Lego album artwork

I have loved lego ever since I was a kid and it’s always good to see it used in a creative, unusual way….such as reproducing album covers with it. So check this out – 30 Classic Music Albums Recreated With Lego

Wheels of Steel

This is another really cool HTML5 site. Wheels of Steel was developed by Scott Schiller who works on Flickr and brings to the online, digital age turntables in your browser. Give it a go and you might just become a superstar dj


This is a nice piece of HTML5, fantastic integration of Facebook, Twitter and webcam. It’s interesting that most of the good pieces of HTML5 all seem to be used for music promotions. Anyways, give it a look –

The Wilderness Downtown

This site asks you to enter the full address of where you grew up and then plays a video which incorporates images of the street. From a technology view point it’s an incredible feat of engineering but from an emotional point of view it’s really quite clever and subtle. As a boy I can remember running home coz I was late for my tea and that immediately jumped into my mind with the imagery. Does that now mean every time I hear the track I will be transported back to my childhood? That’s quite clever, subtle and manipulative if that was the intention……I still love it though 🙂

Contemporary Music Festival 2009

Took part in the world premier of Variations today which as the blurb says is “A digital AV Composition in three forms.

A10 “These two months at Plymouth were the most miserable which I ever spent”.
F10 Laws of Variation.
M10 Gene-Pool (the shallow end). Inspired by Darwin’s thwarted attempts to leave Plymouth.

Variations is a generative work playfully exploring some of Darwin’s insights.”

I did an SMS piece where the audience could text in words and they were displayed over the top of the words from the intro to the Origin of Species and the 1st book of Genesis displayed in a matrix-stylee cascade in the background. Below are some photos and videos from the rehearsals and more on Variations can be found here.

Video of Gene Pool
Video of Gene Typing Pool
Video of Worms

Some more thoughts

Ok, still thinking about a game but this time I’m considering using a chess match. I think the strategies that are used in chess could be quite interesing when applied to software development. I’ve recently read about a chess game Duchamp played with John Cage at a concert called Reunion where the music was produced by a series of photoelectric cells underneath each square of the chessboard which were sporadically triggered during normal game play. I had originally considered just mapping the moves but maybe I could hack one of those chess computers and connect it up to a “normal” computer to register the moves and generate the code dynamically.

Camden Crawl

Jamie, Chelle, Chelle’s mate Kelly and I went up to London last week for the Camden Crawl, a 2 day indie music festival around the pubs and clubs of Camden. We all met up outside the tube, got our wristbands which would let us in to all the gigs and then found a pub to plan the evening. I really wanted to see The Damned who were headlining at Koko at the same time as Ash were doing the same at the Electric Ballroom. Apart from that, I didn’t mind who I saw. So Jamie and I went down to Koko first and saw I Am Kloot and Hadouken! before heading up to the Electric Ballroom to see Jack Penate and Air Traffic. Those 2 were excellent and if you get the chance to see them then you must. I then left Jamie and Chelle to watch Ash and headed off to see The Damned. They started off with Love Song, ended with Smash It Up and did Eloise somewhere in the middle. They didn’t do New Rose which was a shame but still a cracking gig. Then it was back up to the Ballroom to get the update on Ash before having an early-ish night.

Next day after a sausage and egg sarnie and a coffee, we had a wander around the shops until we could get our programmes for the next night’s gigs. Kelly had tried to get into see Amy Winehouse in the Dublin Castle but couldn’t coz it was completely full. As Travis were playing there that night, Chelle and Kelly decided that they’d spend the whole night there. As much as we wanted to see Travis, Jamie and I decided that The Charlatans might be more our thing so we in turn decided to spend the evening down at Koko. Whilst there we saw Hot Club De Paris who were good, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, Marvin the Martian and a bit of Tom McRae. The bit I got to see was on the telly in the upstairs bar while I waited for a barmaid to serve me. There were only 2 other people in front of me but she managed to take a full 30 minutes to serve and pour their drinks before coming to me. Considering I only wanted 2 bottles of cider, she still manged to get them into 5 glasses! But, whilst waiting I bumped into Matt Bilson who is back from his travels. The Charlatans were excellent, when they did The Only One I Know the whole place erupted. They definitely know how to put on a gig.

After some food, headed back to their hostel to spend the night watching telly and chatting before getting the first train home. The crawl was brilliant. If I went again, I would try harder to see more bands coz there were a couple of others I’d like to have caught.

My Crawl photos on Flickr

Fave 2006

With fully charged iPods, Jamie, Chelle and me caught the coach to London to visit Fave 2006. Lunch was Pringles, sausage rolls and Twixes which resulted in a heated debate on the validity of multipacks wrapping the fingers singularly and not in pairs as was intended. When we reached London, we got off at Earls Court and made our way cross town to Limehouse Town Hall.

We were a little early as they were still setting up plus a cycle club who obviously had the hall in the morning, still had bikes stripped all over the floor. After having our names ticked off on the list by Dan who organises Fave, we grabbed some seats. First up was Andy Farnell who ran a workshop on using Pure Data for sound synthesis. The theory was a bit heavy going but after a break and some coffee he moved onto practical examples. He showed us some quite convincing examples of phone’s ringing and water bubbling and pouring. Fire was really interesting especially how he broke it down into 9 seperate sounds. Unfortunately I was distracted a bit with the devasting news that Leeds had just done us 2-1 at home but being a true professional I was able to set my personal feelings aside and concentrate on the job in hand.

After that, Dan gave a talk and a demonstration of 64 Studio which “is developing a collection of native software for digital content creation on x86_64 hardware”. It’s currently on version 0.99 I think he said with the full first version due anytime soon. This was followed by Steve Harris who did a quick talk on LV2 but the talk that really got us scribbling in our notebooks was the one given by Chun Lee on DesireData. DesireData is a graphical front end for Pure Data and looks like MAX/MSP with some nice features. It has multiple undo levels, you can copy and paste from the text editor into the patch editor, there’s keyboard navigation so you don’t have to rely on a mouse, you can connect up multiple objects in one hit, dynamically insert objects between previously created objects and disconnect them and automatically create subpatches from selected objects which will then create the inlets and outlets for you as well. It’s currently only available for Linux although the source will build on OSX – windoze users will have to wait a bit longer. The package as a whole seemed to go down well with the audience. During the Q and A after, someone asked Chun if Miller Puckette has been in contact which apparently he hasn’t although he has been made aware of the project.

There was a break for food (chicken biryani) and some beer during which they showed Elephant’s Dream. This is a film made using open source graphics software such as Blender. All production files are available freely under a Creative Commons licence so you can remix them as you want – and some people have already. Nice looking film and it’s good to see that you don’t need a Hollywood budget either.

After the break were the performances but we only stayed for the first as we wanted to get back across town at a reasonable hour so we only got to see Simon Egan. Simon did 2 pieces; the first was made using an egg slicer which you can hear below and the second was made by connecting a volunteer from the audience up to some electrodes and using her as a sort of biometric input device. Strange but still very interesting.

As the next performer was setting up, we left and headed back to Victoria where we had time for a beer and a kebab before catching the overnight coach back. It was a pity that Rob Myers didn’t give his talk on Free Culture but even so it was another interesting day out.

Simon Egan’s egg slicer

The Infinite Monkey Project

Here’s a nice use of SMS. Text a random word to 07797801003 along with your name and anytime something nearing a grammatical sentence is created it will be set aside. The collected “sentences” will then be handed over to a music producer who will use them to create a song. If your word is used then you will be credited as a songwriter and get a cut of the royalties. It might not be much but then again how many people can say that they’re a published songwriter. More details can be found at The Infinite Monkey Project.

Intro’s round

Right then pop pickers, time for the intro’s round. I got sent this by a mate and there are some I know, some I recognize but can’t think of their names and some I don’t have a clue on. Download the file and give it a go – just to warn you, it’s 3.4MB