - jamming, noodling on riffs with other players for hours on end. The music was definitely not locked to any timeline, and often evolved in front of you, even if many of the elements were pre-planned or rehearsed. I miss that! And I thought that by now (ten years later, surrounded by supercomputers and extremely affordable USB MIDI gear) it would be much easier to achieve!

So I have tried out lots of software with these kinds of goals in mind. And always found myself wanting more..

So what is it that I want?

Power & Flexibility or Expandability

I don't want a system to present arbitrary limitations or obscure or prevent cutting edge algorithms/processing from being used. A simple example - I want completely flexible routing, which most software provides these days (GarageBand doesn't; Reaper does). A more complex example - should I read about some clever DSP technique, I don't want to have to wait for someone to write a plugin, or attempt to write one myself; ideally the technique can be implemented/prototyped directly in the software (e.g. Pd contains many units which can be used as building blocks to build up arbitrary processing; the same technique in Reaper might require a custom plugin, or a complex mess of routing connecting many plugins). Another way of looking at this: if I happen upon some interesting technique in a tutorial or academic paper, it should be possible to apply/adapt the technique.

Modularity or Abstraction

This is essentially the flip side of flexibility - a complex graph of processing units, or a sequence of audio samples, or notes, should be able to be treated as a single unit, with useful parameters exposed. I have found that this is a limitation with timeline-based software (e.g. Reaper or GarageBand) - a channel is a single level. You cannot for example sequence some audio and then treat the sequence as a unit; you have to paste it, warts-and-all, around the timeline to reuse it, and of course, you can't easily adjust something in all these pasted copies. MIDI clips are one way around this. Also I find myself wanting to package up snippets of automation data.


By this I mean not obscuring things. VST plugins for example, are really great units with lots of expressive power packed into them; but more often than not the actual core of what the plugin does is obscured from the user. This is especially frustrating when you have lots of plugins that do subtle variations on the same thing. I don't want these things to be a black box - I want to be able to find out or understand. Note that this is distinct from abstraction above, which allows the user to package things up and (temporarily) obscure the details. Also important here is that the techniques, musical information and processing used in a track should be as easy to get out of the system as they are to put in (so you aren't locked in to the system).

Casualness or Immediacy

Traditional musical instruments and musical gear have presented a very casual kind of interface - you pick the thing up and start playing it, or connect it to a sound system and turn knobs. I want this kind of expressive power to be possible or available to me. What I don't want is for production to be something that I have to lock myself in a room for hours to do - I want it to be more like a toy, and something that I can attempt to involve my kids in (or expose them to). You know, like picking up a guitar.

Conciseness or Efficiency (or Scalability)

I have only recently realised how important this is to me. As my projects got more complex, I found that I was more constrained by previous decisions. With modular software such as Jive (or Pd), while it might technically be possible to play a complete live set of a few original tracks, to do so would not really be feasible. This really ties in with modularity mentioned above, being paranoid about backing up/losing work, and the fact that my day job is writing software. A text-based file format (as in Pd), or even text-based user interface (SuperCollider, or any one of many audio programming languages) is a huge advantage from the point of view of organising the content in a project. On the other end of the scale for example, a binary file format that folds in midi information and audio samples etc is not ideal.

So I'm delighted to announce, I have found a system that appears to do well in all these respects - SuperCollider. In future blogs I will go into why I am so happy with SuperCollider, and what I have been doing with it - but rest assured, I have been jamming with it, playing with it as a musical/audio toy, experimenting with the low-level nuts and bolts of audio processing, and even working towards playing live with it.

Of course this is my own idiosyncratic view, and I don't have much experience with non-free/cheap musical software. In particular, Ableton Live, AudioMulch and energyXT all seem potentially very useful. So feel free to chime in with your experiences...
  • What do you love about the software/system you use to make music?
  • What do you hate?
  • How do you (or how would you like to) perform electronic music live?
  • What do you wish your system could do?
I have been wanting to make some el cheapo near-field monitors for ages. My plan was to get the cheapest drivers I could find, probably with tweeters built in (aha! car speakers!) and put them in decent-sized boxes made out of MDF.

Last weekend when we painted our bedroom I saw that Warehouse had $20 4 inch car speakers and I was like "I am so gonna finally do this". (Luckily for me, the car speaker aisle is the same as the paint aisle.)

SO this weekend I did the stuff in about a day. A little bit of measuring and marking yesterday, and pretty much all day today sawing, glueing and getting tired.

The boxes are glued together with No More Nails and then screwed as well. I didn't use any tables or information about what size cabs would be best for the drivers, just decided based on the size I felt would be good & practical but ensuring there was a reasonable amount of internal volume.

Here's a couple of pictures, there are some more up on flickr.

And the best news - I am completely astounded by how they sound! Exactly what I was hoping for, enough range to produce on, they sound good without having to be turned up too loud, and much clearer highs than any of my other speakers.


This thursday at Bath St Kelevra's playing. I'm playing too, it's going to be an amazing night, lots of good support DJs.
Event on facebook here...

Kelevra plays fidget house, i.e. hefty wobbly jackin' electro. It's the Potty Mouth Kids tour; Wongo and Adam Bozzetto (among others?) are hitting other NZ destinations. Cheers Potty Mouth!

So in celebration here's a player chock full of insane fidget house tracks that I am currently into.

Get Your Own Viral PlayerGet These Tracks

Buy & download dance music from djdownload.com

Yep, listen in the player, click the link to buy, this stuff is all gold people.

(not "gold people", gold tracks, people)
Yep, new bits are here from Haszari. I've been fiddling with this for a while but I think now it is ready for blog primetime.

It is my remix of SoNic Smith's Ladies Style. SoNic Smith is a prolific Dunedin producer who makes all kids of breaks, as well as the odd bit of rave d&b and even some acid house flavours. My aim with this mix was to take the bouncy break beat original in a fidget-house direction, maybe with 3% bassline house influence. Pretty happy with how it's turned out.

Here it is for you to download (from zippyshare megaupload because zippyshare went down):


Again my usual arsenal of great open source tools was used to make this, Ardour, which really packs a punch these days (don't buy Pro Tools eh) for all the editing, all LADSPA plugins for the mix/edit and mastering, ZynAddSubFX doing the business as a fat as all heck fake analogue synth (man that is a great softsynth). Go download all that software (just install 64Studio, it's all packaged in there for ya).

Tricky has a new album out. No one does breathy, atmospheric, post-trip-hop quite like Tricky (or even approaching the way he does it?).

What's really cool is he's dropped another cover. I may not be fully up with this running gag of homages (hard H thanks) to great songs (can someone tell me if there is one on Pre-Millenium Tension...?), but there is a great rock cover of Black Steel on Maxinquaye. The original Black Steel (+ "In The Hour Of Chaos"), as far as I know, (once again: "prove me wrong, kids, prove me wrong") is by none other than Public Enemy. So it was more of a political/conscious hard-hitting rap track, made over into a sung (of course by Martina), melodic punk track. Nice cover!

So, on the Knowle West Boy, the cover is of one of my favourite pop artists (possibly my number one? the mp3 stats indicate she's well up there), Kylie (Minogue).

The track is a great one, off the Fever album, which was of course a corker when it comes to electronic-pop music: Slow. This is right up Tricky's alley, breathy, atmospheric, sweaty. Of course Martina does most of the vocal but true to form Tricky's there muttering and whispering, breathing down her neck. Great new realisation of a good song. Also nice cover!

Come to think of it, I think the whole (genre) of dubstep owes something to Tricky. I'd wager he was putting out breathy and gutteral and hummy music before Burial was a teenager (?).
I’ve entered a contest to remix Deepcentral’s "Is It Real", a progressive/eastern euro trance track.

I need your help - listen to the remix, let me know what you think, and vote & comment on the site!
Visit the label site to have a listen:

If you have trouble with their player or site, just head on over to the Cartoon Network DJs myspace, the track is the first one in the player. (and why not check out the other snippets while you’re there)
(and/or just complain bitterly to me about the inadequacy of trying to listen to music in shitty little flash/js custom web audio players).

My remix is a deep progressive chugger with a bassline that is a bit of a nod to early Dirty South. I’m quite pleased with it.

Please comment your comments here, at the contest site, or myspace or facebook or email.

Not quite all made with free software this one. More like made with all the software I've tried out recently - this is a 3 & 1/2 platform process.

There's a bit of a story so if you have the time I'll tell you all about it...

  • chorded out on guitar

  • prototyped in seq24 & general midi on an old Pentium II running linux/debian/64Studio

  • "shit, perhaps these vocals I just randomly downloaded for this comp might work with these chords"

  • re-prototyped in GarageBand and edited & combined with Deepcentral parts

  • chugger bassline added in Reaper (demo) using Phadiz VST plus some bleeps with a VST theremin

  • (and finally, the free-opensource part) mixed and more importantly low-end sidechain compressed (I have to do this to everything now) using SC3, jack, jack-rack, Ardour running in 64Studio of course (on my now quite senior Athlon64 desktop, needs RAM, needs RAM)

  • and mastered in good ol' Audacity

Cheers, see you at Pop this saturday for some cocktails + banter + beats...
This is more of a catchup/keepitmoving/six cents post.

Hype Machine will change if we all leave our browsers open

More importantly, haszaristwocents is gonna deliver a stack of clicks that way given our massive readership. Click on this and leave the browser open and repeat for all browsers/machines you can find.

Mo' Mentum at Bath St with Haszari

I'm playing at Bath St this friday, short notice, but very exciting all the same. It's all me so it's gonna be self indulgent but you like what I like so should be a massive night.

Mo' Mentum @ Bath St Friday 19th Oct

IQ tests are bad

There was an article in The Listener about IQ tests recently. This got me all fired up as all mention of IQ does, ya know, everyone knows that any concept of IQ has to be totally flawed and probably very culture specific.

Anyway I didn't end up with a coherent enough opinion to post about it (tho I really wanted to!), but the point of this 1/3rd post is who to blame regarding IQ silliness:
  1. the media, for occasionally misreporting IQ related findings and theories
  2. IQ researchers, for even bothering to try and develop the concept of IQ as reliable and relevant
So, I ask ya, what's your opinion? Comment back.
Here’s a bulleted list:

  • Apparently I’m getting behind on my blog posting quota.

  • I feel like I should make a music related post.

Conclusion drawn from the bulleted list:

I’m going to make a post about cover songs.

One cover of notable interest is ‘Paul Anka - Smells Like Teen Spirit’, which is obviously a Nirvana cover. It has a kind of swing beat with some trumpets and other horn type instruments. The contrast to the original is so huge that I highly recommend getting a copy to listen to (legally of course) - the change in genre of the original to the cover is really quite remarkable*. However, while being an extremely interesting cover version and well worth listening too, I found it quite quickly became annoying. If you’re familiar with Nirvana’s lyrics then you probably wouldn’t lynch me if I was to label them as somewhat complicated (replace complicated with nonsensical). Now, no disrespect to Kurt, but if you can actually HEAR his lyrics, as you can in a swing cover, then the stupidity of the lyrics becomes readily apparent and largely difficult to ignore.

“With the lights out its less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido

Hmmm. Thanks for messing up future covers of your songs Kurt.

So anyway, who’s a Nick Cave fan? Yeah, me neither. And quite frankly his song ‘The Mercy Seat’ blows. Apparently it’s his signature song, and if that’s his signature then he needs to work on his handwriting skills (you see what I did there, I don’t even know what you call that kind of genius). There’s so much going on (noisy guitars and drums and some sort of string instruments (violins?) along with various sound effects) that’s it a bit hard to listen too. There’s no doubt it’s a powerful song though, telling the story of a man on death row waiting to be executed on the electric chair, detailing his final thoughts and worries. What would really make this song something special would be if an old-school country singer with a deep & powerful voice did a version. Well, thankfully, Johnny Cash gave us just that in 2000 on his American III: Solitary Man album. Go buy it. Or borrow it off DJ Haszari, I’m sure he has a copy.

Now, I like ‘back’ as much as the next man, unless of course that man is Sir Mix-a-Lot. According to his 1992 track ‘Baby Got Back’ he is a big fan of the ladies that have big butts (“I like big butts and I cannot lie”). I’m not here to question the validity of the statement of whether or not he can lie, perhaps he has a very serious moral code that he strictly adheres to. I’m here to tell you that the Jonathan Coulton version of the song is very entertaining. It’s an acoustic, easy to listen to version of the song that might appeal even if you didn’t like Sir Mix-a-lot’s original (what? do you have the fear of the black man or something?)

This writing in a serious manner is hard work. Screw it - I have to eat my lunch - also check out these:

Green Day – Working Class Hero (cover of John Lennon)
Easy Star All-Stars – Let Down (cover of Radiohead)
some rock band covering Army of Me by Bjork (note DJ Hazsari added this bit about Bjork when he edited my post and destroyed my artist intent)
any cover of Britney Spears (ditto about destroying artist intent yadda yadda)

* see I can talk like a cock if I want.
I've remastered and tidied up The Jacket, used some more sample, and made a housier version which may be more clubby. They're all available at last.fm (see player below) or GarageBand which is a good option if you wanna iLike me on Facebook.

I used the EQ in excellent JAMin to make the spectrum roughly flat (it was quite low-end-heavy and there were little dips here and there). I didn't use any compression, but I think the EQing left a lot of room for makeup gain, so it could well be a lot louder. Anyone know about mastering? I don't.

If you want higher bit rate versions send me an email, sweet as..

The new ("original") version is now in the last.fm player (128k) and still available at zshare too (320k).

There's a new version I've put on zshare (cos I know all you blog readers love viewing zshare ads).. it has a nice complementary sub and some swooshes here and there and the drums are tidied up:
Haszari - The Jacket (original) [320kbps]

It'll go up on Last FM (etc) eventually but they're rejecting the 128k bla bla bla ...

Original post follows...

Here is a work-in-progress track currently called "Jacket". I'm happier with this (even in its current state) than I have been with any homemade music thus far. Here's a last.fm player, and the track is free-downloadable from last.fm, so go and grab it!

It was made with my favourite free software: ZynAddSubFX synth, Hydrogen drum machine, Ardour digital audio workstation, and sequencer Rosegarden. This is all installed and configured to run with low latency by default in the wonderful free operating system (Debian based) 64Studio.

Now your bit: leave comments below or let me know more directly what you reckon, what would make it better, etc etc. Thanks.
Since bringing up the issue of song-destroying monotonous electro remixes, I have gone out and shown my support for the track by buying the old-arse not relevant original mix from that dang beatport.

Just before I did this, I found a presumably old remix competition which had the parts of the song freely downloadable (128k mp3)! Great!

The bonus is that now that I realise the original doesn't have much of an intro, I might be able to give it one with a bit of looping of some of those parts. And I keep the smug "I actually bought this" warm fuzzy feeling.

Slightly curious is that one of the parts is kick and it seems to be eight minutes of kick drum (with gaps for breaks of course). (The others are vocal, bass, drums and music.) I guess this is house music; the kick is pretty important right?

Cheers, Remix Mag and Gabriel & Dresden.
I heard the King Unique remix of Gabriel & Dresden's "Tracking Treasure Down" on the weekend while helping out with our local house music radio show, Energy Flash on Radio 1.

My reaction was: the original was a great crossover clubby trance pop song, with a very pop/song structure, and King Unique succeeded in using the vocal over a much more constant/monotonous (i.e. the chord changes are not there) electro track.

Which is fine and all, obviously that's more relevant, and that's what I tend to be into a lot of the time, but for me it had the effect of making the vocal fairly irrelevant.

If you want to hear the King Unique remix, listen to the energyflash podcast. If you want to hear the original, get in a time machine and go back to last year and listen to Pete Tong's Essential Selection thru early/mid 2006.