Venom and Diamonds

Land of the Lifeless

12:57 February 27th '04

There's one guy's writings I've been itching to mention here for a long time now. Many is the time I've laughed out loud while reading his stuff, but somehow I think most people wouldn't: his topic for the past year or two, y'see, has been the complete absence of any Nine Inch Nails news. Thankfully his satirical style seems to thrive when left without facts to work from, and he has indeed built quite an elaborate story around the non-adventures of Trent Reznor and co. Like the fact that Trent actually drowned in a Louisiana swamp sometime in 2002, gives his rare interviews through a medium and only imagines he's actually recorded new material.

The reason I feel I can wheel him out now is that he came up with a comment that I feel is true, funny and, crucially, also enjoyable by people who hate NIN. So, this is what the meathead perspective had to say following Trent's recent comment that there will be no instrumental tracks on the new album:

No instrumentals? No instrumentals?! That's right. No instrumentals. I guess. I know a lot of you are probably bothered by this, and I understand. NIN's instrumentals are widely enjoyed because they showcase Trent's superior musical abilities, they express moods and feelings in ways that words can't quite accomplish, and, more importantly, they provide a break from all that goddamned whining.

Watch out, Pixar

13:07 February 23rd '04

This is a little running animation I did for a game I'm making for my nephews' birthdays. It's the (relative) ease with which stuff like this can be done in Flash that really amazes me. Once I get the scripting up to scratch, I'll pass you an interactive version of this dude.


22:46 February 22nd '04

Musical genres are bloody complicated. It's got something to do with that particularly pretentious and confusing tendency of socio-musical communities to want to be "new" and "different". Unless you keep your wits about you 24/7, you get helplessly left behind. Then again, I suppose that's the idea. Keeps it "pure". Electronic music genres are doubly pretentious: I thought I quite liked electroclash until I realised that it was too ironic for my tastes, and that I'd be happier as a glitchcore type. Or was that noizecore-synthpunk?

If you, too, are a befuddled, and wish you were not, then Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music might help. It's a very simple, yet very effective family tree for the past twenty-plus years of electronic music, with colourful descriptions of all the genres. Added to which, it plays you example clips of each!

Then again, if you're someone who'd rather go skinny-dipping in iodine after rolling around on thumb-tacs than endure a single second of what someone once affectionately named "wellington music" (as in "sounds like one being smacked into a wall by a dimwit"), you might want to steer clear. And I wouldn't blame you.

I, on the other hand, spent ages looking up both the relatives of things I like (digital hardcore, for example) and new genres I would like to get into: those things I knew I liked, but didn't know the names for. Unfortunately, it makes for a pretty stupid list: noizecore, metalcore, speedcore, death goa trance, dark house, gloomcore, psytekk. Sorry, but I'd like to go back to not knowing the names, OK?

Taking notes

21:05 February 17th '04

I've been experiencing a minor personal online music revolution recently. Not that I've suddenly gone all P2P, nosiree. Rather: it seems that I don't need to spend quite as many hours translating guitar tablatures to sheet music. The problem previously being that most song notations you can find online are guitar tabs, and 90% of the time I play piano. Thankfully I've been coming across some good stuff recently, and for my favourite artists no less. If you're a keyboard player, I recommend "Leaving Hope" at primo Nine Inch Nails site Know The Score and Mike Garson's excellent part for Bowie's "Bring Me The Disco King"[PDF] courtesy of Keyboard magazine.

Reference work

23:55 February 15th '04

Now, I've done my share of study into all the wonderful and wacky concepts that the emergence of 'digital text' has spawned in the past decades. Foremost among them is, of course, our beloved hypertext, which sprang from a genuine academic desire for every cross-refence to be immediately accessible. A shame then that this web we now engage with doesn't measure up to those original utopian visions (though not always for lack of trying).

Occasionally someone does put in the requisite effort, though, and illustrates to us what the divide between pixeltext and ink-and-paper really means. For a moment it seems that just maybe, if we all really learn how to read and write in this virtual space of ours, we could make this something different. Probably radically better, too.

So I recommend reading "Insanely great, or just good enough?". Take your time, follow the links in it, and take in as much as you can. Then you might share my opinion that not only can Mr.Hill write well, he can also write right. Ours is a new medium, and it needs a new way to write, along with a new way to read. Then, perhaps, we can all benefit from a new way to learn.

Take a breath

18:05 February 9th '04

Relaxing for a moment from a frenetic search for information, I came to read v-2 Organisation. Or rather: coming to read it, I relaxed for a moment.

shall we drink a toast to / absent-minded friends