music

Dispatch 9: I Don't Do Requests

Us and Them

I don't normally do product recommendations in Dispatches, but since it's had a tight grip on my brain, I want to tell others about this amazing photo book I received as a Christmas present.

If you have ever followed fashion photography, you've heard of Helmut Newton. He was absolutely prolific in the 70s and 80s and defined a fairly specific couteur look that became synonymous with French Vogue. His wife of many years, Alice Springs, was also a photographer and artist in her own right and the couple documented their lives and careers. Those photos of their life together were collected in the book "Us and Them."

Even if you're not the biggest fan of Newton's work (I respect his skill, but editorial fashion photography doesn't really "do it" for me), you'll come away with an appreciation for both of Helmut and Alice. They are clearly a powerful duo. The images collected over their lives are remarkable for the breadth. I came away feeling like I knew these people.

I highly recommend this and for the price, you'll be glad you bought it for yourself or some other shutterbug in your life.

The most expensive media

Techmoan posted a video detailing the most expensive home audio format: reel to reel tapes.

As usual the video gets into the fascinating details of the technology. Reel to reel was always an enthusiast format. It was more cumbersome than vinyl albums or enclosed tape formats like cassettes and 8-tracks. But the up side was that, if properly mastered, the tapes wound sound far better than just about any other format. There are some additional caveats to that, but it is still pretty interesting to see that tapes are still being produced (albeit at exorbitant prices.)

Play it again

There are no shortage of piano covers on youtube, but I happened to have this particular video recommended to me and it is probably the end-all-be-all of piano cover videos.

 

I didn't bother to even count how many songs Lara6638 plays, but it's an astounding amount only made more remarkable by the fact that she was taking requests live. Since it was originally streamed on Twitch there are a lot of videogame covers (Legend of Zelda makes multiple appearances), but there are a lot of other pop songs in the mix as well.


That'll do it for this dispatch.

Dispatch 6: Leon's Island jams

Nanowripod's final chapter

For the past 4 years I produced (and originally hosted) a podcast about National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) called Nanowripod. By the number of listens, downloads, and comments, it is probably the most successful things I've worked on outside of my "civilian" career.

However, the core group (Jim, Ed, and I) have found our interests diverging and the workload of trying to do a Nanowripod season without our hearts really being in it didn't feel like something we should do. We also didn't want to just abandon the podcast, as happens to so many shows.

So we recorded our "Omega episode" a couple weeks ago. Please give it a listen and don't hesitate to go back to the whole show.

Leon's latest mix on Soundcloud is something else:

It turns out that the guy with the Yoshi's Island twitter avatar has a thing for sunshine-y bouncy dance music. Go figure.

While the days are getting shorter and colder, this is something to help keep a bit of summer going.

 

20 year old Doom videos look better than ones from 10 years ago

I'm still on my Doom kick from the past few weeks, so why not share this interesting nugget from decades ago.

I was a bit young, and my computer was a bit too isolated to participate in Doom deathmatches, but I remember that multiplayer was definitely a big selling point for Doom, and even moreso for Quake. Unlike with most games, if you wanted to record a video of you playing a game back in the 90s you either needed a very specialized piece of hardware that could capture the video output, or you would just point a camera at your monitor.

Doom, however, had a brilliant feature that let you record "demos" of yourself playing. The demo is the gameplay that occurs when the game first starts and you're still navigating the menu. By default there is some pretty rudimentary gameplay in the demo, but players can basically record anytime they're playing, including multiplayer matches. These demo files used the game engine for playback, so they didn't require a video encoding to be saved. Anyone with the game (millions of players) could load up a demo and watch it run.

What this meant was that players could record high quality, low filesize, 'videos' of their gameplay which could be shared easily even back in the old dial-up days. Because the game engine plays back the demo, a player using modern HD capture software can now make high quality videos for Youtube of classic Doom deathmatches and speedruns from decades ago.

Check this out:

And that'll do for this dispatch. It's a bit lighter than I would like, but I've been holding out on this one for a while and I want to put together a properly spooky dispatch for all you groovie ghoulies.