Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Many thoughts tumbling through the nooks and crannies of the Swashbuckler's reality

Andúril needed a good cleaning. I ended up having to boil it, which, while effective, unfortunately seems to have streaked the brass.

Due to some strange connection process, I came across this side-splitting page through someone on Orkut... it is good to know that there are tutorials for all sorts of things online.

Raving About the Red Hots
yet again

I have to say, and it is embarrassing to have found out so recently how great an album Californication is. The Slane Castle concert DVD Ryan showed me threw me into a rather welcome Red Hot Chili Peppers revisiting/discovering phase.

I knew about Blood Sugar Sex Magik because it was popular among my group of friends, and was one of the first rock albums that I ever really listened to when it came out instead of after the fact. While working at Tower, I was inundated with the Chili Peppers. Everybody listened to them there, and they were usually on the stereo. I was working there when One Hot Minute came out... an album that I think is quite interesting, but Dave Navarro didn't quite work with the band quite the way that John Frusciante did. In fact, I think that Frusciante makes the band perfect, as is evidenced by the consistent quality of the albums the band has done with him.

Which leads me to the albums themselves.

Mother's Milk is still fun, although it bears more stylistic common ground with the earlier albums with Hillel Slovak than with the next three with Frusciante... not necessarily a bad thing (those albums rock), but it is clearly, in retrospect, a transition.

By the Way is an excellent album, one which has a definite "2 LP" programming, which works because it gives the album a strong structure; I think it slightly sags around the middle, that sides one and four, so to speak, are stronger than side two and three. However, that is only a matter of dynamic, because the album plays out quite well anyway, and the songs are pretty damn good. Several of my friends, whose musical opinion I value, have chimed in saying that it is their favorite thus far of the Chili Peppers albums.

It still holds up

Blood Sugar Sex Magik is, in my opinion, one of the best albums every made. I'm serious. Despite its length, every song has kinetic momentum, a raw sexuality and astounding musicianship. That doesn't even begin to cover how well-written the songs are. Each one would have been a gem on another album, here they are part of a cohesive whole. Furthermore, the way the songs flow into each other on Blood Sugar Sex Magik is exactly what I aspire to achieve in my mix CDs (those that have heard them are permitted to arch an eyebrow right about now, if they are so inclined). The songs pass seamlessly into one another, even if they are completely different in tone. Moreover, the sequencing is flawless. By the time the listener reaches the end of a song, they are ready and willing to hear the next. This isn't really a CD one skips through.

Okay. Californication. I think Californication is amazing. I can't get enough of it. Some of this may be the thrill of discovery, but to be frank, as somebody who has had to develop an academic approach to music of a completely different genre, I have a pretty damn clear idea of what I like about it and why I think that this is as good an album, albeit a more mature one, than Blood Sugar Sex Magik. While the crossfades and abutments that characterized how the songs proceeded on the earlier album do not appear here, like that seminal record, each song brings the listener to a place that leads them into the next. From the hard-hitting to the lyrical, Californication is so strong and distinct that it commands attention at all times.

I have listened to these three albums quite a lot recently. I had ripped a bunch of Chili Peppers albums, from Mother's Milk through By the Way to an mp3 CD which has rarely left my car stereo since (I included One Hot Minute, which I may drop in favor of Freaky Styley and The Uplift Mofo Party Plan for the near future).

...due to some strange and wonderful electronic anomaly, there is almost completely gapless playback on Blood Sugar Sex Magik, which makes me very happy...

One of the things I really like about the Chili Peppers are those funky bass lines that Flea pops out. When I saw that he had an "Instructional Bass" Hal Leonard DVD, I asked my friend Dan about it. He said it was pretty cool, so on his recommendation, I picked it up.

Well, I'm not a musician, but even I can tell that this program is probably pretty useless in terms of learning how to play bass. On the other hand, I was far from disappointed with it, since that was not really what I got it for. Apart from some very spirited jams with Chad Smith that are interspersed (the DVD allows you to access them separately as well), what the show boils down to is Flea hanging out and talking to River Phoenix about his influences, preferences and experiences. He sits with his bass, wearing a Bad Brains T-Shirt and goes through several songs, discussing how he likes to play them. As a result, it is extremely entertaining, with some great bass licks and smoking improvisations.

The picture is a little blurry and the sound is somewhat flat, but since this isn't really a big production, it doesn't really hurt the presentation much as the sound can easily be brightened on one's amplifier. If anything, it gives the program a much more intimate feel. Flea is an entertaining personality and Phoenix is charismatic, and good at keeping him talking, so it is consistently engaging. Phoenix, it should be noted, is quite conscious of the Chili Peppers catalog.

Happy Trails

I hung out with my cinematographer, Jay, for the first time in quite a while. We originally went to catch a sneak preview of a film, though that was rescheduled. Instead, we went to dinner, scared up old friend Neder, then Frankie showed up. We ended up at Frankie's, and there was much drunkeness.

However, over the course of the afternoon and evening, I had some of the first serious discussions with Jay about the look of the film that Suit and I have collaborated upon. Jay also had some ideas about fundraising methods, which are worth a good look.

"You have to shoot this on film," he said to me. "It's something that, if you shoot it on digital, it won't go anywhere. Shoot it on film, though..." He agreed with me that anamorphic made a lot of sense for this project, reflecting that it may be required to give the characters space.

He was also very enthusiastic about some of the ideas I had about shooting the film. I was discussing with him a particular style I wanted to adopt regarding using certain types of lenses for particular situations. He said that he thought the idea was not only pretty cool, but that he had never seen it done anywhere else. The best part of the whole thing came when I was describing how cutting together those shots made with those lenses would allow character perspective to be communicated to the audience (albeit subconciously for most of them), he mentioned that it sounds like it would work well for exactly the same scene that I had originally concieved of this method for.

It is really nice to know that he is on the same page as me, especially considering that he will be, eventually, the person that will create the "look" for the film that I want.

Another Cell Phone

The plug for the hands-free device on my Hitachi no longer works without holding the plug in place... which, of course, defeats the purpose of having a hands-free device in the first place. This managed to happen somehow, even though the plug itself is protected by a rubber stopper. How this ended up happening is anybody's guess, but, having the repair/replacement plan is a wonderful thing. I brought it to a Sprint Store, where I was sent to another Sprint Store (the first one was a "Sprint Store Express" or something stupid like that... there's no way to tell without bringing your phone in with a problem). There, they informed me that because the phone was still under warranty, they would just issue me an equivalent phone.

They showed me two phones, one which was sleek and attractive, but didn't have a speakerphone or navigation ball, and a fugly one that had a speakerphone and a navigation ball. I went with the fugly one.

Better living through technology. Yeah.

The Beatles In Good Sound

It really irks me that, while I love many of the recent releases of classic rock albums in the high-resolution formats, the Beatles issues remain those old, crappy EMI discs. The first wave of CDs were straight transfers of the LP masters, without accounting for the frequency dips that were part of the mastering process, compensating for the additional warmth given by the cutting and playback of vinyl. That's why those old CDs sound so hollow; they were never corrected for the flat frequency digital format.

Except for the 1 compilation, the Yellow Submarine remaster and the 5.1 remixes done for the Anthology DVDs, none of the Beatles albums have been remastered, and they sound like shit. The most important rock band of the twentieth century, and their albums sound godawful.

Well, Frankie has quite a lot of Beatles on vinyl, and one of his treasures is a mint condition Hey Jude, which was one of the American releases that were not part of the actual Beatles catalogue, and therefore not available on CD as such... although everything on this record can be found on Past Masters Volume 2.

The thing of it is, this LP...




Now, I am aware that there are many people out there who don't know what vinyl sounds like. I am also aware that there are many among you who think you know what vinyl sounds like, but really don't. Mention an LP to many, and the first thing they will do is roll their eyes and say, "Snap, Crackle, Pop." Audiophiles, however, are quite aware of the advantages the medium often has over the drier, colder CD.

If you take good care of your LPs, and keep your turntable in good shape, vinyl can sound amazing. It is much harder, granted, to keep up such equipment when it is so easy to have a solid-state device, but if you are interested in sound, it is well worthwhile.

And when the CDs were mastered totally incorrectly, the LP can have a fullness to it that the CD can't come even close to approximating. This is certainly true of the Beatles. The LP was detailed and rich in a way that makes the shrill and harsh sounding CD truly a thing of shame. There was a certain "rightness" to how Hey Jude sounded coming off of wax.

May 6, 2004 – Editorial, New York Times

Disney's Craven Behavior

Give the Walt Disney Company a gold medal for cowardice for blocking its Miramax division from distributing a film that criticizes President Bush and his family. A company that ought to be championing free expression has instead chosen to censor a documentary that clearly falls within the bounds of acceptable political commentary.

The documentary was prepared by Michael Moore, a controversial filmmaker who likes to skewer the rich and powerful. As described by Jim Rutenberg yesterday in The Times, the film, "Fahrenheit 9/11," links the Bush family with prominent Saudis, including the family of Osama bin Laden. It describes financial ties that go back three decades and explores the role of the government in evacuating relatives of Mr. bin Laden from the United States shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The film was financed by Miramax and was expected to be released this summer.

Mr. Moore's agent said that Michael Eisner, Disney's chief executive, had expressed concern that the film might jeopardize tax breaks granted to Disney for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Jeb Bush is governor. If that is the reason for Disney's move, it would underscore the dangers of allowing huge conglomerates to gobble up diverse media companies.

On the other hand, a senior Disney executive says the real reason is that Disney caters to families of all political stripes and that many of them might be alienated by the film. Those families, of course, would not have to watch the documentary.

It is hard to say which rationale for blocking distribution is more depressing. But it is clear that Disney loves its bottom line more than the freedom of political discourse.

It's a beautiful day out, and I have things to do, so pardon me if I go do some of them now...
Tags: audio, ecology, red hot chili peppers, rock, vinyl
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