Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Technicals, the stereo mix

Oh lord, the technicals of gadgets....

Two weeks ago, i bought a new laptop, with windows 8 on. I thought, great, new shiny laptop, will have no problems, right......erm, wrong.

Stereo mix
To broadcast and to do various recordings from different sources, you need a stereo mix driver.  This, in a way, opens your soundcard, so your laptop can record sounds from your decktop( Your own stuff, obviously). Say, you have a video and you can't record the sound? The driver allows you ,with software you have, to capture audio, while it is running.
The other use for this, is broadcasting.  This is the main issue.  Again, this opens up your soundcard, so you can broadcast music from your hard drive and use your microphone at the same time

For some reason, Windows 8 has major issue with two drivers i found. One comes up error and the other just disappears when its supposed to be installed.  Believe me, i went everywhere to try and find the information

It took me a week and still no joy

Solution
There is always an alternative to broadcast a radio show. I used to broadcast in a DJ format, mixing and using two record decks. Then it went to mp3s. Well i reverted back to not using my hard drive a music source. Instead, i used a CD player for CDs and my ipad for mp3s. bingo.  I got a comment from one DJ saying, he had never done that before...er, why not, everyone used to do it and its very good for a backup if anything does go wrong


The good old days of windows 7

In a way i regret selling my Acer. At the time of buying it new,  downloading the stereo driver was far smoother and it worked. I now want to go back to windows 7, download the stereo driver and get on with what i was doing

Now everyone needs a stereo driver, but for many things it is very handy driver to have

Problem solved
I finally discovered it was not Windows 8 that was the issue, it was the Toshiba make of laptop. Its a bit like a phone with Android operating system but on a phone made by Samsung, you have two layers of software working together. On this occasion and for the first time in about 15 years, i had a problem with a make of laptop. To that end, i went out and bought a second hand Acer from someone on Gumtree with Windows 7. What a relief, i was like a kid in candy store
The broadcasts are back to normal, the software works, plays more than format of music. Another great addition is the fact that the music playing appears on the station "Now Playing" section of the website

Thankyou, whoever you are for reading this. Very rarely do i get a sticking problem with a laptop. There are sometimes niggles a long the way, everyone gets them. There are loads of sources of course to get information, one thing i like about the internet


Dj Readman
Radio Variety Show

Monday, 23 December 2013

2013 was the year that was part one. General subject

Three main things happens in 2013

Radio guests and going to gigs

I had many guests down this year. From Blackdoghat, Silverspark, John Cee Stannard and for the first time in many years, two Drum & Bass Djs, 2tone and Twist.
The artist which has had the most attention on Youtube, was been Johnny Cooke. Great performance and returning in 2014.
Went to loads of gigs this year, mainly in Birmingham. Originally, this was my wife, winning tickets to see Among the Echoes at the 02. We wanted to see Johnny Normal, who i interviewed this year with Psycho Pete, and band, Elmo Sexwhistle. That was the first gig.  We went a few more times in different venues in Birmingham and the last one of the year was in London, for the Shiny Darkness album Launch.
These kind of went hand in hand with the radio shows. Getting tickets and buying merchandise and seeing bands live, that i had played on the radio

Got a job
I was cleaning, then gardening (Still going when i get odd jobs), then began with a removal fiirm which was on a Sunday morning. The trouble with these three above, there was no guarantee of sustained work.  Then on the same day as the removal job, i got asked by Ian Short, who runs, Sugarush sweet shop in Banbury ( Town i live), if i wanted employment. I said yes. I went down the next day and i started two days later. That was end of September.

In a band

Being with musicans can be random. I was with the Doolallays for 3 years, but that just died after everyone literally went their seperate ways. The drummer got tired of the time, i was taking and we decided to try and put a band together.  That did happened, but was one jam and the guitarist that come, down was doing so many other things band wise, it was just not possible in the end.
Carl said about,a cover band he was the drummer of and they wanted a bass player. The Projectiles, had been going four years with different musicians. They were founded by local guitar tutor, Stev and i have know him for sometime and through other people.
After the first practice, we were both suprised, how we linked the band together. Me and Carl had played together many times and i think Stev was suprised
I am now the official bass player of The Projectiles.
I am the first to admit i not a big covers fan. I have always said that. I like hearing covers when done right  or a certain song and some i wouldnt have minded playing myself. This band is a fun pub band and music is a very strange universe to be in. It could take you in all sorts of directions. Being in a band i love being in and we have a gig already. As Madness onces said "One Step Beyond"

The fourth part and the bonus, moving

This has taken a number of years to get round to. The reason for this is one basic factor, money. Never had the money to move and i have aways wanted my own money or make money to move.  Either one bedroom flat or a share property with an en suit. 2014, i am moving out of my parents house after 40 years. Seems a long time, but in this climate, things move a lot slower and prices are just crazy
Obviously the radio shows are coming with us.  That might change, depending on fanancies as living take more money, paying bills and things. Moving is more important, but we will wait and see.

This part one, more to come, music wise :)

Dj Readman  
Radio Variety Show
djreadmanuk@gmail.com



Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Projectiles ( Official Blog)


The Projectiles
Renditions band, performing classic, well known songs with our own twist
Facebook Page
Stev / Guitar/ vocals
Carl /Drums/
Paul Bass /Drums
Extended band:
Carl  Rhythm Guitar,
Bob: Bass,
Paul Drums,
Stev, lead guitar and vocals




December 2014, extended band
Although, Carl, can play drums  it has become apparent, due being in reimintin from Cancer, the last few years, he has limited strength with playing the drums on top of working
Paul mentioned, that he could play drums to solve the problem.  Although its been about two years
since he hit a kit he would be back up.  Everyone was suprised how well Paul, could play. It was decided, that Paul would be back up for Carl.

Bob Cloutman Returns

Then the problem was filling the bass, Its so happens that Stev had been talking to Bob Cloutman, who has taken interested and turned up for a a couple of sessions.  He return to assist in additional bass duties when Paul is on the drums or if someone can't show for a gig

The Songs:
All the songs below we can perform; Some are near to oriuginals, some are not

Sweet Home Alabama
With or without You
 Hey Joe
Creep
Crossroads
Superstition
Knocking on Heavens Door
 Let Me Entertain You
Teenage Kicks
 Johnny  Be Goode
Sweet Child o Mine
Amazing Grace  (Rock version)
Twist and Shout
Imagine
Iris
 No Woman No Cry
I Shot the Sheriff
Come together
Thats Alright Mama/Its all over now Medley
 House of the Rising Sun
Sex on Fire
Mustang Sally
Honky Tonk Woman
Sweet Dreams
Oldsom Prison Blues
Nights in White Satin
Wonderwall
Everybody Needs Somebody
I can see clearly now 

                          This is Paul on the drums and Bob on the bass, with Sweet Child of Mine             


                                           
                                   



                         Carl and Drum and Paul on bass of our rendition of, Superstition

   

                                                                         10 minute demo
More song in our set list in a montage of leads, singing and general "Oh thats what it is " parts


The Past Projectiles
Some of the bio

Paul Readman ( Blog editor) 
I had not known much about the band.  I know, Bob Cloutman, very nice guy, had been the bass player.and Carl was drumming. Due to Bobs family commitments, it became more difficult for him to be with the band. The band itself, was formed by Stev Aleksic, which come about with the music he teaches. Carl has been with the band since the beginning, aside from a few times, because of illness.  The Doolallays, which me and Carl were both in, collapsed and after a few months, Carl, was becoming fed up with the situation and ruing me. After a month oor two, he pulled me to join the band on Bass.

This is two pictures from Bob Cloutman from an earlier line up


There will be more history and information as we get it

How the bass player got involved
Paul Readman"
Over a BBQ round Carls place, in the summer of 2013, it was mentioned about a band performing classc songs. I knew Bob was in the band with Stev and Carl, but knew really nothing about it.
I was asked about being the bass player, but didn't know what was going on with the Doolallays.
Not long after, Carl called, who was completely fed up with the Doolallay situation and had been playing with the Projectiles as well to drum practice.. Carl asked, would i be interested? and i said yes.  I am the first to admit was suprised, as i am not the big fan of playing classics, but, I thought, why not, let's go for it, it will be fun"
It turnes out, we have done more in 5 months than we did in 3 years with the Doolallays. Difference band, and different music, but the progression has been good.

First band practice of 2014
First time we had a fine recording from video and audio.

Practice, Practice Practice
After using General Foods to practising, we sometimes use Northgate Studios in Banbury.  This is due to the fact that we can not hire General Food on a Saturday evening.
We have been pracising since December 2013, all 35 songs.

Filming stills
From a video experiment we did with local film maker, Simon Bastock Just a test to see how things come out




















The Songs:
Want to hire us, these are 25 songs we can perform. There are about 6 to be added that need to be tweeked. These will be added a.s.a.p

Sweet Home Alabama
With or without You
 Hey Joe
Creep
Crossroads
Superstition
Knocking on Heavens Door
 Let Me Entertain You
Teenage Kicks
 Johnny  Be Goode
Sweet Child o Mine
Amazing Grace  (Rock version)
Twist and Shout
Imagine
Iris
 No Woman No Cry
I Shot the Sheriff
Come together
Thats Alright Mama/Its all over now Medley
 House of the Rising Sun
Sex on Fire
Mustang Sally
Honky Tonk Woman
Sweet Dreams
Oldsom Prison Blues
Nights in White Satin
Wonderwall
Everybody Needs Somebody
I can see clearly now 


                                                First pictures including, my new band hat





                                                     First band pictures
                   
      







Stev Facebook      My Facebook  Carls Facebook

Friday, 6 December 2013

Wav music files are the industry stanndard

Probably many people, like myself, have just sold my vinyl collection for whatever reason. Not because i am going to mp3 or CD, but because i have no space at the moment.
After some deliberation, i am from 2014 buying Wav files, until i get a record player and buying vinyl again and gain more space

To Liberate Wav files
Ever since it was possible, practically every musician if they have the means,  recorded music to the wav format. The wav format was introduced in the 70s after digital recording became possible. This is the only uncompressed digital format that is used most of the time, unless it is Flac. Both are used to get vinyl and CDs pressed
In fact, if you buy a wav file, you are getting vinyl in digital form. Even CDs are compressed. Not as much as mp3s, but the music is still squeezed

Lets give you a comparison
Music is Like films, there are widescreen and Pan and Scan versions. Wav is the widescreen of music, giving you the full, recorded song, Mp3s are the pan and scan, cuts about 40% of the song out, kind of squeezed into a cube.

As a music fan
I love quality in sound and i loave compressed music.  Even when CDs were first released on to the market, i couldn't stand them. Everyone went crazy, and i thought, why, just because they are not 12" and crackling? why would anyone buy compressed music??  Then, of course, years later, the second, more compressed format come along, Mp3s. Again, even more compressed than CDs and this time, digital. I just think that quality is being compromised by compressed music and mass distribution

Music industry ingnorance

I did find out this week(When i am posting this), that national chart sales only register mp3 files for sales with digital formats. Wav files are not included due to the fact Wav files are not "tagged' with song information. I am was pretty horrified to learn this. The files can be played on computers so why does the music industry ignore them?

Mp3 have their place

Don't get me wrong, they have their place and will be around for years to come. The other issue i have with this format, is the quality can be manipulated.  Mp3 are the only music format you can change the bitrate after its been produced. You can go as tiny as you like, but mainy from 96k ,which sounds utter rubbish, upto to 320k, which is the highest quality, near to Wav, but still compressed.  MP3s are good for promotion, radio play and e-mail transfer.

The music industry
Aside from independent music labels like Metalheadz and Mute, who i respect and sign quality acts, I just cant understand this easy pick up and run with fasination with the mp3 format. I would assume, many musicians do not like the music being squashed as it really does not properly represent what they have recorded. Some are fine and think it is the future, which is fair enough.
Vinyl has really come to life over the last few years and is the best format in the world. Real music lovers, like myself, do not like compressed music. Many like to put on a record and listen to the artists on decent speakers. On the move, yes, compressed music is used, fair enough, mp3 is mobile format, but never dismiss any format that is good for the market

Thankyou for reading and hope it peeks your interest

DJ Readman
Radio Variety Show
www.radiovarietyshow.webs.com


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Altern8 never evapor 8 ed. The return of Full Masked Hysteria

Music is full of milestones
The last true music revolution was the "Rave" era, loads of free love illegal raves, which, naturally spread to commercial success for many
Very few dance acts survived, or a solo producers went his own way, like Slipmatt from SL2. The Prodigy sustained momentum and continued their success, but very few acts did, unless you count, the Bassheads album, C.O.D.E.S, which went under the radar completely, until i discovered the vinyl album years later. 
One act, Altern8, did the reverse.  The duo, Chris Peat and Mark Archer, revolutionised dance music, probably without even knowing it.  Their album, Full Masked Hysteria was the only album they released, They disbanded, but the album steadily gained momentum thoughout the years, which takes a lot for that to happen.  Considered by many as one of the best dance album masterpieces ever recorded and it still stands up to in modern times, is quit ea feet.  14  tracks of glorious dance music, labeled hardcore (Anyone that knows their stuff, knows what a actual Hardcore is and the wrong tag,lol), to many the album has never been repeated in quality and production.
I have loved the album for years, wanted to get the vinyl album, which has not been easy up until recently. This is easier now, due to mainly vinyl copied surfacing on Ebay for one.  The album on CD is next on my list. When their stuff was around at the time, i was into DJing, so it was more the 12" singles to mix with

To the present day.
Mark Archer, kept going as a dj and still releases stuff digitally and sells at gigs.  Chris Peat, went into the world of IT. As far as I know, he doesn't make music, but I could be wrong.

Christmas number one campaign, Activ8
Started as a fan page and now gathering momentum. There is a Facebook campaign to get the tune from the album, to number one and beat the X factor to number one.
The fire is so hot, that Mark Archer has given his approval and there are a 8 remixes being made for the release. Every single version will count for the release date of December 15th 2013

This is the moment you've all been waiting for

I found this out by accident and it's a fantastic idea. 3 years ago, Rage Against the Machine, made it to number one. This was the first song in history to make it to the national top 40 on download sales alone. The reason for that was, that at the time, the band were unaware of the campaign and only so many download sites are registered as offical selling points for the chart. Killing in the name of campaign was started by a couple in England, fed up with hearing X Factor.  When the band found out, they put on a free gig in London, based on the campaign.
This is what social media is about. Now, it's the turn of Altern8. I am buying it and all the remixes on release. The only downside, which I only found out through the campaign website, is wav files of the songs (Uncompressed digital format) will be released In January, as Wav files are not officially counted. For those that are not aware, Wav files are the industry standard and have been around way before mp3. Wav files are the digital uncompressed presentation of the song straight from mixdown and engineering. You can't get better quality than that, unless it's vinyl (The god format of music)

Full Masked Hysteria review

I love this album from start to finish. Very few albums have non stop entertianment burned through it's core.( Image of the burning crow shot from the film in my head.  You can obviously tell the idea from this come from gigs, samples and sound from raves with the electro sounds, beats and synth, Incredible computer work for the time, when home hard drives were 10gig, you will know this is just by listening to the odd tune, is a complete masterpiece. If you have never heard it before, its very different to The Prodigy experience, the Bassheads album, C.O.D.E, in the fact that they whole album spells rave. Many albums were going away from that, which is neither good or bad.
One major secret of this album that just occured to me, is the memorable 'Comedy one liners' like: " This is the moment you've waiting for and " Watch ya bassbins i'm tellin ya, you know come from this album
14 songs, you would think all three minutes, but the duo stuck with club length, which is a good thing as dance tunes are never shorter than 5 minutes in any decade.. Evapor8, Hynotic ST8, have always been my favourites, just layering, depth and engineering that went into the this, the guys are bloody genuises to put it mildly.  The complete album is one big  rock of a masterpiece and one of of the " Listen before you die " albums . I compare this album to any Black Sabbath album, where the pace of each song keeps changing. You will want to have this on repeat for hours, its that good
Whether you are into dance music, getting into this for the first time, or whatever the reason
Guaranteed to turn your face into a rave smile

This is the link to the Facebook campaign. This is regularily updated as updated become available
We want this to get to number one " Move you body to the digital sales and ACTIVE8 the digital sales figures
Facebook

Dj Readman, Radio Variety Show
Website