Bands all have their own personal motivations for putting on great shows. Some are looking to give the fans what they want or deserve while some bands play with abandon, hoping to celebrate one last time and drain their instruments of every last note and chord in order to clear the slate for the next chapter of their career.
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Massive Attack’s long awaited new release drops next week and the first video premiered this week.
Yes, I’m blogging about Mass Effect 2 again. And I probably will next week too. I played through the whole game in four days, mostly in one very long Friday session of about 12 hours. I love this game, and I think it does a lot of interesting things, some of them maybe even ground breaking. Casting famous actors in lead roles is not by any means ground breaking and, indeed, might in some cases be seen as more of a publicity stunt than an artistic choice. Or maybe just a way for game developers to hang out with their favorite sci-fi celebs (I’m looking at you, Halo ODST using the cast of Firefly). Of course I have no idea how much publicity-minded planning played into casting Mass Effect 2, but I do know that some of those decisions had strong effects on how I experienced and even played the game.
There are a ton of sci-fi film and TV stars in Mass Effect 2, and I think they all do fine work. I’m concentrating here on those performances that made a difference for me in how I played the game or at least how I perceived it’s story. I know that one should take each performance on its own merits and not let past, unrelated efforts influence my impression of the piece at hand, but come on, that’s not how people work for the most part. Many stars are stars precisely because they bring along some good will and associations with them from role to role. Daniel Day Lewis manages to disappear completely into his characters, but he’s a rare talent. George Clooney, on the other hand (who I like a lot), knows how to expertly exploit his own range and tweak the overall feeling of a cool, confident, leading man to match the needs of his current film. When you cast him in a movie, you do so knowing that he brings a lot of presence to the characters that a director then doesn’t have to work quite so hard to establish.
It’s no doubt that my favorite album from 2009 was M. Ward’s sensitive and unassuming Hold Time. Every time I listen to it, I’m romantically transported to a perfect sunset circa 1960 and Ward seems to be a fan of that era as well. I’ve read various articles about his fascination with old-timey analog recording tools and instruments. Listening to his music always provides a soulful escape from what can be an all-too-modern collage of noise and images out in the world.
As is often the case, I have one of M. Ward’s songs in my head. The song is a cover of Buddy Holly’s 1958 single, “Rave On”. The song was actually first recorded by Sonny West, but made popular by Holly. I’m not a Buddy Holly expert, but it’s always interesting to connect the dots with some internet research. So I’ve included Holly’s “Rave On” below, followed by a young Waylon Jennings riffing on the tune with mariachi horns, a rare John Lennon cover of the same song and, finally, M. Ward’s 2009 version.
There were many wonderful things about this year’s installment of the Blip Festival, the flagship annual gathering of electronica enthusiasts who write their songs using ancient video game hardware, but I’ll artificially limit myself here so we can all pretend I came up with a clever angle on this review (glomag and Psilodump, in particular, get the short end of this deal—sorry, guys). Thus, 8 Bits from Blip:
Fighter X dancing: Youngish probably-hipster dudes in tight pants and floppy hair shoveling out manic, skittering Game Boy duels. Even if they sometimes came across as a sort of sleazy fun-loving Europop compared to their fellow performers (hey, there’s a place for that stuff too), the lengthy continuous set was very impressive, as was their tendency to abandon tending to the devices and instead jump around the stage or go crowd surfing, especially given that they have such small memory banks. The Game Boys, I mean.
// Moving Pixels
"Virginia manages to have an exposition dump without wordy exposition.READ the article