Archive for the ‘video’ Category

It’s no secret that gaming is one of my favourite art forms . In fact it is second only to music. No other media can offer the immersiveness, the challenge or the reward of a really well designed game … and Cuphead is a really well designed game. It might have been the retro cartoon aesthetic and hot jazz soundtrack that made me eagerly await its release but it is the gameplay that really kept me engaged. It is not easy, in fact (minus the cruelty of limited lives) it is as hard as a NES era run ‘n gun game. It’s vanishingly unlikely that you would finish any level on your first try – it requires experimentation, learning and composure to figure out how to beat a boss and then actually pull it off. This might sound frustrating but actually it is where the greatest joy comes from.

I’m not one to knock modern games for being easy. Casual mobile tap-a-thons, walking simulators and ‘checkpoint every 10 seconds’ type games have done a huge amount to introduce gaming to new audiences. However they cannot offer that sense of accomplishment that comes with vanquishing a really hard (but fair) foe. The feeling that you have overcome all the challenges that they have thrown in your face and come out victorious. The failures and frustration on the journey making the destination that much sweeter. I think it can even give you a better outlook on life too. In this world of instant gratification it is good to be reminded that almost anything worthwhile takes time and the determination required to get past the challenges you face on the way.

The soundtrack is amazing, the hot jazz perfectly complimenting the 1930s cartoon aesthetic. The first time I heard it, I knew I was going to have to make a remix. Fiery Frolic (from the Grim Matchstick boss battle) particularly grabbed me as a stand out track, especially for a Swing n Bass remix. I think that a blistering breakbeat, sizzling sub bass and crazy chops really add something 😉 Once I had done the remix though, I thought it would be fun to make a video that reflected what it was like to actually play. Showing the process of attempting, learning and ultimately defeating a level.

So there it is, a game and a soundtrack worthy of much ♥. Even more impressive when you consider that this was MDHR (the developers) is a small indie studio and this was their first ever game. Equally impressive is that the composer – Kristofer Maddigan had never written this sort of music before. They really knocked it out of the park! So if you have and XBone or a PC with even moderate specs (this game runs perfectly on my GPDwin for goodness’ sake), do yourself a favour and pick it up

PLUR – D

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Here’s my latest project … a mad video mashup with an upbeat Swing and Bass soundtrack. While its looks and sounds fun, it did come out of a serious thought that I’ve been having

Every year the world becomes more automated. What future do we want to build?

It was easy for society to watch physical labour being replaced by machines. They just said that humans would just get more skilled jobs. They didn’t think it was worth worrying about … human intelligence, ingenuity and intuition would always be irreplaceable. This century we are seeing the rise of AI, of big data and fine robotics. We have to start asking, is there actually that much that humans do that couldn’t be replaced. What do we do when more people try to ‘get a job that they never could find’?

The strange thing for me is how few people are talking about it. It does crop up from time to time but it is not though of as a serious issue. Our politicians don’t discuss it, the media doesn’t think its sexy enough and our business leaders don’t care. Almost everyone in a position of wealth or influence probably either feels that they are immune, or are completely unaware. Some even knowingly reframe the loss of jobs as the fault of immigrants, millenials, a lazy workforce or another group they want to attack.

If we do this properly, we have all the tools we need to create an amazing world. I’m writing this on Easter weekend and in the UK and we get a full 4 days off (well we’re supposed to anyway). How amazing would it be if we enjoyed 4 day weekends every week. We could divide up the work as a society so that everyone still contributed but had ample time to to pursue the other things in life that give it meaning. People wouldn’t have to choose between work and family or between sleep and social life. Just think how amazing it would be for culture and invention if we gave people the time to work on their ideas. If we really got our act together we could feed, clothe and shelter everyone and live in a futurist paradise of our own making.

On the other hand, if we do this poorly we could see society degrade completely. We could see vast swathes of obsolete humans trapped in a dark techno-feudalism. Rioting as those who were left behind and embittered fight against the elite. Throw in a robot army and you might get all out war.  In all probability, we’ll try to keep propping up the status quo for as long as possible. The world of work, however, is already incredibly uneven. There are people running companies earning well over 100x the amount of a low level employee. There are people working untold hours of unpaid overtime while others search for the extra job they are covering. Some of the hardest jobs are met with the most meagre rewards either by being labelled ‘worthy’ or ‘unskilled’. I understand the need to give people incentives but the way we do it now is incredibly unfair. If we keep making the current system more extreme, we’ll be walking blindly down the path of polarisation until something snaps.

We are truly at a crossroad but one thing is for sure…it we don’t start thinking, discussing and planning, we are bound to take the wrong path. So for the near future, when we ask what our jobs should be, maybe the answer should be: trying to build the best world we can.

Peace, Love, Unity, Respect – D

I’ve been working on some Klezmer remix tracks for the past few months. Although a couple of weeks ago I had a real urge to finish one and release it. After seeing people somehow emboldened to take to the streets under Nazi flags, I felt it was important to remember just how much of a failure they were. The culture that they aimed to annihilate is alive and well whereas the culture they tried to spread is reviled.

 

If anything they inoculated society against their hateful ideas, all of Europe has anti-discrimination laws, there are pride parades in every major city and eugenics is a dead ideology. That is no reason to be complacent though, recent events have shown that people feel enough anger to turn back. We need to fight this but find ways to do this without adding even more anger. Once two groups of people start fighting, one side will always cast the other as an aggressor and then build a narrative that absolves themselves of any blame for the trouble. Even shouting people down let’s them cast you as ideologically intolerant no matter how right (factually or ethically) you are. It would be naive to say that there is never a place for aggression, just that there is rarely a reason to be the initiator.

There are ways of fighting back with love whether it is meeting people face to face,  turning rallies into antifascist fundraisers or publicly celebrating our diverse culture in force. Working with local communities can also increase cohesiveness so that no one can be singled out for hatred. There are loads of groups and organisations which help with this and we all have the power to make a difference if we get involved.

Bit of a darker post than usual but we live in times with tremendous potential for darkness, so as a nice counterpoint to that, enjoy the pure joy of the dance scenes from Fiddler on the roof remixed 🙂

 

Peace, Love, Unity, Respect (More than ever) – D

 

I’ve been working on a series on sound reactive mashups using vintage video. If you want a unique looking video for your track/youtube mix, send a message me a message on contact@dataphilesmusic.com or via the normal social media channels

I can use any video as source material for these so if you have an idea you’d like me to adapt I can make that happen.

giphy (7).gif  giphy (6).gif

Or I can make you a straight up vintage video remix

Or something more conventional

 

PLUR – D

 

The last couple of years have made humanity seem more divided than ever, like there are ideological and cultural barriers that seem insurmountable. Despite this perception, we are all one species, we share 99.9% of our DNA and anything that seems to divide us is actually minuscule compared to everything that we share. The most upsetting thing (at least to me) about the rise of divisive ideologies is that we now actually have the tools to create an amazing world for all of us. There are enough resources for everyone to be fed, clothed and even entertained, if we could only get over the thousands of barriers of self-interest that prevent that happening.

This track is a different type of retro inspired music to the electroswing and vintage remix stuff I’ve been working on recently… 90s inspired euphoric dance. When I was just a baby and started sneaking into clubs, it was one of the first electronic genres I got into. It wasn’t long before I was into darker, more complex stuff too but nothing else quite gave the same big joyful release. I know it had its cheesy moments but it created that feeling of togetherness that permeated the clubbing community like nothing else. I know a lot of people dismissed that as a product of drugs or alcohol but I’ve been to enough sober raves recently to know that its actually just acceptance and the shared enjoyment of music that makes us feel that way. Dancing is an ancient act, one of our oldest rituals (and probably the oldest form of exercise). Perhaps when we dance together, it allows us to touch that thread of commonality running through our history

 

As you might expect I’ve used a lot of oldschool elements for this one with pumping bass, soaring pads and big arpeggios. I’ve made a suitably retro video to go with it  (with some help from Touchdesigner, zGameeditor visualiser and Blender). The track is a free download so grab it here:

PLUR – D

 

If you look at my social media feeds you may have seen the DJ-rig-in-a-case build I’ve been working on. If you’d like to know how to build your own for incredibly little money check out the full write-up here in the articles section

I’ve always been fascinated by Fractals, mathematical oddities that create ordered chaos and patterns that mirror themselves on many scales. I couldn’t explain the maths behind them but they come up in all sorts of contexts from producing (pseudo)random melodies in grooveboxes to modelling chaotic systems such as the weather.

One particular reason that makes me love them though is their power to create artwork, often surreal mulicoloured alien looking and captivating all at once. Back in my DOS freeware days I used to use fractint to create 2D renders (I remember hitting the colour cycle button and watch as everything turned into a crazy trip of flowing gradients). Recently though I’ve discovered some excellent freeware for making 3D ones or Mandelbulbs as they are often referred to.

They make great backing visuals for tracks and I’m working on creating a library of them to VJ live with

If you want to try making some of  your own check out the excellent Mandelbulb 3D (huge number of variety/features but a little daunting) or Mandelbulber (A little more limited but perhaps a bit easier to start off with). Both are completely free … I ❤ the internets 😉

PLUR – D

Did another dastardly device build a couple of nights ago. This time it was a wrist mounted smoke machine – I thought I’d do a build video as I knew I could put it together in 1 take. I hadn’t used Drillbit for any videos yet (despite releasing it 6 years ago!) and I really though the sound matched the speeded up assembly. Anyway … Enjoy 🙂

The whole build only took an hour and was a good laugh. Its basically just tubing, valves and a hand pump to suck gas out of an e shisha, so as well as looking crazy good (or just crazy) it also makes the room smell of caramel (other flavours available). I might get one of those cloud vapes to up the smoke output and once I build the laser glove for the other hand, its going to look insane

PLUR, D

I love spectral glasses. I’ve been taking them along to clubs for years because of the way they can instantly make even the dullest looking club lights into a sea of wonderful morphing colour.

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(not that I think Koko is a dull venue, it’s one of my favourites in London, but the sign looks so damn cool in rainbow vision)

It was only logical that when I was thinking of what I should have as my first piece of official Dataphiles merch that these instantly came to mind. As I’m still promoting Steampunk Cybercrunk I went for a cogs ‘n lasers design. A lot of the diffraction specs you can buy online have quite umm ‘bright’ designs, and I wanted to make something a little sleeker and more club appropriate

glasses design - Copy

Also apart from taking your night out to the next level and making you night bus ride home beautiful, they also fit over any mobile phone or compact camera lens to let you take #spectralselfies. Or make your own #spectralwalk like this one

They’re available here on eBay, and I’m shipping them worldwide. If you’re in London though, keep an eye on my twitter and facebook feeds, you might be able to grab some free ones while I’m out and about.

Before-After

I also realise that some people may have come here because you’ve got a pair of glasses yourself or met someone wearing them… If so welcome, its lovely to have you here, you can stream all of my tracks for free (and use the discount code from the glasses) here

Peace, Love, Unity, Respect –

Dataphiles

PS, if you want a bulk order of glasses, so you and all your friends can have an awesome night out, drop us an email at contact@dataphilesmusic.com

Posted a new video on Youtube, its the ‘official’ video for Beep Beep Baby (not that the steampunk arcade machine vid featuring it wasn’t fun). I found some great old black and white footage of vintage dance routines, burlesque performances and animations, cut it all together and Robert’s your mother’s brother. I’m quite proud of the results & feel it fits the overall feeling of the track. The cut up dances reflecting the cut up swing samples that form the backbone of the track.

My girlfriend first described the break of this track sounding like people honking (flirtatiously) at a girl, dancing in the street (and hence came up with the name Beep Beep Baby). It was great to find some appropriate film footage to recreate that vision during this part of the track. The internet archive is truly an amazing place.  Bonus marks if you can spot all of the original clips on there. Some of them are hilarious (and perhaps slightly worrying) to watch nowadays, I’d particularly recommend ‘In my Merry Oldsmobile’ and ‘Gags and Girls’, I wonder if they’d remake them today 😛

Also I used Blender as a video editor for the first time for this (hell, I didn’t even know it was a video editor before now, I’d only ever used it for a bit of 3D animation before). As ever, it has a pretty steep learning curve but it is incredibly powerful and quite satisfying, once you’re in the zone. It’s by far and away the best open-source/free video editor I’ve used. So big props to all of the guys and gals who have made its development possible.

Anyway hope you enjoy the video, please like, comment and/or subscribe.

PLUR, D