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GHOST IN THE SHELL: Thoughts on the New Trailer

in Headline/support/think/topstory/video by
ghostintheshell-scarlettjohansson-cyborgbody

Held the tight-lip policy as long as I could about the live-action adaptation of GHOST IN THE SHELL – up until today, the Tokyo debut of the movie’s first trailer, promptly followed by its international release. Kept myself tight-lipped for a good reason: however much of a cyberpunk I am (that extent is really pointless now),  I don’t understand and I definitely don’t support the fans’ public outcry. So first let me just quickly share with you my train-of-thought reactions on the not-so-fresh trailer – had to give myself almost a day to let it all sink in. I’ll also rant why you should take five and not whine too much about the 2017 movie.

TRAIN OF THOUGHT ABOUT THE GHOST IN THE SHELL TRAILER

Love the glitch behind the ScarJo foreword..need to colorpick that lipstick as well, looks hue-on.. visually striking, that’s obvious, we’ve seen that in the five short teasers.. robotic geishas have the air of cognitive dissonance and ambivalence around them, love that a lot.. city shot well, spectrum’s very similar to the opening of the 1995 movie, headgear as well, hope they won’t add that cliché-ridden falling-from-the-rooftop-thing.. MICHAEL WINCOTT! The Crow’s one of my favourite movies, partly because of Wincott and Alien 4 is damn good a flic as long as he’s alive.. expanded spider-geisha reminds me of the opening scene of GITS2, are the producers fishing out the memorable bits?.. Major’s doing her regular rooftop gravity romp thing, so that was a rhetorical question.. every fucking piece of GITS work has that in it, after 21 years, I’d really love to see a different method of traveling down a few (dozen) floors.. visuals are still damn amazing.. yeah, second shot after breaking the glass comes damn late, augmented perps would have already double-tapped her.. HANKA.. so that’s really The Laughing Man storyline.. right at the one-minute stop Motoko smiles, sexy for ScarJo (WHAT ISN’T SEXY FOR HER GODDAMNIT) but very much out of character for the Major.. Kowloon-like city shots are damn amazing, I wonder if there’s going to be a scene where they have to go fight through streets that are so narrow that you can only walk sideways, one person at a time, would go so well with the Kowloon theme.. although the wake-up scene from the first movie seems weird, the view from the window is out of perspective, only possible explanation: she doesn’t have a window, only a screen instead of that.. more feelings on Motoko’s face that’s out of character (and also, works well with Japanese theatrics that often has feelings played inside instead of theatrically posted outside).. connected to something I’m not sounds bland and vague compared to the source material’s take on philosophy, so thanks Hollywood and dumbed down teenagers, thanks a lot.. Motoko’s lesbian take was even censored in the newer North-American VIZ editions (3 pages, if I remember well), so I’m glad the reference is in there somewhere, what if they’d actually have the virtual lesbian threesome on the boat?.. also, what if you’d have fifteen extra minutes of proper philosophical discussion and references on the DVD that’s not shown to the masses because they wouldn’t properly understand it all anyways?.. fuck my face, that’s actually a slowed-down cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence”? great idea to use a song like that for an international re-interpretation of a Japanese franchise but maybe a song with a more gritty, analogue feel would have added a lot more feel and atmosphere than this version.. we saved you and now you say others, why do you have to put sentences in bold and evident, this is Operation Cockblock aimed out our scene.. Motoko looks out of scene when she pops up in that retake from the first movie.. never been in that big urban jungle before, though, so I wouldn’t be able to say if this is fully unreal.. oh give Jess Hall a fucking Oscar for these visuals now, would you?.. did they take Batou’s eye implants from Poundland, a 100 yen shop or fucking IKEA? this looks horrifyingly cheap.. okay, Aramaki only had a gun once in the Stand Alone Complex series, he’s not a shooter guy, this is a huge deviation even if Beat Takeshi has an itchy triggerfinger, what is this.. more cheap Batou eyes.. I don’t know who to trust, Motoko is never this vulnerable in the series or the movies, not ever, not even when she’s got an arm ripped off from her body.. Batou without eye implants? does he have a promotional can of Pringles for a cock?… Motoko now goes on a spree to face her past?.. geisha with the expanding face, great reference to the opening scene of the second movie.. okay, is it Kuze in the final scene where he says everything Motoko’s been given was a lie? Probably Kuze.. also, that group of wired Buddhist monks is totally a blast, very powerful image.

So, that was two minutes and twenty-six seconds in my head. Thanks for being there. Now dress up and leave.

gits_poster

AND A BIT OF A RANT WITHOUT ENOUGH COFFEE

My take on the whole issue. (I deleted three paragraphs mostly ditching Arad and the unisex use of the expression “cunt talk”. Look grateful.) Ghost in the Shell is a Japanese story by a Japanese author about Japanese intelligence agency personnel living in a post-WWIII Japanese world. The GITS manga has a whole lot more tech, pol and tradecraft talk than the anime – this makes it very tight, iconic, cult-like, and also, hard to embrace for anyone who is not into this stuff. Nude geishas shooting everything that moves and then everything that does not? Super accessible. Introversion about artificial personality layering and its impact on a Maslow pyramid? Not accessible at all to most people. There, that’s the Ghost In The Shell reinterpretation pitch for you. If Hollywood’s doing a version, it’s 1) for international waters and it’s 2) for money. If you don’t like it, go indie, go for the source material or make your own brainwarping cyberpunk/biopunk series on Kickstarter.

But use your brains first. Anyone who’s not Japanese and tries to adapt GITS in any shape or form to the screen without thoroughly revisiting its core is prone to a fuckload of errors. (The source material is 100% rooted in Japanese culture, philosophy, technology, psychology – gaijin bastards can’t even read the kanas properly and we haven’t started talking about the cultural gaps and the highly different take of things in Western and Eastern cultures.) Japanese cyberpunk is miles away from its Western hemisphere counterpart and you know what, I’m actually thankful that the Hollywood industry didn’t pick Tetsuo Body Hammer for a rework. (I mean, look at Westworld – given how many reviews I read about how hard-to-grasp it is, I’d be glad to link voting rights to the capability of a proper debate about AI transitioning. Behave like it’s 2016.) But this is a rant and the bottom line is: don’t expect too much authentic mindwarping cyberpunk stuff from anyone on top. It never worked that way. (And if you wanted proper authentic Japanese Ghost in The Shell, watch the original movie and Innocence once again. They’re cultic for a reason, an anchor in time. Want an international or European interpretation? Go watch Avalon. Anything from the 2nd GIG onwards has lost a lot of its original density and coolness, so injecting new blood might not be a bad idea. Sure it won’t be smarter but I’m also sure it won’t be worse than the IP releases from the last few years.)

On the other hand, look at what’s on the shelves now – we’re having Blade Runner 2 and Ghost in The Shell on the big screen in 2017. Both promising to be “that one movie of the decade” that has a glorious all-encompassing cast that sort of serves as a carte postale of that era – Johnny Mnemonic, Repo Man: The Genetic Opera, maybe even The Matrix has a postal card on the cyberpunk shelves. It’s high time we got one such movie for the 2010s.

Just please change Batou’s optics. They look cheaper than anything the Garbage Pail Kids tried to fuck in that dumpster yesterday. And also: when referring to how cyberpunk ScarJo is, just please stop referring to Her. Lucy is a great reference film but as for Her, it’s damn voice acting. Get your concepts straight for once.

Yes, I stopped ranting. A bathtub full of coffee ready to inject in this great hate-spewing temple of mine. That can’t wait now, can it.

planetdamage.LIFESIGN (July 2016)

in Headline/personal by
Planetdamage

Hello from The Lodge.

This is goths-under-the-stones season here, AC’s raging and I dip my cornea in coffee on an hourly basis to stay awake in a torrent of bad stuff happening with the worst timing. If you’re not new here, you’ve already realized nothing’s really changed here. Woes aside, join me for another round of WTF!

THE HEARY THINGS

planetdamage lodge studio
This is how the more musically-inclined corner of The Lodge looks like at the moment. Even at night (so either my eyes have gone totally light-sensitive or there’s an industrial lightbolt thrower installed outside my windows). The most important piece of gear right there is the coffeemug, everything else is of secondary importance. There’s a new release already in the making (I haven’t even started properly promoing Snapshots of a Surveillance Manifesto, but still) and two new tracks are in pretty good shape already. Been thinking a lot about taking the whole thing live, I guess the new gear really reflects that – it’s a Roland SPD-SX perc/sample pad (back on Gearslutz everyone was raving about how good its predecessor was) and a Novation Ultranova with a titload of arps and live filters.

Reviews for Snapshots.. are scarce but good – surprisingly enough there was even a review featured in Hungary’s biggest science-fiction mag Galaktika.

I’ve also uploaded the audio commentary for Snapshots to Mixcloud, so you can now listen to my very first podcasty -listeny thing about how I conjured up the EP. Might be fun for, so give it a go below!

THE LOOKY-TALKY THINGS

The summer heatwave (fuck you, summer heatwave) drove a wedge into a string of presentations and talks and stuff that I did when I was not struggling with self-imposed caffeine deficiency – and it was all watermarked with Major Kusanagi. There was a longer roundtable (or more like bar stool) discussion at an ELTE movie club for psychology majors…

Photo creds: Cortex Film Klub
Photo creds: Cortex Film Klub

..and a shorter presentation took place at Brain Bar Budapest 2016, an event that was heralded as this year’s biggest European event about future tech (all intelligence officers and freemasons chuckle here, hopefully), watermarked by both Google and Wired.

Photo creds: Brain Bar Budapest
Photo creds: Brain Bar Budapest
Photo creds: Brain Bar Budapest
Photo creds: Brain Bar Budapest

There’s an official YouTube cast about that, I’ll post it below with a heavy heart – I never watched it and I never will. Reason: I’m wired to do quality checks after releases and always from the wrong perspective and that’s never helpful, especially that I remember waking up that day and I had the worst sickness in a thousand years raging around in my body and self-control and tai chi aside, I think it shows. My buddies think it doesn’t, but maybe they are just super kind. So there. Me talking for 18 minutes, being not in black.

Putting that aside, expect news not too soon – the new release is taking up a lot of time with experimenting with sounds and patching everything together here is madness (bad and mad technical reasons) and I plan to have a lot of collaborations on that, which will take a lot of time. Also, there’s two new book ideas, one is actually finished, the other could be finished in two months to my estimates, but financing it is quite problematic. And also, life (goddamnit). If you want quick updates about stuff, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (I go there once every month, sorry guys, so maybe don’t follow me there) or just drop me an email and send me something super inspiring, motivational or.. you know. Anything good that lights my sensors up. (Also: cover image is by Balázs Kassai on top of the page, can’t pimp his work enough!)

Always,
damage_a

Snapshots of a Surveillance Manifesto

in Headline/listen/personal/support by
(c) Péter Sántha, 2016

You might have stumbled into it in the header area, but if you haven’t: my first EP is out.Snapshots of a Surveillance Manifesto” has been in the making for something like one and a half years – definitely wasn’t one of my fast-moving projects but hey, it is now officially out, freely streamable and/or downloadable, packed with lots of goodies.. and I might have some additional points of interest to share (to further hammer my SEO flags into uncharted territories in the net, vast and infinite). Enjoy!

BEHIND-THE-SCENES: You might read a few things here about the EP you didn’t know but there’s a whole damn repository of BTS intel packed with the EP. As I’ve always loved wading knee-deep in Angelspit’s blipverts or the audio commentaries Blue Stahli packed with his releases and as I’ve had LOADS of different MP3 drafts from different stages of writing a song, I thought it would be a great thing to actually make a production diary for each and every song. This way you can hear how the first core loops sounded like, what the idea is behind each title or how Lensjammer, for example, was originally a jingle for a European Space Agency music competition. If you haven’t grabbed the prod diary yet, now is the time – enter your email address here and grab a hefty download!

COLLABORATION: I am really humbled to say this but it was one of my favourite musicians, Martin Bowes of Attrition (and Engram) who worked on the EP in terms of mixing and mastering (and additional production). He’s a great guy, definitely knows his trade and I’ve surely learned a lot during our time working on the EP tracks – we actually agreed at some point that the premix tracks could have easily been called industrial dub as I’ve suffocated them with a more than fair amount of reverb and decay. And it wasn’t just him to remix these tracks – I could also feature long-time industrial favourite The Mercy Cage on the EP with a buddy of mine from the London days, Lhasa Mencur (whose sound pack I also reviewed here earlier), Hungarian industrial veteran First Aid 4 Souls and the solidly-rocking Black Nail Cabaret. And the artist photos were shot by Balázs Kassai, as always – he’s not just a good friend (since high school, actually) but he’s also the guy who makes the best photos of my weirdly changing, coffee-deprived face. Period.

Damage. Photo: Balázs Kassai
Damage. Photo: Balázs Kassai

COVER: The front/back cover, the inlay and the logo (with additional pieces of artwork) was created by a long-time buddy of mine, Péter Sántha – the Hungarian readers might know him from LD50 and our collaboration on Carbonbonbons, a goth T-shirt brand. Peter had a great idea for creating an EP moodboard: he told me to pick a huge handful (25-50, maybe?) of industrial album covers that I like and find patterns in them when I feel I’ve selected enough. Weirdly enough, all of them feature screaming faces with protective eyegear. It turned out that his buddy Jeremy Falconer has a statue that would be just the thing for the album cover – and from that moment on we were pretty much set!

CRYPTO: As you might have guessed from the title, there’s an overarcing idea about today’s surveillance society in the EP. There was even a long phase of production during which I thought adding a crypto game to the EP would really boost everything, from downloads through SEO and exposure to national security flags. I really wanted to encode a long list of references and messages into the artwork, the music, the lyrics, basically everything – but as I don’t have the proper brain for crypto and I had noone to help me out, I just left the idea sunbathing somewhere far away. Still, the first idea that I came up with is still embedded, quite audibly, in Lensjammer and I’ve already gotten the first proper solution from it from an eager listener who’d like to remain nameless. Congratz!

DAW: I’m actually proud to say that the original tracks were done with Renoise. When I was making music in the mid-nineties (I’ve compiled the best tracks of that period under the title Track Record), I was working with FastTracker, a music-making software with a vertical workflow, looking much like Excel. Apparently that’s the workflow I can work with, as I do have trouble finding an easy way into horizontal. (And Ableton is a no-go, I was flirting out with BitWig Studio for a time, but Renoise is simply, simply the best.) And the lovely Renoise team even pimped the EP through their social channels, which is a nice touch, thanks guys!

And yeah, there’s more in the pipeline where this came from. Until the new release, stream the older ones from Soundcloud or Bandcamp or just download the full pack (there’s some nice endorsements there from Leaether Strip and Angelspit!) and spread the virus to your friends and neigbours! ROCK!

REVIEW: Angelspit – Cult of Fake

in buy/Headline/listen/support by
angelspit cult of fake album review

TL;DR Angelspit finally made a club stomper album. Weird chord progressions, but very stompable, lyrics are golden Angelspit quality, very solid. Great musical surprises. Buy this baby now.

It’s quite the turn on-tune in-cop out experience to follow the industrial riot PA Angelspit, three steps behind, ears open. I got to know Zoog around the project’s early ‘Nurse Grenade‘ era and quickly endorsed how Angelspit always shared their method, workflow and creative processes to help the upcoming generation through that Desert of Anything But Not Just That One Thing. The blipverts and production diaries were a great insight into how an industrial musician works, and trust me, creativity aside, tips and tricks are always handy when it comes to studio time after working from 9 to 5.

So, as you can guess, I was sort of enthralled to hear Zoog tell me during one of our as-rare-as-cherished coffee-fueled conversations that he’s working on the most dancey Angelspit album so far. And, as files for CULT OF FAKE trickled in, I have to ensure you all, ladies and gents, he’s right. And as it happens, he’s right in the most twisted sense of the word. As always.

And mind you, Cult of Fake is still a 100% Angelspit release. It is ear- and watermarked with Doepfers and EMUs and a whole wall full of modulars, it’s still fueled by the anger and the frustration felt over how corporate agendas thwart the lives of The Few, the lyrics are still constructed meticulously and are still peppered with rhymes just enough to be able to roar them out loud as you’re drunk (which is the best proof of your lyrics being solid), Zoog’s vocals are recognizable as always and if it’s guitar, it’s obviously George Bikos, who else?

angelspit cult of fake album review

And thankfully, as far as progression goes, this is a very different album from The Product or Blood Death Ivory or anything before. It is a club stomper and in terms of rhythmics, it’s evened out – a steady 4/4 material overall and each track is worthy of a few remixes. On The List (She’s Not) is clearly in the top league – this is something pretty much in the vein of The Presets by way of Tankt and 90’s club tracks and lush female vocals, yet, unmistakeably Angelspit. Thanks For Your Cooperation opens the album with such a Skinny Puppy-esque diorama of weirdery that you’ll have to check your ID tags twice. Breath is the weird club hit that could instantly land in the TOP40 if its chord progression wasn’t turned upside down, flooded with diminished minors (which is just the name of my very sad industrial cover band, hands off!) My Little Blade sounds just like it escaped from a Hardcore Pong album with its crunchy 8-bit feel. And this is just four track out of the 12 – all of them being weirdly characteristic, yet equally bouncy and decent club material for your favourite bunker near you. Note: you might say that Cult of Fake actually sounds a wee bit like earlier albums like Krankhaus or Blood Death Ivory and you’ll be right to a certain degree, as Zoog re-used some of the percussive elements from the early days. Nothing like a good clang re-clanged!

Cult of Fake is out today, 6/6/2016, on Negative Gain. Look grateful.

planetdamage.LIFESIGN (April 2016)

in Headline/personal by
damage_dk2

It’s time to remove the stealth implant, otherwise I’ll forget I can switch it off and I’ll drown in the realm of Lost in Time and Space. (That’s a Lovecraftian board gaming reference right there.) It’s been four months(ish) that I last cared about having a blog and the reasons for the radio silence are endless – so, without excusing myself further (that never seems to work, at all, ever), here’s an Opening Hand of Awesome (which could as well be the name for my new post-rock cover band).

MUSIC

One of my worst decisions in life was to stop making music. One of the best ones was to take it up again. The result of that is my first EP entitled Snapshots of a Surveillance Manifesto that’s scheduled to be released early May – think oldschool industrial with some twists and tweaks. Here’s a front cover – designed by a friend, Peter Santha. Back in the days of LD50 we’ve been working on the goth brand Carbonbonbons (think Garbage Pail Kids, only in monochrome) and now we’re collaborating again. The cover (and the logo and everything that comes afterwards from his Photoshop of Foul Magick) is filled with oblique references, good luck finding them all. That head on the cover and the trailer images comes from a sculpture, done by Jez Falconer.

Mixing and mastering and additional production is by Martin Bowes of Attrition – which is an exhilarating thing, as his LP The Hidden Agenda is amongst my top 10 favourite albums, so it’s damn humbling to work with him on this. There are four original tracks on the EP with a few remixes to accompany them – I’ve already received wave files from Attrition, Black Nail Cabaret, First Aid 4 Souls and Lhasa Mencur and there are some more underway!

The EP will be free and apart from finding it on Bandcamp and Soundcloud, you’ll be able to download a bigger package from this site, complete with a production diary, demos, ringtones and whatnot. You can find 15-sec teasers on Instagram, such as this one below (find the others for The Mark and Firewalls here).

WORK

Been covering virtual reality, indie gaming and everything in between for 24.hu since December. My experiences with VR are quite ambivalent and I’ll share these with you in a later post.

damage_dk2

There’s also a fun podcast I’m involved with entitled 20 Minutes Into The Future – for all you English-speaking fellas there, I’m sad to say it’s all in Hungarian so you’ll have to make do with liking all our casts on Soundcloud and iTunes – they’re chock full of bad word jokes and post-6pm remarks apart from reactions to major and minor tech news from the globe. I still have a few projects under wraps I’d really love to talk about but I still can’t. Yes, books and scripts are among them and music seems to gain a bigger priority than making infographics. Thankfully.

GAMES

Have I told you guys about my budding board game infection? No? Well, I did now. I have it. Fermenting with friends over a table looking at a half-destroyed planet (Eldritch Horror) or a coed flatshare of goth models (Chez Geek/Chez Goth) or just Petri dishes full of virii (Pandemic) is a great way to pass the time (and also, my fifth childhood phase). These are the nine biggest favourites, by the way.

damage_bg_fave

SITE

After having used Arthemia for a loooong time, I’ve decided to switch to another WordPress theme that greatly helps with giving a new life to this blog. The Fox keeps it more densejournalish (yes, this is a word now) and doesn’t feel like it’s breathing down my neck, urging me to write two more posts every day. I have more things to say now so prepare to have it in your face, in one way or another. Heh heh. Heh. Hhhhrh. The header and the logo were also handmade by Peter Santha, so show him some love. And now, let us set sail to Sanctuary!

Always,
Damage

planetdamage: this was 2015 (in pictures, data and lists)

in Headline/personal/think by
planetdamage_2015_003_may

Hello, cyberpunks, rivetheads, industrial-and-experimental-lovers and weird-people. This blog was more or less a wasteland in 2k15 – content was posted on Facebook or Instagram with a lot of time idly spent in front of a keyboard trying to warp up THAT BEST BASSLINE. Until I conjure up the skills of Bill Leeb (because with basslines that man is GOD), here’s a summary of what happened this year.

planetdamage_2015_001_jan

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REGULAR RECAP ROMP [2015.004]

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Wounderland-post-mortem-fairy-tales.__605

Weekly news recap from Planet://Damage, a magnet of cyberpunk, glitch, music production and anything else that can look black and neon-tinted at the same time. Enjoy your stay.

Wounderland-post-mortem-fairy-tales.__605

Wounderland-post-mortem-fairy-tales.1__605

This week’s “best find” title goes hands down to the Mothmeister duo. Their seriously thwarted taxidermy photos depict a world not unlike the one I’m working on in my novel at the moment and their photos are brilliant, both technically and aesthetically. And they’re clearly disturbing, according to a lot of commenters who blame it on their fear of clowns, a phobia I’m unable to relate to, maybe because I wasn’t scared of It in the first place? Still, if you’re as much in awe as I am (and I hope you are), go check out the post on BoredPanda that began it all, then go and follow Mothmeister on Instagram!

Click on READ MORE for obviously more poor impulse control about music and tech!
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2013 Q1 & Q2: the planetdamage stats

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I hesitated / before restarting P://D
that bound my personality together.

I’ll need a bit of time before laying down new foundations. Until neoconcrete solidifies, I thought visual reminders and summaries would work well. They come from the Foursquare Time Machine, Xefer, Last.fm and Wolfram Alpha respectively. I’d appreciate behavioral pattern analysis softwares. Or jobs that land me with access to softwares like that. Yes, freelancers love experimenting.

On another note: if you see design glitches around, that’s completely normal, I’ll be trying to come up with new solutions for a HQ. Working with multiple content platforms with future shock speed can land you in a sad, fucked up port of cognitive dissonance with not enough caffeine or porn. Oh yeah. Jobs that land you with access to behavioural analysis software don’t appreciate personal blogs about porn references. Or do they.


[The Foursquare Time Machine]


[Xefer]


[last.fm]

[Personalized Facebook Reports from Wolfram Alpha]

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