what ever happened to originality in video games?

so what is happening to the video game industry? it has gone from a peaceful, fun past time for people and morphed into this giant life sucking force in peoples lives. not only are the majority of games today just rehashing old ideas over and over and over, just with prettier graphics (kinda) but this new breed of gamers seem to de destroying the essence of the past time and are turning it into this blood thirsty monster of a presence in the world today. dont get me wrong, i do love a game where you just run around and blow stuff up from time to time but it just gets so old so very fast you know?

katamari-damacy
(katamari damacy, why on earth has no one thought of this before? its such a simple concept but its something no one has thought of and its surprisingly fun)

i find it amazing that i have read real reports of muggings and people even being held at gun point to get ahold of this new xbox! i just dont get it! i was in target the other day and overheard people talking about how ****ng sick it is and how the graphics are just amazing and so i had a look see and found that i was really underwhelmed by what i saw. ive seen better looking, more interesting games on the supposed worst of the current generation of consoles, the gamecube. what has gotten into gamers these days?

im sure there must be some gamers out there that have been around pre playstation that know what im talking about. i remember when games used to be rated on originality as well as graphics, gameplay, and ll the rest. what ever happened to that? i so rarely find a game that i can get excited about these days and its kind of sad really. there are only a handful of games that were released in the past couple of years that i can remember actually holding any sort of originality or innovation in the way you might typically think of the way you play a game. i for one am thrilled about nintendo and their plans for the future. i love that they have chosen to take a stand for the roots of gaming and release something that is not intended to be in the middle of the xbox/sony war. im pretty excited that they have chosen to try something different for once.

gta
(ok so maybe ive never seen someone riding down the street on a bicycle while shooting an uzi of some sort but come on... this is stretching it just a bit dont ya think? when will the line be drawn between originality and a desperate attempt at taking old ideas and pushing them to the far reaches of anything interesting just to make it seem like there is new things you can do in a game? "dude, in gta 7 you can totally possess the pig poice and use there bodies to kill everybody, its sick yo")

funny thing about nintendo is that they appear to be actually making money on there hardware unlike sony and microsoft which are, from what i understand, are actually taking a loss with their hardware sales. it just makes it all the more obvious that sony and microsoft are in it for control more than anything. ho hum... now that i think about it nintendo is kind of becoming the apple of the gaming world. right, so anyway...

i just wish that games would get out of this 'we have to be bad ass or we wont sell any games' here in the u.s. because i for one am getting tired of every game box being black and the lack of any color in the industry as a whole. lets just hope that the people that are still innovating continue to do so or we just may loose gaming to the violent hungry, lonely, underbelly of the gaming world.

|

Pacific UV "Pacific UV"

pacificuv

Now here is one amazing album! It has been a while since I have put it on to listen to but coming back to it I love it just as much as when I first heard it well over a year ago. It is a beautiful rock album that leaves you in a trance. Through part of it there is some really subtle singing that feels more like another instrument among the band which in my mind is a wonderful feat. I'm sure anyone that has been folowing the music section of this site know that I am a sucker for this kind of dreamy well produced music. Don't let that comment cheepen this feature here, this is a really amazing album that I would love to see get more attention so check it out!

iTunes Linnk:
Pacific Uv

|

New desktops and a new review...

I posted another Puerto Rico image as well as a shot of the inside of an old flower pot style imac for those of you who are into that kind of thing! there is also a review of the new boards of canada album so check it out!

|

The Campfire Headphase

campfire_warpsite

I've been meaning to review this album for a while now. The review has kind of been sitting there in the back of my mind waiting to be written but I am just now getting the chance to sit down in a moment where I remembered to write it. I remember getting it a few weeks before it's release and being somewhat underwhelmed by the album as a whole. I remember wanting more.

I'e been listening to BOC since their first major release on Warp Records. I had immediately fell in love with their sound which at times made me want to dance and other times it did a good job of calming my nerves a bit. The best part of their music has always been the intricate ambient textures that would seem to be their trademark sound. My favorite album of theirs is actually not even a full album, it's the ep called In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country. In my mind it is the most well balanced and delicate work they have ever done. So onto the album at hand...

I have developed kind of a love/hate kind of relationship with tis release. As I mentioned before I really did not care for it at first. This may have been because I didnt really give it a fair chance and only skipped through the album impatiently. Maybe I just was not in the right mindset at the time to get into it. Who knows. When I started to listen to it al the way through I found myself liking it more and more and I eventually gave it a closer listed to catch onto what kinds of things they were doing differently this time around.

First off and probably most obviously, they have started to use acoustic instruments, mainly guitar, in there music which seems to make since if you think about it. Im still not sure weather I really like this or if I don't care for it. The little 30 secondish mini tracks are all still here but unlike on there previous releases, they are not any where nearly as focused. I had always seen these little songs as ideas that were so simple and complete on their own that they did not need to flesh them out into complete tracks because they worked so well as little statements that pulled there own weight. The ones on this release seem to be just kind of thrown in there just because thats what they do. Some of them seem all to familiar. I would also like to mention the production quality on this release. Part of what made me get lost in their older releases was the way the tracks always felt like they were all born into existence to be what they were. All of the layers within a song felt so fused together like some sort of an organism that was a living thing. There rich sounds really made the music come alive. On The Campfire Headphase I find that the songs feel thin in comparison to there past releases but in a strange sort of way that I'm not sure is a good thing or a bad thing. The quality on the production side of things has done nothing but grown over the years and there is no doubt about it, this album is there best sounding album. I know it may seem like I just contradicted myself there so let me elaborate just a wee bit. I think that it sounds thin simply because the production is so clean on this record. That magical fusion of sound that I love so much about BOC is somewhat lacking on this album. Each layer within the song is very crisp and has its own space within the track and generally this would be equated with a good quality mix but because everything is mixed right up front like it is I am not finding as many hidden little details as I listen to the songs. I guess when I see it written out like that it'd hardly a criticism at all.

It's still the same BOC that I know and love but it's just not quite as intimate as I am used to with their work you know? If you have heard their Beck remix that was recently released then you should be able to clearly draw parallels between the sound of the remix and this album. The remix would have fit in this album really well. Just thought I would mention this.

So overall I really enjoy this album but in a different way than I enjoy their older albums. This one feels like I'm listening to a radio friendly version of BOC that to me feels a bit foreign when I remember that I am listening to them but I guess it's a natural progression for one of the best electronic music producers putting out music today.

Sorry for writing such a vague review of the album, I would suggest anyone and everyone pick up a copy, get together with some friends, put this on, and enjoy a nice cozy party in front of a warm fire. At least thats what I envision when I hear it. So till next time....

Link to iTunes:
The Campfire Headphase

|

life and the new rapidweaver...

...is really nice! the whole program has been cleaned up and it feels a lot better to use. for those of you who dont know, rapidweaver is the app that i use to keep the site running. it allows me to work on the content for the site rather than making the site work. they recently took the newest version out of beta and its been working like a charm for me. im looking forward to getting a chance to use it more here. life has been pretty busy as of late as im sure you have noticed by my inactivity around the site. i really love running the site and sharing a few interesting things with the world. ive been thinking recently about what makes personal web pages interesting and i find that my life might be somewhat more interesting than some but what makes this page unique? i dont live in some sort of exotic country and im pretty sure that there isnt to much of a demand for commentary on american life so i cant go that route. i like to think the things i focus on here on the site like the desktops and the music reviews add a bit of something extra that might get passers by to come back by from time to time. i know there is a good amount of traffic from all sorts of places in the world and thats always really exciting to me to see. it makes the world feel so much closer and smaller than it may really be. its a nice, cozy sort of feeling in this distant sort of a way you know? i mean, there are hundreds, if not thousands of other sites just as little and tucked away among the vast reaches of the internet but i still like my little corner here on twistedsun.net. i like to think of it like this nice little hidden shop down a small alley in a big city that people sometimes come across and browse through my collection of things. only the shop is the site and the city is the internet.

so anyways, enough of all that. i really do hope to be getting some new stuff posted around here sometime soon! like a new podcast, some new desktops, and maybe a couple of new reviews...

thanks for stopping by! see you again soon!

-john

p.s - happy fbd!
|

Tiny Cities

skm

A couple of months back I got to see/ Mix a show by Mark Kozelek of the Red House Painters. I was familiar with his first solo release under the name Sun Kil Moon and absolutely loved it so I was pretty excited to see this show. During the show I knew so many of the songs were very familiar for some reason but I couldn't quite figure out why that is, until I found it out just recently that he had covered a lot of Modest Mouse songs during the show. While I was browsing through emusic yesterday I came across a new album by Sun Kill Moon called Tiny Cities and was immediately really happy to see that he had released some new music and went ahead and downloaded it. I then discovered that it was an album full of Modest Mouse covers!

I find the whole Idea really interesting because he is such a gentle musician where Modest Mouse has so much more of a quirky upbeat kind of a feel to it. The cool part about this release is that these covers are almost entirely different from the original songs. This album is more of a reworking of the original songs and to some extent the only part that remains of the original tracks are the words and the melodies to some extent. It's a pretty much a bizarro remix album.

There is a documentary called Gigantic that is all about They Might Be Giants and in the movie there are a couple of scenes where there are a few miscellaneous celebrity fans reciting the words from TMBG songs and this was one of the coolest parts of the movie because it was really cool to hear the lyrics read like this in such a stripped down form. When listening to the original songs you get caught up in the catchy melodies and upbeat nature of the songs that make TMBG who they are but when they are spoken out loud like that it really settles in how great their song writing really is. I thing that the approach that Mark has taken with these songs have a similar effect. By slowing down the tempo a bit and scaling back the production you almost forget you are listening to a song that was originally written by Modest Mouse. The lyrics really get a chance to shine and I really like that about this record because that is one of the things that make Modest Mouse so amazing in my mind.

So if you are a fan of Modest Mouse or anything Mark Kozelek has done in the past I would recommend checking this out because at its core its a really great listen. Standout songs in my mind are Tucker's Atlas, Jesus Christ Was An Only Child, and Never Ending Math Equation but all of them are great!

Link to the album in iTunes:
Tiny Cities

|

quick trip

this past weekend i went up north to play a couple of shows with my friend matt. we had a great time meeting and playing for new people. here are a few shots of the second venue we played which was in charlottesville, VA at a place called the twisted branch tea bazaar. it was a great place full of great people, very cozy place to play. check it out if you are ever in the area!

IMG_5242
the venue

IMG_5263
myo

IMG_5270
matt and i

IMG_5288
katastatik

IMG_5298
doofgoblin

|

New Desktops

i posted some more desktops from my trip to puerto rico. head over to the desktop section to check them out!

|

!!! "Get Up"

I would recommend the whole ep that this is from but I don't really like the other song all that much. This track however is really amazing, it does drag on a good bit towards the end when it switches into an all out jam and it gets pretty crazy for a while. You can't deny how the song can drive you to dance. Check it out to see what I mean.

Link in iTunes:

Take Ecstasy With Me - Single


|

back home

well im back home and leaping rightback into the middle of things ivegotthree new websites that i am working on, a cd cover, and im getting ready to head up north to play a couple of shows with the electronic duo that i am a member of, adrop in silence. so pretty busy around here! i hope that you twistedsun.net visitors have stayed out of to much trouble while i was away and i look forward to getting right back into the swing of things here on the site. i will be posting a few new desktops at some point this week as well as a new podcast with some great local music and who knows what else you will just have to wait an see. so all that said i will talk to you guys again soon as some updates begin to roll on into the site.

|

Smash

jackson

A few months back I got pretty excited when I caught wind of a new artist that was being signed to Warp Records and his name is Jackson and he brought along his computer band to form Jackson and His Computer Band. !!! (chk chk chk) or one of the members of that band saw him live at some point and passed his music onto the guys at warp and voala! It's just that easy I guess you just have to know people that know people. That excitement was somewhat fulfilled when I got my hands on the record. At first there were a few stand outs on this release but overall I felt kind of, eh, about it. Come to think about it for a minute or two, I still do.

There is some really great music on here and it adds another really solid release to warps catalogue but I cant help but feel as though I have heard this before. It seems as though he is a big fan of Warp Records artists. His beat production constantly reminds me of Chris Clark which is great because Chris is one of my favorite electronic musicians. Smash carries the glossy IDM sound that all of the other warp artists have with top notch production and that ability to make music that is just different enough to draw in the indie kids and just listener friendly enough to appeal to a wider audience.

I know that I don't really give overall ratings but I think it might be appropriate in this review. I just don't want people not to check this out because Im not giving it a glowing review. I really like this album, it's just not as good as I had hoped. That said Ill give this a 4 out of 5. Almost there but not quite perfect. Ta.

itunes link:
Smash

|

i went to the rainforest today

jms

|

the view

from my balcony.

view

|

Hello.

So I am leaving my easy to get to internet access here and leaving for a bigger fancier hotel today. Hopefully I will be able to find a hot spot somewhere around there and I can update the site some more but im not really to sure at this point what will happen. I just wanted to mention here that I have posted a couple of new desktops! So head over and check them out. Just a bit of things to come. Hope to talk to everyone soon so until then, have a good one.

-john

|

a peek into the trip

here are a few little photos from my trip so far. ill try and post a couple desktops tomorrow. i have to decide on whether or not i want to release some of these as desktops or not because ive come across some really great shots as of late and i may want to save them for other things but dont fear, there will be some cool new desktops here soon... until then, enjoy these!

prico6

prico7

prico8

prico9

prico5

prico1

prico2

prico3

|

Meathole

Here is a review of an album (meathole by venetian snares) that I wrote for the college radio station that i dj at:

for those of you who may not be familiar with venetian snares he is one of the leaders in break-core electronic music today. he has released album after album of crazy cut up breakcore which in essence can be compared to drum & bass only its a lot more fun. think squarepusher thrown into a blender. many times his albums have some sort of coherent theme or sound to them but all hold a similar aesthetic which is his mastery of the break beat and pushing that sound to its limits. in one of my favorite albums of his he took music from some hungarian (i think) symphonies and transformed it to one of his best and most memorable records. his use of samples and strange but interesting themes is what generally sets his music in a place of its own. (i find that a lot of people who are into metal like his music)

be prepared for a really fast paced intense sound that will add a moment of something wonderfully different to your show. 

i would suggest tracks: 
1 (classic vs) 
4 (a bit more tame with actual drum samples and some other great orchestral stuff thrown in the distance) 
5 (for fans of squarepusher and just a touch of afx, note: kind of has a little fake ending but kicks back in)
6 (more classic vs, trying to be dramatic with big ambient breakdowns and ending with a smattering of acoustic guitar)
7 DO NOT PLAY 7 ON AIR
8 (brilliant track imho but on the long side at 9min)

link to album on itunes:
Meathole

|

well kids, im off to puerto rico!

i know that i have been fairly inactive here on the site the past few days and that is because i have been getting ready for a trip to puerto rico next week. this trip just kind of popped up out of no where and it is courtesy of electro voice so i wont be needing a bunch of money for the trip which will be very nice. im planning on taking plenty of photos and i have plans to try a couple of things with some recording stuff that i am bringing if i find somewhere interesting to record some sound. so i hope to be posting plenty of cool content in the coming week from my trip. hopefully i will find some decent internet access so i can make this happen i hope that this trip makes for a fun week here on twistedsun.net so stay tuned for more!

by the way, this travel site is very cool and is based around user reviews. lots of photos and videos that are formated for the new video ipod! very nice. heres a link.


p.s - heres the hotel...

elcon_Mexterior

ElConquitador_panoramic2

|

itunes videos

many of you may have heard already that apple has sold over one million videos in their new video store. this got me thinking about the concept as a whole. while i think we are a long way off from seeing feature films in the store i think that selling tv shows is a brilliant approach to the whole idea. it just makes so much more sense than selling movies. i for one feel as though i would not want to sit there and watch a whole movie on any screen smaller than my laptop screen. i do however see the appeal of having a portable video device and i think tv shows are nice because they are easy to sit down and watch in one sitting on a smaller screen.

so that said i thought i would take a minute to bring up an idea that most other people seemed to have passed over in their discussions of the new ipod and the sale of tv shows on itunes. what kind of age demographic should they focus on with the type of tv shows available. i know that they have that one disney show on there and the pixar shorts but im wondering how many kids there will be running around with ipods with video playback watching their favorite shows on the school bus. i know that the ipod is quite the living accessory at the moment and im sure a fair share of younger kids have one in there pocket. is there going to be a market for this or will tv shows and content be steered towards adults exclusively?

im curious to see how the music store pans out as a whole and that includes the videos and the music. with the upcoming contract renewal in the coming year with the big record labels only time will tell what happens next year. all i know is that its going to be an important year for apple seeing as they are planing their big intel switch on top of all of these other new happenings...



|