Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Happy Christmas !

Just a quick post to wish everyone reading this blog (who celebrate it) a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year !

I'm excited at the moment because I'm working on new project which some of you may be interested in - it's early days yet but you'll all be the first to know when it goes live.

It's challenging and exciting, which is just the way things should be.

Let's hope the New Year brings plenty of great music, mixed and mastered at sane levels, and sounding fantastic !

I'll be off-line for most of Christmas, but I have several posts in the pipeline - watch this space. See you all in a couple of weeks !

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

The Future Of Music Composition ?

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How does realtime video collaboration with hundreds of contributors all around the world sound ? Could this be the future of music composition ?

Well, perhaps not quite yet, but it certainly made for an entertaining evening's viewing - and will continue to on future evenings, until the 24th of December.

I'm talking about the current Christmas Special run of internet show Rise and Shine TV - 

"a live show, in which songwriters face the daily challenge of writing a song based on news and current events. The songwriters get to choose what song they are writing - but audience suggestions are always welcome. It’s a tough ask, writing an original topical song from scratch in under three hours, and we need all the help we can get."

This evening, Ben Walker (him what wrote The Twitter Song) got plenty of help from his live audience, via the Mogulus chat interface, as over the three hour running-time, the initial concept of a song called "Christmas Volcano" gradually morphed into soon-to-be-christmas-hit "Magma Lady" - click on the play button in the widget above to hear it yourself.

The brilliance of this concept only really becomes apparent when you watch the show itself and start to interact - Ben, admirably simultaneously wielding guitar, keyboard and macbook while fielding comments and writing a song, would pause in mid sentence and mutter something like "a name, he needs a name", at which point suggestions would come flooding in, (along with links to Wikipedia articles on volcanoes) and you just can't help chipping in yourself.

It's addictive stuff, remarkably slick, and very high-tech - the show's producer Dean Whitbread (him what does John Cleese's podcasts) can choose to switch between multiple camera angles at the location, and also to himself or a live presenter - Christophe Delire, based (of course) in Belgium. Although, in pleasingly "live TV" fashion, nuts 'n' bolts are still in evidence - both Ben and Christophe received phone-calls while the show was on air. (Ben's was from his Mum, who may also be his manager. "Hi Mum, I'm live on the internet...")

My favourite chat suggestion of the evening was for the potential refrain "hot magma mama", which somehow got lost along the way, regrettably, along with my idea that the song's subject, a lonely geologist, would discover Santa's grotto while drilling for a magma chamber in Iceland. Or, at one point, Hawaii. 

However, I did leave one indelible mark on the evening's proceedings - I contributed the geologist's name: Derek.

The show got a great reception, and I for one will be eagerly tuning in again tomorrow evening to see what lies in store, and I recommend you do, too. The shows start at 7pm GMT - Twitter users can follow @riseandshinetv for updates and a heads-up when the show starts. Meanwhile there is an archive of the first series of Rise and Shine's TV output here.

*Stop Press* Watch the show again here: http://riseandshine.tv/ben-walker/ (but it's not the same without the live chat ;-)

Sunday, 14 December 2008

My Massive CD-Mastering Mind Map

Everything you could ever want to know about mastering (*), all in one monstrous PDF mind-map file.

It speaks for itself, really.

(*) Or at least, everything that has occurred to me so far !

If you're curious, you can download it HERE.

This post started out as an experiment with a great piece of iPhone software - iBlueSky. I've been using this great little app on my beloved iPod Touch, and I'm seriously impressed. If you're an iPhone or iTouch user who's interested in mind-mapping software, I heartily recommend it. (When they add the ability to manually colour-code branches and type-set the text, it'll be even better.)

I'm also using it to brainstorm ideas for my new, very hush-hush "secret project" - but more on that in a future post.

If there are any questions or suggestions you'd like to make about the map and it's contents, please feel free to comment !