Blog of me. I’m Alexander Jones.

29 November 2009

Some Short Tune Reviews from TATW 296

Thought I'd review the tracks played on this week's Trance Around The World to force me to listen properly! Here it goes.

Dan Stone "Fahrenheit" (Anjunabeats)
Arbitrary piano over stock pads and plucks with a standard bass progression. As expected from Dan Stone, crisp production, but can't help think that this track is born of a need to get another pay cheque in from Anjunabeats. 2/5
Hydro Aquatic "Moon River" (Monster Tunes)
Overused techy side-chain-compressed bass line with a Nitrous Oxide "North Pole"-style theme that Above & Beyond are absolutely caning right now (see "Anjuna Beach"). Nothing much going on here. 2/5
Angelic "It's My Turn 2009" (Darren Tate Remix)
Not much to offer over the older versions other than an updated sound set. Nothing very interesting above that. 2/5
Boom Jinx & Jaytech "Milano" (Anjunadeep)
Wouldn't expect anything less than lush, edgy sounds from Boom Jinx and Jaytech, and they deliver on those grounds. Reasonably funky bass pattern, but gets boring quickly. Good warmup material. 3/5
Mat Zo "Rush 2009" (Anjunabeats)
I'm still caning the original of "Rush", and I was surprised to see an updated version so soon. Borrows even more from the world of tech house. Mat's production is as always very refreshing, but I feel this remake deducts more than it adds. I will forego this one for the original. 3/5
Temple One "Sahara Nights" (Steve Brian Remix) (Enhanced Recordings)
Typical Anjuna-fodder. Good production, but totally generic sounds and theme. Also, the guy has two first names. 2/5
EverLight "Colours" (Cressida Remix)
Delightful themes with a blissful atmosphere. Adventurous accompanying parts give this track some nice originality. Great flow and solid production. 3/5
Everything But The Girl "Missing" (Greg Downey Remix)
Greg delivers a typically techy concoction balanced with the iconic breakdown lifted from the original Todd Terry mix. Absolutely fantastic take on the theme, I just wish he could have made something out of it for the main part instead of resorting to pretty generic tech trance beats. Regardless, how can this not go off in a club? 3/5
Edu pres. Time Traveler "Save The Planet" (Cramp Remix) (Levare)
Arbitrary piano and more boring plucks on the break, but the build up seems to pay off. The theme brings a smile to my face, even though it's quite simple. 3/5
Filo & Peri feat. Aruna "Ashley" (Alex M.O.R.P.H. Remix) (Vandit)
Heavy peak-time tech trancer with pretty good vocal work and disgusting(-ly good) bass programming. Not much love, but very functional. 3/5
Chapter XJ "Resurrection" (Jorn van Deynhoven Remix) (Monster)
Almost-arbitrary piano breakdown, but completely forgiven by a real crowd-pleaser of a theme. This is big-smile, textbook trance. I have been going absolutely nuts for this in the clubs. 4/5
Paul Keely "Cloud 9" (Anjunadeep)
Eighth-note progressive house. Functional, but somewhat uninspired percussion. A gorgeous and well programmed 4 bar theme, but not much going on other than that. 3/5
Jerome Isma-Ae "Hold That Sucker Down" (Pilot 9)
Tech house beats with a classic-sounding, dark and moody theme. Pretty cool, but I don't feel much emotional attachment. 3/5
Sunny Lax "Misgrey" (Anjunabeats)
Now this is a side of Sunny Lax I didn't expect to see. Techy beats and fresh, interesting sound work. I absolutely cannot resist the theme! Mesmerising bass, decorated beautifully and tastefully. Just try and keep me off the dance floor. 4/5
Markus Schulz "Do You Dream?" (Grube & Hovsepian Remix) (Coldharbour)
Nice theme with a big spacious sound. Ticks all the boxes, but somehow doesn't really do that much for me. 3/5
Mark Pledger feat. Melinda Gareh "Time Stands Still" (Solaris)
Gorgeous sounds and and a theme that, if a bit indulgent at times, practically melts my spine. Hypnotic, progressive and full of the trance sensibilities I long for. A genuine, refreshing arrangement and form, though, like "Fallen Tides" I am left feeling a little lost in the theme sometimes. Looking forward to remixes. 3 4 3 4/5

10 September 2009

Today’s hack: CD wallet inlay track listings generator

If you’re a CD DJ, and, like me, you’re used to scrawling the names of the tracks you’ve just burnt down onto a piece of paper and slotting it into your CD wallet, you probably know how difficult it is to write legibly in a small space.

So, I hacked this Python tool together to generate a printable PDF from some simple text files. There is no graphical interface (yet), just a simple command line interface.

All you have to do is:

  1. Create a folder full of plain text files like such:

    Artist 1 - Title 1
    Artist 2 - Title 2
    Artist 3 - Title 3
    ... etc.

    that is, the CD label goes on the first line, and then the track listing goes on each line after that. The file names do not matter, but it's probably a good idea to use the same thing for the label and filename.

  2. Run the tool as such:

    python /path/to/ /path/to/tracklisting/files/*
  3. Out pops the PDF “output.pdf” in the working directory. Print it off, and cut it out! Happy times!

The code is up on Launchpad at Please feel free to submit patches or suggestions for any improvements you may have!

03 September 2009

A Protest Against “Wall-to-Wall” Conversations on Facebook

Do people realise that when they write a “private” wall post on their friend’s or loved one’s wall, that it shows up on all of their friends’ home pages? Does anyone really care to read half a conversation?

As a mild method of comical protest, I’ve started hitting “Like” on such posts to politely remind and simultaneously freak out people who do this. I think everyone should join in the fun.

Jane → Joe: night night darling ;) xxxxx

15 people like this.

Send a message instead! No-one else gives a shit!

19 April 2009

Conservapedia: Infuriating and Malicious

Question: What do you get when people with a political and religious agenda decide to create their own version of Wikipedia? Answer: Conservapedia.

From their own “About” page:

We do not allow liberal bias to deceive and distort here.

The sheer hypocrisy of this statement is astonishing. Articles I have skim-read include those on Evolution, Atheism, Homosexuality and (just LOL) The Great Flood and are completely biased far beyond anything I’ve ever seen on Wikipedia.

Make no mistake, this is not even an attempt to distill information of subjectivity. This is an attempt to shield people from consensual truths which right-wing bigots and religious zealots find uncomfortable or incompatible with their belief systems.

Now, it’s fair enough to have all of this “information” on a website; I’m a strong believer in Freedom of Speech. The most infuriating aspect of this is that somehow, there is a plethora of genuinely useful and legitimate information on there, diluting the bullshit considerably. Earlier today I had searched Google for “matrix multiplication suffix notation” and the Conservapedia article Matrix was the top result. It is clear to me that the intention of this project is to blur the line between fact and fiction, to teach objectively and subjectively in order to mislead, and to cast doubt in the mind of the reader on issues that are as plain as black and white in the Real World.

I consider this one of the highest crimes of humanity; the corruption of the human mind. Alas, this is only really a 21st century extension of an age-old war, and with the Web rapidly supplanting all other formats as information outlets, I suppose it was only a matter of time before those who were brainwashed as kids by colouring books and Sunday School grew up and took it to the tubes.

Of course, the right way to combat this is to make sure that the best information is in its rightful place: Wikipedia. So that’s why I’m going there right now to figure out why Wikipedia wasn’t in the search results. Hopefully, other people will do the same.

The Wikipedia article on Conservapedia is an interesting read.

18 February 2009

The Signs of Autism

A hot, young girl with pigtails == autism, apparently.

Anyone know what’s going on here?

09 February 2009

How to get beautiful, Mac OS X-quality text/fonts in Ubuntu

Want text to look its finest in Ubuntu?

You’re just a couple of steps away.

Firstly, in a shell, run:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config

Select “None” for the “font tuning method”, “Automatic” for “subpixel rendering” and “No” for “enable bitmap fonts”.

For some reason, the default greyscale mode overrides the subpixel rendering set by fontconfig, so you also need to open System → Preferences → Appearance, select the “Fonts” page and choose the “Subpixel smoothing (LCDs)” mode.

You’ll notice that while the text has slightly less contrast, it actually preserves the form of the letter shapes much more faithfully, just like Mac OS X. As long as you don't have a low resolution monitor (less than 96 dpi), the characters will appear to be just like printed type, and you’ll forget you’re looking at a grid of pixels!


03 January 2009

SomaFM Tag's Trip

I've recently started listening to Soma FM's trance / progressive house channel, Tag's Trip. It's awesome, and makes for a refreshingly less-inbred listening experience than Last FM. (Not that I don't still love Last FM!)

Soma FM - enjoy!