Soulwax, where did the suits and humour go?

I did Music Tech at Uni and a lot all my class mates were really in to the very latest new music, raving about the latest bands I’d never even heard of. I kind of got that feeling of being an outsider if I didn’t have a band that no one else had heard of to champion over coffee and a dunked mars bar. Indeed, there’s probably just one band who I can lay claim to picking up on before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon and that band be Soulwax.

I caught the last 20 seconds or so of their song “Too Many DJ’s” when tuning in to Steve Lamacq’s show one evening in 1999, when they released the EP the first time round over here. I frantically typed the name of the band in to this revolutionary piece of software we had back in the day called Napster and absolutely loved what I heard. So I managed to track down the EP, followed by just about everything else that was released over here and whatever I could import. Eventually went to go see them support Muse and was not disappointed despite having their set cut down to just 20 minutes due to a delay letting people in. Saw them again at Nottingham’s Rock City when they had their own tour later in the year and again was blown away.They put on a real show with beige suits, flashing fluorescent tube mic stands, some clever ad-lib’ing when ear pieces didn’t work, bit of crowd interaction and old school Casio synth guitars. Friggin’ ace!

So then came the 2 Many DJ’s phenomenon, taking bootleg mash-ups to the mainstream with tremendous success. I was as much a fan of that stuff as Soulwax the band but if we’re talking about a live performance, two guys behind a set of decks just ain’t gonna get the same reaction from me.

Fast forward a year or so to the next album Soulwax album, Any Minute Now, and I went with some friends to see them in Manchester at the same venue as before. Perhaps expectations were too high but I was a little disappointed. The music was fantastic, the crowd was manic, but they’d dropped a lot of that crazy Belgium stuff which made the Much Against Everyone’s Advice gigs so great. No C-A-S-I-O in this set and very little in the way of crowd interaction. Caught them again at a much smaller venue in Nottingham the following year and they were much better but still there was no sign of ‘old Soulwax’ which I dearly missed. Then when me, Mark and Adi went to Rock Werchter I was hopeful that playing on home turf they might pull something out of the bag. Of course, they didn’t manage it, although I blame the crowd for being completely life less.

In any case it seems the suits, mic stands and comedy are gone for good. Which is why when I stumbled upon this over lunch I came over all nostalgic (hey, 6 years is a long time for me). Enjoy.

Turion 64 X2 dual-core mobile processors

As many of you know, I have a reputation for doing things with laptop processors which really shouldn’t be done; modding them to run in desktops I mean! I’m still running my Mobile P4M 2.0GHz on 1.15v with a fanless Arctic Cooling AC-FRZ-4 Freezer 4 (yes, only the PSU fan quietly shuffling air around) and haven’t felt the need to jump to the next generation of processor, not that I could justify the outlay anyway.

Having said that, I do like to keep an eye on what’s happening in the world of CPU’s just to see if there’s anything exciting on the horizon. Nowadays performance per watt is all the rage and AMD’s standard desktop line of processors does a pretty good job of running cool enough to run fanless while still kicking out great performance but what if you want to step up to dual core processing? You’ve got your work cut out for you trying to run the X2 fanless!

Intel’s Core Duo finally brings Pentium M power characteristics to the desktop with the advantage of two cores and there are a few standard retail motherboards out there you can run one with. The exciting news is that AMD has just released details of their new Turion 64 X2 processor and it wouldn’t surprise me if this manages to keep AMD ahead of the game on both pricing and performance per watt. The only down side is that while existing Turions work in the majority of standard s754 desktop motherboards, which can be picked up very cheaply since they’re used for Semprons, the new Turions use a 638 pin socket S1 and I’m not sure if there are any plans to release desktop motherboards with this socket. Let’s hope they do because that may be enough to make me take the plunge on another upgrade!