Art, DJ Mixes, Events, Gear, Mashups / Remixes, Music, Video

Rock Star VJs

Zombie, Robotkid, and RNDM at Beat Research Halloween ‘07Oh, Boston! It was good to see you.

I started out last week’s journey to my old stomping grounds, partying with my peeps at the Beat Research halloween party where Flack, Wayne, and DJ RNDM threw down hard. RNDM did a VJ set using the Ms. Pinky vinyl DJ system to do live music-video mashups. If you’re having any trouble visualizing what I mean, you’re in luck. Robotkid was in the house documenting the festivities (Flickr pics), and now RNDM’s entire set is immortalized:

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RNDM and Robotkid also happen to work at Harmonix, the company that designed the popular Guitar Hero video game, and is about to unleash its latest creation, Rock Band. Robotkid was kind enough to invite me over to Harmonix headquarters so I could get a sneak-preview of the game before it’s released on Txgving day. And man, was it fun! I’m really not much of a gamer, and have never played Guitar Hero but I’ve heard a lot of hype so I was excited to see what this is all about.

Rock Band Trailer:
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Apparently Guitar Hero uses a single plastic Gibson Les Paul guitar-looking thing as an input device allowing the user to “play” along with rock songs and thereby earn Rock Band Instrumentspoints. Rock Band takes this idea a few steps further. Its input devices include an electronic drum kit, 2 Fender Strat guitar-looking things which can be used to play bass or guitar, and a microphone. Up to 4 people can join a “band” and play rock songs together, either in the same room or online.

I started out on the drums which consist of four pads and a foot peddle. Watching the screen for visual cues I hit the corresponding pads in time to the Pixies classic Wave of Mutilation. If I fucked up, the drum part would drop out from the mix and I began losing points. The same goes for the bass, guitar, and vocal parts. I tried each and had a blast every time.

The game also allows the user to choose an avatar (rocker) who appears on screen as you play. What’s more, you can create your own rockers using the built in Rocker Maker with all kinds of punk, goth, metal, (etc.) attributes including customized tattoos. I have to say, it was quite amusing watching a super-punk-Rocker singing Geddy Lee‘s vocals on Rush’s Limelight.

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Hitting buttons and flicking switches on the “guitars” won’t teach people how to play real guitars, but it’s helpful for learning rhythm and hand-eye coordination. The drums on the other hand, are actually a pretty good teaching tool, and the microphone even more so.

The vocal part works like Karaoke. Words stream across the top of the screen spaced apart so as to express the rhythm. The pitch is also visually represented as a line above the words. The system analyzes the singers pitch, rhythm, even the words, and bases the score on accuracy.

I have a feeling this thing’s gonna be all the rage. If I was 10 years old I’d be begging and begging for it for X-mass.

Enough fun and games though. I also did some (fun and) work last week. I wanna give a shout to all the students I met in Wayne and Tony‘s classes. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about the tutorial, or anything else.

On my last night in Boston before heading up to the Noath Shoah to hang with the momz for a few days, a bunch of us dropped by a new dubstep weekly at the Good Life called Bassic. Joe Nice was in town from B-more to school us in the sound of the underground, and that he did. Good times!