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Messages - Seren

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Mastering from The Masters?
« on: February 17, 2010, 06:15:06 AM »
What really hacks me off is the oft-stated opinion that standards themselves are relative.  I think at worst this exposes lazy thinking, which seems to be a particular hazard of our genre.


It runs both ways. There are rules and standards, there is knowledge/experience and experimentation/passion - and these things can overlap almost completely or be held at arms length.

I never learnt an instrument and I am always in envy of the ability of any musician to use their instrument to weave the listeners (ie my) emotions in well played music - that takes dedication, practice, experience and wisdom.

At the same time, learning those rules can be heavily rut inducing - it all depends on the individuals use of those rules.

If you don't know what the rules are, you can only avoid them. If you know what the rules are you have many more choices of how you can play with or break them.

There are many areas of life where the rules and experience are important - one being the rodeo clowns, they may act like idiots but they are usually the best riders in the arena - they need to be to deal with the dangerous situations that can arise. They know the rules well enough to break and bend them safely as needed.

I'd like to think I can always learn something new, sometimes discovering it myself, but definitely learning from others too.

I drummed for a time in a samba band and learnt a lot that led to an unexpected complementfrom a famous musician - not why I did it (as I still use my drumming for other 'projects' rather than music) but it helped me understand more about my skills.

And unlike John Peel, who was able to stay open minded to all music until he sadly died, I do get into ruts, so feedback from others is essential.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Combs Creek Haller - Singularity
« on: February 09, 2010, 05:29:05 AM »
Congrats Jez, downloading now - but don't you just hate it when reviewers etc just sit on the fence  ;D

I'd love to have the ability not to have the superpowers I already have :o

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now watching...
« on: February 01, 2010, 11:30:50 AM »
Terminator Salvation.....

I suppose it's not bad as an action film, but despite the 'Salvation' angle I think it loses sight of the earleir films.

If Skynet had such control over everything how would north americans obtain enough fuel to fly planes and helicopters?
and given the chance to kill Kyle Rees, they did not..... ???

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now watching...
« on: January 31, 2010, 01:51:01 PM »
Slowly working through Heroes Series 3 (with a cold :()

Computers can be a nightmare.....

I recently bought an E-MU 1212 soundcard - looked great and had the optical S/PDIF ins and outs I wanted.

Installed it and found that one channel was popping, even with nothing plugged in. Contacted tech support and after receiving all sorts of advice including 'check if it is hyperthreading and turn it off', 'change ports and IRQ's' and 'reconfigure background services' the company that sold it to me (who I'd been cc'ing in the emails) told me to send it back to them....I had asked E-MU to tell me how to do these things but Thommann didn't want to wait for the answer (and me possibly srewing up my computer!!).

Ugh...I am glad I found that other thread with the pointer to the drivers (even though updated link still isn't right it got me close enough to find it) as it worked with latest MOTU drivers. So now to figure out a few tweaks on the MOTU and CueMix and I'm good to go (good enough for now but need minor tweaks for external ins, etc...).  I know, I'm no dummy but this one had me stumped. I almost was going to get a TI chipset FW card per what I've read that MOTU works *best* with that chipset on those cards. Then finding that SP2 and SP3 were still somewhat *broke* in XP for the FW drivers....
Best of luck with the replacement. I am not doing any digital ins/outs at this time (nothing to connect to it that I can think of for hardware).


Could not get a replacement in the price range and was a little nervous of trying again, so went for a hard disk camcorder instead ;D

Everything and Nothing / Re: Roger Ebert's best films of the decade
« on: January 28, 2010, 01:25:45 AM »
I liked Children of Men, and even Kill Bill in a way.....

I hated, hated, hated the 'revisioning' of Planet of the Apes......some films suck - this was like a merciless black hole that destroyed all the tension, exploration and observation of human nature that the original managed to create - the comments Taylor makes before going into hibernation are really a lead into the 'twist' of the ending but it was still one of the classic moments of cinematic history.

I liked Clive Owen in Inside Man and enjoyed the film (Shoot em up was more intriguing - I don't usually go for gun fest but will have to watch again at some point)

IMO anyway.

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Mystified Thread
« on: January 28, 2010, 01:15:44 AM »
Congratulations on the release 8)

Everything and Nothing / Re: Joke Thread
« on: January 26, 2010, 10:12:08 AM »
A plane load of special forces soldiers crashes in the desert, 10 survive.

They start walking in the direction they hope will get them to other people.

after a day they see a camel drinking at an oasis. Grabbing it they all climb on and it sets off at a really fast pace.

The camel keeps going and going and going.

On the third day it starts to slow down, on the fourth it's head hangs slightly lower and the speed lessens again, on the fifth it's head almost touches the sand, it dribbles and is not much faster than a man walking.

Suddenly it collapses...the soldiers all stand around, looking at it and one says "This camel's f**ked", to which another replies "I'm sorry allright! It was the only way I could hold on!".......

I remember my playing with the family radio gramaphone....mainly things like singles by the Beatles - I'd sing along and pretend to play the guitar....and Danny Kaye soundtrack 'Hans Christian Anderson'....

other odd memories surfacing - the 7" disc 'Roll out the Barrel'........Gene Pitney, '24 hours from Tulsa......

but I always, always used to make wierd noises (much to the annoyance of my father) and stare for ages at the stars....when I heard Hawkwind and then Klaus Schulze etc realised I had at last found home

Computers can be a nightmare.....

I recently bought an E-MU 1212 soundcard - looked great and had the optical S/PDIF ins and outs I wanted.

Installed it and found that one channel was popping, even with nothing plugged in. Contacted tech support and after receiving all sorts of advice including 'check if it is hyperthreading and turn it off', 'change ports and IRQ's' and 'reconfigure background services' the company that sold it to me (who I'd been cc'ing in the emails) told me to send it back to them....I had asked E-MU to tell me how to do these things but Thommann didn't want to wait for the answer (and me possibly srewing up my computer!!).

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now reading
« on: January 24, 2010, 06:54:57 AM »
Meeting numerous people with memory loss and/or dementia in work I thought it would be interesting to read 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat' by Oliver Sacks....illuminating and disturbing after just two chapters.

First a music teacher who taught in college, yet was not able to recognise a glove and thought his foot was his shoe. He could manage all his tasks as long as he sung himself through them, but if suddenly distracted or presented with a 'what is this?' type question was completely at a loss. The writer said he had no body image but had a music image.

Secondly a submariner whose memory stopped working in the 1970's and could remember nothing beyond 1945. Perfectly functioning in everyway but completely cut adrift or isolated from time. He could still type and work out equations etc (as long as the task was not too long, but quickly became bored and restless as the tasks were just mechanical). However he lived in constant involvement in aesthetics and act that gave his life expressive content that memory could not.

athird person mentioned in passing had a stroke that took away his sight and all memory and concept of sight - he did not know that he had been able to see before, was unable to describe anything visually and became bewildered at the concept of light. - also mentions people who no longer dream visually.......

as I said, illuminating and strangely disturbing.

Here's another fave of ours:

Take a track, and try to find the major freq. ranges that it covers. Use notch filters to break up the single track into 5-8 tracks, each covering part of the 20-22Khz spectrum. Mix them back together, but offset them with a very tiny delay, and play with how much you delay each freq. range.  You can get some very cool, sometimes trippy, effects this way. Can be a lot of work, but when it works out, it can make an ambient piece sound huge.

....people can decide if they want to bother and if this kind of thing is to their taste - because it takes a lot of time to get right.

And dependent on the sounds you are cutting up this way sometimes comparatively large differences of time shifting can create some very interesting soundscapes - totally transforming it into something else.

Something that is good for experimenting is having at least some of your equipment set up for quick and easy use. That way if you've got a few minutes you can just noodle around with ideas and sounds - sometimes the end result (ie track or album) can be affected immensely by what you are doing before even switching on......

I think for me it is like drumming  - If I just focus on the beat or phrase I am currently playing I lose the whole picture  - what I am mixing at the end of my creative process is often part of what I am thinking about as I start (whilst allowing and encouraging chaos, experimentation and changes of direction).

Everything and Nothing / Re: RQ009: Your desert island instrument.
« on: January 21, 2010, 09:38:05 AM »
I'd make pan pipes or flutes from plant materials.
I'd make bone whistles from the birds I catch for food.
I'd make drumsticks and percussion instruments - including drum.
I'd try and make a stringed instrument - sinews and fashion out from logs....

Practically I'd like to take the recording equipment, would that count?

For having the time to learn an instrument - a cello.

For electronic fun, the biggest modular synth possible......and headphones if no sound system available.

Everything and Nothing / Re: RQ008: How old are you?
« on: January 20, 2010, 12:12:06 PM »
A little older than my teeth.... ;D

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Uniform volume
« on: January 19, 2010, 04:05:15 PM »
I think I tend to plan towards the end whilst making my music or perhaps more accurately be aware of the end while working in the middle.

Sometimes I want dynamics, movement of levels both within and between the tracks, dependent upon what I am trying to achieve.

Sometimes I want a coherent level all the way though.

I know that somethings sound very loud when dropped into a mix, whilst others dissapear from clear hearing and leave a subtle nuance on the overall sound. sometimes these vagaries mean I have to juggle levels around trying to get the sound I think I want - sometimes they bring in a certain level of unpredictability that I love, in effect creating some of the soundscape themselves as I have to develop the mix around their character.

I tend to mix so there is no clipping, leaving enough headroom for any loud transients and then carefully listen repeatedly towards the end making any adjustments I feel important.

Everything and Nothing / Re: evilBay
« on: January 19, 2010, 05:37:57 AM »
21 days - what do they do with the money in that time?

Invest it?

Hawkwind 1977 Hammersmith Odeon - only show I've ever seen people just sit through with open mouths until the encore.

Hawklords 1978, various dates - was like one long concert as they did some different songs in each gig, different play orders in each gig and different lighting etc.

Inner City Unit - can't remember when or where but will never forget the daffodils.

Bob Calvert in a small club in London

Nik Turner's Sphynx, Tim Blake - Glastonury 1979. + a small jazz band in a side tent, music was OK but drummer was soooo stooooooooned, he held the rhythm easily but a small smile would start that got bigger and bigger and bigger until he realised and pulled himself back together and then started it all over again.

Everything and Nothing / Re: RQ006: How do *you* define ambient music?
« on: January 15, 2010, 01:29:53 AM »
Again, we can compare our definitions, perhaps agree or disagree with them and if all else fails argue and ban or be banned...... ;D

It is interesting to see how each of us think.

I recognise my definition is based purely on my own subjective preferences, taste and experience. As I said Irrlicht and Zeit....the record shop I got them from was a small independent that had all sorts of wonderful stuff - they described the two albums as ambient, anything with rhythms in was described as electronic. It just stuck like that for me.......

And like any genre there are enough albums out there that blur the 'boundaries' enough that discussions, comparisms, arguments and flame wars begin.......

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