Some New Trance – Now With Electric Guitar

For a while now I’ve been thinking about putting rock elements into trance, probably because I’m still a rocker at heart (I’m fairly new to trance), so I thought it might be interesting to see if that could be done properly.

I’ve also been working on other things and continue trying to improve my overall sound and production, which I think this current track demonstrates is happening.

Without much more fanfare, have a listen to this WIP of some progressive trance with added electric guitar.

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New music, updated website, MailChimp can’t send mails properly, and Annual Trance List 2015

So… It’s been a while! I have things to share, because there’s certainly been things happening. Yes, the reason I haven’t made an update before now is because I’ve been busy. 😛

 

New music!

Let’s start with the most important part. I’ve been working on a new track for a while now and it’s progressing quite nicely. It’s quite a step up from The Beginning I would say, which is exciting in itself (to see the progress I’m making).

You can check out two examples below. The first one is the intro and build up sections. Second one is a lead melody and sound test.

 

 

Feedback is as always welcome! Hopefully you can hear the progress compared to The Beginning. 🙂

I would also recommend that if you want to stay a bit more up-to-date on new music, go ahead and follow me on Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter, as I do post new stuff there from time to time (more frequently than here).

 

Photontic website updated

I updated the Photontic website, which took quite some time. I used to work as a web developer, but that’s over 10 years ago – let’s just say a lot has changed since then (luckily things are much easier now). However you do have the added extra work of dealing with mobile devices, which requires a good portion of testing depending on the layout.

Basically what I did was update it to use Ajax if possible (meaning if the browser supports it and the user isn’t using noscript), meaning it only changes the content of the page itself, instead of reloading the entire page.
I did this because I wanted a music player on the page, which wouldn’t work if the page got reloaded as people navigated the pages on the site. Obviously that means I also made a music player.

I also:

  • Added a news slider thing on the front page, to show recent news items (loaded from an XML file).
  • Expanded the use of Google Analytics so I can better track how people use the site.
  • Further improved SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
  • Added cards and such for Twitter, Facebook and the likes when pages are linked on those networks.
  • Added a detail page (data coming from an XML file) for tracks. Both for SEO reasons, as well as being able to give each track its own little page with relevant information. For instance this is how it looks for The Beginning.
  • Got everything working properly on mobile devices, as well as in the different modern browsers.

Basically a lot of “under the hood” improvements to allow me to make updates more quickly in the future, as well as making sure the site was as viewable as possible across browsers and devices.

 

MailChimp doesn’t send out opt-in mails properly

While I was working on updating the website, I wanted to add a newsletter option as well, so that people could sign up for such a thing. And well, so I did. I decided to use MailChimp as they’re established and seemed solid (and fit my current usage scenario).

I then went ahead and made the respective pages and what not. I used their API instead of their pages, so that I could keep as much of the newsletter functionality on the site itself, to maintain the design and so on. This of course takes a bit longer to do, as you then have to write a lot more code yourself, like for handling errors and so on.

Never the less I got all of that done and it was working. Well, kind of… I spent an entire day trying to figure out why opt-in mails didn’t reach Gmail. I figured I had done something wrong, but nope. I dug deeper and looked at the mail headers, because newsletters did get delivered, just not the opt-in mails.
Now I’m no expert in all of that, but I could see that there was a difference, I just didn’t quite know what to do with all the information. Fortunately I know someone who knows about this kind of stuff, so I got him to help me figure out what the hell was going on.

The cause? MailChimp isn’t sending the opt-in mails correctly. This has to do with domain security (something that’s a bit of a hot topic – basically has been for a few years now).
If you own a domain you can set a DMARC reject policy on it. This basically means that a mail server, when receiving a mail from a domain (actually the domain name of the sender address), will check it against the originating IP of that mail.
On your domain you have it setup so there’s an SPF record that has the IP of your mail server in it, so that when a mail server receiving a mail can check that the server this mail is coming from is allowed to actually send from the domain in the sender’s address.

Why does this matter? It matters because you’ve probably received spam from all kinds of domains and that’s what they do. They find domains that are not setup properly and “fake” the sender address because they can do so. Basically all those domains do not have a DMARC reject policy or they’re setup wrong in some other sense.

With the DMARC reject policy what happens with those spam mails is that they basically get destroyed before you see them. Gmail does this, as I’m sure plenty of other services do too.

Now you might ask: Then how can MailChimp send mails on your behalf? They can because you include the IP’s of their mail servers in your SPF record, which means that when a mail server receives a mail from your domain, but has been sent from MailChimp, it can see that the MailChimp servers are allowed to send on behalf of that domain. If you don’t set this up (the MailChimp IP’s) you would run into the same problem with mails getting eated by the internet void if you have DMARC reject policy (which you should have).

Good stuff all around. However the problem is that the opt-in mails are not sent with proper signing. Basically they don’t adhere to the standards and are sent from entirely different servers than the newsletters. This also means that if your domain is setup properly, as to now allow spam to be sent from it, those mails will fail (depending on the receiving mail server’s setup). Basically the header of the opt-in mails that MailChimp send is completely messed up.

This, in essence, makes MailChimp a completely useless service. Because if people can’t get the opt-in mail, they can’t get the newsletter either. The solution? Open up your domain to be abused for spam. That’s really the only thing you can do if you want to use MailChimp.

MailChimp IS aware of this issue, but they just don’t care.
Now consider that Gmail has 1 billion users. That’s 1 billion potential customers you won’t be able to reach.

My solution is to look for alternatives, and I’ve found some that I will look into at a later date when I feel it’s time to add a newsletter option.

But this is important information if you’re considering using MailChimp as your mail blast service.

In short MailChimp is a service that sends mails – that’s what it does, how it makes its money, yet it fails to actually send out mails properly, despite them boasting about it on their website. It’s great, isn’t it?

 

Annual Trance List 2015

Obviously I’m behind on getting the Annual Trance List for 2015 up. I have not forgotten about it and will do it as soon as possible. I did however post my top 3 on Instagram a while back.

 

So uh, yeah… There you have it! An update finally. Until next time! =)

The Beginning is Trance 08 evolved!

Looks like I will manage to finally complete a track! Trance 08 has now evolved into what it will become once I complete it, which is “The Beginning”. The right name for what will become my first completed track. 🙂

With that said I’ve made more progress and I’m starting to flesh out the rest of the bits of the track, which is mostly the intro and outtro at this point. The focus now is to get that done and then fiddle more with all the small things here and there, because there’s certainly things I want to improve.

Anyway, here you go – the latest (and first, heh) WIP of The Beginning!

The Beginning (WIP 001)

A few notes about the track, for those interested: Hive is used for the main pluck as well as the lead sound, and I’ve made both of those sounds myself. Spire, Serum and Nexus are used for other sounds, with mostly tweaked presets.
It’s in C# minor and the BPM is 138.

And in closing here’s the cover for this particular track. 🙂

Cover 01 (2048)

 

Trance 08 update, all the way to 26! Such uplifting!

So quite a bit has happened with Trance 08 since I last posted an update. It’s actually closing in on being a full track now, which I guess is kind of nice? 🙂
But since so much has happened with it, I figure it’s time for an update, so here you go! Current big problem is that the middle of it is a little, well, boring. It’s missing something right now, so I’ll have to look into that and I already have a few ideas for what I can try out.

Anyway, give it a listen and feedback is as always appreciated! 🙂

Trance 08 – 26

Trance 08 update – now we’re at 14!

Just playing around some more with this Trance 08 track (until I move it into a proper track and starting real work on it). I’m still sorting out melodies and chord progressions while trying various things. It’s important to note that what you’re hearing here is just ideas and not necessarily something that’ll end up in the proper track.

But yeah, a whole bunch of stuff has been played around with. For instance there’s sort of a proper build-up into a drop now. I think it works quite well, but would need some fleshing out to really work – the idea is there at least.

Anyway, give it a listen! 🙂

Trance 08 – 14

Trance 08 – 06 update!

A quick update to Trance 08, which means it’s now 06 (yaaaaay!). 🙂

Basically 05 was weird at the end of each 16-bar melody loop, so I fixed that. I’m also pushing the maximizer a bit less now, meaning it’s less straining to listen to. ^^

Trance 08 – 06

Trance 08 – 05, chord progressions and melodies and a secret track

Remember Cover 01 (2048)I’ve been a little quiet, so here’s an update on a few things! 🙂

I finished a track about a week ago, however it won’t be made completely public quite yet (but hopefully soon). It’s a piano and strings piece and it turned out really well, if you ask me. There’s a few reasons why I won’t post it here yet, but it is out there and you can find it if you look beyond this site. 🙂
I made a cover for it as well, which you can see out to the right.

I’ve also been working a lot on chord progressions and melodies, and I think I’m getting a lot more comfortable with that whole thing. The piano/strings piece I just mentioned is an example of that, but more so is this little thing I’ve been working on, that I probably have to turn into an actual track. So check out what is currently Trance 08 – 05 below. 😛

Trance 08 – 05

Some random trance creation: Trance 06 – 02

Just had a bit of a go on some random trance melody and such. I want to spend a little time crafting some random trance melodies, just to get a bit more comfortable with it, before I head back to work on Surge.

This little soundbite is an example of that, so go ahead and check it out! 🙂

Trance 06 – 02