Various Artists – [2010] SYNTHEMATIKA TWO

Essential industrial synth-pop compilation from the golden age of netlabels.

In only five years from 2009 to 2014, netlabel Synthematik managed to publish over 30 albums or compilations with a matching style, this being my third review and more to come surely. That style is industrial future pop, so distorted sawtooth synth pads galore and half-shouted lyrics abound.

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Ballpen – [2010] The Dreams Trilogy

Dreamy friend of electro acoustic experimental sounds, akin to Crepusculum. Sleepy weird well crafted.

If that text blurb threw you off a bit – that was intentional. This album has the same effect on me. While it is clearly expertly crafted, the songs never seem to “start” for me. Yet, they make perfect backdrop material for me writing this very text, so apparently they do something right. And from the praise it has drawn back in 2010, not all can be pure hype, can it?

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Various Artists – [2013] FrostWire Creative Commons Mixtape Vol. 4

Professionally produced pop music compilation, endorsed by BitTorrent client

Surprise find while digging through the archive.org backwater: BitTorrent client developer community FrostWire promotes Creative Commons artists on their homepage. This has even lead to them creating 7 mixtapes over the years. So what does no. 4 contain? Surprisingly pleasant pop music!

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Ezhak – [2016] Cold Sky

Funky vaporwave. Essential genre entry, while avoiding most (not all) clichés.

I am internally divided about what to make of the genre vaporwave. On the one hand, it is the clear over-exaggeration of the 80’s revival trend that has drowned the independent music scene in endless covers of the good old synth sound of better times. On the other hand, I find some mellow comfort in those strange yet familiar tunes that fake old, low-fidelity production techniques, drowning in tape artefacts and surreal depictions of consumer culture totems of the 90’s in a visual style that borders on graphic design necrophilia. But back to the music. I chose this release to introduce the genre to this blog because it avoids most clichés, while staying true to the core formula of vaporwave: slow-paced production, heavy sampling, simple synth song structures. And then Ezhak adds plenty of groove on top, making the result unusually enjoyable; not bad for a style that otherwise can only be enjoyed satirically or at least ironically.

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Rare & Cheese – [2010] Jazzpolice EP

Classic hip hop sound with frisky jazzy loops and funky lyrics. Fresh Prince from Bel-Air style!

With this release already 10 and the nineties already 20 years away, its sound promising you back the golden age of hip hop is alright nostalgic. Rap worked with a simple and catchy musical loop, slow-paced spoken lyrics with stretched rhymes.

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Welcome Home Morning Star – [2018] Nimrod

Cold as steel cinematic post rock from Portugal; calm sound yet strong atmosphere.

Steel guitars, long stretches of calm arpeggios, loud culminations in 5-7 minute long tracks; this EP by this Portuguese post-rock project knows how to satisfy genre expectations. Particular is their focus on airy, spacious sound and melancholic harmonies. So, if you crave something to accompany a chilling autumn season, there’s some auditory flavouring; as usual, found through a netlabel back catalogue (active and kicking Enough Records, in this case).

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How to include more symbols into your WordPress blog’s social link menu

WordPress Twenty Sixteen Social Menu with
default symbol for unknown link targets

For my blog, I use the WordPress theme Twenty Sixteen that supports adding links to my profile on typical social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al. For these well-known names, the theme automatically inserts company logos in the circular link symbols:

For smaller sites, the bundled Genericons font however does not provide those symbols. In my case, I wanted to add a symbol for the federated social networks Diaspora* and Mastodon, as well as set a custom paperclip symbol for my oj.do shortlink domain. Additional constraint: I only wanted to modify my own Twenty Sixteen child theme, so that I could continue benefiting from updates in the parent theme. Here’s how I did it:

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Various Artists – [2008] The Silent Ballet, Volume VII: Có Vẻ Như Trời Sẽ Ngớt Mưa

Carefully crafted slightly experimental ambient post rock or drone tracks, with tender vocal tracks throughout.

This marks my fifth review for one of the Silent Ballet compilation entries. This series is – or rather was – centred around ambient post rock, with a focus on experimental artists around the world. This entry is no exception. Mostly calm, slow tracks are featured on this instalment. See which two tracks I after the fold:

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Bash: How to find all files modified on a certain day

The following bash function (e.g. stored in your ~/.bash_aliases) finds all files within a directory that was changed on a specific date. I use this to retroactively check on all my activities throughout a day. For code-related changes, a filtered git log certainly is better, but this includes file downloads, modified text documents in one search query, if aimed at my home directory.

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PeerGynt Lobogris – [2011] The Edge of Forever

Varied showcase of versatile artist from prog rock over downtempo to classic piano.

This Spanish music producer probably is one of the most active members on music licensing platform Jamendo: exactly 60 releases ranging from 2007 to 2020. Guitar centric progressive rock is his staple, but he does not like to limit himself to a single genre per album. Note to self: review more of his output, this stuff is good!

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