Category Archives: music

chilling in covid times

Times are tough and stressful for everyone right now. So perhaps a bit of ambient and chill tunes can help to relax a little in this taxing times.

I blogged about Moby’s Long Ambient release a while ago, and I recently found out he also released a second installment of great, long ambient tunes to chill to for free. I love to put these on when I try to get some sleep on a flight. But I guess I won’t be doing that anytime soon.

Check out LA1 & LA2 here.

Also check out my other ambient posts if you want some more music to chill too. Plenty of good free stuff in there to soothe those nerves.

battle beats vol two breakcore compilation

A while ago I saw this Facebook post in a breakcore group pass by with a call for submissions for a compilation album on some net-label. So I checked some of my unfinished tunes and found something suitable to finish and submit.

So here it is. The album turned out to be a “glorious mess” of very different types of breakcore tunes. Check it out if you want to be surprised and feel like listening to a something different. I bet you’ll find something cool you like in there. If not, no big loss. You can listen to the full album here and on Bandcamp, and download for free if you want.

download cover art for all your albums, with powershell

Album covers are nice eye candy when you’re using a media player like Foobar2000 which automatically picks up a cover.jpg file in an album folder. The problem is that I have a lot of mp3 albums I ripped from my CD’s from way back and those don’t have any fancy cover art files.

I looked around for some tools that could automagically download covers for my albums but didn’t find anything handy. Since my music is structured in sub-folders like \ I thought this should be easy enough to parse and get pictures for.
If only there was a service that could easily provide those…

I tried the Musicbrainz API’s but that turned out to be hard to use and didn’t give me any covers for some test albums either. Then I thought of Last.fm. They have a lot of cover art, and their URL structure is the same as my folder structure… hmmm.

And here it is, a Powershell script which runs over your folder structure, tries to get the album page from Last.fm and then saves a cover.jpg image from the album page metadata.

A few things to know:

  • Your mp3’s are expected to be in a folder structure like (artist)\(album)\*.mp3
    E.g. The Prodigy\The Fat of the Land
  • If a folder contains any JPG or PNG image, it will be skipped. So that means you can run the script multiple times, and it will only download images once.
  • The “Various artists” folder is skipped by default because it didn’t fit the search pattern. If you store these type of albums in another folder, you might want to update that line with the correct folder name. If it does happen to process that folder in your case because of a different name, nothing will go wrong. It simply won’t find any album matches.

To use it, copy the code below in a file called get-albumart.ps1, or whatever name you fancy. Then run it as follows to get those pretty cover albums:

.\get-albumart.ps1 d:\music

And as always, this script comes as is, without any kind of warranty and you’re free to try it at your own risk. I wrote and used it and it worked great for me. I hope it works for you too. If Last.fm sues you because you’re downloading every image they have on the site because of your huge album collection? You didn’t get this script from me OK. Nope. Not me. ;-)

param ([Parameter(Mandatory=$true)][string]$path)

$progressPreference = 'silentlyContinue'
pushd
cd $path
$artistFolders = ls -directory | where { $_.name -ne "Various artists"}

foreach ($artistFolder in $artistFolders)
{
    $artist = $artistFolder.name
    write-host "::: $artist :::" -foregroundcolor green

    cd -Literalpath $artistFolder
    $releaseFolders = ls -directory
    
    foreach ($releaseFolder in $releaseFolders)
    {
        $release = $releaseFolder.name
        write-host "$release" -foregroundcolor cyan
        cd -literalpath "$releaseFolder"

        if ((test-path *.png) -or (test-path *.jpg))
        {
            write-host "- Images found, skipping."
        }
        else
        {
            $url = "https://www.last.fm/music/$($artist)/$($release)"
            $r = $null

            try 
            {
                $r = invoke-webrequest $url -usebasicparsing
            }
            catch 
            {
                write-host "- Release not found, skipping: $artist - $release" -foregroundcolor red
            }

            if ($r -ne $null)
            {
                $s = $r.content -split "`n" | where { $_ -like "*`"og:image`"*"} 
                $img = ($s -split '"') | where { $_ -like "*https*.jpg*" }

                if ($img -ne $null)
                {
                    write-host "- Downloading image for $artist - $release from $url"
                    invoke-webrequest $img -outfile cover.jpg
                }
                else
                {
                    write-host "- No image for $artist - $release from $url" -foregroundcolor yellow
                }
            }
        }
        cd ..
    }
    cd ..
}

popd
$progressPreference = 'Continue'

chill and drones 2

TAMT presents F-lithium - ...This Place Could Be My Undoing coverBad Sekta is a bit of an oddball British label releasing all sorts of electronic music, and recently they released 35 minutes of dark drone-y ambient you can download for free.
Since I like free music, I downloaded it through the online shop and gave it a whirl. Turns out this long-piece of dark ambient seems to be putting you into the metal bowls of spaceship flying through dark uncharted sectors of the galaxy. Or something like that. Anyway, it’s great to put up in the background and have it loop a few times, which you won’t notice, and get some work done.
So download Tamt presents F-Lithium, “…This Place Could Be My Undoing” and get spacin’.

Now that where at it, how about revisiting a good source for tons of ambient live mixes recorded to the trusty mp3 format? Remember the Chillits ambient festival? Well they have most of their live sets online, so you can pick and choose between hours of chilled beats, ambient sounds and other down-tempo tunes mixed and selected for your pleasure by top notch ambient DJ’s. If there is such a thing.

You can pick from the 2017 mixes, but mixes from previous editions are available too.
From the 2017 mixes, these are my mostly beat-less favorites: Brian Behlendorf, Dave Espionage, Indy Nyles, Jeremy Meadows, Souls and Cities, Subnaught, and Verdun 1916.
Also check my other ambient posts for more chilled goodness.

jeskola buzz is 20 years and here are 282 tunes to celebrate

Audio MixJeskola Buzz is a free DAW that’s been around for 20 years already. To celebrate that special event a collection has been assembled on the Jeskola forum from all Buzz artists willing to participate with tunes that are over 10 years old.
So people went through their digital archives and dug up unfinished pearls, snippets and small songs from long ago.

The collection is a cool mix of tunes spanning the full spectrum of electronic music. Great for hours of unexpected sounds when you want some background tunes while doing work, or writing blog posts like this one. Put it on shuffle and allow yourself to be surprised.

Photo by Sergiu Bacioiu, cc-licensed.

chill and drones

Time to chill to some nice ambient tunes from the French one-woman project Zalys. I ran into this one by accident on bandcamp. I also found a nice range of her atmospheric deep space ambient, sci-fi backgrounds and apocalyptic dark-ambient tracks on Soundcloud. I kid you not, that’s what is says on the Soundcloud bio.
Good stuff to block out noise, get into the (dark) zone and get some work done, or just have in the background will chilling, reading or whatever.

Here’s a taste. You’ll also find this in my ambient playlist filled with more chilly goodness.

Now that we’re in a sci-fi mood we have some more of those eery space drone type soundscapes from jonnie13black.
He’s an ambient DJ of sorts, if that’s even a thing, and you can find him mixing all sorts of ambient darkness into long sets on Youtube. If you dig some background drones there’s plenty right there.
This is also an excellent resource to find some more artists in this realm as each set comes with a complete playlist. Way to go Jonnie.

Here’s another taste of what you can expect.

Can’t get enough? Try some previous posts with stuff from Moby or this.