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"Toys toys toys (and games)"

I feel very unoriginal, but I’ve taken a shine to another new artist that R2 have been heavily playlisting, this time KT Tunstall, who did Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, but also the more engaging (in my opinion) Suddenly I see, which was enough to make me visit iTunes and part with another hard earned 79p. 🙂

Anyway, it turns out that she does “Cherry Tree” live using a looping sampler pedal, specifically the Akai E2 Headrush, and lays down a loop one part at a time, starting with a guitar body ‘thump-splat’ as basic rhythm, then a muted strum, then a tambo bash, and finally a couple of ‘woo-hoo’s in a harmony type fashion. This is apparantly called overdubbing a looped sample, but it looks and sounds fab and very clever. Anyway, I found this out from a video of her playing live that you can find on her website, via the albums link, or go straight to the ‘hi’ video stream. I had to freeze the video on her pressing the pedal to work out which make it was!! Sad man.

You can see where this is going…

.. Yup – I want one of those!. Comes in at 120 squid, sadly – but on the positive side my Toy Budget is sprinting towards credit, after a burst of selling on eBay and a book review for Wiley (although the cheque hasn’t appeared from the latter yet…). The PSP is a definite fixture on my shopping list, but I’m wondering if the E2 might be more fun than a new GPS?

The game of the title is Jamie Kane, which is an interactive online game based on the fictional character of the same name. Basic premise is that he’s been killed in a ‘copter crash, but then turns up alive in Thailand. The interaction is all initiated via the fansite jamierules, with a message board you can read, and then launch an Instant Messanger client with a chatbot on the other end, pretending to be one of the other members of the fansite.

But the attention to detail is lovely – you get send to all sorts of fictional websites that have been setup by the Beeb but look like real websites. You get e-mails every day that initiate that days activity, and when it’s complete that’s it for another day. But it’s very clever how it inserts your name into the message-board, etc – the other members talk about you, that sort of thing. Probably best not to register as “Jamie”, as that woudl get very confusing (bad enough being “James” on there). The chatbot is well written too – ok so I didn’t try to break it, but the suspension of belief wasn’t hard at all. I even went scurrying off to ‘whois’ at one point, just to make sure a website was a BBC creation. 🙂

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