Thursday, 25 June 2009

Move along now

Barcelona, 25th June 2009

There's not much going on here at the moment, mostly because I don't have a lot to say (not that that's stopped me in the past) and also because I'm busy beavering away on all my other blogs!

Check out www.themixesandthedubs.com if you want to listen to some classic house/garage tracks from the 90s, often with special re-edits that I've done.

Read the lush wonderfulness of www.great-apartment-paris.com if you want to learn more about the designer studio we rent out near the Pompidou Centre. Loads of info about Paris on there...

Marvel at the usefulness of www.hotels-paris-rive-gauche.com/blog for its mine of information about cultural activities in Paris and out-of-the-ordinary stuff to do in the city (including places to visit and great restaurants to try out).

www.jasonw.eu will probably come back with a vengeance sometime soon when I have the time though. In the meantime, enjoy the other blogs, OK?

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Succumbing to sad Star Trek mania

I've always been a fan of Star Trek, not that I'm particularly proud of it. My dad used to watch the original series on TV every week and I was hooked. It's as simple as that. Then came Star Wars and I was definitely, hopelessly a nerd for the rest of my days.

Despite the suite of OK-ish, bad and then terrible Star Trek films that came out later, I still have a soft spot for the franchise, and after a release on HD-DVD a while back, the original series is out on Blu-ray in just over a week. Great review site DVD Beaver confirms that the set is region-free and has French subtitles, and the screen caps look amazing so I've just bought my copy for 67€, p&p included. Yippee! Bargain.

You can see the difference in quality below (although it's much clearer in the review). The Blu-ray also gives you the choice between the old special effects and new special effects, old mono sound or remixed 7.1 sound, which is great for purists. Can't wait.

Check out a cheeky trailer for the new versions below...

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Hi-def? I'm sooooo beyond that

I'm a geek. Love me a bit of tech (iPhone excluded. I just don't get that one) and now that I have a Playstation 3 I'm seriously getting into watching films and series on Blu-ray. Lost Season 4 was great, for example.

However I won't be buying Weeds season 4 on Blu-ray. Don't get me wrong, it's an excellent series, but I already downloaded it in HD from the interwebs. Nine months ago. Surely releasing it a little earlier would have been a good idea?

Anyway, for those who haven't seen season 4 (coming out in June, a year after broadcast of the first episode), Blu-ray would be the way, but what struck about the sleeve art is that tagline at the bottom - BEYOND HIGH DEFINITION. Now when I mention Blu-ray to most of my friends they invariably reply with "Uuhh?" and ask what it is. When I say that it is like DVDs but in high definition, they ask what the difference is. Most people are so used to downloading DivX copies of films and series that high definition hasn't even entered their minds. And manufacturers aren't helping by suggesting that we are already beyond high definition.

My mother-in-law can't even set the time on her VCR yet. I'm not expecting her to be "beyond high definition" any time soon.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Antony and the Johnsons Artists

If you're in Paris sometime before 6th May and you're a fan of caterwauling ambisexual creature Antony Hegarty, why not pop down to the Agnes B gallery on rue Quincamapoix and see what his pals have got together for the new exhibition he has curated.

I say 'pals', because AH has links with most of them already.

For example, Peter Hujar's photograph of Candy Darling on Her Deathbed was later used by the Antony as the cover for I Am a Bird Now. Hujar died of AIDS complications in 1987 and a lot of his photos are pretty grim, or vaguely pornographic, or both. Gloomy but good, I suppose you could say.

Barbara Cummard's photos (including the one of Antony at the top, looking like he's smeared a chocolate digestive all over his face) are rather fine too. Barbara also happens to be Antony's mum.

And there are also contributions from photographer Alice O'Malley who has know Antony since the early 90s, and took his photo back in the days when he was thin. Hard to believe, I know.

The show also contains a few paintings and a film that I was less keen on, but each to his own, eh? We went along for the grand opening, and although the imposing warbler himself was not about, a lot of 'the kids' were, which made for some entertaining people watching until the rain made everyone scuttle off.

And if you're wondering what the title '6 Eyes' is about, apparently Anthony saw six eyes dancing in his mother's womb, and now he sees them everywhere. I almost believe him.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Joey Negro presents Lifeforce - 1992

I'm not really in the habit of posting whole CD-singles. A lots of other blogs do it, and good for them, but I partly felt bad for copyright reasons and partly didn't want to duplicate what had been posted elsewhere.

However, as time goes by I've realised that I do have some stuff that people might be interested in (and that hasn't been posted elsewhere) and more importantly that specialised blogs have become the unofficial archives for a lot of record companies that made their buck back in the day and then moved on.

I get pretty angry frustrated about the non-availability of a lot of what I call classics. God knows I would buy them if I could, but I can't. Anyway, enough ranting...

This 1992 German CD-single on EastWest isn't half as rare as I thought it was (you can still find it second-hand here on amazon.de for example) but I got it on eBay a few years back and was pretty chuffed. It's classic, early Joey Negro with a plethora of mixes that all have their subtle specificities, and dates from a time when disco house was so big that the majors were licensing left right and centre(stage!).

You can download Lifeforce - Feel Your Body here (66MB)

By the way, I am sooo over mp3 (especially at 192 kbps, not really archive quality). I'll be using FLAC for single tracks but in this case it was too heavy, so the mixes are ripped in m4a format at 256kbps (which is - to my mind - better than a 320kbps mp3 file and a lot lighter to boot).

Friday, 3 April 2009

My 20-minute edit of Trippin' On Your Love

Kenny Thomas had a few 'hits' back in the early nineties, but I'd be surprised if many people remember him now. I only ever really noticed his track Trippin' On Your Love back in 1993, especially the Roger Sanchez Grand Diva dub that had (anonymous) female vocals instead of Kenny's. Go figure.

It was a pleasure then to come across a post on the Hard To Find Trax blog with the all the mixes from the double 12" promo, two from Simon Dunmore that are not really up my street and no less than six from Sanchez, all of them stormers.

Of course 16 year-old vinyl suffers, and the noise reduction on the recordings is pretty harsh. The treble is crushed and some of the voices sound a bit chevrotant as we say in French (i.e. warbling like a goat! Love that expression). However, if that's the tradeoff for being able to listen to this again, then fair enough. Does anyone realise how much time it takes to rip vinyl and clean the files up afterwards? Kudos.

The remixes are classics, all with their own identity. Sanchez was really at the top of his form here... and of course I couldn't leave all that great material alone. So...

...I boosted the treble and overall levels to get it sounding nice and crisp, did some manual de-clicking (yep, there were still quite a few left) then took all my favourite bits from the various mixes and ended up with a 20-minute version that I really like. Epic! Hurrah!

By the way, a Fist fusion doesn't just involve sticking everything together and making it as long as possible; ironically, certain parts of the individual mixes have to be shortened because they just drag on a bit over a very long mix. Here I trimmed a couple of things down and hopefully got a mix that keeps your interest, switching from vocals to the dub and back... and back again(!), something that sounds like it could have been one of the actual mixes. I only have a Mac and some very cheap software (not even any hardware) so I'm pretty pleased with the result. Sanchez and Hard to Find Trax inspired me!

You can download my Kenny Thomas - Trippin' On My Love Fist Fusion here.

My new console (I wish)

Not sure if you can say 'console' in English. I saw this sort of long cupboard thing at the Maison & Objet show back in January, at which time it was still a prototype. Designed by Antoine & Manuel (whose exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs is finishing in ten days) as part of their Tout Va Bien (Everything's OK) collection, it is soon to be exposed at the Salone del Mobile in Milan. I would have liked to go, but all the hotels were booked up six months in advance...

I think it's an absolutely magnificent, silly, beautiful piece of furniture and quite probably an infuriating dust trap too. If only a had a room big enough to put it in...

More about the Antoine & Manuel long cupboard thing on the Barcelon Design site. Worryingly, there's no mention of a price...