Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Yaaaaaaay! I love you games industry!

March 20, 2008

Okay okay, so lets let this one introduce itself.

Thoughts then-

First, HELL YES I will so play that. I don’t actually have the PS2 version so I’m very up for this and I love DS music games.
Second, Oh dear god do people looks stupid playing it. Wonderfully so. I love it.
Third, THIS GAME IS DRAMATIC AND EXCITING CLUNK WHOOSH ROAAR YEEEAAAAAAH. Apparently.

Celtic Connections

January 22, 2008

I have been to Accordion Hell. It was marvellous.

So, I’m up in Glasgow for a couple of days, to see some gigs at Celtic Connections, what is possibly the biggest celebration of traditional music still going in the UK. It’s around 3 weeks long with hundreds of acts all over the city. Sadly, due to workload and things like inconveniently having to graduate, I’m going to miss seeing my favourite acts playing here (Shooglenifty, Peatbog Faeries, Colin McIntire (or Mull Historical Society to you) and the secret GOD of Scottish song writing Michael Mara) but next year I intend to remedy this. OH do I intend to remedy this.

Anyway, enough about me, back to what I was watching last night. Keeping with the sense of humour all the best trad musicians have about the scene, as an antidote to Sunday’s ‘Harp Heaven’, last night there was a show called ‘Accordion Hell’, celebrating… well, the infamous accordion. The musicians were full into the theme and were all bedecked with little devil horns and plenty of damnation jokes. We were treated to 8 mind-blowingly talented accordion players, accompanied by a rather good drummer and an excellent guitarist (who also was an honorary accordion demon for one tune that he had written.) The range of tunes spanned from the bright and high-energy to the beautiful, delicate and moody, to the downright funky. All of it played with style, humour and skill. I think one reason most people hate the instrument is they’ve never heard it in the hands of someone who really knows how to work it, and haven’t seen what an amazing, rich sound one person with a squeezebox can make happen. When the cords and complex melodies get layered up it’s hard to accept it’s just one instrument doing it, and some of the intricate and blisteringly fast finger work that was going on in the concert was just staggering. (Though that’s something else people who have never much been in the folk scene get to see. Sure, some of it can be lacklustre, but we’ve also got some of the most technically brilliant musicians playing in this scene and the level of skill it takes to pull off some of the things they can do is hugely under-estimated.)

So yes, Accordion Hell was fantastic and renewed my appreciation for those can take an instrument used for so much evil and mediocrity and use it for the forces and good and awesome. Brilliant.

Some quicky music reviews

January 6, 2008

I like music. I like it a lot. so here’s some short reviews of some of the things I’ve been listening to lately.

‘Hey Hey My My Yo Yo’ Junior Senior
Got on the recommendation of a friend and positive memories of that music video for Move Your Feet with all the pixel art. Anyway, the band is Danish the the album is full of pure hippyhoppy pop FLUFF that is far more infectious than it should be. Really, it’s silly and sugary and unashamedly cheesy and the result is a very fun record who’s opening track, ‘Hip Hop a Lula’ I can’t stop playing and I don’t know why. My version also came with the ep ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ that is also pretty good with a standout opening tune. It’s all very happy and great stuff unless you want to take it too seriously.

‘In Rainbows’ Radiohead
At what should be at the other end of the spectrum, at bloody last the new Radiohead album is in the shops. Ignoring the very interesting hype from before with the pay-what-you-like download fun, I wanted a CD so I waited. Now, as one of those odd people who actually liked Kid A (but that’s because it was the last one I heard so I was ready for it) I don’t mind the weirder directions that Thom Yorke has been taking the band, but… I think In Rainbows has benefited hugely from Thom making his solo album before it. If Hail to the Theif was a little bit of a return to normal after the band had got Kid A/Amnesiac out of their system, In Rainbows is even more so. It’s a bit less tortured as well, but it’s not a complete step backwards either. The results of their experiments shine through all of it, but at the same time there are great tunes going on too. And guitars! Yay! Anyway, I like this one a lot, and absolutely adore the track ‘Jigsaw Falling Into Place.’ Good stuff. Now hopefully they won’t make us wait like 3 years for the next one.

‘Hey Venus!’ Super Furry Animals
I could be lazy here and go ‘It’s SFA, of course it’s good’. Because it is. It’s a little more normal guitar pop than Lovekraft but it still has the usual quirks and charm you’d expect from them. (Especially shown in the opening tracks, the first of which is about itself being a Gateway Song to the rest of the album, and the second opening with the spoken lines ‘This song is based on a true story. Which would be fine, if it wasn’t autobiographical’). I do have to admit that none of the songs have yet beaten my fave SFA tracks from other albums, but they are growing on me and some of them are catchy as hell. It doesn’t really push the envolope or anything but it doesn’t need to because it’s still good and gives you pretty much what you want in a Super Furry Animals album. Which would be slightly odd but catchy songs mixing pop and rock sounds and great harmonies with fun synthy twiddles and interesting production. Lovely.

Anyone else been listening to anything interesting?

Taiko no Tatsujin DS!?

July 27, 2007

Okay, so, people who know me may be aware that I really like really stupid rhythm games (In particular I have a deep love for Inis stuff… Gitaroo Man, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!, Elite Beat Agents… I need to import Ouendan 2 as well). I also really really like my Nintendo DS Lite.

One that as far as I know has never made it over here is the PS2 game, Taiko no Tatsujin. A Taiko drumming game. Which is a shame because I’ve played it and it is a lot of fun. It has it’s own controller, a drum you hit. Like Donkey Konga but with sticks.

Now, thanks to my friend Hel over at Makenai (who introduced me to Taiko no Tatsujin in the first place) I’ve just found out this is happening:

THEY ARE PUTTING IT ON THE DS!

I’m not totally sure how. Or even why. But I’m pretty certain I’m going to end up importing it anyway.

(No, I can’t read Japanese. But crazy music games TRANSCEND language.)

I like this track a lot.

April 3, 2006

Adam F opened his set with it, and it’s great.

Pendulum’s Remix of ‘Voodoo People’ by Prodigy.

I want it on CD. It’s one of my my fave tracks I’ve heard played at Shinobi, so good to dance to.

Music is wonderful.

Hmm.

February 12, 2006

Stuck in apathy again.

Need to edit, and because I’m having to go to the wrong seminar, my reading pattern is all off. Grrr.

Tired and lost again, don’t really know what I’m doing. I need to kick this before Paris, I don’t want it getting in the way of having a good time.

Pendulum’s mix of Painkiller by Freestylers is really good. I want a copy of it outside the BBC mix. As is Madder by Groove Armada. (‘WHEN I NEED A LITTLE INSPIRATION, RIGHT ABOUT NOW’S WHERE I LOOSE MY PATIENCE’)

Now I do some editing, then read Magic Toyshop. It BETTER be good. I’m not in the mood for dicking about wading through a boring book today.

Mm, ‘Hold Your Colour’. I forgot how good this stuff is. (And the goodness of the music makes up for said song’s rather emo lyrics.)

Get on with things.

(Karemara frowned as he watched his collegue swing the crude pendulum he’d fashioned over the spread of cards, looking at the diagram drawn in biro next to them.
“You can’t seriously be doing this. You can’t believe in this stuff, not you. You’re far too rational for this.”
“When exactly did I tell you everything I believed in?” The younger man asked, sharp green eyes still focused on the swinging fragment taken from the Machine. “You’re forgetting something, David,” he turned over a card, then shuffled the deck again, “rationality only works within a certain set of rules. We’re breaking the rules, that much should be obvious, so how can the old rationality really apply? And besides…” he flicked the pendulum’s string up and caught it, holding it gently in his fist. “When you open a door, you don’t have to walk out of it in straight line.”)

No really, get on with things.

Being the sober one in the club…

December 4, 2005

Friday night I had my first experience of going to a Drum and Bass night. Having been intodruced to the lovely sounds of Pendulum by one of my freinds a little while ago, and wanting to try going to a club somewhere that played propper dance music instead of the Rock stuff I usually dance to, and happening to know the MC (He was my team leader in Dare To Be Digital), me and my friend Mike found ourselves at Shinobi in one of our favored clubs, Welly.

And it was probably the best club night I’ve had in over a year. Maybe that’s just an effect of upstairs at the Welly (as since Helterskelter moved to being the ante bar and the ballroom instead of the antebar and upstairs it hasn’t been as fun when i’ve been, too much space for the amount of people) but I don’t think the music or the company was anything detrimental.

I came to the conclusion a few Full Metal Jackets ago (Campus rock night, 3 minutes walk from my house so I go to that a fair bit) that as I refuse to take up drinking and drugs, the only way I get to turn off the entire universe right now is through getting on the dance floor and dancing the night away like a complete idiot.

This is relevant, because I think it’s something to add to the big list of things Adrian does as escapism as well. And there are some sections to do with nightclubs in the story, anyway.

So yes, observations about Shinobi, and from the less common perspective of someone entirely sober. Over the course of the night I had like 2 redbulls about probably about 4 pints of water and nothing else. Mike was depressed for various reasons so got himself nicely pissed, and other friends were both drunk and on some other interesting chemicals as well. First time I’ve ever come into contact with drug use other than weed, never seen anything harder than that, so it was interesting. Saw some stuff getting snorted, and something from a vial that was being passed around that reminded me of the smell of that box of rather ancient markers my old graphics teacher gave me on permenant loan. The one that would give me a headache if I left the lid open too long. Slightly sweet, slightly harsh, stong bitter chemical smell that gave me no desire to take a propper dose of it. I don’t know what it was, but reminding me of markers implies solvents and I know better than to fuck around with those. (Haveing paid attention to drugs pamphlets, and also having a mother who is a phorensic scientist on the drugs side of the buisness kinda dampens your desire to play with any of this, and makes you more sceptical because you know some of the shit that goes into this stuff.)

There wasn’t any pressure though, which was nice. At the start of the night Ben proclaimed it would be an awesome idea to get me hammered because he wanted to see what would happen, but I pointed out alchohol tends to just make me feel depressed and annoyed and I’d rather not do that tonight he aggreed I should just get caffineated and bounce about like the rest of the club needs booze to do. That odd little ‘do not dance when sober’ switch is missing in my mind, you see. Maybe it’s because I come from the folk scene… A lot of people dance there when it’s not about looking good or losing yourself or getting carried away by what you’re drinking or have taken, it’s because you’re enjoying the music and the company. I don’t know, that’s besides the point anyway. I didn’t get remotely presured into taking anything I didn’t want to, and also didn’t get spiked. I wasn’t expecting to, I’m careful with my drinks and I can’t see why anyone would want to anyway, but it’s been happening quite a lot in our area recently.

The atmosphere there was a lot friendlier and more encouraging than at the rock nights I’ve been to. Plenty of people were dancing, and there wasn’t the tone of elitism and ‘I’m too holy and up myself to dance to this’ that half the tracks on rock nights trigger. Nothing cleared the floor other than the odd person going to get another drink. The music was pure dancing stuff, wall of sound but with familiar energetic beats spliced through it that meant you always just know how to move to it. It was loud and relentless and, sure, repetitive, but the mixing was fun and gave it a feeling of liveliness, that was added to even more by the two MCs. Hearing the DJs work the decks and the MCs keeping it all together made everything a lot more raw and personal, much more of a performance than rocknights, where it’s like dancing to a jukebox (one with lots of songs picked very well, but still.)

Also, everyone dances with complete abandon, it means you can totally let go and stop caring. It’s pretty dark and there are smoke machines anyway for your anonymity and even if you can be seen nobody minds. The upshot of this is the only concern that was with me was making sure to avoid the dull glowing red ends of people’s cigarettes, because getting burned is profoundly unfun.

Danced near solidly till 3am. Lovely stuff. I’m so doing that again and am all inspired.

Anyway, work to do, so I’m out.