Archives by Month - March 2009

Home with House ep16 - Midnight Jazz

9:31 AM March 24, 2009
So I'm a big fan of jazz. I like all sorts of jazz. From smooth and soulful, to funky and jamming, all the way to deep and atmospheric, I like my jazz. I also like house music, with a similar breadth and assortment of tastes. So it should be no surprise that I love jazzy house music. You can probably hear hints of jazzy flavour throughout many of my mixes, and some are even themed around that style. This episode of the Home with House podcast definitely is.

I started putting together this mix with a late night jazz-based theme and arranged an hour of choice jazzy house tracks to mix. However, when I finished the first cut of the mix it just didn't feel right. Whether it was the overall flow, the vibe or just the short abruptness of the whole mix, something about it just left me unsatisfied. So I selected some more jazzy tracks to better fill out some of the transitions and went at it again. However something about it still just didn't feel right. So I slept on it and came back again the next day. This time I poured myself a glass of scotch and took a more fresh and spontaneous approach to the whole thing. I let the groove dictate the track selection and before I knew it I was throwing jazzy house tracks all over the place from my original tracklisting plans. The end result is much more in the real spirit of jazz and I'm finally satisfied with it. I also managed to fill out a 60 minute mix into just over two hours of jazzy goodness.

So take a listen and enjoy this journey through jazz house. Home with House episode 16 is the first 2 hour mix of 2009 and it's appropriately called Midnight Jazz.

Midnight Jazz tracklisting:

1. Night Textures - Tranquility (Original Mix)
2. Claes Rosen - Glancing (Original Mix)
3. Jihad Muhammad - The Dawn (Jihad's Original Flava)
4. Gazzara - The Spirit Of Summer (Dave Warrin Remix)
5. Oriental Funk Stew - Sweet Melody (JT Donaldson Remix)
6. Sting - It's Probably Me (Q And T's Shelter Vocal)
7. Sessomato - Moody (Joey Negro Jazz Ride)
8. Timbalestics - Meo Amor (Schwarz & Funk Deep Mix)
9. Kink Army feat. G-Sax - Life Is Saxophony (Original Mix)
10. Soul Creation feat. Stephanie Cooke - Your Special (Doruk Ozlen Vocal)
11. Jihad Muhammad - Expansions (Original Mix)
12. Innervision feat. Melonie Daniels - Don't You Ever Give Up (Marlon D Dub)
13. Chuck Love - Wiggle Room (Original Mix)
14. JT Donaldson - Just Bounce (Original Mix)
15. Stengun feat. Christina T - Big Fun (Soulmagic Sweet Dub)
16. Bobby D'Ambrosio feat.Lola Robinson - Special (Original Mix)
17. Chuck Love - Beautiful Thang (Bryan Jones Remix)
18. Northern Soul - Drop The Funk (Funk Distraction Mix)
19. Joshua Marquez & Olivier Desmet - Looking Up (Original Mix)
20. Oriental Funk Stew - Sky High (Chuck Love Network Rework)
21. DJ Floy - Over The Hills (Gilbert Le Funk On The Remix)
22. Martin East Project feat. EOTL - Children Of The Earth (Julius Papp Vocal)
23. DJ Man-X and Albert - Heaven (Man-X's Sunset Nights Dub)
24. Sting - Shape Of My Heart (Q And T's Shelter Vocal)


Download Episode 16:
Title: Home with House ep16 - Midnight Jazz
Vibe: Deep House, Jazzy House, Soulful House
Date Recorded: March 2009
Length: 132:12 min
Quality: 192 kbps - 186 Mb

Download:  (Right-click and Save As)
  •  CD Cover
  •  Tracklist
  

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Enter the Weekend

12:42 PM March 13, 2009
The weekend is finally here! What do you have planned for this weekend? I have a fair number of things in the works, including fun, work, more fun, some more work, and also some fun. My sister is visiting from Vancouver and it will be nice to see her and my parents on Saturday. Being the family "computer guy" I've also been tapped to help fix both my parent's and my sister's laptops. I'm sure many of you know what that's like.

Tonight I'll be visiting my friend Steve for dinner. We will likely be playing some new video games together too. Having recently picked up the Mirror's Edge game and beating it in less than 8 hours, I'm looking forward to playing something different. I had high hopes for Mirror's Edge, but I also expected to be somewhat disappointed because of my high expectations. Having grown up with video games and also having had a short stint developing games, my gaming critiques and preferences have been honed like a deadly sharp sword. So I had a fairly good idea of the things I wanted to see in this game and it delivered on many of them, but other areas fell short. This game is trying to do something new and original (which I like) and it has a great theme and setting, but the implementation could have been better in certain areas.

Mirror's Edge focuses on a parkour style gameplay. Essentially you are running around the rooftops, side alleys and otherwise "hidden" parts of a city using your agility, speed, acrobatics and fearless leaps to get around. This was exhilarating. I really enjoy acrobatic games as well as atmospheric games and this one delivered both of those really well. The art direction and overall graphics were also awesome. These are areas where the game excelled. But there were also some cliché and uninspired locales like navigating through mazes of wall vents and running around inside factories and warehouses of crates. With a game focusing on enthralling acrobatics and city running, they should have designed more of the game in the big open rooftop levels that were so engrossing.

While the controls of the game were fine, some of the actual character movements were frustrating. I know they were going for a realism approach to movement, but there were many times I would line myself up for a jump or ledge and my slightly off aim character would simply miss and fall. The designers should have been a bit more forgiving with these sorts of movements (but not too forgiving like the recent Prince of Persia game that made character stunts too easy). Anyways, most of these gripes are minor, but added up they can make the difference between an okay game and a great game. Mirror's Edge was still fun, but it could have been so much more. I'm hoping they learn from these mistakes and make a sequel that's all it can and should be.

Hey how about I end that impromptu game review and get back to talking about the upcoming weekend? I've got some of my weekend time scheduled for doing contract work (woo!), as well as some time for working on my next podcast episode. Episode 16 is turning out to be more on the jazzy tip as that seems to reflect my recent mood. My podcast mixes could probably be used as some type of barometer for measuring my moods for the week or so I work on them every month. It might be interesting to fashion a graph that looks back over time at what my moods were like based on my podcast mix genres. It might also be totally pointless and stupid.

On Sunday I'm hanging out with "the guys" and playing some cards. It will be fun to hang out, relax, and battle to the death with geeky pieces of cardboard. It always is. Sometime this weekend I also plan to pick up a new Xbox game that I can play sparingly over the next few weeks. EB Games has a deal on right now where certain games on their wanted list can be traded in for up to $35 in trade value. I have a few older games on their list so that works out perfectly since currently I seem to be professionally poor (does that even make sense?) and can't afford the full price of a new game.

I'm hoping I can still find the time to, you know, relax a bit this weekend too. Losing that hour of sleep last weekend has made me a bit more dependant on caffeine this week than normal. So I'm going to take advantage of sleeping in this weekend. Anyways, time to get back to work. I'm really liking updating my blog during my lunch break, so hopefully that means I'll be doing it more often. But as usual, I'm making no promises.

This entry posted by Graham in Main Journal  |  Comments (0)
Tags: Gaming, Podcast, Xbox 360

Fujiya

8:11 PM March 11, 2009
Every few weeks Asuka and I head over to Fujiya to pick up some Japanese food. Often this includes ingredients for cooking curry, some bulk rice, various snacks, maybe a few Japanese magazines for Asuka, some fresh sushi, and I always pick up some cold tea and coffee drinks.

I'm a big fan of tea, but I also enjoy my coffee. Sometimes I want a coffee that is refreshing rather than hot, and these drinks hit the spot perfectly. I guess this type of drink is fairly popular in Japan because there are a ton of companies making them. Over here I can only think of the Starbucks branded cold coffee drinks - which isn't much choice. Fujiya always gets a few different types in stock, but I know there are many more that aren't exported. I usually pick up an assortment because I like variety. Recently I got a selection from Boss, Kirin, Roots and UCC Coffee. There are a few that I like better than others like Pokka and UCC, but I still enjoy getting a mixture of types. Have you tried any? Do you have a preferred brand?

This entry posted by Graham in Main Journal  |  Comments (3)
Tags: Coffee, Fujiya, Japan

Snowy View

11:11 AM March 9, 2009
All that talk the other day about daylight saving time giving us more sunshine sure seems stupid now. On the first day of "more sunshine" it snowed again. I don't think I'm alone in being sick of all the snow this year.

I have this morning off work because the roofing people are meant to come and put our balcony roof back on. They've been planning on doing this for a few weeks now, but it keeps getting delayed because of rain. Finally they decided to make an appointment with me for this morning so they could complete the work "rain or shine". I don't think they anticipated snow though. When they didn't show up at 9 am as planned, I figured they weren't going to come today. But now I can hear them on the roof walking around and making noise. I'm not sure if they still intend to work on my balcony today, but if they don't do it soon I'm going to have to leave for work. It looks like I'll have to take yet another half vacation day later this week.

I'm making the most of this morning off work by updating the website. I've now completed the addition of searchable tags for my mixes (the tags are used for music genres). They're listed as the "vibe" of each mix. I had to update Movable Type to version 4.2 so I could evaluate MTTags inside of my blog entries for this new change. But the upgrade was fairly painless because I was only updating from version 4.1. I also added a bit more graphical flare to the mix posts by means of a new download button. I have similar graphical updates planned for other buttons too, but they'll have to wait for later.

I'm also enjoying watching the end of season 4 of The Wire this morning. I can't get enough of this show. I'm going to be sad when I finish season 5 because that is the end of the series. Hopefully I'll have something new to watch by then.

I've been playing with Mary (our cat) this morning too. She's now freaking out about all the noise on the roof. It's pretty funny. She's standing at the window watching the snow all peaceful like, then jumping and running around when a loud noise comes from the roof. Very entertaining. It's too bad I can't work from home every morning.

Longer Sunshine

10:30 PM March 6, 2009
This weekend the days will start staying brighter for longer. I like daylight saving time in the fall because we get that extra hour of sleep, but I'm no fan of losing that hour in the spring. The upside of this weekend's time bump is more sunshine in the evenings so I'll soon be able to play some evening golf. It will also be nice to walk home from work without a jacket on.

I've been watching a fair bit of The Wire lately. It's gritty, raw and vivid. I'm enjoying having it play in the background while I work on my laptop. There's a lot to take in, but I find my brain soaks it up even when the show is not my main focus. I'm not sure why that is, but something about the realistic and vibrant world of crime, politics and policing seems to seep in even when I'm doing something else. The pulsating city of Baltimore has a strong allure, even if it can be cruel and brutal.

Davin recently posted a blog entry about tea. I'm a big fan of tea too, so I wanted to compliment his entry with a similar one of my own. I drink many types of tea, but mostly stick with green, black and herbal teas (red and white teas are uncommon in my collection). For green teas I'm a big fan of matcha, genmaicha and mint flavours. For black I like various types of Earl Grey, vanilla and fruit flavours like mandarin or peach. How do I like my tea? Simple and natural. I don't like to add milk or sugar or anything to my tea. I like to enjoy the natural steeped flavours without adding anything extra. Something about adding or changing the raw nature of tea just seems wrong to me. I feel the same way about my scotch (adding water or ice only dilutes the intended flavour). Call me a naturalist, or flavourist (or prick, whatever seems to suit).

Sometimes I enjoy mixing different types of tea to create a new flavour, like mint and mandarin - yum! I mostly only use loose tea and bag it myself with those cheap disposable Japanese tea bags. That way I can control the flavour better by choosing how much of each tea I use, as well as how long I steep it. I also find, similar to Davin, that loose tea tastes fresher than the pre-bagged stuff.

There's some new changes coming to the website soon. I've been tagging my Home with House mixes with styles like "Funky House" and "Jazzy House" for a while now. However, I haven't added a way for users to search my mixes for those tagged types. So I've been busy creating a way for people to do that and it should be ready soon. Now that my podcast has 15 episodes and growing, searching them for specific types of music should be more useful. I've got a list of similar additions and changes that I'll continue to work on in the coming months. Do you have any suggestions?

My podcast recently reached an average of over 100 subscribers. It's been steadily growing since I started it just over a year ago and I hope to continue that trend. The podcast mixes continue to receive thousands of listens and downloads every month and I'm looking for ways to increase that growth. I have a few ideas I'm playing with, nothing to announce yet, but I may be adding a new project to my plate in the coming months. I guess I can never be too busy?

Speaking of busy, I am just that. I've got many projects that need my attention and too little time. However, tonight I'm just going to relax and try to recover from the long week. I think I'll make some green or herbal tea and put a show on the old picture box. Have a good weekend and don't forget the daylight saving time change over!

This entry posted by Graham in Main Journal  |  Comments (0)
Tags: Podcast, Tea, The Wire