Dissect Your Brain

Just a quick word to say that OUR ALBUM IS OUT! 11 tracks of seriously atmospheric, and at times heavy, music, with a lot of heart too (I think). I’m proud of it.

Stream it now on our bandcamp page. And let us know what you think here or at facebook.com/glitchpuke

The cover for our first release, "Dissect Your Brain". Artwork by Kevin Higgins and Robert Higgins, photography by Gediminas Stepanavičius.

The cover for our first release, “Dissect Your Brain”. Artwork by Kevin Higgins and Robert Higgins, photography by Gediminas Stepanavičius.

Making The Video

With our album to be released in the next two weeks for free streaming, I decided to make a music video to hype it. I thought of combining some nice performance footage shot a few months back in the Waterhouse, Amsterdam, with computer game visuals.

This image was one of the earliest I chose as a visual reference for Glitchpuke:

Screenshot from Johann Tael's RGBA demo.

Screenshot from Johann Tael’s RGBA demo.

So I was delighted to realise that the original post where I sourced the image had a link to a playable demo, free for anyone to download and play. Check it out here: http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=26727.msg954958#msg954958

Playing a free experimental glitch game to generate visuals was a perfect match with Glitchpuke’s aesthetic. I used FRAPS to capture the action. I did the same with one of Strangethink’s games, Secret Habitat.

Strangethink's Secret Habitat.

Strangethink’s Secret Habitat.

Listening through the 12 album tracks, I shortlisted those that featured all three of us and that also had bass feedback (because I think that technique is a big part of Glitchpuke’s identity). One tune stood out, and its title was a pretty close match with the driving game visuals: “Taxi”.

This song is constantly in motion, starting in one vibe and moving somewhere quite different. So I used the driving visuals for the forward-moving first half of the piece, and the smooth Strangethink psychedelia for the second.

Everything else was just editing! I haven’t done anything like this in years, and (because I had a stock of good footage, especially the band stuff shot by Kim “Bas Raad” Raad) I really had fun. I think the end result is unexpected and kind of absurd.

Enjoy….

Glitchpuke – Taxi

3D Band Photos

Now I’m thinking that the 3D graphics I made of Glitchpuke could be our best bet for an album cover. I made them with 123D Catch, a cool free software tool from Autodesk. It transforms a series of ordinary photos of a scene into 3D models. For example, our current Facebook profile picture:

The boys

The boys

I quite like this image because it has personality, it reminds me of the low-resolution characters in my favourite late 90s computer games, and it’s glitchy. It was cropped from a screenshot that looked something like this:

3 members of Glitchpuke, seen in 123D Catch application. Original photos at bottom.

3 members of Glitchpuke, in the 123D Catch application. The photos used to generate the model can be seen along the bottom.

For the final cover, I need higher-than-screen-resolution images, and I also want to combine the models we made of each band member separately, because they turned out higher-quality than the group shots. My brother, is a 3D modeller (check out his portfolio) and he can luckily do all these things for us.

More to come, real soon!

Higher quality

Higher quality

Album Art Rejects

Cover art is the only thing we need to finish before we put up Glitchpuke’s debut album for free streaming! Before writing about how I’m making the final cover, here are a couple of approaches that didn’t work out.

Hazy, fantastically-coloured sci-fi landscapes were a big part of the visual identity I worked out for the band (see previous post Glitchpics). So I thought I’d see if I could generate something like that with free software. I used Terragen 2 and after half an hour I had this:

Landscape generated with Terragen 2.

Landscape generated with Terragen 2.

Doesn’t look so bad maybe, but I hadn’t learnt enough to easily control the colours or the shape of the mountains. I may have a look at Terragen 3 at some stage but right now, it’s obvious that it would take quite a bit of time to make a nice image. And it would still lack the “better than real-life” depth and glow of the great “matte painting” film backdrops that inspired me. (Check some out at the awesome Lands of Wonder, Romance & High Adventure blog.)

The other thing I investigated was nostalgic Windows 95 imagery. I took some screenshots from the nifty Windows 95 in your browser.

Unfortunately, Windows 95 doesn’t have much visual flavour at all. I enlarged an icon and text, then tried to combine it with my generated landscape. The result did not make much sense.

Incoherent!

Incoherent!

So I think some other approach is needed.

Tour Plans & More Strangethink

I’ve just moved back to Dublin which means Glitchpuke won’t be gigging for a little while. However, we’re putting together a tour which will be around October 18th-27th, and also planning a recording session at that time for our second album! Our first album is mixed and will be available for free streaming in July. We’re proud of it!

Being away from the band means more time to think of ideas… a Glitchpuke-themed app; a Glitchpuke sample pack for producers; a game-making jam which stipulates use of Glitchpuke music for the soundtrack; a Glitchpuke-branded game; Glitchpuke gigs in a virtual space… we’ll see.

On the theme of computer games, I took some more screenshots from Strangethink’s games (check his Twitter page). My brother linked me to this cool article on how the varied sizes of shapes can make effective images. I tried to follow the advice. Here are some candidates for the album cover:

Strangethink's Error City

(Edited) screenshot from Strangethink’s Error City, taken by Kevin Higgins. With permission.

Strangethink's Error City.

(Edited) screenshot from Strangethink’s Error City, taken by Kevin Higgins. With permission.

But before the album comes out we hope to have some live video footage edited for your pleasure. Stay tuned.

June Update

Things are moving on for Glitchpuke. I’m moving away from Amsterdam (because I’ve finished my music studies here) and our next challenge will be to maintain a long-distance relationship!

Our album is nearly done – just one more listening session and the mixing will be complete. Also we have the fun/bother of choosing track names and track order. Good thing I keep a massive text file of titles for songs that have occurred to me over the years.

We have one more gig in Amsterdam before saying “bye for now”. It’s on June 17th in Vrankrijk, the rather wonderful alternative space where we played a stormer of a set back in March.

Tomorrow, as well as discussing track names, we also will be laying plans for a tour in Autumn 2015! I’m super excited. Sidney, Andrius and I all agreed that making a schedule to do things (like this tour) is essential if we’re gonna keep the band going. So I hope it goes well and I’ll post a report tomorrow!

Enjoy this picture of a presentation we did on May 27th for my music management class…

Walking bass...

Glitchpuke in the Blue Note, Conservatorium van Amsterdam. May 27th. Photo by Willem de Beer.

Strangethink Screenshots

While looking around for cover art, I encountered the work of Manchester-based Strangethink:

https://twitter.com/strangethink23

This anonymous game developer obviously has a strong aesthetic and, as you will see if you play the games, an ability to evoke atmosphere and place. I asked Strangethink could I use a screenshot from one of the games as cover art, and was graciously given permission.

I haven’t made up my mind on this, but here are some of the shots I took:

1 9 14 15 All Good Screenshots

I noticed two things straight away:
1) Even though the game worlds are beautiful, it still requires a strong compositional idea to make a good image – random screenshots tend to be fairly ugly.
2) The distortion produced by the straight-lines perspective (i.e. shapes at the edge of the screen are bigger than natural) is a powerful way to manipulate the compositions.

Hope you liked the pictures – and do try out the games yourself, they work on Mac and Windows.