Friday, December 17, 2004

Earthtone, I take it all back...

I sit down to play last night and was amazed. I don't know what happened, but I am completely sold on the heads now. It appears that the 72 hour "settling" period is no joke. Three days later, those things sound incredible. But it is not just the sound... they feel so good to play on, and they do not have that plastic "wap" stick attack that I hate so much. On the one hand, I am absolutely thrilled. On the other, though, this is no good at all. These four drumheads cost $100. Their plastic equivalent can be had for less than half that. And I know that I am going to jump off the cliff and put these on the other sides of all my drums as well! Let's figure that up real quick like, shall we:



small kit:



8" tom = $18.99

10" tom = $19.99

12" tom = $24.99

12" snare = $24.99

18" bass = $44.99



large kit:



12" tom = $24.99

13" tom = $26.99

16" tom = $39.99

14" snare = $29.99

22" bass = $59.99



Total = $315.90



Keep in mind, that is only for one side of each drum. Outfitting the resonant sides as well pushes us to $631.80.



$631.80!



Now, to put that in perspective, my small drumkit was $350 new, and my large kit was $400 used. Remember also, that each of those heads will need replacing eventually, too. Lordy! what have I begun?!!



[Listening to: Public Pervert - Interpol - Antics]

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Meanderings...

This is an interesting way to mark time. I cold swear I wrote my game list a week or so ago, but then I realise that Rod has been down twice in that time and it starts to stretch a bit. Moving on...



For the better part of two years I have put off buying Earthtone drumheads, which, because they are made from goatskin, were rumoured to have a sound long forgotten to the modern drummer and his newfangled plastic. I bit hard this week and ordered some. Unsurprisingly, they sound like: plastic drumheads. Only the smallest tom has a nuance I had not detected before. Perhaps a nice surprise will be waiting for me when I get home and they are, after 24 hours or so, acclimated to my home. Anything's possible.



On that same order, I bought the second two tape bank collections for my M-Tron. I am more pleased with these, but the differences between many of the tapes are subtle to the extreme. The newly recorded choirs, however, are magnificent.



Pantera was never a band I listened to much, although I liked what I heard. Events of the past week have caused me, and a few million others, to reassess their body of work. If, now that he has been murdered, Darrell Abbott becomes the sort of legend that those who die in their prime usually become, at least his talent backs it up. Does it ever.



[Listening to: Neurotica - King Crimson - Beat]

Saturday, November 20, 2004

When a hobby becomes a sickness, part one...

Video game consoles (and respective games) currently owned, in chronological order:



Atari 2600 - Armor Ambush, Donkey Kong, Pole Position, Asteroids, Entombed, Football, Ghostbusters, Jungle Hunt, Missile Command, Pac Man, Star Raiders, Raiders of the Lost Ark, River Raid, Robot Tank, Space Attack, Space Invaders, Demon Attack



Nintendo Entertainment System - Defender of the Crown, The Battle of Olympus, Goonies II, Star Voyager, Little Nemo in Dreamland, Rygar, Dragon Power, Fester's Quest, The Empire Strikes Back, The Legend of Zelda, Ikari Warriors, Star Tropics, Contra, Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, The Simpsons Bart vs. the World, Kirby's Adventure, Shadowgate, Castlevania, Star Wars, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, Metal Gear II: Snake's Revenge, Excitebike, Mega Man



Super Nintendo - F-Zero, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World, Super Mario All Stars, Frogger, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Castlevania IV, Super Tennis, Super Bomberman 2



Gameboy, Super Gameboy, Gameboy Pocket, Gameboy Advance SP, Gameboy Player - Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge, Metal Gear Solid, Super Ghouls'n'Ghosts, Namco Museum, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Paperboy, Legend of the River King, Metroid II: The Return of Samus, Harvest Moon GBC, Tetris, Tetris Blast, Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters, Dr. Mario, Bust-A-Move 2: Arcade Edition, Arcade Classics 3: Galaga/Galaxian, Konami Collector's Series: Arcade Advanced, Advance Wars, Golden Sun, Phantasy Star Collection, Super Monkey Ball Jr., F-Zero: Maximum Velocity



Sega Saturn - Virtua Fighter 2, Daytona USA, Bootleg Sampler, Virtua Cop, Nights Into Dreams, Panzer Dragoon, Panzer Dragoon II Zwei, Enemy Zero, Albert Oddyssey



Sony Playstation - Bust-A-Move, Namco Museum Volume 1, Namco Museum Volume 3, Parappa The Rapper, Um Jammer Lammy, Clock Tower, Nanotek Warrior, Alundra, Bushido Blade, Thousand Arms, Tail of the Sun, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Resident Evil Director's Cut, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3 Nemesis, Silent Hill, Tecmo's Deception, Kagero Deception II, Xenogears, Gran Turismo, Ten Pin Alley, Road Rash, Final Fantasy Chronicles, Final Fantasy Origins, Fear Effect, Arcade's Greatest Hits, Arcade's Greatest Hits/The Midway Collection 2, Arcade's Greatest Hits/The Atari Collection 2, Interactive CD Sampler Pack Volume 3, Interactive CD Sampler Pack Volume 5, Wipeout XL, No One Can Stop Mr. Domino, Metal Gear Solid, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Crash Bandicoot, VRGolf '97, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, Star Ocean The Second Story, Norse By Norsewest, Medal of Honor, Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror



Nintendo 64 - Waverace 64, F-Zero-X, Space Station Silicon Valley, The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64



Nintendo Gamecube - Soul Caliber II, Donkey Konga, Mystic Heroes, Hitman 2 Silent Assassin, Batman Vengeance, Resident Evil, Resident Evil 0, Resident Evil Code: Veronica X, Crazy Taxi, The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, Second Sight, Eternal Darkness Sanity's Requiem, Donald Duck Goin' Quackers, Prince of Persia The Sands of Time, Mega Man Anniversary Collection, Beyond Good & Evil, Hunter the Reckoning, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II Rogue Leader, Star Wars Rogue Squadron III Rebel Strike, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, The Legend of Zelda Collector's Edition, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Bloodrayne, Skies of Arcadia Legends, Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance, Metroid Prime



My PC game collection may dwarf this. It will be interesting to see. For me, at least.



[Listening to: Os Iusti [Gradual (Modo I)] - Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos - Chant]





Friday, November 19, 2004

Happier times.

It's just too much work not to smile when this disco groove hits...



[Listening to: Nice - Duran Duran - Astronaut]

melancholy music.

[Listening to: Sometimes I Wish - Colin Hay - Peaks & Valleys]

[Listening to: Therapy/Growth - Thomas Dolby]

Friday, November 12, 2004

soul sucking at its finest...

The rise in tribute bands disturbs me, even if I enjoy the performances themselves. The fact that the largest acts in this town are cover bands, and that such acts seem to be the new growth industry nationwide is pathetic. I don't begrudge people making a living playing music, but I wonder how you can spend your life playing other people's songs and really call yourself a musician... Playing covers was the least amount of fun I've had in a band, and that involved maybe two or three a night. I would rather work on my own music and not play out, than play other people's music to a bunch of drunk assholes... and so I do.



[Listening to: Sartori In Tangier - King Crimson - Beat]

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

LPs and such...

I am considering a turntable, because the older I get, the more music I want that never made it to CD or even cassette. I hate vinyl, and have no sentimental attachment to the irritating pops and scratches that make some people so nostalgic for some bygone era. I would much rather the record companies get off their collective asses and digitize their back catalogs. Their COMPLETE back catalogs. The sad truth is, the bulk of that work is probably already destroyed or beyond repair, given that I have bought CDs that sound as though they are converted from the original wax disc. This needs to be done. Living in a world where the only music readily available is the fucking Beatles and a small percentage of those that came after is a scenario that depresses me beyond belief.



[Listening to: Field Work (Tokyo Mix) - Thomas Dolby and Ryuichi Sakamoto]

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Thomas Dolby

Ten years or so ago, I bought his greatest hits on a whim. It sat on a shelf for a while. One night, I put it on and just let it play while I was reading. About midway through Budapest By Blimp, it had my full attention. Have you ever liked a song and wished it would not end? I was in love with this song, and it happened to last a wonderfully atmospheric eight minutes and 39 seconds. The connection was made.



A decade later I have all of his studio albums and most of the rarities. The rarest stuff never made it off vinyl, so tracking them down has not been fun, but well worth it all the same. Every album offers something a little different, and a nice portrait of where he was at the time. This is the very rare instance of someone moving forward with each release, but injecting each with adventure and personality. All the more regretful that he only has four true studio releases, and has put out no original music for ten. His departure from music took place the year I discovered him, strangely enough.



A few years ago, he released a live album recorded on his fortieth birthday. It is a quiet performance of a few of his favorite releases recorded in front of a group of friends with minimal accompaniment. From his voice you can tell he hasn't done this for a while, but I love the disc, and that just adds to its charm. That was 2002, so maybe he'll put something out soon. Probably not, but in the meantime, I'll continue my search through his back catalog, and hope that all of those will hit CD in my lifetime...



[Listening to: Valley of the Mind's Eye- Thomas Dolby - The Gate to the Mind's Eye]

Monday, October 18, 2004

America... FUCK YEAH!

Team America was entertaining, but there was a woman in the theater who brought her toddler for some reason. And they stayed for the movie's entire length. I can only surmise from the evidence that this woman was a moron, but who's to say? The previews shown were also kid friendly things like Lemony Snickett and Sponge Bob. I guess I understand. I mean, it had puppets in it. It MUST have been for kids... granted, the humor was pretty juvenile, but I'd hate to know my little girl heard the word "cock" in a movie I willingly sat through with her. there's a time and a place for that, and it's called first grade.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Starless

Yesterday I sat with my guitar working on the solo to this one. It is pretty simple at first, a climb up the E string, then a cacophony of chords, then urgent stabs leading into insanity. Probably my favorite example of Fripp's playing by far. Also great atmospheric mellotron intro and outro.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Miserable

Allergy day. What fun, what fun. Trying to stay awake until four so I can go home and just pass out. I appreciate being able to breathe more than most people I think, given that it can be a rare occurrence some days. I probably should have stayed home from work, but if I did that the pollen would win. This song kicks oh so much ass. At least there's that.



[Listening to: Fly On A Windshield - Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway]

Monday, October 4, 2004

In the court of the crimson king...

This song means a lot to me. I was at Rod's the first time I heard it, on his King Crimson compilation cassette, which I managed to liberate, and still have. I know now that the unearthly sound that the song derives so much of its power from is in fact provided by the Mellotron, but at the time I was completely blown away by it. Blown away to the extent that I chased that sound from around 1992 until last year when I was able to acquire the VST version. So this song gave me my love of the Mellotron and introduced me to the power of this band. This is everything that band was in 1969 in a nutshell.



[Listening to: A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins - Empire Records Soundtrack]

Damn Kids!

To those who can't see the merits in games such as Galaga or Metroid... to those who can't sit down and play these games and just enjoy them for what they are... well, I feel sorry for you.



[Listening to: Crack Hitler - Faith No More - Angel Dust]

King Crimson

Making a compilation for a friend this weekend has forced me to approach this stuff yet again. Crimson is such an eclectic band. How to produce an introduction to their work that is representative?



Limiting myself to those works that feature horns is step one. That gives me a 5 year span, 1968-73, roughly. This is doable.



Step two is to feature the drumming of Michael Giles, so this narrows the scope further, to the first album, some live bits, and the recent schizoid band project. This makes things loads easier.



Finally, outside of these, what other songs mean the most to me and feature woodwinds? There is only one. Starless, from Red, with Bill Bruford on percussion.



In the end, nine tracks were chosen:



In the Court of the Crimson King

Catfood

21st Century Schizoid Man

Formentera Lady

Epitaph

I Talk to the Wind

Starless

Mars

The King Crimson Barbershop



Commentary on each will follow as time permits.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

goings on

Mom is staying with us for a few days. She is currently traveling about 29 days out of every month, so this is a nice interlude. We all met up with Tim for dinner yesterday and had a great time. Currently I am embroiled in two arguments: the first about the future of the presidency, the second about the merits of the game Galaga in modern times. I think both will effect the world at large in the same way. Not at all.



[Listening to: South Side of the Sky - Yes - Fragile]

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

So far so good...

Got a pic up, tunes listed... not bad for about 30 minutes of playing with this thing.



[Listening to: Closer to the Heart - Rush - Different Stages Disc 1]

Yet another test...





[Listening to: The Ability To Swing - Thomas Dolby - Forty]

#3

Let's see if the third time's the charm for my software test.



[Listening to: Screen Kiss - Thomas Dolby - Forty]

I like Mega Man, OK?

Well, after a couple years of not caring, I am slowly sliding back into a gaming vibe. I still need to pick up the Mega Man Anniversary thing, and I found out yesterday that there is MM RPG on the way... my poor, poor wallet. How it will ache...

Traffic

Today was awful as usual. I took a shortcut, which of course, ended up taking even longer than my usual route. Average commute: 40 minutes. Today's commute: 90 minutes. Gah. Such is life in Red Stick. An hour late for work, and my comp time is slowly nickel and dimed away once more...

Monday, September 20, 2004

Hello

It begins...