Archive | January, 2011

Free MP3: my miserable doomcore/bleakstep project

31 Jan

miserable-pictureOne of the most popular musical genres at the moment is doomstep/dubcore/bleakgarage/misery. It’s kind of been around since Burial first came along and made 2-step sound like the end of the world, but there’s been a resurgence of late – probably because of the ‘current economic climate’, etc.

Artists such as Babe Rainbow (whose year-old track PopCommon is still several shades of amazing) are taking the Burial template and running with it to horrific new places, most of which are the sort of places you’d expect to find dead animals.

Anyway. I thought I’d do my bit to get involved in the movement and have started work on my own as-yet-untitled doomstep/crycore/horrorbeat project. Basically I’m trying to represent the bleak outlook many of us in society face through the medium of sound, while also pointing out how easy it is to be an ‘audio pioneer’ or whatever these days.

You can find the first fruits of my labour below. To me it sounds like Aphex Twin, Burial and Massive Attack all killing themselves in a bath as part of some sort of bizarre death pact, but also a completely original work.


Survivor Envy – Untitled Doomstep Project

Boysnoize Records Super Acid Compilation Sampler

30 Jan

boysnoize-super-acid-cd-coverBoys Noize, aka German electro producer/remixer/god Alex Ridha, has been knocking about since the mid-00s Kitsune/blog house boom and churning out amazing reswizzles and original tracks ever since.

For about the same amount of time, Ridha has had a label, Boysnoize Records, which he founded “to retain his full artistic freedom while releasing his own music,” etc etc.

Tomorrow (31 Jan), Boysnoize is bringing out a Super Acid compilation featuring modern updates of the classic acid sound (basically Acid Trax by Phuture with 21st century production). Check out the sampler medley below.

Boysnoize Records – Super Acid Medley

And while we’re on the subject of Boys Noize, let’s have a little listen to my favourite moment of his – Shine Shine, as remixed by the might AC Slater.

Boys Noize – Shine Shine (AC Slater Bootleg Remix)

Great success of the week: found out how to embed Soundcloud tracks.

‘Jessica Ennis bum’ in Daily Mail SEO fail

29 Jan

British heptathlete Jessica Ennis returns to competition this weekend, but a quick glance at Google reveals her on-track prowess is not the only thing our news outlets are interested in.


Closer inspection reveals that this cheap attempt at search traffic-baiting isn’t as blatant as you might think. No, these words appear within the story, in the context of the interviewer telling Ennis about terms popularly associated with her name by Google’s predictive search entry box:

“Jessica Ennis boyfriend, jessica ennis bum, jessica ennis sweat session, jessica ennis pictures,
jessica ennis bikini.

“There are no pictures of me in a bikini on the web,” confirms the athlete. But the Mail man continues with his list: “Jessica Ennis hot”. Apparently this last entry causes her to squeal with approval.

Obvious attempt at tabloid SEO or valid demo of Ennis’s transition from athlete to search celeb? It’s a grey area. Perhaps the journalist’s point was genuine. Indeed, this blog post could be accused of traffic-baiting in a similar way to Alan Fraser’s piece. Either way, it shows one thing: modern news writing could/should show awareness of trending keywords, and use them in a relevant/creative way.

The days of BRITNEY SPEARS PICTURES crowbarring random GLEE keyphrases into JAY Z MP3 articles are SIMON COWELL AMERICAN X FACTOR long gone.

UPDATE: Click the link for a bonus Jessica Ennis bum picture. Phwoar, eh, lads?

Targets for 2011 revisited

29 Jan

target-archeryThe other day I blogged about how a conversation with a colleague had inspired me to set some blogging targets for 2011, the idea being that if I had goals to aim for, I was more likely to make an effort.

Things were going well: I had posted more in the last week than I had in the past year, and weekly traffic was at an all time high. Indeed, last Thursday (27 January) I was just one pageview away from equalling my best ever day. Obviously this was still a pitiful figure but at least it seemed like things were on the up.

Then came Friday, when I got two pageviews. Two. I couldn’t really understand it since I’d been doing all the right things and traffic had been growing every day. I was a bit disheartened, which highlights one of the stumbling blocks people encounter when they set out trying to use content in order to grab traffic from the search engines.

In my day job I regularly advise people that the more they write, the more visible their site will be to Google and the more clicks they will get. It’s great when a site owner latches onto the theory and is inspired to start writing news and blogs about their industry. But they can be put off if the results take a while to come, or if there are regular blips like mine last Friday.

The key is to keep on keeping on. Plough ahead with the content writing and eventually the rewards will outweigh the bad days when no one comes to read your carefully crafted piece about Timbaland’s weird faces, or whatever it is you’ve written about. It’s advice I’ll be following myself, although if traffic doesn’t pick up soon I will be deleting the blog.

Dr Dre MP3: new track I Need A Doctor featuring Eminem

29 Jan

There are rumours flying about left, right and centre about whether or not this new Dr Dre track doing the rounds, called I Need A Doctor (although why a qualified doctor would need a doctor is beyond me – unless this is Eminem saying ‘I need a doctor’, as in, ‘I need Dr Dre for inspiration etc’; or perhaps it is some sort of wider metaphor/thing about how the music industry/world needs a doctor and that doctor should be Dr Dre), is the real deal.

Here are the options:

  • This is the ‘second cut’ off Dr Dre’s forthcoming Detox album
  • This is a cutting room floor sweeping from Eminem’s Recovery LP

Whatever the truth, it’s a fairly decent listen. It sounds like Eminem complaining while someone bangs a barrel, which is more or less what you expect these days. Dr Dre only turns up after three and a half minutes and goes on for a bit about how all he needs is Em, everyone else can fuck off, blah blah blah.

Score: 59/100

Download: Dr Dre – I Need A Doctor (MP3 // MediaFire)


Yuck – Holing Out

28 Jan

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that 90% of all music made with guitars is terrible (FYI music made with computers is only 40% terrible).

Every so often a band comes along whose ‘output’ falls within the 10% of non-rubbish guitar music. A recent example is popular hype combo Yuck, who may or may not have been on the BBC Sound of 2011 poll. They probably were, they seem like the sort of band that would be.

Yuck have got a song called Holing Out, which is quite listenable. I’ve ’embedded’ the ‘promo’ below so you can make your own mind up about the hip new hype band Yuck.

It does sound a bit like The Vines, though, doesn’t it. And we all know how that ended up. Tsk.

How to iron a shirt

27 Jan

The best ever guide on how to iron a shirt

So, recently I’ve started to wear a suit more often to go to meetings and what have you. The plus side is that you get extra social kudos from the ingrained societal beliefs surrounding sharp dressing. The down side is that creases aren’t cool, so you have to do some ironing.

I’ve had mixed results so far so I decided to do some research into how to iron a shirt and get the best results. It turns out I’ve basically been doing exactly the right thing but not very well. It was a damning blow really, I was hoping to find out where I was going wrong – it turns out I was going wrong just by being rubbish.

Anyway I’ve put together this list of top tips on expert shirt ironing, based on my research:

How to iron a shirt

  • Go slowly – most mistakes happen when you’re rushing
  • Turn the sleeves inside out – makes getting into seams easier
  • Tuck the tapered end of the ironing board into the shape of the shirt to hold it in place and provide clean lines for ironing
  • Make sure your ironing board is in good condition – a threadbare/worn down cover will not work
  • Place a large book on the back of the shirt and then ask a heavy person to stand on it
  • Unconfirmed: Fasten the shirt collar during ironing to make it easier
  • Dampen the shirt slightly before ironing it
  • Don’t screw the shirt up at any point – that will spoil it

I hope these top tips help. As for the actual process, I’ve included a tutorial video below, with advice from a very well-spoken chap in a non-creased shirt.

Yelle – Safari Disco Club

27 Jan

Yelle: still French, still amazing.

DID YOU KNOW: Yelle is actually the name of the band that the singer Yelle is the singer in? So it is hard when using the name Yelle to work out if you mean the singer Yelle or the band Yelle that the singer Yelle is the singer in.

Which other bands/singers employ this popular-but-confusing naming strategy?

  • La Roux
  • Goldfrapp
  • Marilyn Manson
  • Bon Jovi
  • Madonna
  • The Streets
  • Pepsi & Shirley
  • Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci

Great Moments in Code #2243

27 Jan

Developers often put comments in their code, sometimes to remind themselves of things or to leave flags for other coders.

Here are some of my favourite comments I found while digging around in the Twitter source code (because that’s how I like to spend my time, obvs).

4) “This must be set absolutely before any other script on the app is loaded for IE7”

3) “This MUST be the last include before the closing <head>  tag”

2) “Avoid “operation aborted” error in IE that can be caused by appending a new element to the body via body.appendChild by a script that is not a direct descendant of the <body>” [OBVIOUSLY]

1) “Manually trigger ready event, avoiding race condition where it never fires due to iframe thingy. This should be safe based on how our script loading is done.”

Google PageRank increase…

26 Jan

In simpler, pre-PageRank times…and The Battle Of The Sexes

Every six months or so, Google updates its PageRank score (named in honour of founder Larry Page) system for websites. There are ways in which it is said to be possible to improve your ranking (‘boost your page rank‘, as the spam sites would have it), including the acquisition of quality inbound links.

I’m not entirely sure how it works – no one is, outside Google – but what I do know is that my old blog had links from a couple of dozen pages on the Guardian, as well as a spread of others from authority blogs, and I ended up with a PageRank 5 site, so there must be some method behind the madness.

ANYWAY. It seems PageRank has become so ingrained in our online culture that it’s even being implicated in the latest round of the battle between the sexes, with one anti-feminist (masculinist?) blog posting about how Google’s recent PageRank update has led to “men’s rights sites” getting equal PR footing with leading feminist blogs for the first time – a landmark, it says.

There’s even excitement around the possibility that one leading site could move up to a PageRank of 6 in the next update because it recently got a link off The New York Times. Needless to say, I can’t find any comment from feminist blogs about PageRank rivalry. Either they are too busy bothering with real issues or statistical envy is a male thing.

I will leave you with this hilarious nuggest from the men’s rights site about how to scupper the online fortune of women:

“A final word of advice. When linking to feminist sites, always be sure to add rel=”nofollow” within the html link tag. This prevents your PageRank ‘linkjuice’ from being passed on to the site of your enemy.”