New EP – Gold&Stone ‘Volume One’

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IF you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know I’ve been dabbling in electronic music since late last year. Having learnt a lot, I have now produced the first set of three tracks i’m happy with sharing properly, so I wanted to try a release as an EP. I’ve decided to stick to a pseudonym instead of using my own name, so i’ll be releasing as ‘Gold&Stone’ – cheesy but it’s different enough I hope. Entitled simply ‘Volume One’, I’ve released it on Soundcloud for feedback.

What do you think? feel free to fire me some comments over on Soundcloud, embed below.

Daredevil – a comic book tv show actually worth watching.

By | TV, Watching | No Comments

Okay. So that headline shows a little bias maybe but come on, we haven’t had a lot of luck with comic book heroes and TV shows. Sure people loved Smallville, and sure people will tell you that they love The Flash, Arrow or even Agents of Shield. But as a TV viewer, I look at those shows and see a real lack of adaptational skill in their production – they always have all of the panache of a glossy teen drama – ie. not a lot. With cheap visual effects for super powers, I understand that it’s hard for TV to compete with movies – and that’s one of the bigger problems. TV viewers don’t understand or care that thousands of digital artists worked on the Avengers movies for years where TV networks employ a few digital houses to create the effects over a much shorter timeline. So sure, they look bad, but effects don’t bother me much.

What makes Daredevil stand out – and granted it is a character with little need for effects – is the tone. It sets an effective tone and believable characters by taking time to establish their story. The easiest way to state how this stands apart is by comparing it to other gritty dramas. Take this out of a comic book context and you’d still have a great tv drama that would fit in on Cinemax or HBO. The casting is fantastic and ultimately it’s all about Vincent D’Onofrio who steals the show as Wilson Fisk (aka Kingpin in the comics). He is a fully fleshed out character who is given more back story and attention in the writing than the titular hero – and to great effect. We care about Fisk, we aren’t sure just how evil he is and whether he really believes he can make a better city with his methods.

Daredevil gets right what most if not ALL comic book TV and Movies get wrong – the bad guy. Take even the most successful movies – like Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy – and you still have a fairly dull bad guy. The closest comparison I can make is the successful parts of The Dark Knight – the establishment of Ledger’s Joker as a bad guy in particular. The tone set there is akin to what Daredevil creates on a large scale, and with solid writing, awesome fight choreography that evokes Ong Bak or The Raid, Daredevil is an absolute winner.

Check out the first series on Netflix asap, see the trailer below if I haven’t convinced you yet!


Moving to Cubase

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After a few months playing with Logic Pro X to learn electronic music production, I’ve decided to take the leap to Cubase 8 Artist and see how I like it. Let me preface this by saying there isn’t anything about Logic that I disliked particularly – as a DAW it functions similarly to the others – tracks, buses, plug-ins, etc – but there is a certain ‘polish’ to Logic that made it feel that Apple had pushed the presentation of the UI over the functionality.

The Robin factor

The key factor to my decision to make a move was my good friend Robin, who is a longstanding Cubase user and is becoming successful in electronic music – particularly in the kinds of music I’m keen on learning to make. Check out one of Rob’s partnership’s tracks under former pseudonym ‘Brown and Gammon’ –


This track is not as representative of his current work, but as part of his record deal I can’t share that with you yet, but rest assured, from what I’ve heard, it’s gonna be awesome.

Anyway, back to Cubase. As someone that works in software development I found it fascinating to make a leap from one platform to another – it certainly made me think about what users of our software (Unity) find when they arrive at our door for the first time. That first time user flow is something that really can make or break. With me, I had purchased Cubase with the reassurance that a good friend would be there to help teach me anything about music production from his years of experience but in attempting to learn Cubase I found that there are a lot less tutorials and getting started content out there on the web. In addition that which I did find was seemingly outdated (going back to Cubase 5 in places, current version at time of writing is 8).

What’s up with Cubase?

With a lack of tutorials and some confusions as to ‘where is my X’ or ‘Why does the Y work like this’ – I had a frustrating first couple of days. The major gripes I have with Cubase 8 include the following –

  • It’s a small community compared to other products, and Steinberg could do more to rectify this, more up to date forums, knowledge bases etc would be a start
  • To buy Cubase, you need a physical copy on DVD. Remember those? well if you have a mac laptop since 2012 you probably don’t, so I had to buy a USB dvd drive to install. This just sucks.
  • Want to use Cubase? you’ll need the eLicenser, a USB key that you put in your computer to verify you bought the software. Not just the first time though… forever. In 2015. This is just lazy licensing tech on the side of Steinberg – sure it’s super effective, but ultimately if they want market share, they need a licensing server side solution, and accept that people who pirate it are ultimately just adding to the numbers of their community – and probably would write more tutorials / share knowledge. Now look – I’m not condoning piracy whatsoever – it happens to our software all the time (now we have released a free version we see less of it) – but it’s a fact of life, and making your paying customers suffer for it isn’t cool.

But seriously, try it.

So anyway. Gripes aside I really like Cubase – I do! It’s no nonsense UI and responsive windows are reassuring and it rarely breaks down. Often there’s performance lag but this is mostly thanks to my over zealous use of CPU hungry plug-ins on my laptop. I’m feeling more productive than ever and with each track i’ve made, i’ve been learning more. I recommend people give Cubase a chance, there’s a lot of people using Logic and that’s a plus but I find Cubase far more of a tool than Logic – which is what I referred to at the start of this post when I said that logic has more ‘polish’.

Logic Pro X

Logic Pro X

The presentation of windows in logic – sliding in and out of a single window, with photographic trims and gradient edges is all well and good, but when it slows you down you start to wonder why and who at Apple produces on their system. Cubase is less fancy, even ugly in places, but it feels functional and that’s what counts when you’re just trying to work.


Cubase 8 Artist

The next step is to take three tracks that I am happy with and effectively ‘release’ them as an EP of some sort to see what people think. Wish me luck!