So I’ve been in Graz, Austria for the past few days getting ready for my ISO50 Springsessions talk today (which is in this amazing building btw) and the Tycho Springfestival set tonight. Although I’ve been very busy working on some finishing touches to the upcoming Tycho album, thanks to my recently-made-portable workstation, I was able to make it out for a couple hours to take some photos.
Most of these were taken on Annenstraße and Keplerstraße as I made my way to and from the Schloßerg, an incredible former medieval fortress perched atop a huge dolomite outcropping right in the center of the city. I took a lot of shots around there too but I’ll spare you the overtly touristic stuff and stick to the more design-y offerings.
I’m not sure how best to describe this city to someone who’s never been here. If I had to compare it to other great cities in Europe I would say it’s a nice mixture of the high points of Amsterdam, Lisbon, and Prague (although I guess that’s so broad it could be applied to a lot of places). While it has that “400-year-old-buildings” vibe of Amsterdam, it doesn’t feel anywhere near as commercialized or overrun by tourism. It’s so much warmer than I expected; I’ve got an entire bag full of jackets and scarves that I haven’t even opened. It’s downright muggy here. I checked the weather before I came out here but I guess this is what I get coming from San Francisco (where I was in full winter clothing the day before I left, this spring has been a joke) and not knowing how to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit off the top of my head. The crazy part is that I was walking around the Schloßerg thinking to myself how I wish I’d brought shorts and then I see a postcard depicting the exact spot I’m standing in covered in snow. It looked even more beautiful in winter.
This city has so much visual beauty, I really wish I had the time to dig in further. Hopefully I can make it back someday soon.
I’m headed to Graz, Austria where I’ll be playing a Tycho laptop set at Springfestival and doing an ISO50 talk at the related Springsessions conference. The talk is on Saturday, June 4th from 15:00 – 16:00 at Kunsthaus Graz and the Tycho set is early the next morning, Sunday, June 5th from 03:15 – 04:30 at P.P.C. All the details are at the Springfestival site.
Sorry for the late notice, but I wanted to be absolutely sure I was going to make it out there. The Tycho album is now in the very last stages of mixing/mastering so I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make the trip and the album delivery deadline. To make it all work I decided to hack together a portable computer setup from my main tower PC so I could finish up some remaining songs before I return when the mastering will begin. After some light dremel work I had all the components fitting inside a small aluminum case I found laying around (pictured below, the PSU is separate. And yeah, I’m planning on spending a fair amount of time at airport security). You might ask why I don’t just port the project over to a laptop; the reason is that the projects are simply too large to run my current notebook (early Macbook Pro Unibody). In order to run the big projects (96+ tracks with 250+ VST instances) I had to add three SSD drives in a RAID 0 (in other words, three fast storage devices chained together to act as one very fast storage device) configuration to my existing Intel i7 rig.
I had already been bringing my tower to Count’s (aka Mikael Eldridge, the engineer who I’m working together with to mix the album) studio to mix. We decided to mix several of the songs directly from Reaper as opposed to porting them to Pro Tools like usual so I had to bring my machine in. This already had me thinking about slimming down the rig to make it more portable. It’s really been a freeing experience being able to move around with my main computer; I’m so used to bouncing down projects, flattening layers, and generally compromising things to get them small enough to run on my Macbook Pro when I travel so the idea of having all the power of my studio computer with me anywhere is pretty exciting.
Of course, this is just a temporary stop-gap measure to get through a scheduling conflict. I think the next step is to get a powerhouse laptop machine with Lightpeak/Thunderbolt so I can get a PCI SSD RAID setup or some storage device with equivalent bandwidth. I was thinking about the Dell Precision (I’m PC only when it comes music and design, although I have several Macs and love them, just not for creating on) or some “gaming” laptop. It really doesn’t need to be that small, just more portable than a tower as I wouldn’t be moving it that often. Any suggestions? My wish list would be Intel i7 or better, 16GB ram, and at least 250GB of SSD storage with a bandwidth of 500MB/s up/down. Probably a tall order, but I’m hoping something on that level will be available soon.
Hope to see some of you in Graz.