Monday, February 28, 2011


Picture: Xanthurian
"So this is your collective is it? Your little support group?"

"What's left of it," said Gabe. "All of us that survived."

"We think," added Bekka. "There's always hope."

Michael snorted. "Is there? No matter how you struggle, you die. You might give Death a hell of a time trying to catch you, but he always wins. Trust me. I worked for him."

"And no matter how you try to ignore it, life goes on. Everyone leaves their mark here," said Gabe.

"And there's always heaven," whispered Bekka.


"Yes, Michael. Not even Death can keep God from-"

"Apparently he can. Because you know what, Bekka? If there is a God, which I'm damn sure there isn't, He ain't here. He's up in His royal easy chair watching us drop like flies. Laughing. Because this story won't have a happy ending. If angels can die, what can survive? We're alone in the universe, whether there's a God or not. Bekka," Michael's grey eyes drew her blue ones in,

"This is hell."

Sunday, February 27, 2011


My first foray into the realms of Dean Koontz, Midnight was given to me long ago on some birthday or other. I finally read it. What should I call it? Probably a cautionary tale in the vein of Frankenstein  or The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but instead I think it a 1980's internet horror story. Because that makes me giggle.

Midnight is a solid tale about an FBI investigation into a string of suspicious deaths in Moonlight Cove, a small town in California. As quickly becomes apparent, people are changing, though if it be physical, mental, or by possession is uncertain. Certainly, alien abduction is proposed frequently, and werewolves are brought up occasionally. The wheres whys and hows need to be answered, but for the innocents trapped in an ever more hostile Moonlight Cove, time is running out.

Mind you, this was read between the fast-paced, riveting The Great Gatsby, and the absolutely-nothing-happens-and-then-it-ends Sense and Sensibility, but this book screamed odd pacing. Not that that is a bad thing, but it was the strangest thing.

10% - Setting up plot, moving main characters into position.
5% - Getting main characters into their respective messes.
80% - Things get steadily darker.
3% - Something's happening!
1% - It's all better. Or is it?
1% - Boom-Done.

Oh, Lovecraft, what horrors have you wrought?
The plot itself was, I presume, an amalgamation of The Island of Dr. Moreau, with which I am not familiar, and Invasion of the Body-Snatchers, about which I know a bit. I say presumably, because Koontz references both repeatedly in the novel. I think it smacks of Lovecraft's The Shadow over Innsmouth, another tale in which the residents of a town are turned into monsters. Except that was just twisted biology, and Midnight, as I said, is an internet horror. From the 80's.

The best part of the novel, though, was the computer systems. Unlike modern computers, the 'hyper-advanced' machines in the novel presented a short list of commands, excluding all other options. My cell phone has more power.

Also, I'm not a dog person, but if I were, I would have fallen in love with the canine in this novel. He's fun.

Final vote? Read it if you can, but skipping it is a pardonable transgression. It was enough to tempt me to try Koontz again.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Story Three, Chapter Two

"Bah! You smell only the roasting pigs from the kitchen. How long in the moonshine have you stood?" Lucian smirked, "Or perhaps you merely found the presence all these handsome merchants flustering." His mocking laughter was lost quickly in the din of the crowd. Audric, however, began to pale.
"No, Lucian. I- I think that..." He began to sway unsteadily.
"What? The Lady Audric is falling faint. Someone fetch the smelling salts!" Lucian's hands flailed with his mocking, and wine sloshed from his chalice onto his pricey rug. His voice, too, began to reach excessive exaggeration, and the guests began to quiet and watch the scene unfold.Audric's hand, which had been reaching to his slanderer's shoulder to steady himself, now became a warning.
"Lucian. You're not acting as one of your elevation should. If Father were still alive, he'd-"
"He'd what? Produce another bastard with some whore? Or would he be curled in a corner, sharing his secrets with a drink?" Lucian's eyes blazed, daring Audric to deny his claims. Honorable though he was, Audric was too honest to lie about his father's vices or his origin. He looked round at the crowd, which suddenly found the far side of the room fascinating. Taking a breath, he whispered firmly.
"You disgrace his memory when you speak so, may God give him rest."
"All the rest the damned deserve." Lucian spat.
"Lucian!" Audric was shocked. He had grown used to the abuse, but to speak of their father so was simply outrageous.
"May he burn in Hell forevermore." Audric was struck dumb by this new blasphemy. Lucian watched with a sinful joy as his half-brother struggled to collect himself. His mouth gaped llike a trout's, and his nostrils flared with a heavy breath. Suddenly, though, he stopped moving entirely. His eyes grew wide, and his face seemed gaunt and haggard.
"I... need some air." Audric turned and hurried towards the large window at the back of the room. Lucian almost decided to follow him, but chose instead to find a new victim. As he scanned the room, the faintest scent brushed past him.
"Smoke?" Lucian stood for a moment, then shook his head and strode into the crowd.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Song of the Week 33

Is coming soon. Sorry!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Story Three, Chapter One

"But you see, that's it exactly. My negotiations with the bandits leave only my caravans protected, driving up prices as the others encounter... difficulties." Lucian smirked as he drew his chalice to his lips. The cool wine splashed at his mouth, but he did not drink, choosing instead to keep his wits and simply inhale the dizzying aroma.
"But Lucian, a man of your wealth could afford to clear the roads. You don't need the profit, and you'd save the lives of good men. Men with families and children. You could-"
"Audric, I am a businessman, and as such I've little time for a fool's sentimentality. If not for our relation as bloodkin, I would have you removed. As forcefully as possible." Lucian's eyes flashed as he spoke.
"But Lucian, you-"
"Every time you open your mouth, you injure yourself more against me. I can hardly suffer your silence. Why then must you constantly endeavour to remind me that you are sadly not dumb?" His brow furrowed as it always did when his temper prepared to burst. His left hand had crumpled into a fist in the pocket of his bejeweled robe, and his right raised the wine again. Audric, mouth wisely closed, breathed deeply and found reason enough to try his half-brother's patience.
"Lucian, do- do you smell that?"
"I smell naught but the finest wine in the land, commingled with your odor of spoilt meat."
"No, Lucian, it smells like..." Audric inhaled again.
"Out with it!"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Story Three, Prologue

The dying flames clawed futilely upwards at the charred skeleton of the hall. Pools of ornate colored glass grayed with ash slowly cooled. Within the wreckage, the smog slowly drifted upwards to blot the sun. As it cleared, the smoldering remains of silken robes cast a hellish light over blackened bones. Talon-like hands were coated with the half-solid remains of champagne goblets, shining brilliantly in the fire glow.

Viewed from the north, the scene would be placed nearly artistically through a large picture window, somehow untouched by the horrific conflagration.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Song of the Week 32.5: 'Somewhere to Hide' by Hy Bound and Loka LaFevre (redo)

Apparently this is the first real post that's been posted since I posted a week ago. Really? C'mon, I don't want to be the only one putting stuff on here. Because of this predicament, Song of the Week 32 was never posted, so I guess we're just moving on to the .5 edition...Anyway, this is a redo of SotW 4. This is the first piece I'm reviewing that has vocals in it, by the way. So here's 'Somewhere to Hide' (by Hy Bound and Loka LaFevre).

The beginning starts out with a muffled orchestral section. At 0:15 the orchestral stuff isn't heard anymore; instead it's much more elaborate and electronic. In this this section also, effects are heard playing triplets, and the vocals start up as well. At 0:23 percussion starts playing, and a transition/crescendo occurs at 0:27. The vocal will continuously rise up in pitch during this. At 0:30 the percussion kicks into high gear, an electronic synth is playing a neat harmony, and the vocal starts off by repeating the word "somewhere" (and then it will echo after it's sung). There's another vocal going on as well, and it's the same voice and rhythm back at 0:15. At 0:45 the vocals stay the same, but another synth comes to create a more complex rhythm/melody, and the percussion died down and simplified. The vocals drop after a couple seconds, making that electronic rhythm mentioned earlier the melody. There's also another, much lower synth being played that not only acts like a bass, but it also gives more of a rock feel to the song. This section continues until 1:15. At 1:16, the "somewhere"s are back, and continue to echo. There are also strings added in as well to blend in with all of the other electronic stuff going on. At 0:23, the words that the vocalist is singing are changed slightly. Added on the the usual "somewhere" will be what is the whole phrase sung throughout the track, which is "somewhere you'll be hiding somewhere from me". I guess that explains the title somewhat, but notice later how the actual title word for word is never sung. Also, there are slight pauses between every one or two words. At 1:31 more of the electronic bass returns, and the vocalist continues to repeat the phrase until "from me" is echoed (which starts at 1:36). The echoing stops at 1:42, leaving the bass and the background effects. At 1:46 there's a very low and robotic "somewhere" spoken, and the song will then continue after that. The percussion plays a whole lot more here, and it's now (rhythm and vocal-wise) a combination and repetition of the sections at 0:45 and 0:30. It will still be the same later on, but there's a change at 2:03 where the vocalist starts to sing the entire phrase again. There's a very brief percussion solo at about 2:08 after that, but then the song repeats what was just played/sung. There's a cut-off at 2:18, which leaves "from me" echoing while the introductory orchestral section played at the very beginning appears. The echoes fade out, but then a newer vocal comes in at 2:30 that's a little lower than the last (all these vocals are feminine, by the way). The vocal here doesn't sing any actual words; it's mainly there for effect, but it does make everything sound a little more exotic. As the vocalist sings, strings come in to play a rising, three-note pattern. At about 2:43 there's a crescendo, and at 2:46 a lot more strings are added as well as some light percussion. The lower strings handle that pattern just mentioned, while the higher will play the same thing (but they play it very quickly). This continues for a while, and near the end of the this section more electronic effects can be heard instead of the strings. At 3:17 is when the section finally changes. The "somewhere"s echo again, but there's definitely more electronicness going on (and percussion). Very cool sounding it is right here. At 1:31 the vocal goes back into the full phrase. The percussion is more noticeable here as well, and the electronic stuff going on really makes the song sound the way it is. At 3:47 it goes back into the section played at 2:03. At 4:02 the vocals go back into just repeating "somewhere", and the percussion continues to do its thing. The electronic stuff does a whole lot more here as well. At 4:17 everything cuts off, leaving "somewhere" to fade away...somewhere. Then the song comes to a close.

Pros: I thought that the mix of electronic and orchestral sounds was pretty neat; I could hardly tell the difference between the two because they sounded so well together. The vocals weren't half bad either. The percussion had a decent volume throughout the song and wasn't too overpowering, and all of the different electronic sounds and synths sounded very cool.

Cons: It was a little too repetitive I think. It's not really the vocals that are to blame (they obviously repeated all the words on purpose), but all the rhythms going on in the background hardly made any changes whatsoever, so it made the song slightly boring.

Overall: The song is pretty good for an electronic piece that had lyrics. It's predictable though, and its repetitiveness can get stuck in my head easily. It's pretty cool to listen to though.

Rating: 8.7/10

Friday, February 18, 2011

Major Inactivity and Other Logistical Issues

Here's one of those oh-so-exciting announcement posts...

As you've already noticed, we've fallen from our promise of posting quality every single day to apparently not posting for an entire week straight. Reogan had Song of the Week this week and he claims it appeared, but I'm staring at the page and nothing new is showing up. Regardless, that post will now show up this coming Wednesday (the 23rd). I've already written a Song of the Week for the following week (March 3rd), and Marim should continue to supply us with the .5 editions as we move along. Personally speaking, right now it looks as if everyone is in a slump of the "literature type" writing that's sustained us in the past. It's not like I personally make a big impact there, but I'll admit it isn't that hard to write a Thursday Thoughts for every week. Simply put, we appear to be slacking off for whatever reason. Keeping that in mind, here's what I got: Marim appears to be the only blogger who posts with regularity (even if it is last second procrastination type regularity). Therefore, we either start finding more excuses to post music reviews (doubling up Song of the Week or reawakening Song of the Day), we migrate Marim to a joint "lit" role, or we simply let things sit the way they are. I'm open to all reader feedback and since it's likely I won't get any with this post, we'll basically go with the last option (keeping things the way they are). I will try to contribute more often, but other than Song of the Week/Day and Thursday Thoughts, I doubt I'll be writing fiction any time soon. There's also another issue: I'm away on business for the next week or so and won't be back until the very end of the month. This means that if things hold consistent, the homepage for this blog will barely change over the next week or so. I'm alright with this as long as it doesn't extend beyond a week or two. Thoughts?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Song of the Week 31.5: 'Legend of the Snake 2: Snake vs. Dragon' by Reuben Kee

Okay, so this is pretty much a continuation of last week's review (a.k.a: Song of the Week 30.5). This track is still by Reuben Kee, and was originally going to be a remake of the original 'Legend of the Snake' (which was what I ended up reviewing a week ago). So here's 'The Legend of the Snake 2: Snake vs. Dragon'.

Like the first version of this piece, Reuben Kee started out with a soft piano solo. However, a couple of the major differences are the fludity of the piece, the differences in overall dynamics, and the increase in notes being played simultaneously. The other version started out with just the treble notes playing and the bass notes not coming in until way later, as I recall. Dynamics are usually a must when dealing with a solo, so it's great to hear these long crescendos every couple seconds or so. The major dynamic differences being heard are around 0:11, 0:16, and especially at around 0:19. The solo dies down a little bit at 0:23-ending this solo. Once it comes back in a second later, there's a small but significant harmony coming off of a low string section. There are then three more major crescendos; there appear to be at around 0:27, 0:31, and one of the biggest ones heard thus far at 0:33. The piano retires from the melody at 0:46, but instead quickens into eighth notes to back up the next participant for the melody: the flute. This next section certainly has a dramatic feeling to it; there are many ritardandos throughout that will not only add length but add emotion. At 1:10 the flute departs, leaving the piano and strings to fill in some empty gaps before moving on to the next section. At 1:23 a buildup will begin to play, and then the main theme that was played throughout the other version of this song will begin. As for the instrument that plays it, it's still a mystery to me. I'm leaning towards a banjo, maybe. Either way, it creates a very exotic feel as it plays the melody quite slow. The strings and other various background effects help create a good amount of atmosphere as well. However, it doesn't last very long, for at 1:38 that banjo-like instrument ceases it's playing and a newer section is created. It starts out with a small amount of percussion hits at 1:39, and with a hit of the chimes at 1:43, the melody restarts. This time it's played slightly faster, and is taken over by the brass section. With the brass playing this, it almost makes the melody sound more like a fanfare. The percussion really stands out here as well, for a ton of various hits can be heard everywhere. Oh, and the strings have a fantastic harmony going on also. This entire fanfare section lasts for quite a while; it doesn't fade out until roughly 2:26. There's a roll from the timpani that will buildup and increase in volume to introduce the next section a couple seconds after the fanfare goes away. The melody is taken over by a blend of instrumentation (mainly the banjo-like instrument is playing, with a little bit of piano mixed in there). This section, like the section at 0:46, doesn't last very long. At 2:41 though, the next section is introduced. The strings are playing rampantly, the percussion is driving with madness, and it turns out that this is only the epic introduction of what is to come. At 2:52, it gets even more insane when not only the percussion goes slightly faster, but when the choir comes in to add an enormous amount of awesomeness into the scene. This sadly doesn't last for very long either, because with a short shout from the choir at 3:02, the song peacefully calms down with that ethnic flute from the other version of this track. A couple brief hits from the percussion come in once in a while, and there are even some electronic elements added in there to create a nice blend with this mainly-orchestral piece of music. Very low strings will begin to play at 3:23 once the percussion has gone through many hits during the last fifteen seconds or so. Actually, it continues to play with the strings, and sounds even more powerful than before. Higher strings will start to play a little faster than everything else going on, and the percussion will go back to its rapid and upbeat playing from 2:52. It turns out that this was one massive buildup. Who knew? The entire transition here was great, as it completely disguised itself from its actual purpose. The melody plays here again, although it's a different theme than the previous ones. That strange, unknown instrument from the other version comes back for an encore appearance. The strings will eventually join it at 4:00, not only making the melody sound a little more complete but making it sound better overall. At 4:12 the melody changes back to the reoccurring theme that has played in both versions. It's played by the flute again, and the piano lightly plays some chords in the background. The choir and strings are also heard as well. At 4:23 the flute leaves the melody the brass which makes the melody back into a fanfare. It sounds a little more dramatic this time around, for not only is it playing slower but the piano is playing numerous runs up and down the scale, and the choir just makes everything sound a little more powerful. At 4:37 the percussion starts driving again, and the brass will start to conclude the song. A very low note hit from the choir will begin the end, and once the percussion does a few more hits the song is over.

Pros: The overall instrumentation was pretty impressive. The fact that a couple electronic elements were added in for various effects was great, as it created a superb blend for the song. The piano solo for this version was way better this time around, as it had more atmosphere, fluidity, and also a dramatic sound to it. The exotic instruments were a nice touch when they returned for this version, and it was good that they didn't control the majority of the song like the last version did. The choir was excellent, and the transitions into each section were satisfactory.

Cons: Sometimes the transitions and buildups were a little too long, and the main sections were usually a little too short. It could've been better if the lengths of these two parts of the song were reversed. The random outbursts of percussion hits were a little unnecessary, but at least there weren't as much in this version.

Overall: Reuben Kee had improved a lot since his first version was posted on OCR. It's a great orchestral piece to listen to, with a lot of variety to keep someone's interest. It has everything from fanfares to exotic atmospheres. Excellent piece of music to listen to.

Rating: 9.4/10

Friday, February 11, 2011


The beauty
The sorrow
Conveyed through
with a single note

The pain
The serenity
Spoken without
a single word

The fear
The hope
Powered by
nothing but song

The beginning
The end
Captured within
and spread without

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I had wondered


He would offer me


But it would be

Not to accept,


At least the

Blood loss

Got to him

He could ask
For it


But what should I


With a spare

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Song of the Week 31: 'Penelope' by Oliver Sadie

Today I'm doing something a little different then my usual reviews. Like Met's post last week, I'll be doing a song by Oliver Sadie. I've already heard a lot about him (pretty much through what Met has told me), and I've also listened to his piano works already. Now the song from him that I'm going to be reviewing is technically something that I've already heard before, although it was only the original piano sample that I had found on his home website (I have also downloaded everything from there). This sample that I've heard is actually one of my favorites that I downloaded also. Anyway, I'm usually not the type of person who will rant on and on in the introduction, so here's Oliver Sadie's song entitled 'Penelope'.

The song starts out rather softly. The piano begins to play in a light swing, while a smooth synth can barely be heard in the background. This synth, although hardly audible at first, begins to crescendo slightly at about 0:06. This definitely adds a little more atmosphere. At roughly 0:12 the piano continues to play its small swing, although it's played much higher pitch wise. Another synth is added as well, although it only plays once here. The piano is the main sound being heard at this point, since the synth completely died down. At 0:23 the synth starts back up again (although according to Oliver Sadie, he says that he used "pad layers" ...sorry, I'm not very familiar with electronic music). Nothing out of the ordinary happens for a while, although the piano coupled with the synth sounds great. You can start to hear a difference in volume at about 0:41, and soon I could hardly hear the piano anymore. However, at about 0:46 the piano as well as the synth come back with a dramatic bang. The transition to this change went well, and I really can't see how he could have made that any better. The various synths (or pad layers) will chime in to fill in all those gaps that the piano isn't covering. There's another change that's very similar to the one at 0:46, but this time it's at 0:56. There's a melody change at about 1:06, and the synths continue to do their thing. The synths usually play stretched notes, and then have a tendency to play/repeat notes about every measure or so. There's a very small buildup at 1:21, although it didn't really lead into anything other than the transition back into a similar rhythm that had been previously playing. The only real change I can distinguish among the new section is the fact that there are many more chords being used, which still make the song sound well. At 1:36 the right hand treble clef takes over to create it's own melody while the previous rhythm will lightly play in the background (with the synth of course). There's some great control here in terms of dynamics. I can definitely tell from about 1:46 that the piano is becoming much more syncopated than before. Also, at 1:56, the melody starts a different, more syncopated rhythm as well. There's even a little bit of flair at 2:03 when the melody does a rapid little triplet, which I have a tendency to love. At 2:06 the melody becomes lower in pitch I notice, and also a little more melancholy. The synth that plays alongside it does a great job creating such a dramatic effect for what's going on. We get to about 2:16 now, and I can't really put into words how to describe the piano here. However, somebody on SoundCloud did comment that this section had some "old-school melody" here, and I pretty much agree with him/her. This section is all one massive buildup, gradually rising in pitch and volume. At 2:40 the song reaches a climax I believe, and the piano being played continues to maintain that dramatic feeling throughout the song. At 3:04, the piano rises a little bit with some simple chords, and transitions back into that original rhythm that was being played way back near the beginning of the song. As the song progresses, it sounds like a unique mixture of the rhythm at 0:46 and the funky rhythm at 2:16. This can be heard at about 3:25. The "old-school" melody will continue to play while a couple higher notes play occasionally. Then it starts to die down, and the song is over.

Pros: The piano work was awesome. I can tell there's very good control with dynamics, and I liked how the swing rhythm kept going until the very end. The original sample of this-where it was only solo piano-was great in itself, but it's even better when it was remastered with the various synths/pad layers. Oliver Sadie also did a great job in keeping the atmosphere throughout also. It was dramatic, flowing, and the song also had a decent length as well. Excellent work, and it was enjoyable to listen to.

Cons: The synths could have been a little bit louder. If they were a little bit louder, the atmosphere might have been a little more obvious. There were times when I could barely hear any of the background stuff, so an increase in volume would help. Also, there could have been a little more variety with the piano; I felt like there was a little too much repetitiveness. Other than that I can't really think of any more cons.

Overall: Excellent piano piece. The whole atmosphere of it was great, and the fluidity never stops, making it a song worth listening to despite its couple flaws. It was brilliantly executed.

Rating: 8.8/10

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Graphic Novels

I wish to start some sort of graphic novel type story. I don't yet know what it should be about. Any ideas? I would prefer something sci-fi/fantasy or steampunk-ish, so that i don't really need to know a lot about the subject, and I can make stuff up.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Tinker

The gears shot out as the face plates came flying off. Fancy looking, but entirely functional, brassy bits flying everywhere.
"Another failure," the Tinker sighed, "I really should just stop"
But the Tinker didn't like the idea of defeat. It was, in fact, loathed. So the plans were studied, the parts rebuilt, and the machine put back together.
"It should work this time... Then again, it was supposed to work all the other thirty-eight times as well... Grrrr..."
The truth of the matter is that the springs were overwound, which the Tinker found on the next rebuild. Thus fixed, the machine was promptly thrown out, as the Tinker had lost interest. However, there was a young street Urchin who found this broken piece of machinery, fixed it up, and brought it back to the Tinker, good as new.

The Tinker had found the one that would become the Tinker's apprentice. Thus instated, the Urchin found life rich and lived the Tinker's life for a while. However, the Urchin never forgot his life on the streets of the City, and eventually went back there, to the great sadness of the Tinker.

Thus, the Tinker never again saw the Urchin until the Tinker was about to die. Finding that the Urchin had started another shop and had wanted to ask the Tinker to see it. The Tinker was joyous that the Urchin, the hoped apprentice, had started a shop, nearly identical to the Tinker's. However, the Tinker died and was never shown the shop. Thus, the Urchin became the Tinker until the new Urchin was found.

And thus the it goes, Urchin to Tinker and back to the Urchin; the Tinker's cycle.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Song of the Week 30.5: 'Legend of the Snake' by Reuben Kee (redo)

Alright, so this post was supposed to put up a week ago, but it never happened. Also, this was supposed to be written and finished a week ago, and still it never happened. So, fortunately, I'll post this time. This is another song from the people at OCR, and it's also a redo of Met's SotW 2. This song is by Reuben Kee, who had unfortunately died in a tragic boating accident in 2007. So here's 'Legend of the Snake', part one that is (part two will be coming next week).

The song starts out with the piano playing a simple pattern, going up in pitch with every repeated "wave" in each pattern. There is also some strings heard in the background which plays a very high A. This pretty much continues until around 0:20, and then the strings drop out. So now we're at the point of the song where it's complete solo piano. This solo starts out rather simple; it's just some high keys playing a light melody until a little more of a harmony is added in at around 0:35. It may be simple, but I can see that Reuben Kee was a pretty talented pianist. Sounds pretty good so far. The piano will crescendo a bit at 0:54, but then quiet down again peacefully at 1:01. At about 1:20, a small sequence of chords will play, leading to the end of it's solo at 1:28. What stops the solo is some sort of woodwind instrument, and djpretzel's review says that it's an "ethnic flute". I'll take his word for it and use that phrase to describe this particular sound. There's a short burst of percussion hits that come in after this ethnic flute, and each sound will make a pattern by playing after the other. Oh, and some low strings play in the background also. At 1:58 the drums will play for a couple seconds, and then the main melody will make a grand appearance at 2:00. This is classic Metal Gear Solid stuff right here, I love this melody. It's being played by the flute by the way, with the low strings as bass (and the percussion hits in between). At 2:10-2:11ish, there's something that absolutely bugs the heck out of me though. There must have been some sort of mistake by the one who played the melody, because every time I hear this part, there's always a distant squeak heard. At 2:13, the strings start to act as a harmony to the flute-like instrument, and does a pretty good job at it also. The last note of the melody is played and held for quite some time, until the piano will come back in for a little effect at 2:28. The percussion will also continue to be played as well. Nothing really goes on in this small section; it's only the random percussion hits, the piano playing in the background, and the ethnic flute thing that appears again at 2:38. There's a slight percussion hit soon after, and a brand new section comes in strong. The strings control everything here, which create a great buildup with each sequence that it plays. At 3:01 the strings seem to reach a boiling point, playing triplets with the percussion, and then dies down a bit at 3:07. Here it almost seems like the song is over, but no, it continues. Another brand new section will play at 3:12, which I easily recognize as the intro to the MGS melody played at 2:00. It starts out with the strings playing the intro, and just as I suspected, that melody will appear again (at 3:25). The melody is played by another woodwind instrument, oboe maybe? The piano does play a lot in the background, making this section better than previous sections in my opinion. The percussion had lightened a little bit also, it took me a while to notice that there still was percussion playing. Strings will take over the melody again at 3:32 though, and there's a large increase in volume. There's a great transition leading up to 3:44, and at that time there is a key change. The strings will continue to have the melody during this entire section, which sounds great, and there's even a small amount of bells heard starting at 3:51. With a very, very low chord from the piano, the song cools down a bit and transitions. This new section has the same instrumentation as the very beginning, with the strings in the background and the piano having the melody. This section has a couple of buildups in between it, and with a hit of the drums at 4:38, the strings go back into another melody. I'm pretty sure that this is another melody heard in MGS, but I really wouldn't know because I've only played the game once...on a cell phone. At 4:56 there's something new that comes in that plays. As to what that is, I absolutely have no idea. It sounds rather funky, but what's cool is that this strange instrument starts to play the melody at 5:03. This will create another buildup, as strings will come in to add to this at about 5:10. At 5:23 the melody will play again, this time by another funky-sounding unknown instrument. I'm not really a fan for the sound of it though; it sounds like a flute on drugs...but the harmonies here sound good. There's also another key change at 5:38 also. At 5:54 the melody will repeat the last two notes that it played while the drums and strings do their thing. I can start to hear some piano at around 6:08, and other than that it continues to play until the last note is held.

Pros: Probably the best section of this song was the section starting at 3:25. The instrumentation overall was great, and I thought it was neat how the melody was always played differently each time I heard it. It's definitely one I would recommend listening to.

Cons: I really didn't like the sound of the last melody played, and I also thought that the random outbursts of percussion were a little bit unnecessary. The transition at 5:23 could have been better also...

Overall: This is a great orchestral piece with a few quirks. If you're looking for a unique variety of instrumentation, then this is the song for you. There may have been a few mistakes and flaws, but it didn't effect the song too much.

Rating: 9.3/10

Friday, February 04, 2011


Through aeons
it flows
a relentless river
of consciousness

With varying speeds
it flows
at times serene
at times violent

Yet onward
it flows
never ceasing
till the end

Yet through the end
it flows
not yet done
nor yet begun

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Conversations With the Internet I

"Scandinavia is pretty awesome you know."

"That's nice. Hey, do you think a pidgeotto could lift a-"

"Especially Denmark."

"I really want to get this chapter written. The Apocalypse has been-"

"They were the first country to allow registered partnerships for homosexuals."

"That has nothing to do with Pokémon."

"This Gary/Ash slash says otherwise."

"Wow. Burned into my brain now, thanks. Can I please just get back to work?"

"They were also the first to legalize pornography."

"Again, this isn't helping with my artistic reenvisioning that is not fanfiction."


"Augh! Why would someone even think of that, much less draw it?"

"There's an entire gallery, if you'd like."

"No! Just close it. I don't need to waste more money on buying bleach to melt that from my retinas. And erase the browser history."

"Done. Say, did you know-"

"Stop. Does this have anything to do with Pokémon?"


"Does it also involve Denmark?"


"I don't want to know."


"Let's see. ...Red then picked it up and examined the strange-"

"Bestiality's legal there."


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Song of the Week 30: 'Resolution' by Oliver Sadie

Here's the next song of the week and this time we're doing something a little different. For the first time since we revived Song of the Week as an actual weekly series I'll be taking a look at some non-OCR related music (I kinda consider Protagonist Records OCR related because OCR is where I first heard about it). This week's track comes from Oliver Sadie, another artist who uses Nanostudio. I first found Oliver Sadie while browsing Blip Interactive's Nanostudio contest submissions (not sure what happened to the original page for that) and his track immediately jumped out at me because it incorporated some fantastic piano work that the track was based around. I started following him after I created my soundcloud account and soon afterwards I downloaded a great deal of his piano music found on his home website (it's under discogs for his soundcloud page). It wasn't until I decided I really wanted to do Song of the Week featuring one of his tracks that I finally contacted him. Granted this isn't the first time I've put hyperlinks on this site linking to Oliver Sadie. If you bother to try the abundance of hyperlinks I love throwing on my Song of the Week posts you'd have discovered him via this post. Anyway, this week I'll be taking a look at one of his more recent tracks with the title Resolution. Resolution is the first track I found from Mr. Sadie where the electronic elements and ambiance weren't based off of the preexisting piano track. One of the reasons I chose Resolution is because it was so good that I wouldn't be able to tell it was Nanostudio just by listening to it. Regardless, this is enough of a precursor as it is, let's listen to the track...

This track fades in with some major key light synth action. At 0:10 we've got a subtle roll transition (I never know what to call those, cymbal just sounds too blatant) that introduces reinforcing layers to the pulsing light synth that the track began with. We've also got a very nice bassline going already that slides up quickly, but with subtlety. I tend to find that tracks that are very subtle about introduction and change tend to be my favorites and here's yet another reason why I feel mainstream music often falls drastically short of my expectations. The drum computer kicks in at 0:21 adding a laid back feel. The bass drum has very little bass and it works well with the quiet hi-hat and the casually delayed snare. Overall the elements here make for the ambiance that I try so hard and yet fail to create on Nanostudio. I'm loving the drum sample choice and the open hi-hat placing that changes every few measures between alternate cycles. It's the little things like that that really put something together and often times we just take it for granted when listening to experienced music composers. 0:31 introduces the melody line on a high synth that has further delay and reverb effects to add to the ambiance. The melody is pretty major here, right now we're running on the "positive energies of the major key" without really delving into the dark side of life. The melody plays twice (there might be some additional layering added in the background after the first cycle or the volume just increases, hard to tell) before being joined by a lower counter-melody at 0:53 that uses the same synth. At 1:04 the high melody line drops in favor of a new route but it still maintains the counter-melody from before. This alternates at about 1:15 as the high melody line takes its original course and the new route is taken up by the lower melody line (referred to as the counter-melody earlier). At 1:25 we've got a transition that drops the bassline and snare-bass duo for a bit. This section has some good ambiance with the already pulsing background and the alternating melody lines that take a new route. On the whole, this is a great forerunner for what's to come in the track. At 1:46 the snare-bass duo is picked up again but the bassline only pulses a single note this time instead of its previous method. This is sort of a relax section where the primary note of the key is supported by the atmospheric synths. It's a good pause in order to enjoy the atmosphere of the track before new elements are added. Also check out 1:57, since Oliver Sadie himself might be reading this I must ask: Is that by any chance related to Mobile Phones? 'cause it really sounds like a very clever edit on the preset mobile phones sample synth that comes with Nanostudio. Regardless, I love it, slick addition to the atmosphere. At 2:08 the drums and bass back out in order to give rise to the piano. The piano really adds feeling to this track by working with the atmospheric synth elements in rapid note patterns that reinforce melodies previously heard with the high synth lead. At 2:18 the original bassline and the drums are reintroduced now with the piano at full strength. This has to be my favorite part, that really shines when the piano hammers in chords in accordance with the other action in the track. You'll also see the high synth come in quietly and then at 2:29 the original melody returns. Now we're working with a well established structure. These elements continue and now we've got some fantastic piano reinforcement that seems to be panned right (this is at 2:40). Things are really working together here and then they're deconstructed for a well placed atmospheric break at 3:01 that allows us to enjoy the growing intimacy of the piano and the synth melody lead. Good piano reinforcement now added to the "relax" section I mentioned earlier that also features the atmospheric "mobile phones-esque" synth (for lack of a better word). At 3:44 there's a good piano chord that signals the fading out of all other elements other than the piano. Great piano solo ebbs and flows until the synth fades back in at around 4:50. Now it's like we're being reintroduced to this track in a whole new way. The synth repeats from before but you can almost here work off of the piano now whereas before it seemed that the piano was working off of the synth. The track fades out with just the atmospheric elements left. This is very well put together, especially considering it was made with Nanostudio.

Pros: Subtlety and sound design are key factors here. This track could've been a lot worse if things weren't placed in the right spot at the right time and quite honestly this is the best possible track you can make with the given elements. My favorite sections tend to be right as the piano and synth begin to work in tandem with the piano giving some very important and powerful reinforcing chords that bring feeling to the piece. I'm also very impressed that this is a 6 minute 12 second song with Nanostudio that stays very interesting and layered. I didn't really give as much description of the end during my writeup, but it's one of my favorite parts because everything comes together and deconstructs very well.

Cons: I mentioned sound design as a pro which it is, but personally speaking the high lead melody synth is a little too high for my taste. It contrasts too much with the laid back feel of the piece. The other issue I might take with this track is the song title. It's a nice laid back piece, but when I hear the word resolution I think some very deep and dark minor/diminished beginning that eventually finds some balance between minor and major keys. I can't really complain though because I'm not exactly the master at naming my own songs. The idea of naming a song along the paths it takes is a very well thought out one and usually difficult to do for most songs let alone an entire album in my opinion. Zircon happens to be the only artist I've ran across so far whose titles seem to almost always hit exactly what his tracks are about (i.e. Downtown, Endorphin, Mindbender, and Depth Charge are just a few examples from his second and third albums).

Overall: Best track I've ever heard created with Nanostudio. Granted the rating system here is sort of bogus because you can't really compare very different songs just using numbers. However, the rating I'd assign to this is based on the fact that I would have it compete with some of the tracks I've done writeups for in the past.

Rating: 8.8

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


So I finished another sprite today. I think it's alright, but kinda weird.