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MauriceK, caught between dev and drums » 2006 »

October 31, 2006

A new star is born…

Category: Music — kaldor @ 11:44 pm

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During the last weekend we had the first meeting for a new project called voXager.

It all started when the Keyboarder of Dragonfyre contacted some people asking wether they are willing to join his project. All we knew at that point in time was that the style is going to be Space-Metal. What is Space-Metal one might ask? If I haven’t had some talks aboutthat earlier if could not give you an answer.

Space-Metal basically was born by a project/band called Ayreon, which was founded and mostly composed by a fantastic dutch artist called Arjen Lucassen. The base structure belongs to progressive rock, but is has much more MIDI and synthi influences. Some songs aremore pop or even electro. It is definitely the most variable and flexible style beside progressive. I guess the naming has been done by some strange magazines, which just don’t have a clue how to categorize it.

So, as I mentioned, last weekend this project was founded, and currently the line-up is the following

  • Keyboarder, project lead
  • Drummer and rhythm consultant (guess, who is that ;) )
  • 2 guitar players
  • 2 singers (male and female)

I guess the search for a bass-player will continue, so if you are interested, feel free to contact one of us.Further to thisthe project is opened for volunteers at anytime. This helps us staying more flexible and give ourself the possibility to get more influences to reach our goal.

I am sorry for not having more information currently, but if we manage it, the project will getits own page withconstant updates. You will find a link at the sidebar then.

October 9, 2006

To nestle with Microsoft…

Category: Development — kaldor @ 10:24 pm

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Some of us got to know, that since some time Microsoft offers his Visual C++ solution free as a so called “Express Edition” to every dev being interested. As I am willing to get into DirectX development (specially audio stuff), I thought, this might be the perfect point to start.

Being a litte bit overmotivated I installed the German Version, which is not that bad, but if you get used to work with english applications, you might get confused by not knowing, what for instance some options may mean in your native language :)

To get started, you basically need these things:

This is a lot of stuff to download and install, so be prepared, that it might take some time. Imagine we have everything installed by now, great. So we can start… No! We cannot. As Microsoft offers its stuff for free, of course you are not able to develop a Win32 Windows Application with it. “What the …?” you might think, and yes, I agree. Luckily I found a great article at the Microsoft Webpage about how to patch everything. As there are some issues with it and I do not know, how long Microsoft is willing to share their knowledge, here is the working solution of how to get things set up:

  1. Update the Visual C++ Directories by modifying the VCProjectEngine.dll.express.config file located in the \vc\vcpackages subdirectory of the Visual C++ Express install location. Please make sure that you also delete the file “vccomponents.dat” located in the “%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\VCExpress\8.0″ if it exists before restarting Visual C++ Express Edition. (The last step was not needed in my case)
  2. Edit corewin_express.vsprops file (found in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\VC\VCProjectDefaults) to AdditionalDependencies=”kernel32.lib user32.lib gdi32.lib winspool.lib comdlg32.lib advapi32.lib shell32.lib ole32.lib oleaut32.lib uuid.lib”
  3. Edit AppSettings.htm in %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\VC\VCWizards\AppWiz\Generic\Application\html\1033\” by outcommenting these lines:

// WIN_APP.disabled = true;
// WIN_APP_LABEL.disabled = true;
// DLL_APP.disabled = true;
// DLL_APP_LABEL.disabled = true;

Note: In the last step the folder was called 1031 and not 1033 in my case. But it worked nethertheless. It is strange, that you have to select Console Application to create a GUI project, but it is working. Maybe there are some additional tweaks possible to transform the wizards in a more senseful way.

Ok, now he set everything up, fire up the first testproject and build it, now we should see a nice GUI, shouldn’t we? No, of course we do not. All you see is an error, that the C Runtime is missing (MSVCR80D.dll). So I needed to cheat there also. You can find this file somewhere in your Visual Studio folder. Of course nicely hidden. Copy it to system32 and fire up the build again. Damn it! Now we get another error. Browsing through the web gives you the result, that you should only build your application in Release version. Nice idea, we are great developers, but debugging might still be a nice thing to do in the meantime. After some time I realized there are only two options you need to change to be finally able to debug your application.

  1. disable incremental linking in the Linker options of the project (this pushes another linking warning, which you can get rid of by the next step)
  2. Set the debugging information format to generate a pdb file (compile option /Zi). The default is /ZI which enables /EDITANDCONTINUE which got us into trouble.

Release Builds were no problem even before, but now everything should be set up.

At a first look the Visual C++ compiler is much faster than the MinGW solution, which is a port of gcc for Microsoft Windows. Additionally it does not block the system like MinGW does. For instance I am able to use my DVB-T card and watch TV while compiling. That is not possible with gcc.

I hope that these steps may help you setting up everything faster, if you might get into the same troubles.

That was all for tonight, until next time…

October 8, 2006

Surprising level…

Category: Music, Spare Time — kaldor @ 2:53 pm

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Hey readers,

it has been some time ago that I have updated this blog, but there was not much to speak about. This has changed now.

During the last two weekends I was able to compare local bands near my hometown Neuss and Berlin, and all in all I have to admit, that Berlin bands seem to be technically spoken in advance. Still trickORtreat (lately added to the blogroll) are my favorites, but the remaining bands on that concert could not really satisfy me last week and on other concerts in general. Mostly because of lack of precision and/or presence on the stage.

After a friend took me to the Midnight Rock yesterday evening I want to give you a short impression of what I’ve seen there.

It started as a usual local concert, only some people were able to arrive in time and therefore the concert hall was pretty empty at that point in time. Beer prices were nice (1.50 for each bottle), so it seems like pre-conditions were perfect for a nice evening.

Following you will get a short review and my personal impression of the bands which tried to catch my attention.

Odyssey of Torture

That band was the main reason for my friend to go to that concert and they got on the band-list only some days before the concert as another band cancelled this gig. Basically they were playing something like Black/Death Metal with some intermediates of other genres. The shouts were ok, the guitar riffs great and mostly solid. The last song including the rap-parts of the shouter seemed to disturb most of the audience, but it was refreshing and well-composed. They had some issues with the slower parts in terms of not being stable timing-wise. Additionally the stage performance was relatively low-profile compared to the other bands. Getting to know after the show, that they are just starting up and do not have much stage experience it was a good show. All in all they were a very good, high-profile opener for a concert.
The drummer: Technically ok, especially short term fast breaks were played fluently and you got the impression, that he knows how to play. His hands were relaxed and the feets made up a good speed. The main job of keeping the band together in time was instable at some points as mentioned above. For my point of view the biggest lack was a missing performance. He was to concentrated on playing than on the gig itself.

Conclusion: Give these guys some more experience on stage and I would bet, that they will be able to establish in the local music scene.

Orphan Hate

In advance this was the best band on that evening. As always when you see a woman on stage with the mic in the hand, you start to analyze much more critical than you would do in other cases. But they disabused. The stage performance was great and they played rock-solid with good laid-back feelings. Song structures were a little bit to basic on some songs, but they knew how to catch the pit, especially with mid-tempo parts. Their ‘Roots bloody roots’ show together with some visitors was an eye-catcher. Definetly worth downloading the songs and await the next show to see wether they are able to keep up this level.

The drummer: Very very solid, nice laid-back grooves, harmonic fills, and a great performance. He knew the set very well and felt comfortable on stage from first note on. His style can be very much compared to my own one, maybe that is the reason I liked it so much :) His bass-drum figures convinced every drummer in the pit I would say.

Conclusion: Rock solid and ready to start up combo. If they manage to keep their line up stable they have really good chances to get attention nationwide.

Requital

To be honest I liked them very much yesterday, but even a day later I have problems remembering a song from them. And this is not beer-related. Their show was quiet ok, although sometimes it seemed like they were on stage to often. Yes this also may happen. Don’t get me wrong, the show was great and as I mentioned I liked their songs, but the presence and performance made the impression that they prepared each headbang in rehearsal room and that the next show will be exactly the same.

The drummer: Solid, like each drummer on this evening. Nothing refreshing or suprising in his style. He knows his genre very well and was able to recall everything needed. But not more. Additionally he was also a drummer sitting behind the drums for playing and not for performing. Finally, if you have longer hairs than me and sit behind the drums on stage, then use them!!!

Conclusion: I am really interested in seeing them again, maybe I was wrong about my impression.

Harvest

Previously to their show I was getting a beer and listened to some people who said, that this is going to be New Metal. So I was interested in watching how a band with that style will fit into this evening. I was quiet impressed that it was not really NewMetal genre music. They were having some more harder and powerful sounds and song-structures. Especially I liked the fun they had on stage. The musicians were really communicating well on stage. They could have been the best band on that evening, which I really did not expect. But they had one big issue:

The drummer: Don’t get me wrong, he was playing very very well. He had some interesting fills and his bass-drum was mostly ok. But: If you are playing on a local concert, never, really really never, try to play a drum-solo. And especially if you play one, then expect other drummers in the crowd. Maybe it was nice to see this for a non-musician, but for a drummer this solo was a big pain in the ass. Nothing special, only combining some senseless parts and laughing during playing like you were the reincarnation of hopefully-still-long-living Mike Portnoy made you really ridiculous.

Conclusion: After watching their page today I got to know, that they were playing with Chimaira, one of my favorite bands forever. And also they had some show experiences with StuckMojo, etc… So this really finished my impression. As they tried to celebrate themself yesterday after the show I was thinking maybe they are just very self-confident, but guys: Calm down. I don’t know wether you bought yourself into these shows (like support acts for Slipknot do), or you really got an offer but if you will stay that ignorant you will fall even before you climbed up.

Blood red angel

It was said they were doing thrash-metal, but it was more or less a powermetal show. It was the last band I was able to see due to missing tram-support in the night at that part of the city, so I was really concentrated on them to get a good final impression. Especially showing the harvest drummer, how it can be done as I did not see him on the Orphan Hate show. Very quick you realized that it was not their first show, they were performing really well, lots of hairs got lost on stage and they had great fun. One big negative attribute was the photographer, because as soon as he tried to take a picture the band focussed on him, not on the pit. Unfortunately after 15-20 minutes it went boring and so I left a little bit earlier to catch my tram in time.

The drummer: Good show, nothing to complain about. A little bit to less presence on stage, but very well keeping the band in timing and greatly communcating with the other guys on stage during the show.

Conclusion: Nice, unfortunately somewhat boring after a certain amount of time. And: Krefeld is NOT next to the Netherlands. Ok, maybe for Berlin people, but then I would be dutch and as far as I know, I am not :)

To summarize all the drummers on this evening, I really learned, that the technical niveau is much higher here in Berlin. And I will accept this challenge. Seems like it is time to perform own stuff here in Berlin. Hopefully there will be some guys escorting me…