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  1. My biggest gaming mis-step was in Shenmue, in which I got stuck as a Japanese docker for ~18 months.
  2. American Movie appeared on my account the other day. I watched Chris Smith's most recent film, Collapse, a couple of weeks back, which I thought was very good. A feature length interview about the doom coming about around the world, all of which - according to the world view of the subject - can be traced to the passing of peak oil. It's a fairly frightening picture that emerges. I thought the interview was very good and the film seemed reasonably balanced as well - a bit like an Adam Curtis film if there was someone occasionally saying "Really?". I watched a couple of other documentaries which I thought were also very good: Sweetgrass - which is lyrical, no-narration film showing a great many sheep being driven across Montana, and Last Train Home, which is about a family in China where the parents moved to the city to find work, leaving their young children in the care of grandparents. It follows them for a couple of years, showing the mad rush of new year, where 130 million people try to get home to their families. One of those films that I felt gave an insight into other people's lives which I really didn't have.
  3. First I've seen of this since a story about the similarities to a web series which was being adapted for Comedy Central Studios (Puppet Rapist/The Fuzz). Procedural police drama, murder investigation, jokes about puppet-human racism, and a great line from a puppet prostitute asking a man "do you want to get a bit of lint on your dick?". I remember reading the Twitter feed of the lad who runs the production company at the time, and he seemed pretty gutted about the experience. The Fuzz got aired as a five part web series on Atom, and it was pretty good. Be interested to see this one when it comes out. http://www.cultureblues.com/2010/10/puppet-wars/
  4. Say what you will about Tim Rogers, but he's made a good, addictive game. I'm already fostering a fair old Ziggurat habit. A frantic shooter that balances aim, timing, and assessing the advancing threats in a pretty satisfying way. Good explosions, & a touch controls which don't get in the way of what you're doing. You are at a fixed point on top of the ziggurat, and swipe along the bottom of the screen to arc your gun. Hold to charge; release to fire; kill alien freaks with your bouncing bombs.
  5. Super Crate Box iOS is due out tonight. I just tried to buy it (69p) but the App Store said it's being 'modified' - Vlambeer's Twitter says it'll be ready in a couple of hours, so I'll give it a go in the morning. I don't know what the reality of it will be. I never found the original to be frustrating and was always happy enough to die over and over. So long as that doesn't change with touch controls, it should be a nice little game to have.
  6. Here are some videos from my votes in the albums of the year thread. I've not heard all that much this year, and there are surely some records that I've not heard that could expect to figure here. Probably shows to a fair degree what I've been reading this year as much as anything else (i.e. The Quietus and a few online shops' blogs). 01 - The Caretaker - An empty bliss beyond this world http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQid4ue9hYU Oh, they knew how to write a melody back then! One that would stick in your mind even through the most debilitating horrors that a human can experience. I've listened to this more than anything this year and it's my favourite thing in a long time. The subscription to History Always Favours The Winners was the best money I spent all year. 02 - Micachu & the Shapes and the London Sinfonietta - Chopped & Screwed A bit grimey and dirgey, this one, but not at the expense of songs, rhythms and textures. Got a Glenn Branca style mix of post punk and minimalist composition. 03 - Dirty Beaches - Badlands Conjures up images of crooning, biker gangs and switchblades, because it sounds like most of the music you know that deals in crooning, biker gangs and switchblades: The Shangri-Las, Roy Orbison and Suicide. 04 - The Advisory Circle - As The Crow Flies I've had a few of their records in the past but this is the first one I've really liked - more expansive, less bitty, deeper grooves, and delving properly into a perfectly constructed mix of Alan Howarth horror synth and krautrock. 05 - Leyland Kirby - Eager to tear apart the stars The Intrigue & Stuff eps were maybe the best Leyland Kirby moments from a prolific year, but this record has its glistening high points like the stars in the firmament. It's totally melodramatic - a kind of stadium ambient - but it's still really honest and affecting. 06 - Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972 I just love the sound of this - so many waves and rhythms playing around eachother. Great headphones record. The first few listens I was just enjoying the techno rushes that come off it in a broad, full-bodied kind of way. It wasn't til I got really stoned one night in the summer and heard it in a totally different way, with all the intricate patterns starting to make a lot of sense. 07 - Frivolous - Meteorology Apparently this record was made during a time of personal tragedy for the dude, so it's a techno break-up record - but being a techno record, it's isn't all lumpen and sad-sacky. S'Got a good beat. 08 - Fourth World Magazine - The Spectacle of Light Abductions http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRlhF7thOIk Dude from the Skaters. Loads of things going on all over it - loops, synths, samples, so you kind of listen to the edges where they all meet. A triumphant mess. 09 - Phaedra - The Sea This one came out in January but I only heard it this month; I get the feeling that it would creep up my list if I was more familiar with the songs. In the realm of Joanna Newsom and Susanna & the Magical Orchestra - that is to say: some kind of Narnia full of female singers. 10 - Azari & III - Azari & III I wonder if I like this lot because of what they bring to mind as much as for their own tunes. There's the big singles on this record which have been around for a couple of years now, but they still sound good to me. It's just alluring, sexy Chicago-style house.
  7. 01 - The Caretaker - An empty bliss beyond this world 02 - Micachu & the Shapes and the London Sinfonietta - Chopped & Screwed 03 - Dirty Beaches - Badlands 04 - The Advisory Circle - As The Crow Flies 05 - Leyland Kirby - Eager to tear apart the stars 06 - Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972 07 - Frivolous - Meteorology 08 - Fourth World Magazine - The Spectacle of Light Abductions 09 - Phaedra - The Sea 10 - Azari & III - Azari & III
  8. For the past weeks, some folks I know have been viewing one of the 72 banned films on the original list and writing about it. It's a neat little blog - one of the pair really knows his stuff about all manner of horror and exploitation cinema (gives a good overview of the film, some comment on the history of the prosecution, and some musings on where each title fits into the wider continuum of horror films); the other is more of a hobbyist and gives general impressions. Not having seen the vast majority of these films, it's interesting to get an insight. They're 5 films in right now, having last watched Don't Go Into The Woods. http://wecando72.blogspot.com/ Definitely keen to watch Moral Panic now, or the one Decider linked to up there.
  9. New one from Factory Floor coming out on DFA. Lovely bubbling, spiraling bass line - first tune in a little while that's made me want to go out for a blurry night out.
  10. Sofie Grabol was on Newsnight earlier in the week. I don't remember if this is the entire clip, and it doesn't go all that deep, but there's a few interesting thoughts on Sara Lund. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-15532611
  11. I was being a little glib to use the term - there aren't many unspeakable, lingering ghosts of Marxism spooking around the Beach Boys oeuvre! - but I do think it can be a pretty useful idea outside of literary criticism, and provides a reasonable analogue for Smile (& maybe more so for Smiley Smile?), which are records that (to my ears at least) aren't necessarily fully present in the moment: they're charged with that quality of inescapable, spectral longing to them - both for a past that didn't quite happen and a future that can't possibly be. When I listen to these songs, whilst I can hear them on their own terms... as documents of time spent in a studio in 1966, trying to make great pop music, now remastered and released in 2011... they come so loaded with tales and possibilities of what might have been that I find it interesting to explore an alternative, slightly more fantastic reading. As Derrida spoke of the ghost of Marx haunting Western society, Lo! the ephemeral glimpse of the non-existent finished album looms over these recordings! </pseud's corner> Anyhoo... favourite BB album is a tricky one, and has changed over time. Pet Sounds has been massive throughout my life, and I found so much in there of what seem like universal truths; but as I've got older it strikes me that a lot of what's happening on that record is a portrait of a young man on the cusp of maturity, but still prone to naivety and fucking things up. I still love it with all my heart, but maybe I just don't want to identify with it so strongly any more..? So these days I tend to go a little either side of PS, for either Summer Days and Summer Nights (esp. side 2) or Wild Honey - although I think Sunflower may have my favourite uninterrupted run of awesome songs from Deirdre to Cool Cool Water. </pseud's corner again>
  12. I was always surprised by what a coherent album could be made from the various recordings which exist - and I listen to them so much more than I ever did the 2004 version. It's really good to hear hi fidelity versions of warbled and hissy tracks that I've grown so familiar with, and the session stuff that I've never heard before is nice to add extra layers to the record. It's not my favourite Beach Boys album, but I think it's totally unique, and the fact that so many iterations exist - none of which can ever be definitive - makes it all the more fascinating: turns it into one of the great works of postmodernism and a hauntological masterpiece!
  13. The various, willfully odd shows by Aerick Duckhugger on KAOS Radio in Olympia - currently in the form of the Trembling Timber Lounge - have certainly had their moments. His style is a little Twin Peaks-y: part Pacific Northwestern folksy charm; part 1950s horror compendium show. The music veers in a collage of plundered Country and Western, hip hop, exotica to noise rock - often overlapping. No phone-ins (although there are mandatory community announcements read out in the shows, which provide the juncture between the real and strange worlds) but it's pretty dead-on what you described otherwise. I still have mp3s of some old shows from a few years ago where he took submissions. There was a videogame special which was pretty cool - I don't know if anyone accidentally tuned in as they were driving through Washington state that night, but I love to imagine that the sound of me playing Qix accompanied a Great American Roadtrip for 15 minutes.
  14. I'm playing Ready Steady Bang, which is a very nicely put together cowboy standoff themed reaction-test game. 1 or 2 players, with a cowboy at each end of the screen and a countdown in the middle, which cycles through Ready - Steady - Bang: at which point you tap your half of the screen to draw. I'm playing 1 player at the moment, and I' worried that I've reached my physical limit at ~0.230s draw speed. The last outlaw in the game has a reaction time of 0.150s! One time I managed 0.07s but I think that was a slip of the thumb. http://rsbang.com/
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