Tag Archives: music

Jam: Listen To Google Play Music From The Console

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about GPMDP, a Google Play Music desktop application that integrates Google Play Music with the desktop and adds various features on top. If you don’t need all those desktop features and all you need is a lightweight, console Google Play Music client, you can try Jam.

Jam Google Play Music console player

Jam is a new Google Play Music console player for Linux and Windows. The application, which is written in Go, had its first alpha release about two weeks ago, and it’s currently at version 0.4.0.

Jam features a console interface very similar to that of Cmus, with easy keyboard navigation. While the interface is easy to use, it currently lacks a help screen, so for a list of keyboard shortcuts, see the Jam GitHub page.

Jam features:

  • console interface inspired by Cmus;
  • Last.fm scrobbling;
  • play, pause (this is buggy), stop, previous / next track;
  • populates a local database with the artists and albums you saved through the web interface (or by any other means) and allows searching artists in this database.

Jam is still very new, so it lacks a few features, but its developer hopes to improve it further, by making its interface detachable like MOC or to allow controlling the playback via command line arguments. If there’s some feature you’d like to see in Jam, you can submit a bug report.
It’s important to mention for Jam to work, you need to login using the same account used for Google Music on your mobile device. Without this, you will get a “no valid devices” error when trying to login with Jam.
If you use the Google two-factor authentication, you’ll need to generate an app password for Jam. You can do this by visiting THIS link.

Download Jam (64bit binary)

Download Jam (64bit binaries are available for Linux and Windows)

To install the 64bit binary on Linux, download it from GitHub (it’s the first one, called simply “jam”) and place it in your home folder. Then to install it to /usr/local/bin/ (so it’s available in your PATH), use the following command:
sudo install jam /usr/local/bin/

How to install Jam from source

Note: the instructions below were tested on Ubuntu 16.04+ / Linux Mint 18.x and may not work on older Ubuntu versions (golang-go may be too old).

To install Jam from source, you’ll need Go, Git and libpulse-dev. Install these in Ubuntu / Debian / Linux Mint using the following command:

sudo apt install golang-go git libpulse-dev

Next, you’ll need to set the GOPATH environment variable and make the GOPATH/bin folder available in your PATH. To do this (and use ~/.go as GOPATH), use the commands below:
mkdir ~/.go
echo "export GOPATH=$HOME/.go" >> ~/.bashrc
echo "export PATH=$PATH:$GOROOT/bin:$GOPATH/bin" >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

And finally, install Jam from source (the binary will be available in ~/.go/bin/) using the following command:

go get github.com/budkin/jam

If you encounter bugs, report them @ GitHub.

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Music, The GNOME Music Player, Is Getting Smart New Features

gnome-music-appMusic, the GNOME music player that isn’t Rhythmbox, has been quietly progressing in the past few GNOME releases. The app now has a basic feature set that ticks all the right boxes, e.g. search, smart playlists, etc and is fronted by a modern interface that swaps chrome and clutter for instant usability. But the app is set to […]

The post Music, The GNOME Music Player, Is Getting Smart New Features was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

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Pandora Client `Pithos` 1.1.0 And 1.0.2 Released

Two new Pithos versions were released yesterday: 1.1.0 (for GTK 3.14+ only) and 1.0.2 and they include an important bug fix which caused the app to stop playing randomly.

Pithos

Pithos is a Pandora.com (a music streaming and recommendation service that’s only available in the United States, Australia and New Zealand) client which comes with pretty much everything you’d need in such an application, like:

  • cover art;
  • thumbs up / thumbs down / tired of this song options;
  • allows switching between Pandora stations;
  • allows editing QuickMix and creating stations;
  • desktop integration: Ubuntu AppIndicator, notifications, MPRIS v2 support – so Pithos integrates with the Ubuntu Sound Menu / GNOME Shell Mediaplayer extension;
  • media keys support;
  • proxy support;
  • last.fm scrobbling.

Pithos 1.1.0, which requires GTK 3.14 or newer (Ubuntu 15.04, Fedora 21 and newer), was released yesterday and it coms with redesigned plugin preferences, performance improvements, the MPRIS and Last.fm plugins are now optional and various other tweaks.
However, the most important change in this release is a fix for a major bug that caused the app to stop playing randomly. Because Pithos 1.1.0 requires GTK 3.14, this fix was backported to the Pithos 1.0.x series, which needs GTK 3.10+ (so it works with Ubuntu 14.04 and 14.10, Fedora 20, etc.).

Install Pithos in Ubuntu or Linux Mint

Pithos is available in the official Ubuntu repositories, but that’s a pretty old version. To install Pithos 1.1.0 in Ubuntu 15.04 or Pithos 1.0.2 in Ubuntu 14.10 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 17.1 or 17, you can use the official Pithos PPA:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pithos/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pithos

Arch Linux users can install Pithos via AUR.

For other Linux distributions, see the install section from the Pithos homepage.

Report any bugs you may find @ GitHub.

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ncdt: An interesting evolution

Quick on the heels of tree and ddir, a loyal reader pointed out ncdt, which takes the tree model and adds a small feature or two.

2015-04-19-6m47421-ncdt

As you can see, ncdt adds the size of files and directories as part of its default display. So in situations where it’s useful to see directory structure and size — such as labeling removable media, like CDs — it is probably more useful.

Unfortunately, I see no options to adjust what ncdt shows, so there are no “human-readable” (which I prefer) output flags or the like. What you see is what you get.

ncdt also promises to show “special” data for mp3 files, but the Debian version as well as the version I built on my Arch system from the Debian source package showed nothing. Even the sample screenshot in Debian doesn’t show anything “special” for mp3 files. Hmmm. 🙁

It’s possible that there is an added dependency that I don’t have, or perhaps the mp3 files I tried post-date what ncdt is capable of analyzing. I checked the ReadMe and source files, but I got no hints. And the only home page I have for ncdt is the Debian package page above.

No matter. ncdt adds a little to the tree model and could probably, at one time in the past, show a little information about mp3 files. It’s an interesting evolution, even if it still needs some attention to reach fruition.

Tagged: data, directory, folder, information, mp3, music, structure, tree

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mpfc: Doing everything so right

Once I knew what mpfc stood for, it made perfect sense — it is, after all, a music player for the console.

2015-04-09-lr-0xtbe-mpfc-01 2015-04-09-lr-0xtbe-mpfc-02 2015-04-09-lr-0xtbe-mpfc-03

And a very nicely done music player too, I might add. You can learn how to handle 90 percent of mpfc within the first 15 seconds of starting it, which is a delightful thing.

The opening screen will cue you to use the question mark for help screens at any point in time, and the available keys are listed with their function in a popup window.

mpfc has a playlist-and-browser approach that might remind you of the good old days of cplay. Pressing “B” puts you into a file navigation mode, and highlighting a file is done with the Insert key — much like Midnight Commander.

Once you have selected a file or two, add it to the playlist with the “a” key, or swap out the playlist for your current selections with the “r” key (for “replace”). It’s very intuitive, and very easy to master.

The playback screen has balance controls, volume indicators, an animated progress indicator and a live-update status display for bitrate and so forth. And as you open popups, a tab bar along the bottom shows your “breadcrumb trail,” in case you get yourself lost in layers of windows. 🙄

And as you can see … glorious, glorious color. :mrgreen:

I really can’t find anything bad to say about mpfc; if I had any warnings or advice, they would boil down to a note that mpfc relies on gstreamer for playback, and to remember that your music filetype will require certain support for gstreamer. It’s a slightly different model than what most players use, but I find no fault.

mpfc is in AUR, but not in Debian. The home page is on Google Code, so if you like it and want to preserve it, you probably should export it to Github so it doesn’t disappear when Google Code shuts down in January.

Oh, I almost forgot — a gold star for mpfc, for doing everything so right: :star: Enjoy! 🙂

Tagged: audio, client, music, player

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groove-dl: Jumping the shark

I was tempted to skip over groove-dl because my list of stream ripper tools is starting to devolve into a tool-per-service array, and when things become discrete and overly precise, I start to fall toward the same rules that say, “no esoteric codec playback tools.”

2015-02-24-6m47421-groove-dl

I can’t complain too loudly though, because things like gplayer and soma are past titles that were more or less constrained to one site or service, and suddenly chopping off a portion of The List wouldn’t be fair.

But it wouldn’t be a terrible disservice, since most of what I was able to discover about groove-dl is encapsulated in that screenshot. Follow the command with a search string, and groove-dl will return a list of matches and the option to download a song.

Very straightforward, but also very rudimentary. Beyond the first 10 results, there’s no apparent way to continue through search. groove-dl itself doesn’t have any command flags that I could find; in fact, using -h or --help just pushed those strings through as search terms. Entering a blank line just brings groove-dl to a halt. Entering an invalid character causes a python error message. And yet entering a number beyond the list (like 12 or something) starts a download of some unidentified tune that matched your search, but wasn’t shown on screen. Go figure. :

groove-dl will allow you to pick multiple targets though, and does use a generic but informative download progress bar to follow your selections. I can’t complain about that. And I see that there is a graphical interface, and it may be that there are more functions available to you from that rendition, than in the text-only interface.

But overall, with such a narrow focus and a narrow field of options and wide array of ways to confound it, I think there might be other, better utilities around for pulling tracks from Grooveshark.

groove-dl is in AUR but not Debian. If you try to install it, you’ll also need python-httplib2, which wasn’t included in the PKGBUILD. Happy grooving. 😉

Tagged: audio, cloud, download, manager, music

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More Scripting (Copy), Reaktor, and Musical Experimentation

I guess the following script is an iteration of another script that I wrote.
It’s a script that I created to save space.  It creates a copy of the filesystem hierarchy at a remote location locally with zero sized files to save space. https://sites.google.com/site/dtbnguyen/create_empty_structure-1.00.zip
Have been trying to build more complex software synthesisers of late within Reaktor. To this I’ve had to learn some other stuff including how to mix sound sources from various sources using a mixer. You can download my experiment from here:
Added a new playlist called, ‘Fun-17-Jan-15’ to my YouTube profile.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwVJG67iHHPbmBxuHVbyOlw/playlists

I’ve been wondering what the fuss regarding ‘pinterest’ was all about. Pretty pictures…

Apple’s iTunes isn’t the only way of synchronising your iPod. There are alternative third party applications as well.
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-ways-sync-ipod-computer-itunes/
http://www.wikihow.com/Sync-Music-to-Your-iPod
http://sourceforge.net/projects/songbird.mirror/
https://amarok.kde.org/en/releases/2.7Win
http://www.ephpod.com/
http://www.yamipod.com/main/modules/downloads/
http://download.cnet.com/windows/ipod-backup/

If you’ve spent most of your life in the developed world or have had a relatively privileged upbringing some of the stuff that happens around the world is shocking. Even if you never make a donation just reading some of what happens out there puts things into perspective.
http://www.amnesty.org.au/

If you’ve ever used a non-persistent operating system there are often some incogruities. One of them are odd security difficulties. Do the following to get access to the web CUPS interface.
sudo usermod -aG lpadmin
sudo /etc/init.d/cups restart
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/PrintingCupsWebInterface

Sound stretching utility. Basically turns a standard sound file into a ‘Soundscape’.
http://hypermammut.sourceforge.net/paulstretch/

If you’ve ever wanted free Internet access this is one option although there are limitations.
http://kindleworld.blogspot.com.au/p/countries-with-free-kindle-3g-access.html
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1566378

If you’ve never worked with REX files (with Ableton and Recycle particularly) before the following may be of use to you.
Basically social networking/a website for musical collaboration.
https://www.facebook.com/blendhq
https://blend.io/
https://blend.io/dtbnguyen/

I’ve been struggling with how to work more easily (I prefer to work purely based on sound or based on memorisation but sometimes even this is not possible with the way some synthesisers are designed so having these removes another issue from the ‘problem set’) with scales under Ableton for a while now. These preset files should hopefully make things a bit easier.
https://www.ableton.com/en/blog/explore-new-scales-40-free-presets/
http://db.tt/aUn4TLYf
http://techsture.net/wp/?p=273
http://www.techsture.net/f/Scales.zip 

If you don’t have the money for the Ableton Push there are lots of other options out there if you look carefully.
Other ways to make money as a musician while studying:
– offer to lease out studio
– offer to sell (produce/compose/teach) your skills
– buy/sell/lease out equipment at a profit

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emms: Your one-stop text editor, music player and operating system

I suppose it had to come to this:

2015-02-05-l3-b7175-emms

It’s emms. It’s emacs, playing music. Because emacs can check your e-mail, run a spreadsheet, chat with your friends, read your newsfeeds and now play your music.

Because it’s emacs, and that’s what it does — everything. 😉

I will not speak ill of emms since it’s doing exactly what it claims it will do. But I will hint that mplayer is running in the background while emms “plays,” which says to me that the heavy lifting is accomplished elsewhere. (I believe it can use other player tools too.)

It does manage playlists and control the actual playback, so I give it credit for that, and doing it from within another application. Given that you can navigate emacs to start with (note for future self: M-x then emms-play-directory 😉 ), it shouldn’t be difficult to handle.

And emms is not terrifically new, and is in both Arch proper and Debian.

It’s interesting that by this point, if you could get all five or six of those other tools working, you’d have an entire “desktop” ecosystem in place, and in ostensibly riding upon one program. And if you can rig your whole machine to run emacs on the kernel, you’re golden.

Like I always say though, I’m not enough of a fan of emacs (or its main competitor, which shall go unnamed) to see this as much more than a nifty gimmick. If you’re already an emacs user, you might be able to slim your list of applications by one or two, if you adopt it. Have fun. 😉

P.S.: Thanks to Greg for pointing it out. 🙂

Tagged: audio, client, music, player

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Scripting, Electronic, and Musical Experimentation

A script that I created to save space. It works by using dd to reduce all relevant files to zero size. It contains comments to make it customisable and creates log files just in case something goes wrong.

https://sites.google.com/site/dtbnguyen/mkempty-1.01.zip

Came across one of these during the week. I looked at it, did a bit more research though and found out that the battery was dying, that the company was in trouble, and that no spare parts were being manufactured which meant that you would have to retrofit your own battery from another source if it came down to it (I found out that a HTC ChaCha battery actually fits the physical dimensions required and actually has the characteristics to get the job done. Since, I don’t like risking the possiblity of overheating I decided to pass on the purchase. I obviously thought about the chance of fitting an iPod battery in there as well which explains the links… Not enough information available online though regarding physical dimensions.
 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pacemaker
http://pacemaker.net/
http://pacemakerdevice.org/
http://www.cnet.com/au/products/tonium-pacemaker/
https://forum.sparkfun.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=28139
http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/37552/anyone-knows-how-many-mah-in-ipod-touch-4th-generation-battery
https://www.ifixit.com/Store/iPhone/iPhone-Gen-1-Replacement-Battery/IF105-017-1
http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/28/irl-pioneer-kuro-pdp-6010fd-tonium-pacemaker-and-the-samsung-g/
http://www.wired.com/2008/04/pacemaker_portable_dj/

If you’ve ever wanted a more memorable username to link to your Facebook profile here’s some help.
https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=457770375843
https://www.facebook.com/help/329992603752372/

Was working an automatically deployed Amazon Web Services (AWS)/Unified Threat Management (UTM) device/node while I was working on the ‘Cloud and Internet Security’ report. Don’t like leaving things unfinished. Relaunching the project until it’s conclusion. It’ll be interesting to see whether there is an actual market for these type of things whether for or not for profit. One curious thing is that a lot of information is actually more easily obtained via SNMP and other existing monitoring protocols…
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1671024
https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=Binh+Nguyen
http://www.amazon.com/mn/search/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&field-author=Binh%20Nguyen&linkCode=ur2&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank&tag=bnsb-20&linkId=3BWQJUK2RCDNUGFY

The following is just a good reference guide…
drum and bass averages a BPM of 160-180
dubstep is around 140 BPM
House varies between 118 and 135 BPM
hip-hop is around 115 BPM
Concert marches are typically ~120 BPM.
Screamers are usually 130-150 BPM
Largo is 40-60 BPM
Larghetto is 60-66 BPM
Adagio is 66-76 BPM
Andante is 76-108 BPM
Moderato is 108-120 BPM
Allegro is 120-168 BPM
Presto is 168-200 BPM
Prestissimo is 200+ BPM (These last according to my Sabine Zipbeat.)
http://music.stackexchange.com/questions/4525/list-of-average-genre-tempo-bpm-levels

Have been doing more research on understanding the concept of ‘layering’ in song composition. The consensus seems to be that in electronic music (anything that features heavily synthesised sounds), you basically start from percussion/a drumline and then you work your way upwards, adding synths, basses, and so on (you can start the other way around to but if you have sufficient knowledge of percussion but it doesn’t quite have that some feeling/sensation to it). You may even start with a pattern of single notes to create a melody and then base your lyrics around that based on what I’ve read. For this particular reason, I’ve been looking more into percussion and patterns that are peculiar to each particular (keywords “percussion music pdf” in Google). Some really interesing stuff. I didn’t realise that notation in percussion could be ‘customised’ because there were so many different instruments that were possibly available?

http://web.mit.edu/merolish/Public/drums.pdf (you’ll need this to understand the notation)
http://www.virtualdrumming.com/drums/drum-sheet-music.html (none of this will make any sense without an understanding of notation)
http://www.hvogt.de/drums/patterns.html
http://drumbum.com/lessons/drum-lessons/free-drum-lessons/beginning-drums.html
https://www.ucmo.edu/music/bands/media/drumline_audio_parts/UCM%2520DL%2520Handbook%25202012.pdf
http://www.berkleeshares.com/drums__percussion

I took a big look at Dubstep because percussion is a core part of that stype of music.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubstep
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul10/articles/dubstep.htm
http://www.musicradar.com/tuition/tech/14-dubstep-production-tips-178489/
http://www.makebeatsforever.com/top-10-tips-for-making-dubstep/
http://www.makebeatsforever.com/the-ultimate-guide-on-how-to-make-dubstep/
http://howtomakeelectronicmusic.com/how-to-make-a-dubstep-beat
http://www.wikihow.com/Write-Dubstep-Music
http://www.looperman.com/forum/thread/56378
http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Simmon_Power

——> Huge Guide to Producing Dubstep! https://www.dubstepforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=159713
Dubstep Music Mastering tutorials/tips
https://www.dubstepforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=104330

Obviously, once you have a percussion part that is suitable to he genre of music you can begin to layer up. For instance, think about common elements/instruments/sounds. Layer based on genre, thinking about what you have, what you can adjust, what you can find, what you can create or imagine whether it is via software or hardware… One thing you should know, writing songs isn’t really an incremental process. It’s like some other things I’ve experienced in life. Once you hit a plateau and begin to understand the next step, you gain a whole bunch of extra bits and pieces. While you were previously only able to write half a song, now you can write three-quarters of it, or you suddently discover a way to take your sound quality to a completely new level.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_music
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_hop_music
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhythm_and_blues
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-boying
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_dance_music
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Break_(music)

You listen to enough music (out on the Internet, at concerts/bars/out on the streets, purchasing from retail, etc…) and you basically get the impression that a lot of what is released out there isn’t actually all that great (the supposed idea behind the Apple Music Store) which is a good thing and a bad thing. Think in terms of marketing. You name a genre, there is likely a website that is dedicated to that particular style of music. Here’s the problem though. Remember the premise of the Apple Music Store. Out of every album you purchase you’re only going to like anywhere between one and a maximum of four songs on it (average based on my collection and personal experience). Factor in the fact that the barrier to entry for online music is much lower and you basically have very little chance of making it unless you can churn out consistently good music or else you create the ‘song of your life’ at some point along the line because that is basically what it will take to rise above the rabble.

The irony is this. By reading, taking courses, and so on… you end up with a baseline knowledge of how to compose but it also means that you may end up with some very formulaic songs. Watch for DJ’s, producers, composers, engineers, etc… Just like a person’s character there tend to be idiosyncracies in the sound that they produce (whether that may be down to preference, talent, equipment, etc…).

Some websites where you can preview some artists work (not including the usual places such as the Apple Store, etc…)
https://topdeejays.com/
http://www.traxsource.com/top/tracks
http://mixcloud.com/
http://soundcloud.com/
https://www.youtube.com/
https://bandcamp.com/
http://www.beatport.com/
http://www.last.fm/
http://promodj.com/

Nnote that what is House, Chilled, or Lounge over here doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing in Asia, Europe, America, etc…
http://promodj.com/top100/djs 

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