cdave: (Rock)
I've listened to Jonathan Coulton's new albumn Solid State a few times now, and it's just not clicking for me.

I think it's trying to do two different things, and as result not doing either well.

It's trying to be a fun nerdcore pop album; long on geeky references, with occasional pathos to accent this. But fails as it's a concept album set in a dystopia. For instance the "watching kittens videos" and "don't feed the trolls" songs felt more melancholy and depressing than fun or pathos inspiring.

The other thing it's supposed have is "a bit of a concept behind it," with a "character that you follow throughout his life." But because most of the songs are trying to also be standalone songs, I'm just not finding the story here. But the chorus of the main track (released before the album), makes absolutly no sense to without more detail.

"What if Kurzweil doesn't make it?
What if all the switches get struck on destroy?
When the shuttle goes, we won't take it,
When the final counter-measures are deployed,"

Who is Kurzweil? What shuttle? Etc.

If the album only makes sense with the accompanying comic book, then only making that available as hardcover comic, that won't arrive for weeks after the album comes out is an odd decision.

Having said that, once I stumbled upon the explanation for his last concept album, I did enjoy it a lot more. Giving each track a counterpart track with an opposing mood makes for a disjointed, but interesting, album.

So I hold out hope that when the comic book arrives, the album will be more enjoyable.
cdave: (Default)
I was walking past Oxford Circus, when I saw an unusual busker. There was two guys each with a set of plastic buckets up turned round them in a semi circle, seating on another bucket. One of them was bashing away with a set of drumsticks, using rim shots and different volumes to create different sounds. After a bit his mate picked up the rhythm and the two of them improvised an awesome bucket solo.

On my internet travels I've seen a couple of comments recently on how genre stuff isn't taken seriously by literature geeks.

These two things are more connected than you'd think.

I took GCSE music largely because it meant I got to muck about with computers. I'd never really learned to play music, and scrapped past the performance sections. But for the compositions, I had a access to MIDI keyboards, drum modules and a compute with cubase.

For one of my compositions, I decided to muck about with the drum module, and wrote a whole piece that was nothing but drums. Lots of drums. Starting with a few riffs, and layering them over each other, building up in complexity, matching the tones of the drums to make a sort of melody. Anyway, it was okay.

One day I sat down and someone had swapped the drum module out for a keyboard without me noticing. So instead of the melodic drums, I got atonal staccato piano. Which I intrigued me, so I used that as the kicking off point for my next piece. It was a different piece, but built the same way the drum piece had been, containing just about the same amount of complexity, and "story".

The external examiners gave the staccato piano piece over a grade higher score than the drum piece.
cdave: (Comics)
Girl Genius is an excellent steampunk mad science comic.

It's absolutely brilliant in it's own right, but I love some of the small touches. Check out the the birds in this last panel, and these fantastic sneaky shout outs to a few other webcomics.

In today's comic the music is provided by the P.D.Q Bach engine.

I heard a radio show about him a while ago. He's the creation of a musical satirist in the States. The name coming from the fact that Johann Sebastian Bach had many children who are generally referred to by their three initials. He performs with a full orchestra, or just a kazoo. I don't know enough about classical music to get all the jokes, but if you know your Baroque from your Romantic, he's probably worth tracking down. And absolutely perfect for a the Mad Science Pantomime Ball.
cdave: (Rock)
My trusty iRiver H100 has croaked. The joystick broke loose, and the
last ditch attempt to solder it back on fried something, and it won't
turn on now :(

So I thought I'd ask LJ for advice. My entire audio collection is
around 10G at the moment, so I don't need a huge (by today's
standards) player. I'm not fussed about video at all. I do however
listen to a lot of podcasts / audio books, and having the ability to
store several bookmarks is a big plus.As is mounting as a usb drive,
since I intend to download things at worked and the machine here is
tightly locked down, so I can't easily install stuff on it.

Research so far indicates the Sandisk Sansa range might be the way to
go. Anyone had one of these?

I was tempted to just stick the latest podcasts on my phone, but it
doesn't have a standard headophone socket, so I can't use my noise
cancelling headphone on the tube.

Any other recommendations?

p.s. appologies to anyone who had this as an email already.

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