Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Apocalypse Now and Laters: Hollywood's the Lorax

As we step into what may be the Sixth Extinction, a mass-extinction event where 50% of the world's species are annihilated (this has only happened 5 times in the last 450 million years, the last being the dinosaurs),  Hollywood is releasing Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" on Friday to kick off their awareness campaign... to sell us some Thneeds. Yes, with over 70 product tie-ins, including a Mazda SUV, the Lorax is going to be busy trying to get us to buy a bunch of shit we probably don't need. Fear for the Truffula trees.

The Lorax coverage begins at 1:10.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Out this week: Robots the Recent AI!

Out this week is the anthology Robots: The Recent AI which includes my story "Houses", originally published over at Lightspeed Magazine. Get a taste here.  This is an excellent collection of stories that features some crazy talented writers. Somehow I weaseled my way in and I'm pretty pumped. Like I said above, you can check out my story for free to get a taste of the book, and if you like grab yourself a copy (electronic/hardcopy) here (Amazon) or here (Barnes and Nobles) or here (Prime Books). Enjoy!

“Tideline” by Elizabeth Bear
“A Jar of Goodwill” by Tobias S. Buckell
“Balancing Accounts” by James Cambias
“The Rising Waters” by Benjamin Crowell
“The Shipmaker” by Aliette De Bodard
“I, Robot” by Cory Doctorow
“Kiss Me Twice” by Mary Robinette Kowal
“Algorithms for Love” by Ken Liu
“Alternate Girl’s Expatriate Life” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
“The Djinn's Wife” by Ian McDonald
“Houses” by Mark Pantoja
“Artifice and Intelligence” by Tim Pratt
“Stalker” by Robert Reed
“Droplet” by Benjamin Rosenbaum
“Eros, Philia, Agape” by Rachel Swirsky
“Under the Eaves” by Lavie Tidhar (original)
“Silently and Very Fast” by Catherynne M.Valente
“The Nearest Thing” by Genevieve Valentine

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sounds: In B Flat

You've got to check this out. It's called "In Bb 2.0". It's a sort of internet/youtube take on Terry Rily's "In C", but with you control the pace with a whole number of musical parts. None of this is mine. It's all the brainchild of Darren Solomon (website / twitter) who used youtube and collaborators who post music in Bb. It's gorgeous and you can spend most of your life just recombining the musical lines (there's 1.55 * 10^25 permutations). Below is just a four piece taster that you can arrange in 24 different combinations. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sights: Famous Explosions From History Recreated Via Cauliflower

Photographer Brock (no pun) Davis uses cauliflower to recreate three famous explosions.


Cauliflower Nagasaki, 1945

The Hindenburg:

Cauliflower Hindenburg, 1927

And my favorite, and one that I actually remember, the Challenger explosion:

Cauliflower Challenger, 1986
Mr. Brock is a master of vegetable explosion photography.

I stole this from Laughing Squid.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sounds: Mountain Man: Sewee, Sewee

I'm not the biggest fan of just straight vocal harmonies, but the Vermont trio of Mountain Man has it down. Short and Sweet. Gorgeous:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sounds: What With, Human Tree EP, Mist Giant

It has been a year since we, Mist Giant, released the Human Tree EP, and I thought I'd do a little retrospective essay writing on the songs, the EP, the band, and our process, starting with each song and then going from there. These entries are written solely from my point of view and only represent my take on how the band works and how the songs were written. I'm sure each of us has our point of view and I hope that Dan and Mike G. will add to the discussion in the comments below.

Lots of people start bands and songs with a particular idea in mind. "I want to be in a hardcore band"; "I want to start a industrial band"; "I've always wanted to be in a shoe-gazer project". I'm no different. I bring to the table a lot of post-rock sensibilities and years being in instrumental projects. But, the coolest thing about Mist Giant, for me, is that our sound is made up of the compromises between what each of us brings to the table. There's metal, pop, post-rock, modern, minimalist, experimental, electronic, even hip-hop in there, but the project never suffers from a lack of focus, because our focus has always been crafting each song on its own. And our sound comes from these musical intersections. For me, and this project, music and creativity becomes and act of discovery. We never, as a group, sat down and said: "We want Mist Giant to be ____". We've had plenty of discussions of what we want to do, instrumentation, textures, philosophies of music and craft, but the sounds that come out of this process have always been the unpredictable resultant patterns of compromise and appreciation of the group dynamic. What the hell does that mean? Specifically, it means that often times one of us will bring in a song idea and it will morph and morph and morph into something so different and so far from where it started as to be a total bastardization of the original motif. In a sense, Mist Giant has, more or less, rejected the idea of ego-centric songwriting. Everything we write, we write as a group. Sometimes this can be frustrating: the original kernel of idea that you wanted, that magnum opus you've been working on, that song you've cherished and the idea of how it could turn out, get completely bashed against the wall. One probably shouldn't bring to practice a song/baby they are not willing to compromise with, because that song will get trashed or discarded. That being said, once we've learned to let go of our ideas, relax our egos, and let the band dynamic take over, we are, as a group, pretty pleased with results that tend to be greater than the sum of their parts, and the songs take on lives of their own.

Such was the case with "what with"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

More Flying Robots: Galaxians have arrived!

I guess this is a thing now. It's a line, at least. One more and we'll have a trend.

The part where they're doing a figure 8: kinda mind blowing. Could be used for brick-swarming (construction), DARPA Combat Zones That See project (situational awareness/mass surveillance), in-atmosphere solar-powered communications network (via point-to-point lasers), or for real D version of Galaxian. Let's keep our fingers crossed it's us who keep the High Score.