new track: phase transition

It’s been about six weeks since I posted my little SooperLooper jam, and here it is in its final form, or at least what became of it. This was a difficult one to pull together — I initially just polished my sketch version of it, but that didn’t give me the results I was after, so I ended up ditching that effort and re-arranging it from scratch, finally getting an inspiration for the central progression and ending last week. Once I had that idea, it didn’t take long on the weekend to flesh it out.

This is another Seq24/Hydrogen/Ardour recording, with Blofeld synths, though I also created my own drum sounds (mostly on the Blofeld again) for this one. I also used PHASEX as the synth for the lead arpeggio — it’s a simple patch, but I really liked how it sounded, so it stayed in the final version.

EDIT: Turns out that the download links were broken! I’ve fixed them now, so if you had trouble downloading, please try again now.

mp3 | ogg | flac | 5 minutes 4 seconds

roasting bacon

I don’t often listen to the TLLTS podcast, but I caught a recent episode (number 361) featuring Jono Bacon, and I was not impressed. I wish Bacon would stop commenting about the state of Linux audio, because it’s clear to me — but probably not clear to the larger community — that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

He explained on the show that he doesn’t use Linux for his music production, and I should say up-front that I don’t have a problem with this. Linux certainly isn’t ideal for everyone, and if Bacon has a solid, working Windows-based setup, there’s nothing wrong with him sticking with that and focusing on making music.

However, it’s very clear to me that he has no idea about the current state of Linux audio production, spreading the usual outdated nonsense about JACK being overly complex to set up, ignoring the existence of quite usable MIDI sequencers like Qtractor and Rosegarden, and giving very short shrift to Hydrogen’s abilities as a drum synth. These tools, with a suitable velocity-layered drumkit, might not give the same results as quickly as Bacon’s proprietary setup can, but they’d certainly do the job, especially once you run each drum in to Ardour for separate processing.

Why do I have such a problem with this? Well, it’s because Bacon is widely known and respected as an open-source evangelist, and also as a musician, so his words carry weight. I and my fellow Linux musicians know he’s mistaken, but a casual listener would assume that he knows what he’s talking about, given his background, and would probably write off Linux as a music production platform because of it.

Again, to be clear, I’m not saying Bacon should use Linux. I’m not even saying that he should spend the time to learn about making music on Linux. I just wish he’d stop talking about it as if he does know what he’s talking about.

sketchbook: psindustralizer drums

I’ve been playing with percussion lately, and wanted some metallic sounds, and I remembered a little app that I played with a while ago called Power Station Industralizer, a physically modeled percussion synth. It’s a little unwieldy — it’s non-realtime, so you have to “render” the sound after tweaking parameters before you can play it, and it has some annoying issues — but it can certainly make some nice clangy, smashy, metallic drum sounds. I came up with a few and threw them in to Hydrogen; the results are below.

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super mario galaxy 2

If you’re like me, the experience of playing Super Mario Galaxy 2 can be summed up by the words you’ll find yourself involuntarily muttering again and again:

“Haha, what? No way! That’s awesome!”

Following up Super Mario Galaxy was always going to be a hard task; it turned 20 years of platforming tradition on its head — sometimes literally — with its mind-bending, gravity-defying spherical worlds. Rather than trying to reinvent the genre once again, Nintendo has simply taken the shell of the original game and stuffed it to bursting point with an incredible wealth of crazy, inventive, and unique ideas.

It’s hard to understate just how imaginative this game is. Just about every time you enter one of the game’s dozens of levels, it throws some new gameplay mechanic or concept at you, and as soon as you’ve mastered that, you’re thrown off to the next level and the next crazy idea. Incredibly, with just a couple of exceptions — Spring Mario, which makes a (thankfully brief) return from the original, and some motion-controlled gliding levels — all of those ideas are not just brilliant, but brilliantly executed as well.

The result is, simply put, one of the finest, most enjoyable games I’ve ever played. If you’ve ever been a fan of platformers, you need to play this game.

new blog URL!

After a couple of years of running at, I’ve decided to move my blog to a new, dedicated URL. If you’re not already there, you’ll now find my blog at:

Why the change? Well, the old URL made it seem like a blog attached to the old site, which it definitely wasn’t — the only reason I put it there to begin with was because I already had that domain set up. I thought about just ditching the “blag.”, but this blog has very little to do with Linux gaming, so running it at wouldn’t make sense.

It may take me a day or two to sort out all of the links, so if you find anything broken, or anything that still links back to the old domain, please let me know!