Media & Technology
Portishead: one of a string of cool customers going online with sussed Web designers Music Network
i Webbed feat
Tony Martin is one of a new breed of street-savvy Web designers. With a previous career that spans work as a lighting designer for Nick Cave, a producer for Primal Scream and a musician in Hypnotone, he has now brought his music industry experience to the Web in the form of Manchester-based design company Music Network. With a client list that includes React Records, Portishead, Kiss 102 and the UK Club Guide, Music Network is rapidly forging a position as the pre-eminent rock ’n' roll designers of cyberspace.
Music Network’s most recent project is ClubNet (www.clubnet.co.uk), the site it has put together for the pocket-sized dance music magazine, UK Club Guide. Club culture has an increasingly large presence on the Web, and C/ubNet aims to provide the definitive online guide to what's happening on dancefloors and in DJ booths across the UK. lts major selling point is a database
allowing users to search for their ultimate club night by
music type, day of the week or geographical location. Next up for the Network is the site for Bristolian trip hoppers Portishead, which is due to go online this
spring to coincide with the release of the band's long- awaited second album.
Although Music Network occasionally takes on clients
from different areas, Martin understands the advantage it has in the music industry. ‘We are a niche-orientated company,’ he says. ’We know who we are. My background in the industry has been a big help. Why would a band or a record company choose someone [to design its Web site] who knows nothing about the industry?’
Founded only a year ago, Musrc Network's success has been rapid, and it has recently signed a strategic development deal with WebMedia, Europe’s largest Web design house. In the past, this might have been seen as a case of selling out independence, but Martin is looking to the future. ’Such deals have to become the norm,’ he says. ’The backroom boys are falling behind. You can't just create a Web site for nothing.’
Martin believes that in the future, the Web will become more consolidated. With increasing bandwidth and the arrival of Web TV, he also sees a vast commercial potential. So where does he hope that Music Network’s canny concentration on a niche market will leave it? 'We intend to be at the vanguard of this new technological movement,’ he states. Considering the company's long term philosophy, this doesn't seem such an idle boast. As long as it maintains its momentum, its savvy might pay off. (John Henderson)
To 'J/‘slt' Hit/SI: Network or the her) point your browser at, »r;e.".‘.r'(\rk (RN?
Bits and bytes
LAST FORTNIGHT, bits and bytes brought you the strange tale of the glossy chronicle of weird and
shocking happenings, Bizarre, which
recently attracted a legal writ
forcing the publishers to rip a single
page from each of its 100,000
: copies. Nae luck.
Since then, the glossy mag interested in curses, cults and supernatural events has encountered further misfortune in the shape of a tabloid expose by The News Of The World which claims the mag had been banned
from some newsagents due to a
’sick’ article on guns and shooting. Bizarre's publisher denies such claims, but nevertheless, like the first issue which carried a sticker
explaining the mystery of the missing page, the second issue will now carry a sticker warning that the mag contains ’material which may offend some people’.
Could this be further evidence of a spooky X-Files-style jinx on Bizarre? Don‘t believe it. As predicted in our Bits And Bytes section last issue, the magazine’s sales have apparently shot up, not down since the missing page stickers appeared.
LOADED FANS appear to be in for a testosterone top-up soon, with news of a new title from the one of the creators of the original new-lad- mag, Loaded’s assistant editor Tim Southwell. Like we need another lad-mag we hear some of you cry. But this as-yet-unnamed title, we hear, will be a different thing
entirely from the dozens of other glossy bloke-rags currently weighing down the newsagents' shelves with birds on the cover and birds, beer and footy inside. No, the new title, the pilot issue of which may be bound into Loaded, will be equally hedonistic, but have its sights set for a slightly older market into gambling, products and gadgets.
Trouble is, as a recent survey revealed, Loaded is already read by a significant number of men over 40, and not the young super-lads- about-town as we're led to believe. So who is this new title really aimed at? Just keep your eye on grandad i- when he comes back from cashing his pension: he may just have a copy of Loaded~senior rolled up under his arm. (Ellie Carr)
Lowdown Games - Web Sites o CD ROMs
Killer Instinct Gold (Nintendo 64 £59.99)
A powerful machine does not necessarily make for a hard-hitting game, and no one should be tempted to think that every release for the N64 will be of the same quality as Mario. Killer Instinct Gold is not, although it does offer a reasonable take on the coin-op classics. Cartridge memory restrictions mean there is les animation, and the N64's controller is not ideal when it comes to beat 'em ups, but Gold disappoints most wrth its old-fashioned ZD presentation. The genre has moved on in the last few years, and good looking though it may be, Go/djust isn’t modern enough
CD-ROM The Ultimate James Bond
5 (PC CDAROM £29.99)
The name may be Bond, but what about the background7 If you‘re looking to fill some holes in your
knov-rledge of Bond mythology, this
'f'iterattive dossier’ intends to provide the classified answers With an interfa;_t‘- that offers a satisfyineg (overt entry point, The Ultimate James Bond will brief you on aspects of all seventeen films wrth a collection of clips, stills and text. Although
i continually swrtt hing between the two
CDs removes some of Bond’s glamour, this release should solve most of those
‘ worldthreatening put) our? queries
The (‘lielmi‘d fan, however, might have
: expected a little more depth
WEB SITE EHX
Q EHX, oi'es‘irrrably the generit
Edinburgh postcode, is a site devoted to the. 'electronic audio artlorm' in the capital. Controlled by no less a figure than the Cosmic Crofter, whoever he or she may be, EHX dishes the lowdown on the city's club and music scene, with list:ngs, news, and samples of unreleased works. This is not a
’ commercial site, but what it lacks in slickness, it more than makes up for in ; spirit, Provrding both a useful service
and a platform to champion up-and- (orninr; local talent, EHX could teach many better-funded sites a lesson in Web use.
REVIEWER THIS ISSUE: John Henderson.
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