Archive for August, 2008

Czech Olympic Matchbooks

Posted by Scott

czech-ioc-1 czech-ioc-2
These Czech Olympic matchbooks are excerpted from one of my favorite design books, Cesky Filumenisticky Design. I don’t know much about these other than that they date from 1967. I’m also not sure who designed them since the book is in Japanese. I ran it by my friend and she said the caption says something about the name "Peter Togram". Not sure, fill in the blanks if you can read that caption.

XP SP3 Warning

Posted by Scott

Hot on the heels of me gushing about the stability of Windows XP, I wanted to give a heads up for those of you XP faithful out there considering the Service Pack 3 Update.  I setup of a new partition on my machine a when SP3 came out to test it out with Photoshop and Sonar (the app I use to record music). For Photoshop at least, the experiment was a total disaster. SP3 somehow managed to cripple PS CS3 to the point that it was crashing every 30 minutes or so. I limped along like that for a couple weeks then tried uninstalling SP3 just to see how well the rollback would go; needless to say, it didn’t work out too well. I’ve since deleted that partition and gone back to my SP2 install. A quick Google search on the topic will turn up some people saying the same thing.

Of course this is not a very scientific study and your mileage will vary, just wanted to note my experience with the update. Besides, from what I’ve read SP3 doesn’t really add much and given the proven stability of SP2, I don’t see much of a reason to gamble with this new service pack. And if you Mac fanatics are thinking "If you just bought a Mac this wouldn’t happen!" just remember: the Leopard 10.5.2 update (the OS X equivalent of a Service Pack) completely screwed a lot of musicians (me included, I have a Mac Pro as well as a PC). Just sayin’, we all got problems!

If you are running SP3 with Photoshop, let us know how it’s going.


Posted by Jakub

I always try to find electronic songs that are perfect to play for everyone since the genre has such a bad rep. Don’t get me wrong about 85% or even more of electronic music is pretty bad but that doesn’t the whole genre has to be set next to all the trance compilation CD’s at Best Buy. I picked this Portable track because it has these lounge/world sounds that people are use to hearing, so why not nudge people closer to something that is on the lighter side of deep tribal house.

As for Lusine, he might be one of my favorite producers when it comes down to making all his sounds sound so good each and everytime. Every bell and kick sounds like its right in front of you straight out of the box.

Shigeto is brand spanking new, i find myself always skipping straight to this song on my mp3 player. The beginning is soo crunchy & loose, it sounds like it wants to start up but the track keeps falling apart in your ear. At the 2 min mark is what i wait for, its the ultimate lush opposite of what you started out listening to.

Efdemin doesn’t need much help with any plugs, this record was on every electronic publication’s top 10 list for 2007, i thought maybe if anyone missed out that here’s another chance to check it out for free.

Portable – Down Stream


Lusine – Dr. Chinme


Shigeto – Helicopter In The Sky


Efdemin – April Fools


Ladytron: 604

Posted by Scott

Last night I was working on a poster for the upcoming Terrabyte 3 show (L.A. Sept. 14). I had the MP3s on shuffle and Ladytron’s Mu-Tron came up. It prompted me to go back and play the rest of their 2001 release 604 in it’s entirety. It’s not that I really forgot about Ladytron, I guess I just forgot how good they are. Maybe I played them out back when Light and Magic was in full swing. They have a new album out entitled Velocifero which is in the vein of their previous record Witching Hour. Both albums are a departure from the 80’s inspired electro sound of 604 and Light And Magic. It’s good that they evolved (the two latest albums are superb in their own rights), it’s just sad that we won’t be getting any more gems along these lines:

Ladytron – Playgirl


Ladytron – Mu-Tron


HP Elitebook: MBP Killer?

Posted by Scott

eb mini-bn_6930p_topclosed HP has announced several new notebooks, but one in particular has a design-centric feature set that has really piqued my interest. I have been using HP notebooks for years now, it’s not that I’m really in love with them, it’s just that they are so damned powerful and ridiculously cheap. Of course that has come at a cost, the construction is downright shoddy; both of mine have broken at one time or another, luckily I had warranties on them. I travel with a TX-1000 series for internet / email chores and a hulking DV-9000 series for on the road video / graphics duties (along with running the visuals for live shows). I am really tired of the sub-par display quality and power management of most PC notebooks so I have been looking at replacing mine with a MacBook Pro. I really like the physical construction of the MBPs and the the power management of OSX (my HPs both have abysmal battery life stats). But HP’s past offenses aside, I may have to reconsider my switch in light of this new breed of designer-targeted notebooks.

The recently announced HP Elitebook 8730w comes with a Dreamcolor display. That’s pretty impressive for a laptop; the specs on the Dreamcolor displays are amazing (1,000,000,000 colors?!) and to have that kind of color reproduction on the road would be a huge advantage. Add to that a dual-SATA drive option (two physical disks for Photoshop Swap Drive duties or RAID-0/1 configurations) along with dual DVI outs (one onboard HDMI/DVI socket, one external via the optional dock) and docking capability (something the MacBook inexplicably lacks) and you have yourself a portable graphic design powerhouse. Another incentive is the anodized aluminum "Duracase" which is hopefully better than the brittle plastic they made the previous models out of. Given the specs (Quad Core Intel / 8GB RAM / 1GB VRAM!) you could get away with using this as your desktop machine as well.

My only concerns with this new offering are the lack of a 15" screen option (17" is a bit too large to really be portable in my opinion) and the fact that HP is gloss-happy when it comes to screens. On both my laptops the screen is so glossy that the glare prevents me from seeing the screen in most outdoor environments (and many indoor environments). The don’t seem to specify whether the screen on the 8730w is glossy or matte, but if they end up offering a 15" matte screen option they can put me down for one.

And the real kicker? It’s $1699. That’s US dollars, and it’s not a misprint. $1699!!!  A comparably equipped MacBook Pro doesn’t exist, but even a lesser-equipped MBP would run you over double that figure. It’s times like these I feel lucky to be so entangled in the complete disaster that is Windows. I learned on Windows and really can’t fully divorce myself from it and therefore am at it’s mercy, so when a great hardware option like this comes along I have to be thankful. Oh yeah, and a Windows XP downgrade option is also available on the 8730w; this is opposed to the earlier HP / MS bed-buddy policy of forcing you to use Vista on new laptop purchases. They went as far as to remove the XP drivers from their site for my DV9000 when Vista came out just to force me to upgrade. To tell the truth, XP has matured into a remarkably stable operating system. I have tested it extensively versus OS X and it’s stood up to the challenge. I will admit that OS X is overall a more stable and reliable OS, but when configured properly, XP gets the job done and gets it done faster.

So here’s to hoping that the 8730w lives up to the hype and eventually spawns a 15" incarnation; it would be a valuable addition to any designers arsenal and a very cost-effective one at that.

Have you used or do you own a Dreamcolor display? What do you think? Any other potential Mac switchers swayed by this recent development? Let us know.

J Dilla+Madlib+Metal Fingers+Madvillian

Posted by Jakub

This is part 2 of what was posted the other day about a few other producers that make some of the best hip hop instrumentals.

J Dilla – Airworks


Madlib – Mystic Bounce


Metal Fingers – White Willow Bark


Madvillian – Monkey Suite


Bullion – Untitled (Beach Boys?)


Jaylib – The Official (Instrumental)