Jakub’s recent post about his mystery images inspired me to do a little sleuthing of my own. I’ve had the top image on my desktop for a long while now labeled “awesome_findit” and never had any idea where it came from. Turns out it was part of a (now a few years old) series of photographs by Asako Narahashi.
I’m a big fan of the whole half awake and half asleep in the water series — concept and execution. I have always been fascinated by the ocean, and bobbing about idly in the waves is one of my favorite things to do. Her photos simultaneously capture the tranquility of this wonderfully lazy activity, while still maintaining the dynamism of an ocean swell. I also really enjoy how heavy the water looks — reminds me of that Keane album title Under the Iron Sea.
I’ve been a huge Signer fan for awhile now, Carpark Records has just been on a tear lately, rereleasing some of their original artists that made me fall in love with the label and this new one by Toro Y Moi, here’s to more in 2010. Signer’s track almost makes me delusional with the synth notes holding on for so long, its a nice break from beat and guitar material like the Toro Y Moi but both are on repeat at my house.
Nite Jewel truly reminds me of Public Access Television in Lansing, MI in the 80′s, its jaw dropping how charming these girls are. The songs touch on synth sounds that i’d need Scott to help me pin point what they are but I want them all.
Kurt Vile has a less lo-fi album that just came out but his material on Mexican Summer was what really grabbed my ear. check out Prom King as well, such simple singer songwriter material that doesn’t make you snore.
Signer – Break my arms around you
Nite Jewel – Artificial Intelligence
Kurt Vile – My Best Friends (Don’t Even Pass This)
I’d heard of Genuine Fractals — onOne Software’s scaling plugin — from Tim at Blue Moon Printing but I had yet to try it out for myself. It’s basically a plugin for Photoshop which uses a proprietary algorithm (as opposed to Photshop’s built in resizing modes) to enlarge images. I was pretty skeptical but finally decided to try it out tonight when faced with some daunting upscaling projects.
I’m in the process of working through some older posters and sizing them up to the larger formats. For a long time I created all of my prints at 12×18″ (or thereabouts, depending on the format) as my computer just couldn’t handle anything bigger. For many I’ve been able to go back and recreate them, but some elements in the posters are scanned from smaller sources and just couldn’t be scaled up (e.g. the sky background in the above example. It’s made from a photo of a textile which is of a finite size and I don’t have access to anymore). So I figured now would be a good time to give Genuine Fractals a try. To my amazement it handled everything I threw at it beautifully. The interface and workflow are dead simple: you just initiate the Genuine Fractals dialog from the File > Automate menu, resize, click apply, and you’re done. It’s even fast, about the same speed as Photoshop’s resize command. There’s not much more to say as the results really speak for themselves. Simply put: Genuine Fractals can scale your images up to 1000% larger without any noticeable degradation. That’s what it says on their site and from my experience I’d say that’s absolutely true.
Genuine Fractals excels at photographic imagery, but that’s to be expected. With complex raster images it’s easy for imperfections to hide amongst all the shapes and colors. I thought the true test would be it’s ability to scale up flattened vector images. That is, vector shape and text layers flattened into raster images. I am doing this just to better illustrate how clean the scaling is but Genuine Fractals can actually handle multi-layered images (text, raster, and vector shape layers), scaling each layer individually and maintaining the original layer type. Meaning, if you feed it a document with a raster layer, a text layer, and a vector layer, it will use it’s algorithm to scale the raster data but will also scale the text and vector layers without rasterizing them. All the layers will be maintained as they were in the original document, they will just be scaled up. For my purposes, this is what makes Genuine Fractals truly powerful.
Here are some of my results. I know, none of this is very scientific but it’s a small glimpse of how well this program works. See the subtext under each image for a description.
Genuine Fractals Resized
Genuine Fractals Resized
As you can see, the lines are still crisp and defined with the Genuine Fractals enlargements. It’s not exactly perfect when compared to the original, but it’s a greatly improved alternative to Photoshop’s native scaling algorithms. My only question now is: At $700, why doesn’t Photoshop have this kind of power built in? New features like content aware scaling are nice and all, but I’d much rather they spent their R&D money on core functionality like this.
You can download a demo of Genuine Fractals from their site to try it out yourself. At $150, the software is a little too pricey for casual use, I’d say this is more for print shops and professional photographers looking to scale up their work for large format printing.
So we all download and save images of items, graphics and photos from the internet daily and some of the time you have no idea where to give credit besides maybe the guy that posted it first or second randomly on a blog. I‘d like to get some answers on a few of these but also just post some interesting pieces that we come across that might have been sitting on our drives for awhile that are go to for inspiration or just found randomly on a forum with no info attached and just look great. Either way hopefully the point that gets across here is that they are inspiring in some sort of way to you as well.
For the 3 images up here: the first one I have a feeling is Will Calcutt’s who takes photos for Ghostly International but I have no proof either way it’s an intense shot, nothing like the average landscape shots you see these days. The second one I just wanted to know what is going on, is this a operator jail? The third one I like only in a Royksopp cute kinda of way, a bit amateur in parts and wears his influences on his sleeve and it feels abit unfinished but I enjoy the colors and shapes of the “mum like” mountains.
Tonight I had the pleasure of meeting meeting two great bands; one literally and the other figuratively. I went to see fellow Ghostly artists School of Seven Bells play at Slim’s here in San Francisco and their performance was incredible. But having seen them live before, I pretty much expected that. It was the opening act — Warpaint — that were the big surprise of the night.
Warpaint are a Los Angeles based “psychedelic” band and I’d have to say that description is apt. I spent most of the set mesmerized by them, sort of in a trance. This is one of those bands that I dream of producing a record for someday. Bassist Jenny Lindberg and her Rickenbacker carved out the low end as if from stone and the guitarists were all over it with the kind of stripped down, melodic style I’m a sucker for. I’m not easily moved by live rock music performances but this one had me running over to the merch booth to snag a CD before the set was even half way over. The hilight of the show was an ultra-somber yet perfectly timed rendition of their song “Billie Holiday” which left me in awe (and remionded me of another favorite from Grouper). As soon as I got home I popped the CD in, hoping it would live up to their live energy and was pleasantly surprised to hear that it did. It’s raw, unpolished, and at times sounds like a jam session accidentally caught on tape, and it’s beautiful. The only thing I’d change would be the drums on the album version of Billie holiday; they were absent from the live version and I think it was a little more focused without them.
The above are some examples of the flags of the various cities, towns and villages of Japan. After looking at these, the “logo” for my town is very depressing. If I had one of these instead, flying over the place I lived, I would feel infinitely cooler and forever at ease. I am amazed at 1) how many different logos there are and 2) how many of them are absolutely incredible.
The original post on Pink Tentacle has many more on display. You can also see the full (and massive) list on Wikipedia.
Loscil is up there with GAS, Aphex Twin, Stars of the Lid, Brian Eno in my mind when people bring up good ambient low level music. Gorgeous warm tones, analog tape sampling and vibraphones, he never leaves you feeling like your listening to nothing anything too experimental. Its just pure hypnotic gentle jet streams one after the other blowing on your hand, its like if someone tried to wake you up by just opening up a window and letting in a breeze to wake you.
So I started a unofficial Ghostly International Roller Hockey Team(more on that later I promise and if Ninja Tunes team wants to play us, bring it on, seriously, bring it hard and bring it good, jk) and the best part about it is that its mostly a collection of guys that make music and that means new good music and ideas from other people that I trust. Rob who plays on the team turned me onto Yppah on the way to the rink which was a name I never checked out but saw all the time but the name of the band just turned me off before I could ever press play to preview a song. Boy! have I been missing out, just bought up the whole catalog on emusic.
Fuck Buttons have always been on my radar, really like the sound of this track Surf Solar, its a good mash up of The Field and early M83.
Some people might put Kaito under the Trance genre bin and never take the time to check it out but Kaito makes something that is a special exception. He isn’t about making trance or getting people to dance or trip out, to be honest the more I listen to his music I have this feeling that he doesn’t even listen to anything mainstream or understand what the trance genre is and probably just sits down and makes what sounds good to him.