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Messages - 9dragons

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Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Dredd film
« on: June 11, 2014, 12:02:22 AM »
This Dredd is a favorite of mine. It is enjoyable after many watches. The humor is so dry you can taste it. Karl Urban nails it. It also nails the absolute comic book feel, with saturated colors and over-the-top destruction. The R rating was very much appreciated.

The soundtrack is absolutely stellar. Mixes crunch and ambient so well. Can be enjoyed greatly on its own; seems like the album version was designed for hermetic listening enjoyment. By Paul Leonard-Morgan. Whatever movie he does next, I'd go see it just on the strength of his name...

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: June 10, 2014, 11:48:59 PM »
Heavy listening on all Oneohtrix Point Never albums that I could get my hands on.

Replica (Software)
Borden, Ferraro, Godin, Halo & Lopatin (Frkwys)
Rifts (Software)
R Plus Seven (Warp)
Returnal (Mego)
Instrumental Tourist (Software Studios, w/ Tim Hecker)

All these works are superb, can be played one to the next multiplied...

I only own the Final Cut, which is exquisite, but I've been tempted to pick up the original theatrical cut, as I am such a Blade Runner addict, and curiosity will likely soon get the better of me. It is a constant desire to want more of this film. Blade Runner is such a strange cultural artifact: a franchise that consists of multiple versions of one movie. But not only that, for fans like me it is a movie than offers up something new with each watch, and each viewing is unique. It leads us to pursue more films that are similar to it, which is somewhat difficult...

Speaking of versioning, let's talk about the soundtrack. I only have the recently released "30th Anniversary Celebration" which is the film soundtrack meticulously re-created and re-recorded by Edgar Rothermich. And it's brilliant. And it stands apart from the film, but is a wonderful mirror to it at the same time, a microcosm. I originally was turned off from buying the soundtrack which Vangelis actually plays on, due to the voice clips from the film. The reason is this: Blade Runner is a movie that works so well in pure audio form; sometimes I throw it on as audio accompaniment to the day at it is absolutely absorbing on a purely sonic level, not only the music but the entire sound design. So I'd rather listen to the movie itself than the Vangelis record.

Am I missing out? I certainly wouldn't hesitate to get both versions of the soundtrack...

Anybody else own the Rothermich soundtrack?

The Prometheus question: More than one year on from its release, does it actually hold up? I own it, I've watched it many times, I've pretty much studied it. There is a tremendous amount there in this movie to give it enough weight, to not entirely write it off as a failure. And that's what makes the stupidity of its script failings so irksome. With the original Alien, we were given that this would be a kind of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" in space, and when you see the movie, it wildly exceeds your expectations, totally transcending the genre. Prometheus does just the opposite. It promises a majesterial space adventure tinged with horror, but turns out to be a post-modern schlock space horror comedy. Which might ruin the enjoyment on first watch (I was so angry I had a hard time not walking out of the theater) but upon successive re-watch Scott's ability as a visual communicator (the whole point of movies right?) is so powerful that the force of it overwhelms the weaknesses and it becomes by sheer force of visual will an awesome piece of work that is worthy of consideration.

Not a failure, much to be gained by it. Strangely, in some nuanced ways, it is not only a prequel to Alien, but a sequel to Blade Runner.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Should've called it "World War D"
« on: September 20, 2013, 12:04:08 PM »
Avoid this movie like the plague. Just wasted my dollars on VOD for this dud of a movie. Should have known with the PG rating or whatever it was, that it would not satisfy. You just cannot cut away from gore like that and have a satisfying zombie movie. Romero's movies are up on youtube, I would suggest a re-watch of Day of the Dead instead of this watered down excuse.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: the vidna return...
« on: September 20, 2013, 11:57:26 AM »
This is exquisite work, liquid but ecstatically forceful. Seems to me a fine melding of vidnaObmana and Fear Falls Burning.

And even though I don't own a record player, I like the idea of re-asserting the value of music by attaching it to a solid, relatively permanent, and aesthetically pleasing format such as vinyl. I've purchased a couple vinyl records so far, and got the download code: enjoying the art and the vinyl (without actually playing it), but listening to it digitally.

I wonder if there is a new category of music buyer out there...

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 20, 2013, 11:45:57 AM »
Most listened-to album of the Summer:

Black Sabbath, 13
Some so-called Sabbath fans (my friends) have scorned this album without giving it a real chance, but I adore it, having probably given it around a 100 listens so far. Definitely better than Never Say Die! and Technical Ecstasy, I would even be so bold to say that I prefer it overall to Sabotage. Sixth favorite Sabbath album after Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master of Reality, Volume 4, and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath... Tony Iommi is a true hero.

Best Ambient Surprise:
Boards of Canada, Tomorrow's Harvest
If you are a fan of the soundtracks of Blade Runner, Day of the Dead, The Thing, this is a must listen. I've had this in rotation in my stereo with other soundtrack music and mistook if for the soundtrack to an amazing movie...
Powerful and affecting reminder that the original Warp actors (Autechre, Plaid, Boards of Canada) are still amazing and doing vital and maybe career-defining work.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Recent music purchases
« on: May 05, 2013, 06:14:38 PM »
Autechre: Exai. This one is worth talking about. Autechre are making some of the most fascinating music around. It feels like they've gotten to a stage where they are just having a blast with it, and incidentally making some of the most unique while still being listenable electronica. By no means an instantly "easy" listen, this is a tome to be studied and enjoyed in reverie. I feel a sense that they are not trying to be avant-garde, they are making the music that's inside their minds, and it just comes out that way. Can't believe they've been around this long and are still sounding fresh and awesome, while most others of Warp have faded or given up.

FRKWYS07: This one sounds good on first few listens. Classic electronica sound.

Senor Coconut: El Baile Aleman. Bought this on a whim because it looked so amazingly weird. Haven't had a chance to listen as I am out of town and away from stereo, and Mac won't let me burn it. But I feel there is great promise and joy here.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: R.I.P. Oophoi
« on: April 16, 2013, 07:39:32 PM »
Listening to Signals from the Great Beyond as I write this. On the verge of tears, but the beautiful thing is, I've been feeling out of sorts lately and these sounds in my headphones have just righted my way and reminded me of the great and golden mystery of this life. His musical name Oophoi is, I believe named after an Egyptian deity whose visualization is a wolf standing at the prow of a solar boat. Ophois, or Upuaut, was known as the scout or the opener of the ways. Truly a good moniker for a man whose music is so gloriously otherworldly, and takes us so far out into other worlds. I wish I could thank him face to face but instead I will go outside and toast the stars with a beer. Tante Grazie Signore Gasparetti.

Now Playing / Re: Too much music?
« on: September 28, 2012, 01:54:38 PM »
Such a great thread, I can echo many of the sentiments here.

I think one of the thrills of being a collector, what originally got me into it, was the fun of the search, and the waiting for the package to arrive. Then when they do arrive, the ritual of the opening of the package, opening the albums, looking at all the goodies, playing the music in a reverie. So much fun to surf the net and get into darker and obscurer corners, finding all the labels, one leading to another, drinking in the mysterious atmosphere of far away labels. Buying the music gives one the feeling of a new world opening up, an actual place to explore. And the anticipation, one's imagination of what the release will be like, where it will take you.

I've never reached the collecting heights that many here have, my max collection was probably in the hundreds (maybe 300-500). But compared to my original intent of collecting, that is a massive amount. I originally thought I could get a "self sustaining" collection, a set number of classics that would allow me to rotate, not get bored, and come back around. Hermetically sealed, no new albums need to be bought. I thought this could be achieved in maybe 30-60 albums. But the thrill of the search drove me on.

There was a time a couple years ago when I realized I liked the search more than the finding, and wasn't actually listening or getting full enjoyment out of my collection. I would usually have a set of classics that I returned to again and again, the music I truly enjoyed. The rest would get those first few listens then go to sleep on the shelf. Of course there is the awesome sensation when you replay one that was almost lost deep in the collection and realize that it enters the classic cannon. But I ended up needing a cash infusion, which coincided with disillusion with the music, and the carefully amassed ambient and electronic collection got sold, virtually the whole thing, only a few being held back, and some strays which had been put to the computer. I held on to my world music collection (maybe 100 albums) because it has excellent replayability.

Now after some years I find myself missing the electronic and ambient, and a few releases trickle back in. Got some albums from Warp, which I never thought I would do again. Relatively recent ones from Autechre and Plaid. They are good beyond just the nostalgia trip I wanted to take.

One thing great (and possibly detrimental in some respects) about the current climate is the ability to get legitimate and free good music. I can have those same fun surfing sessions, explore the websites of labels, and bandcamp etc. And listen to a ton of stuff streaming. Then maybe download a token free track offered up by the labels/artists. Which takes the place of when I previously had to order the release, and have the exciting waiting period for the mail to come. In effect, the new way helps me to diffuse my music and collecting addiction. It's easier to be more discerning with purchases, but it also takes out the mystery and thrill, and chance taking, that made buying the physical album fun. And maybe I'm a more reserved music enjoyer now, not wide-eyed and expecting that next mind-blowing release. More jaded? I can agree that there needs to be more to please me these days than business as usual. The past few years have seen me buy 1-2 albums a year. But in the past few weeks I've got 3 albums by Autechre and 2 by Plaid. The collector daemon returns, however weakly. This time I think I can enjoy the thrill of the search without having to buy every time.

But just writing about it here makes me want to go on a music search and surf...damnit.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 28, 2012, 01:23:15 PM »
In heavy rotation and inspiring while designing:

Autechre: Oversteps
Autechre: Move of Ten
Plaid: Scintilli

This pair of Autechre albums is fantastic, reinvigorates my urge for electronica. I haven't been listening to Autechre for quite some time, it's good to pick up at this point and see they have integrated techniques and are producing this kind of effortless seeming, liquid flowing depth of music that feels fresh and timeless.

Haven't been listening to Plaid in such a long time. This album revisits some of their previous sounds, but that is a good thing, and it is so well done and masterful, feels much more mature and integrated that all previous albums.

I'm pleasantly surprised that there's still some goodness coming out of Warp. I am curious about other acts on the label, but after some investigation nothing has caught my interest enough to want to buy. Anybody else into or getting back into Warp currently? I thought I'd given up on them, what, ten years ago...

Any thoughts on this? This is the dream duo of ambient, and I am eager to get this.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Exotica / Lounge / Tiki Classics
« on: August 27, 2012, 08:31:43 PM »
I know I started a thread on this topic some time back, but am unable to find it. I can't seem to stay away from this stuff. The fatal attraction to Lounge glory has me listening to recently acquired Arthur Lyman album Taboo. Also The Exotic Sounds of Martin Denny (2cd) in heavy rotation. I know this type of music might be funny to many people, but I swear it grows on you. You start out listening to it as a laugh, then suddenly realize this stuff is actually heavy, and you're getting into it. At least I did. There is some amazing playing on Taboo. Vibraphones destroy my anxiety. The more I listen, the more I am seeing how influential this music must have been on ambient masters like Roach and Rich. Is there a connection?

These albums are full of bird call noises. Where I live there are many birds outside the window. They go crazy when this music plays, it is hilarious. One day I thought the Martin Denny album was still playing, but went into my room to find that the music had stopped, but the birds outside were continuing to try to outdo it!

Lounge takes me to a relaxation spot similar to ambient. Mixed in with tribal ambient (Fever Dreams-I know some have criticized it but for me it works) and some Gamelan it makes a nice cocktail.

Any other fans out there, and any recommendations for albums to get? My collection is very thin as it stands now.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Overrated Ambient
« on: August 27, 2012, 08:14:34 PM »
Does Tim Hecker count as hipster ambient? Got into his music for a while early on, but got out of it. Last time I had a listen at his stuff recently, it looks fatally hipstered out to me. I feel like I could be entirely off base on this one, but am too lazy to dig deeper.

Thanks for posting that vid above Judd, it got me sparked up to think about Prometheus again. Actually, it feels like I haven't stopped thinking about it since first seeing it a week after it came out. The first sequence on the waterfall had me staring in wonder, and I turned to my friend sitting there and we just nodded in approval. Then comes that wonderful shot of the ship, like a tiny comet, engulfed in space, and all the wonderful scenes with David in the beginning, that seemed classic cinema to me. As the movie began to fall apart (as I thought at the moment) with all the incongruous idiocy wrecking the mood, I seriously started to fidget in my seat and had a sour urge to walk the hell out of the theater. Even some of the excellent money shots towards the end did not mitigate the jarring stupidity of the rest of the film. As the credits rolled, I walked out with my friend shaking my head...

Then went back to see it a week later. Then again, a few days after that. Then a fourth time. I've remarkably ended up absolutely fascinated by this movie, partly because I just revel in Ridley Scott's graphic sense, and the way he's able to communicate with film. Partly due to the exquisite design of the film, the sets, and beasts, and the seeming restraint in the use of CG. Scott has a way of restraining himself so that when the insane and unreal moments come, they feel real. The scene with the Engineer battling the giant squid baby was an absolute delight. And so much more.

So I've gone back and watched Alien and Blade Runner (studied them more accurately), and realized that a lot of the criticisms that could be applied to Prometheus can also be leveled at these earlier films, regardless of how "classic" they are now. The thing is, is that the mastery of the vision overrides the missteps, just as it does in Prometheus.

For me, Prometheus is one of the best big time theater movies to come out in quite a while. Avatar is not good for me anymore, and though stunning on a first watch, was awful upon a second. Prometheus, I hated on the first viewing and then, once I cleared my head of my initial reactions, was able to watch it again and again with great entertainment and to get a lot of mileage out of it. This film seems to have generated more imaginative discussion than any I can remember. I'm enjoying that aspect very much.

Excited to dive into the DVD when it comes out.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Overrated Ambient
« on: August 24, 2012, 08:33:34 PM »
That's funny Ain Sophistry, the second I read the title of this thread, I too thought "Hipster Ambient". The last time I was actually paying attention in a meaningful way, that was a worrying trend. I bought some albums from these artists, and frankly, after being a fan of the best of the best in real ambient, this stuff seems pretty weak. I think it is the more savvy presentation of the music, and its lacing with metal/darkness that made it more cool for the kids to like it.

I think more hardcore critique by reviewers would be welcome, it definitely elevates things when the reviewers are not afraid to really take on a release. But pardon my ignorance, how many people are actually reviewing real ambient music anymore? I've been out of it, so haven't been paying attention, so pardon my unawareness. But if I wanted to buy a release these days (and after a long hiatus, tonight in fact, I am shopping around like the old days) I don't think I would look to any review, judging the samples and memory of past releases as the final arbiter.

For a while I did feel like this genre was dead. I was an obsessive collector too, but after a while just felt let down by a seeming lack of passion and intensity in the music. And I'm not talking about intensity as in heaviness, but intensity in terms of what ambient music offers. It just really started to feel like the music was becoming rote, and too well behaved and predictable. Not enough emotional input.

The other night I stumbled upon a copy of On Land and Music for Airports that escaped my album purge of some time back. I put both of them on back to back and was utterly mesmerized, almost coming to tears. I am not a big fan of Eno by any stretch, having been burned by many of his crap albums, but these two just had that rawness and emotion. They are intensely pleasurable in the way true ambient can be, and not tainted by the need to be annoyingly avant guard.

Now I've got out Mystic Chords, all four discs, one of the only Roach albums I saved from the last album purge (I needed money, but that wasn't the only reason, also wanted to clean my musical pallette) and am reveling in how great these are. I agree with some posters about Mag Void, I don't necessarily think it was overrated, but I personally just never caught on to it.

Anyway, it's good to be back, this music is quite refreshing after a bit of a break.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: August 24, 2012, 08:19:33 PM »
I've been way out of the ambient and electronic for too long now.

Hearing that Squarepusher above gives me that feeling of excitement I used to get from Warp records. A couple weeks ago I brought out Selected Ambient Works 2, On Land, and Music for Airports, and they blew me away, evoking big emotion. That's funny, two of those I just read mentioned on the Overrated thread, but in that moment they really got me.

Thinking of picking up some new records to decorate my new apartment...been out of it for a while, but am now on the hunt for new listens.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 05, 2012, 03:12:04 PM »
The most listened to album in my collection: Lullaby for the Moon. Japanese traditional music, had for years and it never gets old.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Robert Rich: Medicine Box (2011)
« on: January 05, 2012, 03:07:49 PM »
I've purchased many of Robert Rich's albums, though not all. Early on I saw that he had a dark ambient, minimal side, and a new age side. Listening to albums like Stalker and Troubled Resting Place firmly established me as a fan of Rich, and I even purchased his new age albums, and enjoyed them. Around the realease of Elecrtic Ladder, I started to get turned off to the new age side, and couldn't listen to these works. Though I did cherish Temple of the Invisible. I think at this time Robert is establishing a prime style, a fusion of everything he does into one album. Though there is no denying the exquisite production, and the beauty of the sound, I find it much too homogenized, too luke warm. Ylang at first was very inspiring to me, then my interest dropped off, and I never went back to it. I'm sorry to say I won't pick up Medicine Box after listening to the samples, as I think the same problem will arise. As Robert Rich crystallizes and perfects his technique, and is able to smoothly blend so many elements, I become less and less interested. But I wouldn't say that this is not wonderful music, I have just personally lost the thread. It's not 'world music' enough to make me want to listen to it rather than my more traditional 'world' music, and it doesn't attract me in its other elements, primarily the beats. Is it trying to do too much in one album? It feels much too smoothed out for me. I don't enjoy being even slightly critical of Robert Rich, who I have great respect for, but I wonder if others out there have been following his music beyond their personal interest, enjoying the elements that they used to like, but not getting much out of it ultimately?

Getting the chills just watching this preview. The fact that he used Giger again to do the design shows true integrity. I have not anticipated a film more than this as far as I can remember.

(Just went through the frame by frame commentary and the alien nerd inside me is crying with joy. But I feel like I've learned too much already. Will follow Altus' wise advice and attempt to avoid any further investigation into the film until release)

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