Pretentious, huh? That’s a big word.
What we ask of artists in 2013
- Work harder than everyone else.
- Be smarter than everyone else.
- Work for free.
I feel like you can only expect to get two of these at a time.
I’m going to have to actually write another review to do followups in the future. Oh no.
- This post by Ian F. Martin about language in music is pretty great. There was also this one on the idol/indie/noise crossover, which seems like the kind of thing I would be into but not so much in reality.
- Been thinking about that interview with Maynard James Keenan. Something about it bugs me. I feel like I’m giving him too much credit as a philosopher. I mean, the song “Stinkfist” is like, anti-fisting? Didn’t you think these guys were totally into fisting and wasn’t that part of the appeal? I can’t believe I let that go and simultaneously kinda let believers in nonsense off the hook. If you have to believe in “something” to be an artist, couldn’t that thing be fisting? I mean, if you’re doing it every weekend, maybe that’s kind of just a ridiculous hobby, but the first time you did it, you’d have to believe pretty hard that it was going to feel good. That’s faith.
I’m just saying artists should get some slack because their job makes no sense so you can’t expect them to be logical. Do not ask an artist who to vote for, or if you should get that thing on your back looked at. It’s not in their lane. They don’t even recognize the concept of lanes. Their job is to question the concept that they don’t even recognize. Who is “they” even. Indeed.
- That guy from Trail of Dead draws those crazy covers.
- The top 10 Shonen Knife songs by Michie post was updated when I discovered some songs I left out. I also fixed the youtube links so they do the popup thing.
- You don’t have to pay for Crunchyroll. There’s just no ads and it’s better quality if do.
- Billy Bragg keeps popping up; here’s a good talk about why Punk is/was exciting: “enthusiasm trumps musical dexterity”. That original idea of Punk is still good. If you’ve got an idea for a band you can start doing it “for real” the same goddamn day. Then it can evolve into something else. But there is no excuse, it’s even more true now.
- Bragg also had this to say on Spotify. Which I thought was interesting because it goes against other lefties who are arguing it from that position and Bragg has much more cred in that area and tends to know what he’s talking about. Personally I think the service will fail against something designed and marketed a lot better.
- And finally this Watt from Pedro Show w/ Joe Biaza gets into a discussion of the original, arty Punk vs. the youth oriented stuff that followed.
Went to see Mono, some pics on Instagram. Should do a post on it. In fact, I should bring back the live category. I can make a category on music theory and another on translation if I want. What’s to stop me? Column width? Probably. I’ll figure something out.
Going to see Slayer/Gojira tonight.
Also, if you’re taking the JLPT in Philly and/or going to the Punk Rock Flea Market any time in the the future probably maybe I’ll see you there. %
If anyone read this blog, I would have to remind them that this monthly meta series could end at any time. Like anything. But I could maybe review records instead. Hm, I just had some internal monologue on the subject. Don’t need to type that out at all. Felt pretty good. Yep.
Renamed the main tumblr. Just the title. After I changed the url I was keeping the old name for SEO purposes in case someone was googling for it after hearing the podcast. But I deleted the podcasts, and a spammer bought the old domain. So that’s that. Also, I got back into the reblog tumblr. I liked the design after all. There’s a few original posts here and there but I’m calling it the reblog tumblr because I’m trying to phase out reblogging on the main one. Probably not completely, but it goes weeks at a time of only reblogs, and it’s really thought out sequences of reblogs which is making me nuts and I don’t think anyone even notices it. The queue was over 100 at some points, unworkable. The Halloween thing I’m doing now I’m not doing again. Running out the queue to the end of the year.
Trying to clear out more old stuff. Working solo at the moment. Thought about changing the name of the band many times or starting a new one. I run into a lot of cool Japanese words or phrases when I’m studying that I think about using but then I look it up it’s always taken by some pretentious douchebags and then I think it’s the perfect name.
J-pop vs. Metal
I went through all the old posts and replaced any deleted videos. This was a lot harder to do in the blogspot version. On the sidebar of the site you’ve got the social link icons and a link (really several links) that takes you to random pages. If the podcast stays up with no problems it will likely continue. I was only going to take another short break again and do that every 10 episodes to make it something cohesive. But then October comes up and what, I’m gonna make it creepier? Better for people just to go back and listen again if they want their fix. Who wants to listen to new music they have never heard before on Halloween anyway?
Been thinking about mp3 rates. The first 9 eps used 128. Thought it was alright. Bass gets a little muddy. 10th used 320, wanted to see if it was clearer, which is is, but the file’s a little big. Used VBR after that. Seems like it would be best. I dunno. Reading this guys advice here but he thinks all mp3s sound terrible. (He’s talking about the rates for recording, not data compression, but I think a similar concept applies.) His other thoughts on digital recording are worth reading.
Shows vs. Shows
As a movie, Through the Never was a pretty great show. Never seen Metallica live, but people tell me that as they’ve drifted into MOR hard rock territory over the years with their new records, their mighty back catalog has also been dragged along into a watered-down mush. There was a lot of nonsense in this thing, but the sound of the band was definitely not an issue. It’s like 90% the classic sound—even the newer songs that are not that great sounded pretty good. And Trujillo is a great player. His whole crabwalking thing never seemed to fit, but it kinda did here. And he keeps Lars on time. The rest of the thing I am not even commenting on, but they put in a great performance.
I don’t know how much longer they can last like that, and they definitely don’t have another movie in them, but musically their performance here rescues their legacy quite a bit for me.
Oh my, oh no, one word is meaning more than one thing. Joined Crunchyroll on the 2-week free offer to watch all of Attack on Titan. Kinda loved it. Also watch the first eps of Kill La Kill. That show is pretty goofy but it’s fun. Notice both shows feature people gaining superpowers by cutting themselves AND unexplained amounts of steam?
I guess I’ll come back when I have $6 a month or whatever. They have dramas too. I haven’t torrented since before youtube so I haven’t seen most new stuff, just random clips. I do have Netflix, but they just cut off my streaming cause I’m on the cheapo 2-disc plan. Which is a fine plan.
Flickr vs. Instagram
Stopped paying for flickr because I don’t need more than a TB. Instagram is cool right now but they censor shit, or rather force you to censor shit or they delete you which is not cool, even tho I mostly post pictures of the sidewalk, but anyway, it’s gonna suck when they put in ads which is gonna happen soon. So I think flickr will get more social again after that if they don’t screw it up too.
Marc Maron vs. Mari Yaguchi
Both Marc Maron and Mari Yaguchi are having some personal problems. Yaguchi’s has forced her to retire. Maron’s has forced him back into heart-rending opening monologs which end hilariously. I really liked Mari’s TV work. I haven’t seen Maron’s TV work. Unless you count Remote Control. That was a long time ago. I am not happy about either of these things. I want Japanese celebrities to be able to fuck whoever they want. Within reason. I mean I guess that whole thing wasn’t right. No it wasn’t. But she should still be able to work. What I’m saying is these J-celebs have to live up to this impossible image or it’s over. Those fans won’t allow them to have a life that is not some version of perfect. But what if Marc Maron fans are doing the same but in reverse? Do we need Marc Maron to be miserable? Is he making his life miserable…for us? The thing is, those J-celebs, idols, whatever, don’t really need to be perfect. We just don’t need to find out about it. What I’m saying is, Marc Maron, ideally, I would like you to be happy. But you can keep that happiness under wraps, man. You’re our misery idol. We don’t need to know.
Maybe I never got over Jesus not being real.
^^^^^^^^^^This was just in my draft like that and I don’t remember how I was supposed to work it in.
Anki vs. Credit card
Still plugging away on Anki. Never updated my desktop version, which was 1.0, and it’s stopped working. But I got everything on the iPod. I think doing Anki everyday has organized my brain better, which is helping me pay off my credit card. Really tho? Or am i just over-committed to this list format I just came up with?
Japaneseclass.jp is also a great learning tool I just started using, which would fit better under the heading “Japanese learning tools” or something. The great thing about it is, after you know the language you can just sit around all day answering the questions you already know like these jerkoffs in the top ten.
Youtubes vs. Vimeo
I have two youtube accounts (1, 2) and one Vimeo account (1). I have uploaded some old concert footage. Some of them were uploaded years ago but they look a lot better now and the sound is synced. Learning more about video.
Admen vs. Artists
You know, there could be a set of of circumstances were maybe I would work in or with “The Ad World”. If this entire blog was about how I was trying to do this, repeatedly, desperately, I suppose it would be somewhat scandalous to call them all scumbags. Foolish, even. Ill-advised. Well, it’s not about that. And I don’t think I called them all scumbags. But, for example, if they were to pay me. If they were to pay me, in money, for work I considered reasonable, perhaps I would work with them. This has not occurred.
Look, I’m not really conservative about the definition of “Art”. You could take horse_ebooks, print it out, silkscreen it some nice 60lb. acid-free, frame it and hang it in a gallery and that’s Art. Of course, if you did do that before last month, hopefully it sold, because you now some totally worthless stock on your hands. Exactly zero people would buy such a piece for aesthetics alone, which in my opinion, makes it BAD ART. “Good” and “bad” are subjective, even on a consensus basis. But if you remove the judgement, what is and is not art is so slippery. Calling something “art” doesn’t elevate it in my opinion either, so there’s no reason to seek it out as validation. Parts of this whole horse_ebooks thing is in the art category, but when they try to take credit for this whole part they did not make that was not intended as art by the original creator and then try to retcon their intent into that, that is just bullshit. It’s like Duchamp taking his readymades from the art gallery to an industrial design show. You are plain saying something is something that it isn’t. Wait, that could be art. It’s like claiming you’ve done something that you haven’t. (Altho many professionals outsource or have uncredited assistants.) The famous quote is that art is whatever you can get away with, but this illustrates the danger of taking quotes seriously. Like the oft-cited “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” That’s about supplies! %
Been quiet lately.
Shallow Rewards deleted
J-pop vs. Metal is at rest, which may or may not be eternal. It could theoretically go forever, but it does take almost a whole day out of my week, and I will eventually run out of server space, and, if it was very popular, bandwidth, and, money because I would be sued. (It is not very popular.)
I have deleted all of the old talking podcasts from the server.
- The Requiem Metal podcast is still my favorite. Wish they did it more often, but it’s more about the depth they get into, so it’s worth it to go through all the old ones maybe multiple times.
- All of Benjamen Walker’s shows are great.
- The Metal Asylum is a really good show on Radio Valencia, which I think I found looking for the podcast version of the SubGenius show Ask Dr. Hal. But they’ve got a lot of good shows as podcasts. I’m stuck on this one right now tho, even tho it’s on hiatus or maybe done for good, but all those old shows are available. Some killer playlists.
- Hymns to the Dead Goddess is another Metal show on hiatus by another SubGenius, Popess Lilith. It features all bands with at least one female member. Maybe for more open-minded fans of the Female Fronted Heavy Metal project, it’s mostly more recent and more extreme stuff, mostly Death, Black and Grind. Some out-there experimental stuff too, love it.
- Vernon Reid & W. Kamau Bell tackle the question I dare not.
- I don’t always love everything on the It Came From Japan podcast but if you follow J-pop fandoms at all you hear so many crazy opinions and statements the most recent one was really good for my sanity.
- In Skeptics Guide to the Universe 424 they interview someone from the HuffPo which they’ve been really critical of. Which was fair, but I think that’s one of those things that’s alienated people. I think a lot of psudoscientific beliefs are a social or cultural thing where people don’t really believe them, but want to be the kind of person that does. I think they need to get more into the psychology of that. In SGU 426 they have a bit about Ayn Rand who I feel like was getting a pass before. Situation corrected.
- Boing Boing’s Gweek 111 had some interesting stuff about Mark Twain and Atheism.
I didn’t forget the Equinox postcard; I’m not doing it anymore. Only doing End of Year/New Years cards now, except for exchanges if anyone still does that. Email for address.
- The Grandmaster
I love Wong Kar Wai. I love Tony Leung. I love Bruce Lee. It’s a movie about Bruce Lee’s teacher in China starring Tony Leung. The pieces fit together even better than I thought they would. Seemed like a bit of a sellout move on WKW’s part to make a more or less straight up biopic that is more or less a straight up Kung Fu movie, but it works. Also Zhang Ziyi is still pretty cool. Why are people gonna pretend they don’t like Zhang Ziyi now? Almost half the movie becomes about her character and there’s less than a minute about Bruce Lee but it’s WKW so it just doesn’t matter.
- The Wolverine
Another movie with Japanese villainry. I just enjoyed this as a dumb action movie and how close Hugh Jackman (+cgi claws) got to looking like the comic book character. Didn’t work in every scene but it was pretty cool when it did.
I personally hate what they’ve done to the character’s origin with the bone claws and exaggerating the healing thing to where he’s like a vampire. It makes him more like a fantasy character. I used to like him as the hard sci-fi element of the Marvel Universe, where he had these mechanical claws installed somehow. (Finally explained in Barry Windsor Smith’s Weapon X—everything after that is garbage.) Not really the movie’s fault tho. Actually there was a bunch of other stuff that made no sense. The Viper went way too far, giving her random powers…whatever I can’t even think about it anymore. Random point: some people said Huge Jackman is too tall for the character who is supposed to be 5’3″ but did you notice they chose really tall Asians? (Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima are models more than actors.) He’s only a few inches taller than them. And most of his bodybuilding was making his upper torso wider; check out how his arms are not that big comparatively. It’s the exact stout kinda look of the character. Pretty impressive. (Yes, I’m ignoring all the previous movies.)
- Life in Japan
Just a doc from the youtube. Reality! Different viewpoints.
David Bryne’s How Music Works is now in paperback. I just finished the (lusciously soft) hardcover. I’m told the paperback has some extra and updated stuff. I guess he talks more about Spotify and stuff like that. Seems like a detail to me. It’s more about a way of thinking about music. It’s not a technical book, it’s for everyone, altho if you aren’t a big Talking Heads/David Byrne fan the details of how he recorded every album he’s done might get boring.
This horse_ebooks thing was fucking bullshit
It’s weird how with the internet making it a million times easier to fact check and remember things people still don’t bother, or even get more forgetful. The New Yorker tracked down the real horse_ebooks guy last year. Now they cover this new story like the old one never happened.
Reporter Gaby Dunn has the insider scoop on this thing. The whole buying out someone’s idea in a non-transparent fashion and using it to market your whatever dumb thing is pretty standard ad world scumbaggery and its the kind of thing you expect to happen more often. But turning it around to where they’re saying they personally planned it that way as “Art” from day one is NOT ART. It’s just lying. That’s like Duchamp saying he designed the toilet. It’s not the point. This other thing they made as “the end product”, sure that could be art, but they’re just some ad dudes so it’s not that interesting by itself. I don’t know what the hell it is, so if it’s not anything else, it must be “art”. Why not.
But they compare it to “a painting”. Gimme a fucking break. I think you could compare a twitter account to a career in stand-up: a never-ending series of performances. Even that’s a stretch, but what stand-up works for a few years, puts all his bits on youtube, stands back and says, “That’s it. There it is: My Painting”. You’d tell that dude to fuck himself in a heartbeat.
Now that I look into it more, I was thinking how lame it was that this Buzzfeed article left out the part where Pronunciation Book started posting joke pronunciations which seemed critical to the “storyline” of the dude behind it all having some mental breakdown, but now I see that was a parody account by someone else (with a better sense of humor):
Numerical notation project
Something I continue to work on. It could be more of a teaching tool than something useful. Is is Art? No I just told you.
New tumblr I already gave up on
I dunno, trying to organize things differently. Might use it again just for reblogs. I’m locked into this weird reblog idea I gotta get out of. Might be Art!
Highly recommend this course if you are into that kind of thing. It’s changed my mind about working directly into a DAW (ProTools or whatever). I have been recording into either tape or digital recorders and assembling it into Adode Audition and that works so I wasn’t planning an upgrade. But I’ve kinda been planning my whole living situation around having to have a room with real drums setup that I can record, even tho it’s not a great drum room and I don’t have very good mics or know how to use them. Worth learning but if I can get some ideas down that sound good for less than the price of better mics (and I can do this in my own apartment) that’s gotta be the way to do it. Game changer.
What is Rock?
What is Loud?
This thing on the new NIN gives you way more insight than any normal person might care about. BTW, when I make my J-pop vs. Metal mixes, if I have to raise a level it’s almost always on the Metal songs. (In the early ones I didn’t change any levels and you can hear it.) Even the loudest NIN song from the 90s doesn’t get to 0db, but a Perfume ballad does. When I finish the fix, I normalize the whole to -3db and it’s still really loud. If I don’t do that it distorts because I’m making an mp3 of mp3s. It doesn’t sound louder unnormalized, just distorted. When you keep the overall volume lower you can still turn it up and I think it still sounds good.
What is Good?
Nicholas Payton and Zac Brown try to deal with this one in their respective genres. Also, Patrick St. Michael on the music writing game in Japan.
- It should be clear that I am only doing “better” financially than some other people because I’ve managed to hold onto my (mostly maxed out) credit cards. I kind of admire people saying fuck it and continuing at full speed ahead but I just made a different choice. If I were trying to be a part of the local music scene (which I’m not even sure I’m trying to do) and I was shitting on other people when I myself am not that big a deal, this would surely and rightly equal my doom. I am not even talking in general, I’m seeing some real specific, bizarre behavior which should not be stood for and if I’m doing 1% of that or if it even seems like it I have to change things up because I might be a total failure but I cannot be THAT guy.
- It should also be clear that I only do self recording right now. That’s all I’ve ever done. Other people are doing a great job recording other bands. I don’t have that setup. Don’t wanna make it sound like I’m doing something that I’m not.
- So anyway the other day I’m listening to myself tell my bullshit story about how I used to be in this band, and it’s not a bullshit story, but it’s bullshit that I still have the feelings and excuses about certain things but it’s like I can’t stop myself in the middle of the story. Gotta watch that.
- This is pretty dumb article for the Guardian. I thought it was supposed to be one of the only good news outlets left. Not worth refuting.
- The new Perfume video is a lot like the those lyrics videos that guy who I said should get paid for making videos made. I’m guessing he did not get paid.
- That course on digital drums reminded me about what I was saying about female drummers. The loudness setting for the drums is called “velocity”. Not “hardness” but “velocity”. That’s because to get the loudest sound out of a drum you don’t just hit it harder, you hit it faster. If you can’t simply crush the drum with muscle power, you can’t make the mistake of doing that. I realize of course that there are female bodybuilders with huge arms, but I’ve never seen one of them play drums. They would be susceptible to the same dude mistake of just slamming the stick down, which chokes the drum. In general it’s more about what they don’t do. I stumbled onto this series on youtube, but it’s pretty random. I’m thinking more like Sleater-Kinney’s Janet Weiss.
- Turned off the follow feature on my facebook profile. I never got public posts to work without making it all public which is not happening. It’s the worst. My “page” (also mostly useless) is here.
- Dungeons & Developers may offer a way out of my Shadowrun obsession that could led to an actual job.
- I said something about how I was mostly into the nihilistic side of Punk, but wasn’t thinking about how much I used to listen to The Clash. Definitely not nihilists. My life did not really make any sense for a number of years, which I recommend, but sometimes it trips you up when writing a retrospective blog post. On the whole I think it’s worth it, and so is listening to Rat Patrol from Bragg which is the demos and outtakes from Combat Rock. (I have lost track of where I got it from but it’s not hard to find.) Only if you already know the album tho, some of the versions are pretty bad. Hearing really bad versions of stuff that a band’s gotten right later is always inspiring to me anyway, probably not fun for everyone.
- I think the period I didn’t listen to Metal at all is now pretty short in a longer view tho.
- “Yelling at the TV” in the real or metaphorical sense is not the same as heckling. Heckling is always intended to be heard by the performer. On the internet it is not always clear what people are intending to do because it is not clear if people are hearing them or not.
The official cover to the new M.I.A. single is an animated gif. What, that’s cool. %