Displays of Affection

Some might think I have more money than sense.  They clearly haven't seen my bank account.  Or my aptitude test results... Anywho, those who truly know me know that I'm a sucker for a big screen.  I love to have gazillions of pixels flung at my retinas like arrows at Nameless.  When I don't have to squint at programs, I work quicker, longer, harder, better, faster, stronger.  The only thing better than a big screen?  Two big screens.  My bedroom studio setup, therefore, looked like this:

Two beautiful 19" Dell TFT LCD screens plugged into my Windows machine; plenty of space for tracks, plugins, and waveforms.  But alas, despite the massive desktop area, all was not well (said the ungrateful little Lord to his maidservant).  I couldn't both screens with my Macbook, where I seem to be making most of my music at the moment, and they didn't seem to be getting much use.  Add to that the fact that they took up a lot of space, on the same platform as 2 different pairs of speakers, 2 x external hard drives and other collected dongles and docks, and you begin to see my quandry...  And so I have recently consolidated all my screens into one easy-to-view 24" widescreen HD Iiyama display, and it's purdy:

The Iiyama B2409HDS boasts a massive 1920x1080 resolution and features DVI, D-Sub and HDMI inputs, so it's plenty versatile.  It even has a couple of speakers built-in, so I can theoretically keep playing my PS3 in full 1080p HD glory if my big telly ever moves, say, out of my bedroom into the living room??!  (as if.)

One of my favourite features is the stand.  As well as being able to rotate left and right and tilt up and down, it sits on a shaft that allows it to actually raise/lower depending on what height you're sitting it.  Kinda reminds me of how Johnny 5 raises up on his cat-tracks to hug Ally Sheedy.  Damn lucky robot.

But by far my favourite feature, one that I enjoyed with the Dell displays, is its ability to rotate its screen orientation from landscape to portrait, which is really useful for working with different apps.  For example, my setup when creating music with Reason involves using my Macbook as the sequencer screen, and the second display in portrait orientation for displaying my equipment rack, which being long and thin lends itself well to a portrait orientation:

Being able to orient the display in portrait also lends itself to other applications, such as writing long documents/screenplays, organising a playlist, viewing a large photo library, or measuring the exact length of an elongated feline memestar:

The display was second hand from a guy on a computer forum I frequent and he sold it for a good price.  I must admit, I experienced slight buyer's remorse after I'd paid for it, just simply because I felt a little guilty about spending out on yet another gadget, but I'm really glad I bought it now, and I reckon after I've managed to sell the old screens off, I'll feel even better.

Teenage Engineering's OP-1

Yes, another synthy post.  It's Musikmesse 2010, whatdya expect??

As well as saving for a Roland SH-01, I have also been following the progress of the little synth that could from unknown garage tinkerers 'Teenage Engineering'.  Although you really can't call the OP-1 a 'synth', it's so much more, and so much less, all at the same time... It's hard to explain, so why not read what Create Digital Music had to say about it a couple of months back....


I'm a little bit in love with this newly announced synth from Roland:

The Gaia SH-01 is a small but fun-packed little synth keyboard. It has an infinitely 'tweakable' front panel, with all the synth parameters set out as faders and knobs.  From left to right, you control modulation, oscillators, and amplitude envelope. It also features a pitch/mod paddle, arpeggiator and phrase recorder, and adds newer features like easy preset access, D-Beam, and an effects section.

Ever since I became interested in synthesisers in my early teens, I've wanted to own one of Roland's famed SH series keyboards.  One of my musical idols, Edgar Winter, played  the series' first iteration, the SH-1000 in the 70s.

As if you need another reason, just pause reading this for 9 minutes and watch him rock that thing on the Old Grey Whistle Test:

Then in the 80s, it was all about the SH-101.  Its straightforward systematic interface allowed the creation of fat monophonic basslines and squealing lead riffs, all instantly editable via the no-nonsense knob and fader interface.  I actually knew someone who owned one, but gave it away.  Fool.

And then the series continued with the SH-201.  Adding new Roland features for the 21st century, this was the next logical progression in the SH series.  I came upon one during a visit to Techniquest; suffice to say I didn't learn much about pulleys or refraction or the solar system on that trip....

Something about these synths has always sat well with me.  I was turned on to synths at a time when most keyboards had you delving through menus and squinting desperately trying to work out what letter was was trying to be produced by the 7-piece LED display.  These ones seemed so simple in comparison; a logical progression of 'first I do this, then I do this, then I do this to get the sound I want'.  I always wanted to own one of these, so that I could get really 'hands-on' with my noisemaking.  Unfortunately they were either extremely rare, out of production, or too rich for my blood.  Well, this new model has me thinking maybe I should start saving....anyone wanna buy a MicroKorg??

You can read a short preview/watch some promotional videos of its capabilities here.

A picture-based joke regarding synthesisers.


Scott Pilgrim is a Teaser

Great teaser poster for the movie of the only comic book series I've ever really read:

Quite excited for this now.....



Just wanted to mention that in June I will be seeing ‘Flight of the Conchords’ in Manchester. And this photo of them playing in Vancouver gets me WELL excited:

OK Go....

When OK Go stop making videos, I will stop watching them agog:

This is the second video for their latest single, 'This Too Shall Pass'.  The first was equally impressive and featured a marching band, but their record label wouldn't allow users to embed the video to their own sites, a move which effectively killed its chances of becoming as viral as their previous and well-publicised/parodied efforts.

Sometimes..........I worry about the majors...