loopychew: (Default)
So, uh, hi.

Days at work right now are desktop deployment, which means a lot of small gaps of idle time--enough time to jot down a few things that are on my mind, most notably the death of Guitar Hero, as well as the sale of Harmonix. All of it can be found here for your perusal. Again, I figure most of you don't care much, but just in case you're curious as to what's been up with my hobby of choice, there you have it.

Also, I mainlined all of Community to date a couple of months back, and have been following it steadily since. This past week's episode focused on a character with suicidal thoughts, and without turning it into a Very Special Episode (or even mentioning the word "suicide"), managed to write a fantastic episode that explores the situation in-depth. I'd not heard of Scallywag and Vagabond up to now, but after this essay, I'll probably be checking up on them on a regular basis to add to my critical analysis of pop culture TV.

Still reading everyone's posts! Even commenting on them, occasionally. Life just isn't that exciting, even if it's a bit busy right now.
loopychew: (Default)
By the way, if anyone was actually interested in my music gaming blogging, I moved it over to Destructoid. It gets updated once in a while, and of course, it's mostly RB-related (there've been a couple of Power Gig entries as well). It also has a fifty-song wishlist for RB3 (of which a whole two are in the final game! Woo!) and random blathering.
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As mentioned in that last post, I still do not intend to purchase any Activision/Blizzard products.

But Cut Chemist on top of Daft Punk, Grandmaster Flash, and Jazzy Jeff? You certainly know how to tempt a guy.
loopychew: (Default)

...on second thought, Guitar Hero 5 has so much potential for wrong that I may have to at least LOOK.
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So the meter that gauges the esteem I hold for the Guitar Hero franchise has had its needle bouncing back and forth repeatedly over the past couple of months with every tidbit of Guitar Hero 5 news I receive. It went up when I found out GH:WT and GH:SH songs would become exportable. It dropped when I came across the word "some" when describing how many tracks would export. (Note that Rock Band, when they announced track export, said "most.") It went up again when I found out GH5 could play WT DLC. It dropped a little when they said it would play all but 6 DLC (presumably the Hendrix tracks). Now, hot on the heels of the announcement that GH5 DLC won't work in GHWT, it's hit rock bottom again.

I suppose it's purely an academic exercise since I think at this point I'm too financially invested in the Rock Band franchise to ever deviate, but goddammit, I WANT COMPETITION! COMPETITION IS GOOD! And as of yet, the only reason the GH franchise has been able to compete is because they've aped most of the gameplay elements from Rock Band, from the Guitar/Bass/Drums/Vox setup in the beginning (which is fine by me, because they aso included drum compatibility of sorts) to their about-face regarding the life meter layouts and live star tracking (both changed after WT), inability to rescue band members, and collective vs. individual Star Power pools (both changed for GH5).

"Advancements and innovations made to the franchise?" PULL THE OTHER ONE. What kind of "advancements and innovations" could possibly be so integral to the game that patching GHWT to ignore that extra data is impossible? The only way I couldn't see a patch working is if they've completely overhauled the core structure of the DLC (and by core, I mean, "we've gone and changed the corresponding MIDI notes for the charts and choreography"--in which case, WHAT KIND OF FUCKED UP STUDIO ARE YOU RUNNING?)

I really, honestly don't get it. Activision isn't nearly as big as Microsoft, so did they really think they could get away with what Microsoft tried with Vista and DirectX 10? Did they not realize that the public opinion of that was that Microsoft had so little faith in their final product they decided to take something that didn't have to be exclusive to the new platform and MAKE it so? That on top of the fact that they're shouting "FREE VAN HALEN WITH PRE-ORDER OF GUITAR HERO 5!" is making them look more desperate with every passing second. I don't know if they're more worried about GH5, GHVH, or both.

Not to mention, this is PAID CONTENT. Has Activision not paid attention to the fact that the DLC (including the shelf presence of the Track Packs) is the Rock Band platform's bread-and-butter? That people playing RB1 this very moment can go ahead and play the same Dropkick Murphys song I got last week is one of the greater strengths. HMX/EA have shown that they believe that 1) the DLC they offer is strong enough to keep the franchise running; they don't NEED to worry about releasing a new core title every year and 2) they figure that eventually the new features of later RB core titles alone offer enough incentive to be worth the purchase (and I don't mean HOPO chords and drum solos, I mean things like category sorting, quick-scrolling, solo World Tour, Tour Challenges, Battle of the Bands, and the like).

Harmonix plays it like they own the place, like a boss, despite the fact that they are, in terms of popularity, the underdog. (They're not nearly the underdog as they were when RB2 came out, despite the RB marketing blitz on VH1/MTV/etc., especially now with the Beatles getting their own game.) (Still disappointed that they slapped the Rock Band name on it despite it not being a Rock Band game, franchise OR core title, but I get why they did it, and it hasn't stopped me from anticipating getting a copy and a Gretsch.) The defining moment for the Guitar Hero franchise was when Bobby Kotick used the word "exploit" when describing what he was looking for in a franchise. Exploit they have, and exploit they continue to do, and at the expense of integrity. Activision feels like the cowardly king trying to justify his crown when another heir apparent is gaining popularity amongst the masses.

I don't want that.

I want Activision to say "THIS IS GUITAR HERO. WE KICK JUST AS MUCH ASS AS THE OTHER GUY, AND WE WILL TREAT YOU WITH THE SAME KIND OF RESPECT THE OTHER GUY DOES." I want them to reinforce their product through quality, not quantity. I want them to give the consumer the same kind of options that Harmonix and EA do. (Know why I refer to "Activision" and not "Neversoft" the way i refer to "Harmonix?" Because anyone who knows their Guitar Hero knows that Beenox was the company working on Smash Hits, and as such is probably the Treyarch to Neversoft's IW.) Every new feature I've seen in GH5 seems to be more gimmicky than fun, and I've already said my piece on digital avatar rock stars (not even digital Shirley Manson can tempt me).

And I sincerely hope that day will come, and soon. That will be the day Guitar Hero becomes, on strengths beyond its franchise name, a viable contender to Rock Band. And if they don't do it soon, there will be more people like me, who have seen RB as the superior product, and will end up pumping so much money into it that they won't WANT to switch franchises because of that.
loopychew: (Default)
So here I am, three o'clock in the morning, giddy as a sailor on shore leave.

Scratch that, I have not been this euphorically incomprehensible since a specific night back in September 2006. This is no exaggeration--I was actually hyperventilating (quietly) for roughly an hour after I heard about it (which, unfortunately, was about half an hour before work was up). I then spent the next couple of hours calling up people and talking about it enthusiastically.

Anyone who knows me or has seen the tags below and are interested know what I'm talking about--the Rock Band Network.

A brief summary:

  1. Artists record their songs and submit the master tracks (separated as per the norm--guitar, bass, drums, vox, other sounds) to trained third-party developers.

  2. These developers (Harmonix already has a group of developers trained, but apparently the program is open to anyone who can be trained) will then use Harmonix's in-house tools to script and track each song, instrument by instrument. These tracks then get submitted for peer review (for technical errors, not artistic merit) before officially being published.

  3. ???

  4. Revenue! 30% of the track sales go back to the artist.

This is, pun unavoidable, a game changer. This is very much a reach-for-the-stars moment for the Rock Band platform, a giant middle finger to GHTunes and Activision's "we have 2000 people charting notes for Guitar Hero", and surely some form of madness. The more people Harmonix trains, the faster content can get out there, and the emptier our wallets will become. I can see labels having their own in-house tracking staff, and potentially studios (small groups-of-five operations, likely) arising specifically to handle these kinds of jobs.

This is the kind of scene that has me interested. AMVs? MIDI sequencing? It all ends up here.

I've signed up to be part of the creators' beta, which I am led to understand means the track authoring. This is the opportunity I've been looking for--to see if this is something I want, to see if this is something I can handle. I don't know if I'll get in, but Lord knows this is the kind of thing I've dreamed about, as a musician, a Rock Band enthusiast, and a music transcriber. This will keep me walking on sunshine for the next few weeks.

Just be prepared to be sick every time I open my mouth, because I have the feeling I won't shut up about this any time soon, particularly when I get my hands on Reaper and Magma, the programs used to design the tracks. And don't say I didn't warn you.
loopychew: (Default)
Still slogging my way through it for the moment. Started a tour for vox, guitar, and bass, am still in the process of unlocking tracks, but I think for the most part, I think I can set the tone for any future related GHWT posts I may have. To be short: Not too positive.

The bullet point list. )

Rock Band and GHWT are taking two completely different philosophies to the same subject matter, and clearly my interests align more with the Rock Band school of thinking. Neversoft's "YOU ARE THE ROCK STAR," sophomoric, frat-boy approach loses out significantly to Rock Band's "You're part of a bigger picture" feel in my eyes. Still, in this day and age where DLC is becoming more relevant (a lot of overlap is happening thanks to DLC, including songs like "Love Spreads" and "Dammit") to song selection, I feel that not even finding my "Cliffs of Dover" for GHWT will be enough for me to support the franchise. GHWT's setlist is happening, yes, but I firmly believe that the focus for both developers, in terms of actual releases, should focus more on features and design rather than a song list.

GHWT's interface is clumsy, and for a game that's trying so hard to be accessible to casual players (the concept of an easier-than-easy difficulty, which I think is really cool but I haven't tried out yet), is pretty confusing for a seasoned plastic instrument player to get around. The GH franchise is clearly focusing on the song list (advertising that they have one more on-disc song than RB2, when two of the songs are actually guitar duels). Rock Band's setlist, while not as full of karaoke hits, is strong (and supported by a DLC collection which I'm sure GHWT will eventually match in pace), and matches it with an ambiance that feels, and people know that I don't use this word frequently (unlike the rest of the internet), epic.

Maybe I'll change my mind when I get a four-piece band set going, but I'm more pessimistic about exploring this game further than I was when watching previews of it. I'm straining to keep from doing a complete point-by-point comparison to every single part where RB2 is clearly better (partly because it's totally subjective, partly because I don't like indulging the fanboy side of me, or even acknowledging that it's there) but I'm failing pretty miserably, and it's taking a lot of effort to not just pop RB2 back in and continue tapping away at that instead. I'm going to continue pecking away at GHWT until I've unlocked all the songs, and then we'll see whether or not I've managed to have proper fun by then.

Your mileage may vary; a lot of the people at Dancing Gamers seem to worship the ground GHWT walks on, possibly having been burned by the six-month release delay between RB US and RB EU. Personally, I just don't see it.


Jul. 15th, 2008 01:07 am
loopychew: (Default)

In retrospect, I really think it's "Eye of the Tiger" that seals the deal.
loopychew: (Default)
Anyone who harps on about GH3 completely downright sucking, I pity. As stupidly overcharted as a lot of it is, and as much as I want to murder whoever thought "Raining Blood" was a good choice for a song (and overcharting), and as much as I hate the new graphics, and the new timing windows, and the lack of Clive Winston and Eddie Knox, and the hippification of Xavier Stone, and the trampification of Judy Nails, and most of the game, it wins for the charting of, and for introducing me to, "Cliffs of Dover."

That song, out of everything I've played in the Guitar Hero franchise, still stands as the greatest joy to play. Even though GH2 tends to stay in the 360 as the Most Played Game in my collection, "Cliffs" will hold a special place in my heart.

Also fun despite (or maybe even because!) of overcharting, "Mauvais Garçon."

GH4 (aka Potentially Band Hero) and GH:A? Could be fun, and I'm interested in seeing what those installments bring before I judge. I already know RB will be my drug of choice come end of May, and will probably be for some time.

But for those of you hating on the Tony Hawk's Grooving Sound franchise, hold off until it is out, because chances are there'll be at least one thing you'll love about the upcoming installment.
loopychew: (Default)
A No Doubt track pack for GH3?

I've been able to resist purchasing GH DLC up to now, but this...this may be serve as the tipping point.
loopychew: (Default)
Was Belle Ame always a pointed attack at L'Arc~en~Ciel, or did the anime just make it that way with the music?
loopychew: (Default)
I didn't mean to have an extended break from LiveJournal, it just happens after you set up the corporate URL monitor and filters and become that much more self-conscious. I'll try to keep up from home, but that probably won't happen much until after I get back from the States (towards the end of May--LilBro is graduating!)

That, and I've been playing Oblivion on my brand spanking new X1800XT. On top of real life, my spare time is waning.

In the meanwhile, MP3s for public consumption! A lot of these were meant to be posted, like, a month or so ago, but I didn't get around to it.

Daughter Darling - Broken Bridge - I don't know where this came from, so I must assume it was [livejournal.com profile] bigbigtruck's doing. It's got a dreamy melancholy to it that I like a lot. I can't understand a word they're saying, but the voice itself works quite well as an instrument. Echoes + piano + backbeat = ANGST. Rainy day music for sure.

Franz Ferdinand - L. Wells - This is the second A-Side of the Fallen/L. Wells single. It's a disco march! Its music video (link courtesy John Allison) is a 60's-style B&W film of a cute girl running around! It's good stuff if you're a Franz fan, and I still think it is even if you're not. Then again, I'm probably a bit too biased to make that judgment. Looks like you'll have to make it for me.

Lou Courtney - Hey Joyce - Well, [livejournal.com profile] jaeai, you're apparently Lou Courtney's choice. I hope you feel happy about that. :-) People, download this proclamation! I guarantee you won't regret it. It's top-quality funk! (This is actually AAC. I'd forgotten to change the settings in iTunes back in Los Angeles, when I ripped the disc.)

Mr. Scruff - Midnight Feast - A loop, but a nice one. Reminds me of Samurai Champloo; I think it would've made perfect background music there.

Skye - Powerful - I had to pick up Skye's solo debut, simply to hear how much different from Morcheeba she sounds. And while the voice is the same, the music is not; you can understand why they split. This stuff is soft music; really soft--but for whatever reason, whether it's because I'm getting older, am absolutely in love with Skye's voice, or have been lobotomized without my knowledge or consent, I like it. Overall, I preferred the two of them better together than either one apart, but I'll learn to live with it.

Spoon - The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine - I discovered Spoon thanks to Veronica Mars. In a previous post, I linked to their website, which had a download of "I Turn My Camera On." These guys are GOOD. And I think this track will give you a decent idea as to why I like them so. Uncommon chords and structure, an actual melody, strings...good stuff.

Thanks for everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I saw some of those posts in passing, though I probably didn't catch all of 'em.

I don't know when my next post will be, but listen and enjoy!
loopychew: (Default)
Courtesy [livejournal.com profile] millenia and [livejournal.com profile] capfox:

Step 1: Put your MP3 player or whatever on random.
Step 2: Post the first line from the first 20 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song.
Step 3: Post and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from.
Step 4: Strike out the songs when someone guesses correctly.
Step 5: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING!

1. They say she had a heart attack; I think the preacher's coming back.
2. A says he's glad to be here, B's chasing storms in the Lightning State.
3. We are what we're supposed to be--illusions of your fantasy. [livejournal.com profile] ninjadebugger picks up quick! (Aqua, Cartoon Heroes)
4. I've got the poontang blues, from the top of my hip to my cowboy shoes.
5. You got to keep moving, you've got to keep moving, boy (x3) ...or you'll be left behind.
6. After school, walking home, fresh dirt under my fingernails [livejournal.com profile] carn_carnby tags it out of the gate! (Maroon 5, The Sun)
7. Burn all the candles out. Make a wish, but not aloud. [livejournal.com profile] capfox gets the drop on this one! (Foo Fighters, End Over End)
8. You say you want a revolution? Well, you know, we all want to change the world. [livejournal.com profile] falcon815 brushes past [livejournal.com profile] chiieddy to make the score! (Beatles, Revolution)
9. O Death, O Death, won't you spare me over 'til another year? [livejournal.com profile] shaycaron flags one off the bat! (Ralph Stanley, O Death)
10. Sometimes, the feeling is right; you fall in love for the first time. [livejournal.com profile] mattmatt charged into this one full tilt! (Aqua, Doctor Jones)
11. Desert lovin' in your eyes, all the way. If I listen to your lies, would you say, "I'm a man without conviction?" [livejournal.com profile] ninjadebugger becomes the first to catch a second! (Culture Club, Karma Chameleon)
12. I started out on the wrong foot; now I'm not myself. I am Jekyll, I am Hyde.
13. Sittin' in my car, outside your house; remember when you spilled Coke all over your blouse? [livejournal.com profile] geoduck takes a golden one! (Beach Boys, All Summer Long)
14. 6 o'clock already, I was just in the middle of a dream. [livejournal.com profile] mattmatt takes down another one! (The Bangles, Manic Monday)
15. Every day I'm gonna strut that stuff. When the music's loud, I can't get enough.
16. I've watched the stars fall silent from your eyes. [livejournal.com profile] kamalloy surprises with an intercept! (REM, The Great Beyond)
17. What are they doing in the hyacinth house? (x2) To please the lions, this day? [livejournal.com profile] moskun picks one off at a distance!
18. In a little while, surely you'll be mine. In a little while, I'll be there. [livejournal.com profile] perera_su takes one down despite a late entrance!
19. Take, take all you need, and I'll compensate your greed with broken hearts.
20. Let's go to the place where the food is really good, and my order's understood, and they won't drown my food, yeah!

To note; this really IS random; most of this stuff is stuff I don't regularly listen to. But hey! More's the fun.
loopychew: (Default)
So I just heard that Bob Moog passed away this weekend.

Much as I despise the overuse of Moog and Rhodes keyboards in most 'lite' music, there's no denying that his synthesizers influenced pretty much the entire music industry as we know it.

As such, I guess a minute of silence is in order.
loopychew: (Default)
Saw Morcheeba at the Caribana festival last night. As those people on my flist may or may not recall from this post (and my public readers wouldn't, since I just unlocked it like now), I was really interested in hearing how Daisy Martey, the band's new vocalist on both the album and tour, fared on the old classics.

Daisy wasn't there anymore, either. A girl named Jody did the singing, and it was apparently her first time performing. For a debut, I guess it wasn't bad. However, after hearing Skye, and on top of the initial disappointment of Daisy not singing, I felt kinda miffed.

For those people who are interested, here are the songs in roughly chronological order, as I remember:

Lighten Up (A)
Otherwise (C)
Blindfold (BC)
Wonders Never Cease (A)
Part of the Process (BC)
Everybody Loves a Loser (A)
Trigger Hippie (Who)
Ten Men (A)
Be Yourself (FoF)
(I could swear there MUST have been something else here, because a couple of us moved to a different part of the audience during this time, and I was pretty sure I heard the entirety of the next song from there, and we were all dancing during Be Yourself. Must be a set-order memory problem.)
Antidote (A)
Encore: The Sea (BC)
Encore: Rome Wasn't Built in a Day (FoF)

I may or may not be missing a couple from the set, but looking at my iPod's songlist, I think that's everything. Charango, my personal favorite album, is criminally underrepresented, but they included the signature songs from all of their albums, which is nice.

Musicwise, the Godfreys and the instrumentalists were quite good; I've got no complaints about the renditions of the songs.

Jody was the weakest link of the group, but that's expected. Although she did her best to hide it, she must have been really mortified to be up there (especially considering the shoes she had to fill). Lighten Up sounded pretty good, but Otherwise was cringe-inducing, and she jumped the gun a bit on Be Yourself. However, as time went on, she got more and more comfortable and really nailed the last two songs on the head. EVERYONE was dancing when Rome Wasn't Built in a Day played. And man, can she wail on that sax of hers.

Overall, I liked it. Whether or not it was worth purchasing the ticket solely for the show is a different question altogether (one of my friends had a choir concert earlier that night, so I went from one straight to the other) is a different matter altogether.
loopychew: (Default)
So, about two weeks ago, doing my Amazon.com browsing, I noticed this in my browsing. My thought processes were, within about ten seconds of one another:

1. "Holy crap! There's a new Morcheeba album out?! How come nobody told me?"
2. "...Skye's no longer singing? WHAFUCK?!"

When I saw it at CityDisc for twenty francs yesterday, I couldn't help myself. Despite my wallet aching (payday #1: T-13 days!), I snapped it up, ripped it for the impending train ride this morning, and had me a listen. And so, a few random thoughts on the album:

I was so completely unsure of what would happen with a new singer in place. Take the Sneaker Pimps, in which Kelli Dayton featured in one album and then Chris Corner took over. I suppose it's a bit more drastic of an example, since Chris is a guy (and Daisy Martey isn't), but the Sneaker Pimps' sound completely changed between Becoming X and Splinter (for the worse, if you asked me).

The Antidote sounds like any other Morcheeba album, except for one very, very specific thing: a distinct lack of Skye Edwards. If you listen to the music, slow it down a few beats, and mentally impose Skye's voice over the track, you know it's Morcheeba all the way. However, Daisy's voice changes it completely. Gone is the silky smooth voice we're used to, and we've got Natalie Merchant with only half the cigarettes she probably used to achieve that huskiness.

Don't get me wrong. It's not bad, it's...different. It'll take some getting used to. But it's something you CAN get used to.

They're also playing at Caribana this year, of which I only discovered the lineup earlier this week. I am SO getting tickets for that night, just to see how Daisy fares on the classics.

All in all, it's an excellent album. If I went in without knowing who Skye Edwards was, I'd have immediately dug it. The more I listen to it, the more I like it, which is a good thing.
loopychew: (Default)
I must be drunk. Whenever I hear Gwen Stefani sing, I keep on wanting to shout "WERE! If I WERE a rich girl, you grammatically-impaired bitch!"

One of her four muses ought to be "English."

(And for those of you who want to make the remark that I'd do the same were I sober, Gwen Stefani has been one of my pop idols since No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom '97 tour.)


Apr. 19th, 2005 01:22 pm
loopychew: (Default)
Franz Ferdinand.
Dandy Warhols.
The Caesars.



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