I Made An Album

You may have noticed how my online presence have been somewhat limited the past month or so. I apologise for this as it has been no intention to leave anybody in the dark as for my whereabouts. The truth is I have been neglecting my writing about games, music and such in order to make something of my own, which is now complete and ready for anybody to pass their judgement.

That thing is my new album Ooroo made under my weird moniker Imhotep Is Invisible which you can listen to right here:

What is it then? It’s six tracks totalling just under 50 minutes of ambient, electronic droning noise. I’ve always been a fan of dark ambient artists like Kammarheit, Raison d’Être and Sephiroth to name a handful and the footprints they left on me can surely be spotted in my work. I am a complete amateur and most of this is built up of sampling, distorting and feebly trying to create some sort of order in the chaotic. I’m not sure it worked but I’m still proud of the damned thing. I sincerely hope you’ll like it and if you didn’t notice it’s up for FREE download right now at this link. Listen and let me know what the hell you reckon!

Props should go out to my boys in Starship Amazing for letting me create an entire track solely out of various snippets and samples from their songs. That track is opener “Then They Handed You A Gun” and one of my own favourites. I hope they and you aren’t too fussed with my blasphemy.

So now I hope to return to some kind of semi-regular updating schedule. As I’m broke as a farmer with slim pigs, I won’t be able to buy, play and subsequently review many games in the near future, namely Portal 2, but I hope to be able to provide some sort of entertainment regardless. You lot deserve it.

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Korn And Skrillex Make Sweet Noise Together

In preparation for a new EP to be released in May, Korn and Skrillex are offering up their new single for free download and you can listen to the result above. Don’t be too surprised if this dubstep-laced metal cookie doesn’t go down too well with some puritanical fans, but it’s certainly surprising and refreshing to see the band try new things and new collaborators, especially considering how stale “Korn III: Remember Who You Are” turned out. It’s an impressive little neutron bomb with some characteristic weltschmerz for good measure and it could be an interesting new direction, if only a temporary one.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? – Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

DIOYY painted themselves into a bit of a corner with their brilliant debut “You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into” it seems. It was mad, jumping almost seamlessly from Daft Punkian house via guitar-heavy grime metal to melody-driven power-pop, often sounding like a split-LP made by four separate bands from vastly different musical backgrounds. And despite this, it still managed to avoid sounding fragmented or lacking identity. It was eclectic and it’s schizophrenic delivery made perfect sense in context. But where do you go when you’ve already gone everywhere at once?

It had to happen. They had to go nuts to go anywhere at all. Almost everything that made “You Have No Idea How Annoying These Long Album Titles Are To Type Out” so glamorously insane  and insanely good is still here in plentiful supply but it’s been hypercharged since last time. The beats are grimier, the riffs are heavier, the vocals are louder and the melodies are catchier. “Don’t Say…” is an intense experience to say the least, especially due to the causalities the production must have suffered in the Loudness War. Seriously, it sometimes hurts to listen to with headphones if you’re too careless with that volume knob. Everything is louder and bigger and grander and more monstrous than last time, and the only price was that the red thread holding all their disparate elements together snapped like a dead twig.

The heavy is heavier and the soft is softer and somewhere along the line the curtains seized to match the carpet, as it were. There is a good deal of decent songwriting here but you won’t find a “Dawn Of The Dead” or “We Are Rockstars” among this bunch, which would be an unfair comparison had the album retained the same sense of maniacal structure as its predecessor. As it is, it lacks the flow of a cohesive album and this forces the songs to stand up to scrutiny more on their individual merit than before, and they don’t quite measure up as well as hoped. “We Are The Dead“, “Pull Out My Insides” and the Prodigyesque “John Hurt” are proof as good as any that “You Have No Idea…” was no fluke, but I miss a few real stand-out “oh shit” moments. Everything’s a bit over-considered and under-cooked, but when it comes down to it, this is still a gratifying and fun album, just not as expertly crooked as their previous. Those second albums, eh?

Megan Amram And The Best Glee Audition Tape Ever

Not only is she an expert on stain removal and one of the funniest people on Twitter, Megan Amram is now surely a shoe-in as the next big talent to join the cast of Glee with this spectacular audition tape. If this doesn’t do it, surely nothing will.

Kaufman would be proud.

Soon You Can Buy Resident Evil 4 – Again!

Capcom is about to please a very particular type of fringe-demographic with their latest announcement: the people who still haven’t played Resident Evil 4. In fact, it’s fair to assume that most people who have played RE4 b4 have also bought it at least twice in any of its previous five dozen incarnations (or at least 10), considering the game was once called a “Gamecube exclusive”. I own it for the Gamecube, the Playstation 2 and the Wii, which is quite impressive for a game it took me two playthroughs before I stopped thinking it was a disappointment. Soon you will be able to buy it all over again for the 360 and PS3 with the impossibly diffuse title “Resident Evil Revival Selection HD Remastered Version.”

Yes, it’s a classic and yes, it could be quite nice to see it in HD and maybe get something out of the online capabilities, but apart from crisper graphics is there any real reason to pay money for this game again? It feels futile to further satirise Capcom and their eagerness to milk their successes, but surely even they must draw the line somewhere. RE4 is a great game, one of the greatest ever, but it was great when we lived it through on the microscopic TVs we had to suffer before HD rolled around and saved our eyes from screens smaller than a single atom cleft in twain.

And that’s not all! Be sure to stay tuned for the 3D version coming out in 2012, brining us a new dimension of fear.

Feeder Announce Charity Single For Japan

Feeder have just announced their intent to release a charity single called “Side By Side” in support of Japan following the recent earthquake and tsunami which has devastated the country. The single will be released digitally on the 27th of March and all proceeds with go to the rescue efforts. It is available for pre-order for a measly 79p in their online store and you can’t go wrong with the combination Feeder + charity, can you?

A snippet can be enjoyed right here:

A striking resemblance to Pushing The Senses/Silent Cry era Feeder there, abstaining from the misguided garage rock of Renegades is probably a good idea. Hopefully a good sign of what’s in store and a further review will probably follow. Besides, it’s for charity so it doesn’t really matter if it’s any good, as Michael Jackson and Band Aid have proved in the past.

Kinect Sports Wins A BAFTA (And By Extension, So Do I)

Yes, last night was the seventh annual British Academy Video Games Awards and Rare capped off the year with a BAFTA for Best Family Game for Kinect Sports, beating out other Kinect titles like Kinectimals and Dance Central. Some of you will be aware that Kinect Sports is also the game I spent most of last year working on in my first gig as a professional video game tester and thus I want to send huge congratulations to all my testing, programming, artworking, developing colleagues who I know worked themselves to the bone to get the game out on time and in such fine shape. It was a pleasure to struggle side by side and monitor by monitor with the lot of you and I can’t wait to do it all again.

The big winner of the night turned out to be Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain with 3 wins, while Mass Effect 2 took home Best Game. Sadly, my personal favourite Alan Wake did not get any of the three awards it was nominated for.

But I think we can all agree that, despite this, Kinect Sports was the best game of last year, if not the past decade. In fact, I believe we basically made all of video game production entirely obsolete, since we created something which can hardly be matched, let alone bettered. And I hope I don’t sound arrogant when I claim it’s basically all thanks to me and my testing. You’re all very welcome.

All the winners of the evening were:

Action: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
Artistic Achievement: God Of War III
Best Game: Mass Effect 2
Family: Kinect Sports
Gameplay: Super Mario Galaxy 2
Handheld: Cut The Rope
Multiplayer: Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
Original Music: Heavy Rain
Social Network Game: My Empire
Sports: F1 2010
Story: Heavy Rain
Strategy: Civilization V
Technical Innovation: Heavy Rain
Use Of Audio: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
BAFTA Ones To Watch Award: Twang!
GAME Award Of 2010: Call Of Duty: Black Ops
Academy Fellowship: Peter Molyneux

Another World Coming To iOS

Great news for fans of Eric Chahi’s classic platform adventure Another World – or Out Of This World if you’re a yank – as the title has been announced for a iOS release later this year. The game was originally released in 1991 and has previous been ported to over a dozen systems including the SNES, Commodore 64, Mega Drive, Atari ST and for mobile phones, although this is yet another great excuse to catch up on Lester Knight Chaykin and his adventures in, well, another world. As games for the iPhone and iPad has a tendency to control less than perfect when it attempts to emulate retro controls it might not be the ultimate conversion but the story and the timeless graphics should be enough to take the plunge into Chahi’s masterpiece once more.

Dare I say it is… out of this world?

Midsomer Murders Producer Gone Done Some Racism

Drowsy ITV1 family-friendly killfest Midsomer Murders have come under fire as its producer Brian True-May gallantly proclaimed it “the last bastion of Englishness” in an interview with Radio Times. It is a harsh statement and one which deservedly has lead to True-May being put on the naughty step by ITV bosses pending an “investigation,” and in the meantime the British public, hungry for some snoozy murder mysteries, can enjoy a new series of a show about white people walking around on grit, next to crops and stone churches.

So what about this True-May then? Even though he’s probably never even considered letter-bombing Lenny Henry, it’s probably not unreasonable to suggest that he harbours at least a fair pinch of resentment towards multiculturalism when makes use of a word such as “bastion” when talking about good ol’ England. A “bastion” refers to a defensive measure against an outside aggressor and clearly Midsomer with its indescribable murder per capita ratio is an apt representation of Englishness itself. He makes himself out as solely protecting this abstract concept of national identity against the foreign tides of blacks through the unorthodox, yet surprisingly effective, medium of producing an ITV murder drama. He defends his valiantly anti-PC comments as he is merely  “trying to make something that appeals to a certain audience, which seems to succeed,” but I dare say he slightly misfires his intentions a tad.

Midsomer Murders is a throwback to old style “little old lady investigates a murder”-dramas such as Poirot and Miss Marple to name the obvious influences. It’s no gritty, frightening Waking The Dead or The Killing by any stretch, but at it’s sloth-like pace it harkens back to a calmer time where every single murder was solved over a few cuppas and not using blood splatter patterns and profiling. It’s a nostalgia kick for some people and its appeal lies mostly in how quaint and immovably timeless the setting and its characters are, but to basically call his audience out as immigrant-fearing BNP-voters is probably a bit harsh. I guess there is something to be said for the historical accuracy that this nostalgic view containing mostly white people, just as there is a wholly reasonable argument in that there simply aren’t that many non-white people living on the English countryside. These are all arguments that could have been used to make roughly the same point, but True-May is not one to cower behind reason when expressing his xenophobic opinions. He is utterly devoted to the idea of Englishness as something vanishing and valuable that is being depleted in every facet of English society except for his prime-time slot on ITV1. He makes a show for white people longing for the days when you didn’t have to risk seeing darkies on the way to the cornershop and he’d be damned if that’s going to change.

True-May makes it evidently clear through his words that he sees non-whites as something inherently threatening and through his show he is showing a better place where they’re not part of the equation. He could defended the lack of ethnic diversity on the show in many ways, arguing against tokenism for one, but he chose to elevate himself and his product as a defensive fort that holds back the invading and damaging forces from abroad. ITV should not put in a few black people just for the hell of it if they don’t think it suits the show but I’d be surprised if we didn’t see a few black or Asian extras in a future episode now, which would both make sense but also be a patronising cheap way of getting away scot-free. Tokenism is just another form of racism after all, so that’s not the way to clear the air – ITV should be forced to think harder than that to fix this.

What  viewers are to make of this whole shebang is hard to say. Does this mean that Midsomer Murders is inherently racist because it doesn’t feature any ethnic minorities? I don’t believe it’s any more so than Fresh Prince was racist for not featuring any major white characters, except for some painfully embarrassing guest appearances. I believe some part of True-May and the rest of the production crew genuinely wanted to keep an authentic air to the show – y’know, the show were several people are murdered within 500 yards of each other every week – by portraying the English countryside pretty much as it is – that is, almost entirely white. It’s a stereotype and one some people find pleasing to return to every once in a while, but it should not be elevated to an ideal. It’s not a beautiful golden age now lost to the foreign masses; such a claim is as offensive as it is untrue.

Now, let’s all get back to enjoying some lovely murdering, together, as a family. That’s the English way.

A Podcast With Elbow/Rocky Vs Robocop

Apologies all around for the near-week of dead air but I’m afraid sickness and other unrelated stressed have rusted the cogs of the blog machinery. As I have been recovering I have been listening to my good friend Hannah Smart’s brilliant podcast The Lost Brigade. Originally started as a live radio show on Storm FM, it has now migrated to the no-studio boundaries of the internet in the form of a weekly dose of chat and music.

Last episode is themed around Elbow who just released their latest album Build A Rocket Boys! and it well worth listening to for anybody who is already a Garveyphile or anybody aspiring to be one. Earlier episodes are currently difficult to get but should be available for download soon.

Now that this bit of well-deserved nepotism is over, I leave you with the news that the brilliant Peter Serafinowicz is due to direct a music video for “Open Your Eyes” by Alex Metric & Steve Angello this Thursday and Friday and is looking for extras. Follow this PDF-link if you should be available in the London area and would like to see Rocky and Robocop battle it out. Who am I kidding – everyone wants to see that.

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