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Tag Archives: Nocturnal Ruminations.

Nocturnal Rumination: A Selection of Things that Caught my Eye

From TMZ and KSK:

I love the response to the question and how he doesn’t even break his gait to answer it.

From KSK and CBS’ 60 Minutes:

Watch all this video.  It’s interesting.

I don’t know how I feel about this one yet, but I believe that if we don’t have government officials that are willing to stand up to those that would seek to do us harm to scare off possible punishment, we’re definitely on the wrong track somewhere.

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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Accountability, Inspiration, Philosophy

 

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Nocturnal Ruminations: Music News

A great and well deserved well wish to Baroness as they embark on the road again after their accident.  May the recovery of those that are unable to join them occur quickly and well enough to allow them to at least enjoy their lives.  While Baroness has never been a great favorite of mine, I do respect just how damn Southern they feel (much more so than Mastodon) and how well they project it through their music.  For full details, read this post from their website.

Not an overwhelming fan of this band either (some of their music is good, other parts of it I can leave), but Chthonic is releasing another album.  Their bassist, Doris Yeh, (fuck yeah! more women in metal!) provides some interesting insight to their creative process, discusses multimedia art approaches, and otherwise provides a very interesting read.  Here is the article from the Examiner.

Norway’s Shining (aka the metal band that became metal after starting as a jazz trio) is releasing another album this year, this time to follow up their genre founding effort in “Blackjazz.”  Norway’s P3.no is doing a Shining week as a media event to their songs.  Visit this page to listen to “My Dying Drive,” and follow the link to “The One Inside” in the second paragraph under the photo of the band.

Returning to women in Metal and from the Icelandic scene, Angist is working on a full length album they want released this year.  Details are here in this interview. Their EP, Circle of Suffering, has not left my music player since I bought it and I’ve listen to it nearly once a week since.  While I’m not completely in for the smack you in the mouth harshness all the time, I have to say that this band does it right.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2013 in Art, Geek, Music

 

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Nocturnal Ruminations: Melody… or how a song becomes a song.

Since I’ve spent the week ruminating on music in general, here’s what my personal definition of a song is: a unit of an entire composition of music.  I have an extreme enjoyment of an album on which songs were strategically placed on their album by the artists in question to develop their piece.  Hence why albums like Porcupine Tree’s “Deadwing” (they hit you over the head with “The Incident”), Opeth’s “Blackwater Park,” and many, many, many others are so great.  You can listen to one song, but listening to the entire composition is equally rewarding.

While I respect bands like Meshuggah, I have a hard time calling what they do music.  It’s more an exploration of syncopated percussive assault in which melody (something I feel a song needs) is placed to the back burner.  I know Devin Townsend writes “even though we have bands that influence still, we all rip off Meshuggah.”  Many have critically acclaimed this sound as brilliant, but I’ve not been able to get it except in small doses (“Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave Them Motion” and “Pitch Black”).  Being the nerd I am for anything music, Sam Dunn’s “Metal Evolution” documented how the songwriters of this specific offshoot of metal focus on the tribal, percussive elements, turning nearly every instrument in the band to a hammer.

I do not find this enjoyable or even musical (though it is obviously well written and charted).  Honestly, of this style, only Acyl has capture my imagination for a long period of time.  I love the manner through which they tie the music of their heritage into the percussive elements.  It’s intoxicating.

Therefore, I look for bands whose songs are movements, like in an orchestra, for the most part for enjoying my music.  The combination of melody, rhythm, verse, and orchestration is what makes the best bands that I have come to greatly enjoy.  This is why Leprous is at the top of my list, while Pig Destroyer is a grave question (yes, I realize this is a bit without precedence in this writing because I’m not writing about hardcore).  Hardcore is a sound I’ve yet to be able to qualify with how vapid I truly find it and is the antithesis of what I enjoy musically.  I get that people love it, but when I see some of its fans gushing admiration of Hardcore and then putting Hip Hop down I get a bit puzzled.  I view the two styles in their basest senses as the same.  A complete and utter rejection of melody for rhythm and quick turn of phrase.  In the end, all music is art, no matter how it’s written.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Accountability, Art, Geek, Music

 

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Nocturnal Ruminations: Typologies and Music.

The idea of genre has become so damned specific.  In most cases, it serves as a means by which the listener can relate the sound to another; e.g.: that new Devin Townsend album’s totally cock rock, man or Agalloch is Folk Black Metal.  We know what these labels mean to the music we prefer and the specific choice details precisely what to expect from that sound.  However, similarly to the incorrect classification of Devin Townsend’s Epicloud as Cock Rock (which it is, but it’s also varied and sundry), it also limits and pushes away, fracturing listeners into individual typologies of their own.  For lack of a better description, it is an earmark of our own personal identity and style as to that which we listen.

In general, I see only a small number of genre whereas there are a far greater number of styles or variations on this theme. Essentially, here are the genre I see:

Rock: Rock is the foundation for just about everything to which I listen.  Typified by a vocalist, guitars, and percussion, Rock is an expansive canvas.

Blues: The music of from where I came; a dirty often countercultural exploration of themes on the edge of the culture and a vehicle of giving voice to the powerless.  Typically very emotional in theme and sound, Blues is often noted as an expression of the soul.

Folk: My mother’s favorite genre; I enjoy the genre as well, especially in its storytelling approach and often gentle darkness.

Hip Hop: A genre with which I am lacking an overwhelming amount of familiarity.  Though I love the R&B styling of its origin, I’ve yet to encounter much hip hop that I enjoy (or would even call music similar to…).

Metal: My most familiar genre and that to which I listened the most growing up.  As it has evolved and taken in more elements, its artistry has mature, however, there are bands whose music just isn’t music.

Big Bang/Classical: Composition, emotion, artistry, and passion combined into one.

You’ll notice that I left off country, pop, progressive and other “genres.”  It’s because these are more stylings of each.  Modern country is a mixture of rock, blues, and folk.   Pop reflects the mainstream musical tastes of the day.  The Progressive styling attempts to further the aims of the genre by pulling in different or varying sounds and compositional structures. Therefore, these are more like metastylings of music.

Each genre has its own set of stylings that allow for bands to individualize themselves or to completely separate from the rest of the pack.  In metal, I’ve found that there are as many different varieties as there are colors.  Black styled metal relies of cold sounding sonics with tremolo picking and rasping shrieks.  Grindcore punches you in the throat, throws you to the ground and kicks you whilst you are down.  Yet, I find very little redeemably musical about that specific genre of noise.  Punk is similar: look at the Sex Pistols.  The point is this, we overtypify because it individualizes us as the listener more than it does the music.

 

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Accountability, Geek, Music

 

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Nocturnal Ruminations: What I Think Music Is and Can Do.

Ultimately, I realized that I had been writing reviews for albums (hopefully successfully) that inspired me to create, write, or otherwise disconnect from my current modality of thought for its course.  So, therefore, I decided, as I continue to discuss these things, what I think music is and can do and my own personal history with it.

Those of you that have read any of my reviews will note that generally I am fairly positive with my writing.  It’s not because everything to which I listen is perfect or amazing or even good for that matter.  However, most of the time when I commit to purchasing an album, or listen to a sample that I’ve been sent, I’ve fairly convinced it will be something that I enjoy.  This is why most of my reviews are positive.  Ten bucks notwithstanding, but the time commitment away from my family is equally important to me.  Combine that with the fact that I’m writing this to exercise my cultural critique muscles and use it, as written earlier, to explore emotions, thoughts, and stories as inspiration for my own works, I’m fairly happy with the response thus far.  When you read a review that is negative, it is doubly so because I did want the album to be good.

Currently, my favorite bands and musicians are, in no particular order, Opeth, Alcest, Steve Hackett, Steven Wilson, Nick Cave, Ihsahn, and Cynic.  I feel that, again for no particular order, the best musicians are Neige from Alcest, the crew from Opeth, Steven Wilson, Levon Helm, Roger Waters, Devin Townsend, and a few others.  These are important as progressive music has become my love and my favorite music genre.  I’ve always been fascinated by it, especially in listening to Rush, Yes, Jethro Tull, Genesis, and many others when I was younger.  To this day, I will buy any Rush album that is released, period.  In regards to specific genres at this point I’m a very large fan of the progressive blackgaze movement as experimented by Neige from Alcest while still yet I find myself attracted to Opeth’s particular brand of melancholy (as evidenced by my love and admiration for the new Fall of Every Season album).  Devin Townsend and Steven Wilson are the most varied musicians to whom I listen and I’ve yet to really get to a point that their offerings are old to me.

As far as how I grew into this?  I’m not entirely certain (except for the whole pretentious asshole thing).  Growing up, my brother was older than me by nine years.  His musical taste, while still lacking, was focused on Guns and Roses, Duran Duran, Sisters of Mercy, INXS, the glam metal bands, Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer, &c.  This was my introduction to this brand of music.  I took a shine to Guns and Roses, and will still ardently defend Axl Rose’s political songwriting ability.  It wasn’t long that I began tabletop RPGs during which we would listen to a mix tape or an album of a particular individual’s choosing.  This introduced me to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Pantera, and any variety of punk bands we could find (not limited to, but including Sex Pistols, Anti-Nowhere League, Black Flag and later Rollins Band).  Combined with the local radio station, we’d rock out to all sorts of classic rock.  My mother, who often against her better judgement, would allow me the leeway to listen to this, but would play Marvin Gaye and other R&B and her beloved folk musicians (something that sticks with me to this day).

So, why music?  I don’t know why it is so important to me, personally, except to consider that a large number of good memories and terrible memories are made more understandable by listening to music that reflects my mood.  I enjoy it, regardless of time of day or energy spent on listening to an album.  I guess to a great extent it appeals to my academic background: I hold a Master’s Degree in Anthropology (emphasis in archeology).  While I view myself as very much an archeologist, I’m working in Applied Anthropology now and further still I’ve always loved the science of anthropology.  During my coursework for my undergraduate degree, I studied Medical Anthropology for a semester, during which I read a number of books regarding the topic of the healing qualities and properties of anthropology.  I helped research Delta Blues culture at one point as well.  In graduate school, this came back to me as I got further and further into Performance Theory.

I’ve always compared music to fire.  It is a great human universal (if there ever were such a thing).  Each culture in the world has a style, a set of instruments, has traded instrumental styles, brought in different sounds, and created their own voice that soothes and sparks its member’s imagination.  Music can heal, it can harm, it can make you cry in catharsis, or internalize and meditate.  Like Shakespeare’s boast, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” the song is mightier and more powerful still yet.  We have transmitted our culture and our values through our words set to music.  The Ghost Dance was a powerful, percussive beat through which the Siouan world would be headed, white men would disappear, and the buffalo would return.  Look at all our culture’s Christian hymns.  Apply the cultural temple to this music, and you find that here still.  That is why music is powerful and to me why the current (read: continuing trend of dumbing it down, further and further, and bringing more and more vapid themes to lyrics is such a problem).

As I end this ramble, I think back to one of my favorite albums and a trend I’ve noticed here: Ihsahn and the disappearing visits.  Every time I run Ihsahn on this site, we see a 25% drop in visitors that day.  Yet, above a large number of musicians, I believe he truly gets what I described.  “The Adversary” feels like a darker, self-deconstructionist sermon regarding nihilism.  It is an amazing piece and one that I recommend highly.  Tomorrow, I’ll describe my typology of music.

 

 

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Nocturnal Ruminations: A Hodgepodge

Gothic art stylings of characters from a Game of Thrones from Hogans McLaughlin and his tumblr.  Beautiful illustration style.

Discussions on space and asteroids from NPR: Segment 1 and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

In terms of my own work, a decision should be made on my progression as the bureau here soon (here’s hoping it comes through) and a job application should be answered here soon as to whether I get the shot to get back into archeology.  This is going to continue to impact my thoughts going forward and distract me from wholesale writing in my downtimes.

That written, I’ve been able to push through two of the seven cultures the game will attempt to ship and have completed their themes.  Magic is now fully operational, though it still needs some work.  I’m happy about that. Up next is the Skill system, I’ve had some ideas to streamline the system and allow for more player choice when it comes to this system.  Further, other cultures have been delegated to my partners in crime for magic development and we’ve still yet got to add to the Casting Styles.  The end result of all this that the combat system is going to need to be refined to bring it in line with the Magic System.

In the Lay of Seidenbard, I’ve only worked out my notes on the story more.  I’ve added a few scenes here and there, but progress has been noted mostly in its future development and writing rather than its words on the page now.

Thanks for reading and supporting the blog!  We are greatly appreciative of the views and the time spent with us.

 
 

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Nocturnal Ruminations: Siiiiigh.

Note: if you are too drunk to drive, please don’t.  If you are too drunk and are driving and crash into a mobile home, you might think it’s a good idea to run.  This takes it a whole new level.  Way to go, Jonesboro.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Accountability, Characters, Rants

 

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