Simply Ginormous Arcen Catalog Sale at Indie Royale

The Arcen Spread over at Indie Royale
The Arcen Spread over at Indie Royale

This may not shatter the earth with tyrannosaurian clomping the way the Humble Bundle does, but my favorite deal of the early summer sale rush simply has to be the Arclight Bundleover at Indie Royale. This fat, happy bundle features nearly every game produced by indie studio Arcen Games since its start in 2009, and then some. Let’s feast on some details: Continue reading

Here for the Ambience: Currently Listening to [Sol System] – Venus (Ambient Mix)

Currently listening to: Venus, mixed by Alex Hephaestion.
Currently listening to: Venus, mixed by Alex Hephaestion.

Current: ambient-nights.org is undergoing a site revision, and downloads are temporarily available only via the forum, which requires a free registration. Don’t let that stop you, this is good stuff!

Post: When I was a kid, I was fascinated with science shows. I was a huge nerd, in a time where nerdiness was much more of a liability, or so it seemed to me. At any rate, one of my favorite shows was a first-year university course in physics called The Mechanical Universe. Much more than a lecture series loaded with equations, it also had cool animations describing the weirdness of things like the effects of near speed-of-light travel, and wonderful ambient music playing throughout. It was like a trip to the planetarium, every time, and I would always come back with a little more understanding of how nature worked, and a ton more questions to go along with it. Continue reading

Conelrad releases Five Automatic Landings (Free ambient music)

One of my favorite artists, Conelrad, has released a new EP, the first in a couple years.

Five Automatic Landings cover art

Five Automatic Landings is five tracks and about an hour of ambient drone. If you’re at all familiar Conelrad, you’ll get the quality you usually expect, and may even notice some familiar signatures latent within the tracks. If you like ambient music, and you’re new to the artist, well, you’re definitely in for a treat.

And is it free? It’s free as hell and death, friends, and so is the entire discography. Go get some.

I reviewed one of Conelrad’s tracks early on in this blog. Lots of post-apocalyptic ash drifting silently from the skies, and an unlikely tie-in with Half Life 2. Read about that here.

Back cover with track listing.

(link fodder)

An Extremely Minor Reason to Upgrade to iTunes 10

There’s one extremely minor reason to upgrade to iTunes 10 (if you must use iTunes at all), and that’s the fact that Apple seems to have finally figured out how to provide an attractive, intelligent, and functional manner for displaying cover art outside of the main application. No need for a separate CD cover art app any longer.

Standing alone as an album art viewer (this is as small as it gets):

When the mouse hovers over it, iTunes controls show:

Here’s how to get it working:

  1. Click the album art pane in iTunes (see image below).
  2. Move and adjust the cover art window.
  3. Minimize iTunes, because it is still ugly.
  4. Hover over the album art to control iTunes, or use an alternative method (see links below).
  5. Get on with life and living.
Click for larger

Of course, you can also continue to use hotkey solutions as I describe in earlier posts:

iTunes can be downloaded here.

Still not hot on iTunes 10? Here’s how to install it without extra crap that you don’t need.

Free Software: sfxr – glitchy games effects generator

sfxr is a tiny little tool built for the purpose of quickly generating unique, but recognizably stock sounds for games, specifically games competitions, where dev time can be measured in hours.
sfxr screenie
Derek Yu used it to create sound effects for the rogueish treasure platformer Spelunky. Generated sound effects for a procedurally generated game. For me, of course, it’s just a fun little thing to play around with and make stupid noises.

Free music review: Faded Giant, by Conelrad (track)

It’s free music, listen to it. I’m going to gush about this for a minute.

Faded Giant – Conelrad (Community Shelter Planning)

csp-cover-huge

What’s so marvelous about this music is that it manages to contain the spirit of ambient sonic wallpaper without being unimportant. At first, it’s an unremarkable, staticky drone, typical ambient material, but its simple, huge tones graduate deliberately until the listener cannot help but be affected.

I’m coming out of a dark forest into a wide expanse of ruined trees and hollow buildings, half obscured in poisoned mists. It is the discovery of something beautiful and horrible at the same time, after the fallout has sifted to below the soil, and the suffering of bodies has long since faded. Likely, this image is brought on by the combination of the artist’s name (Conelrad), and the frighteningly calm album title (Community Shelter Planning), the album cover (shown above), and finally, having recently completed Half Life, Episode 2…

ep2_outland_06a0003

So, yes, perhaps my interpretation of this track isn’t entirely original. Still an awesome track from a great album, and more than twelve minutes of it.

Conelrad‘s catalog can be sampled freely at munchhouse.com/conelrad.

Ambient Nights – Free music, not bad after MP3DirectCut

The short: Quasi-netlabel Ambient-Nights.org serves up some good downtempo semi-ambient music for free, but you’ll only get them through BitTorrent, and each album is one long mp3 file– no individual tracks.

Long a fan of freely available music, I’d heard about Ambient-Nights a few years ago, but wasn’t all that thrilled with a few things:

  • No direct downloads are freely available from the site. You have to use a BitTorrent client to obtain the mixes, which entails waiting and perhaps attracting unwanted attention from your ISP or other hideous parties. Continue reading