Monthly Archives: March 2016

Auditory Flashbacks: Die Laughing

Tonight’s post isn’t a review so much as a handful of snippets from the talented UK goth group Die Laughing. Having been active from 1986 to 1999, they dissolved the summer before Y2K and eventually re-formed in 2012 with a new single, “Tangled,” and news that they’re working on material for a new album.

Seeing as their international following never really stopped (due in equal parts to the Internet and the periodic releases of their work on other compilation albums) it’s refreshing to hear they’re intent on adding more works to their repertoire.

Enjoy …

Auditory Flashbacks: Blutengel

Tonight’s post isn’t a music review (for now, anyway). I just wanted to share this very beautiful song off of Blutengel’s 2011 album Tränenherz:

Tea Time: Meßmer’s Rosehip and Hibiscus

I’m WAY overdue on posting this review, considering I’ve been drinking this stuff for a long time.

Meet Meßmer’s Rosehip and Hibiscus:

Meßmer Rosehip and Hibiscus Tea Meßmer's Rosehip and Hibiscus Tea

It comes pre-packaged in individual paper wrapped tea bags (I’m not aware of there being any loose leaf variants). The ingredients list notes only three items are used to make it: rosehips, hibiscus, and sweet blackberry leaves. There is no caffeine content.

This tea is best served hot or cold. While it’s a great way to warm up on a winter’s night, it also makes some of the best iced tea, if you prefer it that way. The flavour is strong yet subtle, full-bodied with slightly earthy tones, and slight but noticeable sour and tangy notes.

The infusion is a characteristic blood-red hue, which makes for fun conversation and interesting speculation about what one is drinking.

While this product tastes great on its own, there have been plenty of times I’ve paired it with a sweetener in making iced tea to share with family and friends. For this, I’ve found honey gives the best results as its flavour spectrum runs complementary to the tangy and sour notes of the tea, and highlights the earthy tones perfectly without being overpowering. The result is an iced tea that tastes exceptionally smooth, which both adults and children love.

Much like good music, this tea is an export of Germany and comes to British Columbia as somewhat of a niche product. Not many people know it exists, and fewer still have had a chance to try it. This has unfortunately been borne out in the way retailers treat it, too: since 2005, I’ve seen both Walmart and Canadian Superstore briefly carry and then discontinue the Meßmer product line.

More recently, my girlfriend totally lucked out and found some at a downtown London Drugs here in Victoria (and on manager’s special, no less!) so needless to say, I’m stoked at having it again. Hopefully they’ll keep stocking it!

Last but not least, I created a Food and Drink section to categorize this post, and it got me thinking: this is not the usual content I share here, but considering how much kitchenware I own and how much creative stuff we do each year in the kitchen, I think I’ve been holding back. Perhaps in the future, I’ll post an occasional family recipe or recommendation … there are just too many good things out there, and not sharing them would be wrong.


Tools for Audio Geeks: Spek, a Free Spectrum Analyzer

Tonight, I’d like to give a major shout-out to the creators of Spek, a free spectrum analyzer I discovered recently, which has been extremely useful in the course of processing my music collection.

Why use a spectrum analyzer at all? Glad you asked.

The main benefit is you can physically see how the encode turned out — peaks, frequency cutoffs, bit rates, and other details can be checked with this tool. It can be somewhat nebulous on the details if you used VBR, but I generally find that’s not much of an issue considering being able to see a track’s audio spectrum provides a better look at the file anyway.

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