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Diurnal Aural Experiences: Shining’s Fisheye (2010)

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Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Art, Music

 

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Diurnal Aural Experiences: Shining’s One One One 2013

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Art, Geek, Music

 

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Weekly Music Review: Shining’s “One One One.”

Blackjazz, the eponymous album that both defined a transition in sound for a band and a new subgenre of black metal, was released in 2010 to little fanfare and through a grant from the 80s pop-band, Aha.  It was a tightly wound package of schizophrenic sounds, inspired by Shining’s previous life as a jazz band.  After watching the Blackjazz concert on youtube, I immediately purchased the album and listened to it for three or four days in a row.  It was an amazing composition, unified by the play and creativity of the band and most specifically its lead singer, saxophonist, and guitarist, Jorgen Munkeby.  This was the best review of the album:

So, what is a band to do when a completely experimental sound pays off, and they nail the performance of the album live?  Try to push it further or refine it just a touch more.  Of the songs on Blackjazz, “Fisheye” is the most intense experience, slamming you with a jazz percussion and saxophone breakdowns, industrial synths, whispered and howled vocals.  Putting it mildly, it is such a mind altering experience that it damn well demands your attention.

One One One (2013) is their attempt to refine Blackjazz further.  It is a shorter piece than Blackjazz, running just under 36minutes.  It contains two more songs, and all of which would be among the shortest compositions off the previous album.  The album definitely builds from the same playful, torrential energy of Blackjazz.  However, its focus attempts to develop through each individual song, attempting reproduce the same energy in each song.

Their sounds are still intensely dark, rattlingly jazz with black metal guitar and lyrical themes, and industrial synths.  The music is good, direct and focused.  It rattles and hums, hammering you with more twists and turns that could be expected.  “Paint the Sky Black” is the best piece off the album, coming in with focused percussion and Munkeby’s tortured sounding howls.  “My Dying Drive” is one of the weaker tracks, sounding like it tries to be too much like “Fisheye” from the previous album.

Ultimately, Shining’s experiment is still successful.  Their style is indeed a unique and personally founded subgenre of metal, jazz, and prog.  Yet, for all its experimentation and all its hard work, One One One is not as solid an album as Blackjazz.  Their attention to shorter compositions makes the music feel a bit rushed in comparison and the album feels like it lacks cohesion amongst the songs.  Ultimately, I feel that the removal of the improvisational elements found on Blackjazz hurt One One One while the confrontational elements benefits it greatly.   Otherwise, taken on their own, a number of the songs off this album should tickle most fans of metal, prog, or jazz.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Accountability, Art, Geek, Music, Reviews

 

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Midafternoon Ramble: Another Shining Song and Real World Events and RPGs.

First, let me dispense with the new Shining (Norway) song, “Off the Hook.”  Their album is due out today in Norway and will soon be hitting our shores.

Secondly, a number of articles were released Thursday that made me think of dramatic situations or events in RPGs and what constitutes characters.  Rudimentary English/Literature courses provide us with enough examples of how to deconstruct characters and their actions and what they represent for the scope of the story.  Think of Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, Emma in Emma, Alexander D’Urbeville in Tess of the D’Urbevilles, MacBeth and his wife, &c; I could continue this list for more than a thousand more words, but that would belabor the point.  Ultimately, these characters and their failings are that from which we learn when reading their stories, their dramas entice us to continue reading, and their resolution leaves us with our general regard of the story.

For a good number of people, this is why we want to play games of Imaginative Fiction or RPGs. We want a story that plays similar to a collection of short stories or a novel.  We want our characters to experience something that we may not normally get to experience.

Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the family of Roger Ebert, a wondrous writer and critic and for all accounts a great person.  Will Leitch’s story (My Roger Ebert Story) in which Mr Leitch describes his interactions with Mr Ebert.  It is an interesting story and a touching one that describes how Mr Leitch was able to befriend the writer through a prank his peers at journalism school drunkenly dared him to do.  It details the efforts that Mr Ebert took on account of Will Leitch.  The documentation of this personal experience between the two is amazing in its effort and emotion as it is the events that occurred and I recommend reading the piece in its entirety.  Essentially, young journalist Will on a lark befriends the old critic through his brashness and their shared Alma Mater (University of Illinois).  Will’s career and efforts are bolstered by this personal connection and he receives Roger Ebert’s help to get a job.  Will, later in his career during the heights of the blog boom, writes a highly offensive article regarding Mr Ebert and his show (offensive in its nature because of undeserved criticism).  This wounds Mr Ebert who responds privately to Will Leitch.  It is an example of cognitive dissonance on the part of Mr Leitch, and reveals a very personal failing on a choice, and the graciousness with which Mr Ebert took this poor decision and responded.

In something completely different, the ICIJ (International Coalition for Investigative Journalists released the “RichieLeak” files today.  Needless to write, there are enough tales of wanton corporate greed, personal greed, and general exploitation of the rule and spirit of law, morality, and ethics to go around.  This is a tale of people doing what is allowed, but not what is right ethically.  Take your time to read some of the accounts on their website; it’s rather amazing.

Sticking with the realm of politics, Anonymous announced today that they hacked North Korea’s twitter.  The group, whose efforts have been labeled as hacktivism or criminal (depending on to whom you speak), is a great example of those doing what they perceive as correct outside the scope of what is correct.  Remember the Thomas Theorem when deciding how you feel about this: “things that we perceive as real become so in their consequences.”  To an extent this seems a very Robin Hood tale and a very ballsy one at that; another viewer could look on it as an American Terrorist attack against a sovereign nation (yes, I realize I just wrote that and I feel dirty here for doing so, because of North Korea’s disgusting history of human rights abuses).

Finally, a character profile came from Grantland today on Don King, the boxing promoter.  In a Lion in Winter portrayal of the fiery and flashy promoter, his intelligence is unquestionable, his longing tangible, and his perceptions completely informed by the reality he crafted for himself.  This article hits on an amazing perspective: one person can be a great many different things at once.  He is a tyrant and bully, a fast talking charmer, a civil rights activist, a bigot, a crusher of bigots, &c.  He is a great man with a great many things, but is also a small nervous man.

I choose to present these as inspiration for stories for games of imaginative fiction because these are real world events that people may never get to experience and things that real world people very rarely do.  In each of these events and narratives there are more than enough angles for meaningful, impacting stories.  It is my hope that Cultura will be amble to allow the cultivation of a mentor-student relationship that frays due to the student’s hubris over his ravenous success, be host to politicians and conglomerates that do all they can to shelter their secrets from the public eye whether for their profit or to skirt around the rules, to contain organizations whose actions are generally under speculative regard such as Anonymous, and to have a diverse and wide character such as Mr King whose history and story is open for interpretation.  These are the essences of great stories found in the real world, and these are the reasons why news can be so interesting.  You do not have to travel to Krynn, Abeir-Toril, Azeroth, or Middle Earth to find interesting events, people, and narratives.  And, you can craft them easily by relying off emotion.

 

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Geekery of the Day: Movies and Music

For those of you whom enjoyed the original Evil Dead, the remake will soon be unleashed upon us.  Deadspin’s Grierson and Leitch have reviewed the movie (article here).  Critically, the original movies weren’t great.  Even Army of Darkness, ever beloved by the nerd crowd, was not that great a movie.  Yet, it inhabits a place in our hearts.  Generally positive, that review gives me hope that this remake will mean something, especially in that it was blessed by Sam Raimi and Bruce “The Chin” Campbell.

Also, it’s another day, and it’s another Shining song.  This time it’s Blackjazz Rebel.  Enjoy the new song through this link. Short bursts of songs these have been without long pieces.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Art, Geek, Goofballery, Music

 

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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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Diurnal Aural Experiences: Shining’s Fisheye

Enjoy the craziness of it.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Art, Geek, Music

 

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