ok_doglet

Hello, it’s been a while, I know.

Finally got around to publishing something new ūüôā

The EP is a short one (2 songs), based on Synthwave/Outrun. I composed it on the way to¬†Ia»ôi in Romania (and on the way back). I’m currently working on a video for the first song.

Trivia: What are the names of the songs encoded or cyphered in?

Listen to the EP on any of these services:

Or listen to it on Soundcloud right below.

Hope you enjoy it!

A few things I noticed while visiting Iceland

Here are a few thoughts and things I noticed while visiting Reykjavik, Iceland in 2016. Some of these might serve as travel tips if you are thinking about visiting soon.

  • Hotdogs are absolutely epic.¬†Someone on a tour mentioned they are actually a danish rip-off, but in Denmark they use red larger sausages apparently. I’ve seen similar variations in¬†the north of Mexico, but also with larger sausages, and lots of hot sauce.
  • Most adults and younger people speak¬†English fluently, but older people may not. Bus drivers¬†(in my experience) didn’t speak or understand it very well. Taxi drivers, however, seemed well-versed.
  • Bus tickets are strange; I don’t mean the ones you get on the bus, but the small things you get in sets of 10 at candy/corner shops.
  • Late night candy shops are also a thing? I saw at least two, but no late-night alcohol places…¬†Completely the opposite of Belgium (with its Nachtwinkels).
  • The architecture is rather bizarre. I wouldn’t call it pretty, except for the churches which are¬†beautifully surreal. However, you don’t really come to Iceland for the architecture, you come for the nature, the tours, the volcanoes, the thousands of waterfalls, the geysers, and the people.
  • The beer isn’t epic, but it’s not bad. Licorice shots on the other hand…
  • Beer and wine are incredibly expensive…¬†8-10 EUR per pint, sometimes per bottle.
  • Taxis are expensive. I¬†originally wrote “taxis are not expensive at all!”, but after doing the conversions, man… I got charged from 20-30 EUR for a distance of 4-5 KM. Try to take the bus instead.
  • There is a strange fashion going on, reminiscent of the 80s, where¬†(mostly) girls have their jeans or leggings torn at the knees (and sometimes elbows)… haven’t seen this in other countries¬†for ages.
  • My GPS seemed to think I was looking (pointing at) the wrong direction, like it was slightly confused. I wonder if it is due to the same drift problem that Australia suffers from (which requires GPS re-alignment every couple of years).
  • You won’t be able to understand or pronounce the names of places you are looking for. There are generally no translations for these names, so a person might be speaking fluent English and then out of nowhere blurt out a complicated place name, leaveing you bewildered.
  • If you are planning on going, take at least one tour, even a cheap one (70-80EUR) e.g.”Golden Circle”, various companies offer it. Also, don’t forget to go to the Geothermal pools, there are a few of them in Reykjavik, but it might be cooler to visit the blue lagoon (although you should¬†reserve at least 2-3 days in advance!)
  • They have an app called “incest blocker“, apparently it is (and was even more so¬†the previous century) a big problem, as a nation with a population of only 300K+. One of my tour guides mentioned this, and how it saved her from a potential disaster, quite hilarious.
  • No Uber? Come on!
  • Last, but most important: They accept credit/debit cards everywhere, even American Express!
    • Even on taxis and corner shops
    • Even at low-budget eateries
    • The default seems to be to pay by card; at most bars they would already have the device ready for me to pay¬†before I could even take my¬†bills out
    • They all use the same system, which leads me to believe this is an initiative by the government to facilitate tourism
    • Belgium… I’m looking at you!

Hopefully this post was useful if you are planning an upcoming trip.

The epic voyage of Stijn Van Loo, Matthias the Engineer, and Bruno the St. Bernard

New EP is out today! Available this week¬†on Spotify, Apple Music, and most other popular streaming services.¬†It’s a bit experimental so I don’t expect you too like it very much if you aren’t into both electro-funk and death metal.

The preparation & inspiration

  • Inspired by EDM, metal, psychedelic rock like Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Snarky Puppy
  • Took over half a year of fiddling around with ideas and then discarding them
  • The main part of the music ended up being written in less than 6 hours
  • Afterwards, about 4 weeks of work consisted of lyrics, mixing and post-production
  • Ended up discarding 6 songs, and using just 3 for this EP (2 intros and 1 main one)
  • There is no chorus, why would there be?

What is the story behind it?

Album CoverIt’s a story about an inter-dimensional space-time travel of an engineer (Matthias), ametalhead (Stijn Van Loo), and a St. Bernard named Bruno.

Stijn Van Loo happens to be one of the best captains in the airforce, Matthias has proved himself as one of the most creative aerospace engineers in the world, whilst Bruno is an exceptionally smart dog.

Over the course of several years several space agencies have detected a rift ocurring near a known black hole, very far away; they determine the happening is caused by an entity, and this being’s actions are causing a dramatic expansion of the blackhole. So a multinational effort is put into play to gather funds to create the best, fastest warship ever created. Stijn and Matthias are selected from a large pool of recruits; but Matthias declines to go without Bruno, who would keep them company during the long voyage.

The battleship has the ability to create wormholes which enable bending of space-time which will allow them to reach their destination in less than a year.

They name the being Dr. Simmons, whom they presume to be an evil chemist mastermind from another race. Stijn, Matthias and Bruno shortly after set out on a voyage to destroy him and potentially collapse the blackhole by detonating fission bombs near the event horizon.

This album is dedicated to Bruno, may he rest in peace.

Listen to the album

Or watch the video for the main song

Note: The video has nothing to do with the story, and is basically just me and a good friend playing GTA V over the course of 2-3 hours. Intro scene filmed in Belgium under a bridge.

414749

After three months of work I’ve finally released #414749, my 12th album. The¬†album is a jamboree of genres, albeit not intentionally so. I just let each song take it’s style and route based on how it felt, kind of like when writers let the story go on it’s way without trying to strictly determine the fate of it’s subjects.

The result is a bit strange obviously, I’ve received a few comments like “wow, this is cool, there’s a lot of styles in there”, to “wow, there’s a bit of distortion in there eh?”. Some people dislike the fact that I keep meddling with different genres.

So for my next couple of albums I will attempt to do something a bit more consistent.

I’m releasing this album for free, check it out on Soundcloud below:

You can also get the album here:

Thanks for your support, and don’t forget to share!

Cover art is an alteration of a photo by Mark Asthoff

Why I won’t be paying for Rdio… yet

Edit: Post no longer relevant, Rdio closed its doors in 2015.

After years of using Spotify I decided to give Rdio a chance, as a few friends at work use it and really recommended it.¬†I’ve used¬†the web app, mobile app, and desktop app for a few weeks now, so I thought I’d give¬†a brief rundown on the pros and cons from my point of view.

The other purpose of this list is to function as a set of recommendations for Rdio from a hardcore Spotify user.

Cons of Rdio:

1. Songs take too long to start (sometimes 1 second between songs, it doesn’t do efficient pre-fetching like Spotify does). This happens both on mobile and on the desktop version, even with a good internet connection.

2. Genre stations play completely unrelated stuff (try “dubstep” genre for example).

3. Bad last.fm integration sometimes (too slow to Scrobble) – this is intermittent as sometimes it works great.

4. Lack of plugins (like the awesome “Sounddrop” plugin for Spotify) – Wow, Spotify killed plugins as well

5. Less content available on Rdio (but I suspect they will catch up eventually)

6. Frequent/strange UI glitches (due to flaky connection, etc.) Solution = better/longer local CSS cache:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 14.00.31

7. As a musician I encountered a strange problem in Rdio. I use Distrokid to distribute my music to all popular music platforms; one of the songs in my latest single cuts off at 31 seconds, whilst on all other platforms it does not. Proof (Deezer vs Rdio):

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 22.23.54

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 22.24.52

8. The thing that really annoyed me the most is that they are too quick to pull the plug when a payment doesn’t go through. I changed banks recently and forgot to update my payment details on Rdio. The very moment the payment failed to go through they cut the cord and switched me to a free account. Popular services like Github, Google Apps, Spotify, and many others will give you a bit of leeway. Ultimately this is why I won’t be paying for Rdio, because¬†it’s the small details like this that matter.

Pros of Rdio:

1. More control over playback quality.

2. Nicer/simpler UI.

3. AUTOPLAY… this is the biggest win I think. Similar to Pandora. Finished the album? It just looks for similar stuff and carries on playing music.

4. Artist-based stations are better than on Spotify; the find better related/similar stuff.

Problems that affect both services:

1. Small clicking/spacing between continuous songs. Add option to have continuous playback maybe? An example of this is Madeon’s latest album which have linked songs.

2. Lack of plugins/apps (SoundDrop was cool!)


Both services cost roughly the same. Spotify has content, plugins and speed, whilst Rdio has UI and awesome autoplay. If you are deciding between them I would choose Spotify for now; but I really hope Rdio catches up soon as it is a promising service.

S/Here/There

Hey everyone! I’ve finally decided to post my latest album here. It is a bit experimental (as usual) combining rock, metal, electronica, and new-age. Most of the comments I’ve heard are ‘this is too strange for me’, but I don’t mind ūüôā

Check it out on Spotify:¬†Lemiffe ‚Äď S/Here/There/

Or listen to the first song on SoundCloud:

Enjoy!