personalized expeditions in music from a musician who doesn't matter

Archive for January, 2014

Joint review, LSDj and LGPT: Therrrrrrre’s my chippy

Posted by r on January 20, 2014

This post is part of my ongoing tracker-app-reviews-from-slash-FOR-a-possible-tracker-newbie-perspective series. Next up: likely Klystrack.

I figure out absolutely everything backwards. The very first tracker that really piqued my interest in all this tracker-y stuff so “late” in life wasn’t Renoise, SunVox, or even some other “well-known / classic” tracker app for desktop machines. It was LittleGPTracker, aka LGPT, aka PiggyTracker, aka Piggy, aka The Pig.

I don’t remember how I bumped into this crazy app or the associated Hexawe netlabel-community. I liked much of the music I heard being made with Piggy, and was further fascinated by the idea of a robust music app designed to run on mobile devices with only gamepad input allowed for the end user.

LGPT was directly and openly inspired by a longrunning Gameboy music / tracker app called Little Sound DJ – LSDj for short. These two apps share more in common than their numerous interface / UI similarities; both are meant for use on mobile gaming devices or equivalent, and both have super-passionate fanbases actively making music with the things. Once you’ve got the basics of using one of them down, you’re pretty well ready to use the other as well. But there are some pretty significant distinctions between their approaches as well, particularly from a sound-generation angle.

I’ve played / worked much more with LGPT than with LSDj. While LGPT is available not only for several obscure mobile gaming dealies but also natively for Win32 (to say nothing of OSX / Linux / even RPi), I don’t have the requisite hipster hardware to run the Gameboy-only LSDj on a real Gameboy for the “legit experience” and have had to resort to using it in an emulator. But I’ve used both apps just enough at this point to feel comfortable slapping up a joint review from, again, the tracker-n00b perspective.

I have also used both of these apps enough to believe that some smart developer who might get serious about combining these two apps’ particular strengths with a somewhat more modern set of capabilities and UI could very much be on a direct route to The Future Of Mobile Electronic Music-Making. These apps are incredibly cool, and particularly in the case of LGPT, they’re useful for more than just chiptunery. Both programs have particular strengths in terms of workflow / input efficiency that eludes not only most other trackers, but nearly all other “modern” music-making apps as well.

Let’s get down to it.

But before we do – I’ll say more about “hardware requirements” at the very end of this review, but you should know upfront: these apps were meant to be used with gamepads or the equivalent. I would vehemently argue this does not mean you should take these apps any less seriously as music-making tools. You may eventually disagree, but try to keep an open mind.
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The myth of dynamic crowdsourced help (or, why we’re all well and truly FAQ’d)

Posted by r on January 13, 2014

The Internet is now approaching its third decade of mainstream acceptance. Available dynamic resources for the self-taught and continually curious have, in an on-paper sense, never been better. But in 2014, God help the thoughtful, rational individual who, having lurked endlessly in relevant places and having Googled / site-queried appropriately and having read FAQ upon FAQ, still has a question that falls between the cracks, and requires an intelligent answer from someone more well-versed in the topic.

The regulars in discussion groups and forums dedicated to specialized topics nearly always automatically assume anyone who self-identifies as “inexperienced” in a given matter, or who simply has a low post count, hasn’t done the reading.

The comic irony is that the responses from the regulars could nearly always be used as examples in a textbook on reading comprehension fail.

PRIMA: Hi, I’m new to Hobby X, and I have a question involving Plausible Condition Y. I’ve read the linked community-respected FAQs 1, 2, 3, and 4 on Subinterest Z of Hobby X, but while Situation That Could Very Easily Involve Plausible Condition Y is addressed in detail in FAQs 1 and 3, Plausible Condition Y itself is outright ignored in all four documents. Can anyone clarify?

SECUNDA: In addition to an obvious-n00b question, I see you have a zero post count and thusly I am certain that you have not read the FAQ. Read the FAQ.

[Before PRIMA has a chance to respond politely, the post has already been downvoted into oblivion and/or moved to the forum graveyard by a mod.]


PRIMA: I have read 900 posts on Topic A at this very forum over the last four months of daily lurking and constant forum refreshing. I have learned a lot, namely that everyone on this forum seems to believe that the optimal solution to Topic A is either Solution 1 or Solution 2. However, this seems to be a subjective matter of debate.

It seems to me that if someone performed Very Rudimentary Quasi-Empirical Check Z on both Solutions 1 or 2, the matter could be settled (for my own purposes at least). I have searched this very forum many times over the last few weeks and can find no evidence of Very Rudimentary Quasi-Empirical Check Z in any discussion. Has anyone ever performed Very Rudimentary Quasi-Empirical Check Z with Solutions 1 and 2, and if so, could you please report back with your results?

SECUNDA: This topic has been discussed a million times before and still comes up weekly here. Do a forum search.

TERTIA: Solution 1 is the solution. Everyone who has tried it knows it, including me. If you look at my forum sig, you’ll see I’m a professional. I should know.

PRIMA: Right, Secunda, well, what I’m asking is if anyone has ever done any kind of valid measurements on Solutions 1 and 2, instead of just going back and forth about how their Solution of choice is the best one. I know this is a hot and tired topic, but I’m pretty sure it would take 30 seconds of add’l effort from any given Solution-user to settle it for me, if not many others. However, I have yet to see anyone try such a measurement before despite, again, many efforts to find something of the like here. You seem like you are quite well-versed in the history of this topic here… do you happen to know of a thread where such measurements were presented?

QUARTA: Tertia is talking out of his ass. Solution 1 is only favored by the old and clueless. The world’s gone to Solution 2 now.

QUINTA: Oh, man, this question again. (headslap emoji) (popcorn-eating .gif)

TERTIA: The “old and clueless?” Quarta, this “old and clueless” ~PROFESSIONAL~ made dozens of referrals and mid-six figures last year using Solution 1. Care to share your new-fangled 1040, you hipster fuck?

PRIMA: Secunda / Quinta, yes, again, I know the question itself is tired, but I’m asking for specific information / tests relating to this topic that might help settle it for good. Or maybe Tertia or Quarta could help, since they both have Solution 1 and 2 on hand respectively, and the Quasi-Empirical Check Z I have in mind is really very fast and simple. How about it, guys?

QUARTA: Fuck you and your predictable condescension, Tertia. I’m tired of your constant shitting on Solution 2 in these threads. No one cares how much you made last year. Besides, I talked to four guys that hired you last year who all said you sucked.

[eight more thread-pages of ad hominem follow; neither Secunda nor Quinta ever return to thread]


PRIMA: I already know from extensive reading / lurking / searching that the usually-recommended approach to Problem X is Solution A, but for Good And Inflexible Reasons 1 / 2 / 3 / 4, I cannot use Solution A. Is there something I could use in place of Solution A to solve Problem X?

SECUNDA: Sounds like Solution A is what you need. (link to promotional literature for Solution A)

PRIMA: Sorry, Secunda, as I said, I know about Solution A but it won’t work for me due to Good And Inflexible Reasons 1 / 2 / 3 / 4. Is there any current alternative to Solution A?

TERTIA: Man, if I ever had to work in a place that enforced Good And Inflexible Reasons 3 and 4, I’d be looking for a job elsewhere.

PRIMA: That’s as may be, Tertia, but unfortunately I don’t have that luxury right now, and Problem X really needs to be solved. Are there any alternatives to Solution A? Has anyone here personally tried Possible Solution B, for instance?

QUARTA: Have you ever heard of Solution A? I’ve used that and I think it would work great for your application.

TERTIA: Here is a site that might help you solve your REAL problem. (link to

QUINTA: I don’t know why anyone would want to try anything other than Solution A. We use it here and it works fine. No point reinventing the wheel.

PRIMA: Well, Quinta, except for Good And Inflexible Reasons 1 / 2 / 3 / 4.

QUINTA: Oh, jeez, you should have said those were part of your solution requirements upfront, then. (rolleyes.gif)

SECUNDA: C’mon, everyone’s telling you the answer is Solution A, but it seems you just don’t want to hear it. Why post a question in a forum if you already know you have another specific answer in mind? Mod, please close thread.

World, let’s all make it our 2014 resolution (if a couple weeks late) to actually read the questions posed to us, particularly if we’re the ones taking some kind of “personal responsibility” for educating or helping others in a public forum. The road we’re going down, have been going down for years now – that of valuing upvotes over actual answers, and even the smart among us allowing ourselves to have attention spans shorter than the max length of tweets – is a very frightening one indeed.

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