Music

Time Align

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Despite all the fun I have exploring and creating and tinkering in virtual worlds, I enjoy working with other mediums as well. If I had to pick a favorite, it would easily be music. I’ve been involved in DJ’ing (not just stringing together playlists, but mixing records), remixing, production, and even music event production for many years, and while I don’t play out (take bookings) anymore I do turn out the occasional live set or pop up when least expected.

Playlisting, DJ’ing, and live sets...what’s the difference? Not a lot, in that all three are working at the goal of serving up great music. The best way to describe
playlisting is to think of a radio host (such as Casey Kasem or Ryan Seacrest on American Top 40). There’s little to no effort put into mixing between tracks, with all the attention being given to choosing which songs to play, and in what order (though some SL DJ’s ‘go random’ from time to time, streaming random/disconnected tracks from their libraries). A good example of DJ’ing is what you’d hear in a typical club. The DJ not only chooses what to play and in what order, but puts effort and attention to stringing the tracks together seamlessly, in effect performing the mix. Live sets take the concept one step further, blurring the lines between DJ and musician by combining tracks (original productions or from other artists), loops, and samples to perform the mix and include several live remixes and unexpected mashups along the way. My work over the last 4-5 years has been predominantly in live sets, using Ableton Live and a number of other hardware and software tools to push the envelope and share some of the songs, sounds, and beats that inspire me.

I don’t play events in Second Life, but you can hear my work playing as the streaming audio at our
Main Store, Caledon Oxbridge, and at Winterfell Laudanum. Additionally, you can check out my page on SoundCloud, or take a look at a wider range of mixes (and even sign up for the podcast to get new mixes automatically) over at Electric Theatre. The info on my latest set is below - feel free to check it out, download, and leave a comment if you like it.

A new year, and a new beginning. Featuring the likes of The Crystal Method, Hybrid, Lee Coombs, Future Funk Squad, and Underworld, Trilo takes a non-linear approach in a few spots, warping and twisting sounds to create something slightly different. Come take a journey 47 minutes into the future. Performed live 1/11/11.

Click here to download

The tracklist can be found at SoundCloud or on the lyrics tab of the MP3 file info (accessible in iTunes and many other MP3 players).

New Music In Rotation



Believe it or not, the music you hear at the Main Store, Caledon Oxbridge, and New Babbage locations is from me. And a short while ago, I added a new mix into rotation. The set is a bit of a throwback for me, what I'd call a 'needle-drop' mix. While other mixes are beat-matched and feature lots of additional loops and other elements, this one has none of that. Everything lies in track selection and timing, just like in the early days.

I cut my teeth as a DJ with vinyl, eventually moved to CD's, and a couple years back went to a digital workflow (using laptop and other bits of hardware), which lets me blur the lines a bit as I remix and perform tracks during a set.
Going 'old school' was not only an exercise in basic skills, but allowed me to knock it out quickly for BlakOpal. She loves the band Muse as much as I do, and I thought it'd be nice to have something to listen to that included some of our favorite album tracks, singles, and rarities... and to share some of the music we love so much with you. If you aren't familiar with the band, we hope this gives you an opportunity to discover a wonderful band. If you do know them, we hope you enjoy the mix as much as we do, and get the chance to hear something you may not have heard before. :-)

Behind The Scenes



Even though folks haven’t seen a lot of me, I’ve been ridiculously busy in the days since my last update. Let’s see, where to begin.

First off, BlakOpal and I finally decided to make the move to high definition in the loft. I know, the rest of the US made that move some time ago, but seeing as we don’t really watch broadcast television or subscribe to cable, we weren’t hard-pressed to replace the equipment we had. It seems our patience paid off well, as we ended up with something bigger than we previously had, for less than we had been expecting to spend.

That upgrade in turn led to the next project, designing and building a new HD media server. This would let us keep our favorite films and documentaries just a few clicks away (and turn the DVD’s on the shelf into backups), as well as give us an additional place to back up work/art files. I know that starts to sound paranoid (seeing as we already have hourly wireless backups of each of our machines), but we’ve both suffered enough fatal crashes where crucial files were lost that the additional peace of mind is worth the price of admission.

There have also been some assorted OS updates and testing, and in the last couple weeks I’ve been spending quite a bit of time working on Snowglobe testing as well. Version 1.3 is coming along nicely, with a number of fixes and behind the scenes improvements as well as the addition of double click to teleport and panning the mini-map (both of which work great). There are some additional things planned, but nothing yet for me to start testing, let alone report on.

Construction at Reachra has been happening more slowly than I’d like, but on the few occasions where I’ve had the chance to spend time in SL that wasn’t devoted to testing or basic shopkeeping, something else has come up. I’ve managed to get caught up on putting new things in the shoppe and putting out the holiday freebies, and now that the media server project is finishing up I should have additional time for building. I’ve also got some things to get ready for - in addition to a fashion week event in January, we’ll be participating in our first ever hunt (more on that later). I’ve also had a few ideas for an update to the vendors I use in the stores, and want to get around to remodeling Caledon Oxbridge in the near future.

I’ll leave you with a clip from last week’s Muse concert. BlakOpal and I had a great time at the show, and can’t wait until they return to SF again in the spring. Cheers!




Back from Ireland



Back from another exciting adventure! Earlier this week, BlakOpal and I got back from an amazing trip to Ireland (her first, my second). While it felt like a whirlwind trip in many regards, we enjoyed a fairly leisurely pace. We based ourselves in the heart of Dublin’s Temple Bar district (at the place pictured, above), and found that just about everything we wanted to see on the trip was a short stroll (or at times, a drunken stumble) away.

Our time was spent exploring (the town and its many pubs), researching (clothing from the 16th century on and loads of architecture), adventuring (traveling out to places like Newgrange, Slane, and Tara), and enjoying wonderful music. In addition to the fun traditional musicians playing in nearly every pub in Ireland every night, we were fortunate enough to see the band Muse rock a completely sold out show at Ireland’s best indoor music venue.

Check out some pics from the adventure here, or take a look below for one of several videos BlakOpal shot at the Muse show.



What’s ahead? Plenty. It’s still too early to start talking about it all, but BlakOpal and I have spent a lot of time bouncing ideas back and forth for the shoppe, for the clothes, and for all sorts of fun, creative projects we’d like to work on. Now to find the time to get to it all....

Disco Inferno



Looking at the picture above, I had initially thought to give this post the title "Burn Baby Burn" but then thought better of it. It's a go-to phrase that people who've been to the Burning Man Arts Festival tend to use, and after going to our campsite for this year's Burning Life in-world it just seemed like it fit. Then I remembered that a) this post will cover more than just me yammering on about Burning Life, and b) a friend of mine made a film about the festival called "Burn Baby Burn" so a slightly different title seemed more appropriate.

BlakOpal and I are both extremely excited about our theme camp being accepted for this year's Burning Life. We had one last year as well, it was our first real event in Second Life. It seemed strangely fitting for us, since we've both been to the RL event several times. It also helped us with our 'playa withdrawals' since we were taking the year off from Burning Man. While we were both 'fresh off the boat' new to SL, we still managed to build a fun space on the virtual playa and had a great time. This year we've learned quite a bit, and I've got a computer that can actually handle walking around without crashing once the event kicks off.

Last night was our first opportunity to visit the space. We're further back from the Esplanade this year, but I kind of like that idea. We've been tossing around ideas for the build for a few weeks, and soon enough we'll start playing with prims in the virtual dust. Stay tuned for more information on Eridu Society at Burning Life!

This morning I had a great meeting in Virtual London, in preparation for Fashion Week, which kicks off on Saturday. We've had the pleasure of participating in a few different fashion events and festivals, and while things can get a little hectic at times, it's a good kind of hectic. The organizers have created a really amazing space for the event and we're extremely excited to not only have a booth space but be participating in two different fashion shows. The first, to a broader audience, is on Sunday at 2PM SLT. The second, on a bit more of a 'theme' night (which seems appropriate considering some of our steampunk/pirate creations) is on Tuesday at 1:30PM SLT.

While we have the opportunity to request songs for the DJ's to play, I'm considering a slightly different direction. A couple friends of mine have recently sent advances of some of their upcoming releases, and I'm considering putting something together that showcases and teases some of that material, along with a few gems I've got in my collection. We'll see how that all plays out - with Virtual London Fashion Week kicking off on Saturday, there's an awful lot to do in a very short period of time.

I've also got some amazing pictures in my in-box. Yep, more photos for our photo contest! As soon as I get a chance, I'll go through them and update the Customer Gallery, and get some gift cards out to more people. Keep 'em coming!

Steampunk Music, You Say?



Monday seems like it was just moments ago. But here we are, at the week's end. Having gotten the more pressing matters of getting the flagship stores updated and tended to, I'm happily playing with some prims and working out some ideas for new structures.

I've had a couple interesting conversations this week regarding the notion of "steampunk music." While most RL friends I talked to agree the whole idea is ludicrous ("it's more of a visual art style... is there impressionist music too?"), SL friends have some specific ideas. While I wouldn't dispute that Abney Park and the like are steampunk bands, I think the moniker fits because steampunk is their visual style as well. Otherwise, people seemed to have flocked to a few misguided notions that circus/cabaret music is the official sound of steampunk. *shudders* No offense to Nick Cave and the like it's just not my cup of tea.

Personally I've enjoyed exploring different sounds and styles as I've explored the steamlands in Second Life. I've been meaning to do some experimenting and toying around with video for the last several weeks, perhaps I'll play around with a few different soundtracks and see how things come together in the cutting room. *Adds to the ever-growing to-do list*

Moving on, I have mixed feelings regarding all the posts and live streams coming out of this year's Burning Man arts festival. On one hand, everyone should be free to do what they want. Even if that means playing with web cams and removing yourself from the event to sort through and process and then post your pictures ahead of everyone else. But on the other hand, a big part of the event's appeal is its isolation. Going to a faraway place, disconnected from the rest of the world, and seeing what happens. I'm still very interested in returning to the playa in 2010, though with every live feed link I see that interest wanes just a little bit. I'm not exactly sure why, but we'll see how that plays out over the next eleven months.

In the nearer term, BlakOpal and I are excited about Burning Life. The event doesn't happen until October, but we've been tossing around ideas for a while and are about to start more serious planning. Beyond that, we're also looking at another Gothic Fashion Fair event, though juggling the SL events with our RL travel plans this fall will be a bit of a challenge. Should be fun :-)