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Notebook 3

Posted 2018-06-07. Permalink. Tagged music, photo.

Notebook 3, completed & filed June 7th 2018.

Photo of a closed composition notebook Photo of the inside of the same notebook

Necrotech, Nanoshock

Posted 2017-12-15. Permalink. Tagged 2010s, book, cyberpunk, paperback, photo, scifi.

Necrotech, Nanoshock books

Necrotech by K.C. Alexander. Angry Robot Books, 2016.
Nanoshock by K.C. Alexander. Angry Robot Books, 2017.

Filthy, angry, and a lot of fun. "Profane & Proud" is written on the back of Nanoshock, and they mean it. Reads like a great Cyberpunk 2020 campaign. That's maybe unfair - there's a lot more going on in these books than in your average game of CP2020 - but it's the comparison that immediately comes to mind.

I'm a fan.

Posting because I've just started Nanoshock.

MTT No. 026 / Movement Through Thought

Posted 2017-08-25. Permalink. Tagged anonradio, electro, miami bass, movement through thought, music, photo, radio.

MTT026 Spectrogram

Mid 2000s Florida electro. Right-click save-as here or on the spectrogram above to download the mix from aNONradio's archives.

  1. DJ Overdose / The Beat
  2. Exzakt / More Bounce To The Ounce
  3. Silicon / Silicon
  4. Netzwerk Florida / Earth.Wind.Fire (Instrumental)
  5. Exzakt / Musik Is The Drug
  6. E.V.A.C. / Terra (Salim Rafiq's Anti Terra-rist Remix)
  7. Resident Alien / Movement Through Thought
  8. T.E.S.T. & Excel / No Disgrace In The Bass
  9. Brice Kelly / Phony Tech Support
  10. Sound Chasers / Sonar
  11. Brice Kelly / Unmanned March
  12. Xerodefx / Fatal Brain Reactions
  13. Brice Kelly / New Awareness
  14. Exzakt / Futureshock
  15. Xerodefx / Onya
  16. T.E.S.T. & Excel / It Seems To Me

These are some of my favorite records. This radio program itself, Movement Through Thought, is named after the Resident Alien track in this mix.

More Monotone USA again, and a small selection of Frajile Records (Bandcamp) and Exceleration Records. I have the complete run of Exceleration, and nearly the complete run of Monotone. The later Exceleration releases (in particular the two T.E.S.T. records) are unbelievably good. Unfortunately I'm missing pieces of the Frajile catalog, most importantly Florida Electro Artists Vol. 1 and the two Resident Alien 12"s. They're shooting up in value, too, so it's unlikely I'll be able to pick them up soon.

These tracks hit a real sweet spot for me. I don't think I can describe why, exactly. I'm not much of a writer. TR-808 or TR-808-like drums, synth leads & arpeggios, pitched bass samples, not overcompressed so as to be too loud. (With the exception of those Brice Kelly releases - there's more compression going on there than I like...). Some air left in the sound, so you can hear some subtlety in it.

Blurry photo of 2000s Florida electro records

I completely forgot about that Decibel Festival 2006 flyer in the sleeve of MON004. I keep flyers, tickets, and receipts inside the poly sleeves of records...

Stanton SCS.4DJ Notes & Review

Posted 2017-07-17. Permalink. Tagged 2010s, equipment, linux, music, photo, review, scs4dj.

The SCS.4DJ is a "Digital DJ Mixstation" made by Stanton Magnetics. It's a little standalone workstation unit with a "Coldfire" ARM (ARM10TDMI?) board in it that runs Linux (2.6.14?) and a custom set of DJ software. The unit seems to have been engineered, both hardware and software, by a company called IVL Audio. The current equivalent product, functionality-wise, would be something like the Pioneer XDJ-RX.

Stanton SCS.4DJ Photo

I purchased one of these at clearance prices in 2015. It is both one of the worst and best pieces of DJ equipment I've ever used.

Worst because it's incredibly cheaply made. The control surface itself - the buttons, knobs & sliders - require a very light touch to keep from breaking. The mixer section of mine lasted a year before it started to bleed sound. The computer in the device is underpowered. Even the jacks seem flimsy.

Which is a shame, because the SCS.4DJ does something truly great: it plays two mp3 files simultaneously, through seperate outputs, with pitch and transport control, in a small and lightweight package. I run one "deck" on the SCS.4DJ out the headphone output and the other out the main, with both plugged into my DJ mixer. And there it becomes one of the best: feed it good data, use fast USB drives, handle it carefully and it'll run all night no problem.

The dj software the device runs seems to be called, appropriately, "djapp". It uses GTK2 for its UI and runs Xfbdev(1) to display graphics. It keeps its database in SQLite 3.x format. For it to operate smoothly, feed it good data. I've tried both FLAC and MP3 files, and FLAC has always caused problems. (I suspect because my USB media devices don't have the throughput to stream that much data). I've never had any issues with MP3 files I've encoded myself with LAME.

Maybe I'm being a little unfair with respect to the hardware. As DJWorx noted in their review, the jogwheels are very good. They easily make up for the lack of resolution available with the pitch slider. And while the device always feels like it wants to break, it has not done so yet. Just... don't press anything too hard.

I plan to write a companion to this post about Quickgrid - what it is, how it works, and how to re-implement it using bourne shell, WINE, and parts of the Quickgrid package. That post will come once I clean up my script.

Some of the information in this post is based on the blog post Stanton SCS.4DJ - Under The Hood by Kris Sum at Switch Systems. The rest I gleaned myself from running strings(1) against binaries packed in the SCS.4DJ software update. If my SCS4 ever becomes unusable for DJing, or if I pick up a second one, I'll try to continue Kris' line of exploration (network connectivity, SSH).

So yeah. Apologies if that rambled a bit. I don't recommend this thing to other DJs, as it's too cheaply made and a bit too particular about its data. But if you're a Linux/Unix person this thing is fascinating.