• Well, that seems a long time ago now! Actually 15 years.

    Before starting DixonBaxi we were lucky to drive the expansion and intense growth of a really wild and exciting design agency. It taught us a lot about working at a large scale international level. In particular how to work in many different media and across all platforms. We were excited by and driven by how creativity can make a huge difference to a brand and how it connects to people.

    However after a while we felt we needed something new. Something simpler, less driven by growth and money. Based more on creativity and personal satisfaction. So we started DixonBaxi. We had no preconception of what we would do but we knew we wanted to reboot as creatives. Try new ways of working and take our hard won skills and use them more carefully. The key was only being two people. A simple partnership. Over the years we’d worked out how to achieve a lot together so we just used the same mind set. Small but working at a high level

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    It was nerve wracking at first as we gave up a lot and felt like we went back to a blank canvas. Initially we didn’t even show protective client creative work. We didn’t want to them to be influenced by our previous way of working. So we just talked about our approach and how we worked. It seemed to gel with a few people and we quickly picked up work. So from there we let the work speak for itself. We grew a small but very loyal client base and it allowed us to grow steadily and control how the we worked. The plan was to stay small and we did for many years, until we had to turn away too many fantastic projects and said yes a couple of times. Now there are 25 of us.

    We’re lucky to work on a lot of very engaging projects. They are large, complex and usually highly creative. The ones that are the most rewarding are where we have made the biggest difference. For example working with Eurosport on their first rebrand in 26 years was a fantastic responsibility and an opportunity to rewrite the rulebook of how they operate as a brand. Working with the client, consultants, technical teams, other agencies and production teams to pull the whole thing together is a genuine buzz. Sometimes crazy, sometimes stressful but always amazing.

    Authors gravatar  Oliver  |  June 14, 2017  |  3 comments
  • Typo Berlin
    25th – 27th May 2017 — Berlin, Germany

    TYPO Berlin 2017 will tackle methodological agility, and aims to facilitate a rethinking. How do I get out of my comfort zone? At which points can I permit fluid structures? How do I develop new potential for innovation? Those are the questions typical of traditional organisational models, which won’t help us make headway in the future.

    Bruntwood has invested a quarter of a million pounds into the media wall at Neo, which is made up of 30 x 55” screens. It will be a permanent digital art space on the ground floor of Neo, its new collaborative, community-led workspace in Manchester city centre and will also be open to the public during office hours.

    The media will also showcase Bruntwood-supported projects, including The Bruntwood Prize For Playwriting in partnership with the Royal Exchange Theatre, and Manchester International Festival (MIF), plus work from the Manchester School of Art and independent artists from across the UK. It is also open for future submissions from digital artists in Manchester, the UK and internationally.

    Authors gravatar  Oliver  |  June 14, 2017  |  3 comments
  • The installation, which marks the official launch of the new building and digital screen, takes its inspiration from the musical symbol for holding notes, a fermata, transposing this to holding moments that happen in and around Neo, replicating the vitality of creativity of the new collaborative workspace launching the same day.

    Fermata will consume real-time digital inputs of data including social media feeds, weather reports and feeds from sensors within the building itself and translate them into compelling, abstract, digital artwork that will capture these ordinarily fleeting moments and visualise them as something beautiful and engaging.

    Fermata is experienced primarily through the screen at Neo building, but in addition each week the installation runs, an image will be created, representing a week of activity, which will be shared digitally.

    Brendan Dawes, is an artist exploring the interaction of objects, people, technology and art. This year his work toured Singapore, Lima Peru and Santiago as part of Centre de Cutura Contemporania de Barcelona’s Big Bang Data exhibition, and his 2004 piece Cinema Redux has been housed in the permanent collection at New York’s Museum of Modern Art since 2008.

    Brendan said: “I was excited by the challenge of designing a system to visualise the creativity of such a forward-thinking and evolved workspace. As the building’s community grows and creates its social commentary, so will the art, creating a beautiful cycle of creativity.”

    Authors gravatar  Oliver  |  June 14, 2017  |  3 comments
  • The important thing was whenever I listened to a piece of music was that it could make me feel something really strong. I have a very emotional connection to music and I always did find it to be a very powerful influence on my feelings – now all you need is a computer to make it.

    If the computer didn’t exist then I wouldn’t have been able to learn or make music the way I taught myself to. All you need is a feeling about what you like and what you don’t like and enough time to try things out, it’s just trial and error. That’s literally made my process – just try this chord, try the next chord, try this bit, this next note, is that better or worse – it’s just this hill climbing process. It’s a slow step by step walk from a chaotic melody or a chord progression to the thing which I think that connects with me emotionally. It’s just an intuitive emotional process.

    I was writing music with Tom Hodge a couple of weeks ago – he’s a pianist and classically trained – and he’s a real musician. He can sit down and just play a masterpiece. He’s obviously put in years and years of hard work to get to that position, but it’s totally different from the way I work.

    Something I noticed working with him was that we would listen through some music we recorded, and he would say “that one sounds alright, let’s just use that” and he would know something sounded OK and use it straight away and then move on to the next thing. I was thinking “what are you doing? You can’t just do that”- the way I work would be to listen to every single bit of every single part of each track, listen to all options and then get the ten best ones and then start A/Bing them and exploring all the options before I moved on to the next step, whereas he would be very much more just relying on his intuition.

    Authors gravatar  Oliver  |  June 14, 2017  |  3 comments
  • I spend a lot of time playing with techniques, just messing around and building up a whole range of different melodies and chords and ideas into a palette that becomes my tool box. There has to be some time just working on the those fundamental building blocks of music and just having a whole load of that stuff ready to go, because one of the difficulties is that writing music can take a long time – especially if using a new piece of software or a new technique. Sometimes if you’ve got a concept in your mind you can get distracted by the fact that you’re spending hours and days trying actually trying to figure out this new technique.

    Really its best to have those two different phases – one where you’re working on the techniques and your palette, and the other  where you’re tying in these bigger ideas and how you can build those ideas from the types of sound and palette that you like.

    Thinking about how these concepts integrate with your music – what role does scientific data play in the composition of your music?

    You can map data into music but it’s generally not that productive to take a scientific data set and actually represent it sonically. You get a bit of a mess usually because what we define as music is such a constrained thing, there’s a lot of rules that need to be followed in order for something to be viable as music, and even more so westernized music, and even more so a sub genre of that. The chances of getting a data set which you can feed in and make something musical, that’s slim.

    Generally the mapping of the music to the data is more of a creative tool 

    I can create forms musically using different concepts and different feelings, and it works on that level rather than an explicit mapping from one to the other. A more direct mapping happens in some of the visuals to my music, like the new Chromos project (AN: Below) where what you see is real D.N.A. structural data which shows how these molecules are forming out of all of these strings. And that’s all real data and it’s really beautiful.

    Authors gravatar  Oliver  |  June 14, 2017  |  3 comments
  • I did my PHD and my post-doc, then wanted to do my own research rather than following someone else’s ideas, but ultimately ran out of funding. At the same time I was also deep into writing music and DJing, and all of a sudden found myself accidentally earning my living from music rather than from science.

    I don’t really have much musical training. I certainly had a lot of music around when I was a child – my mum was a piano teacher so every time I came home from school there’d be piano lessons going on in the background – so I’m sure that had some influence. I played the violin a little bit when I was a kid. The violin is a really useful instrument, like the cello, where you have to learn to tune every note yourself so it gives you an intuitive understanding of pitch and tuning. I’m sure that was a useful tool but I certainly don’t have any real usable training past the childhood experiences.

    My real background is in genetics. I was always had good biology teachers when I was a kid and so often the good teachers can influence your decisions when you’re deciding A levels and degrees. I was interested in the theory and the maths and the programming in this more technical, more quantitative side of bioscience, so I went into computational biology which is making computer simulations of biological systems.

    But I was still reading a lot of science and thinking about those ideas, as well as arts and music. I knew that if I couldn’t somehow integrate that side of me into the music that I wouldn’t be happy going forward – I wouldn’t be happy just DJing and writing club music. I wanted to try and be able to bring all my interests together, and  the more I started looking at that more the more fruitful became – it just kept opening doors creatively. When I started thinking about how can I take a scientific idea and put it into a music video then make a piece of music around that it pushed me in new directions directions.

    Authors gravatar  Oliver  |  June 14, 2017  |  3 comments
  • Replacing or adding components is simple. The only interior obstruction is a metal airflow guide that separates video cards from the processor. It’s easy to remove and, once out of the way, you’ll have easily access to all video cards, the RAM, the processor, and the motherboard. In our test rig, which had a CPU liquid cooler and 128GB of RAM, the upper-most memory stick conflicted slightly with the CPU radiator, meaning the radiator would have to be removed to replace it. But that’s an extreme situation. Most rigs won’t have nearly as much RAM, so there won’t be any installed in that particular slot.

    Six hard drive bays are included. All of them feature tool-less design, and all of them work with either a 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drive. There are also four 5.25-inch bays for optical drives and, amusingly, a 3.5-inch external slot, in case you have a floppy drive laying around. All of the bays can be accessed without removing other components. The hard drive bays face outward, and the 5.25-inch bays have several inches of spare space behind them for cable runs.


    Falcon Northwest’s Mach V is the second system we’ve reviewed with Intel’s Core i7-6950X, the company’s latest 10-core behemoth. The Digital Storm Aventum 3 was first. And like the Aventum 3, the Mach V is overclocked to 4.3GHz, an increase of 1.3GHz over the processor’s base clock speed of 3GHz. Does that mean the Digital Storm and Falcon systems perform identically?

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    Falcon ships every Mach V with a three-year parts and labor warranty. The company also covers the cost of overnight shipping for the first year (after that, the customer has to pay). Finally, the warranty includes lifetime technical support.

    These terms are superior to all of Falcon’s competitors, and sometimes significantly so. Origin, for example, does not include a standard three-year warranty with any of its systems. Digital Storm claims to have a standard three-year warranty, but it only covers parts for one year.

    Authors gravatar  Oliver  |  June 14, 2017  |  3 comments

    Nuheara’s IQbuds are among of the first truly wireless earbuds that promise to help you understand speech. They’re very good for listening to music and for hands-free phone calls, but their best feature is their voice augmentation.

    The IQbuds’ primary purpose is to simultaneously help people control ambient sound and boost speech, and they exceeded our expectations. The earbuds don’t pretend to be hearing aids — they are not medical devices and won’t restore hearing. But if you could use a little boost in others’ speech volume and in separating speech from background noise (like this reviewer), these are the wireless buds for you.

    Inside the IQbuds’ Apple-esque box you’ll find the earbuds, a portable charging case, and a 12-inch USB charging cable. The charging case has four LEDs on its front lip to indicate the relative charge status of the case itself, plus two more LEDs inside which indicate whether the earbuds’ batteries are charging or full. Accessories include four sizes of earbuds (S, M, L, XL) in both round and oval shapes, written instructions, and even a thank you card with a $20 discount code from Nuheara to share or use yourself — a nice touch.


    Like virtually all true wireless earbuds, the first step is to fully charge the earbuds in their case. It takes 1.5 hours to charge the IQbuds, and 2.5 hours to fully charge the case, so the best idea is to plug them in for 4 hours. You can check the charging status without opening the case by pushing a small button in front — a short press shows the earbud status and a longer press shows the case charging status.

    Authors gravatar  Oliver  |  June 14, 2017  |  3 comments
  • If you’re a listener who favors flat sound and extreme durability over flashy looks, earth-shattering bass, and advanced control mechanisms, when it comes to headphones you’re probably looking for what the industry refers to as the “studio monitor” variety.

    Designed for use by professionals in the audio recording world, studio monitor headphones are purpose built for tracking and mixing in the studio, with a design that focuses on good sound and durability over turning heads and taking phone calls.

    Yamaha’s HPH-MT8 headphones are a fantastic embodiment of this ethos. With a simple aesthetic, honest sound, and premium build quality, the MT8 are a reliable audio sidekick that never let us down in testing. The headphones seal out the outside world and showcase the nuances of your favorite music with all the comfort of your favorite Lay-Z-Boy recliner, and the durability of your best work boots. They may not be fancy, but they’re a killer choice for those who are serious about sound.


    The MT8 come in a simple white cardboard box, packed with two detachable 2.5mm to 3.5mm audio cables — a 1.5-meter coiled cable, and a 3-meter straight cable — as well as a gold plated quarter-inch adapter, and a faux leather carrying case. An instruction manual is also included, though it’s not really necessary for plug-and-play headphones like these.


    Despite their large, robust over-ear design, the studio-black color scheme keeps the MT8 headphones looking decidedly unassuming up close. The only flashy design elements are a pair of shiny logos on the back of each earcup, and two thick silver brackets that hold them in place. There’s also a glossy black Yamaha logo across the top of the headband, but it’s barely noticeable unless you’re really looking for it.

    Authors gravatar  Oliver  |  June 14, 2017  |  3 comments

  • Bugatti Automobiles has existed in one form or another for over a century. The company’s heritage includes some of the most dominant motorsports vehicles and the most ornate road cars of the 1900s. Yet despite its illustrious past, no one anticipated the impact of a new Bugatti supercar in 2005.

    The 2005 Veyron (one of the most expensive cars in the world) didn’t have competitive targets; it didn’t adhere to budgetary constraints; it was built with the sole purpose of shattering the road car ceiling. In a breath, the Veyron far exceeded the McLaren F1’s 240.1-mph top speed (a record that had stood for seven years, also making it one of the fastest cars in the world), leapt hundreds of horsepower beyond modern-day outputs, dropped 0 to 60 mph acceleration well below 3.0 seconds, and demanded an unheard-of starting price of $1.48 million.

    It’s taken the automotive world more than a decade to catch its collective breath, and now that Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren, Koenigsegg, and other high-end manufacturers have rallied, Bugatti is back to break up the party. World: meet the bewildering Bugatti Chiron. It’s a car so high-class that it has a matching yacht.


    The Chiron is an opportunity for Bugatti to revisit the Veyron’s limitations, namely its handling and design. While the Veyron smoothed some of its rougher edges over its 10-year, 450-car production run, there were only so many tweaks that could be made to the original platform. Indeed, the Chiron makes gobs more power than even the hottest Veyron, but the most critical changes are to its driving dynamics and curb appeal.


    In addition to a bottom-up engine rebuild, the Chiron has new wheels, tires, brakes, aerodynamics, steering mechanics, and transmission components. These mechanical upgrades complement a striking new exterior and interior design. It’s safe to say the Chiron isn’t stepping on the toes of Veyron owners.


    The Chiron is a product of Bugatti’s “form follows performance” philosophy. Each of its most striking design properties, including the dramatic C-shape side pillar, is integral to its mind-bending velocity

    At the front, eight-eye LED headlights with integrated air inlets ignite as you approach the car. Below them, split-level air dams cool the front brakes and apply much-needed downforce. Bugatti’s horseshoe grille begins a defined centerline that carries over the engine compartment to the rear, bringing to mind the Type 57SC Atlantic of the late 1930s.

    In profile, the artful C-shape – a nod to Ettore Bugatti’s extravagant signature – separates an available duo-tone exterior and channels air into the mid-mounted engine. Restyled 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels sit snugly within the Chiron’s pronounced fenders. In motion, the Chiron’s cutaway rear end creates a negative pressure zone to extract heat from the engine. At rest, the hollow rump frames a piercing single-beam LED taillight set within a single piece of milled aluminum.

    Monumental as it was, the Veyron never earned the right to be called beautiful. The Chiron, however, offers only a condescending glance at beautiful as it transcends ordinary appeal. Never have we experienced a vehicle with such binding presence.


    Bugatti uses technology to facilitate its minimalist interior, but restrains innovation that would otherwise cramp the cabin’s style. A prime example is the instrument display, which arranges reconfigurable digital screens as bishops to a regal analog speedometer. “We believe analog gauges are like watch faces,” remarks Achim Anscheidt, Bugatti Design Director. “At one time, digital watches were in style, but now analog dials are more prized.”


    Advanced technology may be restricted within the cockpit, but it is fully manifested for the sake of performance. Complementing a flat underbody is a pair of active flaps in front, which open to add downforce and seal to reduce drag. At the back, a large adjustable wing automatically raises and tilts to stabilize the rear. No fewer than 50 ECUs (engine control units) collaborate for daily driving functionality. And just so you understand how impressive that is, normally a car has one ECU that calculates and maintains its performance. Clearly, Bugatti’s latest has brains to match its beauty.


    As you might imagine, $3 million buys an incredible amount of interior refinement. To borrow another of Bugatti’s mantras, “what you see is what you get.”

    In other words, if something looks like metal, it’s metal. Tactile dupery is commonplace in the automotive world, yet Bugatti honors every impression of quality – even at the expense of added weight.

    An illuminated C-shape mold splits the elegant, symmetrical cabin. Symmetry is not to be confused with equality, however – the Chiron is unapologetically driver-oriented. Apart from four centralized digital monitors that sprout from within a single piece of aluminum, passenger entertainment is exclusively a product of the driver’s right foot. There are worse things.

    Given Bugatti’s goal of daily driving comfort, it follows that headroom, legroom, and visibility are generous. Further, the quilted leather seats are both ergonomic and supportive, if a tad light on padding. Double-pane glass windows refuse passage for any ambient noise. In truth, the carry-on bag-sized trunk may be limiting, but the Chiron is otherwise supremely accommodating.


    It’s pointless to approach the Bugatti Chiron with a personal definition of fast. That one time when you hit 130 mph on the highway and “thought you were gonna die,” or when you sat shotgun in your friend’s M3 as he blasted along a canyon road – these sensations are like hopping off a three-foot ledge. Driving the Chiron is like base-jumping with holes in your suit (and drastically more repeatable).


    First, some numbers: 8.0-liters of displacement, 16 cylinders arranged in a W configuration, four twin-stage turbochargers (each 60 percent larger than those in the Veyron), 1,500 horsepower, 1,180 pound-feet of torque, four driven wheels, 0 to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds, an electronically limited top speed of 261 mph. These figures may not blow minds in the same way the Veyron’s did all those years ago, but strange as it is to say, the Chiron isn’t a numbers car.

    With immense restraint, we ambled along the Pacific Coast Highway until a sufficient runway presents itself. Glimpsing an abandoned stretch, we dropped two gears and pin the accelerator.

    Bugatti will tell you its first coupling of turbochargers has been spooling for such an occasion, offering maximum torque at just 2,000 rpm. But that’s only the mechanical explanation for the game of musical chairs our organs were playing while driving. When we hit the gas, it felt like a massive, invisible hand loaded the Chiron into a sling, pulled back the tab, and fired 4,400 pounds into the horizon with such force that the cabin instantly drained of oxygen.

    Only after the F1-derived carbon composite brakes work their magic did we begin to react. We couldn’t help but erupt with joy. The Chiron’s acceleration rendered us helpless five times more before we turned into full-out giggling kids. Meanwhile, the goliath powertrain behind our heads did its best impression of a snake, hissing with wastegate pressure and whining from its gears. Satisfied with our, very professional, straight-line tests, we began to explore the driving dynamics.

    A single dial mounted on the lower left-hand side of the steering wheel has the power to transform the Chiron from a grand-touring masterpiece into a corner-carving sensation. By default, the Chiron rides smoothly, but never lazily. You can notch the dial into Autobahn mode for stable, high-speed travel. One more twist into Handling mode quickens throttle response, sharpens steering, and eases traction control. The final setting raises the nose at low speeds to avoid introducing carbon fiber to curbs.


    Authors gravatar  Oliver  |  June 14, 2017  |  3 comments