Tags: nerdcore


A Mashup

Musical snippets don't get much play here anymore. Instead, I tend to post videos and links on Facebook. However I have are a few links floating around the deserves a less ephemeral treatment.

From the forthcoming American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo comes Trent Reznor's latest piece of brilliance, a cover of Led Zepplin's 'Immigrant Song' that once again makes me hate that Zepplin wrote that song so fricking short!

I thought I'd blogged about being an extra in this video when it was shot in mid-July, but I can't find the post if I did. Sadly, none of my shots made the video, but it was a fun morning and a great Hollywood experience, something I'm more conscious of as I can see the end of my time here approaching. My camera jostling skills are on display from 1:27 to 1:29; working out and pointing out that fact? So Hollywood.

There's a high res version on Frontalot's site.

As the end of 2011 approaches, so the urges of internet creatives turn to annual retroscpectives. In that vein comes Ben Stiller's (Mashup Germany) annual Top of the Pops mashup compilation of the year's biggest pop songs. I'm always quite proud that this is the first time I've heard most of these tracks. Because I'm an elitist fuck, yes.

I have neglected my mashup feeds for a while, so the next couple of hours are musical catchup.

Strip mining planetoids, scanning for resources

The new Kabuto the Python "EP" The N7 EP has a running time of 41:10 and 14 tracks, so it's not really an EP at all. This collaboration with Beat Czar is heavily themed on Mass Effect and mostly in a similar style to the track 'Those Minerals' widely circulated in video form in early 2010.

I suspect that I was more familiar with the game, the lyrical interest could overcome my general apathy about the slow and mellow beats. But I'm not, so it doesn't. If you like Mass Effect, give this a listen, it might do more for you.

More on Wikileaks

I posted a bunch of links about wikileaks and other things a couple of weeks ago. Subsequently, a few more links caught my attention but didn't make here because of the end of year rush. So, as I continue to clear my backlog:

A couple of weeks ago, MC Frontalot appeared on a syndicated radio show, The Takeaway, talking about wikileaks. As well as the content of the short peice, I was intrigued by the way the interviewer talked about rap in general and nerdcore in particular, and in the somewhat defensive stance that I seemed to detect in Frontalot's tone.

Morgue had a good post on wikileaks too: Wikileaks: Infowar.

This CNN opinion piece by American media commentator/theorist Douglas Ruskoff offers an interesting viewpoint on the Anonymous #paypack DDOS campaign as well as how those events "point the way toward what a decentralized network might actually look like": Why WikiLeaks hackers are a glitch, not a cyberwar.

While the main buzz seems to have died down a bit (or perhaps just moved from my view), there are still plenty of interesting things coming out. This one was fascinating: WikiLeaks Reveals Details on the Films of Michael Moore and Steven Spielberg. A diplomatic cable claimed that Michael Moore's critique of American healthcare, Sicko was banned in Cuba, while Moore claims it was shown on national TV there. If Moore is correct (and on the balance of liklihood, that seems more likely, it's a fascinating example of an American diplomat lying to his superiors back home in order to bolster the national ideology of the US. More from the Guardian here, including a link to Moore's blog.

"My Patronus is a Rancor"

I've spent the morning listening to the last few episodes of Radio Free Hipster. In episode 99, Z. plays a Trock track by Tom Milson, 'Bad Wolf Bay' (from the free EP Trockstuff). I've finally watched up to the end of season four of the new Doctor Who series, so I finally feel like I'm ready to start listening to some Trock - like this album of collected songs by Laura Simpson from The Ood Cast.

Also in episode 99 is the best version of Cee-lo Green's 'Fuck You' so far, this mashup with Van Halen, 'Jump You Fucker' by The Kleptones. If you've never listened to the show, you could do a lot worse than episode 99 (mostly new music) or 100 (mostly listener requests.

Those that follow my twitter feed (and here's an interesting article about that) would have noticed that I retweeted a link to Schaffer the Darklord's new video, 'The Bender'. There's lots more detail in Z.'s post on the subject (Not Safe For Anywhere) and here's the video, which, unsurprisingly, given the title of that post, is NSFW. And this is the edited version. You have been warned.

Finally, also from Hipster, Please, comes this fantastic interview with Dr. Awkward, a nerdcore artist who has a deep awareness of the roots of his own musical journey.
Z.: That release featured a number of standout tracks, not the least of which were joints like "F.U.F." and "Geekquilibrium." While the former is a rather self-explanatory banger, there seems to be some real emotional depth to the latter. How much of the narrative from "Geekquilibrium" reflects your own experience and attitudes? Is it a personal anthem?

Doc Awk: "Geekquilibrium" is a really special song to me. The song itself came to me in a dream, as corny as that sounds. I was sleeping, and someone in my dream began shaking me and yelling at me to "find your geekquilibrium." I woke up and immediately wrote the word on a nearby napkin. The next day at work, I really started analyzing the idea of a "geekquilibrium," and it's something that I often have to deal with. I mean everyday for me is this weird struggle, so I guess you could call it a "personal anthem." I was actually really surprised to find that it was a problem others had to deal with, as well.

Keep your Dual ShAwks up indeed.

Posts we did right

I only have a limited selection of music on my netbook, usually relying on thesixtyone or last.fm for playing online music, but I'm away from home and the internet has been on the fritz today, so this afternoon I've been rocking Tetrastar's album Songs We Didn't Write. I love covers and I love chiptunes. Superpowerless is a master of the latter and together with Jaylyn Coffin as Tetrastar they're the masters of both.

I usually like covers roughly in proportion to the original, but without a predefined priority. That is, I usually like both the cover and the original but sometimes the cover makes me like the original and sometimes I like the cover because I like the original. I hadn't heard the originals of all of these, but those that I have are by and large faithful translations rather than interesting rearrangements. I like both kinds of covers.

Tetrastar's version of "Through the Fire and the Flame" is a faithful translation of the power metal original to the chiptune genre. I'm not overly familiar with "Such Great Heights" or "Float On", but they both also seem quite faithful to the arrangement of the originals. "Chop Suey", "Handlebars", "Numa Numa" and "Hallelujah" all also fall under the faithful category, while "Skullcrusher Mountain" is a rocked up version of the JoCo classic, a direction many covers of JoCo seem to take. Dio's "Rainbow in the Dark", the video of which I posted back in May, is perhaps the most interesting rearrangement, but even that is quite faithful to its source material. I haven't heard the originals of "Crank That (Soulja Boy)", "This Town Is Too Small" or "Mountains", so I can't speak to those.

"4 Chords" lies somewhere between cover and original composition. As the short skit that precedes it indicates, it is a tribute to Axis of Awesome's "Four Chord Song based on the idea (also utilised by other artists) that all pop songs can be reduced down to a basic chord structure. The Tetrastar implementation of this concept treads some of the same ground as that of Axis of Awesome, but mostly uses different songs, including many that are more contemporary and many that are more specific to the geek rock genre.

The album sits perfectly at the intersection of several of my musical tastes including geek rock and covers and accordingly I rate it quite highly. I'm sure that once I integrate it with my collection, I will not experience it as an album very frequently.

The track which features in this video isn't from the album, but it's in the same vein:


Make a fist if your party's always ready

In the twister-mat of geekdom, I have an appendage in most circles. For some areas, it's a light touch at the edge of a vast circle (hello, Warren Ellis), while for others it's more of an insubstantial pneumatic tentacle of awareness and comprehension without first-hand experience to speak of (hello, 8bit graphics). Of course, It will come as no surprise to readers that the circle closest to my heart, and to which all the geeky strands of my personal web are woven, is tabletop roleplaying.

Another centrally located circle that I often wish overlapped to a greater degree with this one is Nerdcore. Well, Z. from Hipster, Please has put together another of his brilliant compilation albums, this time centred on RPGs:

Cover by Dave White, whose Deviant Art site is behind the img-link.

Z. writes:
"The original idea that I pitched to a close circle of friends shortly before Nerdapalooza 2008 involved little more than a tribute album to the classic role-playing game (a la Dungeons & Dragons). But as tabletop gaming proved a bit of a limiting concept for our friends in the video game music scene I soon expanded the scope to include the electronic games that were the direct successors of pen-and-paper RPGs."

20-Sided Rhymes a pretty cool album with a some classic tracks, some new remixes and some new originals. I was initially disappointed to read that the scope had been expanded in the way Z. describes (electronic gaming already gets its fair share of nerdcore love), but after a couple of listens, I don't think there are as many interlopers as I feared.

The album is very solid, but there are a few tracks that aren't quite to my taste. I'm not a big fan of instrumentals and some of the tracks aren't as professionally done as I have come to expect. Of course, this is an amateur genre, but you wouldn't know it from many of the albums of the past couple of years (Doc Awkward, for example). But, these minor gripes are a small price to pay for the existence of an RPG-based nerdcore album. Check it out!

Look at me still talking when there's science to do

Over on Hipster, Please, Vocano-Themed Bathroom lists a bunch of covers of JoCo's 'Still Alive':
As does Vocano-Themed Bathroom, I particularly like the Флора cover. I also really like what Scared of Dinosaurs did with the material; their stuff on youtube and myspace is definitely worth a browse.


This pie's so good it is a crime

I've been listening to a few back episodes of Radio Free Hipster. I usually enjoy these podcasts, but these last three have had an especially high level of quality tracks.

The first two are remixes of Wil Wheaton's PAX speeches: episode 30 was his 2007 speech at PAX Prime and episode 89 was his 2010 speech from PAX East.

There's no special theme to episode 87, it's just a great episode, including this MC Chris Twin Peaks tribute:

This link may be of interest to those of a metallic persuasion: Hell Bent For Letters.