While taking my mind off the struggles of life, I recessed into musics and programming rather than sociability. This started out as a post that had a kind-of sequence, but wasn't really in chronological order. So I'll try to make this as organized as possible, despite it being disjointed and pasted together. But as the title implies, it's pretty much all about music.
After some tumultuous events, I picked up my guitar again so as to relieve stress. I named it Gitaa, after Yui's guitar, from K-ON!. Back in high school when I played it, I didn't practice enough to know even basic chords, and I never got calloused fingers. After about three days, I knew more than I ever had and had more to show for it.
So that's been cool. I can play basic chords and I'm learning every so often. Somewhere along the way I just started buying things though. For awhile now, I've felt guilty for pirating music. I vowed to buy up all the music I stole one day, for multiple reasons. Some of the mp3s I've downloaded have shoddy quality, and I eventually got fed up with it, so I figured I'd cut out the middleman and buy vinyl, which has the capacity to have a nigh impossible-to-match audio quality compared to compressed computer formats. I was planning on buying Sebastien Leger's We Are EP first, because his French House track "We Are" is amazing, though my mp3 has horrible sounding quality.
Though while browsing Facebook, I saw that a guy who famously used to do French House, Louis La Roche, had 300 leftover promo vinyls for his Supersoaker EP from an event back in 2010 that in the end, didn't need them. So he sold them off for about 15 USD, all hand-stamped and numbered. I couldn't resist how tempting that sounded so I bought one. He signed some, but when I got mine it didn't have a signature. ;< I got 45/300 though, so at least I got a record in the top 50 and stuff. It took literally a month to arrive at my house, so I thought something might have messed up, but it was just because it was shipping from Europe. While I was waiting I bought Sebastien Leger's We Are EP. It arrived well before Louis La Roche's record. We Are sounds amazing through a good sound system, but I think it was misprinted or something because there's a part where it always skips and it bugs me like the dickens.
After I ordered the Supersoaker EP, I started wondering what I'd listen to it on, because I don't have a record player. I asked my dad about our broken turntable, and whether or not we could fix it, but it turned out to be unnecessarily because he coincidentally had a USB turntable, which I bought an RCA male to 1/8" TRS female adapter for. So, the red/white cables plug into the back of the turntable and allow me to plug in regular headphones, rather than listen through the crappy built-in speakers on the front of the device. Unfortunately, there was no preamp for using external speakers, so the weak signal didn't play very loudly through my headphones, and I couldn't adjust the volume. Coincidentally, my dad has a preamp as well. I didn't even think he was that serious about these things. There's some weird problem though, so all my House music gets turned into super-distorted Hardcore. Or maybe it's just the Make Your Move EP I bought. I haven't tried with any others. To put that into perspective, Hardcore music started out as House music playing really really loudly really really fast, with all the drums and percussion being extremely distorted from the high volume.
Anyway, I bought four vinyls so far. Five including my preorder of Daft Punk's Random Access Memories. I'd been looking for a physical copy of Dave Armstrong's Make Your Move that I only knew through a Youtube video at 240p. (the one that used to be linked in my signature) The video was labeled the "original mix" but it was clearly not the original mix. I bought a record completely dedicated to four different remixes of Make Your Move because the timecodes on one of the tracks vaguely matched what I had and the remix on the record was likewise shrouded in mystery. There was literally no other way to tell, and the seller was just a distributor who couldn't open the product, so I bought it for like 12 dollars. (Vinyl is surprisingly cheap) It turned out to be the wrong record, but I later bought the original. I finally learned that the remix I'm looking for is the Chris S. remix, but it's even harder to find. It's labeled as the original mix on the album it comes on, supposedly, but I can't, for the life of me, find it. Not that it being called the original mix narrows it down very well. Still, I think it's kind of exciting and magical to have to actually hunt down the music you're looking for.
Anyway, here are the records I bought:
Louis La Roche - Supersoaker EP
Sebastien Leger - We Are EP
Dave Armstrong - Make Your Move EP, Euro Mixes
Dave Armstrong - Make Your Move EP
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
As some of you may know, I make little musical blips every once in awhile. I really want to do cool stuff wit music, so later, in the wee hours of the morning, I bought a MIDI keyboard. M-Audio's Oxygen-25, for 25 keys; there are Oxygen-49s for 49 keys and so on. It doesn't have its own synths; it's purely a controller for software that has its own synths. It has eight knobs and two modulators (the circular up/down things in the picture), with other various controls that I can mess with. One modulator defaults to the center, and has good tactile feedback when you push it up or down, and defaults in most software to pitch bend. In other words, when I press it up, the synth assigned at the moment gets higher pitched, and when I press it down, it gets lower pitched. It's neat. I inadvertently figured out how Skrillex probably produced one of the synth parts in Bangarang with it. I felt slight shame for only having that track to relate the instrumentation to.
On the left, up to down: Dave Armstrong's Make Your Move Euro Mixes and his Make Your Move EP. On the right, up to down: Sebastien Leger's We Are EP, and Louis La Roche's Supersoaker EP. The top shelf has various informational books I have bought over the years, the middle shelf has the M-Audio Oxygen-25, and the bottom shelf has my Numark Mixtrack. For any of you that haven't seen it, the Mixtrack is a DJ software MIDI controller. It's essentially like turntables, but it's all digital. It is not what I use to play records. But back to the keyboard.
The other modulator is loose to the point of feeling broken. Since I bought this thing used, I have no idea if it's supposed to be that way, but it probably is. All the controls are assignable. I got it for about 70 dollars. I have unfortunately not found much time to mess with it, but I have been wanting to learn piano and various swing/funk styles as always. But guys. No matter if you think it's repetitive or uninteresting or whatever, funk is so hard to play. ): Speaking of music production though, I have a circle of friends that is very music-based.
A bit of background on this guy I hang out with. His name is Matt, and he's the chairman of the local anime convention (Natsucon) that I first did my Hero of Time panel at, and he's a pretty cool guy. Him and our mutual friend Tim are pretty deep into the electronic music scene. They both DJ, Tim to a greater extent, and they for the most part, listen to all the stuff they can. They respect me for my tastes and ability to find good tracks and they've even tried to recruit me because they want to make musics with me. *~* They both very sincerely liked I'm No Straner, despite the piss-poor mastering. They've asked if I want to throw down on a sampler so we can make coolio stuff together.
Anyway, Matt took me out to the city to a bar after I told him I'd signed up for another Hero of Time panel since no one else would come with him. The bar has an interesting practice. For five days out of the week the back room manager guy charges like 5 dollars per person to go to the back room and listen to the local DJs that play there, and then on Fridays or Saturdays uses the money he gets to fly out someone who's of notoriety, who people then pay 8 dollars to see. Our city has had big name artists like Skrillex at this place called Club Europe, but that place is supposedly a little douchey, though it didn't seem bad when I went there for a techno night. Anyway, Matt paid me into the place to see the guy they'd flown out; this time it was B. Durazzo. I'd actually seen
Unfortunately, including the bartender, only 12 people showed up. It was the weirdest thing. I wanted to talk to him since I'd probably never get the chance again, but I was a bit scared to talk to the guy while he was sitting at the bar with one of the guys he flew out with. I was literally like two meters away from him, and I was like "Matt, should I talk to him? I mean, he's just sitting there. I know he won't bite, but I feel so awkwarrrdddd. Do you think he'd be cool if I just called him Durazzo? That's what the doorman called him." and he was like yeah man go for it. Eventually I was like "Okay, I'm going to go talk to him. Remember, Matt... YOLO." and he laughed. I went over and was like "You're B. Durazzo right?" and he was like yeah, and he seemed pretty cool. I shook his hand and we talked about the video of the little girl. "Yeah man, she killed it." Supposedly her dad paid him to do a little summer camp thing, with that end result being a final project for her.
After the local DJ played they did their schtick, and when they were done they started taking payments for their CDs. They're on the pay-anything bandwagon, and started talking about how harsh life is when they're constantly touring so much, trying to take the stress off themselves and stuff. So naturally they made marijuana references a lot and said "How about this. You can pay with anything that's green." Right after he said I could pay anything, however, I reached in my pocket and pulled out all the metal/paper objects I had, which Matt burst into laughter at. I had five Malaysian ringgits(?), six cents, and a screw. "A fuckin' screw, hahaha." I informed Mr. Durazzo of what I had, and I tried to give him all of it, but he didn't want the change and the screw, so I felt bad for trying to give them to him. But he took the ringgits, which seemed like a good enough use for the souvenir my mom got me from when she went to Malaysia. So now I have his Beats Vol. I CD that he personally handed me. So cool. *-* I really want to listen to it, but I'd rather not compromise its pretty packaging, as I don't have a CD drive, even though I have a turntable for vinyl records.
Flash forward a week or so. I have a new friend from physics class that I gradually started connecting with pretty well, and we bonded a bit over some Modest Mouse songs in his car, and we talked about Franz Ferdinand, who he recalls liking, but he supposedly used to listen to them with his ex-girlfriend so they're unpleasant memories or something. I've had long talks with him about Daft Punk and other artists I respect, various sociological happenings, science news, philosophy, conceptual reasons for why we like music or art forms including video games, and we talked about personal life stuff. I introduced him to Daft Punk by talking about R.A.M., which he later encountered the teaser for on SNL and was legitimately, as he informs me, for the first time, enthralled by a television advertisement's music, being shocked when "Random Access Memories" came on the screen because I'd just talked to him about it. I lent him the Discovery album, as well as Bleu's Electro-Lyte (just to introduce him to more electronic music, even though Electro-Lyte isn't super great) and Franz Ferdinand's You Could Have Had It So Much Better album. So literally all the CDs I own minus Beats Vol. I. We're both pumped for R.A.M., and I've offered to let him borrow my records or even put some music on his flash drive.
Anyway yeah, that's been my music-related for the past month or two. I've been back to programming recently, but I can't keep myself away from the stuff. I hope I can just stay focused and make something really cool. But I want to get a part time job so I can support myself financially to an extent as well as get money to buy computer or musical equipment. So yeah, hope you enjoyed this stroll through my recentry. (: