Check out this great present from my partner Stacey (click to embiggen).
It’s modelled on this idea – I think she is so good at it she should make some more – what do you think? Five days into the new year and already the call of the new year sales is breaking my resolve.
Amongst the Steam sale bargains I acquired I am at least happy about Dishonored which is satisfying my anarchist tendencies. I gather it is Thief meets Half Life 2 in a grim steampunk setting. It plays like an amusement park ride that has no problem allowing you to get off occasionally to fuck about. It also is unique in that while it encourages sneaky badassery, the world actually seems to up the stakes quite convincingly in response to your acts of terror. Also the second copy of Torchlight 2 is making Stacey and Kira happy as we are able to have happy click click death LANs.
Obviously I can’t just avoid gaming when it is enjoyable but I want to try and rise above the depressed need for passive alternate universes. I have a theory that the less visual detail provided by a medium the more work required by the imagination but the more sense of ownership / familiarity with the perceived content. This is perhaps why books are generally more satisfying than movies and why music can be so compelling! To this end Starbound is an intergalactic pleasure cruise with its fabulous music and minimalist pixel vistas that are subtly evocative and atmospheric.. It’s not the diagetic marvel that Minecraft is but in a way it is more focused and fun and I can’t wait for it not to be in Beta as they keep wiping my planetary constructions.
Clearly I need to cull my RSS feed of music related “advertainment” as enabling my gear acquisition syndrome is unsustainable and I have so much more than enough. The Renoise 3 beta is out and it looks and sounds amazing but between Logic and Numerology I have no time for any more DAWs. The optimistically titled “Don’t Crack” have a sale I couldn’t resist on Nomad Factory plugins (to raise money for urgent spinal surgery on the Nomad Factory CEO Bernie Torelli). I’ve been having a great time focusing on Launchpad / Numerology (as opposed to Ableton Live) as my live jam MIDI controller, Mixer and FX bus and have been on the look out for low CPU multi-effects. I’m not normally a fan of plugins that look like analog gear but otherwise Nomad Factory Magma fits the bill very nicely as it is allows me to setup, save and recall specific rack chains including the ability to host third party VSTs (Numerology is AU only). The rack allows for easier editing of multiple parameters in real time, something I couldn’t even do in Bidule without multiple GUIs all over the place. It also has an excellent modulation matrix that can be applied to any parameter including those of third party VSTs.
I’ve spent all of 2013 rebuilding my setup, trying this, trying that and now it’s half past time to stop buying and trying and start playing. My music focus (aside from the education/job thing) is on therapeutic music for me and fun collaborations. I’ve got a great flexible setup happening with SKONLab at the moment and have even been jamming with Joe Musgrove again. Some good stuff to come… here is a teaser.
I should also mention the great new Koss KSC75 headphones I got for Xmas (Thanks Sue!) I’ve been reading rave reviews of them being in the upper echelon of quality portables at a low price but was skeptical as they hang off your ears as opposed to your head. The reality is that they are very comfortable and far superior in transmitted sound quality to the cumbersome Sennheiser HD201s I used to get around in.
So 2014 is a year of listening to (and making) more music, reading more books, playing games that don’t do my imagining for me and actually getting out there in the world (when it isn’t a smoky heatwave.) Here is part one of some ambient mixes i’ve been working on: