Q3 Star Mix – Out Now!

Every quarter I scrape all of my commonly listened-to music into a Spotify playlist of its own, before moving on to totally new music and repeating the cycle. It’s a ‘slash and burn’ process which I detailed right here a few weeks back, and now it’s time for my latest release!

Star Mix ☆ Q3-12 (balearic, progressive, vocal)

First Contact with Galactaron

Girl meets synth-rock band from Outer Space; animated weirdness ensues. Well, that’s the elevator pitch, anyway. See for yourself:

Galactaron were dreamt up as an art/music project by Owen Dennis, a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation, and are comprised of Singer (centre right), Bass (bottom left), Guitar (centre left), Synth (right), Drums (top left) and their human friend Emily Wong:

Galactaron Album Cover
Album Cover as featured on iTunes

The virtual band have a presence across Twitter, Facebook, Last.fm, SoundCloud and iTunes, with each platform offering new information and imagery to enrich Galactaron’s back story:

Drawn by radio waves, Galactaron focused in on Earth and they traveled a great distance to learn about us. When they finally reached our planet, they landed their massive, red, egg-shaped ship on a frozen lake in the upper Midwest of the America. There they met Emily Wong, a young Chinese-American woman who lives with her father. Emily quickly befriended Galactaron and decided to give them a personalized tour of planet Earth. That’s when they started to discover what earth is, what humans are, and what we have to offer.

A ‘sighting’ of their ship forms one of several on their website.

It’s an admirable project: the band have a truly unique sound, a strong visual identity, a cool backstory, and they’ve even sold a few albums.

Their creator shows real ingenuity, having formed a small yet growing community around snippets of content such as cosmic ring-tones; science-themed status updates; user-contributed artwork; merchandise and not forgetting the music itself.

But despite being an excellent case study in transmedia storytelling, their single ‘First Contact’ has reached a surprisingly low 20,000 plays on YouTube, and far fewer elsewhere. Mission aborted? Or as I suspect, are their thrusters still warming up?

Spotify Star System™

For the last couple of years I’ve been using Spotify as a paid-up subscriber. It’s £10/month in the UK, which is a strong cost:value ratio for the time and various means by which I use it, such as:

  • At home, blasting out tracks on my Sonos S5
  • At work, where social features & discovery apps help me find new stuff
  • On my mobile, where offline playlists provide the backdrop to my travel

And since I no longer play physical CDs, nor use iTunes or other media player (barring web apps such as SoundCloud, Hype Machine, Mixcloud etc.) Spotify has become the main hub and jumping-off point for whatever type of music I’m after.

Spotify leaves it to its users to build, subscribe to and share playlists, their primary organisational schema, however they see fit. But with millions of tracks and carte blanche to curate a personal library of preferences comes a unique challenge: how should one filter, organise and archive their preferences with access to the worlds biggest music collection?

There is no self-populating iTunes-esque ‘smart playlist’ feature, no editorialised ‘recommended playlists’ feature, and until recently there was no way to search playlists without third-party involvement. Users have to come up with their own organisational approach, and I use my patented Star System™. Here’s how it works:

  1. Play whatever music you want
  2. Star the tracks you particularly love
  3. These self-populate a ‘Starred Tracks’ playlist
  4. Set this playlist to ‘Available Offline’ and they’ll download automatically
  5. Carry on jamming, removing stars from any tracks if they get boring
  6. After a period of time, move all starred tracks into playlist of their own
  7. Release this playlist to the public to critical acclaim!
  8. Repeat steps 1-7 with a blank slate

So without further ado, here are my Star Mix Playlists for your listening pleasure, along with some tasting notes.

And finally, my current star mix. Subscribe to this one if you only want my new stuff in your earholes. Happy listening!

Justice: Audio, Video, Disco

If I’m to make good on my resolution to blog something every single day, then I currently owe a whopping eleven blog posts.

I ought to get on with it, hadn’t I?

In the spirit of getting on with it, the new Justice video features electro-rockstars Gasparde and Xavier doing exactly that, while preparing for the release of their track ‘Audio, Video, Disco’ from the eponymous album.

The video documents the pair living and breathing their work in the studio at all stages of the track’s life cycle, from conception to critical acclaim. You’ll like it, because it’s confident, it’s awesome, and it’s very very French:

One more post by midnight… time to get on with it!

Lee Broom’s Neon Furniture

I stumbled into /r/cyberpunk the other day, where I came across the work of a chap called Lee Broom, a British interior and product designer who has won recent acclaim for his work at Westfield Stratford and The Nightjar.

His stuff is traditional with a very modern twist: think 19th century meets TRON. Yeah, pretty awesome. My favorite piece is an antique chair found in a flea market somewhere in Paris, “left unrestored and then adorned in turquoise neon, giving it new life but without forgetting its journey.”

Some of the other designs that I liked (click thumbnails to expand):

For the discerning cyberpunk, Broom’s full range of products are listed here.