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Infinite 1 and 2 by Jeremy Robinson

Cover art for Infinite by Jeremy Robinson

I listened to Infinite 1 and 2 written by Jeremy Robinson and narrated by R.C. Bray using the Audible app on my iPhone.

I liked the first book, but the second book… not so much.

Infinite Publisher’s Summary

Searching for a new home….

The Galahad, a faster-than-light spacecraft, carries 50 scientists and engineers on a mission to prepare Kepler 452b, Earth’s nearest habitable neighbor at 1400 light years away. With Earth no longer habitable and the Mars colony slowly failing, they are humanity’s best hope.

After 10 years in a failed cryogenic bed – body asleep, mind awake – William Chanokh’s torture comes to an end as the fog clears, the hatch opens, and his friend and fellow hacker, Tom, greets him…by stabbing a screwdriver into his heart. This is the first time William dies.

It is not the last.

When he wakes from death, William discovers that all but one crew member – Capria Dixon – is either dead at Tom’s hands, or has escaped to the surface of Kepler 452b. This dire situation is made worse when Tom attacks again – and is killed. Driven mad by a rare reaction to extended cryo-sleep, Tom hacked the Galahad’s navigation system and locked the ship on a faster-than-light journey through the universe, destination: nowhere. Ever.

Mysteriously immortal, William is taken on a journey with no end, where he encounters solitary desperation, strange and violent lifeforms, a forbidden love, and the nature of reality itself.

…he discovers the infinite.

Jeremy Robinson, the master of fast-paced and highly original stories seamlessly blending elements of horror, science fiction, and thrillers, tackles his most ambitious subject matter to date: reality itself. An amalgam of the works of J.J. Abrams and Ridley Scott, Infinite is a bold science fiction novel exploring the vastness of space and a man’s desire to exist, find love, and alter the course of his life.

©2017 Jeremy Robinson (P)2017 Jeremy Robinson

Infinite 2 Publisher’s Summary

Infinite2 is a bold continuation of Robinson’s best-selling science fiction novel, packed with mystery, action, and mind-bending twists.

Over a million books sold!

William Chanokh is immortal…and he’s trapped on the Galahad, an interstellar starship on a never-ending journey through open space.

His only companions are Capria – mortal and in cryo-sleep – and Gal, an artificial intelligence, and the love of his life, with whom he spends every waking moment in the “Great Escape”, a virtual paradise. After untold years living countless lives, Gal begins acting strange. Possessive. Violent. Paranoid.

Positive that something in the real world is causing her to malfunction, Will attempts to leave the Great Escape, but he finds himself a prisoner. Guided by a voice from reality, he is thrust into a series of torturous narratives, each one designed to break his will and keep him trapped in virtual reality.

Betrayed by his digital love, his long-term memory overwritten, and enduring violent manipulation, Will painfully peels back layers of simulation, fighting to reach reality 1.0 – where the nightmares are real.

Maybe.

New York Times and number-one Audible best-selling author Jeremy Robinson takes listeners on a heart-wrenching journey to the edge of the universe and beyond, where distinguishing reality from simulation might be impossible.

©2021 Jeremy Robinson (P)2021 Jeremy Robinson

If rate Infinite a 6 out of 10 and Infinite 2 a 4 out of 10, together as a single story I would rate it as a 5. If you like sci-fi or are interested in Jeremy Robinson’s Infinite Timeline, I definitely recommend giving these books a listen, but when you get bored of the repetitiveness, just go ahead and skip the rest of that chapter, you won’t miss much.

AudioBooks

Roland Fantom 8

Roland Fantom 8

I wanted to document why I have decided to buy the Roland Fantom 8 for my current needs in learning to play the piano and having fun making goofy music for myself, so here it is. Keep in mind that I have not received it yet and don’t expect to have it until late July.

The main reason is the keybed, the “88 Key (PHA-50 Wood and Plastic Hybrid Structure, with Escapement and Ebony/Ivory Feel, channel aftertouch)” feels amazing to me. When I compare it to the other keyboards, I have had access to the downward force required is medium heavy, the bottoming out is a good thunk without being mushy or hard, and the return is fast enough to almost stick to my finger.

The sounds are great, with thousands of presets to choose from and an amazing amount of customizability and sound design options, it blows my mind. There are a lot of people who do not like the “Roland Sound” but I am not one of them. While I had the Fantom 08 I found hundreds of sounds that I really liked. With the Fantom the V-Piano sounds are fantastic with customizability options that will let me get piano sounds I am after.

Next is the construction, the Fantom line is built like a tank with lots of metal. The faders and knobs feel premium. The screen is large and bright enough to easily read while being responsive to touch. The solution for fader and knob position when changing presets, there are LEDs around or beside the control to show the controller’s saved position versus its physical position, is great.

Ableton integration is the next important functionality for me. I have invested a lot into Ableton, the software license, the training, and the time. With the beautiful screen on the Fantom and the way Roland is showing clips and tracks, it’s great.

Inputs and Outputs are important. The Fantom uses a standard power cord with no brick so it’s easy to get a longer or right-hand cable for it. MIDI in, out, and thru to control multiple instruments. 4, count them, 4 pedal inputs for hands free manipulation. 2 balanced XLR/TRS inputs, multiple USB ports, 2 CV/GATE outputs, 2 Sub outputs, and more. I doubt that I will ever use them all, but it is nice to know they are available.

What other keyboards did I think about?

The first was the Yamaha P-125 which is a relatively inexpensive digital piano with a really nice Graded Hammer keybed that I still like a lot. I may still get a one used at some point, but the lack of inputs and outputs would make this an instrument that would be in some other room and only used for piano lessons and noodling around.

When I visited Check Levin’s I had a chance to play with a lot of different keyboards I can’t afford. The employees were very helpful and glad to let me plink around on everything in the store. I worked my way from the Nord Stage to the Piano and finally the Nord Grand. The Nord Grand is something else, it is amazing! As a digital piano it is a dream, the keybed felt absolutely perfect to me. If money were no object I would have one set up in my living room where I would gush over it every day.

The Arturia KeyLab 88 MkII was also on my radar, but I have yet to put hands on one. As a controller it does not make its own sounds and is reliant on a computer or another piece of hardware. Also, the word on the street is that the keys are very heavy. Those 2 concerns kept me from ordering one.

HappyMusic

Another Keyboard, Roland Fantom 08

Roland Fantom 08

In March Roland announced the Fantom 0, typically pronounced Fantom “Oh”, a lighter and less expensive version of their flagship Fantom series of synthesizer workstations. I had been very happily playing the Novation SL when I saw a video with the Fantom 0 and wow, it blew me away. Up until this point I had never heard of the Roland Fantom or Fantom 0. I didn’t know that Roland made workstation keyboards with Ableton integration.

Why the Fantom 08?

What really attracted me to the Fantom 08 is the ability to make sound without a computer or other external equipment. The sound presets of the Fantom 0 are really good for what I am doing and look forward to doing. The Supernatural Piano presets are nice, with a little tweaking and reverb I think they sound great. The Strings are solid and among the Synth sounds I found a lot of bass sounds I really like.

The next thing is the keybed. I ordered the Fantom 08 before any of the local music shops had them in stock, so I really worried about this. Up until this point my favorite keybed was the Yamaha P125 Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keybed which is light and fast. The PHA-4 Standard Keyboard: with Escapement and Ivory Feel keybed of the Fantom 08 is heavier and slower than the Yamaha. I kind of like the heavier, it allows me to rest my hands on the keys without triggering them. But the slower speed of the return, the time it takes a key from the bottom of its travel to the top position, feels sluggish, they key does not feel like it is glued to my finger. Not a big deal, but maybe it is.

The screen! Having a nice big touchscreen where you can really see what is going on is amazing. For sound design being able to see exactly what you are editing is fantastic. The screen is responsive to touch with very little lag.

Faders and knobs, oh my. They feel great.

What I Don’t Like

Even though the Fantom 0 is a 2022 computer it is based on the Fantom which was released in 2019, a lot of the computer integration is coming from a 2015 or earlier mindset. The way the keyboard’s firmware is updated along with adding new sounds requires a USB thumb drive and juggling it between multiple ports on the back of the keyboard.

The interface is very clunky and different from anything I am familiar with. If you are not familiar with the Roland way of doing things, be ready to watch a lot of videos and to read the manual closely. But there is good news, if you learn one Roland product there is a good chance you can apply that knowledge to other Roland products, so in the long run I think it is worth spending the effort to learn it.

Software drivers are required to use the keyboard with a computer. This bugs me a lot. I am ok with advanced features requiring a driver, but basic MIDI and Audio should not require drivers. But you can avoid the drivers by using an audio interface that includes MIDI input and output.

Did I Keep It?

After almost a month I decided to return the Fantom 08. I loved the keyboard so much that I decided I wanted more! I returned it and ordered its big brother the Fantom 8 which I should arrive in a few months.

The Atlanta Guitar Center has both the Fantom 8 and Fantom 08 on display, I spent a lot of time playing them both and decided that the PHA-50 keybed, V-Piano sounds, extra memory for sound expansion, and metal construction are worth the extra money to me.

P.S.

I am also keeping the Novation SL, it is a great controller and I plan on keeping it.

HappyMusic