January 6th, 2021
Ah, winter. Nothing better than a good old rant to brighten up the day in this dull gray weather we’ve been having for several weeks now. Normally, dat zekt and me would have locked ourselves in at the studio for the month of December, to record a new Doppelplusungut. But well, things are a bit different these days. Long story short, as we live in different countries, we simply couldn’t meet up this year. So instead we went looking for a way of collaborating online without blowing through the rather tight monthly data limit I’m currently “enjoying”.
For the PC side of things, we normally stick to a mix of Milkytracker, HammerHead, Hydrogen, and Buzé, with the main sequencing work being done in Audacity. However, we knew this wasn’t going to be feasible this time, considering the constraints. So dat zekt suggested we give LMMS a try. Initially I was rather sceptical, since I strongly disliked LMMS the last time I tried it out. Then again that was more than a decade ago, so I felt that maybe it was time to give it another try. And so we did. And, to my surprise, the experience hasn’t been completely awful. So, after using LMMS daily for the past month, I’d like to share a few thoughts on it.
January 26th, 2020
A new year, a new Doppelplusungut release. For the 11th time, my mate dat zekt and me spent the end of the year creating a complete music album plus a radio play from scratch in one month’s time. After a techno-heavy release last year, we return to a more classic Doppelplusungut sound this time. This year’s main theme is “smart devices & social media”, as you may have guessed from the title (which translates to something like “Swipe & Gone” in English).
As usual, the album will only be available on CD. Get in touch if you want a copy. We also made a video again which should eventually find it’s way onto Youtube.
January 26th, 2020
I guess you’re all looking forward to Chipwrecked 2020? Just in case, linda8bit and me made a little stop-motion animation to get you hyped up.
We filmed everything on a nice day at the beach shortly after last year’s edition of Chipwrecked. Now we finally got around to adding some silly noises and finishing up the whole thing. Used Blender VSE once again, which remains my favorite tool for editing videos on Linux, despite giving me a few headaches this time (adding an effects strip to actually enable transparency for a PNG which already has transparency, seriously?).
Anyway, I’m not 100% sure if we can make it to Chipwrecked this year, but we’ll try my best.
November 10th, 2019
Brought the site over to a new server a couple of days ago. This one offers SSL out of the box - unlike the old one, which actually had the guts to charge for a LetsEncrypt certificate. In any case, the transition went pretty smooth as far as I can tell. The only issue might have been that mails to utz at this-domain may have bounced in the last days, though that should be fixed now.
After hacking together a new layout for bintracker.org last weekend, I got the itch again yesterday. So I spend the past 1½ days on upgrading the tech stack that powers irrlichtproject.de. Since launching my own site in the year 2000, I always hand-crafted everything directly in HTML and CSS. For the Bintracker site, I tried out a static site generator for the first time, since I needed some results fast. I quickly got used to the workflow, and since it was about time to implement pagination for the irrlichtproject.de front page anyway, I thought I’d give static site generation a try on here as well.
October 15th, 2019
Wow, another 6 months have passed already. Time for an update.
Most of my time goes into MDAL and Bintracker these days. As some of you may already know, I abandoned the original C++ implementation, and started from scratch in Scheme. To sum it up, things are coming along nicely, and I’m confident that Bintracker will become the all-powerful chiptune audio workstation that I envisioned. Recently I gave a few talks on the project, and there’s a proper website at bintracker.org now.
I also went to Chipwrecked this year and played a show there. Absolutely loved the festival and hope to be back there next year.
In May, I took a break from my usual activities to write the soundtrack for İzler (Traces), a Turkish film about the aftermath of the Balkan Wars. Needless to say it was pretty challenging, as I’d never worked on a film soundtrack before, but I think it turned out pretty good. The film is yet to be released to the public, will post another update when that happens, of course.
Furthermore, I briefly returned to writing ZX beeper engines. Archie is a weird beast that approximates sine waves with two asynchronous square waves, among other things, and Velvet is a pin pulse engine with support for state-of-the-art noise technology pioneered by Kurt James Werner.
March 1st, 2019
Got myself a new hobby: I’m now the maintainer of the pstk egg of Chicken Scheme. PS/Tk adds an interface to the Tk GUI toolkit to Scheme. Tk has gotten a lot of bad rep over the years, but since the major overhaul in version 8.5 it’s actually become a great option for building cross-platform GUI applications again. PS/Tk itself has a long history, dating back to scheme_wish which was developed by Sven Hartrumpf in 1997/98. The fact that the code still works without any major changes with the latest releases of Tcl/Tk and Chicken Scheme is pretty amazing, I think.
For now, I haven’t done any major changes, other than a few small tweaks to ensure that it will work with Chicken 5. I do see some room for improvement though. Namely some functions can be removed as they have become part of the R5RS standard, and ideally I would like to break up that large letrec block into smaller, more maintainable chunks. Also a few bits and pieces from newer Tk versions are still missing.
February 21st, 2019
Released a new XM parser toolkit today, written in my new favourite language: Scheme. The library is provided as an “egg” extension to the Chicken 4 implementation of Scheme. The parser offers a large set of features, including procedures for parsing pattern data (of coure), verifying file integrity, and extracting and converting sample data. Chicken users can simply install the extension with “chicken-install xmkit”. Documentation is available here.