Posted by prla1983 on January 24, 2007 • 1 commentsEmail This Post

Earlier today, I was part of a two-way conversation with a good friend, one of those chats that somehow turn philosophical, maybe because in that particular moment in time the planets were especially aligned. And out of the blue, I get the accusation:

- I think you haven't actually found love yet.

Time stops... What? Huh?

Then it hits me...

(He's right.)

...like a ton of bricks.

Guilty, Your Honor.

Zealot? Realist!

Posted by prla1983 on January 22, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

As far as I'm concerned, Rui Carmo, over at The Tao of Mac, has pretty much clarified a question and in fact defined something which had eluded me for quite some time (and honestly seems to keep eluding a lot of people, particularly in, but not exclusive to, the IT industry):
There's a lot of noise about Vista. Here's my take: I want to use it. It would be irresponsible of me not try out, partially live in and try to understand something that will shape a lot of people's computing experience from now on, regardless of my personal preferences (that, my friends, is the difference between zealotry and reality).
Bull's eye. Indeed the difference between zealotry and reality.

Photo Beauty

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I wish I was a good photographer. Not a professionally good photographer. Just an average run-o-the-mill just-for-fun photographer. Hell, I wish I could take pictures with a third of the quality Thomas Hawk has recently posted on his blog.

Obviously I could just hop on to Flickr and instantly look at bazillions of awesome pictures that would floor me right on the spot, but those three specimens are just positively stunning. Especially the one labeled "The Old Train".

And how about this priceless sunset? (via Scoble)

Hell, here's the entire Thomas Hawk set from his recent visit to a train museum. (hosted at zooomr, an interesting Flickr competitor, or so it seems, which comes complete with an interesting Google Maps mashup. Hawk is CEO of zooomr, right...)

Let me just pick my jaw off the floor and I'll be back with you in a second.

Genious Behind the Camera

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I tend to think of myself as someone who enjoys good cinema. One could argue that may not be exactly the case, considering I'm very impatient with the films I see and often grow tired and move on midway into them. Which is kind of weird, I must add, considering I have seen my favorite movies countless times. Still, on the other hand, at 23, I don't think I have reached a plateau of, shall I say, understanding, which would allow me to truly appreciate many so-called works of art. Unfortunately, at this stage so many things compete for my attention that it's not easy to work towards solving this shortcoming of mine. I feel the same thing towards many other types of art, mostly painting and to a much lesser degree, music.

Since I can remember, I've always been aware of such masterpieces as Doctor Zhivago, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia. Earlier today as I went shopping for groceries and other assorted trivialities, I came across a sale of low-price books and ended up (against my wishes, but that's entirely a story for another post) buying a couple of them.

One was Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. I never saw the Anthony Minghella directed 2004 movie (which incidentally won an oscar and grabbed a few nominations), but saw Neil Peart recommending it in one of his books while alluding to his having read it. Since then, and probably thanks to the way he spoke about the book, I've been intending to buy it and that's what I did today.

The other was a low-budget edition of The Bridge on the River Kwai. My father has always told me great things about the movie, which he saw countless times back in the day, but just like Cold Mountain, I never got around to it. Now I found the book on which it was based and an impulse stirred in me to buy it. Afterall, I always preferred to read the books that originated the movies and not the other way around. I've always hated movie books that come after the book. Always sounded to me like a senseless opportunity to cash in and that, obviously, sucks from a "mere" artistic point of view.

I'm currently going through a couple of other books, Newtow's Wake and Martin Eden, having just finished The Art of Travel (these later two being yet another two examples of Peart recommendations, I have a tendency to follow them), so I'm not touching the new two acquisitions yet, but I was inclined to check out the IMDb movie page anyway. Digging a bit deeper, noticed that David Lean, English filmmaker born in 1908, was the director for River Kwai and that he got an Academy Award for it. What surprised me was that he's also the director for both Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, both huge classics, of which the latter also granted him the Academy Award for best director. Another interesting tidbit was noticing how some great directors constantly rely on a favorite actor, in this Alec Guiness, much in the same vein ToshirĂ´ Mifune was Kurosawa's wildcard.

David Lean has already gone on to a better place, but his genious endures. I've always wondered what makes these people really tick, what makes them relentlessly turn over these works of art. I still don't know how to answer that particular question, but Lean is certainly yet another example of such.

And I didn't see any of those three films yet. Shame on me.


Posted by prla1983 on January 15, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

15 January 2006
  1. Isis - Oceanic
  2. Pelican - Australasia EP
  3. The Mars Volta - Frances The Mute + Tremulant EP
  4. ...and you will know us by the trail of dead - Source Codes & Tags
  5. Death - Sound of Preserverance (*)
  6. Marillion - Marbles
  7. Portishead - Roseland NYC Live (*)
  8. Camel - Never Let Go
  9. Radiohead - Kid A
  10. Chroma Key - Dead Air For Radios

Thom Yorke's "The Eraser"

Posted by prla1983 on January 10, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

The more you try to erase me, the more I appear.

Proof yet again that Thom Yorke is one of the biggest artists of our generation. "The Eraser" has just today slapped me in the face, and I'm strongly considering it for a late addition to my top of 2006.

Considering my increasing interest in electronic noodling lately, this comes really close to part of what I want to do in the (near? far?) future. For now, it remains a huge inspiration and an album I'm certainly spinning quite a lot in the coming days/weeks (currently in the 4th consecutive play).

This in a way complements my rediscovery of Radiohead, coupled with a discovery (as opposed to a rediscovery, mind you) of Thom Yorke himself. I've always been keen on sincere and soulful voices, such as Tool's Maynard James Keenan and obviously Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson, but obviously Thom easily fills the top three.

On a side note, it seems Radiohead have been playing new rocking upbeat tunes in their recent 2006 tour, stuff slated for inclusion in the forthcoming album. I hate the "return to the roots" silly advertisement so many people insist on doing these days regarding so many bands even when it's so obviously NOT the case and I refuse to jump on that bandwagon as far as Radiohead or anyone else is concerned. But if these talented guys have decided to take yet another step on evolving their sound, be it forward, backward or sideways, I'm ready to embrace it and get a huge kick out of the result.


Posted by prla1983 on January 08, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

08 January 2007
  1. Symphony X - Twilight in Olympus (*)
  2. John Frusciante - Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt
  3. Pink Floyd - Obscured By Clouds
  4. Porcupine Tree - Metanoia
  5. Peter Hammill - In Camera
  6. Tangerine Dream - Zeit
  7. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
  8. OSI - Free
  9. Dream Theater - Train of Thought
  10. Marcy Playground - s/t

Fear Falls Burning

Posted by prla1983 on January 04, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

Lately I've been increasingly drawn to all things Porcupine Tree which eventually led me to buy all six released official fanzines so far (arrived in the post a couple of days ago). Also lately I've been keen on reading up online on my influences and things related to them. I eagerly keep checking back on Steven Wilson's website in order to keep track of his playlist which he is so kind to share with us mere mortals. I've always been attracted to artists which insist on pushing the proverbial envelope and Wilson is one such character. His work both as an active musician and on the producer's chair is nothing short of staggering and he's a huge influence on me.

But I'm losing myself here. What I meant to say is that his latest playlist includes an album by a project called Fear Falls Burning, which in itself is, I think, a fantastic moniker. I've been on background processing trying to come up with a name with which to christen my own band and I always wish I had come up with names like this when I come across them. Anyway, perilous are the paths of the interweb, and I end up on Fear Falls Burning website which is basically Belgian artist Dirk Serries one man guitar drone show. I haven't been able to get ahold of any of his work yet (he's so underground that not even on eMule I could find any sample of his work!) but I'm eager to. I also learned that he's been on and off collaborating with Steven Wilson, notably on his Bass Communion side.

So, long story short, the guy has been maintaining a blog since the beginning of 2006 and I decided to check it out. Ended up reading the whole thing and while it's mildly addictive, two interesting things came up as far as I'm concerned.

First, the man has been having a frenzy throughput since starting Fear Falls Burning at the end of 2004 and he already came up with a DVD, entitled "The Infinite Sea of Sustain" (yeah, the guy has a knack for great naming). What struck me as particularly interesting is that the DVD cover is a special thing. Quoting from the blog entry:

"the infinite sea of sustain" is a special release, and naturally the packaging reflects its special status. In keepingwith Soleilmoon's uncompromising standards this DVD is presented in a stunning 5 x 8 inch (12.5 x20.5 cm) foldermade from hand-processed wood grain paper. The paper was custom made for Soleilmoon by Shantilal & Sons of Bombay, India, and no two copies are alike. The texture is an unbelievably fluid vision of wood; mere words cannot doit justice. A screen-printed insert and three postcards rest with the disc in a pocket inside of the folder, and an obandon the outside holds the whole package together." Take a look :

Beautiful. This is what I called both artistic expression and the positive campaigning against downloading and the so-called "piracy". Forget witch hunts, let's embelish our offer instead on aspects that cannot go through the wire and have to be physically acquired instead. Well done, good karma. This is akin to Wilson and many others I'm still to discover, who make a point of releasing stuff on beautiful vynil pressings, with amazing sleeves and liner notes. The real gods of music as far as I'm concerned. Music is art, so it should be handed and handled as such.

The second thing derives naturally from the first and that's the culture of "limited quantity" that Fear Falls Burning also seems to defend. And rightly so. I think it makes a lot of sense with this kind of art work. He goes on to explain:

The DVD has been selling tremendously well and this brings me to the limited edition issue. Many customers and listeners asked us whether the DVD or any of my previous limited edition LP's will be reissued. My personal opinion is that a limited edition needs to stay limited so for me and the music of Fear Falls Burning the past releases will remain sold out when they're out of stock. The LP's will not be reissued on CD and the DVD will not get a 2nd pressing.
I love the limited quantity aspect as it gives you the chance to share your music for only a specific period in time. Since I'm constantly evolving with ffb, it's for me interesting and healthy to leave a specific release behind me and move forward. Each ffb release belongs to a certain moment in time and it should remain that way.
Apart from this grants a limited edition you as well the option to make the packaging unique and special, "handmade on order" so to speak.

Well said. Now, I should really get on the lookout for a new nice turntable as it seems to have become a nightmare to find a new needle for my old one. I really want to start listening to some vynil again...

Three cheers for people like Fear Falls Burning, by the way.

Favorites of 2006

Posted by prla1983 on January 03, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

In no particular order (except for top 3):
  1. Katatonia - The Great Cold Distance
  2. Pure Reason Revolution - The Dark Third
  3. The Beatles - Love
  4. Stone Sour - Come What(ever) May
  5. Spock's Beard - Spock's Beard
  6. Tool - 10,000 Days
  7. Vanden Plas - Christ 0
  8. Mastodon - Blood Mountain
  9. Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death
  10. Isis - In The Absence of Truth
Honorable mentions include:

  • David Gilmour - On an Island
  • Dream Theater - Score
  • OSI - Free
  • Muse - Black Holes and Revelations


Posted by prla1983 on • 0 commentsEmail This Post

03 January 2007
  1. The Beatles - Love
  2. Teenage Fanclub - Howdy!
  3. The Mars Volta - Frances The Mute
  4. David Gilmour - On An Island
  5. Porcupine Tree - Voyage 34
  6. Stone Sour - Come What(Ever) May
  7. Spock's Beard - Spock's Beard
  8. Red Sparowes - Every Red Heart Shines Toward The Red Sun
  9. Radiohead - The Bends
  10. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife