tim’s techno house mix tracks of 2011

Category : Digital Media, Electronica, highlight, Minimal House, web

It’s been a long time coming but here it is the new… and a new entry for the blog and a new mix for the end of 2011 – my Top Techno & House of 2011 mix. Available for download for one and all
Tim’s Top Techno & House Tunes of 2011 by timfrantic

FFFFOUND!

Category : Digital Media, highlight, web

ffffound1The world of web 2.0 is all about sharing, collaboration, inclusion and equality. Nothing wrong with that. Personally speaking the more the better as it promotes pro-activity rather than passivity.

However, there has been disquiet in some quarters recently that all this open access is causing a “dumbing down” of quality content on the web. Andrew Keen commented on this in great detail in his book “The Cult of the Amateur” subtitling it as “How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture”. Although Keen puts forward a clear argument for closed portals and platforms he disregards the democratic ethos of the web.

Then FFFFound! comes along. A website that is brimming with a seemingly endless stream of excellent images “found” on the web and displayed on the site. Significantly FFFFound only allows registration to the site via referral from existing users and is therefore a self-regulating “closed” site. The casual visitor is allowed to view but not contribute.

mushroom_clown1

In restricting users it conforms to Keen’s ideas of keeping the amateurs out. Indeed its supporters believe that the site would be swamped with inferior content by keeping them out and  imply this has affected photo sharing sites like Flickr detrimentally. Conversely detractors accuse the site of being elitist.

FFFFound is undoubtedly a great way for designers and creatives to develop ideas and an outstanding image bookmarking service. There is strong emphasis on typography and photography and is a bit like browsing through a combination of old Graphis journals and Luerzers Archive.

The big question is whether this is a trend set to continue on the web. With a plethora of video and picture sharing sites already on the web are sites like FFFFound the way forward? Only time will tell.

Taking Stock

Category : Animation, Digital Media, highlight

control_masterAnimation comes in all shapes and sizes. But the use of digital technology has helped animators create animations that appear to have a traditional look and quality but are in fact multiple layers of digital information.

A case in point is the animating excellence of Run Wrake. His uses of traditional illustrations within a digital environment are impressive, quirky and wonderfully surreal. A highly original style facilitated and developed on his acclaimed short “Rabbit”. 

Last year he was commissioned by VEER, a Canadian Visual Elements Agency to produce an animation in his inimitable collage style using their vintage stock art CSA images. What he produced was the Sci-Fi pulp-comic animation short “The Control Master”. 

Set in Halftone City the story jovially depicts what happens when a powerful device falls into the hands of scientist-turned-villain Doctor Moire. Great soundtrack too.

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Gui Boratto – Take My Breath Away

Category : Digital Media, Electronica, highlight, Minimal House

guiborattoI remember what a revelation it was the first time I heard Arquipelago, one of Gui Boratto’s early singles. Although the sound of this tune was distinctively sparse his music is not definitively minimal. More importantly Boratto’s recent releases prove his ability to consistently create compelling sounds in an arena where remaining relevant is a hard task.

Now I’m not one who likes the use of vocals in electronic music unless they are heavily distorted. Indeed I tend to skip past anything that resembles a “proper” vocal. They always remind me with horror of the “I want to take you higher!” mindless disco dancer brigade. Gui Boratto is one of the rare exceptions to this rule as he manages to limit the vocals to short and minor components. On the beautifully lush “No Turning Back” Boratto’s wife, Luciana Villanova is given vocal duties. Thankfully these are short and subtly embedded into the track with plinky noises and distorted guitars and survives with no real harm done to the music. I await with anticipation a distorted vocoder vocal remix a la the 2007 “Beautiful Life “Sascha Funke Remix as a more edgy alternative.

“Take My Breath Away” develops themes and samples explored on his first album Chromophobia. On the title track Boratto employs his trademark deep throbbing drone that he so thrillingly utilized on Arquipelago. The rest of the album is liberally sprinkled with bleeps and ambient refrains and a carefully concealed bass line intermittently surfaces to dramatic effect throughout the album. This pays homage in part to New Order’s Peter Hook and shows Boratto’s ability to transcend the electronic musical genre and reach out to a wider music audience. His strength is his consistency and quality tunes and this album delivers on both.

Art, Science and Technology Converge

Category : Animation, Digital Media, Electronica, highlight

 

radiohead1With the relentless proliferation of digital technology its good to see art, science and technology converging to push the boundaries of creativity.

It’s no great surprise that Radiohead, familiar to breaking boundaries and tradition, would be there at the forefront of pop promo production. They recently commissioning a video that uses “No lights, no cameras – just a scanner on a dolly” for their song ‘House of Cards’. The video is created using 64 rotating lasers and shoots in a 360 degree radius at 900 times per minute. Puts a different spin on lights, camera, action….. Cue scanner, cue rotating lasers!

Director James Frost makes a bold observation stating that “In a weird way it’s a direct reflection on our society in that everything around us is data… driven… Our lives are digital.” See the video below.

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Watch the making of the video here

or have a play with the interactive head here

Meanwhile in the world of art this intriguing “Design and the Elastic Mind” website at Museum of Modern Art in New York has lots of inspiring ideas using tagging to display content. It’s a refined use of Adobe Flex Builder2 and Flash CS3.

The site covers diverse art developments into nanostructures, biological systems, topography, and cosmology where artists, scientists and programmers work in close proximity.

Julius Popp‘s bit.fall is one such example. This project unleashes a stream of randomly selected text from the internet in the form of a technologically sophisticated waterfall. Bit.fall uses 128 computer controlled nozzles to create words out of water droplets. Popp’s work is acknowledged not only by the art world but also in the field of scientific research.

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Minilogue: Hitchhiker’s Choice – Advertisers’ Choice

Category : Animation, Digital Media, Electronica, highlight, Minimal House

minilogue-animalsMinilogue reside in Malmo. They have brought a freshness and vitality to electronica and have made a large contributed to the rise in popularity of minimal house. Another notable is The Field aka Axel Willner.

Below is the beautifully animated video that accompanies the equally great Minilogue tune “Hitchhiker’s Choice”. The stop-frame animation was created using a whiteboard and non-permanent pen by Kristofer Strom.

The video has had a high level of viewing on video-sharing sites and we know what happens when this new phenomena reaches critical mass….. In walk the those lovely advertising people to use it to sell us some product or other. Strom made a commercial for Carphone Warehouse which is shown here beneath the original. I hope he got paid well for it as the original must have been a labour of love. They’ve even kept the Minilogues’s original tune too.

Original Minilogue video

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The new Carphone Warehouse Ad “A Brief History of Communication”

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Sonar with Lyrics

Category : Animation, Digital Media, Electronica, highlight, Minimal House

sonar_with-lyricsAs this is my first post I thought I’d start with great piece of work that really got me excited when I first saw it back in February 07. It’s created using an object orientated program (OOP) called Processing which is developed by MIT, open source and free to download. It uses programming to randomise shapes and objects.

 

The creator of this work is a person known by the pseudonym of Flight 404. He’s chosen a track by Goldfrapp which is perfect for the style and visual representation. The images react to the layers of music.

 

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