what's on the CD player?
. the big chill - ichill . !k7 . fila brazillia - brazilification2
what books are by the bed?
. the music of silence - john tavener . hey nostradamus - douglas coupland . this is uncool (the 500 greatest singles since punk and disco) - gary mulholland . the bible . fences and windows - naomi klein . the art of looking sideways - alan fletcher
Wednesday, October 30, 2002 gforce - a novices guide my ninth worship trick on this blog was to recommend gforce. gforce is a visualiser that works with several mp3 players. i'm an apple user so i use it with itunes but it will work with winamp and soundjam at least. check the web site for info and to download it. amazingly it's free. like lots of visualisers it makes pretty fractal type patterns. but there's more to it than that. what i like about it is that you can change it whilst its running - colours and patterns and so on. documentation comes with it so it's as simple as reading that and pressing the keys it says to do certain things. there is also a folder which on mine is in a folder called 'gforce files' which is in the itunes plug ins folder called 'sprites'. if you put images in that folder they are added into a random selection of things (particles) that the program throws in from time to time which is fun.
so connecting it with altworship, we did a service called 'god save the queeen' (a good excuse to play the sex pistols in church of course!). the guys who usually run video stuff at grace were away so all i did was to fill the sprites folder with appropriate images - union jack flag, queens head, pistols cover etc - and then leave the program running all through the service. from time to time an image would be thrown into the mix. see here for what the grace punk flag looked like!
there's more you can do as well. you can write scripts which you assign to certain keys to get the program to change patterns and put videos, images and even word sequences in as you wish. it's a little time consuming initially but it's well worth the effort. the programmers have set up an example script or two - on apple they are run by pressing ctrl key and a number. you can read what these scripts are in the folder called scripts. so one of the examples is on 'ctrl 5' - when you press it a video plays of a spinning world. if you look at the script it says the following: 0:00 Comet Animation
all this means is that after 0 secs start the sprite comet animation. it's that simple. now you can further influence what happens to that video by writing some instructions for how the video behaves and putting that in the folder 'particles (non auto)'. this will further affect the program in that once you do that it won't randomly select that video when the program is just routinely running.
with it so far? if you want to see the kinds of things that you could instruct in the particles (non auto) folder there is an example already written called 'example sprite' with explanations as to what it means. there is also a sprite called 'default sprite' - this again has lots of explanation in it. i simply worked out what i was doing from reading these. if you don't put any instructions in the particles (non auto) folder it will follow the default sprite instructions... so let me give a couple of examples of simple scripts i have written. i have put some screen shots of these you can look at so you can see what i am talking about. the first is using the grace logo which looks fab in this program. i have done two things: 1. made an image file of the logo - it happens to be black with a white background which seems to look great in gforce. it's called Background-gracelogo.jpg and is about 600 x 300 pixels 72 dpi . i simply put this in the sprites folder 2. i have written a script so that it will appear when i type Ctrl 8. this script is a plain text file (don't make it rich text) called '8 key' that simply says '0:00 Background-gracelogo'. in this case i haven't written anything to go on the particles (non auto) folder so it follows the default sprite instructions. if you want to, see what it looks like in action. simple but looks great!
to give another example of what i have done i have assigned lots of video clips (recorded as quicktime) to different keys. put them in the sprites folder and do the same as before. only for these i don't want them all randomly appearing so i have copied the example sprite and named it the same as the title of the video and put it in the particles (non auto) folder.
taking it up a gear, another thing i have done is put a sequence of images of jesus from cultures round the world in a script to appear every so often (i'll add these in as a worship trick soon if you're interested in where you can get them). this required doing the following. 1. putting a series of jpegs of the images in the sprites folder called christ1~.jpg, christ2~.jpg etc. (for some reason some images come out as negative - if this happens put the '~' at the end of the name as i have done and it makes it a negative of that.) 2. writing a script. i have called this '9 key' and put it in the scripts folder. it says this: 0:00 christ1~ 0:16 christ2~ .....and so on..... up to 24 images coming in every few seconds. i don't want these appearing randomly in gforce so i have also 3 put text files called christ1~ and so on in the particles(non auto) folder containing the same text as the example sprite file.
that makes for a pretty cool sequence of images like this buddy christ screenshot - much more organic than displaying them in powerpoint say (though they can look good there too).
and lastly an example of a word sequence i have used. again this is a bit of effort but it can be very effective. there are thirteen lines in the word sequence i have written so for each line i have written a series of plain text files call1, call2 and so on and just put the words 'relax', 'god is here', 'you are welcome' or whatever.... in each one and put them in the sprites folder. then i have written a script assigned to '0 key' that looks like this: 0:00 call1 0:10 call2 0:20 call3....etc this goes in the script folder. then i have written instructions as follows for each one called call1, call2 etc in the particles (non auto) folder as follows
Y="YPOS", PDur="10", Vers=100
this is pretty much the same as the example sprite but the only difference is that i have put the font and size in to make the words bigger. again if you want to, see it in action here
that's as much as i have discovered from looking through the files that existed already. i'm sure there's more to find out about scripts etc but i haven't used them before. gforce loads all the files up before starting so be careful how many things you load into the sprite folder in one go or your system may either not cope, slow down or take ages to start gforce. this is a novice's quick tour. hope it helps anyone interested. but as i say you do get documentation with the programme that is better than what i can describe i'm sure. thanks to tallskinnykiwi for putting me on to gforce. let me know how you get on but don't ask me lots of technical questions. i am not the person for those!
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
on saturday went to see DJ Shadow at Brixton. had to wait until midnight for him to appear but it was well worth the wait! the support was actually very good as well. i particularly liked these two guys from manchester who were being unbelievably creative with one turntable, a doublebass and a drum machine. DJing really can be such a creative art form. it always gets me thinking when i see someone good in action.... which of course DJ Shadow is. he had two turntables, two CD turntables and a sampler. but i always secretly hope that with this kind of gig there will be visuals. anywaythe visuals surpassed all my hopes. they had been put together and were being run by C.O.D. - watch out for anything else he does - trust me! there were several wonderful things about the evening that got me thinking.
one was the DJing itself and how out of one set of sounds a DJ is able to construct something completely different - exactly what we spend so much time doing in alt worship - taking old stuff, mixing it with new, changing the context, subverting the meaning, reinventing the ritual, juxtaposing it with other stuff and so on. and this is hugely entertaining and great fun of course.
the second was the power of the visuals - behind the DJ were three huge screens with either one image spanning all three or different ones on each. but the visuals were simply wonderful. what was also amazing was how many of them were ideas i have seen used in alt worship - a moving soundline, sped up traffic, beautiful shots of earth from space, feet walking and so on... the main difference is that here someone had these huge screens and brixton academy to play in and we often have old kit that we have cobbled together, but both work which is interesting in itself. one of the encores was great fun - they had a sampler triggered by pads i.e. whenever you press a pad you get a particular sound (snare drum say) but C.O.D. had written a program so that when DJ Shadow triggered a sample by pressing a pad it would trigger a video sample as well. so the piece he did was some samples of a 70s drum lesson - we saw visually interpreted what he was doing on the sampler. Coldcut and Hexstatic have been doing this kind of thing for years, but it was great fun. love to get my hands on that kind of kit!?....
the third thing that really fascinated me more even than the others was how DJ Shadow broke unspoken rules of 'cool'. this was very endearing (though it did get a bit OTT as well). basically most acts i have seen performing electronic music from computers or DJing remain aloof from the crowd. for example when i went to see Coldcut the only thing they said to the crowd was 'thankyou and goodnight, Coldcut' typed on the screen. well DJ Shadow came on and spent 5 minutes chatting to the crowd saying how chuffed he was to be playing, thanking everyone again and again for liking and buying his music, and demystifying what he was about to do by saying what the equipment was and what he would be doing. then he'd do 15 minutes of magical stuff and be back for another chat. at the end very 'uncooly' he threw out posters and t-shirts more in keeping with a band gig say. 'so what' you may be thinking? well what intrigued me about this is that i think alternative worship comes out of club culture albeit the chilled out end of it - lots of its logic/cultural references are in club culture. but alt worship usually has this same kind of aloof feel about it - not great at welcoming people or having lots of warm and friendly chat. people don't tend to speak from the stage (that's been deconstructed) and want to remain anonymous.... but after this gig i was left thinking that actually some warmth and human interaction and enthusiasm could be a pretty good idea. maybe it's time to break the unspoken rules of cool?...
the gig was a fantastic experience of an incredibly creative artist blending music and visuals in a truly brilliant fashion. inspirational stuff......
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
Saturday, October 19, 2002
i received an e-mail today from stevedownunder and it reminded me i hadn't followed his blog for a while. anyway having visited it, it was wonderful to see how it has shaped up - a mixture of thoughts, stories from graceway, theologising, links and a connection with many emerging things down under..... so keep on blogging steve! it is weird how you start a blog and before you know it after a few months there really is a story/journey virtually gathered in random postings and archives that offers the rest of the world a window through which to share in it. i've added steve to my list of links which should remind me to keep up with his journey some more. one piece i found whilst looking back over the last few months is a wonderful juxtaposition of the lord's prayer with an earthly experience of parenthood. it'll be added as worship trick 23. steve has also asked for some more info on using gforce (which i plugged as my first ever worship trick and i am still very enthusiastic about). i think i'll post that on here so it's available for others to see as well in due course....
Saturday, October 19, 2002
Wednesday, October 16, 2002 worship trick 22 this is an installation on oxford street in the shop window of selfridges department store. on the window it says 'give us our daily product' and then there is a table and chairs all made out of bread with some loaves in the shape of crosses. the word consume is written on the wall. it's an intriguing installation to find on one of the busiest shopping streets in the world. the artist is rajko deljevic who i know nothing about. but it conjours up lots of great ideas for worship though to take in any number of directions - the connection between the christian faith and consumption - or just going completely OTT with bread for an installation... who knows? but it looks pretty. surprising where God is to be found these days.....
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Sunday, October 13, 2002
always good to hear of new groups/services getting started. 'elevate' is a new service which a friend chris jones has helped kick start in canada. he sent me a couple of pictures from their first service. one fab idea is the use of a pumpkin - don't know why i've not thought of it before. seeing as it is haloween coming up it's very seasonal so i'll make it worship trick no 21. no idea what you do with it but i guess you could carve crosses, words, logos or whatever into it and make it glow.....
Sunday, October 13, 2002
Thursday, October 10, 2002
the PROOST web site has been relaunched. this has been a while coming but it looks great, is easier to navigate, has a shopping basket. we have also moved the proost blog over to there so if you've looked at the blogspot one move across. there's also a guestbook for visitors to write their comments. we'd love feedback of any kind. be particularly interested to know of any ways you have or are using any of the stuff we've put out.
at last you can order the new album Old Hymns In Dub which is a reworking of 10 old hymns. they are instrumental versions. we've also included a folder of mp3s with a guide vocal on the CD so that you can work out how they go! this is a great worship resource. it also makes a good listen in its own right.
Thursday, October 10, 2002
Wednesday, October 02, 2002
new web site from sanctus1 in manchester, uk. this is an unusual project in that the c of e in manchester have funded a worker (ben) to develop a postmodern expression of church in the city centre. nice (and sadly unusual) to see this sort of investment from the powers that be.
Wednesday, October 02, 2002
a bit about me...
i am a londoner; christian; dad; postmodern (whatever that means - i know at least that i'm not modern); director of an independent record label proost which we set up to release music without being subject to christian record labels who had a frankly unimaginitive approach to music at the time as far as we were concerned; a member of grace , an alternative worship community in west london that has been an inspiration, lifeline, home, great bunch of friends, provided an arena in which to be creative about faith and worship and culture; i'm also part of the wider alternative worship movement/scene in the uk where i have lots of friends sharing the same dreams and struggles; an ideas person; a husband; national youth co-ordinator for cms; involved in various creative projects, the most successful of which has been the labyrinth which has been on a roll since we first installed it in st pauls cathedral in 2000; a mac user; co-ordinator of the worship at greenbelt arts festival where we have tried to create a space for new/creative/alternative worship especially in the new forms venues - a good place to visit if you want to encounter lots of creative uk worship in one go; writer (albeit a novice) with a few articles in books, mags and the web; a chelsea football supporter; involved in youth ministry - i have been for 15 years now - in the uk at least many people involved in alt worship want to avoid being labelled youth ministry as it's a convenient way for the church to write off what you do and the people involved aren't by any means youth (though some are), but i live in both arenas and think there's lots of overlap and creative conversation and ideas to be shared between the two; songwriter; lover of music especially the ambient, chilled, dub, instrumental end of things; lover of good food, belgian beer and conversation;