« Posts by Streams of Europe

This should never happen, and I am now halting in abject failure

This is what Inform 7 humbly told me as I was trying to plug Aaron Reed’s Keyword Interface into his modified version of Eric Eve’s Conversation Package for Sand-dancer. Oddly enough, the culprit seems to be Emily Short’s Complex Listing.

Abject failure

I am now halting in abject failure.

If the above makes no sense to you, don’t worry, it doesn’t make much more sense to me. All you have to know is it was quite an astounding moment. The error came up with a rather dreadful picture of an antique skull. It was like the program had both committed suicide and triggered the apocalypse, and was apologizing for this.

Interactive fiction development can be this amazing, yes.

Necktar 2017 Volume 4 is out

Necktar 2017 is a massive, free metacompilation of hors normes music produced by Le Colibri Nécrophile / Earsheltering / H.A.K. Lo-Fi Record.

Sinusal has contributed to Necktar 2017 Volume 4. Here is the official page with contributors list and links. Below is a preview of what is available on archive.org (yes, the first track is a three hours and half piece of noise. The rule is there is no rule).

A mere journey through time,
the great work of anachronistic alchemists,
the apiary of a network of precognitifs,
the magnetic murmur of a quantum flaw,
a vortex of antimatter annihilating all listeners’ dogmas,
a dream above the Earth passing through the Unconscious,
a psychotropic meditation resetting the consciousness,
an early bud of the new era…

The silence of Sand-dancer

Since Inform 7 became our weapon of choice, we had to learn how to master it. A few months ago, we started to work on a (supposedly) small interactive fiction project set in Cranianth, the citadel of the Horde. Currently called Sands of Torment, this project involves a heavy focus on RPG mechanics and an ambient procedural soundtrack. It uses ATTACK by Victor Gijsbers, a custom behavioural system for the main character’s evolution, possibly a new version of Damusix by Eliuk Blau…

Let’s say there’s a lot of complexity involved. And at the moment, this is a bad thing, because there’s also, naturally, a lot of beginner’s mistakes involved, high expectations, and probably low results if we carry on with all the crazy ideas we want to implement in this first Inform 7 game.

That’s why we’ve bought a copy of the excellent Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 by Aaron A. Reed. We could also mention Blue Lacuna was impressive enough for us to grab its author’s book in total confidence.

This book is meant to teach how to use Inform 7 efficiently, and it does, by providing step-by-step instructions for the development of an example game called Sand-dancer. We’re not utterly clueless Inform 7 dummies. Yet we decided from the beginning to follow the book and complete all its exercises and suggestions before going back to Sands of Torment, which is quite time-consuming, but equally rewarding. The problem here, apart from the noticeable Inform skills improvement, is that the result will be nothing more than a somewhat customized Sand-dancer version. Nothing even close to Europe after the Rain, and nothing related in any way to Streams of Europe.

Hence the idea to go further by using Sand-dancer as a framework for an interactive soundtrack composition. While the game is set in a modern, contemporary context, its atmosphere shares many similarities with what we’re aiming at in Sands of Torment. This is the perfect playground to hear what Glulx sound extensions such as Located Sounds by Mikael Segercrantz or Multiple Sounds by Massimo Stella can do.

So, in the end, our Sand-dancer version will be released as an “interactive musical fiction”, and you’ll probably get a new Streams of Europe’s album as well.

Christmas in Europe after the Rain

Streams of Europe’s complete discography is now available for download in MP3, at 320kb/s, for free.

All albums are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Here is the full list in chronological order:

 

Meanders

Download full album (mp3, 320kb/s - 142 Mo)

 

Damaged Memory Strata

Download full album (mp3, 320kb/s - 199 Mo)

 

The Many Lives of a Clone

Download full album (mp3, 320kb/s - 161 Mo)

 

Neorganics

Download full album (mp3, 320kb/s - 140 Mo)

 

Degenesis

Download full album (mp3, 320kb/s - 134 Mo)

 

 

And if some related wallpapers sound appealing to you, feel free to download this:

Download the eight 1920x1080 wallpapers (png - 4.8 Mo)

New website (again)

We don’t really care about Christmas.

However, since Streams of Europe’s latest album, Degenesis, is finally complete, we thought it would be nice to make everything available for download in the same place.

During the last few years, we’ve tried a lot of music distribution networks. All of them were interesting in their own way. All of them also had their own limitations.

  • Soundcloud is awesome, but  expensive, especially for long tracks. And ambient music means long tracks.
  • Bandcamp is great too, but lacks customization and community features. While it allows very long tracks, it’s still not enough for one-hour-long works.
  • Jamendo keep spamming you about selling your music, and the random friend requests are sort of annoying.
  • The 61 is a nice place, but it’s not really adapted for experimental and ambient music.
  • MySpace is dead (and that’s a relief).
  • Last FM is where the adventure started. You’ll find awesome people here, but it’s still more a radio than a distribution network.
  • Facebook is, well, Facebook. A soulless place made to suck your soul.
  • Google+, iLike, Bebo, ReverbNation, PureVolume… We don’t care enough to check if they still exist.
  • Diaspora holds a special place in our hearts. Our most web-addicted member, lectronice, even participated to #diasporanoise2011. But Diaspora isn’t a music distribution network.

The truth is, there are simply too many places to upload and promote music, and not enough time. We want to stop wasting time on various networks, and focus on what Streams of Europe is about.

Hence this new website. You can already listen to everything in your browser. Try the top right menu on the Streams of Europe page, or hit play in the albums category for a full playlist.

You may also enjoy some minimal wallpapers, available for download in Art of The Rain.

The Christmas gift, which may or may not be available on Christmas, will consist in Streams of Europe’s complete discography encoded in 320kb/s.

Degenesis

The Rain

And finally fell the mighty Rain, drowning all living things, melting mountains, and changing streams into oceans. Then, for millenia, the world stayed clean and pure, devoid of humanoid presence.
Drowned Mountains

This is about a perfect landscape, where the horizon is only defined by the sky and the sea. Decades after the Rain, the world is nothing but an endless plane of tainted water. Sunken secrets, forgotten places and long dead beings are quietly resting in the fathomless depths.
Naked Shorelines

Centuries gave birth to new lands, shaped with the mighty acts of nature. No sentient being lives to tell the brutal beauty of theses primal landscapes yet. But soon, some will awake, and the Loop will play again.

Degenesis is the result of several live improvisation sessions from 2009 to 2011. Based upon drones simultaneously recorded while played looped over themselves, theses tracks go beyond the usual boundaries of Streams of Europe’s music. The album aims to epic, dantesque aesthetics, and describes the first half of the six ages that shaped Europe after the Rain.

 

Download full album (mp3, 320kb/s - 134 Mo)

 

Creative Commons License
Degenesis by Streams of Europe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.europeaftertherain.com.

Clonic emblems

In a world where mankind has lost everything but its genetic legacy, eight major powers struggle for survival and domination. Here are their colours.

 

Download the eight 1920x1080 wallpapers (png - 4.8 Mo)

Neorganics

Orgy at the Subterranean Lake

This track was recorded live during a vernissage, on October 17th, 2008, at the Atelier Gustave, in Paris. The performance was based upon Meanders’ fourth track, Setting Suns at the Subterranean Lake.

Neorganics is titled after the exhibition of the same name. The original live performance had a duration of about three hours, but the second part (which was pure improvisation) was lost in a “not enough RAM to record everything properly” accident.

 

Download full album (mp3, 320kb/s - 140 Mo)

 

Creative Commons License
Neorganics by Streams of Europe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.europeaftertherain.com.

The Many Lives of a Clone

Airborne Approach of a Petrified Forest

The opening track of The Many Lives of a Clone is the longest of the album. It’s about a newborn clone freshly escaped from the Hive, running as fast as he can through a vast mineral forest that grew up after the Rain. He’s followed from the sky…
Conscience (Cortical Controller Dysfunction)

This track is about the main concept of Streams of Europe’s universe. Here, mankind’s extinction has been caused thousands of years ago, by a forgotten cataclysm sometimes referred to as the Rain. Thus, an emerging life form has managed to resurrect the human race, with various new features. Mankind is now a simple tool of flesh and bone, biomechanically enhanced, with no will of its own. Conscience is what may happen when something goes wrong with the cortical controller, which is now a part of everyone’s skull.
Vat Brothers, Vat Sisters, I Miss our Shared Warmth

This one is about prenatal nostalgia. It evokes the blurry and warm moments of existence in the collective artificial womb where clones are bred. Those who were conceived in the same cloning vat are supposed to share a special bond going further than their physical similarities.
Hear my Void and Sing

The fourth track of The Many Lives of a Clone is about the imperious feeling of nothingness one must face once awaken to conscience. Nothing exists in the mind of clones, but the very tasks they have been programmed to accomplish again and again before being recycled. That’s why in the first stages of their conscious lives, many clones who escaped Stasis sing continuously to fill the void between their ears.
Lament of the Recycled

This song deals with the fragments of personality a clone may have accidentally developed during his short life span. After twelve years, all clones get recycled, and while their bodies are converted into nutritive pulp, their embryos of individualities scream in unison, causing a slight disturbance in the psyflow.
Souls and their Biomechanical Counterparts

This is The Many Lives of a Clone’s sixth track. It deals with the dual nature of all human inhabitants of Europe after the Rain. They are flesh made machine, and machine made flesh. Their bodies are driven by something which could be called a soul as well as a program. There’s no evidence a real difference between these two concepts exists.
…and Mysteries of Death Were Revealed, Yet Despair Remains

Few are those who escape the life cycle of the clone. The luckiest ones lose their lives and their neurocores in places so inaccessible they cannot be brought to the Hive. Even fewer are those who discover the truth behind their artificial metempsychosis. Most of them wish they never did. This is what The Many Lives of a Clone’s seventh track deals with.
Five Minutes before Oblivion

The Many Lives of a Clone’s last track is based upon the five latest minutes of an unreleased studio version of Orgy at the Subterranean Lake. It’s about the inescapable void into which conscience slowly fades into when the Hive takes control again. This kind of painless agony is the last mental state before Stasis.

This is Streams of Europe’s second album. The first track was uploaded on March 26th and the last one on October 11st, in 2008. Compared to the first album, Meanders, The Many Lives of a Clone is probably more passionate than meditative. While the fractal structures are still here, the sound treatment is sometimes harsher, and globally tends more to raw emotion than contemplation. This album also goes deeper in the description of Europe after the Rain, revealing a bit of information about its inhabitants through slightly cryptic titles.

 

Download full album (mp3, 320kb/s - 161 Mo)

 

Creative Commons License
The Many Lives of a Clone by Streams of Europe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.europeaftertherain.com.

Damaged Memory Strata

The Shiny Trail of my Fragmenting Mind

This is a song about the numberless layers of memories, stacked upon each other, which give to their container an illusion of individuality. Such data tend to erode and blend with their neighbours. When read, they may form a self-evolving construct known as the mind, which may also collapse under its own weight, and go back to Stasis.
The Artificial Dream of my Unborn Twin

Mind is data. Mind can be replicated. There is no such thing as personal identity, only a desire to spread out of the Ocean. Some say the neurocore is not the origin of conscience, that conscience exists without physical embodiment. Some who are not born yet may be waiting for their turn.

Here comes a both unexpected and unusual release, first uploaded on June 2th, 2008. Streams of Europe’s Damaged Memory Strata was initially supposed to be a ten minutes long track included in The Many Lives of a Clone. However, certainly under Tim Doyle and William Basinski’s influence, it evolved to a pretty long fractal composition.

There was no way to remove anything. The longer just sounded the better. Finally a double forty-five minutes long track seemed a good idea.

Shortly after this, a hard drive formatting occured. Of course, everything had been carefully saved except the very folder containing the working files. After several long nights trying various data recovery softwares and browsing thousands of ghost files, only one low-quality preview of the second part was recovered.

This material raised from digital ashes was reworked in various ways. This is how The Shiny Trail of my Fragmenting Mind reappeared. But forty-five minutes were still missing… Then The Artificial Dream of my Unborn Twin popped out of nowhere, by reversing both horizontally and vertically its predecessor.

So Damaged Memory Strata is a symmetrical album. Reversing a track is a simple and dirty trick, yet it was unavoidable to get a feeling of completion and harmony. Furthermore, each track is also mixed with a reversed version of itself at a lower volume. The result is a one hour and half soundscape with a clear structure but no real beginning nor end.

From the Last FM journal of lectronice, Streams of Europe’s member:

I’d like to thank farangstar for his interest in the making of this album, which was somewhat motivated by his trip project. I also guess it would have been quite different if he hadn’t recommended Basinski to me.

 

Download full album (mp3, 320kb/s - 199 Mo)

 

Creative Commons License
Damaged Memory Strata by Streams of Europe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.europeaftertherain.com.