Archive for the 'art' Category

A new project required….hehehe

Well, since rebuilding my turntables in 2013, building my new bike way back in late 2014 (both of which I should have documented – but didn’t – grrr), and then renovating the Berlin apartment in late 2014/early 2015, I haven’t really had a project. I guess you could consider adapting to life in Sydney a kind of a project, but it wasn’t as hard as it could have been having such an awesome and supportive family, friends, and a super awesome girl in my life. I mean – don’t get me wrong, things could certainly be better, but things could always be a lot worse!!

And since I’m back, and living by the sea – and when I say by the sea, I mean I look out the window and there it is – I’ve decided to take up surfing again. I did a bout of surfing early in my life, but kind of abruptly stopped after spotting a few sharks and developing a massive fear of them. But since throwing this fear to the wind, I’ve decided to get back into it. I think I already mentioned the board I’ll soon have on this site somewhere (it’s a Firewire Tomo Vader)…..well, I should really already have it since it was kind of a 40th birthday present from my family/Pia, but you know how things go…..some bills have to take precedence, and at the moment I have a lot of bills. Hopefully I can still remember how to surf….I mean, it’s not exactly a beginner board, but I figure surfing is kinda like a bike right? I mean, I jumped on a wakeboard for the first time in more than 10 years and all went well……Anyways, it’ll be on the way soon enough and I guess we’ll see 🙂

So long story short, if I pick the board up from a store here that carries Firewire boards it’s going to look like this:

Firewire Tomo Vader

And that’s fine, but I kinda like a little more color in my life if you know what I mean. I mean, it’s really a type of an art what’s out there once you start looking. And although I could order it custom made through XTR Surfboards, in a way I prefer doing things myself. It’s more personal.

Anyway, I’ve recently been watching some videos on painting your surfboard and it kinda looks like a lot of fun. And since it’s still sunny and warm here, I’m kinda thinking, well, why not!? So I reckon that might be the path I go down……I’m sure a certain someone I live with is going to just love me for it 😛 Check out a few of these videos anyway so you know what I mean, should be sick!

or:

or something like:

or even something like this:

It’s all possible, super fun, and super cool. Watch this space 🙂

Face-lifted Technics 1200s and NI Traktor Kontrol Z2

I may not have mentioned it before, but Lufthansa destroyed my Technics 1200s on the return flight (business) back here from my last proper visit to Australia. Since then they have been sitting around for the last year in their flight cases in the same broken state. I couldn’t actually bring myself to fixing them as I was so upset that the turntables I have owned since I was a teenager were rendered unusable, and the  phoney insurance that Lufthansa has was refusing to cover the damage they did. Apparently, you are meant to check your belongings before leaving the airport, yes, that even covers electronics. So before you leave, you know, get out all your stuff, find a powerpoint and ensure that you are leaving with everything in working order.

Anyway, I am over that now, so I decided I needed a new project, nothing too killer, but something that would keep me busy for a bit of the colder season – and the turntables were the perfect project. The end result being something that I could once again use and have fun with…..over winter and for many more winters to come. I first had to determine what was broken and what wasn’t, this meant pulling them apart, piece by piece, and checking the components, both from an outward appearance as well as electronically. After labelling and boxing all the good components up to keep track for the rebuild, I went about getting all the new parts I needed. At the same time, I thought ‘why not give these puppies a new lease on life’ so instead of just replacing with the relevant Technics 1200 MK2 part, I would check for compatibility and replace with a different part from a later model 1200 that might have better features – such as the on/off switch, which has com from a Technics 1200 MK5. I then sent the deckplates in for professional painting because let’s admit it, even though I have loved these turntables for many, many years – they were looking a little rough around the edges.

Just this week I was wondering when I would hear back from the paintshop to let me know they were ready, and what do you know, they called. The decks are ready for their stickers, and then the final clearcoat over the lot. I guess you could say I am pretty excited. I am really looking forward to having these things back in working order and having the chance to once again get down on what it is and play them.

That leaves the air hanging with a question though…..aren’t all my records still in Australia? Well yes, yes they are, but never fear since there is such a thing as playing tunes with timecode records. this means that any music you own (well, almost any – remember that huge iTunes library that you legally acquired via iTunes? It is useless because it is DRM protected – you actually do not own the music, you are renting it long-term) can be played via programs such as Traktor Scratch or Serrato Scratch. I have already chosen to use Traktor scratch for  a number of reasons:

  1. Much more purpose built for electronic music
  2. Huge array of effects
  3. More saveable queue points
  4. NI (who makes Traktor) is based in Berlin
  5. A lot less expensive if you want one of the higher end systems
That brings up the all important question, what mixer would you like to go with that Sir? Since I will be playing digital music stored on a laptop via Traktor, it doesn’t make much sense to use a purely analog mxer anymore. I would prefer to use something that could control quite a lot of the operations within Traktor from the hardware itself. I was kicking the idea around of purchasing a Pioneer T1, since it was designed in conjunction with Native Instruments and can do the aforementioned, i.e. control quite a lot of the Traktor operations from the hardware, but it is very expensive for what it is, as well as the fact that I have heard of people having issues with the crossfader. Unless you’ve ever been a DJ, you may not understand, but the most important part of any DJ mixer is the crossfader, and I am not buying into something that will require regular repairs – no way.
Funnily enough, I heard on the grapevine that NI themselves were to be releasing a mixer of their very own in the not-too-distant-future. And they have done just that, the Z2.

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2 DJ Mixer and Controller

You can catch a teaser video of it here.

The Z2 looks, to all intents and purposes, like a high quality, 2-channel DJ mixer. And, it is. But, aside from providing a means of mixing two audio sources, it is designed (unsurprisingly) to integrate perfectly with Traktor 2.6. This comprehensive set of features makes the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2 the ideal hub of a DJ rig capable of playing from all major music mediums.

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2 DJ Mixer and Controller

The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2 is being dubbed as a 2+2 channel DJ mixer and audio interface. At its core is a premium 2-channel DJ mixer. This is constructed with an aircraft grade aluminium chassis, with a robust build that equips the unit perfectly for pro uses. The two channels have 3-band EQ and individual filters. All knobs are premium units, with accurate, high quality faders by Innofader.

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2 DJ Mixer and Controller

In terms of inputs, the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2 has four pairs of RCA inputs, such that the two channels can be switched between phono and line level inputs. A separate ‘booth’ output is equipped via a pair of balanced jack outputs, with main outputs via a choice of RCA connections or balanced XLRs.

So, the Z2 is a top quality DJ mixer. It is also a very high quality controller for Traktor, too. Aside from every controller operating its counterpart with the Traktor software package, the unit has eight brightly lit trigger buttons on either side. These are used to trigger samples from the remix decks within Traktor, or jump to cue points. Ideal for exploring the ‘controllerist’, live remix tendencies in you…

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2 DJ Mixer and Controller cuepoints

It also comes complete with Traktor Scratch 2.6 software and timecode discs, so that the package is ready to integrate with my existing set-up easily. Built into the unit is a 24-bit audio interface, meaning that it can be used simply as a controller and interface without the need for any decks at all, which although I may not use, is a ‘nice to have’ feature.

So there you have it, this will be the ‘new’ set-up based on very ‘old’ turntables. I’ll take some shots of the decks when I get them back and have put them back together, they should look hot!

Chuggin’ along

I just gotta get something out there I guess…just so little time to do posts anymore, all work and no play and all.

So, back is fucked, which means it will be up to a year and a half before I feel my left foot again due to compression of the L5 nerve. At least they assure me that I will feel it again. But Jesus what a performance it was to get to the bottom of it. I certainly do NOT recommend Orthos. I mean, apart from the fact that the place is by appointment only and you still have to wait for up to an hour (amazingly they seem to value their time only and treat everyone else as if they are unemployed), you never see the same doctor which means they are always reading your file and making decisions on the fly – no consistency whatsoever. And let me tell you, some of those decisions are truly unprofessional. I mean, one of the bloody idiots, when asked if I’d feel my left foot again couldn’t even answer that question – even when he had the MRT results directly in front of him.

Basically after weeks of being fucked around and still having no clue what was wrong with me I contacted a friend who is a surgeon and works for the hospital in Berlin (Charité) who said he’d help me out. As per usual, it ain’t what you know in this life but rather who you know. I mean, it had been 4 weeks since I’d last felt my left foot with lower back pain set in and I was seriously worried and felt like the fuckers at Orthos just didn’t either care or understand what the hell was wrong with my back. So I saw my friend (thanks Martin!) who had a look at the MRT as well as the report and gave me an immediate diagnosis. Basically I have a slightly slipped disc from a few compressed vertebrae which is pressing on the L5 nerve. This is the nerve that controls the feeling on the inside underside of the left foot and big toe. So it’s just a waiting game, I have already damaged the lower three discs between the lower four vertebrae – you know, all that rough and tumble lifestyle at an early age….so no lifting anything, carrying anything, doing any sport etc. Essentially I cannot do anything. Which brings me to my recent conundrum – China.

The plan was and still is to fly out on the 29th of May into Hong Kong and go from there. For a while my back hurt so badly that I thought a cancellation of that holiday was my only option. But lately it has been hurting a lot less (admittedly I am taking some pretty hardcore painkillers on a daily basis – so who knows how much it really hurts) – so the holiday is still on. I guess I will be taking it much easier than I had originally intended, I just really hope I don’t hurt myself over there more….because I’m sure no matter how bad the processes here might be, they are worse over that way!

Recently moved offices as well, am now at Friedrichstr. 100. Really nice office from which I can see the Spree and a bit of the Reichstag where we also have a pretty decent balcony. So if all goes according to plan, I can see a few Friday evenings spent on the balcony partaking in some beers with my fellow colleagues.

Liz, my sister, was over last weekend which was nice. Always nice to hang out and catch up. She probably could have stayed a little longer since 2 nights is not very much time for Berlin. While she was over we dropped in to a friends exhibition called  G L A S A U G E, which was in an old bunker. Quite a funky place for that kind of thing really. Pretty odd and cool – perfect combo for Berlin.

Other than that I am flat out, hence the little communication since the start of the year. Working, Eating, Sleeping with a hint of household chores thrown in for good measure – not much time to do anything outside of that. I tell you, I am knackered by the time the weekend comes along – every bloody week.

So let’s all hope for a good Summer….swimming is all I’m allowed to do these days….hence the lakes surrounding Berlin are sounding very inviting 🙂

Speechless (not what you think)

Well, time is moving right along….I mean, geez louise, I really feel like I just posted the other week……and don’t say it’s because of the hit on the head, it’s just been so freaking busy. I mean, on top of my ‘normal’ work in the last month or so I have organized my work’s 10 year anniversary party, interviewed countless applicants for a job I had posted, employed the successful candidate (who I am now training) all whilst still trying to keep in contact with friends and family alongside my other weekly activities such as climbing.

I’m sure things used to be easier.

We celebrated our 10 year anniversary at Uma Restaurant and it went really well. Actually, this was the easiest event I’ve ever had to organize, even considering the time-pressure I was under (only had four weeks to do everything), which was mainly due to the professionalism of the staff. I can’t fault them. E-mail communication was excellent, the location is beautiful and the food was awesome. A very nice job indeed. The whole day in fact was what I would consider a success (it was an entire day of events ending with dinner at Uma). After Uma, all that were game continued the night on at the Newton Bar – so named after the photographer.

Well, it was valentines day yesterday and since Ina and I are doing our best to get back on track with each other we decided to go to Tipi am Kanzleramt to see a show called Speechless to celebrate it together. It is a really clever pantomime type show that blends modern technology and pantomime into something you’ve probably never really seen before. Some parts of the show were truly great and I think I can be safe in saying that both Ina and I enjoyed it a lot. Take a look below:

So now I have my snowboarding trip to look forward to along with maybe another couple of things…..although I will definitely keep you informed if anything super cool happens…..that is if I have the time/energy/inspiration to do so 😉

p.s. Bought new snowboarding boots today: Forum – The Booter Not super hot on the color….well, I mean, it’s black with some ruby red on it….black is ok but why oh why the ruby red. But they are just so damn comfortable in comparison with other boots I’ve tried and all our snow gear is on sale at the moment, and I needed new boots….so hey….what the hell. Comfort is waaaaaayyy more important than colors I guess. But seriously, ruby red?

p.p.s. Got an iPhone 4S now that I somehow seem determined to destroy…..just like all my other poor phones. Dropping it has become a daily occurrence. I was taking a photo with it just last night and dropped it into the snow – the snow you think, that was lucky……you’d think so wouldn’t you? Well, when I got home and was finally in proper light, I noticed that somehow one of the ‘oh so fantastic’ stainless steel sides got pretty trashed from the drop…….snow huh!? Whodda thunk it? It survived better from the drop in the bathroom onto the tiled floor…..oh well, ho hum. Only a phone. And no, I will not put it into one of those stupid cases or put a bumper on it. Stuff just gets beat up from use. I realized that very young as a kid skateboarder – the first grind always hurts inside – you pay for beautiful artwork on the bottom of your deck only to eventually grind it all off.