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Vuela Shirt Now Available

Posted by Scott

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Spring is finally creeping into town (although very slowly here in San Francisco) and I’ve been way into the AA tri-blend tees this year. So I printed up a modified version of the Vuela Print on Heather Grey tees for your sunny weather enjoyment. As always, you can get yours over at the ISO50 Shop. I’m also clearing out a lot of the older designs to get ready for summer so you’ll find lots of shirts marked down 20-30%. All marked down shirts are the final pressing of that particular design/colorway.

On a related note I’ve been spending a lot more time trying to learn the ins and outs of product photography. I’ve been shooting the products for years but I’ve never spent enough time worrying about the color accuracy of the output. After all this time working with cameras you’d think it would come easy, but I was surprised to find how difficult it was to get good shots when the goal is creating a color accurate representation of an inanimate object. With my creative photography I’m always trying my best to make things appear inaccurate and I guess old habits die hard. For the shots above I used a tungsten photo bulb/can light along with a Quad CF lamp from Calumet. I had been using 3 lights but it turned out that hitting the subject from the right side and front with lights and letting some natural light in from the left (there was a window there) made for better dynamics so I’ve been sticking with the 2 light setup.

The last couple product shoots were the first times I’ve used a Gretag card to calibrate the camera color temperature under the lights. That and shooting in NEF RAW really went a long way to getting a solid foundation, but there was still a lot of work done in post. Having the calibrated monitor definitely helped at that point, but the real key I found was changing my own perception of the image and training myself to see it in a different way than I’m used to. I always catch myself slipping and trying to make the shots look interesting or enhanced and then have to step back and realize that this needs to be a literal representation of the real object. At any rate, I’ve got a ways to go (can’t even imagine how they get all those high end fashion shots) but it’s been surprisingly interesting learning the subtitles and nuance of a new kind of photography. It certainly is it’s own art form. I’m sure a lot of you have some product photography chops, feel free to share any of your tricks of the trade in the comments.

Also, I know I’ve been promising it for a long time, and I assure you, a very detailed post about color calibration is on the way. The project has sort of taken on a life of it’s own and I’ve brought Alex on board to help with research and production. We’re going to be shooting an interview with a color expert in the next couple weeks and we should wrap the post soon after that so stay tuned!

Bonobo+ShoutOutOutOutOut+MissKittin

Posted by Jakub

Shout Out Out Out Out
I don’t know much about Bonobo, I really never gave them a real chance in the past because I thought it wasa lounge act mostly because of their album covers just reminded me of those ungodly generic Hotel Costa compilations. This Recurring track is sensational, reminds me of earlier Four Tet and just for you Four Tet followers the new Burial/Four Tet collab 12″ is mind blowing, i’ll post soon.

I was going to wait and make a post titled: Shout Out Out Out Out + Chk Chk Chk + Tings Tings and a bunch of other bands that feel the need that they need to have the same word in their band name twice or more but I got bored of it and erased it. Let’s just get to the real point here which is Shout Out Out Out Out is pretty great no matter what bad choices they make for a band name. The vocal is really catchy and parts of that cover are real nice but I feel that the better designed pieces are the smaller parts and the centered simple illustrations that aren’t as interesting take up too much of the cover, i’m not hating at all here i’m just saying is all.

One of the first 2xLP’s I ever bought that was for DJing something other than Techno or House but still only electronic was Miss Kittin & The Hacker: First Album, it had this feeling all the way thru similar to a beautiful girl that you looks sweet but rude and cold to everyone.

Bonobo – Recurring

Shout Out Out Out Out – Bad Choices

Miss Kittin & The Hacker – Stock Exchange

Miss Kittin & The Hacker – You and Us

New Site Alert: Warp Records

Posted by Jakub

New Warp Site
I’m not a web designer or am I Scott or many of you talented graphic designers but i’m really impressed with the new Warp website. I like how they finally used that Pantone patented purple they’ve owned for the first time in a proper way. Not to ever diss the old design which was done by Designer Republic which had a great interactive flash feature and gave each newly signed musician a color. I also like that this new site doesn’t feel like lego pieces stacked and that I can easily recognize what’s the important new news right from the start. Nice work guys

Brionvega Doney

Posted by Scott

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I posted on the Brionvega TS522 portable radio a while back. Now here’s the perfect companion, the Brionvega Doney TV. It is, of course, way expensive (edit: apparently not, around $300 actually, thanks sean) and way hard to get a hold of. And if you’re looking for something even more future-retro, there’s also this concept (if that’s the remote laying there, I’m sold.

Here’s another shot of the TS522 for good measure…So Rams-esque:

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Astrid Stavro / Barcelona Studio

Posted by Alex

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A couple pieces from the wonderful Astrid Stavro. The top image was the poster for Maria Canals International Piano Competition in 2007, and the bottom is from the Forum Laus Europe in 2006. I’ve seen some of her other work circulating on the blogs recently, but I prefer these older posters for their refined typography.

I also enjoyed this quote they have up on their website: “Small design companies produce good work, large ones produce shit work.” (Jonathan Barnbrook). Not sure if I agree completely (because I just don’t know, not because I have evidence to the contrary), but the work coming out of Astrid’s studio certainly validates the claim.

Lindstrom+Martyn+TRS+Garvey

Posted by Jakub

Sally Shapiro
I think I read on Twitter somewhere that Sally Shapiro has a new LP coming out, if that’s true then i’m pretty excited to see what she does. Her last LP was a great release and she has grabbed great remixers like The Juan MacLean and this Lindstrom Dub edit pretty on point if you love drawn out space disco edits.

The deeper I dig into the Dubstep world the more I find myself obsessing over it and its impressive low end, this Martyn track even at a 128 bit rate rumbles like no other track that I have in my iTunes and the arrangement in the highs of the rhythm is some of the best i’ve heard in awhile.

Here is an older track from The Reflecting Skin aka visual artist Philistine DSGN, it has some beautiful epic parts similar to gorgeous work done by Bjork and Nine Inch Nails.

Not to creep you out with this being the song from Silence Of The Lambs but if you take it out of context its a pretty amazing synth pop anthem but still the imagery from the movie slide into my head.

Sally Shapiro – Time to Let Go (Lindstrøm Dub)

Martyn – The Only Choice

The Reflecting Skin – Shadow Of A Bomb [Instrumental]

Garvey – Goodbye Horses (Extended Version)

A Week With Windows 7

Posted by Scott

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If you follow this blog you’ll know that the past year of my life has seen me running a veritable gauntlet of operating systems on my new-ish PC. I’ve run XP32, XP64, OS X, Vista32, Vista64, Server 2008×64, and now, finally, I am running the superb Windows 7 64-bit. Yes, superb, I didn’t expect it either. Although I did notice marked improvements in Vista/Server 2008 over XP, I always felt there was a compromise somewhere and it never felt quite as stable as I’d like. So it was with great anticipation last week that I followed my friend Dusty’s advice and installed the Windows 7 beta. It’s only been a week since the upgrade but I have really worked this thing hard and I am happy to report that it’s been the most stable and responsive OS experience I’ve had yet and outshines all of the examples mentioned above.

Although the beta program is “officially” closed, there’s no shortage of Windows 7 torrents to be had. Even Microsoft has tacitly endorsed the torrent acquisition method, honoring these versions with legitimate serials upon registration (although these serials are only valid until the final product is released). The install was a snap, it was very similar — but seemlingly even more streamlined — than with Vista and it’s right up there with the speed and ease of an OS X install routine. Once installed, it boots up very quickly and everything about the experience is very much “straight to the point”. Gone are the nags, pop-ups, and wizards (I hate wizards) of Vista/XP past, now virtually everything is disabled by default, letting the user choose what features they want. I usually spend the first hour of a new XP/Vista install going through and optimizing the settings, disabling services and generally clearing out the bloat and cutting the fat. With Windows 7 that process took literally 2 minutes, I only had to disable a few notifications and one of the more annoying features of the Aero theme (the slowly animated minimize/maximize of the windows).

Speaking of the Aero theme, Microsoft have “borrowed” liberally from the OS X “Aqua” interface on many fronts. From Windows 7’s new dock functionality to it’s feeble attempt at some sort of expose-esque functionality, they’re obviously taking cues from the success of their Mac brethren. While I think the new dock is very successful, I think the Windows expose falls flat. In fact the one big thing I still miss about OS X when working in Win7 is the show-all-windows / show-desktop hot corner functionality of the Mac; it’s just so damned useful. Unfortunately, the Windows 7 knock-off is not quite there.

Anyways, back to the install. I had all my fonts and the full CS4 suite loaded within 15 minutes and was tearing through 3GB PSB’s (Photoshop Large Document Format) shortly thereafter. In my experience Photoshop stability (and stability in general for that matter) is greatly improved in the new Windows. I also found noticeable (but not incredible) processing performance increases. Where I think Windows 7 really shines though is file handling and disk read/write functions. Saving and opening very large PSD’s has dramatically improved over Vista. Vista’s much maligned file handling was sluggish and inexplicably slow across the board. I’ve heard they had some sort of base-level DRM checking built into the core of the OS. That could be BS, but whatever it was it was a real problem and they’ve fixed it in Windows 7.

The icing on the cake came when I started working with Adobe Bridge CS4. In both XP and Vista I had horrible issues with Bridge, so bad that I had to quit using it. Every session would result in a crash, without fail, across the board. Every OS I have used until this point just didn’t play well with Bridge. But it seems to like Windows 7; I can churn out previews of PSB files in excess of 4GB in size with no problem. Thousands of NEF RAW files in one folder render to thumbs without a hitch now. Either of those would have choked Bridge half the time in the older OS’s on the same hardware. One glitch I’ve found is that the GPU acceleration in Photoshop is not working (see image below). It doesn’t recognize my video card as openGL capable even though I have the Win7 beta drivers installed, which was working fine under Vista. I suspect this is something that will be fixed sooner than later though through a driver update. Although now that the GPU acceleration is disabled and everything is running so smoothly, it makes me wonder if it was contributing to any instabilities I was experiencing under Vista. I guess that remains to be seen though.

A quick side note about the image below: Notice where it says “Available RAM: 7216″, that might be the number one reason I ditched the OS X install I had on this very same machine. PS is still 32-bit on OS X and therefore cannot utilize even half of that amount of RAM.

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To be fair I haven’t put Win7 through it’s paces for audio yet, all of my testing has been with graphics apps only (Photoshop, Illustrator, Bridge, etc.) Next week I will be loading up Sonar and all the VST’s and giving that a spin. But Dusty, who uses Windows 7 solely for audio, has assured me that — with Ableton Live at least — it’s performing far better than Vista or XP on the very same machine. As a lifelong PC user (I do have a Macbook Pro, which I absolutely love for everything other than work) this is such a relief. Yes, Vista was a dog out of the gate, but anyone who has used it lately can’t help but recognize that Microsoft has gone a long was to fix the problems that plagued it and with Windows 7, I think they’ve finally gone the distance and realized the operating system that Vista was meant to be. I also think a lot of budget-minded creatives can now breathe a collective sigh of relief that the OS of choice for people who don’t have $4000 to spend on a computer is back.

So how about you, anyone else been using Windows 7? What have your experiences been so far? Sound off in the comments

Update: As Peter Stoinov pointed out in the comments, the much-improved Windows 7 Release Candidate comes out May 5th so you might want to hold off installing until then.

Update 2: Microsoft has announced that it will be offering Windows 7 RC1 free to the public for one year. Awesome.