Archive for the ‘other people’s art’ Category

field recording is more than it used to be

This is a good article on field recording. I don’t mean that in a technical sense of the mechanics of field recording – it’s not a DIY or howto article – but in the aesthetics and the artistic intent.

Here’s an example track they included; it’s really neat. Give it a listen.

65 woman-fronted metal bands Decibel can’t bother talking about

This is kind of a guest post, a sharing – with permission – of a list of female-fronted metal bands that Decibel magazine can’t seem to bother talking about. It was assembled specifically in response to both an older article ranking bands, and a more recent idiotic article claiming that “social justice warriors” are destroying the underground metal scene. (Other metal magazines and websites are not impressed either. See also.)

So, courtesy Ian, let’s go down this list of 65 female-fronted metal bands of at least equal quality to their d00d counterparts. Why don’t you know the majority of them? Editorial choice. Period.

From A to F we have: After Forever (symphonic metal, Netherlands), The Agonist (metalcore, US), Amaran (power metal, Sweden), Amberian Dawn (symphonic metal, Finland), Angtoria (blackened symphonic metal, Sweden), Arch Enemy (death metal, Sweden/Germany), Asrai (gothic metal, Netherlands), Astarte (all female black metal, Greece), Ava Inferi (art/doom metal, Portugal), Battle of Mice (post-metal, US), Battlelore (power metal, Finland), Beautiful Sin (power metal, Belgium), Benediction (gothic metal, UK), Birthday Massacre (Hot Topic metal, US), Blood Ceremony (doom, US), ChthoniC (black metal, co-vocals, Taiwan), Delain (pop-gothic metal, Netherlands), Diathra (doom/gothic metal, Belarus), Doro (power metal, Germany), Eyes Set to Kill (metalcore, US), Eths (nu metal, French), Epica (gothic progressive metal, Netherlands) Evanescence (pop-goth metal, US), Eyes of Eden (symphonic metal, Germany), Fairyland (symphonic speed metal, France)

F to L: Firebrand Super Rock (heavy metal, Scotland), Forever Slave (symphonic gothic metal, Spain), Gallhammer (terror-doom/black/crust metal, Japan) The Gathering (Progressive metal, Netherlands), Holy Moses (thrash, Germany), Kittie (alt.metal, Canada), Flyleaf (nu metal, US), Hammers of Misfortune (doom, US), Iwrestledabearonce (spazz metal, US), I:Scintilla (industrial rock/metal, US), In This Moment (metalcore, US), Jarboe (unclassifiable, US), Jex Thoth (extreme doom, US), Julie Christmas (alternative metal, US), Kylesa ( female guitar/ vocals, sludge, US), Lacuna Coil (pop/death metal, Italy), Landmine Marathon (death metal, US), Leaves’ Eyes (symphonic metal, German-Norweigan), Lita Ford (glam metal, US), Ludicra (shared-vocals/black metal, US),

And finally, M to W: Madder Mortem (progressive metal, Norway), Made Out of Babies (post-hardcore/noise metal, US), Melencolia Estatica (one-woman black metal, Italy), Nashville Pussy (camp peckerwood metal, US), Nightwish (symphonic metal, Finland), Octavia Sperati (gothic/doom, Norway), Otep (nu/feminist art metal, US), Penumbra (gothic-progressive metal, France), Pythia (heavy metal, UK), Rolo Tomassi (mathcore, UK), Saros (death/doom, US), Sirenia (symphonic metal, Finland), Subrosa (unclassifiable, US), The Devil’s Blood (Satanic classic metal/rock w/ female vox, Netherlands), The Project Hate MCMXCIX (Sweden, melodic death/art metal), Tristania (symphonic doom/goth metal, Norway), Unsun (pop-goth-metal, Poland), Within Temptation (symphonic metal, Netherlands), Walls of Jericho, metalcore, US).

You’re welcome.

three-gear meshes that actually work

A nice little bit of fun on Friday. You’ll see, pretty often, illustrations of gears for some sciencey or engineering-invoking illustration or logo, and they’ll be all shiny and pretty and stuff, right?

Problem is, those gears can’t turn. They’re wedged together. Play with it in your head, you’ll see one gear is forced to turn in two directions at the same time, and of course can’t.

So Numberphile – who has a youtube channel – decided to come up with some three-gear systems that actually work. They’re really cool. Enjoy:

what the hell is wrong with me

There’s a webcomic called Dumbing of Age that I like quite a lot (I have all the books and supported the latest Kickstarter) and search for “tiny baby hand” in today’s strip’s comments and that might explain:

…but, y’know, no promises. XD

some reading and listening material

Two interesting bits I saw online, posted for your enjoyment:

1. The Dark Art of Mastering Music, a neat article on the subtle art of mastering an album, and, linked from that article, you’ll find:

2. Sequential alternating of a song from Metallica’s Death Magnetic track, “That Was Just Your Life,” as released on CD and from elements released for Guitar Hero. To my mind, this comparison actually makes the CD version sound less out of control (and relatively less bad), by not levels matching the vocals against each other. But even this way, you can see how the Loudness War mastering makes everything kind of horrible once you get past the instinctive “loudness is better” first impression.

I mean seriously, look at this. DYNAMIC RANGE WHAT IS DYNAMIC RANGE?

Honestly, what a mess. The CD version of the waveform looks like a sausage. I’ve told the mastering engineers I’ve worked with: don’t do this, I don’t want it. And while I do tend to mix loud (particularly on ragier tracks like Pee Police) I simply do not play this game.

I’m hoping the slow decline of the earbud (and the rise of over-the-ear bluetooth headsets) will bring this – the Loudness War – to an end.

It may only mean something to the music wonks reading, but I don’t even run a compressor on the master bus. I do run a look-ahead limiter, to prevent the occasional spikes – which can result from my lack of over-reliance on compression – from clipping, but that’s a completely different animal. If it’s kicking in enough to notice it doing so, I consider myself to have screwed up the mix and go back and fix it.

But what do I know, they’re the ones actually making a living at this – somehow – while I’m all here with my day job. XD

aw yeah this is the raw stuff – captain z-ro and colonel bleep

Due to reasons, I’m scanning my old science fiction club’s old newsletters, and one of them mentioned a series called Captain Z-Ro, which the editor watched as a kid, and nobody else seemed to remember existing.

Thank you, Internet Archive.

This is the hard stuff. I am serious, this is kind of amazing. Not good, don’t get that idea, but… wow.

Captain Zero’s Laboratory

Captain Zero in his lab. Golly!

See also: Colonel Bleep. I kind of unironically like some of the design in Colonel Bleep but wow it’s not good either. XD But at the same time, they’re both swimming in that weird retro cliche charm. If Sparks Nevada, Marshall on Mars had actually been a period TV show, it would’ve looked kind of like this.


I’ve only got a single day pass for ECCC this year, I thought I had other things going on and I didn’t – well, I kind of do, but not exciting fun show things, the most fun I’m having is building a special pickup for the octave mandolin so I can loan it to some else for a show. Maybe I’ll maybe talk more about that later.

BUT! I’m going tomorrow. I’ll be 1990s Shadowcat, if all goes well, as I have no reason to believe it shouldn’t. I had a Shadowcat costume back in the way, but I haven’t worn it in years for Reasons, and also I’m making it better, so that’s fun.

So, yeah – ECCC Saturday! I hear rumours of a PDX Broadsides ninja show. See you there!

rip sylvia anderson (1927-2016)

okay, now 2016 can suck it. Sylvia Anderson is dead.

In the States, everybody knows Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, but the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson collaborations spanned decades as well, new series after new series, some of the most amazing, crazy, quirky, modernist epic madness you’ve ever seen.

And the thing is – because sexism, everybody thinks of Gerry as the only mad genius, but I got news, he wasn’t. Sylvia was slugging right in with him. She had a career after they broke up. And the important part, the part people don’t know unless they dig into all this, is…

Sylvia was the one who made their worlds work. She was the one who sold you on their modernist futures, who put the pieces together so they breathed, and even when it was the supermarionation (puppet) shows – no, especially when it was the puppet shows – it was her aesthetic that made them live.

Thunderbirds without Sylvia, without Lady Penelope? Impossible. Captain Starlet without the Angels? Ha!

Yeah, you want to see the difference Century 21 shows with and without Sylvia? Compare series one of Space: 1999 with series two. That’s when they separated, between those two years. They were already fighting pretty badly in year one, so it’s not always their best work, but I will goddamn well stack up “Voyager’s Return” or “Dragon’s Domain” or “Mission of the Darians” against anything that came out of Star Trek and look pretty goddamn good, thanks.

And then look at the train wreck that is Series 2 and know, that’s without Sylvia. Don’t discount her. Ever.

And now she’s gone. Not, I suppose, “before her time,” even though she was still working as a voice actress last year. She was turning 89 later this month; that’s where you really start to lose even the more durable of people.

But I don’t have to like it.

So long, Lady P. Thank you. It’s been marvellous. Well done. Well done.

eta: I made my Tumblr blog a Sylvia Anderson fan blog for the day. Here are the posts. I may add more.

i love this side of the spoiler wall

Anna and I had a big worldbuilding session last night. Well, not so much worldbuilding – more world plotting, for The Free Court of Seattle book three, the follow up for Faerie Blood and Bone Walker.

A nontrivial chunk of the “how things work” this time is coming from me. I have solved multiple major problems here. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not a prose writer. I’ve tried; I’m not good at it. But I can certainly make lives difficult for characters and I can certainly figure out how to make it make sense; I am serving as executive producer in charge of fucking shit up for Anna’s characters here, and I love it.

And the best part is, see… the last album, Bone Walker – we’ve been calling it the soundtrack for the series, but people assume it’s really for the first two books, since that’s what’s out. And I’m quite sure readers who listen to “Something’s Coming” think it’s about the start of Faerie Blood, book one. We encouraged that a little bit, I admit, putting it at the start of the album.

But the reality is, these assumptions are wrong. “Something’s Coming” in particular is serving multiple masters. I’ve been saying “thematic spoilers ahead” since the beginning. I’m pretty sure that washes off people, but you’ll find out how much foreshadowing I did in book three – and how much of a “related work” (in the Hugo sense, as in eligible this year, aheh) Bone Walker (the album) really has been.

I cannot wait for that to happen.

I mean, obviously, I have to – wait, I mean – because Anna’s only in outline mode now. But… yeah. I know how this all goes down, you don’t, sorry. This is gonna be so great. 😀

also just caught up on venture brothers

Hey, if you haven’t been paying attention to the new year of The Venture Brothers, I just want to do you the favour of telling you to get back on that, because, no lie, they haven’t had writing this tight in forever. The move to New York, the fleet of new characters, the unforced but substantial shakeup of scenario have worked wonders. It’s not that it’s a different show, it’s not even going back to the show it was in 2003-2005, it’s more… a much-needed natural evolution for the better.

I don’t want to get into spoiler commentary in the main post, but Anna and I are actively making fan theories about what’s going to happen next, and making guesses about characters and character development, which is just… something which has not been a feature of this show for a while. I was a little worried by a couple of short scenes at the very beginning, but so far my fears have turned out to be totally unfounded.

Plus, they’ve got their dialogue patter magic back again. After the first two brilliant years, that did undergo – let’s face it – a bit of a decline. The production woes didn’t help anything, and the decision to spend a whole series writing about “beautiful failure” was, perhaps unsurprisingly, not a success.

I mean, don’t get me wrong – the show did improve generally after the lows of series three, which was mostly a write-off. (That awful episode where Dr. Venture wants to capture a gorilla to sell to a circus or something, mid-third-year? That’s the nadir right there, the “And the Children Shall Lead” of Venture Brothers. Just unwatchable.) Series four took real steps up back out of that pit, and there were very good episodes later in the run – “The Silent Partners” and “Pomp and Circuitry,” for example, and “Everybody Comes to Hank’s” is a standout. And series five started to get back into the swing of things, started to work pretty well out the gate.

But this is the year they’ve broken through, back to that level of excellence they showed the first two runs. This is a series where they’re just firing on all cylinders all the time. It started with last year’s single-episode hour-long special, “All This and Gargantua-2,” which succeeded on every level, and it’s been chugging full steam ahead ever since.

So – yeah! If you lost track of the show during the rights fight and the time in the wilderness, now’s a very good time to catch up. Start with “All This and Gargantua-2,” because it’s excellent, and because it should get you on the ground running for what’s going on now. And enjoy.

I have missed this show. Not just The Venture Brothers – I mean this writing, this level of The Venture Brothers. It’s so nice to have it back.

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