Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hello Readers! This Blog Is Moving To Wordpress, Hold On To Your Hats!

Further posts will be published on Wordpress ... here: You should'nt have to alter your RSS feed ! But if you don't see new posts coming from Wordpress then go to the above link and update your feed (look for the "Subscribe" link in the links section). Why ? Well I've had increasing problems with Blogger, partly because their XHTML does not validate properly...critical in my opinion...if we all end up using buggy scripts then this beautiful blog world could well end up crawling to a standstill. WWW code has become so complex that standards MUST be conformed to...the whole point of having them! I actually like the Blogger system...maybe my post will encourage them to conform their scripts. Also I opened up a Blogger account a few years ago when things were very different for me....frankly it just does'nt feel right anymore. I will leave this site open anyway...I don't know...maybe I can find a future use for it ? This ship is moving on .... DJBarney

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Biggest Social Revolution Since Prehistoric Tribes Started Talking To One Another

Get with the freaking BEAT !

While using Wikipedia (I give the link to the foundation...see link at the bottom of that page to the actual Wikipedia) to check something, I came across the amazing Richard Stallman who I discovered many years ago, after "escaping" from Windows 95 by finding The Free Software Foundation and...Richard Stallman...(he also has a blog at the FSF ).

I have been aware of Wiki for some time but it hadn't quite "clicked", and I wonder how many people are missing this HUGE...I mean MASSIVE social revolution, going on right under their noses!

I found this Green Mountain Daily blog entry ( perma link ). Follow the links he gives, that should impress on anyone there is a planet wide social revolution going on that is a hybrid of technology and actually very old ideas about how we can collaborate and work together.

This even extends to things like virtual negotiating tables that have been responsible for brokering peace, in very serious situations, in south Asia.

Here we see an enormous counter balance to the cynicism that has taken over the worldwide political process and the media.

This is very interesting. I've noticed this in other fields. The desire on the part of some people (and I say SOME) to take on the fear issues that we face and then amp them out of all proportion without counter balancing with a positive outlook!

For example, Richard Stallman links to an article from the Chaos Computer Club...

( )

...that gives instructions on how to disable Radio Frequency Identification Chips ( RFID ). My biggest worry about these, apart from having them all over the place, like passports and books (?!), is that they can be interrogated by anybody, with the right technology and skills, to get hold of your personal information.

There are also plans to implant them in your body!

But before you run screaming from the room the article above points out that RFID chips are so small that simply putting them in a strong enough electromagnetic field will burn them out making them useless!

Nevertheless we have a few "conspiracy theorists" (and again I say A FEW for a good reason) running around scaring everyone silly with their "they have absolute control" agenda.



Friday, February 09, 2007

"This Is A Journey Into Sound"

Ok. On to the good stuff.

The track you are listening to now (if you have Flash) is made by me. A first, preliminary release from my studio! Read on, there's a story here...

Music has long figured highly in my family. My Mother played the Piano, Guitar, Violin and Mandolin. I myself had Piano lessons and both my Brother and Sister learnt how to play the Guitar. My Father regularly goes to Classical concerts..well I think you get the idea.

It was in 1992 that I discovered what was then known as "Rave Culture", but that's a term that conjures up too many images of drug taking. Not everyone was taking drugs! In fact Dave Clarke, possibly the most well known Techno DJ in the World, was meant to have said that "If you need drugs then the music is not good enough!". You only need to listen to his show to prove what he's saying.

While me and my Brother and Sister were struggling to understand the absurdities of our modern world we developed a "second life" of going to clubs and especially all night parties out in nature.

The social atmosphere of gathering together with people who, on the most part, you could trust, was invigorating and restored our faith in our fellow human being. The DJ's seemed like sonic artists, painting with the finest creations the music scene could produce.

So it was not long before I had my own pair of record decks and a mixer. Eventually I would obtain the legendary "Technics 1210" record decks. So well built you can stand on the platter and have it spin you around...or so the story goes.

So it was over these years that many bands would become almost like Mystical Guru's to us. We saw The Orb play at Glastonbury. Relaxed later on to "Surfing on Sine Waves" by The Aphex Twin. Grokked in awed silence to the mastery of The Future Sound of London, and mixed and listened to a thousand electronic, Techno and Hip Hop acts between Heaven and Earth. Some famous in the mainstream, many just as famous in "The Underground" where small bands of independent party organisers mixed and recorded their own music. Actually it all reminds me of the "Open Source" ethos in the software world. A large group of very diverse people can get together and produce QUALITY works of art often far surpassing the "official" merchandise produced in the commercial world.

Of course this "Journey into Sound" has hardly been exclusively in the "electronic" domain. I have musical interests in Folk, Classical, "World Music", Reggae, and so on. These "genres" all influence each other to a certain extent.

So it hasn't been a surprise that eventually I laid my hands on Drum Machines, Sequencers, and Samplers....

A schematic of my "Frequency Facility" running on "DreamMachine".

A MIDI controller keyboard can be obtained for a reasonable amount. Of course it needs a computer to connect it to, which, these days, is also a very reasonable sum (you don't need the latest and fastest model just to do music). All the software you see here is completely free, with the exception of "MixVibes" (the MP3 mixer). I choose to do this on a computer, although you might be more comfortable with "seperates" (like a Hi-Fi system) if you don't want to fiddle with a computer.

The software synth (with all the knobs) runs on another free piece of software (not visible) called "Buzz". Buzz is capable of running Steinbergs "VST" technology which you can see here running the "analog style" synth "VS-1" by BKSynthLab. Of course you can get many more free synths and filters through the VST Wikipedia link.

The MIDI sequencer is "Jazz".

The 303 Synths and Drum Machines (808 and 909) are the "Propellerhead ReBirth RB338" program.

If you're interested the 300/808/909 have become almost reference sounds in the dance music world. These pieces of equipment, originally produced in Japan in the 1980's, and now running here through Digital Signal Processing technology, have become not unlike a Violin or a Picollo in the Classical Music world. I think I can say this now without anyone laughing! There used to some embarrassment, at one time, about the "authenticity" of the sound of these pieces of equipment and the diverse areas of music they have spawned. But I think I can say safely now, that, if it's your cup of tea (as we English say) then this genre of music is here to stay and can easily hold it's own against Classical Music (of course they are very different beasts in their own way).

So I find myself trying not to get completely over excited sitting in front of my keyboard, as I produce sounds uncannily similar to music I have been listening to for years, produced by "the legends". I keep hitting a key and thinking "hang on...that's like...". So it might be a while before I produce my Meister Work (checks pulse). :-D


Addenum: In light of the above I discovered the most extraordinary speech that I found through a link printed on the notes of a Dave Clarke CD "Remixes and Rarities"...

Audio Engineering Society 103rd Convention

"The Keynote Speech at the Opening Ceremony was given by George Massenburg (pictured above) in which he raised some interesting and controversial issues. The text of his speech is reproduced below."

Reading that reminds me of a well known dance music sample (that I'm still trying to track down)... "An illegal frequency has entered this system, causing the DJ to have to do a full system test. Please continue to party and we will keep you informed of the situation...".

Monday, January 01, 2007