this one time, at band camp

Just a quick post to mention that I’ve set up a site for my music on Bandcamp, which is a very neat music streaming/downloading site. Their streaming player is a bit nicer than the one I use here, and they make downloads available in a wider range of formats as well. You can also check out my lame-ass artwork skills on the site banner and cover art!

crisis aversion

I run a RAID array in my home theatre PC to store all of the media I’ve managed to accumulate over the years, and running it as a RAID array has come in handy once again, since I lost a hard drive over the weekend. It was one of the two 500GB drives I’d carried over from my old array, so instead of picking up a new 500GB drive to replace it, I replaced them both with a (sub-$100) 1TB drive.

Compared to the last time I had a drive fail, this replacement was a snap; I just shut down, removed the 500GB drives, added the new drive, and booted up. Once the system was running, it took just another minute or two to partition the new drive and add it in to the array. Total downtime: no more than 10 minutes. I do love it when things work as advertised 🙂

new track: clipper

Here’s that new track I was working on — it’s another synthy thing which turned out, not-entirely-deliberately, like something from an old-school arcade game soundtrack. Lots of Blofeld, and a bit of distortion. It came together more quickly than my last track, and I’m pretty happy with the results, especially since I didn’t feel the need to spend hours and hours tweaking EQs and compressor curves to get it to sound alright to my ears. Enjoy!

mp3 / vorbis / flac: 3 minutes 8 seconds

new mario, new music

There’s an overwhelming number of new games coming out right now, but despite the pressures to buy Modern Warfare 2 or Borderlands, I caved in to my inner Nintendo fanboy and picked up New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Well, I’ll admit, Toys ‘R’ Us selling it for $70 helped. Either way, it’s time to talk Mario!

NSMBW, much like NSMB on the DS, is a straight-up 2D Mario game, with all the usual trimmings and a smattering of new stuff thrown in. After getting it home I quickly played through the first world-and-a-half, and while it was fun, it was tough, and actually frustrating in a way I hadn’t seen in a Mario game before. A lot of that frustration came from the D-pad on the Wiimote, which seemingly isn’t ideal for pushing diagonally.

Fortunately, NSMBW adds one significant spin to the Mario formula that elevates it far above its minor problems — four player co-op gameplay. Like MediaMolecule’s LittleBigPlanet, Mario’s latest lets four of you run across the map simultaneously, but the character interactions you can perform in the Mario universe multiply the hilarity and confusion of LittleBigPlanet ten-fold. It also avoids some of LittleBigPlanet’s issues by giving players a variety of options for getting through the tricky bits.

This game should come with a warning, though — do not play it with casual acquaintances, or people who might get on your nerves. With the thousands of ways you can end up killing, or just generally griefing, each other mid-game, you might never speak to them again.

In other news, I’ve been working on a new track; in fact, I think it’s nearly finished. Everything’s recorded, but the drums need more work to add a bit more variety. Once it’s finished I’ll be sure to post it!

living in the future

I spend a lot of time talking to Americans on the Internet, and they’re always reminding me that, due to the timezone difference, I live in the future compared to them. Today, though, I had a moment that reminded me that all of us really are living in the future.

It was simple enough, really — I was sitting on IRC, and someone pasted a URL in to channel, but instead of linking to some lewd image from 4chan, it was a live stream of the recording session he had in progress in his home studio. Streaming audio isn’t exactly a new thing — Internet radio and live online concerts date back to the days of RealPlayer and dialup — but there was just something fascinating about being able to listen in on someone else’s bedroom studio as they put a track together, with everyone on channel listening and giving feedback, and even recording and emailing across their own snippets of audio.

The best part of it all is that the technology isn’t that hard to get running. I installed Icecast on my virtual server, and DarkIce on my desktop at home, and before too long I had a live stream of my Ardour session up-and-running. DarkIce runs as a JACK client, so it can take its input from anywhere in your JACK signal path, and it can encode to Ogg Vorbis, which is supported natively in Firefox 3.5.