Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Further Thoughts On A Perfect Circle's "By And Down"

A fan wrote of APC wrote in regarding my interpretation of the song "By And Down". I find it interesting and asked if I could share with you. Permission was granted.



TJ writes:

When The Noose originated, there was a lot of political punk/hippie genre focus on APC, especially their song Counting Bodies... and their album eMOTIVe.  At the time, we were moving hard against Iraq under G.W. who appeared to be a focal point for APC back then. I always felt The Noose was written for him.  By and Down, to me, does not seem connected. I think that we all perceive lyrics with music differently based on the loose and suggestive subject matter of the music as a whole. I also think that we automatically connect it to things occurring in and around our lives when the music surfaces. I believe that this is the reason we can listen to Cat Stevens or Led Zeppelin and still enjoy it today, all the while conceiving emotions associated with events in our interpersonal lives and exterior lives at the time we first heard the music. Led Zeppelin will always remind me of Fast Times at Ridgemont High and many, many other things. Of course, Tool's No Quarter takes things to a whole new level (a basement or dark room where some kind of evil resides); that evil in the basement or in the dark room down the hall is different for us all, but absolutely nothing like Zeppelin's No Quarter.

I think that By and Down has something to do with a female or at least a person of sexual affection (I say this in consideration of the differences in people's sexual orientation). I often ponder what the band is feeling or thinking about the song for only they really know. Maynard loves to keep people guessing and pondering; it is his true signature trait. He loves to be elusive. He seems to enjoy writing music that is vaguely familiar so that anyone listening can connect it to any thing, event, or person to which/whom it seems to pertain for the listener. If he explained its true roots, it might not appeal to so many; it might simply become irrelavent to the listener. I say this as I have found this to be the case with many songs by other bands that started off great until I read the lyrics.

Ever listen to The Cocteau Twins? Liz often has no idea what she is even singing about; it makes for some good mind pondering.  She reminds me of Maynard in that way. She is elusive as well.

By and Down to me reminds me of the character, Jenny, from Forest Gump, only in the case of By and Down, Forest is some average person without a mental deficit and is struggling with his perception of Jenny as she becomes self-indulging in alcohol, sex, and drugs; non-chalant towards Forest's dedication and true love for her; and  to her taking advantage of him before dying (leaving him alone and betrayed) of her own self-destructive nurturing. This is applicable on so many levels and for so many people; like the guy who CAN have the girl (for a price), all the while questioning her motives and morals and becoming completely distraught while loving and hating her at the same time before realizing that as a matter of consequence he CANNOT truly have her. The Noose seems to be about one's destruction of large masses and one's pondering of how that person lives with him/herself while By and Down seems to be about one person's self-destructive self-indulgence and one's pondering of his/her own perception of that person.  Just some thoughts.

None of this is to say that I do not appreciate your point of view; rather, I simply find the topic interesting and good for a multi-faceted conversation.

Semper Fi,
TJ

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Quiddity Must Be Preserved: A Review Of Clive Barker's "The Great And Secret Show"



Note: I will return to expand this review in the future with spoilers. For now, this is spoiler free.

I've been a fan of Clive Barker's material for a long time, starting with Weaveworld and Sacrament with The Hellbound Heart somewhere between. Needless to say, he's influenced a lot of my own fiction. I picked up The Great And Secret Show as a piece of a greater collection and, of course, to get my Barker fix. In retrospect, I will say this was much easier to get into than Sacrament but, I feel, not as mature. That being said I still recommend it and I do so with praise. I won't give this a five star review, however, because I feel there were a couple problems which could have been eradicated and eased the story's rigid second act.

The first thing I want to praise are the characters in the book. There are a couple, just one or two, that are irritating to read simply because they're incredibly unreliable at points, but on the other hand this novel has given me one of the greatest characters I've ever known. He serves, at first, as the central antagonist. His moniker is catchy, dark and fantastic - something Barker is proficient in crafting. I am of course speaking of The Jaffe. There's a female character who reminds me of Ellen Ripley in a couple ways and I will say she is my second favorite character (and she's not even the main protagonist for the whole novel). That female character is Tesla and she rocks - you'll get a kick out of her toward the end. 

Harry D'Amour is also featured briefly in the end of the book and, from what I understand, becomes more important in the second novel Everville.

To touch on the annoying characters: Grillo. He's unreliable and stupid at times (those times are few and far between but when they do happen, it's irritating). There's a character briefly in the novel which dies abruptly by the name of Mary. I felt a little betrayed - she echoed similar sentiments of a character named Kissoon (the real villain next to the Iad), though she had some very, very important information to reveal.

The second thread of the weave I will address is the beautiful, complex worlds created by Barker and the mythology behind them. Quiddity is glorious. The imagery and creatures, beings and ambiance associated with it and the harboring island is magnificent to read. In fact, I will be returning to this novel simply for that reason. It's a balancing act between the dark, terrifying regions of the unknown and awe-inspiring, heavenly spaces seemingly out of reach (you'll get that when you read the book).

The third thing, the amount of plot twists and sheer substance, is complex and plentiful. Never have I felt I've learned so much of a fictional world from a novel in a long, long time. I couldn't have guessed from the first few chapters what the novel's end and even middle portions had to offer. Needless to say, it's a journey, a trip.

Now some complaints... Clive, if you're reading this, stop using the word "din" so frequently. It got a little repetitive in the last sixth of the book. I also feel the second act was very slow, specifically parts three and four and some of five. I ultimately still enjoyed it but I feel it could have been shortened - there were some inner thoughts, dialogue and events that were unnecessary even in terms of filler. I still enjoyed it, however.

I recommend this book and it's worth the money. I own the original hardback version and the Kindle version (I collect). The each offer their pros and cons - I'm not sure I could recommend either or to you. I will praise and suggest you read the novel for a taste of what modern, dark fantasy has to offer if in capable hands. The fiction within serves some of the best horror and modern fantasy I've read, bundled in a complex weave of betrayal, romance and wars between plains of existence - the dark and the light.

This is the first book of three, a trilogy called "The Books Of The Art". The second, which I'm going to begin shortly, is Everville. The third hasn't been released and is still unpenned, though Barker says he has many, many notes for the upcoming piece. It's rumored that he'll go into production for it after his last Abarat novel. On Amazon, I rated this four out of five stars (actually four and a half out of five). Here, I do ten star reviews.

8 out of 10. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Alien Of Yoekum Middle School

One of the first movies I saw was Aliens. I remember being utterly fascinated and obsessed with it. It was a cool sci-fi world, the characters were awesome, the guns were loud, the explosions were kickass, the story kept me on the edge of my seat, the payoff was fantastic and damn, it was just so well done. I had always wanted to see a sequel just because. Well, around the age of five, Alien 3 came out. When I got to see it (keep in mind this was the theatrical version - the assembly cut wasn't available for almost a decade or longer after its original theatrical release), I felt confused. The story was depressing as hell and my favorite characters had died.

On the flip side, the environments were beautiful; bleak, unique and complex with ages of wear and tear - as lost and hopeful (if not hopeless) as the characters that inhabited them. The second thing I fell for was Ripley acting as sort of a Christ figure. A savior. That epic ending was just... epic, followed by a few brief scenes that made me grin and say goodbye to the alien trilogy. To me, Aien 3 was a great ending and made sense. It was dark, depressing and hopeless, but it was also full of redemption and beauty. When I got into my teen years, I would call Alien 3 the poem out of the trilogy.

The entire bait and chase sequence, the lead pouring and the gorgeous music that played when Ripley doused the xenomorph in icy water and the even more awe-inspiring beauty that synchronized with her suicide left a huge impression on me. I even novelized the movie one  construction paper (the best a 5 year old could do). I never left that idea. I never left Fury 161. So, time comes and goes. I effectively wore out all my copies of Alien, Aliens and Alien 3. Resurrection came out and at first, I loved it simply because MORE ALIENS! MORE RIPLEY! and other stuff, but I can say next to AvP: R it's my most hated film of the series.

We got our first computer sometime in 1999 or 2000, I can't 100% remember. It was then when I got the chance to take stories I had written and (gasp!) put them on floppies - even print them out! The school I went to, Yoekum Middle School, was intended for 6th, 7th and 8th grade. For some reason the district only kept the 7th and 8th grade when I went due to new buildings and whathaveyou. It dawned on me: we have a printer, we have paper, we have a computer and most of all, I've got ideas.

To me, Yoekum seemed very prison-like. The halls were arranged in a way that seemed to honor some sort of "herding" princple. There were metal gates in the halls, they were labeled with stuff like "A2". The gym and cafeteria seemed like off-shoots, built as an afterthought. I was also severely struggling in school at the time - I hated waking up and feeling how I did (which wasn't successfully diagnosed until almost 14 years later) and I hated wasting my time.

So I would get angry and fantasize about monsters attacking the school. My favorite creature? The xenomorph. So in class, I would start writing a story about the famed Giger creature attacking the school on notebook paper. This was the original first pen of The Alien Of Yoekum Middle School. I took it home and began to type it up. All my friends were in it, I was, even some teachers and authority figures (big mistake). I decided to change the ending and go with something closer to Alien 3, my little nod to the fitting conclusion.

Make no mistake, even though the story explicitly says the creature is a genetic mishap, this is ultimately a fan fiction. Anyway, I printed it and showed it to a friend. Everyone else wanted to read it but hey, I didn't have but that one copy and my family was angry that I was wasting paper. Then something occurred to me: I can just charge for it. Print more copies, sell them for a quarter (I would bump it up to 35 cents before I got in trouble). Sure enough, I did. I had to correct some grammar and other things, but I did. I made almost 20$ that week.

Then it all came crashing down. Someone was reading it in class and of course, a teacher took it from them. I think they were supposed to be studying, but whatever. And of course, it went to the central authorities - the big wigs. I'm talking the principal and whoever kisses up to him. I was immediately pulled into the office. The first complaint was that I was selling something on school grounds and not sharing the profit. All money made on school grounds went back to the school. Secondly, I killed some students and teachers in the book. (This is in the wake of Columbine - to me, it was just a horror story, people had to die, it's how creature features worked - to them, it was was a sign that I was plotting to murder them in their sleep, one by one after stalking them, etc.)

I was asked where I sold it on a rigid schedule. I lied - I said the lunch room during lunch. In reality I distributed it between hours or during study halls on random days. After being threatened with suspension, I stopped. Somehow, the floppy disk containing the story died. Even worse, the computer was wiped and the data was destroyed.

Fast forward 14 years. I went through storage a couple weeks ago and found a black binder. Inside, the last two printed copies of The Alien Of Yoekum Middle School, along with several other important things. That inspired me to remove my current HDD in my computer, install Linux on a new 250GB HDD (the original HDD TAOYMS was written on was something like 10 - 20GB) and completely start over. Since then, I've been transcribing and posting the story to Wattpad and soon, FictionPress. I've also backed it up on other hard drives and my Google Drive account.

All that being said, I'm going to link you to the ugly, 7th grade fan fiction involving the Xenomorphs from Alien and Alien 3 inside a Middle school. Click the picture and enjoy:




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ease

I did not proofread this and I don't care. #sorrynotsorryyolo2014

It's been a hectic month. I will say something groundbreaking came out of it: I got my license to drive. This is significant because I'm 26 and terrified of driving, but somehow broke through the fear and paranoia of operating a car that I passed. A lot of you will probably laugh (hell, I did) and I can't say I blame you. As much as I thought I'd feel like a completely different person, I really don't. That being said (this whole person-thing), I've found something interesting.

Some time ago, when I was 15, I had my first computer. Really, it was a family computer that we just stuck downstairs for people to use when the main one couldn't be operated. It ran Windows 98 SE and came with Wordpad and Notepad. We also had a CD burner, something incredible at the time. I discovered that you could burn data to CDs, not just music. I had some files on this computer that floppy disks didn't do justice, so I decided to burn them to a CD-RW (rewriteable!).

I had complete forgotten about that CD and came across it whilst clearing out storage (this was the other massive change in my life - removing all things from storage). It inspired me to find a spare hard drive and create fresh start for myself in terms of computing. I still have Ubuntu, but right now I'm running Linux Mint 17 fully updated with a Windows 98-ish theme. I even recovered pictures and music I was into at the time, so that's occupying my desktop as well.

A third thing: I found three binders. The first binder is a collection of stories and shorts I wrote between the end of 6th grade and the end of 8th grade. Somewhere printed on paper with art, others were hand written. This is important because as far as I know, these are the only copies of the short stories that exist. The second binder contains all things related to a game a friend and I wanted to work on at the time titled Strays. For years, I thought this was lost or destroyed. Finally, the third binder contained about 400 different plot ideas and stream of conscious blurbs that shaped my budding as an artist. I thought these were lost as well and, to my greatest pleasure, I was wrong.

What does this have to do with all my creative stuff? A few simple things:


  • The Alien Of Yoekum Middle School is being transcribed from its original source print.
  • Unchained: Thriller Within is being transcribed from its original source print.
  • Nightstalkers: A Poltergeist Story is being transcribed and completed from its original handwritten form.
  • Strays is being digitally scanned. The beginning of a novel is being transcribed from its original form.
  • All stream of conscious ideas are being digitized and transcribed.
  • The original Evercana Files website is being restored.

Everything is being duplicated onto spare drives as well as cloud storage to ensure this doesn't happen again. Aside from a very, very early form of Silent Hours, The Alien 3 Novelization and Comet: A Yoshi Story, I believe I have everything I ever made... ever. There is a rough, early one-chapter novel of Wood Bound which will be transcribed as well. I have a ton, and I mean a ton of original short poetry and some short stories in original form. Some fan fictions were recovered as well, though not very much. 

This means a lot to me. It's a chance to restart from the very beginning with what I know now. It's exciting and nostalgic at the same time. I do think there's some bitterness to the whole thing; a sort of reminder of failure. But I'm ready to give these things a breath of life and bring the past into the future and finally, for the first time, close that chapter of my life. Be warned: the transcriptions are nothing special. I promise they're horrible but for archiving purposes, I must do this. Who knows, maybe it will inspire me. I may even involved a fellow author to help with some of this. 2014 is ending, but 2015 looks to be content-rich. 

Updates on Music:
Given I have a new OS, music production is going to be slow for the rest of the year. I'm focusing more on transcription and rewrites first. 2015 will see new album releases. I may have fit one more album into 2014, though I'm not sure.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Further Revisited

So, I finally finished this album. Here's the art, the list of tracks and a link below to download your copy. It's in MP3 format (contact me for FLAC), 320kbps. This served as a way to finally wave goodbye to my old style of music and tracks. It's been fun recreating things and dredging up old files. Enjoy.





Further Revisited


Disc 1:
1. Precursor
2. This Far
3. Akihiro, A Leader
4. Resource
5. Interlude Manifesto
6. Memory of the Ocean (Extended)
7. Mixed Clay
8. Away & Distant
9. Probability Cloud (Version)
10. Viability
11. Echoes After A Storm (Extended)
12. Static

Disc 2:

1. Retrospective & Commentary
2. Ogg (Demo)
3. Coaxial
4. Probability Cloud (Original Release)
5. Construction Of A Metropolis
6. Tribute To The Undertaker
7. Memory Of The Ocean (Original Release)
8. Echoes After A Storm (Original Release)
9. Wind From The Echoes
10. Industrial (Demo)
11. The Pavement (Demo)
12. Leaving Silent Hill


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rubber Funk

I finally finished the six-month-long-way-longer-than-it-should-have-taken EP Rubber Funk, inspired by Aphex Twin and similar artists. Here is "Sinespace" from the aforementioned extended play and of course, you can download it in my "free stuff" section. On to finishing Born Of Darkness and Further Revisited.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Minor Updates

So, I haven't been posting for several months. I promised that wouldn't happen but I did it anyway. Aside from that, the consistency of subject matter is pretty stable. At the moment, I've started a few new audio projects. The Razorwire Halo remix project is kind of on hold for the time being because I can't quit figure out what the hell I'm doing. Sometimes I do my typical drone stuff, other times I try to homage Nine Inch Nails and here or there I drive some Akira Yamaoka into things. Whatever the problem is, it's not working so I'm restarting (for the third time). 

So, here are the new projects:
  • Driving Through A Wasteland
  • Further Revisited (Revisited Remastered & Extended)
That's all I have to add right now in terms of music. The Further Revisited LP is about 50% done. Driving Through A Wasteland is about 20% done, if that. I have two of the tracks available on Soundcloud, while the only public track from Further Revisited is on my YouTube account (Echoes After A Storm, extended and remastered).

Weight loss is going according to plan, though September yielded little results. That's my fault though, I wasn't particularly trying and I plan to correct the situation during October. Smoking is being particularly rough; I can't seem to quit as easily as I'd like, though I'm weening myself off. It will take time, but persistence is key, I think.

More updates later. Here's some new music: