atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#3417: Fireflies!

When I took a night ride on the motorcycle the other night, I saw fireflies. Well, they're all over the place now! Seems like it's a bit early for them, but it's been so dry....

* * *

Cold-soaking the bunker tonight (66°, dewpoint 52°) because it's supposed to hit 86° on Saturday and 90° on Sunday. Applying the old weatherman rule of thumb, "dewpoint is the low temp for the day" I expect that it'll be more humid tomorrow night, and sticky on Sunday night when the low temp is projected to be at 68°.

* * *

One thing I can say about having done the chain on the motorcycle: there's a noise it was making that is now gone. It was a rhythmic sound, a sort of brushing noise. It wasn't synchronized with the turning of the wheels, but it was independent of engine speed, so I was thinking it might be the chain--and with the chain cleaned and oil-soaked, it's gone, so I was right.

Also, I've got the tires overinflated. Front should be 22 and the rear should be 24, so before I ride again I want to correct that. (Pressures are raised 2 PSI for extended highway use, but "extended" means like "I'm riding to Wichita!")

(Why Wichita? I don't f-ing know. It's the first major city I thought of that was farther away than Chicago from the Fungal Vale. Could just as easily have been Saint Louis or Indianapolis or--)

* * *

When I went shopping last week, three 6-packs of Pepsi could be had for $6.75 with a coupon and a separate $10 purchase. They were, of course, all out of diet Pepsi in the 6-packs. (Could have gotten 12 packs of cans, of course, but I don't like them. Bottles are better, and it's the same amount of liquid.)

So I got diet Cherry Pepsi, Pepsi Max, and diet Mountain Dew. The Pepsi Max is essentially the same as diet Pepsi (just a little less good) and of course I've been doing diet Dew for more than a year, so it's fine.

The real surprise is the diet Cherry Pepsi. That actually tastes really good--surprisingly good. The cherry flavor hides some of the flatness of the aspartame.

* * *

I really gotta get after that Fiero, and soon, damn it. I want to drive it, not just look wistfully at the thing when I go into the garage for some other purpose. Dang it!

* * *

So I ganked three Bluetech albums last night.

In order: Sines and Singularities, Rainforest Reverberation, and Love Songs to the Source.

S&S is good.

RR is mostly good.

LSttS is awful.

...RR features bad beat poetry, for one thing. Two whole tracks consist of this woman reading a poem about, I think, being a seed or a plant or something--and they're long poems, too, more than a single stanza. I was playing WoW and in the middle of Halls of Lightning while listening to this woman talk about not belonging in a storehouse and being equally willing to be scattered at random or planted in rows--and finally I had a moment to hit the "next track" button because what the fucking fuck is this shit?

But most of the rest of RR was pretty good stuff. It had the complex texture, you know, and good riffs I've come to associate with Bluetech.

Then I got to LSttS.

...

Before I gave up listening, I skipped six tracks out of eight, when there are fourteen total on the album.

Problem 1: vocal tracks.

Okay, if your band is an ambient dub band, and your past albums have been all-instrumental and reasonably successful in the non-mainstream world of ambient dub, that ought to be a freakin' clue to you not to do any vocal tracks. There are ambient dub bands who do vocal tracks and do them well, but if you didn't start out doing that, don't start because chances are you can't do it worth a shit. This is doubly true if you wanted to put vocal tracks on the first album but everyone talked you out of it. They did it for a reason; listen to them.

Problem 2: brass instruments.

I'm not listening to ambient dub to hear a brass ensemble. You can get away with using acoustic sounds to enhance the electronic ones--their song "Oleander [Phutureprimitive Remix]" uses a doumbek to excellent effect--but it should not be the lead in the song. It shouldn't be electronic drums and harmony with some douche on a trumpet doing the melody. Especially since this kind of music invariably takes its cues from jazz and jazz fusion...and I absolutely hate jazz trumpet. Not the quick bright stuff (like you'll hear in some Spyro Gyra tracks) but the slow, lazy kind, sometimes played through a mute--good God that shit infuriates me. Especially when it's borderline atonal and part of an ambient dub song.

You can't get a complex texture from a trumpet. There's nothing wrong with the trumpet as an instrument, either, but if I want to hear trumpet music I don't go pick up an ambient dub album. I pick up an album of trumpet music.

Ditto, by the way, for the other song with the saxophone, but that wasn't as egregious.

Problem 3: the complete lack of texture in some songs.

At least two of the songs were non-vocal and totally electronic, but they were simple. AD music is repetitive by its nature; that's why texture is so important. Phutureprimitive's "Darkness" has a sequence which is all one note, played in rhythm, but it's a rocking riff because they have a band-pass filter set up to play the melody. The band gap actually plays the melody but it doesn't come out as tones. It sounds simple and catchy until you really listen to it, and notice what they're doing; then it's amazing to hear.

Bluetech usually does things like this; it's never the same sequence twice in a row even if the notes are all the same. But a couple of tracks on LSttS don't have this continuous variation; we hear simple musical phrases, repeated ad nauseum.

As I said, I stopped around the 8th track on the album because I was getting tired of listening to music. I'll pick up this album later and listen to the rest of it and let you know what I think. But it's not looking good.

On the plus side, Sines and Singularities is really good.
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