The Warren Ellis’ Superburst MP3 Mixtapes.

The author Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan) is releasing Superburst Mixtapes,

Songs made freely available for download on the internet by the artists, put into a single file and released as a podcast mixtape for several hundred of my closest friends.

Warren curates his podcasts, but he does not speak. The mixes are short (10-15 minutes), so it makes for a fairly quick download.

I’ve listened to five of Warren’s mixtapes (1,8,9,10,11). Mostly modern “lo-fi” music. My favourites from the Superbursts were all opening tracks,

Warren Ellis bio (wikipedia).

Superburst link via Splinters weblog (literature/music).

[I thought the phrase “several hundred of my closest friends” was reserved for big, posh or celebrity weddings — how can you have that many close friends? Only cyberpunks and celebrities, I guess. Ed.]

Tue, 29 Mar 2005

Dragnet Records.

dragnet records
Dragnet Records

Dragnet Records is the home of the A-Frames (now signed to Sub Pop), The Dipers, The Vulvettes and a handful of other bands. Seven MP3 files are available. Dragnet Records is not a “real” label. All that means is we don’t want to release your demo. Although I came for the A-Frames, I fell for

  • I’m A Man — Double Fudge. 60s garage rock (Kinks/Who) with handclapping, clocking in at under one minute! The opener for my next podcast.

Tue, 29 Mar 2005

Creative Commons Mixter.

CC Mixter

I have been through the winners of the Creative Common’s Fine Art of Sampling Contest, as well as the Mixter’s editorial picks.

The CC Mixter site is a little bit lacking in navigation (missing menu entry for the editorial picks), but thankfully there is a streaming prelisten for all songs. A big part of the music is ambient/electronica and there are plenty of remixes (no surprise).

Sun, 27 Mar 2005

Acecast podcast number 1. 16 March 2005.

Download podcast MP3 file.

acecast podcast #001 March 2005 Acecast podcast number one (MP3, 128Kbps, 35.3MB, 38m:28s) (you can download the MP3 file using the podcast link if you are not using a podcasting application).

Hey ho, let’s go.

Finally, the first proper podcast from Acecast. Bring It On! Another show is planned before the end of March. I’ve been through some 500-600 tracks and about 10% have passed “quality control”. All tracks played are free and legal downloads.

Some of the individual artist websites are substandard (Flash-usage, bad layout, no updates etc) but on this site I have decided to let it be about the good music only. I’ll try to reserve my ranting for

I have also decided against providing background information for each artist (like the fine people at 3hive sometimes do). It takes too much time, I’ve got dozens of more tracks I want to play. So I will focus on getting the shows out and getting the site right. If an artist deserves special mention (for ie use of legal MP3s) I might put up a short entry.

The initial Acecast is dedicated to the great John Peel, champion of good music. The Delia Derbyshire site has a fine John Peel mashup done for the Top Gear programme in 1969 and the Laura Cantrell track I play contains John’s voice at the end (you have to download the track to hear Peelie’s voice, it is not on the podcast. Since Peelie was God, would including his voice be blasphemy?).

Production notes.

I used a cheap dynamic microphone, the Hitachi HMP-606 (as tested), for this show. There is bit of hiss, but it will hopefully be less on the next show (for the next podcast I hope to have my condenser microphone and tube pre-amp working). I know a couple of my fades are not of the finest standard for the debut, but this will improve.

Applications used: Audacity for the main production, MP3tag for tagging the MP3 file and the very useful MP3Gain to do lossless normalization of each track before importing to Audacity. Listening tests were done, using iTunes and Windows Media player. Heavily field tested on my iPod and the old Rio 600. Thanks to my “beta-tester” Carl.

Extended tracklisting for Acecast number 1, 16 March 2005.

If you like the music in my little show (or prefer not to listen to it at all) use the links for each MP3. All MP3-links point to the artist’s own website, unless listed otherwise. All tracks were available at the time when the podcast was recorded (16 March 2005).

Brief playlist for first podcast.

Lydia Lunch’s Hangover Hotel was to feature, but the song has been removed from her site since I did the original tracklisting (and I haven’t had the time to listen to the three MP3s Lydia currently has available).

Initial post: Thu, 17 Mar 2005.

Mon, 21 Mar 2005

Playlist For The First Proper Acecast podcast. Produced 16 Mar 2005.

  • Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds: Bring It On
  • Delia Derbyshire: Delia’s Theme
  • Kode 9: Fat Larry’s Skank (excerpt)
  • Gub: I Love the Sunshine
  • Joy Zipper: Out of the Sun
  • Alog: As Complicated and As Beautiful As Always
  • David Sylvian: Late Night Shopping (Tweaking the Tweaker remix)
  • Milk for the Morning Cake: Faint Star (demo)
  • Noxagt: The Hebbex
  • Laura Cantrell: New Years Resolution (live)

Full details and MP3 download for the first Acecast podcast.

Initial post: Thu, 17 Mar 2005.

Mon, 21 Mar 2005

Acecast is hosted by Dreamhost (“advert”).

The Acecast site is hosted by Dreamhost because:

  • I found a recommendation through a fellow Blosxom user.
  • I get ssh access: critical for my own Blosxom, rsync and shell hacking.
  • A solid amount (120 GB/month) of bandwidth and diskspace (2.4 GB) is needed for podcasting.
  • The price is low — $8/month (this is a private podcasting experiment).
  • I can host three domains for that price if I want to.

Three minor issues so far:

  • the control panel is not as slick as others
  • standard output from Analog is all you get in terms of web server logs
  • the account is not chroot’ed. That might be an issue if you are slightly paranoid.

The two major problems I’ve faced so far (performance and disk space) have been resolved.

If you do follow the Dreamhost link and sign up, I will get a referral fee. Bear in mind I have only been with Dreamhost since late 2004, and check what other people has to say about them.

Initial post: Tue, 08 Feb 2005.

Thu, 17 Mar 2005

How the Acecast web site is created.

All text entries are written in Vim as flat text files.

Blosxom creates the static web pages from the text files, with some help of SSIs (server side includes).

The layout is a customized version of Iztsu theme for Blosxom. I have unwrapped the theme to a Blosxom flavour and tidied up some of the code.

The RSS 2.0 feed is created by a couple of home rolled Blosxom flavours. One to produce valid RSS 2.0 with enclosures; another to point to something which looks nice in your RSS viewer (no menus, just the entry).

I use very few graphic elements on purpose. The MP3/Podcast logos are by Tim Madden.

The colour schemes were created with help from Wellstyled (F00, Triad, almost max angle) and Eric Meyer’s colour blender.

Thu, 03 Mar 2005