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Holy Bot

Bedroom music production, gaming and random shit

Month

December 2013

Album of the Year

It’s the end of the year. What has happened? Well, talking about music, I think this year brought us quite a few good records, hip hop records that is.

In my humble opinion, album of the year is Drake – Nothing Was the Same. The production and sound design are extraordinary. And Drake is in his zone. More rapping, less singing than on Take Care from 2011.

Another great album is J. Cole – Born Sinner, it’s more traditional styled, but most definitely a finely crafted piece of work, except for the album cover.

The Weeknd – Kiss Land is one of this years favorites. It’s the best record since the House of Balloons back in 2011. Now sounding like an explicit Michael Jackson on a glitchy soundtrack. Real good.

Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels, oh man, both Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music and El-P’s Cancer 4 Cure from last year were good, but this shit is even better than the two combined. And El-P’s production hasn’t sounded this tight since 2002. Free download here.

A$AP Rocky – Long.Live.A$AP is a great album, Big Sean – Hall of Fame is a great album.

Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All released two really heavy albums. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris and Tyler, The Creator – Wolf.

Even if you can’t really compare Jay-Z – Magna Carta… Holy Grail to Odd Future’s releases, it should be noted that this is ol’ Jigga’s best album since The Black Album from 2003.

And there’s so many more not mentioned here, e.g. A$AP Ferg – Trap Lord, Tyga – Hotel California, Big K.R.I.T. – King Remembered in Time and Pusha T – My Name Is My Name… There’s no women on this list, which is strange, I’m sure it’s my mistake and next year will be women’s reign. I did like Iggy Azalea’s singles during 2013, but there was no album released. 

For me personally, 2013 has mostly been about hip hop. Electronic music, dubstep, what have you, well I haven’t heard that many good releases in 2013. Maybe those artist are occupied on tour.

But I did like James Blake – Overgrown, it’s a beautiful record.

And then we got I Am Legion – I Am Legion; I think Noisia are some of the finest producers out there, and I really like Foreign Beggar’s two last albums, but this full length album isn’t as good as expected.

Also Destroid – The Invasion isn’t what you might have thought. Excision’s X Rated from 2011 was the bomb, but this, well, we’ve heard it before and in much better shape. Maybe I’m just being grumpy.

Another big disappointment is Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience. FutureSex/LoveSounds was a perfected pop album, but this isn’t quite as inspiring. (Perhaps I shouldn’t judge this album, because I haven’t even heard the second part of the two-piece project.) Other disappointments were Daft Punk – Random Access Memories and Kanye West – Yeezus.

P.S. Also check out Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap. Download the free mixtape.

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Camper’s Paradise

I’ve been pondering on Ghosts some, let’s be real about this game, it is camper’s paradise.

The game has large maps and people are playing more defensively, there are less up-close gun fights due to the high damage weapons – you die so fast – and people are afraid to go out in the open.

Legendary quickscoper Faze Kross seems to share my view on this matter and also presents an idea that the reason you see more campers on Xbox One [and PS4], could also have to do with that it’s (so far) mainly older and “smarter” players on the expensive next-gen. (There’s like ten times more players on the old systems.)

And big boy camper Wings of Redemption embraces Ghosts, he calls it a new kinda shooter, and says “it fits my style better than most things […] I do like to camp a lot.”

I’m in two minds here. Some people claimed I’m in the camping boat, and I do like a more conservative play style, but then again, I’m not alone, which means that every motherfucker is waiting on a noob in a dark corner with a guard dog watching their backs. And the pace of the whole gameplay suffers from this.

P.S. I put an image of the PlayStation 4 teardown on this post, not really related though.

Faux Bass Textures

Here’s a little tip to make your bass gritty as fuck. I’m not sure what to call it, and I usually don’t do this myself. But if you haven’t already, I suggest you give it a try.

Well the trick is to layer a foley sample on top and process it to blend with your killer bass, this will hopefully render a high end, wet texture. The bass itself should of course be sounding pretty good from the get go and have some nice movements.

Okay then, find some foley sample on the internet or record it yourself; try fry some eggs or crumple a piece of paper.

  1. Put your sample in a sampler or on an audio track and play the sample together with the bass, try to match the spikes on the audio recording with the movements in the bass. You might as well time stretch a bit for a better fit.
  2. Filter out the low end of the sample, you really just need the high mid frequencies.
  3. Insert a vocoder on the sample, meaning connect it as carrier. Split the bass output and route the bass to the modulator input. Experiment with the band count and the formant shift of the vocoder. Anyway, the tone of the sample will now follow the bass.
  4. Add a compressor (with quite high ratio) to the process chain of the sample to reduce its dynamic range.

Well that’s all for today. As I said before, I prefer to program my synths fat enough on their own, so they won’t need these fake layers. But then again, anything goes. Now go out kill.

PS4: First Impressions

It hasn’t been a week since the European launch of PlayStation 4, and here are my first impressions. Firstly, let me tell you guys that I guess I will play and I guess I will enjoy the PS4, but it is a small step, far from the giant leap PS3 represented when replacing PS2.

The console itself, well, it’s black and kinda nice looking if you’re into edges. The full installment of games makes it feel a lot faster than the old system.

You need now to pay for multiplayer online, but it’s kinda reasonable priced.

My headset (Turtle Beach PX5) works, but I heard not all headsets work. There’s a rumour of a patch in January for Sony’s line of Bluetooth headsets.

The newly tweaked DUALSHOCK4 felt a bit stiff at first, but it’ll soften over time, and I’m already now getting used to it.

At present I’ve only played, ehum, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and it looks not better that Modern Warfare 2 from 2009. But hopefully the next iteration of games will push to the limit. (Remember, this happened on PS3, e.g. Uncharted looked cool and showed some great potential back in 2007, but it was with the second part, two years later, the game studio really nailed it.)

Anyway, Ghosts is a disappointment. It’s just a another Call of Duty game. Pretty standard. Still, I’ll continue to play multiplayer for some time.

I haven’t yet finished the story, but so far it’s a classic setup: a chosen few — the motherfucking best of the best — goes up against an anonymous enemy. Nothing new. I’m convinced the campaigns of Call of Duty serve, first and foremost, as a graphical showreel, as an interactive tech demo, and the narrative is left in the hands of this purpose. Whatever.

I’ve played less than ten hours of multiplayer, but it’s pretty good. A bit different from before: larger maps, longer distances, more camping, less shotties. I’m sure I’ll have reason to revisit this subject.

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