Monday, April 19, 2010

Miracles? What?

I sincerely hope this is a joke. Not that I don't think miracles don't happen-- I do. But this, this is something else entirely. Sounds to me like "Those People" who pitch a fit against science for whatever reason in favor of "faith" (but since when was faith supposed to be ignorant?), or like these peeps failed themselves a science class.

Oh yes, obligatory "they swear" warning, in case you don't like swearing.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

School work what? I have Muse to geek about, here!

Indeed, here we go with an (probably) obligatory "Holy crap I've seen Muse for the first time" bloggery, because YES they are that ridicufreakaliciously fantastic. Music review time!

The opening act were Silversun Pickups. I'd heard one of their songs before, and it was listenable (even likeable- rareish for a pop band whose male singer sounds like a woman with pop-angst for a voice).My conclusions are thus for the Pickups: their synth player knows what he's doing about half the time-- the half that he doesn't he is using is synth to sound-warp your eardrums with searing, high-frequency PAIN-- searing, high-frequency, half-step flat pain (but to his credit he owns a nice hat); their drummer is very good indeed, as is their bassist (who is a lady GIANT); and their lead singer/guitar player is a leprechaun who is a pretty good guitar player with a strange fondness for the effects pedal.

...And then there were three. And by that I mean Muse happened. They did not "play next,"  "start playing," or "come on stage" or whatever. I said Muse "happened" and that is exactly what I mean.

It should be mentioned first that the stage setup was a stage with three giant fabric columns on it- the Ministries of Love, Peace and Truth (if you don't understand that reference, please go read 1984). We figured Muse were hiding in these columns (and they were), but we didn't expect the fabric to glow and have the electric white silhouettes of people walking up and down stairs, and really didn't expect the fabric to drop to the ground at the first chord of "Uprising", revealing Muse on columns glowing with lights and imagery and under columns of the same. The only appropriate response was to make a lot of noise.

The next two hours consisted of some of the most creative, interesting, thoughtful and exhilarating prog rock on the planet (or, if you prefer the vernacular, "Muse rocked us like a hurricane, sir"). This involved a grand piano that lit up when Bellamy felt like it should light up, a bass/drum solo of Rush excellence, a megaphone, Bellamy skidding across the floor like an excited twelve-year-old, lasers, intermittent jam sessions, a very happy and weird Dominic wailing away on drums, and giant floating eyeballs. Eyeballs? Yes, giant floating eyeballs. With red confetti in them. I took pictures:

Oh yeah, I found a shot of the stage too:

Also, I want to be one of their sound people. Why? Because I like doing sound engineering-like things, and their setup looked like the controls of a spaceship. If there's a cooler assistant's job than that, somebody tell me.

"They rocked us like a hurricane, sir!"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wish You Were Here

I mentioned last week that I'd write something about rock 'n roll. I'm going to do just that, right now, at least a little bit.

Okay, yes, I know I'm a freak about rock 'n roll more than other types of music. I'm the kid who has over one hundred record albums and listens to them obsessively and gets wildly upset when "kids these days" don't know who Janis Joplin is.

Why do I like it so much, anyhow? I have this idea that it's better than "a lot of stuff out there nowadays," and why's that?

It gets into you.

That doesn't mean you have to like the music; the music has this habit of breaking in unannounced and maybe even unwanted, but break into you it will. It gets a hold of you, sometimes whether you like it or not. There's something special about the sounds, something in the spirit behind the music.

Take the band Boston, for instance. When I heard their music for the first time ("More Than A Feeling" I think it was) my immediate reaction was that they enjoyed what they were doing. They loved their music, and it was full of power and joy and you knew it. Don't believe me? Listen to "Don't Look Back" or "Rock and Roll Band."

Music should, by nature, have the power to move you. Really move you, really get into you. I think that most of "today's stuff" doesn't; it feels like it's more about making awesome-sounding stuff and Being A Rock Star. To be sure, a lot of stuff sounds really, really cool now- I actually really like Jet, Skillet, Cake, Arctic Monkeys (to list a few). They're good, really good, both in sound and talent. But there's something missing- there's little to no soul in the music.

I think that, with rock 'n roll, the whole business was about the music, or at least more often than not it was. Janis Joplin's little speech at Woodstock about how it was about music and that no one should tell you otherwise points at that (yes, of course she was high, most of them were. doesn't change a thing.). Because it was about the music, the music being played had life in it. Yes, music was used to make statements. Music for the sake of music and using that voice to change the world in some way is not a bad thing, not at all.  Music, I think, is a fine medium for stating thoughts and opinions and gathering the masses. The music in the 60s and 70s became some sort of bizarre and fantastic movement.

But back to my reason for liking rock 'n roll so much- it breaks in. Either I'm absolutely nuts, or people have forgotten how to listen (and don't think I'm meaning with your ears; if you think that you really are forgetting).

Does newer music do this at all?

Yes. Very yes.

With rare exception, I feel, but that's ok. They are...

...the David Crowder*Band. For those of you who know me, yes, I love them a whole lot (and that there are other worship artists, yadda yadda yadda. I know.), but this is why- their music breaks right on into you, unasked-for, unannounced. Immediately. It is alive, it has soul, it moves you. It will make you cry, if you're not careful. If you don't know what I mean, put on their new album "Church Music" right now and put it on loudly. Listen to it all, in order. Listen to it at once. This is pure, unadulterated rock 'n roll we're talking about. we have Muse. Oh yes, Muse. It's like if you got the Pink Floyd (minus the bickering) and Rush here in the 2000s and smashed them together, you'd have Muse. They have soul, and they like playing their music. Play "The Resistance" or "Black Holes & Revelations."

I can't forget Anberlin. They're not only really stinkin' good, but they interrupt you too. Try out "Inevitable" and "There Is No Mathematics to Love and Loss." Freaking love Anberlin.

That's about it for new bands. I can't think of others. There should be more.

For the "old" music, I have suggestions for what to listen to. Whether you end up thinking I'm off my rocker or not, that's fine... but if you haven't already bought into my idea here you have to at least give this a listen.

The list is as follows (they're songs unless otherwise noted):
-Wish You Were Here (album) by Pink Floyd
-Dark Side of the Moon (album) by Pink Floyd
-The Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix
-All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix
-Boston (album) by Boston
-Don't Look Back (album) by Boston
-3rd Stage (album) by Boston
-Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix
-May This Be Love by Jimi Hendrix
-Roundabout by Yes
-Get Together by The Youngbloods
-Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkle
-Behind Blue Eyes by The Who
-Pinball Wizard by The Who
-Let it Be by The Beatles
-Me & Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin
-The Times They Are A-Changin' by Bob Dylan
-Baba O'Riley by The Who
-Clear As the Driven Snow by The Doobie Brothers
-The Doors (album) by The Doors
-L.A. Woman by The Doors
-Wheel In the Sky by Journey
-Do You Feel Like We Do? by Peter Frampton
-Zoso (a.k.a "Led Zeppelin 4") by Led Zeppelin
-White Room by Cream
-Suite: Judy Blue Eyes by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
-Soul Sacrifice by Santana

You want more? I can give you more. If you want :)

EDIT: A newer band I should mention is Disciple. Red's newish song "Shadows" is also incredible. As for old bands.... listen to Genesis's song "Supper's Ready." 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Superfood and Desert Solitaire and Stuff

After hearing my good friend [the] Blake rant for years and years about how good Odwalla's "original-flavored"
 Superfood is, I finally (*finally*) got around to even tasting the stuff. It is as delicious as he claimed. It is also the most ugly-looking drink I've seen.

It is green, like blended lentils (I HATE lentils), only perhaps mixed with the stuff you lay down floor tiles with plus some of the Swamp of Despair for extra effect. Oh, it looks so gross. But it is amazing; it tastes like a fruit smoothie ('cause, er, it is...).

In any case.. I do believe back in January I mentioned something about drawings. Well, I've had them, in a state of near-done-ness, for a while now, and haven't done anything about them. Like, you know, finish them. Or even scan what I've got and put them up or anything. I hereby promise that by Sunday they will be posted here, finished or otherwise.

Random note: I have (relatively) recently happened upon the Internet word "derp." I think it's an amazing word, and it is one of my favorites. It feels fun to say.

Sometime I am going to write thoughts about music here. Specifically, about rock 'n roll. More specifically, why I like it so danged much. I'll provide a healthy list of songs (and maybe links to said songs) for your listening, I assure you.

And now, a quote I rather like, from Edward Abbey. I have just read it for the first time:

     I am here not only to evade for a while the clamor and filth and confusion of the cultural apparatus
     but also to confront, immediately and directly if it's possible, the bare bones of existence, the elemental
     and fundamental, the bedrock which sustains us. I want to be able to look at and into a juniper tree, a
     piece of quartz, a vulture, a spider, and see it as it is in itself, devoid of all humanly ascribed qualities,
     anti-Kantian, even the categories of scientific description. To meet God or Medusa face to face, even if it
     means risking everything human in myself. I deam of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self
     merges with a non-human world and yet somehow survives still intact, individual, separate. Paradox and

Friday, January 8, 2010

Kicking Around Ideas

Behold, a mish-mash of thoughts.

--First, I have recently had my love of art nouveau rekindled (not really the right word, but my thesaurus is almost 200 miles away right now so it will have to do) by two friends who let slip they had no idea what it is. This launched me into a search via the Almighty Google for images to show them to explain; my art nouveau image collection has grown significantly since yesterday evening.

Because I've had a love for rock 'n roll that has refused to go away since I was a child, I've known that a fair number of 60's rock posters borrowed the art nouveau style heavily, and have as a result always found the style to be pretty fantastic (again, not the correct word, but can you really name such a fond adoration? I don't think so). So when I was looking through the images last night I was reminded of that use of the old style, but as I was browsing it struck me how much a lot of newer artists, particularly in manga and anime, have been influenced by art nouveau.

Here are some of those images that got me thinking about that:

The first one screams "Saiyuki" to me- the funky rendition of the Journey to the West by Minekura Kazuya. In particular it looks like the character Gyokumen Koushou. Here's another sample of Saiyuki. The next two remind me of Gankutsuo and some of Clamp's work, respectively (in particular Clover, XXXHolic), and the latter somewhat of Belldandy from Ah! Megami-sama!. One of the parts of art nouveau that manga artists seem to have drawn heavily on is the line work.

Splendid. Having spent almost an hour hunting for appropriate anime/manga images to reference, I have forgotten most of what I had to belch onto here.

--Moving on, I am increasingly troubled by the use of bad grammar, especially by people who should know better. No, I am not perfect in my usage either, but it offends me still. The increasing number of occurrences in public places is irking me more, too (I don't suppose the Internet counts as a "public place," as the current trend seems to be stated by Something Awful Forums: The Internet Makes You Stupid). In any case, I don't think I will properly "connect" my paragraphs this evening. I am listening to Led Zeppelin, and I don't care. Not that they have anything to do with this.

--I have had a request from a friend to continue the "Rabid Bundernick" faux news clips. This could be delightful.

--I have another doodle. Eventually I'll scan it and post it in its current Sketch form, and will probably then proceed to destroy the thing by experimenting with coloring it and post that too.

--Speaking of doodles, here's something of actual importance. Nagrom, I demand your input. Since I don't have the time to either draw up or conceive whole chapters or scenes or whatever for my comic, I have been thinking of drawing up "snapshots" of it and putting them up, and later (whenever that may be) lacing them together in a proper story.

Or maybe it should stay improper. Maybe snapshots would be a fantastic way to convey the story, since "snapshot" doesn't necessarily imply only single-panel images.

There, that's my important thing for the evening. I may go harass my guitar or viola. Facebook is more likely, and so is tea. I have a lovely new art nouveau tea glass.

EDIT: I feel the need to cover for myself here and clarify that I don't like Clamp's manga. Their art is fascinating and even beautiful, but I don't like them. Also, when it comes to grammar, I have to point out that I heartily approve the making up of new words.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The joys of photo-editing to make silly things

Break is upon me once again, and I have returned from over a week in Jurassic Park to the bitter cold of the desert. This means I have a good deal of time to be fat and lazy, which in turn means I tend to do more artish things.

In this case, a friend and I had a conversation about posole and how he'd put salsa on his first ever bowl of the stuff, and how he was glad that that was OK because "causing an international incident would be a bad way to start off the new year," to which I said that that would actually be pretty funny.

And this was born.

Here's the full version of Slash/Ozzy (ok, so I'm happy with myself even if it's not brilliant photo-editing). The original can be found on a Google search.