5W1H006: 3dtorus

Who?

hi, i´m 3dtorus. what you see in the picture is my right hand.

What?

it´s electronic music; fantasy, dreams and emotions condensed and then written to this world 0´s and 1´s with a laptop.

Where?

i do my thing at 2screenstudio in germany. but this could be anywhere in the world. the photo shows my backyard, as seen from my apartment.

When?

all day, everyday. every aspect of my life becomes music.

Why?

i´m a kind of a secretary, taking information from another place to this world, writing in music.

How?

1 laptop, 1 additional screen, 1 trackball, 1 usb>midi-controller, headphones. all brought to life with lots of love.

5W1H 005: The Annunaki

The Annunaki 5W1H

Who

Me ?? I am Johnboy the guitarist for The Annunaki and unfortunately for you and for my band the one who is answering the questions for this interview. As far as who the group are we have remained an influential figure and are widely thought of as the most influential performers of all time. We are a credible cause for disease, sickness in animals, bad luck, sudden death, impotence and misfortune. We take fiendish delight in terrifying those who are too lazy, too bigoted, too slow-witted to understand us. We are all Psychotic A.D.H.D Sufferers overflowing with Lunacy and Chips……………..And have played together in many many bands before this over the last 28 years and really really enjoyed the on the spot off the cuff totally improvised physcoactive metaphysical jams that we have been doing, so decided to very roughly record them on minidisc in the rehearsal rooms and put them out………GET OUT OF MY BREAD SHOP !!

What

It is not all Pleasant. These vibrations may be disturbing for some people, we are abnormally unable to resist certain urges, Andwehavereciprocatingcircularpistonsandaccidentreportingsystems. But it’s all about feeling a sort of spiritual connection when we jam. Coupled with a mass of influences and a passion for just playing, and playing and seeing what happens, The Annunaki just is. And is sometimes but not always In honour of the contemporary ruler Bahlam Ajaw.The Mayan Bastard. FEED ME A FUCKING STRAY CAT !!!!!!!

Where

WIGAN. Ratna prabha Sharkara prabha.Valuka prabha.Panka prabha.Dhuma prabha.Tamaha prabha.Mahatamaha. FIELD OF THE GRASSHOPPERS.

When

Everything will soon turn to dust, we all know that, Our Sessions contain Apocalyptic imagery of heavenly warfare between The Angel of Israel and the Archangels of Persia. We have no goals in our lives musically or otherwise apart from having fun, drinking ugandan moonshine and just giving out our self-designationed branch of expressed tensions between the human and supernatural world.

Why

Our heads can rotate a full 360 degrees and we are equipped with powerful missiles in our fingers, knees and our toes. The last sessions we did grew out of an amalgamation of Greco-Roman magic and Jewish demonology. The legendary Mad Arab poet Abdul al Hazred was torn apart in broad daylight by invisible forces in front a crowd of horrified onlookers, and that’s all that matters. There are so many sleeping people in this world and we hope some of you can take at least a tiny bit of pleasure from at least a tiny bit of this recording.

How

Music like this was deposited with the dead in ancient Egypt. We recommend you give your bowels a rinsing with boiling oil whilst listening to this and make sure you keep up the dirty protest. Never mind God is good, he sends these things to try us, we have not much money but we do see life. What’s your BZ On pal ? Our Queen has seen more rides than a blackpool donkey, our bobends are as shiny as a dolphins beak. Wind your Fucking neck in, where you up to pal ? We lead the dance, we make them sing.

Here are some very important or unimportant or both, LINKS>>>>>>

The Annunaki on Facebook

The Annunaki on twitter

The Annunaki on Bandcamp

Thanks and Bumming’s to Katarrhaktes for this interview and we are looking for shows so please get in touch !

Email The Annunaki

5W1H 003: Phirnis

Phirnis 5W1H

Who

Kai Ginkel, recording under the Phirnis moniker. Currently living in Vienna.

What

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/110220675″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Where

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/110221843″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

When

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/110222337″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Why

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/110222830″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

How

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/110225885″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Phirnis on Fwonk*

5W1H 001: Puppet Show

FW106 Puppet Show

Who

James Garvey, aka Puppet Show.

What

A Singer and Composer and Musictech head and, most importantly, an artist on Fwonk*.

Where

In person, I currently live in the West of Ireland. In previous years I’ve lived and studied in Maynooth (Kildare).

When

The Present

(I shall wrangle this question into a subject of music)

My music seems to be helplessly retro-tinged, even when I don’t intend it to be (it’s probably the gear I use, or just my ears and brain). Bad form for an artist to not be in command of his work, you’d think, but then again, even worse to be blind or to be too spitefully contra to its tendencies. There’s a 90s Electronic Music feel to almost anything I’ve put out as Puppet Show and at this stage I don’t try to fight it, I just go with the flow.

Why

I’m an artist because, it’s the life for me, it suits how I think and how I view and interact with the world. A great teacher of mine once defined the role of the artist in society as “To reveal society’s soul to itself”

Which for a couple of EPs on a netlabel it’s not really a practical endeavour, but it is the underlying force in my “career” if you will. My Puppet Show EPs are more about self expression and some very conflicting philosophies I current hold regarding art (Plato mixed with Dostoyevsky sort of). The strange/beautiful thing is I feel as if electronic music is probably my worst medium for self expression and that I would even be better off painting then trying to put complex ideas into 90s sounding middle-tempo dance tinged pieces of music. But then perhaps that’s just the grass looking greener. It’s a selfish pleasure, and it’s so selfish that other people look at it and furrow their brow or read paragraphs like this and think “he’s just kidding himself” to which I have no counter, and then I think “why would I do that to myself?” or even “what kind of person would do that to himself?”

At least modern artists put their urinals and messy beds in galleries, and have articles written. But I potter on with all of this, and more brilliantly, this could all just be nonsense so I’m not even saving myself here either.

How

For this EP I used Reason rewired into Ableton Live. There are a couple of field recordings involved, but they’re so mangled it doesn’t really matter what I recorded them with. Mastered in a wav editor. I used SRH840s to write, mix and master the whole thing, except one of the tracks is quite old (TZ001) and was only recently remastered, but it might’ve been made in either Cubase (and Reason) or Protools with VSTs.

Puppet Show on Fwonk*

Interview with VST wizard De La Mancha

The chances are that if you’re using VST instruments and effects, you’ve come across the name De La Mancha. DLM (or Steve as his Mum calls him) has been producing some of the most usefully oddball VST instruments and effects for some time now. He is also a little known Fwonker – the very first Fwonk* release by 3timesnothing is one of his many sideprojects. But we recently had a little chat to Steve about his work making those fantastic little instruments and effects.

How and why did you get started making VST?
A combination of looking for a plugin that didn’t exist and my geeky tendency to find out how to do stuff. I wanted a midi triggered mute/unmute effect, something you could assign a keyboard key to. As I couldn’t find one, I thought I’d try and make my own. I ended up making my first plugin “moot” and then the addiction kicked in and I made some more effects and instruments. After that, I got hooked and it’s both fun to make whatever I feel like and a challenge to turn it into a functioning plugin.

What software have you used / do you used to make them?
I use SynthEdit as the platform for making the VST plugin itself, and a combination of graphic programs for different uses. Knobman is a brilliant tool for animated knobs, and I’ve used Photoshop, Corel Draw and PaintShop Pro for vector and raster art.

Is there a process you follow? Where do the ideas come from?
The ideas come from various sources, but have been often from my own experience of making music and turning a technique I use or want into a VST. Many ideas have come from other people (including Mr Radiophonic himself) as anything from lengthy concepts and sketches to one liners. Othertimes it has been setting myself a purely technical challenge, for example learning the inner workings of a compressor and turning it into software.

There are lots of (for instance) vintage style compressors out there. What do you do to give your a distinctive edge?
Haha, you want to know my secret special sauce recipe? For the GTO/GTX compressors, I specifically wanted to make what are often known as “character” compressors, ie not transparent but adding something to the sound. I also wanted to make them easy to use, so not as technical as my others such as sidearm or bathtub. The “vintage” style seemed to fit this simple interface / dirty sound concept, so the GUI was one of my first that looked like a hardware unit. For the sound, I did a couple of things “under the hood” that are not shown on the interface. First is a filter system in the signal path before the detection circuit, which prevents really low frequency peaks from triggering the compressor and causing mushy noise. There’s also a hidden gentle frequency boost in there, plus a little low level noise, a smidge of saturation and some additional harmonics. It’s all relatively subtle, but I think it really adds something. The audio equivalent to garlic if you like.

Are there any of your VSTs that you are particularly proud of? What is it about that plugin that you like?
Pick a favourite from all my children? I love ’em all equally, although if I had to pick one, I’d say dirty harry is one I use often myself. The sound is pretty unique in that it use samples from two of my DIY hardware synth (Atari Punk Console and BugBrand WOM) and the fx and modulation in the synth can really mess things up.

What can we expect from you in the future? What mad things will emerge from the DLM cookbook next?
Funny you should ask, I’m posing the same question to myself. I’d been saying to myself for a while that I should take a break from plugins. I slowly wound down from doing 4 or 5 plugins concurrently to finishing off basic 65 and taking some time to recharge my creative batteries. Since September I’ve not actively done any plugin development (although ideas keep floating around). Instead I’ve been getting in playing guitar, photography and reading. Meanwhile I can feel the calling, so probably next year I’ll start a new plugin project, but right now I have no idea which of the ideas on the evergrowing list to attack. I’ve got a feeling it will probably be an effect, will involve modulation, randomisation and dirt.

De La Mancha plugins

Five Questions for Robb Sherwin, Creator of Cryptozookeeper

Cryptozookeeper is a work of interactive fiction. For you kids, back in the 80s we used to call these things “text adventures.” If I could attempt to describe interactive fiction (IF) to a modern gamer, it would go something like this: take all the combat out of an RPG like Final Fantasy or Dragon Age, so that all you have left is the walking around, the puzzles, and the cutscenes. Then, take all the graphics out of the game, and replace it with written descriptions of everything. Sound like fun?

No. That sounds terrible, because commercial RPGs all have terrible writers. The puzzles are moronic and the stories are excruciating. But… what if somebody put a lot of thought into the stories? What if the puzzles weren’t written by hallucinating toddlers? It may surprise you to find out that there remains a secret society of IF authors, creating games that comprehensively reject the values of modern-day gaming. IF games reject the proposal that better games have better graphics and – radically, in the age of games like Bioshock where you can’t even die – reject the idea that gamers like easy games. IF games put the story first, and everything else second.

Robb Sherwin is the author of such a game, and we’ve invited him to talk a little bit about it. I should disclose that I know Robb a little from talking with him here and there on the Internet, and that as he developed Cryptozookeeper he approached us at Fwonk for permission to use our music for his game, which is released under a Creative Commons license. We responded, of course, that because we also release our music under Creative Commons, we had already given the entire Creative Commons community permission to use our music in this fashion. Robb really went to town with this idea, and Cryptozookeeper includes literally hours of independent music.

On to the interview!

Hi Robb!

First, let me thank you for taking the time to talk a little about Cryptozookeeper and its place in the world Creative Commons gaming. As of this writing, Cryptozookeeper has been downloaded 3,441 times from the Internet Archive. Congratulations!

Thanks. It amazes me that people have downloaded a terabyte and a half of my Big Foot game. I feel this would have disbanded the early ARPANET had they known what it would later breed. I’m extremely grateful it didn’t come up back then.

#1: I read that Cryptozookeeper took you about five years to complete. I’m about to ask you a personal question. The question is in two parts. As you answer this question, please keep in mind that we at Fwonk* also spend a lot of time and effort putting work onto the internet for free. The question is A: how many *hours* do you think you spent (rounded to the nearest hundred) on Cryptozookeeper? B: why would a person go to all that trouble?

I’ve tried to estimate it, and I think it took somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 hours to make Cryptozookeeper. There were stretches where I woke up early, downed a pot of coffee and didn’t stop until it was time for bed. There were also times where I was on vacation, or trying to get in shape after work, or was waiting for a new clicky keyboard because I spilled a pot of coffee on the old one. I tried to work on it each weeknight no matter how tired I was, as doing that gets you into the zone.

As for why — I know it wasn’t a sane thing to do. I wanted to make an episodic game that came off like an entire season of a British comedy or something. My life was in a place where I didn’t have kids and wasn’t taking my job home with me, so if there was ever going to be a time to make a long game, it was going to be my early 30s. But it really came down to the fact that I had a longish story I wanted to tell, and was finally good enough at programming and Photoshop to implement it. That being said, the next thing I create is going to be so short it will make “Don’t Shit Your Pants” seem like a 100%-achievement runthrough of Skyrim.

#2: Let’s talk about connoisseurs. At Fwonk*, a lot of the artists are making music primarily for what I’ll call a connoisseurial class of listeners who are very attuned to a specific set of aesthetic values (e.g. ambient drone music); a side effect (or maybe the intention!) of targeting that audience is that what you might call the “mainstream” listener will automatically find the work to be alienating. So the question is: when you’re making a game like Cryptozookeeper, are you thinking mainly about that kind of connoisseurial minority? How much do you worry about that kind of gamer, versus what you might think of as a mainstream gamer?

I’ve accepted the reality that I’m making niche games in a programming language (Hugo) that has been marginalized within a subgenre of video games (text adventures) way past its commercial prime. Part of me hopes that appeals to certain players.

When the abandonware site Home of the Underdogs was regularly updated, I used to love clicking around trying to unearth gems that didn’t get any mainstream attention. The unique voice of the artists involved were fascinating. There are text game players that don’t like games with cursing and irresponsible sex and drug use. But these things happen, they aren’t exactly disappearing in our culture, and they are ignored (for understandable reasons) in professional development studios where there is real money at stake. I think independent game developers can distance themselves by not self-censoring, though. I think treating our audience as adults is where we can thrive. If you’re going to ignore a mainstream audience, you might as well ignore it completely.

(That being said, having made games that seem to really resonate with a minority of text adventure fans, if I had an idea for a game as good as Tetris or Ultima or even freaking Mappy, I’d be coding that up as quickly as possible and stuffing my pillow with deposit receipts. I’m just not wired to find inspiration that way.)

#3: I originally met you through Internet forums, much like the one here at Fwonk.com. I noticed that you have a forum community based around IF games, and specifically your games, at joltcountry.com. In what ways has that forum community (and others) affected your progress as an artist?

I’ve been lucky in that there is a good group of guys who visit my forum and have helped test my games. We’ve also been ripping on each other and saying the most horrible things we can think of to each other for ten years. That lends itself to frank discussions of what simply isn’t working from a player’s perspective.

It would make a good graph for one of the many graph-based web comics out there: A reviewer who doesn’t know you at all, and doesn’t care to, can give you really useful feedback that isn’t sugar-coated. You then dip into a valley of kindness as your acquaintances, or just generally nice people play your game (or listen to your album, read your novel, etc.). But once you’re friends with people beyond offending them you can get the best feedback of all. Good criticism, like science, isn’t about your feelings.

A specific example involves music with vocals in a text game. My friend Ben found singing distracting because he was trying to read the game while playing, and his focus was being stolen by the lyrics. I start to glaze over what I’ve written the 50th time I’ve tested a scene, so his comments were helpful, even if they were sandwiched between accusations that I possess the world’s worst taste in pop/rock. This all led to me finding ambient music through FWONK in genres I was better equiped to enjoy and curate.

#4: Your previous IF work, Necrotic Drift, was based loosely on the concept of “Dungeons and Dragons monsters escape into the real world!” Cryptozookeeper basic premise is that your character, after a fashion, breeds the world’s most famous cryptozoological creatures. So the question is: did we used to hang out when I was a kid? Because D&D and cryptozoology were totally my main interests at one point. If not… what led you to choose those topics?

When we were kids we had all these wonderful ways to express ourselves and be creative… and the natural chain of events seemed to be to try to get into creating video games professionally. I figured out that, ten years ago, I was not nearly good enough at C/C++ to contribute, and the games industry treats their developers like the gears of a Play-Dough (TM) spaghetti grinder.

But we never lose our nostalgia for play in those worlds. I can’t legitimately make a licensed D&D game, but I sure could tell a story that felt genuine with a protagonist that was a bit obsessed with it.

There were two reasons I picked cryptozoology, though. Cryptids tend to lend themselves toward combinations, probably because they start out as a real animals that get transmogrified in the telling due to fear, alcohol or adrenaline. Big Foot is kind of a cross between a bear or ape and a man, the Loch Ness monster is sort of like a dinosaur and dolphin or walrus or whatever. That lends itself towards an interesting gameplay mechanic.

The second reason is that the field of cryptozoology reminded me of how it is when I try to explain text games to people in real-life. Cryptozoology is pretty nerdy stuff, as far as geek topics goes. And whenever I find myself accidentally trying to explain text games to people (“It’s a game… sort of where… you type stuff in… it’s really more like writing a novel, but the player can choose what happens…”) it’s like what I’d imagine a rabid cryptozoologist goes through trying to explain why he enjoys camping in a mud-soaked national park and hand-filtering what is ostensibly moose poop.

OK, that analogy sort of got away from me at the end, but there’s some nugget of truth there.

#5: Cryptozookeeper is really, really hard, and it’s pretty long, too. That’s what she said. How did you organize the work? Did you just code it from beginning to end, or did you start at a 10,000 ft view and then drill down into the details?

I had a file (“New Text Document1.txt”) that I used to keep track of all the different “scenes” or chapters I wanted to hit. I tried to throw in a little backstory for the main characters, just so I would get to know them before writing dialogue. But yeah, when I coded it, I started with the first scene, progressed from start to finish, took a detour for a few months to write the bit where you can train and fight cryptids, and then coded the ending. I initially wanted to just “make it solvable” on the first pass. I then went back to the start to ensure that all scenery was implemented, that all known bugs were fixed and to turn the writing from first draft into second, third and fourth draft.

(I did try to make it easier as it gets further along, because the thought of a player not getting to see the end who had invested so much time sucked.)

BONUS QUESTION: For the benefit of readers who now want to check out Cryptozookeeper: how do I get past the dog in the first room?

At the beginning of Cryptozookeeper, the player’s former employer got a sweet deal to “eliminate” the player by siccing the game’s first cryptid (the talking dog) on him. What I was trying to show was that our vegetarian player character with a holistic appreciation for all lifeforms has now begun manipulating animals to save himself.

If you eat the oyster and then tell the game you want to “vomit”, the talking dog will then start, ah, lapping that up instead of savagely mauli– look, I don’t own a dog, but that’s what I thought motivated them. My sources may be incorrect, but hey — I swear the rest of the science in Crypto is dead on. —Robb Sherwin, 11-14-2011