Cascading swells of pure synthesis, coupled with the organic nature of guitars, flutes, and pianos abound in what is probably Kraftwerk's first real push as pioneers of electronic music.
I bought this album on a whim as Black Friday sales had dropped the box-set-looking album down to $9.99. I was particularly attracted to the utilitarian design on the front cover; it is the actual symbol used on highway (or, autobahn) signs in Germany. The modern typeset and design that adorns the outer sleeve parallels the warm, Hopper-esque paintings of the autobahn and automobiles that comprise the album art.
And this warmness in art lends itself to warmness in sound; yes, an electronic band (German no less, lol) can nearly equal the romantic sound of a string quartet despite the cold machinery with which is attains it sound. Actually, this is somewhat incorrect for this album as guitars, flutes, and ordinary pianos and organs appear along side the newly acquired synthesizers. This would be nearly the last time such a set up in instrumentation was seen as the band quickly mechanized theselves (much in part to the technical contributions of percussionist Wolfgang Flur), a sound that would be synonymous with their most heralded works Computer World and The Man Machine.
So, first off: title track. At somewhere around 22 minutes in length, I initially thought "Autobahn" (the only vox song) should be a quarter of it's length. Closer inspection (or a good headphones-listening) reveal all the minature movements within the piece; Kraftwerk, along with many of their Krautrock comtemporaries, drew far more from classical music than the blues that formed the backbone of American rock music. The next two pieces, "Kometenmelodie 1" and "2" seems to slow down and are far more ambient in nature than the surprisingly catchy "Autobahn". The last two tracks, "Mitternacht" and "Morgenspaziergang" both elaborate further on some of the main ideas of the album.
Konami got it all right when they release Silent Hill 2 in 2001. For a game that is now 8 years old, it holds up impeccably in this new, "Dead Space" age of horror games. In fact, it can be so unnerving, so unabashedly disturbing that X-Play (yeah, yeah, I know...) named it the scariest game of all time. And rightfully so, as SH2 succeeds in progressive dread; it almost makes the player refuse to do the things they must in order to progress. With it's cinematic (and notoriously unreliable) camera angles and sonically riveting soundtrack (a high point in the series), SH2 give weight to the idea that a video game can be considered art, achieving literature-like status as a classic of gaming.
Our protagonist, James Sunderland, a young man in a nondescript green flack jacket, sets out on a course winding through the warped town of Silent Hill, traversing both its fog-hazed and hellish dimensions in order to find his wife, Mary. James is astounded to find a letter addressed by Mary beckoning him to their "special place" in Silent Hill. With this in hand, and a map in the other, James sets out and encounters other wanderers like the suspicious Eddie, the disturbed Angela, and innocent Laura. Central to these secondary characters is Maria, a sensual, mysterious woman that bears a striking resemblance to Mary. As Maria accompanies you (for a time), James must combat the monsters that surround him with a flashlight, a radio, and whatever's handy.
[IMG]http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x155/askl2 3/silenthill2.jpg[/IMG] In
this case, a surprisingly badass wooden plank. You can swing this thing
while you're running, administering a crazed brand of manic,
indiscriminate violence to the inhabitants of SH.
Although I had seen an LP of SH2 on Youtube before, the actual gameplay
threw out enough frustrating camera movements and controls that had to
be grappled with to keep suspense high. At times, the sound of complete
silence can be more unnerving than the machine-like sounds that
accompany other rooms. The endless number of "Lock is jammed" messages
will make every room a godsend, no matter what it contains.
There are some negative aspects to SH2, don't get me wrong. The camera can be hard to deal with and at times you have to trust James is aiming at the enemy and listen for the differences in sound when he fires. Other frustrating things like reading the map (when you don't have a light or don't have a map of the present area, to which James opens up to a random map of Silent Hill) and the absurdity of some of the puzzles can be annoying, but can usually be overlooked (save for the camera "issue").
All in all, SH2 remains one of the most poetically horrifying survival horror games of all time. The sheer helplessness of your everyman character, dwarfed by the powers that be (actually closer than he knows) and antagonized by the persecutor that is Pyramid Head are a universal story that extends far past the twisted, rusting landscape of Silent Hill.
Sorry to anyone who tries or has tried (or for some reason, doesn't have the foresight to avoid) talking to me through the (relatively) new UG chat. I honestly haven't payed any attention to it until now and I'll probably have to set some things up, change options, etc. I don't mean to just shrug anyone off.
I had this strange dream that actually woke me up the other night. It's beginnings are a little hazy but the main point is that there was a baby that was fuckin' killing people. For whatever reason this imaginary family was being killed by their baby and there was a...narrator. A narrator from a horror movie trailer was saying something like "He would never guess that the crayons were in his pocket the whole time," and then bang, mom stabbed. The narration terrifying in the dream, but hilarious when I woke up.
At that point I woke up because I had a synesthesiatic moment where I felt the baby's knife right in my back (where the mother had been stabbed). This was one of the weirdest dreams I've had in a while...
Just the other day ABC Family network broadcast their Harry Potter Marathon that they air what seems like every other day. Let me just say one thing; despite reading books 1-6 and watching the movies on TV, I have lukewarm feelings about the series. I mean, it's good, and appeals to a wide demographic, which also says its bad by "cool" standards, and I wouldn't want not to be cool, right? J.K Rowlings is an effective writer, but the elements of her story are as old as time. Nevertheless, I noticed some things this time around.
For one thing, why does every wizard/witch have to look like they rolled out of bed at 1 pm and doused themselves with olive oil? No normally functioning human being is ever as greasy and repulsive as these magical vagrants You attend Hogwarts for 7 years, and then you graduate certified in magic. So? It's like a commodity; everyone in this universe has magical abilities. What job opportunities are there? I mean, this thing's about as useful as a degree in liberal arts. And like people who major in liberal arts, everyone's a bum. Even the people who are employed. Well played, bohemianism Also, can you just get your GED and leave? Cause really, I don't see why not. Even if I had the most minimal of magical training, I would probably be contented with that. There are no higher institutions of learning.
On the topic of employment, I realize that there are industries which support the magical world just as they do the real world. But the only story more boring than that of an accountant is a magical accountant. I mean, you can fucking turn yourself into a vicious bear at will, but you punch numbers instead. That's like being able to play "Cliffs of Dover" on guitar, and then saying "Hey, wait, I can play 'Smoke on the Water' too!" Serious waste of talent here.
So either you join the Ministry, and turn into a bear in a loose but hardworking office environment, or you will yourself to be homeless and serve a walking skeleton that can turn you into a bear permanently. Not really very good job prospects. Like, what do these people expect if Voldemort would become ruler of the world? He basically wants to prove how tough he is by killing an adolescent boy. I'm sensing some unresoved father-son issues.
Tell me these things are not the work of Satan himself. For those of you uninitiated in the knowledge of Snuggies, let me give you a brief overview. They're a combination of all the pleasures of a blanket with the added cool of sleeves. Basically, half-assed robes. From the moment I saw that commercial, I could not find a worse product advertised on TV. The commercial even shows a family wearing them, OUTSIDE. In public. If I ever, ever see anyone in public wearing a Snuggie I think they're libel to get punched right in the face. Doesn't matter who they are, I don't discriminate.
However, if I ever decide to join the Brotherhood I can take a pass on the instant robe purchase...unless it itself is some kind of Snuggie cult, in which case I may have to kill myself.
Walmart is a strange place... by strange I mean that's it's the only place that you can buy a gallon of milk and a gun in the same purchase. I just went there last week to pick up a new pair of glasses.
Why is it that every time you go there, the place is a mess? They don't even try to cover up for it. They're kind of like "Yeah... we suck." I mean, other stores at least
have an excuse. They put up signs like, "Excuse our appearance, we are
currently undergoing renovations." Walmart needs a sign that says, "Please excuse our appearance, we are currently undergoing a nuclear holocaust."
The strangest thing I saw was the front checkouts. Usually, a store puts something small but useful at the checkouts for purchase, something that you may just need to grab and go. Magazines, gum, candy, condoms (They always have the XL's. I mean, what if you're in a rush and you have a small cock?). But no, they had none of this. At almost every checkout there were huge stacks of RUBBING ALCOHOL. I mean, what the fuck? That's not usually an top priority on my shopping list. I said out loud, "What the fuck?" But right when I said that a deranged, maniac employee stabbed me from the other side of his counter. He must have been surprised when, instead of reprimanding him for his violation of my flesh, I said "Ohhh, I get it now..."