A continuation of the disc posted up yesterday. Music Cave by Merzbow. A more melodic (and romantic) second song to True Romance Theme.
In spirit of the coming Valentine’s Day, from Merzbow Album Music for True Romance Vol. 1 (available on the Merzbox, disc 40) I bring you the True Romance Theme.
I like this album a lot, especially this track and the one that follows it. I it would be great on some SF show like Star Trek.
One thing useful about XOYO is it is incredibly near the station, literally 2 minutes walk away. From the outside it hasn’t changed much since whenever the Street View pictures of it were taken, the only sign of change being a sign with XOYO on it. I was around 14 minutes late (of doors opening) but I needn’t have worried, there was a queue still there and it took a while to get in. Not a very good first impression but a lot better than other places I’ve been to where there are two separate queues for quick tickets and real tickets. I didn’t find the staff to be rude like other people have mentioned and I didn’t get body searched which was a plus. Once inside I needed to go to the toilets and at first feared there were none. But there were and excellently located, only a hop away from the stage. Inside were funny taps which got my shirt and coat wet so a minus there.
The first act was a small, not well known band called Dethscalator. I was expecting rubbish since I read on their last.fm profile they were “kicked out of the cast of Cats the musical”, not a very good impression. But like the venue, the band didn’t live up to the bad name. I’m not sure of the genre they were playing, some sort of grunge, stoner, punk mix I’m guessing.
Then a break before Nadja went on. XOYO seem to have some house DJs I guess… either that or there are some artists which are not on the bill. Relatively interesting stuff but I would’ve preferred silence or atmosphere track in background.
Nadja started with a slow build up and I was really getting into them when suddenly -THUMP- the speakers cut out. They valiantly tried to continue, moving onto a new song once the speakers were back on but it happened again -THUMP-. All together the speakers cut out 6 times. A technician came on stage to see what was wrong and fix it but to no avail. One of the duo, Aiden Baker, said after the fifth time that if it happened any more they’d go off. They got applauded at the end for handling the situation with so much patience and for being excellent for the time they were up. The flaws of XOYO were really highlighted - even at the beginning they were having trouble with the lighting guys, who seemed to think slow paced music required disco lights.
There was quite a long break between them and Merzbow, probably because they ended early and they had to keep to set times and to make sure the speaker didn’t mess up again. The in house musicians were on again and by the end I was quite tired of their songs about getting tripped on LSD. I wanted to hear some noise goddamit!
There was a problem when Merzbow went on. He noticed on of the speakers, the left one behind the drummer, wasn’t working. Thankfully that was the last technical issue of the evening and the rest went flawlessly. The best bits for me was when Merzbow went solo while the drummer, Balázs Pandi, took a rest. After the conventional in house music I wanted noise and when Akita took up the noise-maker I thought “Go for it!” and he didn’t disappoint. If you are familiar with his work you know the sounds that permeate throughout his music. They were all there, performed flawlessly. The drummer was also very good but I felt his drumming was too loud for the noise background sometimes. It all ended all too soon and I left the venue feeling slightly light-headed. Amazing performance!
The opening track of Moon (2009). Probably one of the best opening tracks for a soundtrack I’ve heard. The sound is as bleak and awe inspiring, desolate and isolated as the film.
06 – Contra
Vampire Weekend’s game of choice, Contra was evidently quite a popular game of its time if it can receive mention from such a band. Either that, or most likely they were bored and decided most of their fanbase new the game.
Made by Konami, a manufacturer responsible for a lot of the mess coming up. You get to play 2 characters if you have multiplayer link but I only have the one player option available, since I only have one consol and I know no one else who has the game (this is not DS, so you can’t play the game with one chip. Both players have to have one). 1988 Copyright on the title screen, which I’m not sure is the copyright of Konami or of the game. I’ll assume the game. Anyway, onto the game.
The title has a picture of two gay looking muscle men back to back, one facing us with a sleeveless vest, the other facing away and who looks to be naked (I don’t see any shoulder strap). You can only see the top half of them fortunately, so it’s not sure, but the muscles and 80s hairstyles really don’t help.
Stage 1: The Jungle involves you running along different level ground with awful rock effect on the sides. There are snow-capped mountains in the background which look kinda wimpy, but I guess this is good for something of the 80s. Your character, topless gay muscleman (or Muscle), has a gun of several pixels and you press the B button to shoot. OK, so an average platform game which you run through the levels Super Mario style and win. This is where the real problems come in – the handling. If half these games spent more effort on manoeuvrability, playing them would be so much more fun. Unfortunately the geeks from the 80s were keener on getting the latest crummy effect to worry about whether it was playable.
Here’s the thing, you can’t jump very well. There is no control halfway through flight. This means a) You can’t control where you land and always have to b) take a running jump. Second, the bronze cannons are far too difficult to dodge. Third, and finally, there is no way to shoot diagonally ↘ without running forward. When it comes to a sheer drop and an opponent on the other side, this can be a real pain (and this happens in the first level). Overall, I wonder what sort of boredom Vampire Weekend was going through if they thought that lauding this was a good idea.
07 – Chip & Dale 2
If your familiar with cartoons of the 90s (I certainly was) then you’ll know Chip & Dale (properly known as Chip ‘N Dale, but there have been worse title mistakes so far). It shows two of the chipmunks in the title screen. Chip, who thinks he’s Sherlock and acts a bit like an ass if my memory is right, and Dale, who is all surfer dude with a Hawaii shirt. This says 2, so this is a sequel to the first (which fortunately I don’t have). You have the choice of two of the characters, who, I repeat, have only one difference, one has a suit and Indy hat and the other a Hawaii shirt. I choose Chip.
What follows is a ridiculously long story opening. Something about a time bomb going off at a restaurant. Lots of different characters say different annoying and pointless things, when all that had to be said was “There’s a bomb, go and save everyone”. The thing is literally 1 minute long. By the time you get onto the game you are faced with a restaurant themed walkthrough. You jump and try to avoid the bad guys (floating bees which drop honey drops on you and running rats which throw forks at you) or grab a box and throw it at them. Chip (or Dale) can’t really do anything more than that. You can jump up on objects such as teacups, glasses, burgers, chairs and windowsills but you can’t get down from them the same way (jump down through). This loses you the game if you’re still on the sills at the end because, since you can’t go back, you’re trapped there. Oddly the game doesn’t have a timer, which means you could stay up there, you just wouldn’t be able to do anything.
In the next round, which you face the added threat of mice which hide under boxes then run at you (but past you, they don’t track). You also can jump on all the horizontal surfaces on the game. Along the way you “collect” square tokens. I’m not really sure it’s collecting as your point score doesn’t go up and nothing happens. On third, you go into the main kitchen area, with ovens and a water challenge (you jump into a box in the bottom of an empty fish tank, box turns into Aladdin’s lamp which you stay on while a tiny bee fills the fish tank up, bringing you up so you can jump over to the next round) which is fairly easy. The fat character in the series throws you two life points (which takes you up to 3 life points max), then there’s some dialog with the main boss, who is this weird pink rabbit on a Hoover vacuum with a water blaster. You are swept along a path of water with plate islands which you jump on to avoid going to the bottom of the screen. Boxes get swept down the current which you throw at the boss three times (I haven’t completed this, but three is the magic number for these sort of games). Game over title follows, designed for anger, then a credit part comes up which is completely useless as it takes you back to the beginning of the game with no points (not that there were any points to be gotten in the first place). One great cartoon series, one OK game.
Blå Melankoli, the last track in their second album, Sjel Av Natten.
Contains a somewhat folk feel but that could be just me.
My favourite song by them that’s under 10 minutes.
One of my favourite Xasthur tracks, every time I listen to this I am reminded of walking through the frostbitten streets in December, the cold and silence, the ice chill air. This song captures the cold perfectly, especially the second half, haunting dark slow.
Off of the self titled EP, first track. Enjoy.
04 – Pockemon Green
If this is made by the same crack smoking team of students who did Yellow and Red (and yes, I have changed the spelling from Pokémon to Pockemon because that is how it’s put up. More reason why these guys detest Pokémon and probably anything to do with Japanese culture considering their adoration for Looney Tunes) then they have put on some serious hat or other because their is more of a direction, an actual purpose to this game other than pissing on the good name of the originals. This is not apparent at the title card as it were, with “GREEN” writ in horrid square red with white outline block text but once you start to play the improvements are immediate.
Fair enough, the mountains have sides like it was made of jelly and the clouds somehow go behind in exactly the same shape, but the gameplay is far more simple, easy, fun even than the others. The green ______, which is a fairly accurate representation of the Pokémon has the jump attack and shoots off what look like floating chainsaw tracks. The enemy is small round blobs of pink with eyes, small white pink cheeked blobs that bounce up and down, black hovering crows and odd creatures which I can only say look like consoles (it’s really hard to describe exactly what they are) that bounce around randomly at different heights (these are the hardest so far). You collect round green potions, green philosophers stones which increase the size of your chainsaw blasts and the occasional cupcake and ice cream (no jokes). You can go up to three stones then on the forth you become immune to the characters and can kill them just by walking into them. Unfortunately you lose all the stones you collect as they decrease during your time of invulnerability.
On the second level you come across a blue ____. This is another life for your character, not another of its female companions to save (the Pokémon has a distinct female look about it). If you die the character jumps up then decides to dive off screen, in a way an even crappier exit than the one in Red.
So after going through another daylight level then going through an orange sky marine days end level (which is harder with difficult jumps to complete but passable) you come across a challenge. You have to memorize a set of twenty blocks and get 5 odd blocks out which have been covered. One block equals one step up towards the flag. Your opponent is a pink rat with a tracksuit who impatiently jumps up and down, waving his fists impatiently. I have no idea what is going on as my version is in Chinese but whatever is it takes up an awful lot of black blocks for saying it. Funny enough, the cover up blocks have the Leap Frog character on it and you have to choose Hello Kitty blocks over what I think is Maisy Moo. Randomness is taken to a whole new level by the crack smoking Students.
Another level comes up which will take too long to explain, so I won’t, but once you’ve passed them you face another puzzle, this one some sort of Numbers maths challenge. My version cuts back to the title screen every time I get up to this level so that is as far as I’ve got but so far this is the only game that is playable and could be won.
05 – Mortal Kombat 4
Mortal Kombat, a game you might be familiar with if you used to own a Playstation 1 or had a friend who owned one (I think it was also available on PS2, but by then better fighting games had come along, like Dead or Alive). It was a fun game, easy to play and understand and quick.
Well, this Game Boy version is nothing like the Playstation version. It is difficult to figure out exactly what you do, what button you press to do what. The mobility of your character is next to none compared to the opponent and you can never do the same moves as the opponent, such as flying at you. Compare this to the Pockemon games, then Pockemon wins. I don’t know what the designers thought when they passed this off to be sold. Also I’d be interested if anyone has actually won the damn thing.