The New Future of Pop Music

Like most dorks of the internet, I have a small habit of buying domains without projects to go along with them. A great example of this is TheLivingJacksons.com; a domain I have been sitting on for more years than I care to admit.

There is half a reason for keeping this domain – around the time I bought it, I had decided that if I had a band, I would call it The Living Jacksons. Never mind the fact that I have no known musical skills – I can still just about beat-match records on a pair of SL-1200s, and I can drop the Rhumba rhythm on my Casio VL-1 to great effect, but beyond that, I’ve never even tried to learn an instrument. I figured, though, that an absence of musical skill doesn’t necessarily exclude a career in pop music, and decided I would put a stake in the ground and claim The Living Jacksons as my own idea by buying the domain.

If this all sounds like an incomplete thought, that’s because it was: I knew I had no musical talent, but I didn’t even consider that I didn’t have something to put on the website. The domain sat doing less than nothing, absorbing renewal money for years, until the penny finally dropped on what the shape of my band was. Introducing The Living Jacksons:

N.b. I’m a lot more handy playing the washing machine than ironing boards, but the publicist and I both agreed that bending over to unload a washer wouldn’t have conveyed the message we are looking to convey with this band!

So finally – I created some press images of the band, and put a website together, with marginally more than nothing on it. Still no music though.

The loosely triennial Trickartt.com redesign rings ever true

res1

As noted before, every three years or so I get an itch to redesign my portfolio website. Almost like clockwork, I was hit with the itch at the beginning of the year, but this time it wasn’t the appearance of the site, nor so much the content of my portfolio, but the way the site worked that was bothering me.

It’s Buzzword Time

There’s a new principal in web design called responsive design. The idea is that instead of maintaining different versions of a website for different devices, the design of the site should respond to the size of the device by rearranging its content in a more user-friendly way.

To be kind to myself, the problem with my old site is it was a little bit ahead of its time. I had designed it to be responsive to different sized desktop computers, but simultaneously managed to make a terrible experience for any portrait-oriented devices.

I went the wrong way about trying to fix it too, by attempting to create a mobile version that I never even properly finished, let alone kept up-to-date. It wasn’t until I got an iPad that I realised how badly this worked – if you tried looking at my site in portrait, all you got was three quarters of a picture and nothing else usful. Oops!

res2

So I did finally get around to fixing it, and it is now properly responsive, albeit in my own abstract way. Everything is the same site whatever device you’re using to browse my portfolio, and things collapse together elegantly like they should. I pretty much had to start from scratch to make it happen, but that was a gift in itself because I’ve also managed to make the site a lot more energy efficient in the process by slimming its codebase down by about 30% too.

Of course, starting from scratch did give me the opportunity to review my portfolio. As I mentioned above, I was happy with a lot of it, but I did take the time to add a few newer things too. The biggest update is to the SCED area – I’ve now broken it out into some of my favourite things from each annual season, including its latest Post-it iteration.

Like so much of my iterative design work, it’s small changes that few would notice, but I feel a whole lot better for having implemented them!

Hospital Internet Evolution

surgeradio

The Hospital Records website and I have been on a long journey since I began working with the label. I’ve been planning on writing this piece about it for what must be several years now, but the thing with working on the internet is there’s never a finished point. You can’t carry on tinkering with a product once it’s been printed, but you can when you publish something on the internet! We launched a major redesign this winter, so now it’s had a few weeks to settle in, it finally seems like a good time to look back at how it evolved.

Back in 2005, before I got my foot in the door, their sites looked like this:

2005 2005-shop

They had their own website, which could only be updated by one member of staff, and their webshop was run by a third party. Oh how I remember that store – I used to buy white labels from it as soon as they were available, only to regret being impatient and not waiting a few weeks for the full artwork. Sometimes I would buy both anyway – Sainsbury’s must have paid me well if I afford so much Vinyl back then! Continue reading “Hospital Internet Evolution”

Shock; wonder: I am now Likeable on Facebook

Facebook and I don’t get along. I’m not a tin-foil-hat, but I consider Facebook to be a privacy catastrophe, so I have so far managed to avoid it at all costs.

Hospital have, on several occasions now, attempted to railroad me into signing up, with varying degrees of failure – one of my least successful attempts involved Facebook deleting my account as they wouldn’t let me use the alias Creamy Horse. What a hate parade.

Despite my concerns, I have since managed to come to a compromise with the platform: I now have a page. This seems like a reasonable compromise to me – it means you (that’s right, you!) can like me now, and I have a presence there instead of an uncomfortable void.

So what do you get for liking me? Well, that’s not something I can answer, being as inexperienced as I am with the day-to-day workings of the platform. I will be posting links to stuff I post here, which might be of interest to you if you don’t want to have to deliberately visit this site to see if anything is new. I may also start linking to daily creativities if I can wire it up too, but I had a spot of bother attempting to do so earlier today. Oh well. One day at a time!

Three Little Websites

Hospital realised that WordPress isn’t the be-all and end-all of creating functional websites, which was great news for me as hacking up themes take a surprisingly long time! Instead, I’ve been getting to be a little more freeform with the websites I’ve been creating for them lately, resulting in these three little websites:

NuTone.org

The idea for this site was borne out of a conversation with Matt Riley, the man in charge of web promo at Hospital. He suggested that as our tracks end up on YouTube anyway and we had such a striking cover photo, that we could make the page a big version of the album cover made up of YouTube videos.

Continue reading “Three Little Websites”

That’s right, it’s time for the loosely triennial website redesign!

Hello Internet types, and welcome to the latest incarnation of my website/portfolio! I find myself doing this once every couple of years, which makes sense being a designer and all.

The old site was getting out of control!

The new site now has bigger images, a less sprawling portfolio and some nice slidey interfaces, which I am surprised I even got to work! There is also a new iPhone-friendly version of the site too, which to be honest needs a bit more work, and I shall hopefully do over the next couple of days.

This blog has seen a tiny slice of updatery too, but nothing too drastic- I have upped the size of the text by one point, as I thought it was a bit difficult to read before, and increased the grid it is designed to alongwith it. The new site also adheres to the same grid too, to try and finally give my site and blog a bit of coherence again. Hooray for grids!

This Central Station lark

Shock Horror, I’ve joined another social network recently! This one is called Central Station– it appears to be a network for creative people. I guess it’s similar to Behance, but I never really understood that, and this appears to be a bit more British (well, Scottish, to be precise) and a bit more personal.

Anyway, I don’t really understand this either, but it’s probably because I’m not very good at being social, and to me a network is something you make with CAT5 cables and Wi-Fi. Regardless, it seems pleasant and I approve of the post-it-note yellow, so I’ve put up a bit of work for other members to look at!

Putting stuff up seemed to be the right thing to do too, as people are looking at it! CenSta first added my Post-it book to their blog of things they like in February, which was very kind of them. It’s nice to be nice to the nice!

Not only that, but they then went on to feature my stopmotion experiment from 2008 ‘Full Mouse’ (embedded above or here on Central Station) in a prominent position on their site, which went on to get more views in the space of a week than it ever did anywhere else on the internet combined. Amazing!

So if you’re creative too, or if you just want to be a member of another social network, you should check Central Station out! It doesn’t matter if you’re not Scottish – I’m pretty sure I’m not a Scot, and they’ve been very welcoming to me, as I think they are trying to grow beyond Scotchland.

Update: They’ve put the video on their front page now too! cool!

Andrew Attah Website

This week I helped Photographer Extraordinaire Andrew Attah spruce up his website. Now it’s finished, I don’t feel like I did much at all to contribute, but I guess my, er, expertise made a difference. I am pleased with it regardless!

Andrew had the right idea from the start, by moving away from Flash for his online portfolio. He found the nice little open-source CMS Indexhibit to base his new site on, which I then offered to help tidy up. I tinkered a little with the plugins and layout and flexed some CSS to make what we have here – a lot more balanced and user-friendly, but still minimal enough to let the photography do the talking, which is the idea of a photographer’s portfolio!

Check out AndrewAttah.com for a better view of the site and his photos, and keep your eyes peeled for the snaps from his recent Danny Byrd and Netsky photoshoots. Yeah!

Twitter Feed

I found myself wondering last night if my social-network-avoiding actually works against me and my work, so I have decided today to dip my toes into the social waters in the form of signing up to Twitter! I’ll spare you the pain of a diatribe as to why I’m not planning on using it for normal tweeting, but rather its function will be to tweet about the posts I make here (like this post, which is doubling up as a test of the new system!).

So, if you like reading about my world, and are cooler than me as you like to use Twitter, you can follow Trickartt, to be tweeted at whenever I write something else stupid here!

Trickartt DJ Bio Generator

Somebody on one of the forums rediscovered this today, which also led me to rediscover it- I had completely forgotten I made it! Apparently it dates back to last June. It’s the Trickartt DJ Bio Generator- a piece of PHP junk designed to generate your very own low-budget self-gratifying D&B DJ biography.

If you’re not familiar with the world of Drum and Bass, or any other DJ-centric music, it might be easy to miss the point. Similarly, it might not be so funny if you had already put the effort into writing yourself one of these manually (I bet you’re kicking yourself now- you could’ve just done it by filling out a few simple boxes!), but here it is anyway.

DJ Bio Generator

Hooray for basic PHP!

 
You are currently reading
Page 1