Friday, February 26, 2016

Musical Interlude: Die Krupps' Gladiators (1991)

Irony is writing a blog post on distraction-free writing, only to get distracted from writing.  The article in question is sidelined for the next day or so as new information comes in.  Until then, I present to you the following musical interlude.

Another of my CDTV-era favourites is Die Krupps.

I discovered DK back in the early 90s, having heard of them via a magazine review of their Tribute to Metallica EP.  The reviewer (probably a Metallica fan) absolutely trashed the EP, so I knew it was something worth hearing.

It took me a while, but I eventually found a copy of Die Krupps' Enter Sandman CD single.  The CD had two versions of the title track (both were alright), but what really stood out for me was their version of Metallica's song One.  I never really cared for Metallica's version until then, but DK's cover really made me appreciate the song.

Die Krupps soon made it into my regular rotation, and I began collecting their albums.

Gladiators, as heard above, went largely unnoticed by myself until recently.  While dismantling my lab late last summer, I popped their album Metalmorphosis of Die Krupps into the player and hit play.  I would habitually skip through most of the second half of the album to get to the last two tracks, and never really gave tracks like Gladiators, Neue Helden, and Tod und Teufel a fair shake.

I was in the middle of dismantling a Sun serial port multiplexer for Project Torquemada when the second half of the album came on.  In the middle of a delicate operation and with the remote out of reach, I couldn't get up to skip through the aforementioned songs.  I was too absorbed in what I was doing to pay much attention to Risk, however halfway through the next track (Gladiators), I found myself bopping along to the song as I unscrewed the hex sockets from the serial port, then started singing along with the refrain "We are gladiators!".

I let the rest of the CD play out, and am glad I did.  I don't know what I had against those songs initially, but it was clear I'd never given them a chance to grow on me.

They are now part of my regular "hacking" soundtrack, played whenever I'm deeply involved in a build or repair job.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Audience Participation Time: Never Let Your Magazine Run Dry (part three)

I've had a little over a year to really experience the digital age, insofar as it applies to magazines... and to be honest, I don't like it.

My initial impression was favourable, and for a few months I enjoyed having Wallpaper and Azure with me wherever I went.  I received an email from Zinio every month, letting me know my latest issue was ready for download.  My Issuu feed updated every time I logged in, and I found a number of great magazines there.

Everything was great, until I dropped my Kobo Vox e-reader on the floor, which somehow reset the stupid thing back to its defaults... wiping everything I'd downloaded.

Being an older tablet/e-reader, I wasn't able to download the latest versions of a number of apps - Zinio being one.  The old version that came bundled with my Kobo would no longer download my magazines, and newer versions wouldn't work.  I was still able to use the online Zinio reader on my XP laptop at home, as well as my Windows 8 laptop at work, so I didn't swear too loudly.

I continued like this for a few more months, but once my Zinio subscriptions ran out, I didn't renew them.  Now, that's not to knock Zinio - they offer a great product and their support is top notch - but it was pretty clear where my heart lay... in print media.

I resumed buying print magazines a few months ago, after I got tired of reading digital mags on my computer.  Sure, the quality of the digital variety is great and I don't have to worry about accidentally tearing it, someone writing on it, getting coffee stains on it, etc, but it's just not the same.

What I don't like about digital magazines is you can't leave one out on the coffee table.  You can't lend it to someone.  You can't draw mustaches and beards on the female athletes, or Hitler mustaches on all the politicians and businesspeople.  There's no sense of wonderment when you find one in a box in your closet.  There's no scent.  You don't get free rub-on samples of cologne in them.  Worst of all, you have no physical artifact to leave to posterity.

Call me an anachronism, but I prefer the real thing.

Which brings us to the Audience Participation part of our show...

I've put up a poll in the upper right sidebar of my blog.  It runs until Midnight, March 1st, and it's aimed at those of you who still buy print magazines.  For those who still enjoy print magazines, I'm curious about how you prefer to buy them.  Specifically, I'm curious to know if you prefer to support local businesses by buying magazines in-store, or if you prefer to support the publishers directly by subscribing to magazines.

Legal note: This poll is for my own curiosity, and I'm not acting on behalf of any demographic, research, Law Enforcement, or marketing agencies.  I will not share (or sell) results with any third parties, this is purely for my own amusement.

Let me know what you think!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cabaret Voltaire: Walls of Kyoto (Live 1982)

This is it... this is the song that got me into Cabaret Voltaire back in the early 90s.

At the time, I was into bands like Ministry, Front 242, and had just gotten into Front Line Assembly.  I first learned of Cabaret Voltaire while reading the FAQ for the Usenet newsgroup, where they were mentioned as pioneers of the genre a number of times.  Ever curious, I embarked on a fruitless search for their CDs at the local music shops.  Nobody had ever heard of them, and, by chance, I found a copy of their live album, Hai!, for 99 cents in the HMV bargain bin.

I got it home, popped it into my Commodore CDTV, and gave it a listen.  My first impression was not a favourable one... in fact, I think my exact words were "What the fuck is this?  This sucks!"

I remember thinking how absolutely grating Walls of Kyoto was, and how it took effort to listen to the tune.  But one day a week later, I found myself in a weird mood, so I decided to expend the effort.

I was on the CDTV, checking my messages on a local BBS, and I was taking a lot longer than normal.  So much longer, that the Ramones CD I was listening to in CDTVPlayer had ended.  I grabbed Hai! and decided to give it another chance.

I let the CD run without actively listening to it... it was, after all, meant to be background noise as I went BBSing.  I let the CD run its course and thought "Well, that wasn't too bad...".

The next day, I listened to the CD again while on my daily pilgrimage to our local 7-Eleven, and found myself enjoying the music.  The CD soon made it into my regular rotation, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I still listen to the album on my iPhone once in a while.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Dividing the Audience, or Six Point Oh is the Place to Go!

The Warring States of Flux, Denial, and Mind have signed a formal treaty and have become one again, as Conceit and Sociopathy 6.0.

What does this mean for you?  Well, you'll have two of my blogs to follow instead of just one.  Or you can pick one (or neither) to follow.  Either way, we're cool.

"So, what made you decide to reopen C&S when you just started blogging again on State of Grace?", you might ask.

A fair question indeed.  The short answer is, "Why the Hell not?"

The long answer is a drawn out, meandering affair full of reflection, angst, desire, questionable intent, and proper spelling... I'll spare you the details, just accept that it is.

"But CJ," you go on, "what does this mean in terms of content?"

First off, I dropped the nickname CJ a long time ago.  I use my real name now.

In terms of content, for now both blogs will largely be the same, with perhaps minor stylistic differences (I'll probably swear a lot more here).  I'll do my best to keep multi-part posts on the same blog, however.  As time goes on, each blog will take on its own character again.

The real reason, however, is that I resurrected Nadia for the umpteenth time and am keen to establish our partnership again.  I started Conceit and Sociopathy using Nadia, so it seems only fitting that I do so once again.