Archive for July, 2011

Palace Tweets 2011-07-31

  • Bad news for the BBC as they lose F1 to Sky. Having only half the cake is as good as having none of it. #f1 #BBC #fail #
  • Finished Cycle with @cyclemeter, on Treyford Loop route, time 22:50, 7.80 km, ahead of best ride 2:41, see #
  • Started Cycle with @cyclemeter at 18:02, on Treyford Loop route, Cyclemeter will speak your replies to me. #
  • Finished Cycle with @cyclemeter, on a new route, time 16:47, 4.17 km, see, average 14.90. #
  • Started Cycle with @cyclemeter at 13:25, on a new route, see, Cyclemeter will speak your replies to me. #

Archive for July, 2011

Palace Tweets 2011-07-24

  • Super Tommy does it again. Still in Yellow. Outstanding. #tourdefrance #
  • Again like Arsenal, Andy Schlek goes early. Can he hold on or has he come on too soon? #tourdefrance #
  • Andy Schlek – the Arsenal of cycling? Mentally 'strong' but cracks when put under pressure. #tourdefrance #
  • Bloody hell, Cadel Evans actually goes on the attack! #tourdefrance #
  • Two new Lairds tracks created using Electrify on the iPad on #SoundCloud #
  • Finished Cycle with @cyclemeter, on a new route, time 29:34, 9.65 km, see, average 19.59. #

Archive for July, 2011

Electrify – New Music On The iPad

Audacious Music Making On The iPad

The Electrify interface. Confusing for about 30 seconds then as easy to use as can be.

For a while there it was touch and go. The iPad looked like being a super fancy consumer device, perfect for on sofa web browsing, game playing and one finger emailing, but not a patch on real Old Skool computers for doing anything remotely creative like image manipulation or music making.

Well that lasted about 6 months or so, at least until the likes of Photogene, Camerabag and Colorsplash (along with tons of others) redefined image editing and Garageband kicked off a new breed of music creation tools, which moved things beyond the simple instrument replication and into the realms of real digital music creation.

Initially these were fine, but confusing. Either trying to be digital versions of real life drum machines, pianos and, er, guitars or trying to be the one size fits all, digital audio workstation. The main issues with the former being that the touchscreen wasn’t a real keyboard, drum pad or guitar string, so it didn’t have any physical response or its interface didn’t take advantage of the iPad’s potential. Worst, by a mile, was ReBirth, which totally ruined the presence of two 303s, an 808 and a 909 with the kind of interface that was ponderous and over complicated. The main issues with the latter was also interface related and pointed to rushed development times and a lack of understanding of the audio creation process.

The two interfaces for iElectribe apps. While the original interface, below, may resemble the real world machine, it looks far less fun than the Gorillaz version above.

Now that Garageband has set the basic standard, there has been a massive jump in quality of genuinely great music making apps. Two of them  in particular have really grabbed my attention, the Gorillaz’s version of the iElectribe and Electrify. The Gorillaz’s version of iElectribe really illustrates the value of great interface/skin design as it’s essentially exactly the same app as the Korg iElectribe (albeit with different samples), but looks way more fun and easier to use.

And the Gorillaz version is super fun to use, allowing you to play about with 64 samples from the Gorillaz’s The Fall album and giving you a host of options to make the sounds your own while creating your own patterns. And it moves beyond simply being a glorified drum machine by having a variety of instrumental and vocal samples. Still it’s irritating in two key ways. First, changing the pitch of individual sounds is controlled using a dial and is almost impossible to get right. Second, and far more irritating, you can’t load in your own samples. This massively reduces the creative potential of the app as a genuine music making application more than anything else, not least because all the sounds are still copyrighted by Gorillaz making release of any tunes you create all but impossible. Still it’s excellent fun and really easy to use.

Standing head and shoulders above all the other DAWs I have used on the iPad (among them Music Studio, Beatmaker and Garageband) is Electrify. It shares a similar interface style with the excellent TouchOSC, which I use as a controller for Logic, and most importantly allows you to import your own samples.

Initially confusing, it’s a bit like an iPad version of one of those square Ableton controllers. But once you’ve played with it for a bit, it’s astonishingly easy, while the 8 x 8 main matrix allows you to develop interesting pattern sets using a variety of instruments and sounds. Using it as a drum machine is simplicity itself, but it really comes into its own when you move beyond the use of simple drum samples and start using a greater variety of samples, and this is where the ability to use your own samples comes into its own.

I’ve only been playing with it for a couple of days, but here are two tunes I’ve banged out already.


[soundcloud params=”auto_play=false&show_comments=true”][/soundcloud]


Archive for July, 2011

Palace Tweets 2011-07-17

Archive for July, 2011

Tour de France: The Elephant On The Bicycle

So here we are two weeks in and so far we’ve seen the fantastic Thor Hushovd carry the Yellow jersey for the first week and the outstanding Tommy Voeckler hold onto it for the second. Current wisdom suggests that neither will win it, despite Tommy carrying it all the way through the Pyrenees without losing any time. Yet so far none of the supposed main contenders have shown the slightest interest in actually competing for the damn thing.

Aside from pushing themselves in the second day’s team time trial, where perpetual nearly man Cadel Evans lost out to Thor by a second, none of the big boys have done anything remotely imposing so far. Indeed, their only notable contributions appear to be crashing out (Wiggins – assuming we class Wiggins as a big boy rather than a middleweight contender), losing time (Contador – not once but twice) and generally failing to show themselves.

Instead they sit in the front end of the peloton, like corpulent lions or 16th Century soineurs, gazing over the other riders before cherry picking out the ripe young ones to satisfy their repulsive lusts. You would have thought that after two weeks one of the would have put their heads up and actually tried to at least challenge for a stage win (note to big boys, Thor won the second Pyrenean stage in spectacular fashion, while Tommy led a stage-long breakaway to take the Yellow jersey). So far all we’ve seen of Cadel is that he’s happy to come in third in the bunch, that neither of Team Schleck has the balls to dominate the race and that Contador seems happy to leave the Pyrenees four minutes off the pace, without having made one single significant attack.

The truth is that for two weeks these guys have gone missing. Certainly in comparison with previous recent champions like Armstrong or Indurain, none of these boys looks worthy of leading, let alone winning the Tour. It would be a travesty if these guys simply trundled over the alps and left it to the final time trial to sort out a winner.

No. All the va-va-voom in this year’s tour has come from the unexpected side of the tracks. Thor mutating from a Green jersey winner into a great World Champion, Tommy retaining the Yellow jersey over and over again despite everyone telling him he will lose it, new boy Vanendert fighting his way to not one but both Pyrenean mountain finishes, coming second in the first and winning the second, and tragic Frenchman Jérémy Roy fighting his way into nearly every breakaway of significance prior to almost winning the second Pyrenean stage and being pipped to the post by Thor Hushovd. These guys are the true heroes of the tour so far.

Here’s hoping one of these guys takes the Yellow all the way to Paris. Because on form so far none of the big boys deserve it.

Archive for July, 2011

Palace Tweets 2011-07-10

  • Friday Football – no matter how well you play it's never as good when you don't win. Still great though. #