Tuesday, February 27, 2024



This 6 month exhibition at the Kyoto City KYOCERA Art Museum started a week ago. The continuous rain here had kept me away till yesterday. Very glad I got to it.

Takashi Murakami, now 62 years old, has been an artist for 30+ years, but I only heard about his SUPERFLAT about 10 years ago. I may have seen it and a brief interview with him in some TV arts program.  A week or so before we left Australia for Kyoto end of 2019, Murakami had a Yokai themed exhibition in Sydney I had wanted to go to, but due to final moving issues, and possibly rain, I didn't get to it.

But I didn't miss out as in the foyer, they had the 2 Murakami Oni that were in that Sydney Exhibition.

So it took some time to finally see his works "in the flesh". SUPERFLAT really caught my attention all those years ago. A current "pop art" inspired by the worlds of Japanese manga and anime. 

There were 6 large rooms and each had an explanation like this "manga". In English and Japanese.

A great exhibition. Also worth following up on his SUPERFLAT themes yourself. 

I think I was inspired by SUPERFLAT and his Mr.Dob character the first time I saw it. It just "click" with me. 

When I go to an exhibition like this, one of the reasons is that I am hoping for it to inspire me in my own work.  More so now, since I retired from my technical career.  And I think I can see Murakami did, even before this exhibit. Or was that inspired by the same sources Murakami was?

It gets difficult to tell! If I look at my IN THE NEXT DIMENSION comic I can see a few influences

and I am okay with that. 

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Experiment in Melodic Techno: EDM Bob?

Not so sure it is Melodic Techno, but that was the style I have been listening to, and applied through my own limitations. The long version of our Melodic Techno experiment, EDM Bob?  Like a Street Cat Named "Bob",  The Superflat "Bob" or Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder saying "Bob".

An earlier short version I used in this YouTube short:

In Murakami's SUPERFLAT, he has named his many characters Mr.Dob. Mine above are my own in his style, but are they too close to Dob?  Hence the question, "is this too Bob?".   You can take SUPERFLAT to also mean "shallow" in the way HELLO KITTY is, and the Nursery rhyme level melodic complexity of EDM feels like it fits to me, hence the "Dob" <-> EDM connection to me. I must also say I LIKE Superflat and Melodic Techno.

The Reaper Project of the track:

I had been setting up and finding EDM sounds for my own music since investigating Cassians's GREAT SOUTHERN LAND Remix

I put together a MS-20mini drum sound collection early on.  The Korg really is a versatile synth for very electronic sounds, but there are tricks, such as knowing how the external signal processor can be used for overdrive.

My first attempts at making the standard drum patterns were really dull though, and I found velocity manipulation of the hi-hats vital to give a simple four on the floor pattern life and movement.  Using tracks by KENSHO, Pyra and Cassian as reference lead me to the stylistic patterns their tracks use. No intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle eight, verse, chorus, ending here.  More slow build, release, hard verse, then ending, to fit into a different track in a DJ set.

The rising sine wave tone in this was made in Audacity, in the chirp generator, as it allows you to set start and end frequencies and a duration.  

Most of the other tones and the melodic bits were played on the MS-20 while manipulating the VCF cutoff. Seems appropriate. I must say I am more influenced by Jean Michel Jarre's OXYGENE for the background sweeps and bloops than anything I heard in Techno though. Same for the panning of the swoops across the sound stage.  Now, OXYGENE is a melodic and technical wonder kind, and that kind of melodic and thematic development isn't part of Melodic Techno from what I have seen. I feel my melodies should go more places than they do, for now though, so maybe for the extended mix. Extended mixes are also part of the DJ, dance scene, so doing that is fine.  I could also say, my techno track here is kind of a REALLY STRIPPED DOWN variation of OXYGENE  at 124BPM, and made really really simple with the Melodic Techno "cliche" things in it. The Rise, The DropSnare Build and the long verses which change from no hi-hats, to with hi-hats, to with a snare to handclaps or whatever. 

I expect I will use this almost 5minute track as the sound track to a Car Illustration Sample Video as I haven't made one of those recently. A change from the more metal sound of some of my other videos. 

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Monday, February 19, 2024

A Viking Guitar God's Disco Album


Viking Guitar God,  Mattias IA Eklundh, has mostly done heavier guitar riff stuff in odd time signatures through his band FREAK KITCHEN.  Love it. Like this:

Then in 2022 he released his "Disco Album".  Intergalactic Songs Of Love and Reflection

a FREAK AUDIO LAB Album featuring mostly synthesizers put together in Reason ( or was it Alberton) and his pitch shifted "alien" vocals. Such as this track:

Mattias is a skilled musician, lyricist and vocalist. I get the impression he was given all the software tools and encouraged to do this different album, using the different workflow.  He called it "jokingly" his "Disco Album" but it isn't what I now know of as EDM.  Kind of a strange POP album, more danceable than his "normal" releases. 

Very interesting, and still has his meaningful lyrics. Something EDM isn't know for.  

I myself have been studying the current, more traditional EDM genre MELODIC TECHNO, and revisiting Mattias's take just shows how different it is.  Standard EDM is very repetitive, with slow changes and "drops", rather than solos and bridges.  That makes EDM sound boring, but it isn't. Even when repeating basically the same measure, there is movement, and all kinds of things happening in the production that I have found very interesting. The sound is also awesome. 

Last year I did an Ambient-ish Album, and I am guessing this year I will make my own EDM/Metal-ish tracks, but nothing I have made so far has excited me enough. 

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

A Food Additive Allergy/Intolerance

Since coming back to Japan 4 years ago, I have found I now have some foods I can't eat.  I didn't used to have that problem, but it seems, this is one of those features of getting old that isn't explained in the owners manual. A food that is now on my DO NOT EAT LIST is a certain brand and type of donuts and an extra fluffy Soufflé hotcake mix my wife bought once.  I have to be very careful with any baked bread like goods that are "FUWA FUWA" as they say in Japanese, which is "extra light and fluffy".  But standard white bread is fine.

I am guessing it is something about the LEAVENING (rising agent) in combination with some FOAMING AGENT that results in me having gut agony for many hours, hours after eating anything with them.  This is usually just described as "bloating", but that doesn't explain how painful that is. My only relief is to try and vomit up the gas filled foam😨, a foam like you find on the sea shore, not the type in a pillow. 

Well, at least I don't have a peanut allergy that could be fatal.

I was recently surprised that YouTube showed me this science channel video Sugar Alcohols Ruined My Health: Learn from My Mistakes but I guess that is just the surveillance we are constantly under via cookies and social media.  In it this science lady, Sabine, talks about how she tracked down her "bloating" to a food additive that has many commercial names, that are all Sugar Alcohols

Could I have a Sugar Alcohols Allergy/Intolerance?  Maybe, but I haven't seen the same list of food additives on the foods I know I can't eat.  Sabine found a cookie she liked became one of the foods she couldn't eat, when a new additive appeared on the box label.  

So my problem is with a kind of Junk Food, so not eating it is easy. Other things just as nice don't give me the problem!

I originally tried to embed  Sabine's video above, but the Google/YouTube Blogger search has now become so useless, it didn't appear in the search results, even using the exact title, with or without enclosing in ""! Assume sponsored content is all that makes it to the top of the search list now 😡

of services continues. Google has no idea any more.

I would like to know if a food I buy has an additive in it.  Would also like to know what known side effect of additives there are, and not have to become a chemist to work all that out.  But the Processed Food industry is not as it should be anyway, and been that way forever.  The whole sugar/ low fat shill disaster really didn't fix anything. Not that easy to avoid all processed foods though.  

Now I don't have any problem eating a Yamazaki Curry Donut. Love them. The ingredients and additives on the back of the pack are here:

The ingredients are: Curry (pork, carrot, sugar, onion paste, bread crumbs, flour, lard, potato flakes, extract seasoning, onion powder, sauteed onion, beef, beef tallow, onion, curry powder, apple paste, salt, cumin, tomato paste, garam masala) , sauce, soy sauce, garlic powder, chocolate, shiitake extract powder, pepper, pepper powder, yeast extract) (manufactured in Japan), flour, shortening, bread crumbs, sugar, emulsified oil, baker's yeast, vegetable protein, fried foods Mixed flour, salt, fermented seeds, eggs, fermented flavoring/modified starch, emulsifier, acetic acid (Na), leavening agent, glycine, seasoning (amino acids, etc.), coloring (caramel, carotenoid), yeast food, oxidation Inhibitor (V.E), xylose, spice extract, V.C, fragrance, glycerin ester, (contains milk ingredients, eggs, wheat, beef, soybeans, chicken meat, pork, and apples)

The ingredients they have now are fine, even though they are a donut, but if they were to change anything, usually for cost reasons, that could change in the future. And that could be a problem. 
I also don't have any problem eating a Pasco Canele Tart. It isn't FUWA FUWA, though, so nothing in it upsets me anyway. The ingredients on the pack are:

Which in OCR Autotranslated English is:  Milk (domestic production), sugar, flour, margarine, eggs, processed wheat products (flour), vegetable oil, caramel powder, rum, shortening/modified starch, glycerin, leavening agent, acetic acid (Na), flavoring, emulsifier , glycine, sucrose ester, lysozyme, antioxidant (vitamin E), coloring agent (carotenoid), (contains egg, wheat, milk ingredients, and soybeans in part)

Now Mister Donut does have Allergen Documents available, like this fragment:

But note that it doesn't include the other additives used for emulsifying, preservation, etc. Stuff like a commercial Sugar Alcohol additive name. Not a complete list. A start though. Could be quite a research project. Not eating any Mister Donuts is easier. Even if I worked out what they add that I can't have, it isn't as if I am going to make a fuss and try and stop them using it. Life is too short.

Not long ago I saw a documentary on NHK about food Allergies, and one of the interesting stories in that was about a food (that I don't remember what it was, nothing special just a regular thing people eat) that a growing number of people were becoming allergic too at an Allergy Clinic.  It turned out the patients were all scuba divers.  They regularly get stung by Jellyfish, and aren't fussed by it. But what happened they discovered is the body reaction to the Jellyfish sting, now gets triggered by a food they had regularly eaten.  

What such action/reactions are we all subject too, yet to be discovered?  I am guessing Social Media in some way 😁

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Friday, January 26, 2024

Music, Producer, sometimes Musician


A quick thing I played & recorded on a Sunday afternoon

Over the years I came to understand that there is a rather large difference in the thinking between a musician, ( I am a "Guitarist", or I am a "Keyboard Player") and someone interested in producing music, that plays instruments. 

I am very much the later. Making a piece of music, usually with various parts, to play over a stereo is the goal. A recorded, mixed and produced work is the purpose. To play again and again, or put on a video. I started recording and making recorded sound pieces before I had any instruments to learn how to play. 

The only photos I have of me growing up is a very small album with captions my mother put together a few short years ago in 2019. One picture is of me at 3 years old with the caption "I loved this guitar".   I have no memory of ever having a ukulele, but the memory of wanting to play that type of instrument stayed with me. 

Oh, I wanted to learn to play the guitar as a fairly young kid in junior High School, but my mother was "why would anyone want to waste all that time to do that?".   Instead, what they sent me too was soccer, which wasn't what I wanted to spend my weekends doing. 

I took a different path. I fell in love with records and good stereo systems to play them early on. Music, among other things, is a drug for my mood. I had upgraded my stereo system several times before I ever bought a musical instrument. 

Page1 of a multipage comic

First guitar I bought was after I finished High School, and just before starting first year university for a BE Elec Eng. I wanted to design audio electronics. And the guitar I got was a sunburst Strat copy, as that is what Richie Blackmore played.

Musicians on the other hand, are about the craft of playing, and the instruments themselves. The majority seems to be more about performing and "playing live". The ones I know started when they were young with lessons their parents paid for.

I know a few like that. Played for decades, with large instrument collections, and have been in bands. Playing covers a big thing. Playing others songs they love., or one of the parts to them  In very recent times they may have started home recording, even recorded a few songs, but it hasn't been their life long focus. 

I saw a video piece with Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about how he much preferred a CD to a live performance. I am like that.  Have been to live shows, concerts, pubs, but I much prefer the sound quality and "my own pace" for listening to music at home. Hearing it more than once is also so important. I always preferred the studio version CD to a live performance too.  

DEEP PURPLE MADE IN JAPAN is still touted as one of the best live albums, but even there,  I prefer the studio recordings.  The MACHINE HEAD remastered Anniversary 2CD Edition in particular, with alternate takes is extra special.

I tend to think loving "live" is as much to do with being a "I like going out" (most likely an extravert, or tend to extravert) person as much as anything.  If you are introverted, staying more home is preferred.

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology