25th Anniversary of Ghostwatch

I saw this in Kim by the Sea after volleyball today. As I tweeted it, I realized many people wouldn’t know what it was because they were too young, not born or wasn’t in the UK to see it unfold live.

From Wikipedia

Ghostwatch is a British realityhorror/mockumentarytelevision film, first broadcast on BBC1 on Halloween night, 1992. Written by Stephen Volk, and directed by Lesley Manning, the drama was produced for the BBCanthology seriesScreen One by Richard Broke, Ruth Baumgarten and Derek Nelson.

Despite having been recorded weeks in advance, the narrative was presented as live television. During and following its first and only UK television broadcast, the show attracted a considerable furore,[1] resulting in an estimated 30,000 calls to the BBC switchboard in a single hour.

Ghostwatch has never been repeated on UK television. It has been repeated internationally, on stations such as the Canadian digital channel Scream for Halloween 2004, and the Belgian channel Canvas in 2008. In 2017, Ghostwatch was added to the American streaming video service Shudder

It does seem crazy the BBC putting out a fake ghost programme on prime time national TV. It reminds me of war of the worlds radio play.

Remember the *.mod

FastTracker 2

I was reminded of Mod files a while ago.

From Wikipedia

Module files (MOD musictracker music) are a family of music file formats originating from the MOD file format on Amiga systems used in the late 1980s. Those who produce these files (using the software called music trackers) and listen to them, form the worldwide MOD scene, a part of the demoscenesubculture. Module files are often chiptunes.

The mass interchange of “MOD music” or “tracker music” (music stored in module files created with trackers) evolved from early FIDO networks. Many websites host large numbers of these files, the most comprehensive of them being the Mod Archive.

Nowadays most module files, including ones in zipped form, are supported by most popular media players such as WinampVLCFoobar2000AmarokExaile and many others (mainly due to inclusion of common playback libraries such as libmodplug for gstreamer).

Great thing was you could consume them but it was super easy to just remix them and play with them. The player was the maker; consumer/maker in one package.

Module files store several “patterns” or “pages” of music data in a form similar to that of a spreadsheet. These patterns contain note numbers, instrument numbers, and controller messages. The number of notes that can be played simultaneously depends on how many “tracks” there are per pattern. They also contain digitally recorded samples as well as coding for sequencing the samples in playback. The programs that are used to create these files provide composers with the means to control and manipulate sound samples in almost limitless ways to produce music.

Even if you didn’t understand what all those numbers and patterns were, you could play and try without worry or judgment. Similar to the Sonic PI?

A disadvantage of module files is that there is no real standard specification in how the modules should be played back properly, which may result in modules sounding slightly different in different players. This is mostly due to effects that can be applied to the samples in the module file and how the authors of different players choose to implement them.

Oh boy this was a killer…

I used Protracker originally (mod format), then switched to fast tracker 2 when I made my first PC (xm format). It would import mods but saving them out as mod wouldn’t be compatible with other players.

Theres certainly something about *.mod which seems to be missing in the modern times.

How to DJ with the Pacemaker device and a real mixer

Mixing with the pacemaker device

I love mixing with my Pacemaker but I have to admit there are some limitations like the crossfader and effects are a little tricky to do at the same time. So when I bought another pacemaker off ebay cheap and upgraded the battery and HDD to a SSD, I also upgraded that Pacemaker firmware, to include other features like beat-aware loops. That firmware can’t record mixes in the same way unfortunately.

So I’ve always thought maybe I could use the pacemaker with a mixer and record the mix over analogue means. Si gave me one of his old mixers a while ago, so for ages I thought about it but done little about it.

Till now!

Here’s the mix I messed with around earlier.

Ok its not great but I was tweaking the setup while I was recording.

Mixing with the pacemaker device

So how did I do it…

The pacemaker has two outputs, so I pushed deck A to the main output and deck B to the headphone output. This means the pacemaker crossfader can never be used or touched while mixing. You only use the deck selection to choose the track you want to adjust or play with.

Mixing with the pacemaker device

Deck A the main output is cabled to the Channel 1 on my mixer, while Deck B the headphone deck is output to Channel 3 on the mixer. (Channel 2 is mainly for the microphone and other things on the mixer)

Mixing with the pacemaker device

I had to adjust the volume and gain on each channel and the pacemaker its self but generally I got it right with some tweaking. I hooked up the output of the mixer to my amp and speakers, while the monitor went out to my laptop with a splitter as its a combined mic/headphone jack.

Mixing with the pacemaker device

I recorded everything with Audacity and checked the levels on the laptop.

The results are not bad… It does feel really weird to be using the Pacemaker device and not using the crossfader on the device. In actual fact I messed up a few times earlier on, by using the devices crossfader. I also decided I needed some kind of stand for the device and used a box to mount it half way through the test set.

It was odd but worked, more experimentation is needed…

Ferry Corsten presents Gouryella: From The Heavens

Found via Si Lumb

Just a incredible and ever-so touching documentary about Ferry Corsten, the man behind some absolute trance classics such as Out of the Blue, Gouryella, Tenshi and simply the best trance song of 2015 – Anahera.

Its so weird that I pretty much closed out my last pacemaker mix with Anahera.

Feeling a Ferry megamix is in the pipeline maybe…

Nobody owns podcasting like nobody owns the net

RSS + MP3 V.2

Ok before people come down hard on my title, its not an absloute statement rather a general idea. Something which came across loud and clear in Doc Searls blog

Nobody is going to own podcasting.

By that I mean nobody is going to trap it in a silo. Apple tried, first with its podcasting feature in iTunes, and again with its Podcasts app. Others have tried as well. None of them have succeeded, or will ever succeed, for the same reason nobody has ever owned the human voice, or ever will. (Other, of course, than their own.)

Because podcasting is about the human voice. It’s humans talking to humans: voices to ears and voices to voices—because listeners can talk too. They can speak back. And forward. Lots of ways.

Podcasting is one way for markets to have conversations; but the podcast market itself can’t be bought or controlled, because it’s not a market. Or an “industry.” Instead, like the Web, email and other graces of open protocols on the open Internet, podcasting is all-the-way deep.

He’s right, when Apple weighted in with iTunes I did think here we go, but even after a long time hearing those words…

Subscribe to us on iTunes, give us a rating on iTunes, etc. I’m glad the ecosystem of podcasting stayed diverse and theres some innovation and creativity in the field even after 15+ years. Of course I can easily imagine much more creativity as described before.

Of course its a great thing no one owns Podcasting as some question if podcasting can save the world. Ok super cheesy but Doc Searls did say this which I thought was quite inspiring and fascinating too..

Maybe podcasting is the best way we have to start working out our problems with race, gender, politics and bad habits of culture that make us unhappy and thwart progress of all kinds. I say that because 1) the best podcasting I know deals with these things directly and far more constructively than anything I have witnessed in other media, and 2) no bigfoot controls it.

There is something (in)credible about the human voice. Maybe in the world where we strive for more human connection; real podcasting’s open discussions are a welcomed relief from all the other crap we get fed?

Films you may have missed during the first part of 2017

There has been some really bad news over the last 6 months, its easy to get sucked into reading everything trump tweets or reading and hoping the brexit madness will not happen (but now we’re on a road to the past). However, during the madness, there has been some great films you may have missed.

Not in order, just once looking back through my recently watched film and looking at the ones I rated highly, but hardly heard about anywhere.

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Arrival

This film is incredible and has to be my film of the year, here’s what Den of Geeks said (SPOILER alert if you click the link)…

Arrival is a challenging piece of science fiction, blessedly meant for adults, and about smart grown-ups at that. The kind that actually try to solve problems instead of punching or shooting them. In fact, it is in many ways a spiritual companion piece with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar since it’s about intelligent people going through familiar sci-fi tropes before offering heady concepts about fifth dimensional space…

Chronic

Chronic

This is certanly one you missed, its slow, painful and suprising; well worth watching but likely at a time when you are open to the messages about life.

Mr Church

Mr Church

Like Chronic, it involves woman who is dying; but this one is about the relationship between her daughter and the carer (mr church). A while ago I slightly put a negative review on boyhood, it was good but it didn’t feel compeling to me. Mr Chruch, although not using the same actors as they grow up, time is driving factor through the film and you see the relationship mature and change over a long period of time.

I wont spoil a single part of it, as its the pasts which make up the whole. Its slow and each actor plays a fantastic role in the story. Its a great film and I understand the critism it got under race grounds but based on a true story, so theres little which can be done. Like loving its a sign of those times.

T2: Trainspotting

T2: Trainspotting

I have said plenty about trainsportting T2 but still many people are wondering if its worth watching. The answer is yes! Its not a remake, its the story 20 years later. Think of it as trainspotting crossed with trance.

Loving

Loving

The story and landmark courtcase of Richard and Mildred Loving, a mixed race couple who go back to a southern state where mixed race marriage was still illegal in the 1960s. I heard of the courtcase a few times but I am lucky enough to be born in a time and country where mixed race relationships are not just illegal but mainly part of the norm.

Seeing lovings struggle in film, really brings home everything.  Great film, slow but so very moving. Well worth checking out, hard to have a dry eye after watching it.

The Shallows

The Shallows

Nothing deep or meaningful, just a well done drama/thriller. Think of it as Jaws for a new generation.

Miss Sloane

Miss Solane

If it wasn’t for Arrival, I would be putting Miss Solane in best film for 2017. Its supersmart and Jessica Chastain is simply incredible. Like Michelle Dockery in Good Behaviour (TV series I highly recommend) shes a complex character with many depths and dark corners. The film is crafted to cause you to think many different things and then it hits you like a ton of bricks. Once again, you can’t help but be blown away! Would watch twice if I could.

Incredible!

Money Moster

Money Monster

Really nice film, fitting around cable/TV money experts and the occupy type movement. Its not complex but like the shallows, its compelling and a well told story with good acting. End wasn’t quite as good as it could have been but worthy of your attention if you want a smarter popcorn mucher.

Denial

Denial

Based on another landmark court case, irving vs penguin books. The drama is once again crafted to pull out the core arguements and explain the complexity of a subject which seems so obvious. Although we know the final judgement, sometimes you are in dobht about the evidence shown through the film. Certainly compeling and worth of watching.

I removed Fences, Moonlight and few others because they have plenty of press and attention.

Another ghost in the shell

Ghost in the shell 2017 screenshot

I loved ghost in the shell, its one of those films I just loved when I was young. Even watching it 20+ years later and seeing the little adjustments like ghost in the shell 2.0; I was still a massive fan. So when the film was announced, I was kinda of excited.

However I just got back from the Odeon IMAX in Manchester after watching it at 1min past midnight with about 20 other people. Obviously people were less keen to be first to watch it as someone like me (I just love watching films late at night to be fair)

I gave it 6/10 because it is a good movie but the legacy of ghost in the shell just drags on it, and I can’t help but look at certain scenes and just shake head slightly. For example the famous scene with the garbage collectors is shorten down to something different and it doesn’t have the uniqueness of the original. I also felt although longer, it brushed through key scenes which I assume wouldn’t have worked in hollywood.

I don’t feel like they did a bad job but I was surprised how different it was from the original.

Generally if you haven’t seen Ghost in the Shell, and an action/sci-fi fan you will like it. It won’t score highly but its robust enough. If you seen the original, you will feel slightly cheated and if you seen the whole lot including stand alone complex and innocence, you may be more upset.

It looks stunning and they did a good job to show a future Tokyo with crazy structures and advertising, but its not quite enough. All the actors are good in the film but the plot feels too simple and lacks the detail and significaions of the original.

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I watched it in the IMAX although it’s not made for IMAX. If I was to watch it again, a regular large screen would be fine and watch it without 3D because it’s ignoying after a while. Once again good movie by its self but compared to the originals its poor.

I wonder whats install for the matrix series and I don’t think anyone would be daring enough to redo Akira, would they?

Breaking Bad: The fan edit movie

Two intrepid fans of Breaking Bad have condensed its 62 episodes down to a 2-hour film.

Its quite something to be fair, I know lots of people have slated it but its not that terrible. I mean theres is no way you can convert 62 episodes of one of the best TV series into 2 hours without some serious slicing and dicing.

Obviously you should watch the whole series back to back but its worth watching to see the key bits from another fans eyes. Also makes me wonder what I would cut and keep…

See Ghost in the shell at midnight?

I have to say I’m pretty excited to see the Ghost in the Shell live action remake, that I bought a ticket for the 1 minute past midnight (0001) release on Thursday morning in the Odeon IMAX.

When I bought my ticket, the cinema seemed super quiet with only 12 people, which is suprising. So you have plenty of time to get you’re ticket and join me.

Maybe you don’t like the idea of going to the cinema late at night but I kind of love it. To be fair I watched Interstellar at 5am, Dark Knight rises at 8am, etc and I quite like it. Of course I would only do this for films which I felt was worth it, and I think Ghost in the Shell is certainly one of those.

I mean just look at the first 4:44mins

Liverpool Life talking about Perceptive Media

I have recently spent a quite a bit of time in Liverpool, mainly for work but also slightly for pleasure . There were a few lectures/talks at FACT and Liverpool John Moores University.

Most of the presentations are on slideshare, as per usual but I also had joy of being interviewed as part of a podcast talking about object based media.

Of course most was edited out but there’s a big chunk of the interview, mainly focused on the experience of perceptive media, which sits right on top of object based media.. They described it as on the verge of a revolution, no less.

You can listen to the whole thing online at the Liverpool life audioboom channel from Feb 24th.

The arrival, arrived and must be seen

Arrival

It was actually Si who recommended to me Arrival. It’s very unlike him to recommend films as he’s not really into non-interactive media, so I went and watched the film and was pretty much blown away.

I promise not to spoil the film but the film reminds me of 3 other great films, and I mean great! Interstellar, which was influenced by Contact and finally Donnie Darko.

Well worth watching before they do a weird donnie darko directors cut on it.

Its a 8/10 or even 9/10, and so many other people agree.

It’s dangerous to say an alien movie achieves any level of realism. That is, we won’t know which ones are realistic until the aliens show up in real life and confirm it. With that caveat, Arrival feels like an uncommonly realistic alien invasion movie, if only because it understands a simple fact of life often misunderstood by Hollywood: few of life’s biggest mysteries can be understood through conventional thinking. Too many alien movies assume that our interplanetary visitors will look, sound, and communicate like some gnarled version of ourselves. Arrival rewrites the rule book. Instead of filtering the aliens’ intentions through our understanding of human behavior, it asks us to put our thinking caps on and luxuriate in the unknown.

Absolutely!

I also found the gender dynamics really interesting too… Amy Adams is incredible, strong and very thoughtful when most of the men around her are reaching for their guns or jumping to action. Shes confident of her own abilities and knows what needs to be done. Funny enough, another film by the same director is Sicario, with Emily Blunt who also command total respect by everyone around her.

Amy Adams is magnificent as the linguist at the centre of a world-changing event; Jeremy Renner turns in a quiet, introspective supporting performance as a mathematician brought in to help solve the visitors’ mysteries. The interplay between the two, as they seek to understand an unfathomably complex alien language, feels effortlessly natural; as well as a sci-fi movie, Arrival functions as an astutely observed relationship drama.

Go watch this film!

T2 Trainspotting with Danny Boyle

T2 Trainspotting with Danny Boyle at HomeMCR

I had the absolute pleasure to gain an exclusive ticket thanks to Herb Kim, to see T2 Trainspotting with Danny Boyle (director) in Q&A afterwards.

We will be joined by director and HOME Patron Danny Boyle for a Q&A following the T2: Trainspotting screening at 20:00 on Sat 28 Jan.

Theres little I can say about T2 trainspotting without spoilers, it’s a very good film and I have given it 7/10. In the Q&A Danny said a few things which I found interesting, but no spoilers again except this was one was fascinating…

Highly recommended and what a great person Danny is; he seemed very happy with my brief thoughts about the parellels with Trance and T2 Trainspotting.

Patterson’s panic attack mix

Evil Children
Different kind of mix this time… I decided seeing how I enjoy Simon Patterson’s tunes quite a bit, especially Brush Strokes and White of her eyes. Its time for a bit of mega-mix using his tunes. Someone said to me listening to his tunes is like the perfect driving or running music, as it feels very pacey.

I imagined running like zombies run, then stopping to catching my breath with some chilled tunes.

However Mixcloud has warned me,

You have 5 or more tracks by the same artist. This upload may be disabled for listeners in the following countries: USA

Well that Copyright and DRM for you. I scratched the edge and now can feel some of the pain. So I got around the problem by renaming Simon Patterson to a few other names.

Here’s the proper playlist, enjoy!

  1. F16 – Simon Patterson
  2. Panic Attack – Simon Patterson
  3. White of Her eyes – Simon Patterson
  4. Brush Strokes – Simon Patterson
  5. Us – Simon Patterson
  6. Prosac – Dj Tomcraft
  7. No one ever dreams – Astral projection
  8. Arise – Victor Ruiz & D Nox
  9. Circles – Robert Nickson
  10. Adagio for Strings – Dj Tiesto