08 Mar 2003 2:14 pm


Kino’s music feels and sounds like like a ramped-up, modern version of sixties rock, before the marketers and the PR flacks got a hold of it. And there’s something enthralling about Victor Tsoi’s powerful, emotive lyrics that transcends the language barrier and plugs you straight into the heart of the music.

02 Mar 2003 6:21 pm

I’ve been a longtime fan of both Squaresoft (as evidenced by the sheer preponderance of Final Fantasy game discs sitting in my PSX game-wallet — not to mention the copies of Vagrant Story and Legend of Mana, as well as the vintage SNES Chrono Trigger cartridge bequeathed to me by Andy) and of techno / trance / ambient / house music.

Imagine my surprise when Mo’ dropped off a copy of “SquareDance“; techno remixes of Squaresoft music. The Kajin / JAXX mix of Chrono Trigger’s “To Far Away Times” is now my official Music for Deep Coding, and the Roger Matthews track “Ultimate Being” covers what is essentially the entirety of FF IX, and that’s including a coda devoted entirely to the Mambo de Chocobo theme.

It's Vivi, and a Chocobo. Set to techno music. Awww, yeah.

Squaredance remix rulez the beatbox

I’d mostly put away a lot of my old game soundtracks, and I’d almost forgotten how good a lot of the music was (especially the Seiken Densetsu 2 title track – Angel’s Fear). It’s certainly a whole heap better than the cookie-cutter post-punk-pop sung by anemic waifs or generically interchangeable boy-bands and forgettable lo-fi rockers.

22 Feb 2003 2:57 pm

My local economy has defeated me. I vastly underestimated the available demand of the PSX to USB converter. I suppose that it was a specialized market to begin with; Playstation gamers who prefer their particular brand of controller who cross over into specific forms of PC gaming which requires a gamepad. None of the twelve stores visited (or called) today have it. Less than three of them have even heard of it. Well, it’s back to the old soldering iron for me, I guess.

Well, at least the announcement of the Volvo XC 90 serves to allay my crushing disappointment. The XC 90 stands as the natural progression of the Volvo productspace; after you hit the XC 70, which is basically a predatory, trumped up station wagon, where else is there to expand but the SUV market?

It's like a panther. In car form. With room for seven and their gear. Okay, so it's not pantheriffic after all, but it's still sexy.

Behold the power of the XC 90

Yes, I’ve heard the “Gas consumption supports tyrants, destroys the earth, and leads to a poorer sex life” arguments. My response? From The Onion:

Nobody wants to see brave young Americans sent off to die. Nobody wants to see blood spilled for oil. But if it comes to that, wouldn’t we all feel better knowing that their blood was spilled for a great deal of oil? I know I sure would.

29 Nov 2002 3:15 am

I was at one of the campus’ watering holes this evening, waiting for Spirit of the West to come on stage, when I was accosted by an image that temporarily paralyzed my decision-making process. There, not five feet in front of me, was a cute girl in a tight grey top carrying a Gamecube and one of those thin, portable LCD screens. The screen was hanging around her chest, and she was wandering around, offering people free games of NHL 2003. The vision was so arresting that I had to forgive the marketing company responsible for this ploy their awful pun, emblazoned as it was on the shirts: “for*play” Great. Just what I needed; for my addictions to be able to follow me into what was once the relative safety of a bar. To further compound the problem, I wasn’t sure what to ogle first, though ultimately, I did chose the girl. Largely because I’m no big fan of sports games (Sega Tennis 2K2 aside).

This aside, the evening was pretty much fun; and I’ll have to say that SotW has only gotten better with age. It was good to see them in such an intimate venue, and it says something about the character of the university populace when one of their favourite drinking songs is “Home for a Rest“.

Once again, Dan deserves thanks for getting both me and Bella these tickets for our birthdays. Keep a shine on the bar with the sleeves of your coat!

Note to Dave: Man, I was not expecting your package to arrive in the mail. Rest assured that Lord Kanchi has found a place amongst all the other machine totems that grace my workstation.

25 Nov 2002 8:19 pm

It looks like I’ll have to put off my media-transition rant for some other (rainier) day. I’ve more or less been occupied by the sheerly repetetive palette of music that dominates my playlists these days.

I mean, I know that I’m addicted to anime (for which there are no twelve-step programs, and the closest thing to a cure might well be to watch Fight Club over and over; but that merely turns you into an otaku of a different stripe), but my mp3 player’s selection has a predominantly j-pop/anime theme. You know you’ve got it bad when you’ve got both Sobakasu from Kenshin (with it’s squeaky bubble-gum pop by Judy & Mary) and Shell from Witch Hunter Robin (which is a dark, almost dirgelike piece) on the same playlist. And I can’t simply attribute this to the sheer amount of Japanese cultural media that I consume; it’s an aural disaffection for the vast amount of pap available on the radio. A quick perusal of the top tunes of our times for local stations shows an utter predominance of boy-bands, chronologically and emotionally confused girls, and the uber-angsty rip-off spawn of Pearl Jam dominating the airwaves. Compared to this, a lot of the anime-themes that I’m listening are the auditory equivalent of cool, glacial-fed spring water on a hot summer’s day.

That’s not to say that there’s no good music out there; but you’re probably not hearing a lot of it in rotation. Take Tom Petty’s new album The Last DJ, for example. The guy writes some pretty decent-sounding screeds against the homogenizing and rapacious nature of Clear Channel and the unfortunate related downsampling of musical genres, and in return, not a single song gets radio airplay. Other artists do pretty well because of their established fan base, but nary a song is to be heard on the radio (I haven’t heard anything of Tori’s Scarlett’s Walk album on the air, for example).

In this respect, I do miss Napster; it was, if you’ll forgive the phrase, a new paradigm in music sampling. It let you experience different kinds of music without the dominating control of corporate culture, or having to shell out your cash only to discover that the disc in your hand was composed of the one track in heavy Clear Channel rotation and fourteen tracks of poor-to-mediocre filler. Granted, Napster also let people steal music like there was no tomorrow (“all the fun of shoplifting, with a fraction of the guilt!”), but with studies up in the air on how this may or may not have affected music sales, I tend to side with the better angels of human nature and say that people will buy the music that’s good, and let the crap slide back to the bottom of the used five-buck-a-bin pile.

That, and Napster started the entire peer-to-peer revolution, which can rightly be considered one of the major killer apps of the Internet (and for which I am ever so thankful, as I am downloading two episodes of Noir and one of Azumanga Daioh to add to the growing pile of Things that Need Watching). So it’s a bit of a shame to finally see the last parts of Napster get swallowed up and spit out by the auction houses, to be sold as memorabilia. If you ask me, though, instead of shelling out $15 American (~ $200 Canadian, given today’s perilous exchange rates), what the true Napster fan should be doing is making their own shirts. I know I am; and here’s my template:

Bootster. Not to be confused with Bootsy Collins.