26 April 2012

Mobile Studio for upcoming Collaboration ......

As some of you might already know, I'm currently working on a collaboration album together with Remy Stroomer. Progress on that project is going well and we hope to release that album later this year. I'll update you on that when there is more certainty. There is another collaboration coming up though. You might remember that in 2010 I released a collaboration album together with Ron Boots called 'Refuge en Verre'. The album was the result of a long weekend in a rented house together with both our families in the Belgian Ardennes. Well we are going to repeat that soon. In the picture is the stuff that I will be bringing along, so a notebook with Cakewalk Sonar installed, a Clavia Nord Wave and the Roland SH-101 and I heard Ron will bring his Korg Kronos. So we'll have a nice set to work with. We are going to improvise there just like last time and if it works out, who knows :) I'll keep you posted. I'm really looking forward to this holiday and also to playing together with Ron Boots again :) More information on 'Refuge en Verre' can be found here: http://www.synth.nl/Refuge

25 April 2012

Synth.nl stall at E-day 2012

Coming Saturday there is the yearly E-day festival that my record label Groove Unlimited organizes every year. I will be present there with a stall, where you can buy all my CDs. There are also a lot of other artists present with their own stalls. Groove Unlimited has a big stall where you can buy all kinds of Electronic Music on CD. There are also 3 very nice concerts so all in all a very enjoyable day for Electronic Music fans. The event is held at Theater 'de Enck' in Oirschot in The Netherlands (near Eindhoven). You can find more information on this festival on http://www.e-live.nl/ I hope to see you there!

08 April 2012

3D Demo Reel 2011

This is an overview of the 3D Animation work I did in the last year. I tried to make a little compilation that shows a good average of what I can do. All animations were made in Cinema 4D. The music I put under it is the track 'Apollo 9' from my 2011 Apollo album. More information about Apollo here: http://www.synth.nl/Apollo. More information about my graphics work here: http://www.osenbruggen.nl

02 April 2012

Final Expansion 3 for Commodore VIC-20

I did another nice retro computer DIY project recently. I bought a Final Expansion 3 DIY kit from the Retro Donald Webshop. If you remember the VIC-20 from the good old days you will know that it only had 3,5 Kbytes of RAM and you had to wait for ages to load games from a tape drive. This expansion gives your VIC-20 a lot of new features. I will tell about them later, but first the process of building the cartridge. You will have to build it yourself since it is only available as a kit. You can only choose to buy it with or without an enclosure and I chose the version without.

On the website on the shop there is a very clear manual that actually shows with pictures which components go where. Most of the stuff is pretty straight forward except for the SD cart holder that is SMD mounted. I used some flux to solder this one. In the picture you can see the finished PCB, but what you don't see is that there are some components soldered under the ICs as well. On some spots I found it quite challenging to get everything in place without putting to much force on the components. But in the end it worked out fine.

So time to put it in the VIC-20. You might have noticed the DIN plug coming from it. This is actually a serial connector that plugs into the VIC-20's serial port. The cartridge emulates a disk drive over this connector. You can load files from the SD cartridge. It is standard FAT16 formatted so you can just copy files on it from your PC. The first thing you need to load is the firmware for the expansion itself. At first I could not get it to work. I could load software I put on the SD cart, but the firmware didn't want to program. It turned out I forgot to set the dip switches right.. duhhhhh... It actually took me quite some time before I found this out. After the cartridges Eprom is programmed you can use the reset switches to reset the VIC-20 into a nice menu system. And from this
menu you can do some very nice things.

The first menu item is the most exciting one. It says RAM manager and you can add additional RAM to your VIC-20. As stated before the standard RAM amount is just 3,5 Kbyte, but you can go up to 512 Kbyte!! But there is more. You get another 512 Kbytes where you can put programs in you use often that you can then load from the menu directly. You also get a battery backupped real time clock. With the 'Basic Wedge' option you even get additional Jiffy DOS commands. If you want to learn more about this expansion you can read all about it on this URL: http://t-winkler.net/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=en:fe3:main

01 April 2012

The New Commodore 64 III

As you might have noticed by now, I like retro computers as well next to synthesizers. I have quite a collection of old stuff in the place now where my studio used to be. When I needed a new work station there I could not resist the new machine that is made by a company called Commodore USA. It is a reincarnation of the old 64 (brodkasten) style enclosure, but it is not what it seems at first sight. There is actually a brand new modern PC in this enclosure. I got the smallest one available and that is an Intel Atom. There is also version with a Core i7 inside.

Here you can see it from a different angle and you can clearly see the SD, CF and USB slots on the side and the VGA, Ethernet and PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports on the back. On the other side is also a slimline DVD drive and it has more USB on the back as well. They keyboard is fortunately a lot better than the one on the old C64 by the way. It is not a cheap PC, but I really love the look and feel of it. Commodore USA is also working a linux variant they call Commodore OS Vision that I have running on it. It is a mix of Ubuntu and Mint with bits and pieces of their own with a nice retro feel to it. It is not completely done yet, but the beta is available from their website even if you don't have a Commodore machine. So check it out :) You can find more information on http://www.commodoreusa.net