Percolating

Well, it seems I’ve had my head down and percolating for a while. Not so many posts lately, but if you are ever trying to track me down you’ll often find me on Twitter. For some reason the micro-posting 140 character limitation helps me with the problem of ruminating too much about what to post in a full blog entry. That, and it’s incredibly social. I am an incredibly social person, despite spending an overwhelming amount of time alone in a room mainly populated by equipement (and cats.)

I have indeed been making music in the last while. There’s been a good bit of songwriting actually! You know, that old-fashioned thing occasionally done a clunky piano with a graphite stick and a flat sheet of tree byproduct. Yes, I like to do it that way too, I don’t know why people find that surprising. I suppose they picture an electronic artist with an army of synths and big snakes of patch cords. Yes I have that too! 🙂 But something about writing with simple tools helps me to really make sure the bones of what I’m writing are decently able to withstand whatever production massage I’ll subject them to later…

In any case, that’s my life in a nutshell lately.

New PSN Videogame Hoard Showing at PAX, Featuring an Original Score by Adriane Lake

Hey fellow game nerds. If you are headed to uber-geek fest PAX, be sure to check out the videogame Hoard from Big Sandwich Games at booth #3012 . Slated for a Fall 2010 release on the Playstation Network, this is a minis/fig inspired tile-style game where you fly around as a little dragon and burn the crap out of things to collect a massive hoard of gold. It’s ridiculously fun! I would know, having played it copiously while composing the score and doing all the sound design. Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I had fun working on it!

Here’s a sneak preview, since the first trailer was just released in honour of PAX:

The Medium Solution

The iPad has so much buzz that my friend likes to call it the ‘iPhad’. Fair enough, given the mass e-gasm it’s caused… Some people think it’s a rather useless gadget. I’d like to propose a few reasons why it’s not:

  • As a music control surface. If you’ve ever lusted over a Jazzmutant Lemur then you’ve thought about what you could do with a nice multitouch surface. While the iPhone had apps that do music control, the size is limiting. Where the iPad goes, music apps are sure to follow.
  • As a travel tool. Carrying a bulky laptop will accrue physiotherapy bills pretty fast, which is why a lot of people are switching to small form factor devices. If you only have modest travel computing needs, then an iPad is the perfect inflight companion slash business meeting tool.
  • As a better netbook. Let’s face it, netbooks are really crowding out cheap laptops in the shops. With netbook sales on the rise, the time is ripe for variety. Most netbooks are rickety mini-laptops that are a bit weak in the multimedia department… The iPad offers a welcome alternative for those who want a tiny portable with a more media-centric experience.
  • As a library. Ever tried reading a laptop while lying on your side in bed? Do you really think you’d finish a whole book on your iPhone? Enough said. An eBook reader should be the size of a book and accommodate all manner of awkward reading postures. While I’d never buy a unitasker for the job (read: Kindle) I’d give the versatile iPad a go.
  • As a dayplanner/notebook. That friend you have with a bulky paper dayplanner in her purse? She might like an iPad for that. Taking notes in class? Won’t last long on your iPhone. Sure to be a staple of handbags of the future.
  • As a gaming platform. Curiously, I mostly clock my gaming hours on an iPhone despite having access to XBOX and PS3… and I’m not alone. What does this mean about iPad?  Expect a further boom in casual gaming culture.
  • As the medium solution. For Apple users, the solutions were small and large. You had your laptop/desktop and your telephone/pod. What if you needed something in between? A small version of one, or a big version of the other? Enter iPad. Because sometimes you need a tool that’s juuuuuust right.

And no, I don’t have one yet. But someday I will. 😉

Electronics Bliss

I laughed myself to sleep last night when my Hunny showed me the latest installment of XKCD!

Click to enlarge:

XKCD Circuit Diagram

For those not in the loop, I actually studied Electronics Engineering Technology in my post secondary adventures. I had aspirations of building new analogue synths and other musical gadgetry. For example, I wanted to build an acoustic piano with MIDI capability… Little did I know that Yamaha had already beat me to it.

My favourite thing in the comic above is the combination of the “666 timer” (making reference to this) and the “moral rectifier” (which refers to this.)

Ah, how I love niche humour on the internet. 🙂

Like a Fungus

A wise person once told me that music sounds increasingly appealing as it becomes increasingly familiar.

In other words, music grows on you like a fungus.

Sometimes, your favourite albums do nothing for you the first time. Oh sure, there’s those albums that immediately split the bones of your skull wide in half, spewing your prior ideas about songs and sounds into a heaving pile on the floor. There are also albums full of glossy earworms and sparkle which sometimes lose their luster over repeated scrutiny.

But what interests me right now, is why some albums grow on you so much.

You want examples? Right, of course you do. I am going to confess to not liking the following the first time:

Bjork
Fatboy slim
Daft Punk

Who are of course now some of my favourite artists. Why is this?

A wise person once told me that artists doing something new take more time to find an audience. People don’t know what to do with them…

That is certainly how I felt when I first heard Bjork. Her alien voice and heavy accent was residing in an alternate universe to mine. The vibrating horn, harp and electronic arrangements struck me as wildly strange. Eventually, like most of the world, I was won over by her wild abandon and authenticity. Now she seems perfectly normal.

Maybe this is why some albums are a grower – sometimes some things are just too new, too deep or too grating to be love at first listen. But, like a fungus, they burrow themselves deep into our brains, snaking their little tentacles into our souls and forever embedding themselves in our hearts.

Score: 1 for fungus, 0 for us.

Best Wishes for the New Year

Wishing everyone a prosperous, fabulous and harmonious new year. 2010 is here!

My personal wishes for the new year:

  • To help reignite the Northwest Electronica scene
  • Give more solo music performances
  • To fully harness the power of my latest analogue synth
  • Jam even more new music on my iPod
  • World peace, and of course, more cowbell.

Fireworks Over Vancouver

Will Melodyne Revolutionize Sampling?

The fine folks at Celemony just released Melodyne, their polyphonic audio note editor. Yes, you heard me right: you can now edit audio clips the way you edit MIDI! Once only a distant figment of my imagination, this feature is now actually a reality.

What will this mean? Well, for one, it will be easier to correct an acoustical performance. If you wanted to alter a chord of a recorded piano performance for example, it will be easier than ever. You can just load up that recording in Melodyne and drag around individual notes in a chord to reassign their pitch and time position. Somehow, a magic algorithm doctor made the special voodoo needed to make it possible.

It’s mind boggling, really. See for yourself in this nifty video.

I really think this is going to be pretty revolutionary for sampling. I don’t personally sample other artists (even though I’d love to) because I don’t want to hire a lawyer for the clearances. (Also I’m a chicken.) But I do know that some artists like to grab a snippet and alter it so much that nobody will ever know where it came from. This will be a godsend for them, and not just to make the sample fit their track better… If one was in court, suing for sample usage, and the sample that was used had completely different notes and timing — it would be hard to prove that someone ‘stole’ the awesomeness from a prior track. And at the very least, it would make the case pretty interesting. 😉

Some advances you just know will mark a watershed moment in production technology. This might just be one of them.