Hello, Unity!

I’m very pleased to announce that, starting today, I will be a Senior Machine Learning Developer at Unity Labs in Copenhagen. Its parent company – Unity Technologies, is well-known for having produced one of the most widely used gaming engines – Unity. I’m super-excited about this change of focus in my work from music to gaming, and really look forward to getting started!

At Unity Labs, I will be creating Machine Learning solutions in technology for use by Game Designers. This is about all I know for now, and hope that I can share more updates as time passes.

New Guitar Video – C.F.T: New Circuitry and Continued Evolution by ISIS

It’s a shame that the word ISIS has ended up with such a ghastly reputation, because the pioneering post-metal band by the same name happens to be one of my all-time favourites. There’s not one album released by them that I feel anything less than love for! I’ve always wanted to play songs by ISIS, but I kept putting it off because I knew they used non-standard tunings as well as heavily down-tuned guitars, both of which as many guitarists would agree are a nightmare to deal with if you have a guitar with a Floyd-Rose tremolo arm.

Having purchased my PRS with a fixed bridge about a year ago, it became really easy to re-tune it to non-standard tunings. I also happened to figure out only quite recently that my Boss GT-100 pedal contained a pitch-shift effect that allowed me to tune whatever I played up or down by a number of semi-tones, which led to the recently published Meshuggah cover video.

And now I took a shot at quite a simple and very trippy ISIS song called C.F.T: New Circuitry and Continued Evolution from their debut full-length album Celestial. I couldn’t find a backing track for it so I’m playing it over a metronome beat, plus the guitar is not tuned all the way down to the same note as that in the original. Like I said, it’s more about satisfying this urge to play any song by this band than anything else here. Hopefully, more challenging and better recorded songs in the future!

New Guitar Video – Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver by Primus

Here’s the third and final Primus number from my list before I switch to some different music for a little while. This one was quite challenging, especially when it came to the second solo. Some tricky note-transitions in it to work with. And I was also surprised to see what actually constituted the guitar and the bass parts while learning to play it. Larry Lalonde at his best!

These three Primus songs – Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver, Jerry was a Racecar Driver and John the Fisherman – gave me a good sense of Larry’s unique and quirky playing style, which I have really come to admire, but there’s still more interesting songs like My Name is Mudd, Welcome to this World and many others that I’m really looking forward to playing in the future when I get back to Primus after a break!

Goodbye, Moodagent!

Today I handed in my resignation at Moodagent. It’s been a great year and some months working in this fast and ambitious company! I will associate this experience most with the great friends I’ve made here, my focus on data preparation, Apache Spark, Collaborative Filtering and a feeling that I’ve really improved my programming abilities thanks to some excellent Coursera courses (this one, and this one) I completed while working here.

It’s time to move on to new pastures! An update to follow soon.

New Guitar Video – John the Fisherman by Primus

I’ve always been a big fan of Larry Lalonde’s playing style and how it so cleverly accompanies Les Claypool’s challenging and unique basslines in most of Primus’ songs. I recently decided to learn to play five Primus songs in order to develop a greater appreciation for this style. The first of these is John the Fisherman. Not a difficult song, really, and fun to play. A great one to get started with!

This is also the first video with my beautiful new Ibanez RG-3120 guitar!

Completed Programming Languages (Part B) on Coursera

Earlier at the start of this month, I began the second Programming Languages course (Part B), offered by Prof. Dan Grossman of the University of Washington. I had done the first course a few months ago and found it very beneficial when it came to my understanding of some functional programming concepts and idioms, the notion of elegance in programming and good programming practices in general. It also really helped me formalise much of what I had come across in relation to Functional Programming, and approach the adoption of this style of programming more systematically in my own day-to-day programming projects. After nearly two months of having done that very interesting and challenging course, and having felt that a good bit of it had sunk in I decided to take on this second one.

The goals of this course were three-fold:

  1. To allow one to apply some of what was taught in the first course in the context of Standard ML (SML) to a new programming language, namely Racket.
  2. To introduce features of Dynamically Typed programming languages through Racket, and compare these in contrast with those of Statically Typed programming languages, such as SML.
  3. To understand the inner workings of a language interpreter by implementing one for a very simple hypothetical programming language in Racket.

I won’t be going into much details about the learnings of this course yet. I plan to do so in a couple of months when I’ll be done with the third and final course in this module and I will have had the chance to re-visit the contents of the first two courses to gain a better overall perspective.

In the meantime, here’s the certificate I was awarded for completing it.

New Guitar Video – The Pot by Tool

I wasn’t so taken by this song when I first heard it, but I revisited it while warming myself up for the release of Tool’s Fear Innoculum last year, and somehow got really hooked onto it, so much that I ended up learning how to play it. This is the first video I’m posting with my new PRS SE Mark Holcomb Signature Edition electric guitar! I play it in the guitar’s standard tuning – Drop C.

Completed Programming Languages (Part A) on Coursera

Having been curious about Functional Programming for a while now, and tried incorporating features of the paradigm into my own work with Python, I decided to give the first (Part A) of the three-part Programming Languages course module on Coursera. The module is meant to systematically introduce one to various theoretical concepts of programming languages, while having a special focus on Functional Programming. This first course (Part A), which I recently completed with a score of 98%, illustrated said concepts with the help of Standard ML – a Functional-style language.

It was excellently designed course, and also quite challenging. Apart from spending time on introducing the very basics of SML early on, it covered some very interesting concepts such as Pattern Matching, Function Closures, Partials, Currying and Mutual Recurstion. The programming assignments really made sure you understood what was covered in the course material, and the course-handouts were thorough and clear. There was also a strong focus on the matter of programming style, with the instructor commenting on what he considered good/poor programming style while covering the various concepts. We were marked on the style of our submissions too.

Attending the 20th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR 2019)

It’s just been confirmed that four of us from Moodagent – Reinier de Valk, Pierre Lafitte, Tomas Gajarsky and I, will be attending ISMIR 2019 in Delft (The Netherlands). This year, two of my colleagues from Moodagent will be presenting their work at ISMIR:

  1. Reinier will be presenting his paper, titled “JosquIntab: A Dataset for Content-based Computational Analysis of Music in Lute Tablature” in the main conference.
  2. Tomas will be presenting his paper, titled “Reinforcement Learning Recommender System for Modelling Listening Sessions” in the Late-breaking session of the conference.

Do stop by at these posters to learn more about these interesting topics!