The new machine still does a tremendous job, both at streaming and allowing me to play games. I’m very happy with it!
I am also very happy with this week’s favourite track: 2009’s “Find Yourself” by John O’Callaghan and Sarah Howells, given a reimagining by nobody else but Bryan Kearney. Absolute banger!
What I’m not so happy with is our good old friend, the corona virus. It has moved back into my vicinity but so far I have been able to evade it… let’s just hope I’ll stay as lucky as I have been the last week!
Anyway, that’s it for this week; you can enjoy the show again right here:
The next show will happen on Wednesday, April 19, at 19:00 CEST/UTC+2.
Last week I finally decided to get me a dedicated Windows PC for streaming (and maybe a little gaming because of course around 99% of the games I own on Epic and Steam are not available for macOS). I tried to compare different things but nowadays there is simply too much choice, is that weird? You go on Amazon, enter some search term, get several hundred results, and everything has either no ratings at all, or it has both perfect and horrible ratings, with one them telling you “this is the best thing since sliced bread” and the other one telling you “it killed my dog and ran off with my girlfriend.” How the fuck am I supposed to make an informed decision here? Choice paralysis is real!
Anyway. I knew I didn’t want a full desktop system as I don’t want to waste a lot of space for something like that, and I wanted something that has a GPU inside that can do hardware encoding of AVC and HEVC (more commonly known as H.264 and H.265) because that’s what OBS will be doing. I found something on Amazon that didn’t look too bad, and I purposely did not look at any comments because screw them, but I did manage to find the name of the GPU used in it, and I also managed to find a humongous table on Wikipedia that apparently had every GPU that AMD has ever made in it, and that told me that something called “Video Core Next” was supported in version 2.2, and so I had to look in another table what that even means, and then the information wasn’t even in that table but in the paragraph before the table which informed me that all version of VCN >= 2.0 support hardware decoding and encoding of both AVC and HEVC (among others).
Okay, so I pulled the trigger on this thing:
It is very cute and it has Windows 11 pre-installed. Not usually my thing but I’m trying to be a simple consumer here so I went with it: pre-installed Windows 11 it is. I installed OBS and a couple of other tools and gadgets, attached all the webcams and the peripherals and the monitor and imported my scene collection into OBS. Most of it worked immediately, a couple things (like some plugins) were missing but that was easy to fix. Within a few minutes OBS was happily chugging along, compositing multiple sources into a nice 1080p60 stream which is also flawlessly encoded and sent to Twitch without any hiccups. Looks like I have one thing less to worry about!
And then I looked through my collection of games for something I could install and try and found Control, a game from 2019 which sounded like it had an interesting story and because it was already four years old it probably wouldn’t look too bad, I hope.
I was right, it didn’t. It did the whole ray-tracing thing and that really mixed well with my 4k screen and physical desktop resolution and my 1366 x 768 internal rendering resolution. The best thing about this game is that it has an assist mode, allowing you to take and deal more damage, up to immortality and one-shot kills. This is perfect for me! I like playing games for their story, I don’t need enemies with ever-increasing strength, I don’t care about any “rewarding system” the developers have cooked up, I don’t really want to deal with enhanced combat tactics and crafting items to improve my weapons performance or some such shit, I want to live and enjoy the story! I never was the best in first-person shooters and let me tell you, my reaction time has not been improved by turning 47! I couldn’t even finish Half-Life 2 back then because the last boss fight was more than I could handle (and I’ve tried for about 15 fucking hours that I’ll never get back) and in the end I had to watch a fucking YouTube video to find out how the game ended like a fucking pleb! Is that what you want, video game developers?! Screw you, give me a god mode and I’m happy!
Anyway, I digress. So today I was working from home and I used the opportunity to perform a long-time test of the new machine’s streaming capabilities. I fired up OBS, and REAPER, and QLC+, set everything to how it’s supposed to be during a stream and started streaming (using Twitch’s bandwidth test mode which takes the stream but doesn’t publish it).
Long story short: after 10 hours of test-streaming, not a single problem was found, not a single frame was dropped, frame time was consistently below 1ms and the machine itself didn’t even get very hot. The light stuff didn’t miss a single beat (DMX needs constant output otherwise DMX-controlled lights will simply turn off) which was also new and way better than it was previously using macOS. All in all a successful test!
So then tonight the only failure during the stream came not from OBS, or Windows, or the hardware it ran on but my internet connection. It decided to drop out for a minute or two and left me slightly panicked but in the end it came back quick enough for things to not be ruined. So, live test also successfully completed:
And that finally brings us to tonight’s show. Last week’s second-favourite has actually made it to the favourite spot this week: Addicted to Love by Driftmoon!
The rest of show has been great as well and you can listen to it right here, right now:
The next show will happen on Wednesday, April 12, at 19:00 CEST/UTC+2.
Last show of March, and that also means last show of the first quarter of 2023. Yes, a whopping 25% of this year is already over. If you were planning to do anything specific this year, now would be the time to get your preparations well underway!
And that brings us, in a nice non-sequitur way, directly to the favourite track of this week. It’s this gem by Ronski Speed and Lucy Saunders, remixed by Ferry Tayle:
An honorable mention and a close second in my favouriteness (favourity? Favourationality?) was Addicted to Love by Driftmoon. Maybe it will be undisputed next week!
It may come as no surprise to you but I highly recommend listening to this week’s show again. Luckily modern technology allows you to do this completely at your own leisure.
The next show will happen on Wednesday, April 5, at 19:00 CET/UTC+2.
Of course it’s not a coincidence. I also think it’s not really a coincidence that this track is in this week’s #1 spot.
Other tracks I couldn’t wait to play: Radahn by Hausman (last week’s favourite track); Flashing Lights (Robbie Seed Remix) by Ashley Wallbridge, Bodine, and John Weber; and Cubicore’s Bifrost. They all turned out to be great!
And then there were the unexpected bangers: Eight 88 by Chris Element (which is in the key of 8B according to Camelot notation – that’s dedication!), and Dominant Space’s XTC.
And then there was Orange Theme 2023 by Ivan Gough & Luke Chables and I have to say that I was not whelmed. It’s still a solid track, don’t get me wrong, but there are remixes of that track that I absolutely adore and this one does not make that list. Well, can’t win them all, I guess.
So many good reasons to listen to this week’s show again!
The next show will happen on Wednesday, March 29, at 19:00 CET/UTC+1.
For a while now I have not actually been playing the “top of the week.” Most of the time I didn’t even play #1! Instead I have gone over to playing the new tracks of the week, together with the new tracks of the last week. That should really help keep the show fresh and whenever you wonder what’s new in the world of trance, you now know where you can get it.
(Right here, in case you didn’t make the connection.)
Also, I’m going to start declaring one of the tracks as the week’s favourite track! This title comes with a glowing recommendation which alone should already tell you everything you need to know. Listen to that track. It’s awesome.
This week’s favourite track is:
And then there were a couple other great tracks, including the one with Richard Bedford! You should really drop everything and listen to the show right here, right now:
The next show will happen on Wednesday, March 22, at 19:00 CET/UTC+1.
Huh, I never really talked on this blog about what happened and why I stopped doing shows… I guess I should really do that, and probably should have done that back in February already. Shame on me!
So, what happened? Due to a series of unfortunate circumstances (macOS upgrades, firmware upgrades, more upgrades, other upgrades) the SSD in my DJ MacBook died. The original SSD was way too small to contain all the music I had collected over the decades so restoring from backup wasn’t happening. Getting a replacement SSD for that particular MacBook was out of the question as well because the SSDs in those MacBooks are not standard SSDs. My other MacBook also didn’t have enough storage so it couldn’t be of any help, either. Sheeit.
After restoring basic functionality by putting in the original SSD I was able to put enough music on it to play the show in March. At the time I had already decided that I wanted to get the Denon DJ Prime 4 but held off on the purchase due to my then-suboptimal financial circumstances, what with being unemployed and all.
The weeks went by, turned to months, I found a new job, and at the end of August I felt financially secure enough to pull the trigger on the Prime 4. It was supposed to be delivered within 2–5 days which turned into 8 weeks at some point and then went down again and up and it was just like a rollercoaster, only I got sadder riding it every day.
But, as they say, all good things must come to an end and so, last week I finally could hold it in my hands and it is huge, it is beautiful, and the outer of the three boxes it came in immediately drew blood. According to my magic studies this means it will last forever?
Anyway, I recently checked the software side of the whole situation, i.e. the streaming side, and I only had to reinstall one driver and recreate one configuration, all the rest still seems to be working! Of course, not using Traktor anymore means that I will for now lose the ability to show track titles on the stream automatically but that only means that I will have to enter them manually, like in ancient times. I am working on a solution for that, though: the Denon players expose a lot of information about what the DJ is doing but of course it is using a proprietary protocol named StagelinQ which will require a lot of digging and trial-and-error to figure out. The future might be bright!
In order to get back on track (because I really, really like doing the weekly chart shows) I think I will start slowly, doing maybe one show every weekend. The first shows I will be doing will be Top of the Month shows (starting with February 2021) so you can catch up with all the great tracks released in the last ten months and once we are all caught up (which might be in next February, I guess) I will switch to doing my weekly chart shows again.
Or maybe I’ll do both a show during the week and one on the weekend? I am not sure yet… it may very well be that once I start doing shows again I won’t settle for anything less than ALL THE SHOWS EVERY DAY but I have picked up a couple of other regular appointments during the week which I do not want to give up at this time.
Anyway. This saturday, November 6, 2021, starting at 11:00 CET/UTC+1 (for old times’ sake) I will be streaming the charts from February 2021, in the same place where it always happened, on my channel on Twitch. I expect you all to be there!
So, funny thing, I did play the Top of the Month show on sunday night but something (I’m looking at you, Traktor) seems to have fucked up the recording, there’s a file missing. So, unless you were one the five persons watching the set live you will never hear it. Which is a pity because it was great.
Anyway, there will be a next Top of the Month next month and it will be using the same format, i.e. a selection of the Top 100 of January 2021 but not played as countdown to the first place but in a real mix. I’m looking forward to it!
As mentioned previously, I am doing my Top of the Month show again but this time (hopefully) without my DJing machine locking up! Join me in the usual place this sunday at 18:00 UTC+1/CET and enjoy a selection of last month’s hottest tracks!
So, there I was, two hours into playing my new Top of the Month show when my DJing machine suddenly decided to lock up which makes playing on a bit… harder than usual. I didn’t really have a choice but to abort, so with a heavy heart I did. Raiding Liquid Bongo was still possible from another machine, luckily. Thank you, Panda, for being there!
Anyway, I want to do this again but I have to check with the authorities if I can get a sunday slot, otherwise it will have to wait until next friday. Stay tuned!