This week I'm sharing an interview translation with you - this week the long-standing site gothic.hu did an interview with me. My questioning partner was DJ Gelka, someone in the Hungarian scene a lot of us can be thankful to for keeping the very true Goth spirit alive - and he also let me post this translation to my blog in English. Enjoy!
GOTHIC.HU: The musical subcultural environment that I moved and move in, primarily connect you to LD50 (to non-Hungarian readers: this was an alternative community site, pre-Facebook times, 2001-2012, organizing a lot of parties and gigs as well). That is of the past now. What happened with you since then, any personal milestones to point out?DAMAGE: I stayed on the music/technology axis, I’m just trying to ride it from a different angle :) I had run-ins with music startups (conclusion: even the best ideas can be ravaged by fundamental human errors; most startups sink; the idea of “let’s rush everything and bring out the minimal viable product” makes me sick), news portals (I love thinking back on the years spent at HVG Online) and lots of ephemeral projects and ideas but if I had to pinpoint milestones, that would surely be the music project. And Damage Report, which was a 400+ frustration rush about why technology is good and people being really bad at managing technology and each other. Although I had a publisher, in 99% it was me and friends and acquaintances who helped with promotion. The prologue was like a freight train, noisy and loud - there was a lot of lecturing and teaching and article writing to set up the book itself, but the epilogue of it is just scattered fireflies - some people clearly did not get it, some had problems with density or the style itself, the company responsible for online support got bankrupt and pulled off the servers so abruptly I did not even had time to get a final screenshot…so there was a good mixture of good and bad throughout. After the book got published, I said I didn’t want to write at all for a time - strangely enough, words seemed to elude me. Music came back to me a bit later after that. As for LD50: I would still consider it a good idea to have a big community forum (only I would run this differently now) - but now it is in little inclusions that the underground survives in the community space dominated by Facebook - and it does have its own perks and pros.
GOTHIC.HU: Listening to your live gigs and the EP Hi Rez Lo Life, it’s hard to mistake the taste of the turn-of-the-century electroindustrial: I feel rust in my mouth and it punches through chromed steel rods through my chest. The music itself sounds modern, but it does have the authority of the eighties’ ancestry. Did you consciously avoid aggrotech and more “modern” subgenres? What are your reference points?DAMAGE: Haha, really thanks for mentioning the rust and the steel rods :) The first EBM stuff I ever heard was Front By Front by Front 242, this defined my musical taste at least as much as Mentallo & The Fixer’s Revelations 23 or FLA’s Caustic Grip and Tactical Neural Implant later on. These are my reference points and the EBM/electroindustrial things of the late 80s and early 90s, especially the releases from the label Zoth Ommog - if not in band name, surely in sound. Aggrotech and all those bangers don’t really move anything me, maybe the coffees I just had. If I want to make music to match a vibrant, tense, ravaged future that I either read about in Neuromancer or see in the news or around me in 2019, that is not an explicit and intense thing, it is more like Clock DVA and Haujobb and Headscan. If you check out Surveillance by Tankt, there has never ever been a better soundtrack to 2018. We’ll yet to see what matches 2019 the best..
GOTHIC.HU: Your latest EP has four tracks and this counts as another shorter release of yours since 2016. If I was looking for differences, I would say it is angrier than last year’s Stray Signal, the distortion feels more raw. The mixing is different as well, as last year’s release was managed by Martin Bowes’ studio and now the new release was handled by Krisztián Árvai (was it the change of studios or did you yourself push it that way?)DAMAGE: Both but I think the major decision was when I heard Black Nail Cabaret play live at Dürer Kert and considering how bad electronic things can often sound there, their stuff just sounded so sharp and brilliant that I said “okay I need their help, I hear such nuances and sharpnesses in the sound that I have really been missing from my music”. As for anger and all the raw stuff, yeah you have a point there - although I am not very aware of what I wanted to make with songs, a lot of people often expect me being a lot more conscious about song titles and lyrics and producer work - I’m not. As for the shorter releases: I wanted to release a few of those so that the Planetdamage project should have some sort of a scene cred, now the next release is surely an album… to be released when it’s done.
GOTHIC.HU: We could see Planetdamage play live at Kék Yuk and the Fekete Zaj fest - these are the inner circles of the local subcultures. What breakthrough points do you have locally and outside the country borders?DAMAGE: I see more openers and breakthrough points abroad than here, but I’m afraid we’re talking about quite a closed group of people regardless of location - I don’t think the percentages or ratios of our subcultures (to the whole populace) in different countries would differ significantly (well, definitely not within Europe at least) - yeah, there might be a bit more people who read Sandman and watch Tim Burton, sure, but there is still not many media outlets to get info from. Unfortunately. Breakthrough points - yeah, you can bombard club owners and promoters with press releases, try to get on compilations or to labels, collab with others, write music for games, movies, books, Kickstarter projects, product trailers, ads, etc. I like to look at things ever since the web appeared from a perspective that we’re not living in Hungary, we’re living on Planet Earth - so it’s easier to feel that you have more opportunities.
GOTHIC.HU: You’ve seen a few generations come and go within the local subcultures. How do you see all that and what is the reason (I’ve asked this once in a previous live report) behind you becoming an active musician only recently? Planetdamage might have had a lot more pleasant era to behold previously…DAMAGE: Sure, I mean, PD could have been a lot stronger around 2005 but at that time I was pretty busy running LD50 and the parties around the site. I wouldn’t have had neither the time, nor the capacity to make music - and I think I needed those long years of listening to more music, meddling with music software and writing that book for everything to settle in my head - and the result of that is the thing that you can all hear now on Bandcamp. Back in the MySpace era feedback was a lot louder and more intense, but I don’t look back at that thinking “oh how great it would have been if”, not for a second. I live in the now so I gotta deal with the present, I simply can’t change the past, nobody can. And as for this project, this is surely something I can learn a lot from, so as for will it go on - yes it will.
This week my buddy DJ Liquid whom we have a long history with from our days at the Hungarian alternative community site LD50 made a short interview with me for his Facebook page while he was doing his Planetdamage Week - thank you for making that happen! Part of that week's content was a brief interview he did in Hungarian that he let me post to my blog in English. Enjoy!
(As for the image - that is Esteee (another amazing DJ from the LD50 crew), Liquid and me, from right to left, back in 2016.)
1. Where does the name Planetdamage come from?Aaah man, that will sound so bad. For a while now everybody knows me as Damage, so when I had to pick a name for my new blog in 2007, I picked the name Planetdamage (which is inspired by the gamer network that was active a few years before that, I was following up on PlanetUnreal for a long time and it seemed like a good idea to pick planet as a protocol and not https). And then the time came when I thought I would start doing music again and I had to think through what name is useful in terms of SEO: a new one or the Planetdamage handle I use everywhere in social media. Obvious answer. And no, my project is NOT eco-industrial.
2. Which was the very first track you did and when was that exactly?The very very first was in high school (and this probably was gabber which sounded like that Sunday 5am when you wake up realizing your neighbour has a hard time assembling the full wall bookshelf), the very first Planetdamage track, though, was Glitch Baby Go and I remember I wrote that after a 17-year hiatus, four years ago. This sounds like that time when the Japanese bot next door has a hard time assembling the full wall human.
3. Which bands do inspire you?A lot of the reactions I get from people is “oooh that is a lot of Front Line Assembly in there” and yeah, there is some truth there but I think during the years Mentallo & The Fixer and Haujobb has gotten way more under my skin. I do get inspired from a lot of places, those long-winding ambients are really huge points of inspiration (Pete Namlook and Future Sound of London have been favourites FOREVER) and I am really thankful to oldschool psytrance. As for new bands, I do love spinning Chrome Corpse and Nevada Hardware.
4. You had a few gigs now, which one is the most memorable?Well, I did not have that many :) I could highlight each of them for something but I would probably pick the latest gig at the Fekete Zaj summer festival - it was probably the most memorable because a lot of variables just acted in such a lucky combination, the place, the organizing, the staff, the sound, the audience, each and every factor was great, so thanks to Zero and the staff and everybody who was there!
5. Could you talk a bit about how your recent EP “Hi Rez Lo Life” was born? When did you start working on it?I checked out the timestamps for you to be sure - TAZ had a saved version in January 2018, so this time last year the EP was already under way :) Hi Rez Lo Life as a pun has been bouncing around in my head for a time and sometimes I do store ideas like that, saying well, there’s a good song title here, this would sort of need a track around it. (Okay, Cyberpunk 2077 might have inspired the title.) As for the message in the background, I sort of covered that in the booklet - I am disgusted by what I read in the news, I haven’t ever seen such an illogical behaviour from so many people. I do have a looming feeling, though, that even before my time things weren’t better, only I wasn’t around to see it or I wasn’t interested in global politics or practical psychology. (I’m still not interested in politics, though.)
As for the genre and the sound, there’s obviously a shift which has a lot to do with Krisztián Árvai, it is a really interesting experience to ease the creator control and let others work on making your songs tougher and stronger. All the tracks have gotten a lot more kickass and we do make funny remarks on how GOOD they sound on everything from very cheap earplugs to very high end sound gear and the car tests and the city tests and everything.
The artwork, the video and the design was all handled by Richard Besenczi - I first worked with him on the Vex video and it went so well that now he basically is responsible for all the visuals of this release and seeing all those glitches and the DIY LED-glasses really warms my heart.
6. What plans do you have for this year?I do have a few things in the pipeline, but my main priority is the debut album I will be working on - there are places and atmospheres I want to visit in sound, very different to the ones where you wake up to the sound of Japanese robot next door still not really getting there.
With the release date of my new EP Hi Rez Lo Life, I am glad to share not only the music video below but also some behind-the-scenes shots that we did with director/video artist/photographer/coffee god Richard Besenczi (who was also working on my previous MV Vex).
As for all the messages, thoughts and directives behind the EP, here's something from the CD inlay to sum it up.
“Humanity's greatest potential is a greasy burp of couch crisps and a complaint against bad CGI when an actual extraterrestrial invasion goes live on social media. From Trump through Brexit to the Anti-Encryption Bill, we have a long list of indiscernible proofs that unity has never been our race's biggest forte, definitely not in the globalized post-internet era. The loss of both narrative and context with the added lack of interest and the ability to foresee conclusions is our primal setup for this MMORPG we play on a daily basis. This is what HI REZ LO LIFE is about, both a reminder and a warning.”
Just a week before the new music video for my recently released track HI REZ LO LIFE starts wreaking havoc on the inter, come take a look at the bunch of photos I found on my phone about the VEX video shooting day!
Both my new video for HI REZ LO LIFE and this one for VEX was recorded, edited and forged together by Richard Besenczi - I could totally recommend him saying if you want to work with a joyfully weird and professional video talent, go hit him up but I'll say this: I've never met a man who can drink as much coffee as him. And this is a compliment. A big one.
End-of-the-year proto-buzzfeed OCD-ridden content summary full of music, games and recommendation bits, hello! If you are new here, I am Damage and this is what I mostly do. Sometimes those get really cyberpunk, sometimes just flat-out weird. You will now get a bit of a glimpse into the past twelve months. Enjoy, share and subscribe! (Also, mental note: lots of good moments are left out because there was just no photos made. Or it turned out that my photo skills are total shit to begin with. Or, you know, lost in time like tears in rain.)
Pretty busy year, 2018! Kickstarted the engine with the EP Stray Signal (February 1st, mixed and mastered by Martin Bowes of Attrition, artwork and design by Péter Sántha aka @cptamorf) that was quickly followed by the music video for Vex a few weeks later (March 9th) - that one was done by Richárd Besenczi whose name you will totally hear more in the future.
The material for the new EP that I planned to release this year was pulled together by mid-December so I thought it was best to keep it out of the holiday noise-and-frenzy - so you will have some new stuff to be happy about in January! Those songs that will appear on the new EP Hi Rez Lo Life you might have heard in August (albeit in different versions) if you attended my gig at the Fekete Zaj festival!
Remixing was a prominent thing this year - I reworked songs for New Project, Angelspit, The Mercy Cage, Zsiga Bernathy and Ion Pulse, often turning tracks into more ambientish territory. (Or not, in which case there was more psyness involved.) There were two other collaborations this year that have not yielded fruits yet but I cannot talk about those - although First Aid 4 Souls did reveal a collaboration down the line in an interview for Peek-A-Boo, so that is not that much of a secret now. I made trailer music for the Hungarian fashiontech tech hub 878 Collective, all three of which are available here. That aside, you can find me on a few 2018 compilations as well: Intravenous Magazine's Blood Pack 5, the Two Gods-related Cage 25, Industrial Landscapes (which is a cross-section of Hungarian industrial and experimental bands) and Black Pill Red Pill's 2019 compilation.
So what about 2019?
January 11th brings you my new four-track EP Hi Rez Lo Life (with Krisztián Árvai of Black Nail Cabaret behind the helm on production, mixing and mastering and Richárd Besenczi on artwork, design and video works). After that, it is mostly album time, me getting lost in all the gears and apps and VSTs and gorgeous glitch sample packs that I gathered this year. Maybe more blog posts!
Each and every beginning of a year is chock full of summaries, reminiscences and cleaning-up-the-flats and digging-up-all-the-shits and this is one of the most comprehensive photos from January, me finding all the passes I gathered in a drawer. This includes passes from Castle Party 2004 and the 14th Wave Gotik Treffen, but the most memorable is the artist pass from 2000 when we performed first live as a techno/noise/whatever act under the pseudonym Samhain Biolab with my good friend @balazskassai. Good times!
Best gig this year, fullstop. Icelandic dream pop band Vök got me from the first moment to the very last, up until the moment when after the gigi I went up to the merch stall and said "this is all my money in my wallet, give me stuff, because I want to support you as much as I can". AND I had the vinyls signed which is something I never ever do. AND the photo with the band which I really never ever do. So, if you don't know them yet, please give yourself some good proper time and check them out wherever you can. Here's also a list of other bands I saw this year, some of which ended up in grabbing vinyls, as I guess that is the type of merch that supports bands the most, but correct me if I am wrong, I'd be curious in knowing the proper numbers.
Aesthetic Perfection, Batushka, Black Bartók, Black Nail Cabaret (3x), Box and the Twins, Boy Harsher, Cantara, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Carpenter Brut, Crippled Black Phoenix, De Facto, Geometric Vision, Gustave Tiger, Hante, Hide, Intimate Stranger, INVSN, ION, Jojo Mayer w/ Nerve, Kaelan Mikla, Lebanon Hanover, Lies of the Machine, Priest, Schammasch, Sextile, She Past Away, Sólveig Matthildur, Tape Delay, Vök, Youth Code, Zivatar (2x)
Music video time with Richard Besenczi! I just realized I haven't actually posted anything substantial about the VEX video behind-the-scenes, although we do have a lot of photos and glitches to share. Until I finally release that, let me boost out a hearty thank-you to Sinred for all his help, Bebek's Creations for the help with the skull and Dóra Mojzes for her amazing Y.LD attire!
So I did say buying vinyls is a good thing, right? Still couldn't figure out how profitable of a merch vinyls are (it was only two pictures ago, apparently), but buying these SP vinyls really made my month - oldschool Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly materials (especially the Nerve War demo tapes!) are just the best atmospheric materials ever. Also, a Zoom multistomp that everybody said I should not buy so I bought it anyways and it fits amazingly well with vocals.
So I spent a long time researching synths before deciding to go with a Behringer Deepmind 6, even though there is a LOT of backlash against Behringer for re-working oldschool synths and there are quite a couple of bad reviews out on this gear (bad construction, bad keyboard, loud fans). Yeah, it is quite weird, having your own loud fans inside a synth but hey, I love the sound quality and all the sound design there is just a black hole in time. Best self-bought birthday present ever.
Also, biking photos, because finding an area in a city that is full of vistas like that is just amazing.
Also, more biking photos, because midnight biking is one of the best things to calm down a frenzied brain.
Lots of prep for the Fekete Zaj festival gig, massive thanks to the ArtistFactory rehearsal room complex where we spent a lot of time with Balint Janko of Clayfeet to practice stuff. Massiver thanks to @sheisannajulia for retrieving this proto-mechano-cybermonkey mask of ROCK out of the depths of hell!
Live at the Fekete Zaj festival! Much better gig than the first one, so much more to do to land a better one! Thanks to all of you who came there to listen, to rock or both - mega thanks go to Dustrial and Public Beta Wear for the stage attire!
With @quazzartheone and @balazskassai in an aura which totally gives 0.4% life regen! (Path of Exile fans know what this means! Also, if I have to pick a game that was totally the best this year, I could not really pick between Path of Exile or Starbound (filled with mods) or Skyrim (very much filled with mods)!)
If I have to pick one superfavourite board game ever, it is still Eldritch Horror from Fantasy Flight Games. I have yet to find another Lovecraftian game that blends cosmic terror and archeologist popculture with mowing down alien beasts with magical tommyguns in alternate dimensions - which is probably why I picked up GameMaker Studio 2 to eventually come up with something like that on my own. (And yes, I know, best reaction to a Lovecraftian monster is to instantly die, go insane or flee and then go insane and not go akimbo with tommyguns, so this is really a cheesy way of approaching the Mythos, but hey.) If I have to pick some other tangible games that stuck with me this year (and I tried, bought and sold a lot of card and board games), those will be Nemesis and Star Realms - Nemesis being the closest thing to an Aliens boardgame (long hours of wading in corridors covered in slime, infested by facehuggers, trying to murder a full spacecraft full of your teammates and aliens that look like running knives on a lot of legs) and Star Realms is a short little filler game of space combat and a lot of luck.
Coffee! Martin of Attrition said that he can sum up our conversations in two words: coffee and synths and boy, was he right about the order of those words as well. If you are rocking out in Budapest and you want some good places, I would definitely go for two places: one would be Barako on the Buda side and on the Pest side it would definitely be Empathy Cafe & Bistro (and if you go there, you also support the Hungarian Red Cross, so you do double-good!). Go grab a cupful there, I mean, now.
Working on the new music video Hi Rez Lo Life - there is a bucketload of behind-the-scenes materials on this one as well, so you will have a lot of stories about this one as well. This is probably a shot that will not get into the final video but I had to cap it - the resemblance to The Last Airbender is eerie! (Or, if you want to be more cyberpunk, The Last IRbender.)
A collection of 443's from all over: from a hotel with a bug problem and a soggy bacon problem, from an underground railway station, from an inexplicably neon-lit swimming pool complex, a laptop, a Path of Exile session, a Clicker Heroes session (sorry, I am a sucker for idle clickers) and a Trafó clothes room token.
Thanks for watching, hit like, share, subscribe and behave like you haven't noticed the glitch here. Take good care, build as much of a FOUNDATION OF GREAT ROCK as you can and see you next year! If you have anything to add, scream, shout, whisper or stab, do so in the comments or on any social media platform where I will be watching, as I usually never sleep. *spooky silence intensifies*
Welcome back! I spent the better part of the past three years' worth of free time into one of the things I enjoy the most: making music. So I am reopening this site as a hub focusing on music and sound - basically doing my own content, once again.
If this is your first visit here, please take a look at the bio to figure out what I did so far - as all of that was basically part of this site's previous content batch. And then social media happened. Shorter attention spans. Direct feedback. Dopamine reward highs. Like economy. Clickbait and viral sluttery. And if you weren't motivated enough, your content got shorter, your thinking and writing more to-the-point and even maintaining your own blog got to be quite a drag. (Not to mention all those people who think maintaining a curated Tumblr feed is equal to having a blog. Those people still have social security and voting rights. That's something to think about.)
So I thought after having a hobby that does makes an extended use of the Planetdamage moniker again (with different spellings, though, there is Planet Damage, PlanetDamage, Planet://Damage, 443 and Agent 443 and I am sure more are to follow), it would make sense to restart the blog, post all my relevant content here and keep it alive as a hub that functions as an info board of past things compiled and future things teased. With no comments allowed. If you want comments, come visit my Facebook page or drop me a message.
As for all the content pages on this current site: About/Bio serves as a summary of what I've done so far in my professional life. The Works is basically a visual rundown of my releases, remixes and gigs. Music is similar, structured differently - think of it as a combination of multiple press releases where you can go through everything in one reading. Live Shows contains the list of my past and future gigs. Most probably a webshop if I manage to hoard my merch back from a few places together. Expect new content regularly - or sooner if there is something amazingly awesome happening.
Keep surviving and support your favourite and/or local bands and brace yourselves!
2017? Too much noise.
Hello. It's been some time. I basically limited my FB activity to a Dunham-number limited (sort of) private group of friends, acquaintances and stalkers called Externalia, based on a newsletter I ran for a time. (Images go to Instagram, my Last.FM scrobbler went to hell and I hate how Spotify lags my box or lacks a lot of stuff I listen to, the Chrome web scrobbler extensions don't work well either and music listening aggregation is something I would love to see in 2018. Just saying.) Released an EP in January, worked on a new one this whole year. Bought a lot of music gear, developed Gear Acquisition Syndrome, then killed it. Sold a lot of board games, bought a few new ones (Pandemic: Legacy S1 is amazing, Eldritch Horror and Zombicide: Black Plague are close to our hearts, This War of Mine is something of a gorgeous ambivalent trainwreck - brilliant but too depressing). Teaching still goes on about digital marketing and upcoming technology trends. Also, a remix of one of my tracks was featured in a dance performance at the Budapest Kunsthalle. Lot of things. Many of them I might have forgotten about. Lots of bad things. I won't even write about those.
So I bring you photos from this year. There were more, two pre-selections happened, then these ones remained, very focused, in more ways than one.
Fuel duo of 2k17: coffee and music. To the right: the essential quality of coffee, according to Warren Ellis, it is something close to Hiroshima strength, same approximation by one of my favourite Italian cafés near Shoreditch is aaaah triple ristretto. This package comes from Bite, I think, but the strongest coffee in the Hungarian capital is in Barako Coffee House, no doubts about that. To the left: that's my new DAW! I switched from Renoise to Bitwig early this year, because it was a nightmare working with vocal tracks in a pattern-based environment, Ableton was too expensive and Bitwig was a new idea, also the UI looked really decent. Looking back a year's worth of music writing and jamming, this DAW is a monster. My new EP Stray Signal (out in February-ish, 2018) was done with Bitwig and I think you can pretty much hear that - if you'll buy the EP off the Two Gods label Bandcamp, you'll also get the audio production diaries as a hidden file.
Two months before my first gig, shot by my good friend tlvlp, showing off my gear, live and in-house thrown together. Most of this did not end up on stage, though - I wanted to trigger backing tracks from the SPD-SX in the foreground (because everything looks better if you hit it with fluorescent drumsticks, thanks Ancsur!), then I ended up with using my Android phone, because 1) it's easy, light and works fine and 2) around 11pm with the level of drunkenness I'm expecting on the floor, you won't be able to hear the difference between the DA of a smartphone and an SPD-SX, anyway. For pads and leads I used the Novation Ultranova, for vocals a Roland VT-3 voice transformer box (easily my best music gear buy this year at FriendlyHouse) fed through a Kaoss Pad 3. You will notice I do not have the laptop switched on and for good reason - ELECTRICITY COSTS A LOT IN EASTERN EUROPE trying to do everything without a laptop. That's one of the reasons why I have the iPad there (a surprisingly trustworthy piece) and the Arturia BSP, triggering all things MIDIable. If I can tap the exact sequence, even my coffee machine in the next room can trigger a fucking coffee bukkake fountain, because, you know, CC messages. (Several Easter eggs hidden here.)
Pre-gig soundcheck, photo by BL Photo & Graphics. Funny thing, my BFF Bess told me not just to practice playing my tracks but also to practice setting up my gear and pulling it down as fast as possible. I think I'm around 12 minutes with this gear and I thought I was super efficient with color-coded cables, marked power adapters and all that and now I know that the next time I play, that marking system's gotta be fluorescent, because I couldn't see shit in a low-light environment such as this one. And, oh yeah, mega thanks to Black Nail Cabaret for letting me to use their in-ear.
At this point you might think that my debut gig was probably a key point of 2017 and it sort of was - a lot of work, anxiety and research went into it and I'm damn glad and honoured I could share a stage with Black Nail Cabaret and Attrition (and given that Emke's new solo EP was also released through Two Gods Records, that sort of turns the whole event into a Two Gods label romp!) Thanks to each and every one of you who came out to see us - you ladies and gents were awesome!
Top photo by BL Photo & Graphics, bottom photo by Theo.
Post-gig merch sorting. There's a shitload of merch you can buy from me, because capitalism. A digipak comprising my two previous EPs (that my label started calling an album, because capitalism, I guess? also, 12 tracks), two tees and I also have copious amounts of custom pins from the LD50 days, plus copious amounts of Damage Report books I can sign for you (in Hungarian, though, because laziness) and stickers. But I could just sign you any day of the week without you actually needing to buy anything from me, because creative freedom. Drop me a message if you want some of the merch, though, because I still haven't set up my webstore. Gotta compliment Peter Santha for his awesome artwork/design he put into the P://D merchandise and image and Empire Merch for making all that happen!
Post-gig get-together at Krak'n Town (easily the best steampunk pub in Budapest) with Clayfeet Bálint, Black Nail Cabaret Emke, Attrition Kerry and Martin, Jonathan (who's not in a band and why that is still remains a mystery to everyone at this table) and me. Good times! This is also the place where I repeatedly have to say a heartfelt thank you to Bálint for his MASSIVE AMAZING HELP at the Attrition gig and also introducing me to Wolfgang Riechmann's 1978 album Wunderbar.
Quite a few great gigs this year, the four best ones to win my heart were Drab Majesty, Skinny Puppy, The Birthday Massacre and Kaelan Mikla. This was also the year when I started buying vinyls at gigs to really support the bands - that merch stall loot grind led me to an amazing find at the KM gig - namely an underground fanzine from Iceland named Myrkfaelni, go check it out!
So, 2017. I hope you bleed into hell, because however much awesomeness the crew had, shitstorm's been ballistic.
It's high time for a change.
Messziről kezdem, hosszú leszek, mint a Kuang Eleven. Filmrecenziót írni duplán jutalomjáték: rásütheted bármire, hogy szar, aztán beszaladhatsz a szabad véleménynyilvánítás polkorrektre szopott indoka mögé, akár értesz ahhoz, amit írsz, akár nem. Nehezebb már úgy recenziót írni, hogy nem ismeretlenek a gyártás körülményei: akár azért, mert pontosan tudod, hogy az adott film hogy készült; akár azért, mert voltál már a gyártóoldalon és tudod, hogy alsó hangon is több tucatnyi ember sokhónapos (vagy sokéves) megfeszített, egyben láthatlatlan munkája tartja a bunkerajtót a kritikusok ellenében. A marketingkampány részét adó werkfilmek pont ezt mélyítik el: egyszerre mutatják és magyarázzák, hogy mennyi munka volt a designnal, a koncepcióval, a worldbuildinggel, a fegyverekkel, a hangokkal, a zenével, a mindennel, pont olyan, mint az ideális szülinap, gruppen vagy ezek kombinációja: sokan voltunk és mindenki nagyon szerette, meg hátha olyan lesz, mantrázzuk a mozi felé gyalogolva, mint a Firefly, azt is szeretetből rakták össze, aztán 9/10 felettre hegyezik még mindig a rajongók az IMDB-n, hát hol romolhatna el ez az egész. TL;DR elmondom: pont ott és úgy, amikor életed legbombázóbb nője olyan ostobát mond sztriptíz közben, hogy inkább laprakonyulva nindzsázol haza falmentén, hogy még a CCTV se lásson. Tudjátokmit, részletezem is.
Ami a designcsapatot illeti, szégyenkezésre semmi ok: egyszerre kapjuk meg a nyolcvanas-kilencvenes évek neonkarcos, érthetetlenül fényes, méretes és hangos, platformidegen hirdetéseivel terhelt városképet, a hi tech lo life meg a style over substance erős keverékét. Sőt, továbbmegyek, annyira erős a design, hogy szívem szerint kiszedném a hangsávot a film alól, alávágnék odaillő zenét és a megfelelő szinkroncsapattal újramondatnám a menet közben amúgy teljesen átírt dialógust, amik egy teljesen más történethez is passzolnak. De erre kitérek majd később. A városkép mellett a taktikai osztag felszerelése is jól tükrözi a korakilencvenes évek hangulatát, a sorok között kikacsint a WETA team szakértelme, a feedekben meg a premier óta ömlik Maciej Kuciara meg Ash Thorp ujjai közül, hogy miért vannak a termoptikai páncélon a vágásvonalak pont ott, ahol vannak és miért pont olyan és úgy a motor, amilyen (és ahogyan), sőt, a látványba annyira bele lehet süppedni, hogy még az üvöltő Honda product placementnél sem böffen ki belőled a gyűlölet a corporate bármi ellen, pedighát.
Továbbmegyek: nem zavaró a film még megjelenés előtti első problémájaként felhozott whitewashing sem, sőt, indokolatlannak tartom az ostobaságig elcsúsztatott polkorrektséget is (másodjára emlegetem, biztos gondom van vele, gondolja az osztagpszichológus). Okkal. A film alapjául szolgáló manga, majd anime (és erre kitértem amúgy itt a blogon már korábban, illetve a Cinegore-nak írt anyagomban is) ugyanis írd-és-mondd a japán nemzetbiztonsági szakszolgálat cyberbiztonsági elhárító osztagáról szól: japán bel- és külpolitikáról, japán szerzőtől, japán szereplőkről, japán olvasóknak (és nézőknek) a japán mindsetből megfogalmazva. Ha Amerika hozzányúl a témához és remaket akar belőle csinálni első körben észak-amerikai, második körben európai fogyasztóknak, kötelező elemként fogja denipponizálni a stáb fő elemeit, erre a mozzanatra pedig az eredeti kiadóként működő Kodansha legalább annyira rábólintott, mint maga Masamune Shirow, a manga készítője is, mondjuk olyan jogdíjhozam mellett igen erős érzelmi indok kellene ahhoz, hogy ne bólintsanak rá. A probléma ugyanis nem ott van a castinggal, hogy Scarlett Johansson europid (és nem Rinko Kikuchi vagy Chiaki Kuriyama kapta meg helyette a szerepet), hanem ott, hogy semmilyen nemzet tagjaként nem adja jól a meghasonlott gép-ember ügynököt – ami azonnal elránt minket a film (és az azt követő recenziók) legnagyobb problémájához: az anime támasztotta elvárásokhoz.
Az 1995-ös anime ugyanis a cyberpunk szubkultúra egyik alapköve. A net születésekor, a technokultúra virágzásának kellős közepén, a misztikusan távol levő, érthetetlen és amiatt még izgalmasabb Japán közepéből érkező anyag a legjobb időben ásta be magát a popkultúra tudatalattijába: kérdései pedig 2017-ben ugyanannyira időszerűek, mint az 1995-ös premier pillanatában. Részei-e a gépek az evolúciónak? A kibővített transzhumanista embereszmény több-e az embernél vagy a szingularitás után már egy más jellegű folyamatábrán kell-e követnünk a tudatos lények fejlődéseit? Egy cyberaggyal bíró ember ember-e még vagy már gép? Ha egyik sem, mi van a kettő között? És bárhol is legyen, megkaphatja-e még a szabad döntés illúzióját? És ha már cyberagy, biztonságtechnikailag hova helyezi ez nemcsak a védelmi cégeket (vagy a katonai és polgári szakszolgálatokat) vagy politikai és döntéshozói elitet, hanem magát az egyszerű, sarki boltba járó civileket?
Mindezen, bármely földrészen értelmezhető kérdésektől függetlenül azonban a forrásanyag japán mivolta nemcsak a babaként látható vagy felfogható gépekben rejlő lélek körüli kérdésekben ütközik ki, hanem a kötelesség tekintetében is. A főszereplő Motoko Kusanagi őrnagy ugyanis szolgál és véd és akkor is szolgál és véd, ha előtte pár másodperccel emlékeztetik arra, hogy nemcsak a szolgálatában áll a kormánynak, hanem a tulajdonában is, ő pedig csak egy bevethető egység, bármilyen jó is legyen. Európai (és sokban civil) szemmel értelmezhetetlen az a rábólintás és lojalitás, ami ezt a helyén kezeli – és Sanders filmje ezen a ponton is csúszik el igazán.
A Ghost in the Shell ugyanis amerikai scifiként buta, japán scifiként labdába sem rúghat, Sanders pedig nem döntötte el igazán, hogy melyik akar lenni. Igaz, említette korábban többször is, hogy gatewayfilmet akar gyártani hollywoodi pénzből, amivel ráhúzhatja a közönséget a forrásanyagra, ez pedig önmagában dícsérendő. Ennek tudatában, ezzel a címmel és ezzel a komplett franchise-zal a háta mögött azonban ez a film egyszerűen kevés. A cselekmény kényelmesen belehasal a klasszikus ember-a-rendszer-ellenbe, ami egyfelől ellentmond mind az eredeti japán anyag történetének (nem megváltoztatja, nem átértelmezi, szembemegy vele, remakenél ezt azért valahogy nem várnánk), mind pedig az osztagpszichológiának, a mangából ismert zavaróan bő és dús worldbuilding eltűnik, helyette akkor és úgy jelennek meg a karakterek, hogy a cselekmény továbbhaladhasson éppenhogy, persze, lesznek apró utalások meg eastereggek meg elrejtett apróságok, amikbe persze beleláthatunk olyanokat, hogy Sanders kikacsintott a nézők felé, hogy Avalon lakópark meg Mamoru Oshii kedvenc kutyája, a basset hound, de egyfelől kell a filmen dolgozóknak is a jutalomjáték, hogy ilyeneket becsempészhessenek, másfelől ezektől a film elviselhetőbb lesz, de jobb, nos, jobb az nem.
Az alapvető kérdésekből azok szerepelnek csak Sandersnél, amik egy mamafórum tagjaiból egy kávétól paranoidabb gyermekfektetés utáni estén is kiszaladnak: jó ez nekünk igazából? Aztán itt meg is áll az okosság. Kapunk egy nemzetbiztonság által korábban már ledossziézott lázadót, akiből megpróbálnak tökéletes katonát gyártani, 99 félresült prototípus után az első működőt, akit egy évvel az átépítés után már elnökvédelemre küldenek ki, ki láttamozta ezt a protokollt és hol voltak benne a failsafek? Ezen a kényszertabularasázott katonán keresztül látjuk meg tehát a technológiát, az utca emberén keresztül sosem tudjuk megfigyelni igazán. Az anime szemetesautósofőrös mozzanatai például a legsanyarúbbak és egyben a legrealisztikusabbak is civilként, a film viszont teljesen átépítette ezt is (és olyan felszerelést nem teszünk vallatószobába, amivel öngyilkosságot lehet elkövetni, miért tennénk, ki hagyta ezt is jóvá), kiszedve ezzel azt a pontot, ahol azt éreznénk, hogy a jövőben a mi agyunk is törhető lesz és a saját taknyunkon csúszva ébredünk majd fel az évek óta felmosatlan konyhában és kiderül, hogy évekig más dolgait csináltuk a sajátunk helyett, ráadásul a nevünk, a nemünk és az életkorunk is más. Ehelyett csak annyit látunk, hogy termoptikai álca, robotkurvák meg műszemek, ami tökéletesen meg is felel a style over substance filozófiájának, előremutatásnak azonban kevés és ez is a legfájdalmasabb – a legizgalmasabb cyberpunkok (és scifik) ugyanis még a mai napig is képesek előremutatni, ez a film pedig testben ottvan, fejben viszont nagyon-nagyon nem. (Ez egyúttal meg is magyarázza, hogy miért tetszik ez a film annyira azoknak, akik még nem látták és olvasták az eredetiket.)
Külön kérdőjeleket vet fel a casting és maga a karakterlista is. Toronymagasan viszi a legjobb screentime díját a Batout alakító Pilou Asbaek, közvetlenül mögötte ott figyel karakterszínészi mivoltában Beat Takeshi, aki most nem yakuzafőnököt alakít, hanem osztagdirektort, nála ütközik ki a film egyik legbutább kultúrrasszizmusa, miszerint ő japánul beszél, mindenki más angolul. (Itt kell megjegyeznem, hogy az egyik legvártabb cyberpunk játékot fejlesztő CD Projekt RED fejlesztői nemrégiben jelentették be, hogy a játék színhelyéül szolgáló városban sok nemzetiség lesz és mindenki a saját nyelvén beszél majd, ha nincs fordítószoftverünk vagy nem beszélünk az adott nyelven, semmit nem fogunk érteni a bábeltornyából.) A Section 9 osztag többi tagját, ha nem láttam volna az animét, meg sem tudnám nevezni, a történethez költött másik nőkarakter pedig genderperspektíva ide vagy oda, de nettó felesleges (erősebb Motoko, ha ő az egyetlen nő a csapatban, aki egyben az operatív főnök is), a megmaradó screentimeban helyett lehetett volna árnyalni Togusát, Ishikawát vagy Bomát jobban. Michael Wincottot eltüzelni az első tíz percben hatalmas vétek, ellenben az ő dialógusainál jön ki az, hogy a film tényleg ostoba lesz és nem a jövőnek szól a jelenből, hanem a múltnak a múltból, mert 2039-ben, amikor már több embernek van mesterséges agyi beültetése, mint ahánynak van Facebook-accountja most, nem úgy kezdünk beszélni a technológiáról, mintha egy óceánon keresztül hoznák szentelt páncélos lovagokkal. Ha a nyelv nem tükrözi a világ állapotát, akkor a forgatókönyvíró (vagy a korrektora) rossz és ezt elnézve nem lehet finomabban mondani: a forgatókönyvíró rossz. (Is.) A főgonosz Kuze szó szerint rendszerhibás amalgámként tévelyeg az eredeti forrásanyag főgonoszai és az észak-amerikai tudatalattiban bújó vendettaéhes emó tinik között, az utóbbi persze győz, a világépítés pedig nála sem következetes, az ilyen félresült kísérleteket szokták igencsak gyorsan levadászni, hogy később ne okozzanak bajt.
Külön fájdalmam a háttérzene, nem is kicsit. Make-or-break dolog a zene egy filmben és bármennyire Clint Mansellnek köszönhetjük a filmzenét, nem ül. Felismerhetetlen vagy megjegyezhetetlen motívumok nélküli string- meg padmunkában ülök majdnem két órán át, hogy kétszer-háromszor dühös legyek amiatt, hogy a Kenji Kawai-féle női kórushoz hasonló minták be-bekerültek, csak hogy érezzük, hogy ez mégiscsak a franchise része, de az igazi hangulatfestés elmarad. Sem az igazi sintoista filozófiát idéző elemek (ha KK zenéje nem passzol a dollokhoz, akkor semmi), sem a szomorú, lassú, füsttekergős lila és kék érzetű bárok, sem a tizenhatod- vagy harminckettedbasszusos veretések nem érkeznek sehonnan – ellenben többször felmerült a Michael McCann által jegyzett Deus Ex: Human Revolution soundtrack hangzása és hangszerelése, amire jobb fülű cyberpunk megadja a tízpertizet, mielőtt rátesszük az idegi megszakítót és megnyomjuk a nagy, nagy fekete mattgombot rajta. Persze a kilencvenes évek elején az iparizenefórumként funkcionáló rec.music.industrialon elhangzott, hogy “a cyberpunk zene az, amit a cyberpunkok hallgatnak”, de Steve Aoki meg Tricky helyett jobban megült volna a hangzásképben a Front Line Assembly, Haujobb, Hecq vagy Comaduster (vagy éppenséggel bármelyik ex-Tympanikos zenész), persze a hitelesség kérdése a közmédiában önmagában értelmezhetetlen játék.
De, mint mondtam, el tudom képzelni, hogy x évnyi vagy hónapnyi munka után milyen érzet lehet lófaszláncot olvasni a gyártó stáb helyében, úgyhogy nem összesítem a fentieket még egyszer. Viszont remélem, hogy a Neurománc sosem készül el sem sorozat-, sem filmváltozatban, másfelől pedig javaslom, hogy szinkronozzátok és újrazenézzétek az eredeti képanyagot. Ki tudja, a végén még lehet, hogy nemcsak csinos, de okos is lesz.
VERDIKT: Hang nélkül, pizza mellett, otthon, nagyon nem egyedül.
It's time to wrap up 2016 and launch it as the renegade torpedo it was. Most of the yearly summaries I came across called 2k16 a horrible, woe-ridden suckery and most of it actually was - even when I wasn't really touched by those dozens of celebrities passing away. Still, most of this year was what Roman Catholics and muchly debateable esoteric and proto-occult writers call the dark night of the soul which is a very subtle way of calling something fucking miserable - thankfully, music (and almost as often, music making) was there to keep me sane, so, thank you, amazing music making software that looks like Excel on mescaline. Now, scroll on to the loud, musicky bits.
You know that curse when you can't finish the projects you started? Managed to middle-finger that curse into the ground a few times last year. Released my first EP Snapshots of a Surveillance Manifesto a few days before my birthday - and I'm not just happy because I managed to launch it after months of working on it but also because I had the luck the work with the best people on it.
Snapshots of A Surveillance Manifesto by Planetdamage
And what's even better, I got an official fan video from Soundmirror66 for the track that seems to be everyone's favourite off this release.
Jump forward in time - Martin Bowes signed me to his label Two Gods Records. My second EP ANGST hit the internets during the end-of-the-year holiday season - and I'm super glad I could work with Emke of Black Nail Cabaret on that one.
Angst by Planetdamage Ft. Emke
I also lost my music video virginity - here's the proof.
And some photos that I've saved for this post. Look grateful. (Emke needs no introduction, I believe - as for the fourth picture, from left to right: meet Zoltan Kovary, director of our Angst music video, Ninth, currently promoter at the Budapest venues Blue Hell and KVLT where we shot the whole thing and a mildly uncaffeinated me.)
And although this is not a studio, welcome to the section of my freemasonic lodge where I make music. So people would actually call it a studio. I wouldn't. I call it where my coffeemug family lives.
And you can't have a year passing by without a remix made for Clayfeet! Well, it's actually the second remix this year, but hey! this is already a pretty tightly established pattern!
Stars Explode - single by clayfeet
I really don't remember much apart from making music and hearing everyone ask me why I make music in Excel (which is a pretty standard way of Ableton or Logic users reacting to Renoise after seeing it for the first time and then, whenever). I know, though, that I wrote a lot of futuristic weirdness and I ended up a speaker at events like Brain Bar Budapest, called one of 2016's biggest futuretech shindigs @ this side of Europe.
VR was pretty much on top of my list in both trying out different gears and writing about them - mostly in Hungarian, though. I pretty much went the devil's advocate way about it, focused on the health issues and the interface and UX problems and I also managed not to puke under any of the HMDs which I consider quite a fucking big feat.(Although VR pukes now have their own niche sub-subgenre on Pornhub, which is apparently a thing right after clown molestation fantasies and quick-cut rush hypnosis videos. When all the news outlets started posting about Santa's naughty little helpers as one of the more oft-used search term for the Xmas holidays, that was a hard-shelled bitchplease right there.) I also wrote a book (remember me promising you a new book for 2016?) which didn't get published, because I was still trying to get a coffeetable hardcover edition out, which is not an easy or necessarily smart thing in the Budapest of 2016. Also, there was a Hungarian podcast named 20 perccel a jövőbe (Twenty minutes into the future) I was involved with for a few long months, mixing futuretech and bad, like, really really bad puns.
And there was an LD50 revival party last year, quite the weirdest class reunion ever. Lots of stories to tell.
Posting summaries of social media platforms is still something I am looking forward to when writing these end-of-year things. Still, Facebook doesn't give you proper summaries and I don't mess around with its APIs, I am practically off Foursquare and Twitter, Instagram still requires third-party sites for things like #bestnine2016, so I'm sticking with Last.fm as I do when I have to cling on to one solid site. (Well, here's my #bestnine2016, just in case.)
I used Scroblr for gathering all listening data from my AIMP3 (that I use instead of Winamp), Bandcamp, Google Music and YouTube but as it turns out, during the past few months Scroblr started ditching my inputs. Also, I ruined a lot of my stats by listening to my music drafts in MP3s, because my most listened-to artist is me, my most liked is the Snapshots EP.... yeah, will listen to all my stuff from my DAW from now on. That's also the reason why you can't see the first places in the ranking screenshots below.
And this is my most scrobbled song in 2016:
And here's my favourite mix from 2016 that I played a lot:
As expected, the whole boardgaming thing fell into a torpor, I didn't have enough time and most of the game mechanisms our crew came across, well, we really didn't hit it off with those. After Eldritch Horror became our household go-to thing, nothing's good enough anymore. (BTW I'm still selling a lot of my stuff, so if you live in Budapest and want to buy something from my Boardgamegeek list, just send me an email or contact me on Facebook and let me know. Might be willing to sell a few things from the items not marked "For trade", too.)
As for PC gaming, apart from the fact that I really ended up in the pit of loot-gathering hack'n'slashes (and Borderlands 2 is the king, no fucking doubt about that), there's been quite a load of cyberpunk games! The new Deus Ex was a total letdown for me (although the 12-min video that served as an introduction, posted above, presenting both the story of DE:HR and the gap between that and the new game was one of the most exhilarating experiences and I really felt at times that this is the Western hemisphere's Ghost in the Shell), but games like Orwell, Superhot, System Crash, the Mr. Robot app and Distance finally showed that there still is hope. God bless indie developers.
And don't even start me on the series.. was a strong year with the Person of Interest series finale and the ongoing episodes of Mr. Robot, Westworld, Dream Corp LLC, Berlin Station, Designated Survivor, The Man in the High Castle, Incorporated, 3 Percent, Humans, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency... way, way too much stuff. Go collect'em all.
So that's all you get about 2k16 if you haven't been keeping an extra eye, drone or tentacle out. No forecasts either - I'd rather deliver now instead of talking about it. Keep an alert on all the regular channels - there will be huge sine waves of silence drops, then peaks of loud, glorious motion. I suggest you do the same this year. Stay safe and vigilant and if you can rock it, GO FUCKING ROCK IT.
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.
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.
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.
Newsflash for everyone who's not on social media! If you thought I was gone, yes I was. Coffee excess, coffee deprivation and all that jazz does that to you. Also, coping with ten things at a time.Read more
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!
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.
Galaktika, Hungary's biggest SF mag just published a review on my EP "Snapshots of a Surveillance Manifesto". Thx @nulltunder! If you haven't heard it yet, tune in to planetdamage.bandcamp.com -+++ - #cyberpunk #music #review #industrial #synthwave #surveillance #sf #sciencefiction #scifi #galaktika #nulltunderrocksA photo posted by Bari "Damage" Mariusz (@damagereport) on Jun 29, 2016 at 10:53am PDT
Galaktika, Hungary's biggest SF mag just published a review on my EP "Snapshots of a Surveillance Manifesto". Thx @nulltunder! If you haven't heard it yet, tune in to planetdamage.bandcamp.com -+++ - #cyberpunk #music #review #industrial #synthwave #surveillance #sf #sciencefiction #scifi #galaktika #nulltunderrocks
A photo posted by Bari "Damage" Mariusz (@damagereport) on Jun 29, 2016 at 10:53am PDT
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 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...
..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.
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!)
Just one week after releasing "Snapshots of a Surveillance Manifesto", FIREWALLS (my most synthwaveish track ever written) was featured on Martin Bowes' compilation Cage 23. If you're not really aware of Martin's endeavours (apart from him being the driving force behind Attrition and Engram), he's running the label TWO GODS and he has a studio aptly named The Cage where he produces, mixes, masters, engineers or devilishly concocts bands (check out his client list, it is INSANE).
Every year he releases a track selection from all the music he produced, remixed or mastered at The Cage Studios: and the 2015-2016 selection entails (brace yourselves!) Amys Arms, Attrition, Colossloth, Eric Random, Factice Factory, Honeymoon Cowboys, Jet Noir, Khost, Mad Masks, Michael X Christian with Gitane Demone, Nanochrist, Poetry of Thorns, Prole Position, Rachel Haywire, Red Fetish, Spatial Relation, This Cold Night, Ultra Arcanum, Vagonovozgatye, Venus Fly Trap, Warriors Of The Dystotheque, ZE:RO and myself.
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.
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!
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?
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.
There's a fair amount of sample packs conveying tough-ass industrial pounding or subtle microglitches trickling down your spine, but this one pack definitely stands out from the crowd that has CYBERPUNK written all over it. Lhasa Mencur's pack aptly named Cinematic Series Vol 2.:Hacked Society is in the smack middle of a fight between Deus Ex and Mr. Robot - and thankfully, neither of those are winning. (Or both. This is the grim future. I don't actually know which scenario's better.)
The pack is under half a gig (available formats are Ableton Live!, Acid Loops, Apple Loops/Aiff, MIDI, WAV), containing digi one-shots (perfect for setting the mood with sweepy bleeps and hi-freq sequences), effects (mostly those that you would hear in a hacker den, without the coffee machine sounds, the pizza cutters and anything porn-related, I love the typing sounds to bits) and vocal phrases - these are the samples that people more often than not mistake for speech samples from the otherwise brilliant cyberpunk series Mr. Robot. (I'm actually using one of these samples on my track 'The Mark' on my new EP that's dropping tomorrow, but what you need to check out is a remix done by Lhasa himself that features more of his brilliant samples - I'll update this review as the link goes public.)
Another surprising bit is a set of 8 construction kits, all of which scream "I should be on the new Deus Ex soundtrack!" And they should be. The demos made out of all these bits do have one major flaw, though: I want to buy Lhasa's album made for an imaginary cyberpunk game and he still hasn't done it and these demos are the worst best teasers ever. Until he finally comes to his senses and makes an urban cyberpunk glitch-ambient album with an Asian influence, grab this baby and try to make the best of it. Because, even if the sounds do not connect with your project, it will definitely motivate you into making something better.
Overall, both the effects and the vocals reflect just a fair amount of urban grit, just enough dirt to get you knee-deep in Kowloon but all the construction kit elements give you just enough shine through the windowpanes to forget about all that urban decay. In any case, this is a solid library.
RATING: 4,5 out of 5 (LHASA, WHERE IS THE SOUNDTRACK ALBUM. NO 5 STARS UNTIL YOU MAKE ONE.)
Cinematic Series Vol 2.: Hacked Society is AVAILABLE here.
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).
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).
Here's another frustratingly short 15sec trip into COME HOME TRAITOR, another track appearing on my EP "Snapshots of a Surveillance Manifesto" - tracks are decently close enough to 6min each, so worry not :) Also, this is the track most people connected to #deusex for a weird reason - mixing/mastering by @martin_attrition, gfx work by @cptamorf. Stay tuned! #cyberpunk #industrial #surveillance #snapshots #manifesto #renoise #music #production #teaser #planetdamageA video posted by Bari "Damage" Mariusz (@damagereport) on Apr 13, 2016 at 1:51am PDT
Here's another frustratingly short 15sec trip into COME HOME TRAITOR, another track appearing on my EP "Snapshots of a Surveillance Manifesto" - tracks are decently close enough to 6min each, so worry not :) Also, this is the track most people connected to #deusex for a weird reason - mixing/mastering by @martin_attrition, gfx work by @cptamorf. Stay tuned! #cyberpunk #industrial #surveillance #snapshots #manifesto #renoise #music #production #teaser #planetdamage
A video posted by Bari "Damage" Mariusz (@damagereport) on Apr 13, 2016 at 1:51am PDT
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Nothing beats being able to put together your choice selection of music. Android users do not automatically enjoy this privilege as the built-in music player is rather bare. Many users, therefore, have to rely on other music apps. In this piece we will take a look at some of the best music players on Android; the ones you need to know about as a music fan.
Shuttle Music Player
This is a premium music player for Android. It is a sleek app with a neat interface that is arguably the most intuitive on this list. The interface is supported by high-value performance as well. It has a very rich feature list that includes lyrics support, gapless playback, sleep timer, and a 6-band equalizer with bass boost.
Poweramp Music Player
If you are looking for a feature-rich music player on Android, this has to be top on your list. It has an extensive list of features and sports a warm interface. Some of its most notable features include gapless playback, crossfade, stereo expansion, theme support, a 10-band optimized graphical equalizer and plenty of other options.. This is the music player of choice if you are looking for a customisable player.
DoubleTwist Music Player
This is one of the most popular music players in the Play Store, and for good reasons too. It offers syncing abilities on iTunes and supports podcast management. It also has a beautiful, easy-to-use and intuitive interface. If you want something different from your local library, navigate to the music subscription service on the app known as Magic Radio.
Equalizer + mp3 player
This music player features a vintage interface. As the name suggests, it is heavily focused on the equalizer as it doubles as a music player and a frequency equalizer. The app features a 5-band equalizer with 10 pre-sets and a powerful bass amplifier. Users can set their own preferences. Some of the other options of the app include background player mode, visualizer window, media bass volume control, professional sound rendering, contextual music search and plenty of other options to keep you music enthusiasts entranced.
This is a hybrid music player that offers video playback as well. It comfortably caters for all your music and video needs through its light interface. The PlayerPro music player comes with a sizeable number of codecs with some of its features including a 10 band graphical equalizer, sleep timer, gestures, mixable audio effects, tag editing, and skin support.
With these music players, you will be able to get more out your music collection on your Android device.
When the PlayStation Blog announced that Pure Hold’Em would be coming to PS4 later this year, the console-playing poker community nearly lost its mind. Developed by VooFoo Studios, the makers of Pure Pool, the game was hyped to be the definitive poker game on the PS4 – not just because of its features, but because it would actually be the first of its kind ever seen.
“We’re proud of the high level of expectation on every new VooFoo release and we’re not holding back on stunning visuals, silky-smooth gameplay or the purity of the experience,” said VooFoo Studios’ online community manager, Emily Crees, back in February when the game was first announced. Rather than simply playing against computers, as was often the case with other console poker games, Pure Hold’Em was set to have full online multiplayer support, allowing players to create tournaments with 8 of their friends, or simply hop in and join strangers in quick games. With poker being such a popular game nowadays, many gamers were quick to come to the developers, excitedly asking questions about what else they could do in the game.
Among the biggest questions potential players had was, “Can we play for real money?” And unfortunately, Emily said that users would have to play for in-game credits, and while no information was given on whether or not users would have the chance to replenish in-game credits with store credits for PSN, Emily assured players that “[they’ve] also included a High/Low game you can play to gain daily extra credits so you can start over!” The game also includes a Tutorial Setting, where players new to the game can learn about hand ranking and the rules of the game, in the hopes of winning the pot and owning the tables, from the lowly Jokers Tables up to the Masters Tournaments. Poker tournaments have become an indispensable feature in today's casual poker games with online casino operators introducing several different tournament platforms that players can join at any time. While it's unclear if Pure Hold'Em will have community tournaments as well, it's a feature that would be greatly appreciated.
Something to raise hell to at the HQ. More news soon!
TL;DR Get this and let it grow in your head. If it feels out of place, that's good, you'll appreciate the little details in due time.
This is not neon. This is blue and grey, far from the strobe lights - this is the dark corner at the partyplace behind the big granite column where you find the entrance to another hall, the DJs playing on high-end gears and the decoration looks all Zaha Hadid but there are windowglasses on the walls that look like human skin, screeching and lighting up when you touch them. This is what Architect's Neon EP feels like. More like blacklight.
Short story long: Daniel Myer's stuff has always been really influential on how I got the be the future-eating bastard that I am and I'm coming from the camp where his albums Solutions for a Small Planet & Vertical Theory are GOD. So the title track Neon obviously hit a hearty-warm note, not only because of its typical Haujobbish feel of Automatic Jack jury-rigging technology from the spare parts of a holodeck, two unlicensed guns, diminished chords and manly sadness (if this doesn't ring any bells, go read William Gibson's short story Burning Chrome NOW), but also because it features the vocals of Black Nail Cabaret frontmistress Emke who I have the pleasure of knowing and calling her a great influence. All in all, a match made in heaven!
This EP smashes this track face first into the brick wall of complete reinterpretation. Frank Riggio's version is a violin-filled dramatic catharsis, Erich Zann-style, a soundtrack version of a memory - 5AM, Berlin, waiting for the airport U-Bahn as you see people trying to cope with morning and life in general. Phracture's tom- and mid-filled glitchy beat take is how you swoosh out to the airport, seeing the world outside gain speed. And sticking to this memory, Basementgrrr's version is the first coffee, with sub-drone guitars and a rocky feel, operating with tension, yet never doing a chorus touchdown that would calm you. Standing on the top of Burj Dubai, pondering on how to jump - horizontal or vertical? (Yep, remixes are tricky pills. Adore these pills.) Normotone's take would be the frantic rush through Schönefeld to get to your plane, calculating every parkour trick pre-realtime. If you thought Mirror's Edge would be a fake endorphin rush, I really dare you to try this. Solid, rigid beats, even bouncier than the club version.
Be prepared for more beats - there's a Niels Binias version of Hummingbird (Kruder & Dorfmeister-y chillout on hermit hash) and two versions of Snow - Denny Engler's clubby take for night rides (especially loving the filtered pianos) and a 3rd drift version, which sounds a lot like how Cleaner (a slightly more cyberpunkish version of Haujobb) would sound nowadays, consider this a soundtrack for a Finnish drone strike under a steel sky.
neon ep by architect
Do you know that painting that has a monstrous, green biotrain swooshing and screaming on its tracks straight into oblivion with the Pripyat wheel in the background? It is also stiff in all the wrong places and there's an orgy in the background with people and things, I guess, but if I don't remember well, it's just glitch with a lot of flesh-coloured curves. Which is usually the definition for sex. Oh hello, by the way. I AM THAT TRAIN.
If I stopped writing here, it would be the best blogpost I've written in a long time and I'd call it Loco Electro and make a teeshirt about it with fluorescent ink and everything. Luckily for you, I have the tendency to push things down the entropy slope. So, promise: no promises about further projects, only masturbating with links pointing to final products. I just deleted half a paragraph with promises about further projects. Life is quite an endless mixture of translations, copywriting, infographics design, book writing and making more music, which makes it extremely hard to focus on one single thing and I could have learned this from any RPG in the 90's that dual-class characters are the bane of class proficiency and triple-class characters are fodder. And as it happens, I'm desperately fighting to get better in graphic design AND music AND writing. I could play level 9000 intergalactic battles with anyone now who'd say specialization might be the best idea now. They'd be right, of course. That's the worst part of it.
And I'm also asking questions, such as: why was Jupiter Ascending such a poorly written movie and why is Person of Interest still the best cyberpunk series left standing? And True Detective Season 2 really has an orgy scene, but does it feature tentacles? And when will I properly have the creative kick to finalize the first card game we're working on? And why didn't I know that Emmon released an album last year entitled Aon? Aaaand will I be happy when the new Ghost in the Shell movie comes out?
Board game nights are also a thing now and it's mostly been Eldritch Horror that kept my crew mumbling for the past month or so, because fthagn. If you have some great ideas about gothic/horror/cyberpunk board/cardgames, especially ones that are not especially mainstream, I'd love to hear about them (and here's a BGG profile for reference)! Still don't know whether it would be a smart idea to settle for Android: Netrunner - it is the living epitome of the cyberpunk LCG but I simply don't have the time for deckbuilding and the two-player limitation is not something I like working with.
And here's a Youth Code live vid, because Sarah just turned 30 yesterday (HAPPY MEGA MENTAL BIRTHDAY, SARAH!) and I just can't get enough of them. And that's also the very first track, Keep Falling Apart that really pulled me in and never really let me go ever since.
Funny how it turns out that you guys are still reading this and are actually hungry for more. I know that many of you can't actually contact me or life is a lot faster where you work and directly getting back at bloggers is just not something that you do in 2015 anymore, but hey, thanks for the feedback - it actually means a fucking lot to me. 2015 = VERY STRANGE, UNEVEN, UNBALANCED TIMES. Let's make the best out of that.
72 hours to go before finally succumbing to a Steam sale as you do, you always do. So do I. Steam now offers 38 cyberpunk...ish games cheaper, some at hilariously great prices and some of them just bring tears of joy to my eyes.
BLOODNET, for example, was and still is, my favourite retro adventure/RPG. It's basically a vampire story set in a cyberpunk North-Am setting, set against the ticking clock. In 2015 its visuals are definitely nowhere near today's expectations but what it lacks in looks, it definitely delivers in plot, characters and all the little details that colour the world alive. Varied characters with tons of motivations, attitude, style.. very, very different than today's adventure games. And of course, back in the 90s players had to figure out stuff for themselves and get used to dying A LOT.. something that today's players are not good at making friends with. If I had to pick only one, it would be Bloodnet - and now it's even cheaper than it usually is on GOG. (link)
On the other hand, a lot of my friends (and many reacting to the Steam sales news) were focused on two games: GEMINI RUE and E.Y.E. DIVINE CYBERMANCY: the former being a 2D adventure side-scroller, while the latter's a first-person shooter. I have to admit I didn't finish my Gemini Rue playthrough, because I got distracted a few hours into the plot and I definitely didn't get around to playing E.Y.E. which feels and looks a lot like a WH40K action stomper. Definitely recommending these two, as well! (GR link, E.Y.E. link)
But there's even more, so you can add games to your library such as MIRROR'S EDGE, the definitive cyberpunk parkour game that's extremely well-polished, plays well, has an upcoming sequel and I simply loved this version of its theme song; DEUS EX HUMAN REVOLUTION, the one that the whole world seems to like and I'm the only person who didn't - here's my longer review about it - but it's definitely worth a shot, even more so that its soundtrack is clearly on par with Vangelis' Blade Runner OST; FAR CRY 3: BLOOD DRAGON, a whole-hearted FPS homage to 80's action movies that doesn't take itself seriously at all for even one second; SYSTEM SHOCK 2 with the most sinister bitch-ass AI ever put to a computer screen (together with every one of them, because they seem to be bitch-ass-eviling humanity with an off-the-shelf dislike for anything that has endorphins); HACKER EVOLUTION, a hacker simulator that's clearly based on Introversion's groundbreaking UPLINK and seems to have its own devoted followers; and a whole lot more!
Go, spend your new yens on mind fodder until March 20th! (Steam cyberpunk sale)
Blog-fast ends now! I'm quite happy to announce that I'm nearing completion of several projects I've been working on for the past few months. One of them, one completely finished, is a remix I did for a Hungarian alternative/new wave/dark pop group named CLAYFEET: we met through my long-time partner-in-absurd Dawe_, started talking about DAWs and VSTis and, fast-forwarding the story by a few weeks, this is where we ended up. (Or this is where we actually begin.)
My weapon of choice was Renoise, as always, taking the vocal stems and the chords and ditching everything else, basically turning the original synthpoppy bash into something a lot bouncier. Working on this was a lot of fun, learned a lot about 1) EQing 2) giving pop song ideas a structure 3) layering everything with literally everything and then 4) learning how to delete at least 30% of my original tracks because it's just way too thick and overstacked.
By the way, you definitely have to check out Clayfeet's Bandcamp as it has a motherload of great tracks to listen to: and here's the Severance single my remix is featured on. Play it until you're sore! (And, oh, here's a whole gallery on how they're working on their tracks, hehe.)
Severance - single by clayfeet
More remixes and tracks are on the way: until they see the daylight, show some pimpage and love for these tracks!