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2012-03-23

Nyepi in Bali - a day of silence to mark the new year


Right now in this moment, all over Bali it's completely dark and peaceful. Since it's Nyepi and the new year, everyone is in "house arrest". No one is allowed to walk on the streets or beaches from 06.00 AM this morning and for 24 hours thereafter, to make sure the evil spirits don't see anyone in Bali, and leave the island alone for the next year.


The only people outside are the Pecalang, traditional security men from the banjars who patrol the streets and beaches to ensure the prohibitions are being followed.


There are no lights (except in some of the bigger hotels), no music, no one is making any noise. You hear natural sounds you never noticed before - the sound of the ocean waves, the crickets, the frogs, the rustling leaves, small trees moving with the wind.

Even the airport is closed, there is no traffic in Bali for 24 hours.


And even more amazing is that since Nyepi is on a Friday this year, the Balinese allowed the Muslim minority to go to the Friday prayer in the mosques. This shows how tolerant they truly are - even if the traffic and noise could make the evil spirits see that there are people in Bali, and thus ruin the whole point of Nyepi, they still let the Muslims attend Jumu'ah.


Yesterday, after over a week of rain, the weather gods blessed Bali with sun, and the Balinese could do their rituals to celebrate their new year (Isakawarsa). I saw a beautiful ceremony, a spiritual dance that symbolized the battle between good and evil, and the whole banjar articipated or cheered. (Hint: Good wins.) The dance ended the Ogoh-Ogoh parade of monsters, here's a video.


Another beautiful ritual that is part of Nyepi is Melasti, performed thee-four days before the silent day. On this day the Balinese purify the sacred objects from their temples, and acquire sacred water from the sea.



These are the rituals to be followed on Nyepi:
1. Amati Geni - no fire or light (including no electricity)
2. Amati Karya - no work
3. Amati Lelunganan - no travelling
4. Amati Lelanguan - fasting and no revelry

More info about this amazing day:
"Nyepi is very special and important to the Balinese, since this is the day that they have to fool all evil spirits that no-one is actually on Bali - hence the need for silence and darkness. If this can be achieved, then it is believed that the evil spirits will go looking elsewhere for their prey and leave the Bali island alone for another year. Police and security are on hand to make sure that everyone abides by this rule.

Nyepi also serves to remind the Balinese of the need for tolerance and understanding in their everyday life. In fact, Hinduism on Bali is unique because it is woven into and around the original Balinese animistic religion. The two now have become one for the Balinese - a true sign of tolerance and acceptance!

The silent day is part a series of celebrations to welcome the Caka New Year in the Balinese Hindu religion, and has been celebrated in Bali since the era of Majapahit. The essence of the feast of Nyepi is a self-introspection and reflection before the new year. For that a tranquil and quiet atmosphere is required to clear the mind and to ask the Creator that next year all the mistakes done in the existing year will not be repeated again in the coming New Year."

2012-03-20

Over 14.000 free patches for Synth1 - a free virtual instrument for both PC and Mac


There are over 14.000 presets/patches/sounds available for the excellent freeware virtual instrument Synth1, all downloadable in various ZIP files that you can put in a folder and then access without having to unpack them.

I just made life much easier for you by taking the 173 available free banks I know about, cleaning them up, and then putting them in a single ZIP file you can download. Click here to get it, the size is just a little over 7 megabytes. (Updated 7/3-2017)

By the way - if you know about other banks that I have missed, PLEASE email them to me at pc@frankplads.com and I'll include them in the next update. Thanks!


So - after you download the ZIP file, unpack it to a folder of your choice. Just make sure it's on your computer's internal hard drive. Then open Synth1 and click the "Opt"-button, then the "Browse"-button on the right side, and select the folder you just unpacked the ZIP-file to.

Now when you want to use the banks, click the fields next to the "Opt"-button, which will open this dialogue:


Now click the arrow next to "External (.zip)" and you will see all the ZIP files. Click one, select one of the patches, and start making music!

Also, if you have Windows you can try using this tool by James Parsons to randomly generate new sounds.


This single ZIP includes the following 173 ZIP files:
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 01
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 02
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 03
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 04
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 05
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 06
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 07
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 08
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 09
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 10
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 11
Alfmeister's Magic Cracker
Ami Evan
aMUSEd Atonal Abstractions
Argon2005 Argon
Argon2005 Electric Dreams
Art Institute Vol 1
Art Institute Vol 2
AZur Studio 1
AZur Studio 2
AZur Studio 3
ballacr75 BE Random Patch Generator
barrybitter I Let The Dogs Out
BIGTONE
Bomfunk
Bryan Lake
bstageboss Famous Sounds addendum
bstageboss Vivolator
bwwd's Gold
bwwd's Green
bwwd's Pads
Chris Feeltune Vol. 1
Chris Feeltune Vol. 2
Christoph Mueller Synthhunter
Civilized Creation
CommanderRobot Chiptune & Lofi Bank
crispydinner BonkerBank
Damien Chamizo Audiowhore 128
Damien Chamizo Audiowhore Techno Essentials
Damien Chamizo Audiowhore Unison Delights
devilnishy NISH-2011-Organs'n'Stabs
Dezma Soundbank
do_androids_dream bladerunner
Dogmeat Saws 1
Dogmeat Saws 2
dover666
DrFx
EvilDragon
Factory Presets
Filter303 FX
Filter303
GeckoYamori Gecko
Hanz Meyzer Dance In The Bureau Presets
JamesXIIC
jf1
Joel Bisson Synthematic
Joel Bisson
JS Hip Hop Collection
Kel
kevosince85 CreateAudio Presets 45
KoolKool Euro-Nam Bank 118
KoolKool EuroBeat
KoolKool Star-Nam (Bonus)
KoolKool Star-Nam
KvR Soundbank
LiKwid DaTaBaSsEs
Lila K
lucknow13 1Luck's Rainbow
lucknow13 Dark Equinox-LK
lucknow13 DECA
lucknow13 Gaura-Nitai-LK
lucknow13 Janus-LK
lucknow13 LK-Kultura
lucknow13 LK-Monstronomo
lucknow13 OZAmbient
lucknow13 P0LARS-LK 2011
lucknow13 Phuturama-LK
lucknow13 X-Ploded-LK
lucknow13 z13-Caution-z13 lk
Lunatique
Madame Eljay
Mark van Schaik Mach1 Presets
MisterToast Toast
Mr Wobble Vol. 1
Mr Wobble Vol. 2
Mr Wobble Zen
Mutant
neko's Braindance
neko's The 80's
NielsenSound EDM
Nine Of Kings
Nolwenn Ann 1
Nolwenn Ann 2
Nolwenn Ann 3
Ouroboros 1
Ouroboros 2
Ouroboros 3
Pencilgod 1
Pencilgod 2
Pencilgod 3
Pencilgod 4
peterdh Bank2
Photonic Signal Lost
Pummel's Filtered FM
Reinhard Reschner Echopark
RetroHead GMulator Vol. 1
RetroHead GMulator Vol. 2
RetroHead GMulator Vol. 3
Richard Semper
Rob Rouleau Dance
Rydeen
S1 Project Sound Library
sagamusix Colors Of Synth1
Schiffbauer Kujashi 2
Schiffbauer Kujashi 3
Schiffbauer Kujashi 4
Schiffbauer Kujashi
sin night Sinusoidal NIghtmare (16 patches)
Sonicstyle Trance & Techno
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-00
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-01
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-02
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-03
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-04
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-05
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-06
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-07
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-08
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-09
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-10
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-11
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-12
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-13
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-14
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-15
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-16
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-17
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-18
SOS-Synth1-NordLeadII-A-19
SSR
Stephan Musch RSMUS7 1 (Arp)
Stephan Musch RSMUS7 2 (Bass)
Stephan Musch RSMUS7 3 (Pad)
Summa & DocT
Summa Welcome2Mac
Synthematic Techno Illusion
Synthgeek
Synthmorph Pluto Box
SynthSynthesizer User Group EinTon
Techno Essential
Teksonik 1
Teksonik 2
Teksonik 4
Teksonik 50 More Sounds
Teksonik 64 More Sounds
Teksonik 2008 Edit
Tim Conrardy
Timfonie
TNK Analog Dream
Toast-Synthhunter-Atonal Abstractions-Axiom-EinTon (5-in-1)
Tonius 1
Tonius 2
Tororo33
trancetechnosoundbanks.com
uncle236 Electro
VitaminD The Definitive Bank
Wavephonic
Wowoma
X-Protocol S1
Xenos Dubstep & DnB
Xenos Signature
XIC
Yaka

Synth1 is the best free virtual instrument in the world - both for PC and Mac



If you are making music on a PC or Mac, try out the mighty freeware Synth1 by Japanese wizard Ichiro Toda. Functionally it's a virtual analog synth based on the classic Swedish instrument Clavia Nord Lead 2, and it can be used for anything from leads, basses, pads, strings to effects.

Despite its huge sound it's extremely light on the CPU. People have reported being able to open over 100 separate instances, which means you can layer sound on sound and create complex moving soundscapes. For free!

Here is a demo of some Synth1 sounds someone have uploaded to YouTube.

Features include:
* Two oscillators, FM modulation, ring modulation, sync, modulation envelope
* Four types of filters, distortion
* Two LFOs
* Arpeggiator
* Tempo delay, stereo chorus/flanger, compressor etc.
* Legato mode, portamento.
* 16 notes polyphony.
* Over 10.000 presets
* Thoroughly optimized for light CPU load using SSE instructions etc.
* Automation
* All rhytmic features (LFO, arpeggiator and delays etc.) can be synchronized with host

Click here to download for PC or Mac, then extract the file(s) into your VST or AU folder.

When you want more sounds, here are over 14.000 patches in one small and handy download.

Zoran Nikolic has written a very good manual for Synth1, and also has links to even more patches and resources. Plus he has also made a page linking to a lot of music made with Synth1.

Have fun and make music!

2012-03-17

Like Amy Purdy, you can do almost ANYTHING

If you for some reason are feeling sorry for yourself, spend 10 minutes to view this TED talk by Amy Purdy. When she was 19 she lost both her legs below the knee - today she's a world champion female adaptive snowboarder, and a founder of a non-profit organization dedicated to introducing people with physical challenges to action sports.

If you still feel her situation doesn't apply to you, read this quote:
---
"Instead of looking at our challenges and limitations as something negative, we can begin to look at them as blessings - magnificent gifts that can be used to ignite our imaginations, and help us go further than we ever knew we could go.

When I lost my legs, I had no idea what to expect. But if you ask me today if I would ever wanna change my situtation, I would have to say 'no'. Because my legs haven't disabled me, if anything they have enabled me. They forced me to rely on my imagination and to believe in the possibilities."

Click on the image below for the 10 minute video:


Also check out her blogTwitter and Wikipedia entry.