Thursday, December 18, 2008

are you afraid of seeing stars? i can help you.


true to form i have managed to go about a month without touching this thing. i've got to make this part of a routine or it'll never happen.

it would seem i've fallen in love with minimalistic electronic music...again. over and over i scan my ipod's playlists and just keep landing on the same few things. today it was heimische gefildeb by dominik eulberg. the album features field recordings from a forest in between astoundingly well produced microhouse tracks. dominik sits at his mixing desk in the middle of the woods on the cover(pictured left in case you hadn't noticed) with a grin on his face. he's obviously a pretty serious guy.
file this under, "not for everyone".






Monday, November 24, 2008

big in japan

so i've managed to get about halfway to where i want to be with regards to getting back on track in my own timezone but that hasn't really helped my writing at all. i grabbed some fun stuff while i was on vacation in tokyo so i'll try and get something up here soon.

oh how we neglect the things we enjoy most...sigh.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

tomorrow comes today...

i think i've been rather uninspired lately which is a shame because i've been completely wrapped up in a few albums.

i'm not even sure how many people are reading this but i would rather not bore you by only posting once or twice a month. i'll get back to it, i just needs more good musics.

so, i'll have two reviews coming soon. one for a lovely band called miracle fortress and one for a less lovely drum n' bass dj named logistics. both=good times.

stay tuned.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

i read a book about a man who made mistakes all of the time...



Some Racing, Some Stopping.
the headlights have a sort of arcade fire thing going on but please don't hold that against them. they're actually very good. also, i fucking hate arcade fire but that really isn't the point...fucking arcade fire...anyway, the point is that this album kicks mad ass in the softest way possible. i don't care if that makes sense. eat it.


i really don't know much about this band i have to admit. normally i check up and read whatever i can find about a band before i start to tell people about them. how can you make an informed opinion without any information? this time for some reason i just decided to say screw it though because i just like them that much. i'm not really a new-folk kind of guy. most of the time i hate these bands because they lack any sort of personality. something about the headlights gets me though. i wish i could explain it better.



short and sweet.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

i think i'm turning japanese i really think so...

kaito's special life was released in 2002 by the good people at kompakt. while it seems a little dated now, listening to it five years ago would have been interesting. sadly, i don't know anyone that was ever really into kompakt releases so i can't ask opinions, but judging by what i was listening to and what i was avoiding listening to, special life was a good hop ahead of the curve.

it wasn't a ground breaking album and most of the reviews i've read of it make it sound far worse than it actually was. it's a shame really because it's actually really fucking good. i've heard words like "cheesy" used to describe this album and i'm not sure where that comes from. yes, there is a definite tried and true style to the album that borrows from a long line of poppy house, but i don't think it was an attempt at irony. by looking at the cover of the album it seems fairly obvious that this album is supposed to be lighthearted and fun. perhaps as if coming from the mind of a child instead of a seasoned musician.

i was listening to this album on the train this morning. i just bought it last night and i really like listening to new things on my morning commute. more importantly, i like listening to things that are soft and relaxing on my morning commute. i caught myself thinking how interesting it is that i like this kind of music. if you were to ask my friends what i listen to, most of them would respond with some kind of rock or metal. the people that know me well would say everything. the people that know me really well would say everything including house and country. i don't know what it is about house music that gets me. house is in itself, cheesy music. it's lighthearted party fare made popular by underground gay clubs in the 80s and brought to the masses by way of innocuous acts like moby, dee-lite and armin van buuren (just a few among a vast list that are just as guilty for helping make house as bland as it's become.) i love it though. i love the fact that i'm not supposed to think about world peace or aids in africa or any other shit that's going on in the world. i can just sit back and let it wash over me or if i'm feeling really crazy, dance. this is a big thing since i can count on one hand the number of friends i have that have seen me dance.
my point is that this album is far from the banal nature that plagues so many discs like it these days. the fact that it was made six years ago makes it even stranger. it has elements of what would later become a signature sound in german house but keeps to a solid foundation of ealy to mid 90s drum patterns. i can't say i was expecting anything like it when i heard the promo clips on emusic. if you happen to be a fan of house, or just like electronic music with a happy bounce to it, check out special life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

so let the son shine in, face it with a grin...


so it was brought to my attention that i haven't written anything for a while and and because of that, i wondered why not. surely there had to be something interesting in the last few weeks that i've stumbled across that was worth sharing with the world. low and behold...son lux.

aka ryan lott, son lux is a relatively new sign to anticon. he fits in quite well with the odd not quite "backpack friendly" style of hip hop this label has gotten an unfair reputation for. i won't get into my opinions of the label and where it's genres lie because son lux doesn't really fit in to the roster properly. there are off kilter beats and production effect heavy tracks galore but ryan's almost pained whispering vocals really seem to set this record apart.

son lux has the kind of c.v. that you'd expect from someone obsessed with art. he collaborates constantly and keeps an open mind about the nature of art and relationship with sound (two separate field in some people's eyes). none of that really matters to most people i would imagine. the important bit is what does it sound like? you can find out for yourself by going here .

there are a lot of things going on in this album but that's not really what makes me like it so much. i couldn't really put into words how i feel listening to it but it's kind of like taking a walk down the ole memory lane only to find that it's been graffitied and smells like piss now. there's a sick sweetness to this album that makes you want to smile and cry at the same time and i blame most of it on ryan's vocals. there aren't many lyrics to some of the pieces and they tend to repeat to really drive home the point. loss, betrayal and pain keep falling in and out of the spotlight and somehow it's just too damn pretty to feel like a bad thing.

perhaps this falls in the category of "break up" music. maybe it's something to listen to when you just want to wind down after a shit day in the salt mines. maybe you just like beating yourself up and enjoy wallowing in the sad, whatever your poison, it's worth having a listen if you find yourself drawn to ethereal music with a splash of percussion thrown into the mix.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

god save the queen

i've just realized that there are only three bands in the uk that play radio friendly, main stream music. one is radiohead the second is cold play and the third is ALL THE FUCKING REST OF THEM!!!!

it's as if 7/8ths of the musicians in the region have all been going to the same weekend clinic on how to write a pop song. "awright lads, first off, yer got ter get yer summa dem skinny jeans. scruff out yer mop and get yer a hat, maybe a porkpie or summat. when dat's done, listen ter me cd and copy it song fer song. bam, robert's yer faver's bruva."

no seriously, i've had the misfortune of watching the line up of one of the big festival's in london and you might as well have just asked the same band to change shirts and come back on stage after each set. is it just me or does it seem a little pathetic that the only bands to stand out were from everywhere but the uk with the exception of hot chip and goldfrapp. this fest almost made madonna seem original. geezus.

london, call me when you remember how to write a song that is more interesting than, "my body is your body...if you want to use my body, go for it!"

that's all i'm sayin is all.

(ed note: yes i'm aware that we are scientists are american. sod off.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

my own worst enemy...

question: have you ever downloaded a song, file, movie, etc from the internet that wasn't paid for? have you ever ripped a cd and put it on your mp3 player? have you downloaded a picture from online that you didn't own the copyright to and stored it on the hard drive of your laptop or phone? then our incredibly intelligent prime minister would like to make sure you get fucked at the border for trying to travel out of the country with "illegally" obtained digital material.

you may have heard about this and if you haven't then you should call and harass your MP as often as possible about this, but the harper government has been trying to get the other world leaders at the g8 summit to agree to an international law allowing border guards to search everything on your laptop, phone, pda or any other electronic device that can store media to make sure you aren't breaking copyright laws. if that sounds completely ridiculous than it should because only an idiot would think that stopping every single person in a line up for a flight of any kind, or at a border crossing just to make sure you haven't downloaded an mp3 that you didn't pay for or copied a text file to notepad is an acceptable measure in fighting digital piracy.

none of the articles i've read have much detail about the plan but all of them seem to agree that enforcing something like this is impossible. we already wait for hours in lines to get onto planes for check in and bag check and so on, now we'll be expected to show up even earlier so they can check every single file for copyright ownership. so how do you prove that the mp3s on your phone were purchased on itunes or another site if they aren't tagged with drm (like the vast majority of websites that sell downloads legally)? how do you prove that the photos you took on vacation of your friends are yours and weren't downloaded from a tourist site? are we expected to carry receipts of all media purchases with us? will we be forced to start using tapes again?

this
link, will help to explain and after you've read it please feel free to contact this man (if you live in ontario)
Dalton McGuinty, Premier Legislative Building Queen's Park Toronto ON M7A 1A1


or you can reach him through this
link and let mr. mcguinty know that this goes beyond copy right law and is a direct violation of your privacy rights.

oh, you might be interested in reading this
article as well. it has more links to people that need to be reminded that times have changed and they need to keep up with technology and new methods of delivery of information not accuse everyone that owns an ipod of being a thief.

i can understand their side of things though. bullshit lobby groups in the states have put pressure on our government to "get on side" with their draconian laws and since harper is a good little lapdog he said, "sure thing mr. american interest." they've been pushed to form a new digital copyright act that will allow the riaa to sue the shit out of canadians for breaking copyright. oh, and they want to make sure that you can't even put a copy of cds you've purchased legally on your mp3 player or computer. basically, they want to outlaw mp3s legal or otherwise because they don't know how to stop people from downloading. for gods sake don't tell them that there are other codecs out there.

seriously, i know we're all a bunch of apathetic layabouts but are you really going to let someone take away something that defines every aspect of your life whether you realize it or not? we're not just talking about music here, this is about your privacy and defending yourself from a law that automatically assumes that just because you own a device with digital storage capabilities you are a thief. let's not even start down the road this opens as far as what personal information border guards can view on your laptop and save for "review" at a later date.

Monday, July 7, 2008

i refuse to be caressed by stone

Misanthropy PureThe truly weak spread venom.
The truly strong digest it.
Rotting from the inside, this agonized form resembles a man.
Scorn burst from the heart, rancor cracking ribs.
Coating it's recesses in toxins.
Base loathing within the loins seeps malice through its pores.Ashing tissue, blackened with contempt.
Pestilent, corrosive to the touch.
A blight on humanity.
Never must it speak.
Never must it bled.
It mustn't even breathe.
by that of course i mean, the new shai hulud album has been out for several weeks and i'm still not sure what i think.
"misanthropy pure" was supposed to be the new super pissed off offering from the boys after "that within blood ill tempered" did the unspeakable and inspired people to be better human beings. i know, it's fucked up to think that anyone would want to make themselves a better person especially when they listen to music that could be taken in such a positive way (that is to say that the last album was filled with hate aimed at people who care little for their surroundings and their impact on the lives of others). this album on the other hand is filled with hate aimed at everyone, fan and foe alike. that's not the part that bothers me though.

the hope for shai hulud was that this album would have the same impact that their albums "a profound hatred of man" and "hearts once nourished with hope and compassion" had on the underground hardcore scene. i can't possibly see this happening because they've managed to take several full steps back in their song writing. the typical everything but 4/4 break downs are still there, but the rest of the album is almost 80s thrash. there is little variation in song structure or melody and frankly the album just becomes stale and boring about two songs in. i listened front to back several times in a row and i honestly couldn't tell you the song order because there is that little difference in the over all timbre and structure.

it's really too bad because i've been a huge fan of these boys since profound hatred reared it's ugly head on crisis records. they've helped me through some otherwise completely shitty things that have happend in my life so i hate to say that this album just isn't up to their usual standard. if you're a fan, check out the preview songs on itunes and see what you think before you buy this.



Sunday, June 22, 2008

Scott Pilgrim

the book, not the plumtree single although it does help that it's a song title and keeps the theme of music related blog titles going, but anywho...

the book (which can be found at scottpilgrim.com) is a cute little black and white manga style ditty from Bryan Lee O'Malley and published by the good people at Oni press. it features all the standard manga troupes that one would expect because Bryan is obviously a comic nerd (in a good way of course) and knows that other comic nerds will love these little inside jokes. if you're not a comic nerd but you live in toronto, or have ever been in a band, or are a video game nerd, or have had relationship troubles, or have hit a hot lead singer from montreal with a sledge hammer there are jokes for you too. this book is packed with something for everyone...really.

without getting to far into the story, scott is an early twenty something trying to figure out what the hell to do with his life. he's in a band that "doesn't suck that bad" that play local spots all over toronto. scott dreams about video games and other fun things and it's there that he meets ramona, american half ninja delivery girl and love interest. it gets weirder. scott has a 17 year old girlfriend that he keeps trying to break up with, no job and mooches off of his room mate that he shares a bachelor apartment with. he is the best fighter in ontario and can air juggle opponents for up to 64 hits (no really) turning them into a pile of coins, a 1-up or some sort of enchanted weapon like the famed, mithril skate board. all of this whilst trying to find gainful employment, record an album and win the heart of ramona.

the art might turn people off. my brother handed me a copy and said, "seriously, it's fucking hilarious." after i gave the cover the stink eye. i breezed through four of five pages and thought about how cartoony it looked. i mean, "felix the cat" cartoony but somehow it all worked and made complete sense after a page or two. i was sucked in in no time.

what i love is the attention to detail of otherwise meaningless thing. my personal favourite being the "stop! this is the back of the book." gag that soooooooo many manga have on what people in the west would consider the first page. this is of course because there are a large number of retarded people that couldn't tell they were reading a book backwards so they complained to the publisher but you get the point.


there are toronto landmarks featured in every book with handy little trivia facts. if you've been to any of them you'll see just how good a job bryan has done recreating them. lee's palace looks exactly like it should, shitty, small and like you could catch hep b just by looking at the sound guy. casa loma and sneaky dee's make an appearance as well.

there are four issues out so far and i would suggest getting them all if you're interested in a reading something that's just plain fun.

Friday, June 20, 2008

we know of an ancient radiation, that haunts dismembered constellations...

if you haven't already heard of last.fm go take a look at it now. if you don't want another site keeping track of your personal information in the form of play lists and such, or you don't want other cool and not so cool people suggesting fucking amazing and mostly not so fucking amazing music, then don't check it out.

so there.

this site has been a good reminder of shit that i haven't listened to in years, or never really gave a chance in the first place. sure it's chock a block with 14 year olds that think the latest girl sensation on capitol actually makes good music, but there's some super cool ass shit on there that you will NEVER hear about anywhere else without digging for weeks on end for shit that you have never heard of in languages you don't speak. don't get me wrong, you still have to dig and that's always been one of the most fun parts of finding new music. i've been in the dusty old record stores and yard sales and you name it for weeks to find that one album that will slay you right then and there and since the internet made digging as easy as typing a genre into a search engine all the fun of the hunt has vanished.

if you happen to wander over and find yourself with an account, you can find me at http://www.last.fm/user/blindskate.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

hot time, summer in the city, back of my neck gettin' dirty and gritty...

http://emoknitter.etsy.com is the link for my lovely friend rachel's etsy store. if you are a crafty person that lacks the ability to make crafty things yourself, you might want to take a look. she makes affordable pieces of jewelery, scarves, hats and so on.

in other news, i've decided that i'll keep this thing to a single purpose and just start writing about media again. i'll probably stick to music and tv/film but there might be a book or game thrown in from time to time. it's been a while so i might be a bit rusty. and before anyone goes on a tirade about my tirade against people randomly taking up the pen, it's not random at all in my case and i do have experience as a writer. i'm not saying that makes me better than everyone else, i've just suckered people into paying me for my opinion. in the end, that's all critique really is anyway, an opinion.

wurd.

Monday, June 16, 2008

say somthing

no really i'm not planning on keeping this whole complaining thing going. there are far more fun things to talk about and i swear i will get them up here as they come to me. i just get a bad case of "the last angry man" in me from time to time when people decide that everything is everyone else's fault.

things to look forward to, music talk, photo talk, poor grammar talk, things that end in "s", more quote marks than you can shake a "stick" at and all kinda other fun stuff. stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

and they will know us by the trail of the misread

so i stumbled across yet another poorly written, overly opinionated article on one of the microsoft pages asking why men cheat. what was great about this article was how one sided it was and not the least bit insulting. the "writer" suggested that men cheat because they are just selfish, stupid or think they won't get caught (which is redundant based on the second assumption). In the opinion of the "writer", women barely ever cheat and if they do, men will never know about it because they're so much better at it than men, oh but women are the victims here. men cheat because they're pigs, women cheat because their men force them to seek attention elsewhere. can i please have a moment of silence for the death of reason?


...


yeah, so the long and the short of it is, a relatively low percentage of men cheat and women cheat a marginal percentage less than men do which is wrong for either sex. all the reasons men cheat are the same reasons women do. what the fuck is wrong with people these days and when did everything suddenly become men's fault?

Friday, May 2, 2008

we're all alone, no chaperone can get our number, the world's in slumber, let's misbehave

the contents of this thing just keep changing in my head. one day i want this to be an advice column, the next it will be the home of my new comic. so many ideas, so little time. for now, i thought i would do what most people seem to use the internet for and that is complaining. (just this post though.)

my particular issue on this fine sunny day is when did people suddenly decide they don't need proper training or experience to start working in a new field? i ask this because an old acquaintance of mine decided to become a music journalist not long ago. i'm not sure how it turned out and that isn't the point, what got me was the idea that they would just "be a music writer". they have no formal training in journalism, music history or composition but for some reason thought that it would be an easy job that one could just do. would you hire a mechanic that has only driven a car? would you hire a doctor that has only read about how surgery is performed? then why would you hire a writer that has only listened to an album or been to a show?

this is a small part of a larger whole that i can't figure out. yes, things like blogs make it easy for any one out there to express their opinion about art, culture, science or whatever they feel they have a valid point to make on. does this make for technically sound writing? no. does this mean that their articles should be taken seriously as proper works of scholarly critique? most certainly not. so why do people think it's just that easy to become a writer or a musician or an artist of any kind? yes, art is about creative experience, talent and expression and yes, sometimes people can have a natural aptitude but that will only take you so far.

long story made even longer, my opinion is stick to what you know and what you are good at. learn about and practice the things that you aren't as good at before you decide to spontaneously take up a new career and then get pissed that no one takes you seriously.