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January 31, 2009

Vocaloid2 Prima review

Filed under: General,Rant — steve @ 8:28 pm

For a start this is less than stellar software – far from commercial quality – no doubt we are on the bleeding edge with vocal instruments, however this is not just bleeding but at times simply just bloody poor:

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January 30, 2009

“Rising electricity prices ‘to benefit renewable sector’”

Filed under: General,Rant — steve @ 8:08 pm

Oh dear, electricity prices are going to rise substantially – or are they? A 78% increase over two years, according to the ABC today, has been recommended by the The Western Australia Office of Energy. What??? In today’s economic climate and low consumer confidence? Does hiking up electricity prices to benefit the renewable energy sector while crippling low income families who simply would not be able to afford the cost it takes to get into ‘renewable power’ [around $10k for a basic solar power sysyem] make community sense? Well, according to the ABC’s report it has been stated as that – however, you can read the Minister’s statement [made yesterday] for yourself and make up your own mind…

Song of Lament with Prima vocals

Filed under: classical,Composition,strings,vocals — steve @ 4:36 pm

I decided to try Vocaloid 2 ‘Prima’ and purchased it last night. Tried out some lyrics on the “Song of Lament”. It is a kind of interesting application – couldn’t get it to work as a VST at all [recognised notes but would not output lyrics] – so had to just arrange the lyrics in the Vocaloid application and export as a .wav file into Cubase…

Compare this to the original using the Papelmedia_Irina_Brochin soundfont – ‘chalk and cheese’ really – easy to see who is the ‘prima’ out of these two – and it isn’t the Vocaloid samples…

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January 28, 2009

Abysm

Filed under: ambient,Composition,strings,vocals — steve @ 2:36 pm

Drawn deeper and deeper into the abyss only to find that it isn’t too bad there afterall… Strings, vibraphone and tubular bells from Garritan Personal Orchestra; vocal sound fonts are Dark Ooohs from Creative/E-MU sound font and the Papelmedia_Irina_Brochin soundfont; and. drums by Jamstix which kept on corrupting themselves – was lucky to grab the drums and edit them on the third attempt…

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January 26, 2009

Want You, Need You

Filed under: Composition,drums & bass,guitar,vocals — steve @ 3:59 pm

A rock ballad thing with the now almost usual vocals – difficult to get the vocals to sound right on faster stuff – more suitable for drawn out notes one feels…

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January 24, 2009

La Boop-boop

Filed under: Composition,drums & bass,guitar,vocals — steve @ 5:00 pm

The title says it all – well, not really – another vocal rock thing…

UPDATE: [31-01-09] Added in Vocaloid2 Prima to the melody/vocals – not very clear, but neither is Prima and requires LOTS of work to get it sounding as if the vocalist is singing with the same levels of volume, brightness and sibilance… However I must relink the original as this is crap – flat notes, struggles to hit the mark – very disappointing vocal instrument that cost money…

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So, despite being accused of not being a musician for being critical of Vocaloid2 Prima, here is the original version of La Boop-boop using the Papelmedia_Irina_Brochin soundfont – no flat notes here…

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January 22, 2009

Song of Lament

Filed under: classical,Composition,strings,vocals — steve @ 8:45 am

A rather sorrowful yet at times happy waltz. Not certain whether to take this further or just leave it as it is…

Strings and French horns from Independence 1,5; timpani/percussion from Garritan Personal Orchestra; Choir Aahs from Creative/E-MU sound font; and, Papelmedia_Irina_Brochin.sf2 and Boychoir.sf2 soundfonts…

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January 20, 2009

A Touch of Melancholia

Filed under: alternative,Composition,drums & bass,guitar,vocals,woodwind — steve @ 6:03 pm

Mood swings, depression and madness. Found a couple of vocal soundfonts on the web yesterday – Papelmedia_Irina_Brochin.sf2 and Boychoir.sf2 which both sound not too bad at times – plenty of crap ones out there though that weren’t worth the hassle of downloading. Choir Ahhs from Creative/E-MU soundfont; guitar, bass and clarinet from Independence 1.5; and, drums from Jamstix…

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January 19, 2009

Oh Yeah

Filed under: brass,Composition,drums & bass,guitar,vocals — steve @ 2:24 pm

Hmmm, don’t know about this one – started to come together then it didn’t and after a couple of days working on it I was over it in the end. Used up pretty much all the vocal sounds from the Creative/E-MU soundfonts collection I have hence more “Oh Yeah”s. Jamstix drums, bass, guitar and brass from Independence 1.5 – very little time put into the brass though as I just wanted this one to end… has its moments – perhaps incorporating obvious African male vocal sounds with American gospel/choir sounds with a 1950′s pop middle bit is not an ideal outcome… ;)

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January 18, 2009

My ears hurt…

Filed under: General,Rant — steve @ 10:55 pm

After watching the 2003 Montreux Jazz Festival excerpts of Jethro Tull and Yes my ears dfinitiely feel as if they have been put through the ringer. Curiously the volume was not loud at all – Jethro Tull sounded fine in fact and fairly enjoyable apart from Ian Anderson overtly stereotyping himself. The problem was Yes – the mix was terrible! The only way I can describe it is like they took the centre chanel out of the mix, yet this was stereo; sort of like the equivalent of looking at the sun for too long and only have peripheral vision left, except of course in this case it is your hearing. My ears hurt from straining to hear the sound – I turned up the volume which helped a little however my ears are still aching now after the program finished – hearing some a well mixed program on classical music hopefully will return things to normal… it feels like my ear drums have been sucked out due to the lack of sound pressure in the centre…

So, one of the two sound engineers listed on the 2003 Montreux Jazz Festival screening, David Richards or Olivier Aldo Pedron, needs to have their hearing checked so that they don’t subject anyone to that pain again – and so that they don’t perform a great injustice to such wonderful artists as Yes.

January 17, 2009

Aframountry

Filed under: Composition,drums & bass,guitar,vocals — steve @ 9:04 pm

Ever wondered what you would get if you crossed African-American rhythm, gospel and soul with country? No? Well, neither had I until I put this piece together today. Last night I wrote down a chord progression; today I was looking for vocal takes on the net and ended up gathering up what I had in my Creative/E-MU soundfont collection – put them together and this is what I ended up with. Vocals from the previously mentioned Creative/E-MU soundfonts, guitar and bass from Independence 1.5 and drums from Jamstix…

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January 16, 2009

River Rhythm

Filed under: ambient,Composition,vocals — steve @ 6:57 pm

A very short piece – the sounds of the river hitting the sides of fishing boats evokes a rhythm that causes those around to break into a chorus of joy. As quickly as it arises it subsides – no doubt people have work to do! Percussion from Independence 1.5; vocals, birds and water bubbles from Creative/E-MU sound fonts…

BTW: I really need some decent vocal VST instruments – these soundfonts are pretty average – mind you they are ten years old or so I suppose now…

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Rectification

Filed under: ambient,brass,Composition,drums & bass — steve @ 10:49 am

The little green men are inside your head, busily re-programming your brain to make everything appear serene. No matter how hard you fight it resistence is futlie – you will be rectified. “Vox Gothic” from Creative/E-MU soundfont; tubular bells from Garritan Personal Orchestra; [edited] drums from Jamstix; and, vibraphone, sax and bass from Independence 1.5…

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January 15, 2009

On an Eastern night looking West

Filed under: ambient,Composition,guitar,strings,vocals — steve @ 10:55 am

This was an attempt at an ambient piece of music, however it started to take on too much of a narrative feel which perhaps is not what ambient music should portray. I don’t write lyrics for my pieces – they are just instrumentals – however if I did write words for this piece it would go something along the lines of “Lovely, lovely little whale; In the name of science we sail; Hiding in the sea so deep; It’s your flesh we want to eat.” This is why I don’t write lyrics. Flute, cellos, guitar and vibraphone from Independence 1.5; “Ban-di” from DSK Music’s “Asian DreamZ” soundfont; all other sounds from Creative/E-MU sound fonts…

UPDATE 18-01-09: Here’s an updated version with more “ban-di” instrument and less steel string guitar – a little more ambient now I feel…

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January 11, 2009

The Big Bad Wolf

Filed under: Composition,orchestral,strings,woodwind — steve @ 8:37 pm

This piece was meant to be a fugue, but you get what you get when composing stuff and this is how this one turned out. Sort of made me think of a treacherous, conniving creature so it has been titled “The Big Bad Wolf” rather than “Not really a fugue in B minor, originally in A minor”. All instruments from Independence 1.5 except for the timpani from Garritan Personal Orchestra…

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January 10, 2009

Atonal

Filed under: Composition,orchestral,piano,strings — steve @ 10:25 pm

Atonal [without tone or key - even though this is based loosely in C] is an intuitive expressionistic piece I ‘wrote’ in 1997/98. At the time I was using Emagic Notator Logic on a Macintosh [heaven forbid] and this piece was created by running the mouse cursor up and down a virtual keyboard – sounds easy but trying to recreate the procedure was not at all easy – in fact it was a down-right disaster! Anyways, I split the resulting MIDI file up and came up with this – one of my most favourite compositions of all time. So expressionistic was this piece that it fitted hand-in-glove with Edwin Lynch‘s “Psycho DA-DA” – coincidently also one of Anna Brockway‘s favourite short films of all time! :)

Anyhow, this is a re-recorded version (Jan. 2009) using Garritan Personal Orchestra (GPO). Was going to try Yellow Tool’s Independence 1.5 however that has no solo strings – and GPO sounds fine for fast pieces – not so good on long sustained/drawn notes though…

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January 9, 2009

You Always Nag

Filed under: Composition,drums & bass,guitar,piano,woodwind — steve @ 7:19 pm

Of course this has nothing to do with the ex wife…

The chord pattern I wrote in my 20s – sort of a jazzy thing with sustained 4ths, major 7ths and strange diminished 9ths, 5ths and 6ths – was very much into Larry Carlton, Steely Dan etc at the time – all those LA studio musos who really knew their stuff. The chord pattern was very demanding to play on guitar – very tiring and quite frenetic – so much easier with MIDI [sounds easier too - more relaxed]. What we end up with is a dialogue piece between flute and clarinet. All Independence 1.5 VST instruments here apart from [edited] Jamstix drums…

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10 reasons why daylight saving sucks in Perth…

Filed under: General,Rant — steve @ 12:40 am

My 10 reasons why daylight saving sucks here in Perth…

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January 8, 2009

The Hunt

Filed under: brass,Composition,orchestral,strings,woodwind — steve @ 4:06 pm

An orchestral arrangement inspired by going to the Vienna Pops Concert on New Year’s Eve – though inspired by orchestral arrangements than rather what they played on the night – I just wanted to do an orchestral piece and this is what came out of. A sort of question/answer piece – imagine the hunting party chasing a fox who is wise to their machinations – so it is a happy hunt as no animals get injured during the chase – and no animals were injured during the making of this production!

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Grand

Filed under: Composition,piano,strings,vocals — steve @ 1:16 pm

‘Grand’ was written around ten years ago – inspired by TV series theme music which, at the time, all seemed to sound the same as the TV series all seemed to be produced by the same person. Last month I gave it new life with Garritan Personal Orchestra (GPO) as I hadn’t purchased Independence at that stage. Have just tried some key-switching on the solo cello to see whether I could get more realism out of the cello – Independence is more believable sound wise however does not feature solo strings instruments but rather string sections, so GPO it had to be for this track… Piano from GPO as are the strings – the vocals are from a soundfont…

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Reflection on first semester of ECU studies

Filed under: ECU MInT,Rant — steve @ 11:06 am

Now that I have had about 6 weeks break from study after my first semester studying a Master of Innovative Technology at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia perhaps I should jot down my reflections on that first semester:

Coming to grips with uni study was the first obstacle I had to overcome: the APA referencing style employed by ECU was entirely new to me as was the writing style – a reflective third person past tense that does not come naturally. I also was uncertain as to the standard the uni expected – at a Masters level one would expect very high standards so I aimed high, as is usual with my work, which also meant my workload was rather intense to keep on top of the weekly readings and tasks.

Such was the workload it honestly was a case of spending 16 hours a day, 7 days each week to keep on top of things. Apart from a Sunday lunch every second or third week at my mum’s I only went out twice to socialise – and that was in the first two weeks when I hadn’t quite got a grasp on the demands of the study! After that whenever I thought I might have time to visit a friend I would realise that another assignment was due and there was no time to relax. Even the one week term break was spent completing assignments – fortunately the university semester is only 12 contact weeks over 14 weeks so one could get through it all and “see the light at the end of the long, dark, black tunnel”…

However, the hard work was worth it – I received High Distinctions (HD) on 11 out of 12 assignments/exams and one Distinction for a group project. My overall results for the four units I studies were as follows:

CMM4106 Psychology, Psychoanalysis and Cinema – HD 85%

GDT3102 Writing for Games – HD 88%

EDU5373 Foundation Studies and Current Issues in Special Education – HD 88%

CSG5140 Research Methods – HD 90%

Despite the heavy workload my biggest problem was the two week study break between my final assignment for Special Education and the written exam for Research Methods – was very difficult to keep focussed with so much free time suddenly available! Added to that I started to get ready for the summer break by purchasing software to get back into composing and recording digital music again – a big distraction. Though I must have done alright on that final exam to get the 90% overall for the unit…

Semester 2 of my studies [in semester 1, 2009] hopefully will be less demanding – three out of the four units are off-campus [compared to one in the first semester] so that means less time travelling to uni and hopefully more time to ‘relax’. We’ll see…

January 6, 2009

Alpaca Run 23-12-06

Filed under: Alpaca Run,Photography — steve @ 12:03 pm

The Alpaca Run was a bike ride I used to run through the hills east and south of Perth, WA for about 15 months. It was a good run with no traffic lights and taking some of Perth’s limited twisting roads – some days the ride ran smoothly with little to no traffic, other days is sucked. In the end organising the Alpaca Run became a chore – heading out from home at 10:30 on a Saturday morning and getting back around 3:00 in the afternoon – then another couple of hours of sorting and then uploading the photos to the PSB forum – too much like hard work in the end! Anyhow, these are bike photos from the 23-12-2006 Alpaca run
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Alpaca Run 14-10-06

Filed under: Alpaca Run,Photography — steve @ 11:58 am

The Alpaca Run was a bike ride I used to run through the hills east and south of Perth, WA for about 15 months. It was a good run with no traffic lights and taking some of Perth’s limited twisting roads – some days the ride ran smoothly with little to no traffic, other days is sucked. In the end organising the Alpaca Run became a chore – heading out from home at 10:30 on a Saturday morning and getting back around 3:00 in the afternoon – then another couple of hours of sorting and then uploading the photos to the PSB forum – too much like hard work in the end! Anyhow, these are bike photos from the 14-10-2006 Alpaca run
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Alpaca Run 15-07-06

Filed under: Alpaca Run,Photography — steve @ 11:54 am

The Alpaca Run was a bike ride I used to run through the hills east and south of Perth, WA for about 15 months. It was a good run with no traffic lights and taking some of Perth’s limited twisting roads – some days the ride ran smoothly with little to no traffic, other days is sucked. In the end organising the Alpaca Run became a chore – heading out from home at 10:30 on a Saturday morning and getting back around 3:00 in the afternoon – then another couple of hours of sorting and then uploading the photos to the PSB forum – too much like hard work in the end! Anyhow, these are bike photos from the 15-07-2006 Alpaca run
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Alpaca Run 10-06-06

Filed under: Alpaca Run,Photography — steve @ 11:51 am

The Alpaca Run was a bike ride I used to run through the hills east and south of Perth, WA for about 15 months. It was a good run with no traffic lights and taking some of Perth’s limited twisting roads – some days the ride ran smoothly with little to no traffic, other days is sucked. In the end organising the Alpaca Run became a chore – heading out from home at 10:30 on a Saturday morning and getting back around 3:00 in the afternoon – then another couple of hours of sorting and then uploading the photos to the PSB forum – too much like hard work in the end! Anyhow, these are bike photos from the 10-06-2006 Alpaca run
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Alpaca Run 20-05-06

Filed under: Alpaca Run,Photography — steve @ 11:47 am

The Alpaca Run was a bike ride I used to run through the hills east and south of Perth, WA for about 15 months. It was a good run with no traffic lights and taking some of Perth’s limited twisting roads – some days the ride ran smoothly with little to no traffic, other days is sucked. In the end organising the Alpaca Run became a chore – heading out from home at 10:30 on a Saturday morning and getting back around 3:00 in the afternoon – then another couple of hours of sorting and then uploading the photos to the PSB forum – too much like hard work in the end! Anyhow, these are bike photos from the 20-05-2006 Alpaca run
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Alpaca Run 15-04-06

Filed under: Alpaca Run,Photography — steve @ 11:42 am

The Alpaca Run was a bike ride I used to run through the hills east and south of Perth, WA for about 15 months. It was a good run with no traffic lights and taking some of Perth’s limited twisting roads – some days the ride ran smoothly with little to no traffic, other days is sucked. In the end organising the Alpaca Run became a chore – heading out from home at 10:30 on a Saturday morning and getting back around 3:00 in the afternoon – then another couple of hours of sorting and then uploading the photos to the PSB forum – too much like hard work in the end! Anyhow, these are bike photos from the 15-04-2006 Alpaca run
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Alpaca Run 25-03-06

Filed under: Alpaca Run,Photography — steve @ 11:38 am

The Alpaca Run was a bike ride I used to run through the hills east and south of Perth, WA for about 15 months. It was a good run with no traffic lights and taking some of Perth’s limited twisting roads – some days the ride ran smoothly with little to no traffic, other days is sucked. In the end organising the Alpaca Run became a chore – heading out from home at 10:30 on a Saturday morning and getting back around 3:00 in the afternoon – then another couple of hours of sorting and then uploading the photos to the PSB forum – too much like hard work in the end! Anyhow, these are bike photos from the 25-03-2006 Alpaca run
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January 5, 2009

Making a Difference Ride 2007 Bike Pics – Part C

Filed under: Bikes,Photography — steve @ 7:25 pm

Part C: I used to be involved with a charity taking photos, designing and maintaining its website and other design stuff – not anymore – it was a somewhat thankless job. These are pics of bikes I took at the last M.A.D. Ride I attended in 2007 – these are the final 19 in this series so may take time to load…
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Making a Difference Ride 2007 Bike Pics – Part B

Filed under: Bikes,Photography — steve @ 7:20 pm

Part B: I used to be involved with a charity taking photos, designing and maintaining its website and other design stuff – not anymore – it was a somewhat thankless job. These are pics of bikes I took at the last M.A.D. Ride I attended in 2007 – there are another 19 of them here so may take time to load…
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Making a Difference Ride 2007 Bike Pics – Part A

Filed under: Bikes,Photography — steve @ 7:16 pm

Part A: I used to be involved with a charity taking photos, designing and maintaining its website and other design stuff – not anymore – it was a somewhat thankless job. These are pics of bikes I took at the last M.A.D. Ride I attended in 2007 – there are a lot of them so may take time to load…
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January 4, 2009

People 01

Filed under: People,Photography — steve @ 7:02 pm

Unlike bikes, people can get rather pissed off if you take photos of them – cats on the other hand tend not to care either way. These are some of the favourite pics of people I have shot – with a camera that is 8!
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January 3, 2009

Strings in D minor

Filed under: classical,Composition,strings — steve @ 4:15 pm

Strange how you can ‘hear’ something in your head and worry that what you are hearing might be someone else’s song – this composition I thought might be The Beatles “Dear Prudence” for a while, however upon entering the notes it took a life of its own… simple repetitive progression from D minor to A. All strings from Independence 1.5…

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Some favourite bike pics

Filed under: Bikes,Photography — steve @ 10:59 am

I like taking photos of motor bikes – they a generally colourful, shiny and stay very still when no one is riding them – unlike people and cats who tend not to be still unless they are sleeping…
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January 2, 2009

Terrible night for tv music

Filed under: General,Rant — steve @ 11:18 pm

What a terrible night watching tv – King Solomon’s Mines and The Outsider – both on Chanel 9 (Aus) and both with really horrible sound track mixes….

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My Cats

Filed under: Cats,Photography — steve @ 6:54 pm

My cats – Bill, Ben and Bonny. Bill and Ben are brothers who I obtained from the RSPCA when they were around 7 weeks old. Bonny decided to come live with us when she was around 6 months old. Bill and Ben fight (Ben is the Top Cat, though Bill does win every so often). Bonny is a real “little princess” at times though also shows that motherly instinct as she is getting older…
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January 1, 2009

Shirtless theme

Filed under: brass,Composition,drums & bass,piano — steve @ 4:11 pm

I have no idea what “Shirtless” is or will be – I assume it is a short film – however a friend, geoffrey.com.au/, who has entry level knowledge of music, although who has found a new passion to create music for his films, gave me a MIDI file of scratchings of some theme music. I really liked some of the ideas he had, (I hadn’t heard his version – just played the MIDI file) so I arranged the ideas, wrote bass and sax lines and then let Jamstix do its work (along with some editing)… Instruments from Independence 1.5 as well as the previously mentioned Jamstix… You can hear Ed’s original version here.

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Family Xmas 2008

Filed under: Family,Photography — steve @ 2:42 pm

The Eggleston Family christmas, 2008, at Darlington winery – slow service but a good afternoon away from the usual xmas routine… My Mother Nancy, her partner Bill, my Brother Jim and his son Sean. I am not in the photos as I took these pics :)
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