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Everything and Nothing / Automobile batteries
« on: January 27, 2012, 04:18:11 PM »
Hello all, I was wondering if someone knowledgeable about cars could answer this question for me.  I've been Googling and researching but still wondering.  My situation was:  my 2010 car was having very weak cranking on a cold start (after engaging the key, the engine wouldn't start up right away, there would be a delay of a couple seconds after the key was fully engaged) that got worse over time.  I suspected it was the battery, based on my research.  The dealer service dept. stated my battery was in "good condition," yet when I took the car to a trusted independent mechanic, they said the battery was bad and to replace it.  The mechanic gave me a printout of the battery test showing the voltage was 12.57v (apparently "normal"); however, a "capacity test" done showed the battery failed and the battery life was 0%.  Recommendation: replace now (which I did). 

My question is, do you think the dealer just didn't check my battery at all, or did they only possibly measure the voltage, and because they didn't do the "capacity test," they couldn't tell the battery was in bad shape or get a complete picture of its health?  In other words, are some methods of battery testing not very comprehensive compared to others?   Please let me know somebody as I'm trying to determine whether to return to the dealer service dept. in the future.  If you think they f'd this up let me know.  Thanks!!!

This album, self-released by Perceptual Defence (aka Italian synthesist Gabriele Quirici) in 2011, is just one part of an 8-disc series inspired by the Hieronymus Bosch painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights."  Quirici produces a brand of electronic music that is decidedly experimental, definitely ambient (headphones listening recommended to get all the details), somewhat "lo-fi" (it's not a huge sound with gigantic reverbs like Steve Roach), and often quirky and playful, yet in a psychedelic way.  Drone passages are interspersed with weird sequencer patterns (this is not Berlin School mind you) to concoct a heady brew.  Quirici has previously released a couple full-length albums previously on Oophoi's Umbra Records, and several solo and collaborative e.p.'s on Penumbra as well.  His Facebook page lists his influences as including Robert Rich, Steve Roach, and Zoviet France.  To me the ZF influence seems most prominent based on its kind of lo-fi experimentalism with more quiet microsounds.  Anways, back to "Hieros Gamos."  The disc is split between two long tracks.  "Hieros Gamos 1" starts off with some really pretty dark atmospheric drone soundscapes and we are in Oophoi territory here.  Heavily reverbed rainsticks echo in the background, followed by what sound like heavily processed didgeridoo samples.  This is spooky and surreal stuff, and very dreamlike.  Some chiming bell sounds then come in, followed by some industrial-tinged whooshes and electronic bleeps.  About halfway through this long 48-minute opus the dark ambient drones fade away and the tracks morphs into a quite upbeat, kaleidoscopic and playful series of dancing sequencers, horn sounds (albeit synthesized), and looped percussion.  The second track, at 20:00 long, follows a similar path;  atmospheric at first, morphing into more active sequencer territory.  I would recommend this album to fans of the Umbra/Penumbra label and Alio Die's sublabel Sempiterna Mutatio, but I don't think it's for everyone.  Sometimes the quirky factor overshadows the more drone based soundscapes and the music can become rather bizarre.  I'm also not sure you need all eight (!) of these albums.  I have a couple others in the series and they seem very similar to this one.     

Steve Roach starts off 2012 with the aptly titled "Back to Life."  The title did give me some hope that musically things would evolve for Steve out of the primordial ooze of his what can now be considered "late period" (I guess) music.  By "ooze" I mean the drifting, sort of formless masses of ambient clouds n' chords, the hovering e-bow guitars, the hushed echoes of tribal percussions, and in general a surrender to the ether.  The problem with this album is that he achieved all that back in 2003 with "Mystic Chords," and to a great extent, the subsequent releases have for the most part been of a similar nature.   The pieces on Disc One of this two-disc set in large part sound like they came right out of the "Mystic" sessions, augmented with other pieces like the lengthy "Tranquility Base" consisting of subtle tribal beats, e-bowed Suspended Memories/Suso Saiz style guitars, and drifting electronics, which he does so well and continues to do well.  "Tranquility Base" would have fit perfectly into the "Fever Dreams" series.  Disc 2 consists of one mammoth track called "Mist of Perception" and this is one of those quietly intense apocalyptic soundscapes that seem to describe some significant cosmic event.  I thought this piece was really good and more interesting than the material on Disc One.  So bottom line, this is another technically superb production from a master doing what he does best (I give it an "A" for production), but perhaps suffering from revisiting  the past too much (gets a C- in the "heard it all before" department).  Total score: B-.  Nice release, but I think it's time for one of the great innovators to innovate once again.  :)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Amir Baghiri/Nimh "Entities" ltd. cdr
« on: January 20, 2012, 01:19:28 AM »
Anyone have this and care to comment? 

Computers, Internet and Technology / MP3 vs. FLAC
« on: January 17, 2012, 11:30:24 AM »
Relunctantly I've started downloading music out of necessity (for albums unavailable on CD) and for economic reasons (can't really afford to keep up with the volume of music I enjoy @ $20 a pop in many cases by the time you pay for CD plus shipping and other fees).  My question:

Is there a huge difference between MP3 files and "lossless" FLAC files?  So far I've only downloaded MP3 tracks off iTunes and they sound fine to me.  Is the MP3/FLAC difference noticeable, or just to people with super sensitive audiophile ears? 

Computers, Internet and Technology / iTunes incomplete downloads problem
« on: January 17, 2012, 12:59:14 AM »
Just started using iTunes.  About half the albums I've downloaded so far had incomplete tracks.  I have to report this to support and they reset for me to download again, which still hasn't always been successful.  Any idea what could cause this??? Thanks.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Yagya Rhythm of Snow
« on: January 12, 2012, 01:35:57 PM »
Why hasn't this been repressed or reissued yet?  Prices on Discogs are outrageous!

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Shoegazers heaven: new band Tamaryn
« on: January 01, 2012, 10:15:01 AM »
I highly recommend Tamaryn's "The Waves" (2010, Mexican Summer) to all fans of the "shoegazer" genre.  This band is comprised of a female vocalist/lyricist and a guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, although there are more people when they play live (similar to the amazing Curve from the 90's).  They manage to wear their influences on their sleeve (Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Curve, Mazzy Star) while still sounding unique.  "The Waves" is one of the strongest debut albums I've heard in awhile!!

I am super stoked about this film, as "Alien" (1979) is in my Top 3 all-time faves.  I guess there a lot of fansites out there posting supposed storylines about the film, some of which have been confirmed fake by 20th Century Fox, but some of these sound really interesting nonetheless.  Considering it's Ridley's first sci-fi project in 30 years my hopes are really high, as he said he'd only revisit the genre if the story was really good.  I also read H.R. Giger's involved again, which is a really good thing IMO.  The lead actors in this are all excellent, too (Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender).   

Marketplace / FS: New Max Corbacho, + Fax label rarity
« on: December 04, 2011, 10:17:05 PM »
Hello, I'm selling the following collectable/limited editions on Discogs if anyone is interested (just do a search for these albums), for very reasonable prices:

Max Corbacho/Bruno Sanfilippo-Bioma CD (ltd.200 hand-numbered copies)
Atom Heart-Live at Sel i/s/c CD (early 90's Fax release)

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Walking Dead TV series
« on: December 02, 2011, 01:32:10 PM »
I rented season 1 DVD of "Walking Dead," an AMC channel series about zombies (NOTLD plot: dead start coming back to life walking the earth, etc.).  Really impressed.  I've seen my fair share of zombie flicks and really I think this is the best in the genre I've seen since the original Night of the Living Dead.  The zombies are truly scary and horrifying, excellent acting, pacing, and direction.  Makes Romero's last couple zombie attempts look very amateurish by comparison.  One of the producers on Walking Dead is Gale Anne Hurd, from the Alien franchise. 

Just watched Terrance Malick's visually stunning film "Tree of Life".  Klaus Wiese music was noted in the credits, I believe from "Neptun" album.  It was used during a 10 minute sequence showing the creation.  This movie was very ambient, in a visual sense.  Too bad more directors don't use this music in films.

I just saw this amazing independent movie on DVD last night, about a serial killer.  Really creepy and well done film.  The music was some really beautiful but creepy dark ambient and reminded me very much of "The Shining," with haunting drones and eerie female vocals accentuated with tons of reverb.  The music was similar to some of Voice of Eye's work or Asianova.  I didn't recognize the people involved in the music as shown in the credits.  Anyone know anything about the music if you saw this film?  Thanks. 

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Klaus Wiese Zen Room Positive Zero CD
« on: September 20, 2011, 01:36:34 AM »
I am curious about listener reactions to this very limited edition recently offered for sale.  Any reviews or other info?  Thanks

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Whatever happened to Patrick O'Hearn?
« on: September 16, 2011, 03:12:05 PM »

Everything and Nothing / "Big" NASA announcement?
« on: December 03, 2010, 02:38:37 AM »
I don't know how "big" the NASA announcement today is.  I was hoping for some long-overdue truth about structural artifacts found on various celestial bodies over the past 30 years or so, but it turns out to be some microbes that use arsenic to regenerate.  This is supposed to indicate life can form from not-so-usual compounds, and hence extraterrestrial life on hostile places in space is more likely.  Well, considering how NASA is a major participant in the biggest cover-up in history, these "scraps" they're throwing to the masses just seem like more insults to our intelligence.   

Any VH fans here? I thought it was pretty lame Eddie, Alex and Dave did not even show up to their own R&R Hall of Fame induction a few years ago.  Poor Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar, it must've been awkward at that awards show.  Then Eddie tours with his then teenage son on bass without inviting Mike (a "real", professional bass player who arguably helped define their sound).  Sorry but I would never pay $150 a ticket to see a little kid flop around on a bass.  I can't even figure out what the big "grudge" was about.  Apparently EVH was pissed MA and SH formed a new band (?)  EVH is a rock god but not much class from what I can tell... 

I've been on a Pretenders kick the past few days (the classic stuff--first two albums/demos/live, plus checking out YouTube footage from '79-'82).  They were my favorite band for a couple years when I was around 13 and 14.  Seeing how smokin' hot Chrissie Hynde was back then got me thinking: do you think most/all the "boys" in female-led bands (ie. Pretenders, Blondie, Pat Benatar, etc.) end up "boinking" the singer at some point?  Especially with all the tours, staying in hotels, and playing sweaty rock gigs each night.  Seems like this would be inevitable, even with all the wives/girlfriends involved. But I could be wrong.  Any thoughts?

Everything and Nothing / Sitting on the job leads to earlier death
« on: November 29, 2010, 02:36:02 AM »
This is what I keep reading (as I'm sitting down at my computer, ha!)  So does anyone have a job where stand-up work stations are an option?  I know the management where I work would never approve this, they are cheap bastards and could probably care less if I died early anyway!  (they can always hire someone younger and pay them less.  Do I sound bitter?)

I think if you sit on your ass too much you are more prone to things like heart disease, colon cancer, and lazy-itis. 

For those who have stand-up work stations, how do these work for you compared to the sit-down version?  Do you have the urge to just sit down and do nothing like most of the rest of us???

Other Ambient (and related) Music / CELER I wanna see some opinions!
« on: November 23, 2010, 01:15:10 AM »
There's been a flurry of Celer releases this past year or two, but nobody's discussing them here.  Those aware of their history know of course about the death of Danielle Baquet-Long, half of the duo (the other half being husband Will Long).  Apparently there is quite a bit of material they recorded together that is coming out on various labels.  This year alone I've bought "Dying Star," limited to 500 on Dragon's Eye Recordings; "Pockets of Wheat" on Soundscaping; and "Salvaged Violets" on Infraction (2 CD's).  There are a couple others I don't have yet: "Generic City," a collaboration with Yui Onodera, and a release on the French label Basses Frequences. 

"Dying Star" is super quiet minimal Eno-type ambient (all synths).  Probably the least "experimental" release so far.  You really need the headphones for this one it's so quiet. 

"Pockets of Wheat" and "Salvaged Violets" are darker and more experimental oriented, and mastered with more volume--a "louder" type of quiet music.  "Violets" is a two-disc set, with the discs not having any track titles or numbering on each disc.  The floral patterns on the CD's are very similar so you don't know which is Disc 1 and Disc 2.  Talk about minimal!  I found this   
a bit weird but maybe because the droning soundscapes are so amorphous and non-specific that it doesn't really matter. 

It's hard to pin down what makes Celer so enigmatic.  I find the music to be at once simple and complex.  A lot of it has this hovering, meandering quality with lots of spatial processing that is very subtle.  Like the best ambient, it's "background" music that demands attention nevertheless.  I'm not sure what Celer's influences were but Eno seems to be an obvious one; organic, ethereal, but not quite "space music."  Celer's releases are so subtle and "barely there" that I am never quite blown away by them, yet I continue to be fascinated enough to keep collecting their work.     

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