Archive for the Music Category

So I saw Tron: Legacy…

Posted in Daft Punk, Movies, Music, robotic go-go dancers, Tron, Video Games with tags , , , , , , on January 4, 2011 by gladlad

If you ask my wife if I like the original “Tron” movie, she’ll look up into the air for a second, take a deep breath, then gaze briefly at her wedding ring and reply, “…Yep.”  Because, you see, I reeeeeeealy like the original Tron movie.  She, like most other folk, thinks it’s pretty dang boring.  I will readily admit that yes, it IS boring.  But then you need to get ready to hear my long list of the things that make it SWEET.  But I ain’t talking ’bout the original in this here post, I’m talkin’ ’bout this newfangled Tron sequel hoo-haw.

And the only reason I’m bothering to discuss it here in blogdom is because Tron played a very key role in developing my early taste for the fantastic, the technological, and the glow-y.  I have been awaiting this sequel for years.  When cinemaphiles’ dreams come true and people actually do put a lot of effort into continuing long-forgotten-but-magically-unique movies, I sweat a little, both in giddy optimism and pessimistic apprehension.  Man, you don’t even wanna know how I feel regarding the Dark Crystal sequel.  Waiting for it makes my head want to explode.

Okay– so Tron: Legacy.  I’m gonna throw out the pros and cons: the things that either fired up or doused my excitement about it.  Like ta hea-hea go:

PROS:

  • -Absolutely beautiful CG animation.  A lot of the vehicle scenes were like visual poetry.  I could have happily sat through two hours of the cycles leaping and crashing and the planes twisting and trailing, especially if all their drivers were constantly shattering into little neon ice cubes.  Also, they managed to get a great density into the CG sets and objects; the Recognisers felt clunky and heavy.
  • – I loved the decision to clone 80’s Jeff Bridges.  It doesn’t matter how well they pulled it off; it was a cool plot element and tech gimmic.  I hadn’t watched many previews (on purpose), so I had no CLU (tee hee) he’d be the main antagonist.  I combatted the urge to wince at the facial animations by deciding that he was only CLU, not a real person, and hence any roboticness actually made sense.
  • – The female lead wasn’t half-naked, and was light on the cup size.  I cringed a little when she first showed up and started giggling (her, not me), but she worked out.  She’s no Carrie Ann Moss, but what can you expect from Disney?
  • – Jeff Bridges was in it.  Can you imagine what it would’ve been like without him?  A heckuva lot less Jeff-Bridges-y, that’s what.  “You’re messin’ with my Zen thing, man!”
  • – They threw in a lot of original-Tron easter eggs, especially in the ‘Flynn’s arcade’ scenes.  Even the title is a reference to something from the Tron 2.0 video game.  I nerd-grinned a lot.
  • Daft Punk.  In fact, this is like Pro #1.  Man, their music MADE this movie.  As my friend Cody succinctly said, it was like the helix that the rest of the movie’s DNA hung on.  With different music, the entire experience would have been much, much less powerful.  On the flipside, the music alone doesn’t have the power it did in the film.  It matched the visuals better than anything I’ve seen in a long time.  Soooooooo good.  (Be careful listening to it in the car.  It makes you want to drive really fast and disintegrate people with your weaving laser-trail.)

Um…  I think that’s it.  Now for the (pedantic)…

CONS:

  • Okay, so this is the future of ComputerLand, right?  It’s seen the rise of the Internet and all the fantastic chaos therewithfore.  Everything’s a zillion times more advanced and complex, right?  So why do the Recognisers (the big pi-shaped ships) need COMBUSTION-DRIVEN PROPULSION???  Why don’t the light-cycles take 90-degree turns at a million miles an hour anymore?  Why do the planes seem like they need to conform to air dynamics?  Why do they fire bullets that shatter small pieces of things instead of de-rezzing them outright like a little data disc would?  Basically, why are there real-world physics?  The answer to all of the above is: because it looks cool.  Meh.  You’re in a freakin’ computer, guys.  Do something weird.

EDIT: (My friend Alex pointed out this Penny Arcade which dots that ‘i’.)

  • On that note, I was really disappointed with just how unoriginal the whole design of ComputerLand was.  It had dumptruckfulls of pretty sparkliness, but it was VERY dry in the uniqueness department.  In fact, if everything was in daylight, it’d just be Mass Effect:

  • On the same note, the original’s nerdily iconic circuitry-suits from the original devolved into glow-strip motocross outfits!  Geez you guys!  For the sake of funky-design-lovin’ folk all over the world, I want to give much-deserved screen space to the suit upgrade I much prefer– the models from the video game ‘Tron 2.0’.  Some shots for comparison:

TRON:

TRON 2.0:

TRON: LEGACY:

  • I was pretty annoyed that the first things you see in Computerland (after young Flynn gets nabbed by a Recogniser) are robotic Go-go dancers who cut our protagonist’s clothes off and fondle him into some slick armor.  CLU is going for a perfected Computerland environment, right?  CLU wasn’t a hedonistic Genghis Khan, he was just super committed to digital perfection.  The supermodel intro just didn’t make any sense.  Like the CG, they were just to look good.  Bleh.  To wax pedantic about the original again, I always appreciated the general lustlessness of the characters which seemed to convey a digital DNA.  Plus, scenes like that make my wife unable to enjoy otherwise fun flicks, and make me hesitant to want to show it to my daughter.  C’mon, Disney!  Amp up your cool, smart, normal-girl role-modeling already!  Oh, sorry.  I guess you’d make less money.
  • Michael Sheen.  Yeesh.  Who the heck made that character decision?  I love the actor, but gee willikers, man.
  • The “ISO”s are all dead.  The best possible plot development disappears as soon as it’s introduced.  I would have loved a big epic movie about someone OTHER than Prettyboy McDopeypants doing something, and here you have a race of potential ROCKSTARS!  Self-evolved, fully sentient yet innocent programs on the brink of genocide by CLU…  It could have been a digital fem-strong Braveheart, with a Neo-like dad-and-son Flynn duo on the frontlines!  But no, instead we get a Bambi-eyed hottie for Mr. McDopeypants to ride off into the sunset with.  Play ’em off, Keyboard Cat
  • Daft Punk never got to blow anyone up with rainbow lasers.  What’s up with that?

I Feel Better because of Hot Chip

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on November 17, 2010 by gladlad

Hot Chip totally made my whole week.  Watch this and become awesomer.

(That’s the real band at 3:20.)

Viking. Tattoo. Mutant puppy.

Posted in Blogging, Drawings, Music on August 14, 2009 by gladlad

I have a tip (recently discovered) for any parents out there who enjoy singing lullabies to their kids: learn “There’s a Hole in the Bucket (Dear Liza, Dear Liza).”  It’s a very calming song with a nice rhythm, and if you can make slightly different voices for Henry and Liza, it’s entertaining, too.

And with that randomness out of the way, here are a couple of recentish drawings, just to spice up the site while I’m working on other things:

vikingBike VikeThis is an illustration for a church biking/camping trip to Alexandria, the “Birthplace of America”; I’ve done a t-shirt design for them the last four years.

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skull tattoo

Every few weeks I get re-convinced I need a tattoo.  I’m holding out for the perfect design idea, though, and it hasn’t appeared yet.  This one comes dang close, though.  Any suggestions?

SmokePuppy

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And here’s… …       …      …anyway, here it is.  I was in a Jim Woodring mood.  Take him with you in your heart today; he needs love.

Hello, Internet!

Posted in Animals, Miscellaneous, Music on November 21, 2008 by gladlad

I just wanted to do a shoutout to Jesus and his wonderfulness today.  Life is good.  I have an amazing wife, two amazing kids, amazing friends, a job that allows me to draw stuff and goof around a lot, and a driving purpose behind every breath that pours gold and precious jewels all around the illusionary mundanity I tend to see sometimes.  I am so thankful for the friends I’m meeting in Minneapolis who I draw pictures with.  If any of you are reading this, Conspirators, know that you bring a lot of joy to my first Thursdays.  Hopefully more often than that, someday.  Dana, I love you.  Thanks for being my wife.  Thanks for being MY wife, and all that that entails.  I am also thankful for animals.  That incudes my children.  Both categories are fuzzy, soft and bouncy.  Except for sea goblins.  I don’t know what to do with them.  I am also thankful for the soundstrack for the movie TEKKON KINKREET.  It’s by a great band called Plaid.  And Mahjong.  Okay, g’night.

*wheeeeeeze*

Posted in Drawings, Music on October 22, 2008 by gladlad

I survived 24-Hour Comic Day!  Wowzers!  It was quite the experience.  There were about 25 people participating at the Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis (and I found out later that a whole ‘nother group was doing it at MCAD, too).  We were all asked to take turns at a live blog for the extent of the event, which is pretty entertaining and has some good pictures.  It also contains links to all the comics that have been scanned and posted so far.  You’ll take a look, if you know what’s good for you: http://24-hourcomic.blogspot.com

The amount of artistic and literary talent together in that room was pretty impressive, even if most of the people there would scoff and snicker at that description.  These people are real artists who love doing what they do; it was really inspiring to be among them and the little gems they produced.  As far as my own work went, I was A) bummed because I realized pretty early on that I wouldn’t be able to finish 24 pages, but in the end I was B) pleased with what did get finished: a funny, goofy mock-kung fu story with quirky characters and some really fun panels of a bunny suction-cupping onto (and off of) a guy’s face.  I’ve been thinking about making mini-comics with continuing themes and characters like a bunch of my new cartoonist friends do (I really love Danno Klonowski’s “Manly Tales of Cowardice”), and these characters might just do the trick.  Drawing a kung-fu series would be sooooo fun.

Anyway, Click the link to go the gallery page of my 24-Hour comic: “AUTHENTIC ORIENTAL MARTIAL ROLE MODELS”!!!

It was astounding how much that stint of drawing took out of me, though (hence the post title).  I had a really bad allergy attack the entire time, so I was basically holding a Kleenex under my leaking nose and wincing with inflamed, cracking nostrils for what seemed like eternity.  My head was super stuffed and sinus-y, and we were forced to listen to about 4 solid hours of WFMU’s “Old Codger” broadcasts which, while pretty dang funny and hosting a fantastic selection of 20’s, 30’s and 40’s music, reacted like baking soda and water with my aching, corked noggin and made it want to explode in a foaming blast of mucus and hot air.  Added to that, your hand hurts really bad after drawing for about four or five hours straight, which I’ve experienced before.  Nothing prepares you for twenty-four.  I made the horrible mistake of saving all the lettering for last.  So many little tiny specifically-formed shapes… I will not do that again.  And you’re hunched over like a troll, focusing so hard on the tip of whatever utensil you happen to be using,  the whole time, so the next day your eyes feel like they’ve been skewered, your back feels like it’s got rickets, and your hand feels like a burning mannequin.  And your mind is still so very, very tired…  Ugh.  And then you go back to working the night shift.  My poor, poor wife.  Dana gets a lot of credit for putting up with me in the aftermath, man.  I love you so much, my foxy Punkin.

But none of that affected what a great, fun, unique, bizarre and educational experience it was!  I wouldn’t have traded it for ALMOST anything.  Thanks so much to Danno and everyone else who hosted and participated in it!  I’m already girding my loins for next year!  Yow!

A Musical

Posted in Music, Writing on August 21, 2008 by gladlad

just a little creative-writing scrap…

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He is a peasant, and he rises this morning to the shrill trill of a chickadee on the lawn. His wife is asleep and in the light of the sun she is beautiful, so much so that he must find a gift for her. His mind goes to the garden, where treasures await plucking, but which one for her this day? Among the new sprouts of Joni Mitchell and Stars, he remembers that yesterday the Eisley were already breaking their buds, promising tiny, brilliant blossoms simply perfect for a woman’s hair.

 

He gently slid out from beneath the hand-me-down quilt (a wedding gift from his mother: myriad hand-sewn patches of Beatles, Bonnie Raitt, Judy Collins, and bold swaths of Janis Joplin) and crosses the hovel floor. He pauses to stoke the night-fire; the heavy, sweet-scented Haydn reduced to coals, but still warm and cheering. At the door, other giants greeted from the distance. How lucky they’d been to find this plot; such a sunny hillock, with groves of Handel, Brahms and mighty Bach screening the garden and barn, and the single, towering Mozart waiting to be swung upon by the children and countless chattering squirrels.

 

It is a fine morning indeed. Dew still hangs on the broad, sleepy Morrissey petals around the door, and deep in the wood he glimpses a shock of Bjork growing wild in the shade. Spring is fine, he muses. Such treasures abounding! After claiming the Eisley sprig and returning to the house, his gaze falls upon the mantle, where he reminisces about their recent trip across the river to the village, where city merchants were stopped to trade on their way back from the sea. He had dreamt last night of their wares, still fresh in his memory. Each year new curiosities: Yet another line of Radiohead, even darker than the last. The old ones he had at home were much more to his liking, though. Festive Ditty Bops and rolls of soft, weathered Nick Drake caught his eye, but not so much as to cause him to miss the glint of a finely gilded mass behind some crates of exotic Ana Gabriel and Love Psychedilico.  Pushing past them, he had shouted in surprise.

 

To find a complete set of fine This Mortal Coil was a rare treat, and it seemed a miracle that the merchant accepted only three of his own creations in barter for it. “I like their shine,” the merchant had said. “Besides, this thing’s been taking up space since we picked it up a year ago.” His wife had given him a sharp glance, not understanding the magic the gloomy-looking pieces held for him, but she’d come to admit how charming it fit with the Jeff Buckley and Dead Can Dance already on the mantle. He gazes at it now, basking in the strange, silky taste it adds to the air in the little house.

 

He walks to the table, pours a draught of stream-chilled Blur and looks forward to breakfast: she’d promised a treat of smoked bacon and a new egg recipe spiced heavily with the Ratatat they’d dried last month. His taste buds quiver just thinking about it. Washed down with some warm Crosby, Stills & Nash, and he’d be ready for a solid day’s work. He wonders if – WHACK! The noise startles him out of breakfast reverie and he runs outside to find the poor crumpled body of a sparrow lying under the great pane of Cocteau Twins above the table. It was the second poor bird since they’d installed it to be fooled by the beautiful clarity. That came from the high Liz Frasier content, the craftsman told them. He thought the borderwork of brilliantly faceted Stina Nordenstam would deter just such an accident, but after all, it was that very crystalline transparency that had sparked the romantic notion of a dinner table view of the massive Taiko range towering above the Bachs. What extravagance for their little hovel! Is it really worth the price of the poor birds?

 

He cradles the tiny body, weighing nothing between his fingers, thinking of the sweet song its little voice would no longer trill, and wonders on an apt spot for burial. He decides on the little wild patch of The Cranes out behind the barn, with their multicolored bursts and dark, sleepy aroma. A cool, clear stream of Nada Surf rolls past the spot, and as his fingers tear through the loamy Portishead and Rusted Root for the bird’s final bed, the bright sun casts a glow on the land that, to the simple man, practically sings.

I’d gladly see it TWICE

Posted in Movies, Music on January 20, 2008 by gladlad
Once

I just watched the new film “Once”.  I recommend it highly to anyone who likes a) music, b) non-traditional romance movies and c) music.  It is a film about friendship and love interwined so intimately with songwriting that the music becomes the third partner in the relationship.  The two leads were stunningly understated in their perfect chemistry, and I simply couldn’t believe that songs written for a movie these days could actually be SO DANG WONDERFUL.  Sure, you may not click with the style (I did), but you just have to admire the respect these guys paid to the audience in gifting us with original songs that stand alone as just really good indie-rock songs.  And the story was good, too.  Speaking of which, I promise the next post will be about how far I’ve come with my OWN story.  I just had to share a great film.