Archive for the 'Music' Category

MixTape.me – Slick Browser-Based Music Player

March 24, 2009

I’ve just this minute discovered MixTape.me, a new music-based mashup (via ReadWriteWeb).

For those wondering, it’s a little bit like the now partially-defunct Muxtape, except far more flexible in its ability to create, manage and share playlists. It sits in your browser happily playing away, but the interface feels like a desktop application (like Spotify). In short, it’s very slick and seemingly has access to a large number of copyrighted tracks. As RWW puts it:

And the music.. where does the music come from? Good question.. the answer is, a lot of places; cloud storage, web sites, SeeqPod. In fact, the site is careful to keep that information behind the scenes. What you are left with is a clean, very desktop music player-like experience.

It’s in open beta and the main feature it’s missing for me is last.fm scrobbling integration. However, it wasn’t long before Spotify introduced this feature after they went into beta, so here’s hoping it might pop up at Mixtape.me soon!

How long until the RIAA pounce with their crack unit of highly trained copyright lawyers? Anyone’s guess. Until then, I suggest you enjoy it while it lasts.

10000 Tracks Scrobbled On Last.fm

March 9, 2009

In the grand tradition of my two previous posts on this topic, I’ve just passed my latest milestone on Last.fm – 10,000 tracks scrobbled! And which song marked this grand occasion? Why, this one:

RobynBe Mine!

Since I last wrote about scrobbling milestones in September 2008, Last.fm have significantly expanded their selection of full tracks so you can listen to this one for free at least three times before they cut you off. Or else you can download Spotify (assuming you’re in the UK or Europe, that is) and listen to it all you want. Or you could just buy it I suppose… Hey, it’s a great album.

Best of Bootie 2008

December 31, 2008

Best of Bootie 2008

D (from AplusD) just dropped a comment on my About page to let you know that the latest Best of Bootie mashup mix is now available. Check it out:

Best of Bootie 2008 CD

I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but you should expect the same high quality mashup goodness that we’ve come to expect over the last few years of Best of Bootie, including mashups by Earworm, Party Ben, Lobsterdust and Divide & Kreate.

If you haven’t checked out previous years’ Best of mixes, you can find all the links at the page above.

5000 Tracks Scrobbled On Last.fm

September 17, 2008

A landmark event! Earlier today I listened to my 5,000th track on Last.fm:

FeistThe Water

And what a fittingly awesome tune to mark the occasion! My last major Last.fm landmark was back in January, at which point I’d listened to 1,000 tracks.

Interestingly, between the time I passed the 5,000 mark this morning and the time of writing this, Last.fm has altered the way it displays your track count. It now looks a little like an old-school tape deck counter.

Nice touch!

Additionally, when you hover over the count it tells you your average number of tracks per day. Mine currently stands at 13 per day. Not bad – equivalent to roughly one album’s worth of songs consumed every day. But could do better! Actually though, this data is skewed because I didn’t really use Last.fm much for the first couple of months back when I installed it. Also, since January I’ve been listening to a lot more music!

If, like me, you’re a stats-fiend and you also love Last.fm, you could do worse than checking out the Last.fm Stats group! This includes links to all sorts of tag cloud generators and eclectic music/open-mindedness calculators based on your listening history in Last.fm.

See you back here in about 8 months when I hit the 10K mark. By my calculations, I’ll need to up my listening game to an average of just 20.5 tracks per day to reach this within 8 months.

Audiosurf: Dethron’d

June 29, 2008

No, this isn’t about me stumbling upon an Audiosurf-killer. It’s about the game emailing you whenever someone beats your score! Check this out (via Google Mail):

Dethroned

Now, I don’t know who this Disco8X might be, but he’s going down! No one’s beating my Casual score for “Let Me Drown” by Soundgarden.

*Ten minutes and several attempts later…*

Okay, well it seems Disco8X ain’t no fool. Part of the problem is that it’s going to be difficult – if not impossible – to score any higher than I already have done on my favourite game mode (Mono). Whereas he (or she) has been using the more complicated, but potentially much higher scoring Pointman character.

Denied!

But still, it’s neat that Audiosurf mails you to let you know when you’ve been beaten and humiliated. At least, I think that’s neat…

Radiohead Nude – ZX Spectrum Style

June 10, 2008

You’ve all heard the remixes of “Nude” by Radiohead, right? Well here’s one you might not have heard earlier:

James Houston is a final year student on Glasgow University’s Visual Communication course, and the video above is his end of year project. You’ll have to wait until 1:10 for the “performance” to begin, but it’s so worth it…

Audiosurf: Music + Puzzles = WIN!

June 4, 2008

A couple of nights ago I ventured back to Steam – Valve’s online digital content delivery system – for the first time since I completed Half Life 2: Episode One a year or two ago. At first, I was shocked at the range of titles you can buy – anything from Bioshock to Warhammer 40K; RPGs to insane psychedelic puzzle-action games.

And in that last category I found a gem: Audiosurf.

Audiosurf 1

The idea is simple: hover along a track with three lanes and collect coloured blocks by flying into them. Collect three or more blocks of the same colour and you’ll score points.

Hotter colours (red and yellow) score more than cold colours (blue and purple). And there are powerups scattered along the route which have various helpful effects, from painting all of your accumulated blocks one colour (thus bagging you a larger bonus), to sorting your colours out into neat stacks.

The harder the difficulty setting, the faster blocks fly at you and the trickier it is to make stacks. At some of the harder levels it gets to the point where it’s as much about your reaction speed as planning ahead. But it’s still ludicrously colourful fun.

Audiosurf 2

So where does the “audio” come in?

Audiosurf’s tracks and environment are generated from any digital music file you’ve got on your system. Essentially, it reacts to whatever song you throw at it. The tempo and feel of the song you select determines how the game plays out.

At it’s most basic level, this means a fast, upbeat song will beget a frantic downhill track, with loads of colours and hazards, while a mellow, acoustic number produces a correspondingly chilled uphill track, with fewer blocks.

Of course, there’s a range of characters to choose from, all of which have different abilities. But that – in a nutshell – is what £6.50 ($9.99 + VAT) of your hard-earned crust will buy you: a virtually limitless supply of lo-fi puzzling-action goodness accompanied by great music (assuming you actually like the stuff you’ve got on your hard drive). And it’s maddeningly addictive.

Even better: the latest update incorporates Last.fm scrobbling of all tracks played, so you can share your music while gaming. Perfect!

There’s a taster below if you’re not sure. Some lunatic attempts a run through of DragonForce: Through the Fire and Flames (remember them?) using the Mono game mode. Rock symbols at the ready: \m/

DRM Is Dead; Long Live DRM

May 11, 2008

Oh great:

RIAA says DRM is back — in the future, you won’t own music (from Arstechnica)

This is the latest in a series of moves and pronouncements by their almighty highnesses, the Recording Industry Association of America. Although DRM (Digital Rights Management) has been dropped from the pay-per-track model of unit shifting, it will be very much alive in the “music rental” era which is to come.

Time to start stockpiling CDs, everyone…

London Hang Drum Action

May 7, 2008

If you’re one of the many people who come to this blog because you’re a fan of the hang drum, why not take a look at this short video I took on Saturday of a hang drum artiste in action on the south bank of the Thames:

Sorry about the crappy quality – I recorded this on my phone while I was walking past. Still it’s another to add to the growing repository of hang-related clips on youtube.

Last.fm Weekend Power Troubles Finally Over

April 23, 2008

So it seems that the troubles experienced at Last.fm HQ in London over the weekend are finally over. To be fair, things had started to return to normal by Sunday evening – after a day of occasional weirdness and disappearing tracks on Saturday.

In fact, none of my scrobbles were lost; the worst damage is a missing shout from the weekend, which isn’t exactly the end of the world. Top marks to the server guys who kept users updated on the blog as the (planned) power outage struck.

It took a few days for everything to iron itself out, but this evening I logged on to a reassuring sight:

Lastfm tracks played

My “tracks played” count, of course! It’s been MIA for a few days so it prompted an incredibly geeky and obsessive sigh from yours truly when it finally reappeared… Must. Play. More. Songs.