Saturday, June 29, 2019

Error Correction

In the picture above is a Yamaha RM1x.
I took the picture in 2011 of the RM1x that I owned. It was a major step up from the Yamaha QY100 that I had been using. The sounds are much better for a start and the on board arpeggiator is just the beginning of the audio adventure that awaits. By about 2015 both of the Yamaha units were gone. I was exclusively writing tracks in FL Studio and I didn't really look at my hardware so the units were sold. Big error.
That error has now been rectified. There is an RM1x on its way to me. It's the last bit of kit I wanted to rebuild my hardware studio. I've had a QY100 for a little while now and that's been waiting for a connection to an RM1x. Don't get me wrong, the QY100 has a very useful XG sound set but it's fairly limited.
I've also now got a Zoom guitar multi-fx unit which will be used with the Boss vocoder for vocal processing. I have a week's holiday coming up in a fortnight and I'll set everything up then and list my hardware studio kit list here. I might add a video of everything working together if I can produce a decent tune to demo it all. I'm not too keen on making videos. It's a lot of hassle and that's from an ex VJ.
Maybe things have changed.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Listen. Learn. Do.

My first shift of the week is done.
I was driving back in the truck listening to Noam Chomsky.
Sometimes I wonder why I do what I do. Spending hours in front of my computers in my free time while the world sleeps. I write for myself and others. I learn new skills in order to present my work to the world. I write and post anonymously. But there are times when I wonder why I bother at all. I question what difference if any, anything I write will make to anyone. At times what I do seems pointless.
When I get to this stage I listen to podcasts. Usually one Noam Chomsky podcast will get me back on track. It'll blow away the doubt and I'm ready to commit words to the page again. There will usually be a point in the podcast when someone asks Noam how the status quo can be changed. His reply is usually "You change it yourself." If that isn't inspiration to do or say or write something I don't know what is.
Will I change the world in any way? Probably not. But I might change the world for one person who in turn passes on the information learned and after a while a few people with certain knowledge might change the world. I may never know if I'll ever make a difference to anyone, that's fine, but I'm not going to deny anyone a little knowledge that I can pass on that might help them.
From small acorns mighty oaks grow.

Image courtesy of Ministerio de Cultura de la NaciĆ³n Argentina
[CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

Sunday, June 16, 2019


Saturday afternoon is the domain of the Flaneur.

I was sitting down at a pavement table drinking coffee and it was raining. The rain had mostly emptied the street of people and only the puddles and passing cars dared venture under the grey clouds. I, from my canopied vantage point, stared at the ripples in the shallow puddles with my thoughts heading elsewhere when it dawned on me that I was watching a show of random.
No two seconds or portions of a second were the same in the puddles. Drops hitting different places, ripples growing outward and colliding, the amount of drops. Everything was different from millisecond to millisecond. None of it  predictable and nothing had any relation to what had gone before. I was seeing something for the first time that was never going to be repeated.

Although it's obvious once one realises what one is looking at, the act of a rain shower into a puddle is a completely unique experience. Something simple and beautiful and so often overlooked. Rain is often seen as a bad thing. A type of weather event that spoils a day out or a barbecue with family and friends. In large doses it can of course change lives in a devastating way. We build structures to take ourselves away from it and our vehicles offer similar protection. As humans we are programmed to avoid getting wet during a shower. Waterproof clothing and umbrellas remind us that we can cheat a good soaking and yet as the creature we are, we are perfectly waterproof in our own skin. We walk briskly to avoid as much rain dropping on to us as possible. Not many hang around in the rain.
Maybe it's time we did.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Detail. More Detail

When I want something to be as good as it can be I really obsess about the detail.
To me, detail is where the control is. The more I know about something the more control I can have over it and therefore I know the end result is as good as it can be. That can be a good or a bad thing depending on your point of view. To me it's very satisfying.
I have 2 projects on the go at the moment which I intend to give a lot of attention to. The first is a manual for a future generation. I want to give people a head start in pencil and paper cryptography. Nothing too challenging but enough to get a message to someone without the use of a computer. With current developments in government invasions of privacy it's looking like there will be a point in the not too distant future when all electronic communications, including end-to-end encrypted messages, will be seen as fair game for any agency and for any reason. There are ways around this, most of them old fashioned and time tested. Sometimes the simplest things like pencil and paper and a little ingenuity are all that is needed. My intention is to document a few of the best ideas and then make my publication accessible to anyone who may be interested.
I've chosen to write the document using LaTeX. It's a language for document preparation and has been around for ages. It can be used fairly simply but it is also complex to learn if you want to go deeper, and I do. Text books on the subject tend to read like manuals. I like manuals. The more I read the more fascinated I become with the possibilities of its options, and there are hundreds.
What's nice is that despite being an old thing it's actively developed. It's also used by countless people who want a professional document that can accurately convey things like mathematical equations.
I'm not sure how long it will take me but at least I'm enjoying the process.

My second project is a track I'm writing at the moment. It was born out of a jam with my Korg Liverpool synth last weekend. It's musically very simple but it'll be the production that makes it. I have lots of ideas for this track. As things pop into my head I add them in Bitwig Studio. The production tips and tricks I've learned over the years and stored in my head are now pouring out. I'm really enjoying the process.
I'm happy theses days to not put a time constraint on things I do. Having fun doing things and being happy with the result is all that matters. I have no interest in the number of people who may read the manual or to how many listen to my music. As usual it'll be out there, free to download and open to criticism, as has always been the case.
I've had no complaints yet.