Auditory Flashbacks: Cauda Pavonis, Adversus, Flesh Field, Aesthetic Perfection, Aïboforcen, Aeon Sable, The Birthday Massacre, Battery, and Qntal

After more than ten hours of hard work, the Links page is final­ly up to date, along with a slew of new addi­tions to the music sec­tion. Artists begin­ning with let­ters A through F are com­plete, with each entry researched pri­or to list­ing in order to make the most use­ful resources avail­able to read­ers who are inter­est­ed in explor­ing fur­ther. In cas­es where an artist has retired or gone on hia­tus, I’ve tried to link to resources that offer the most com­plete overview of their musi­cal works.

Now that that’s fin­ished, ON TO THE MUSIC!

Start­ing off tonight’s round of offer­ings is the awe­some, dri­ving sound of the one and only Cau­da Pavo­nis:

Next up, we have the ulti­mate grave­yard ser­e­nade: Adver­sus’ See­len­win­ter. The song is an old favourite of mine, and see­ing the video hits even hard­er than any­thing before.

Those voic­es, those melodies … they’re eight bliss­ful, soar­ing min­utes of pure lovelorn flight. I adore every part of it. Stu­dio ver­sion here. Frankly, though, I think this one works much bet­ter live.

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Victoria Times Colonist to Remove Online Commenting

This week, our local news­pa­per announced it was remov­ing the com­ment sec­tion in future posts. This comes in the wake of a fair­ly well-estab­lished trend of promi­nent media out­lets, includ­ing Pop­u­lar Sci­ence, decid­ing to do the same in order to bring the empha­sis back to the con­tent, and curb wide­spread abuse of writ­ers and their audi­ences by unpleas­ant dri­ve-by com­menters.

And tru­ly, noth­ing of val­ue was lost.

First, what many major out­lets have real­ized by now, many of them through rather hard lessons, is that jour­nal­ism isn’t just a busi­ness, it’s a del­i­cate bal­ance, a deep search for the truth. By its very nature, this demands well-devel­oped com­mu­ni­ca­tions skills and keen social com­pe­tence on the part of its researchers and pre­sen­ters, and a care­ful­ly craft­ed envi­ron­ment in which to con­vey the infor­ma­tion to the audi­ence.

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Auditory Flashbacks: the Music of Ost+Front, Megaherz, and Lord of the Lost

Some­where along the way, my lis­ten­ing list got so large it hit that mag­i­cal tip­ping point where it became its own nov­el. By the end of this post, it will offi­cial­ly be 442 artists. Even the fair­ly robust Word­Press Edi­tor was hav­ing issues last time I tried to add more band links. I’ve post­ed *maybe* a quar­ter of them here on my site by now, but made full-fledged dis­cus­sion posts for far too few.

That’s going to change this year, as I’ll even­tu­al­ly get around to revamp­ing my con­tent a bit, along with a few changes to update fre­quen­cy and post for­mat.

But for now … LET’S DISCOVER SOME MUSIC!

Today’s theme is Neue Deutsche Härte, and to that end, I have three sub­mis­sions for your lis­ten­ing plea­sure.

First, there’s Ost+Front. What can I real­ly say here? Their stage pres­ence is the result of some­one sneak­ing into a genet­ic engi­neer­ing lab to com­bine Rammstein’s DNA with the entire cast of Dead Snow. Nazi zom­bies with awe­some voic­es? You’d bet­ter believe it.

BUT WHERE’S THE FIRE? In the lyrics, of course …

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On the Death of David Bowie

There’s “pass­ing away with style,” and then there’s “I’m going for one more encore, and I’m not just going to love this, I’m gonna strike the bold­est dot imag­in­able on the excla­ma­tion point that is my life.”

When I heard about David Bowie’s death, I part­ly expect­ed to hear about him doing some­thing notable or dra­mat­ic on the way out — ain’t that just like him.

The end is near, the odds are tan­gi­bly impos­si­ble, and even as the world comes crash­ing down around his ears, here he is on set cast­ing a music video, singing with that same sweet, sil­very pas­sion that’s defined so many of his life’s oth­er accom­plish­ments.

Not florid prose nor mourn­ful dis­course nor sim­ple won­der can prop­er­ly describe the inspi­ra­tion and beau­ty in such a ges­ture. Lyrics here. Links to the Cana­di­an and Amer­i­can Can­cer Soci­eties as well, because why not con­tribute?

Now, if you haven’t clicked PLAY on the above video, you’d bet­ter turn off every­thing else around you right now, and load it up.

And don’t for­get the encore …

May you be well remem­bered, and remem­bered well in all the ages to come.

With Liberty and Firearms for All

One of the issues that’s come up repeat­ed­ly in con­tem­po­rary US pol­i­tics is the idea that the 2nd Amend­ment con­veys an individual’s right to obtain, pos­sess, and open­ly car­ry firearms.

The realm of law and order is not unlike the fash­ion world in that over time, new trends emerge and fresh items of inter­est arise, while estab­lished trends can be played down or may fall out of favour entire­ly. Inter­pre­ta­tion mat­ters most, and that inter­pre­ta­tion is gen­er­al­ly sub­ject to the lin­guis­tic evo­lu­tion and soci­etal atti­tudes of the peri­od. In the case of the 2nd Amend­ment, the leg­is­la­tion has been furi­ous­ly debat­ed in a mod­ern set­ting as to the mer­its of its gram­mat­i­cal struc­ture and mean­ing, oth­er his­tor­i­cal prece­dents, and dif­fer­ences between the orig­i­nal and rat­i­fied ver­sions.

The recent push for wide­spread ‘free­dom’ enshrined in law as per­mit­ting indi­vid­ual gun own­er­ship wasn’t always so. Up to the turn of the 21st cen­tu­ry, it was wide­ly accept­ed by many (even con­ser­v­a­tive Chief Jus­tice War­ren Berg­er) that an indi­vid­ual right to bear arms wasn’t a thing. Many con­ser­v­a­tives at the time car­ried the same torch and stood in oppo­si­tion to what they believed was a sil­ly, if not fair­ly haz­ardous, idea.

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Anti-Intellectualism and Politics

Dur­ing 2015, Cana­da took a con­scious, intro­spec­tive turn toward a more pro­gres­sive jour­ney as vot­ers elect­ed Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau. Since then, we’ve been mak­ing inroads on a sig­nif­i­cant depar­ture from the atti­tudes of the pri­or admin­is­tra­tion and stay­ing most­ly true to this. While there remains a lot of heavy lift­ing to do in cor­rect­ing the anti-progress lega­cy of Stephen Harp­er, we’re on the road to recov­ery. There remains a cer­tain faith in gov­ern­ment, such that we’ve sig­nif­i­cant­ly boost­ed vot­er turnout. That in itself speaks vol­umes.

The change of admin­is­tra­tion brought with it some very pub­lic moments, like the new equal­i­ty cab­i­net, the rise of an abo­rig­i­nal chief as Jus­tice Min­is­ter, and the appoint­ment of an inter­na­tion­al­ly respect­ed war hero as Defense Min­is­ter.

While these changes are in all respects wel­come, and in most cas­es long past due, it’s the sub­tle stuff we don’t see going on behind the scenes day-to-day which con­tributes just as much if not more to the shap­ing of our char­ac­ter as a cul­ture of many dif­fer­ent cul­tures. The way our politi­cians behave toward one anoth­er, their inter­ac­tion with the peo­ple, their will­ing­ness to cham­pi­on progress and edu­ca­tion, their atti­tudes toward strangers, and their com­pas­sion towards the ‘oth­er’ — all of these are the mea­sure of a politi­cian whether that indi­vid­ual is with­in view of the press or not. One thing I found reas­sur­ing about this past elec­tion was the con­scious rejec­tion of divi­sive pol­i­tics by the Cana­di­an peo­ple. What we have right now is not per­fect by any mea­sure, but it’s a lot bet­ter than the alter­na­tive might have been.

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Keeping Our Perspective on War

When one takes a bird’s-eye view of bat­tle and civil­ian casu­al­ties by the num­bers, the results as shown above are shock­ing.

All of this helps one main­tain a healthy sense of per­spec­tive, and reveals that not only do present-day news chan­nels and dis­trib­u­tors exag­ger­ate the fre­quen­cy and feroc­i­ty of con­flicts on a reg­u­lar basis by flood­ing the pub­lic space with over-report­ing and embell­ish­ments, but we almost invari­ably are fed infor­ma­tion to arrive at a mind­set that makes us for­get on a dai­ly basis the major pow­ers have not fought one anoth­er since World War 2, and today’s war deaths (mil­i­tary and civil­ian) are minus­cule in com­par­i­son.

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Owl Give Ya Somethin’ Cute …

I present for your view­ing plea­sure one baby Great Horned Owl singing The Mon­ster Mash.

My life is offi­cial­ly com­plete.

Auditory Flashbacks: Hungry Lucy

This is the title track from their 2010 album (lyrics here). If this isn’t pure, wild, refined beau­ty, I don’t know what is.

Look­ing back in time, Hun­gry Lucy has fit my tastes in a decid­ed­ly odd way over the years. I’ve been a fan of their work since at least 2000 with the advent of Appari­tions, but some­how their orig­i­nal work didn’t end up in my col­lec­tion until more recent­ly.

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Reclaiming Old Tech for Music

I was brows­ing Slash­dot ear­li­er today when I came across a real­ly cool arti­cle show­ing how Tool­box Bodensee e.V. took a bunch of old flop­py dri­ves, added a con­troller with a piano inter­face, mount­ed the lot on a board with 3D print­ed hard­ware, and turned their strange mar­riage of parts into an entire­ly new kind of instru­ment.

Here we go …

… and it only gets weird­er from here.

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Tea: the Perfect Metaphor for Consent

In light of all the news sto­ries dis­cussing peo­ple who’ve had prob­lems con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing sex­u­al con­sent or estab­lish­ing rea­son­ably safe bound­aries for engag­ing in sex, these ani­ma­tors came up with a nov­el way of explain­ing it.

Here’s con­sent rewrit­ten as some­thing any­one can read­i­ly under­stand and com­mu­ni­cate to their part­ners:

Financial Corruption and Value Dilution in Higher Education

I’d been brows­ing through the news recent­ly for a col­lec­tion of arti­cles to share on a rather broad top­ic: the influ­ence of mon­eyed inter­ests on the edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem. This is a long­stand­ing inter­est of mine, hav­ing grown up dur­ing a time when a year in uni­ver­si­ty cost about $1,200, and hav­ing watched tuition rates and liv­ing costs bal­loon expo­nen­tial­ly ever since. But what shocked me into get­ting the links to this post up that much soon­er is this emerg­ing sto­ry from the US:

The Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion on Tues­day said it brought fraud charges against ITT Edu­ca­tion­al Ser­vices Inc. and two of its top exec­u­tives, alleg­ing they mis­led investors about the loom­ing finan­cial impact of two bad­ly-per­form­ing stu­dent-loan pro­grams on the for-prof­it edu­ca­tor. […] ITT formed the stu­dent-loan pro­grams to pro­vide off-bal­ance-sheet loans for ITT’s stu­dents in the wake of the finan­cial cri­sis, when the mar­ket for pri­vate stu­dent loans dried up and for-prof­it schools cre­at­ed new ways to help stu­dents pay their tuition bills.”

source: Wall Street Jour­nal

Let us fur­ther expand on the dia­logue sur­round­ing mon­ey in edu­ca­tion for the ben­e­fit of those who haven’t been as immersed in the debate:

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A Primer on Global Warming and Climate Change

Chances are you’ve heard some men­tion in the media or among gov­ern­ment in recent years about the top­ics of glob­al warm­ing, extreme weath­er, or cli­mate change. I won’t do sci­en­tists the indig­ni­ty of con­sid­er­ing the mat­ter a ‘debate’ much less use this word, because it would imply we’re still at the stage of try­ing to see if the meter swings one way or the oth­er on this impor­tant issue. No, much to the sur­prise of many, sci­ence has devel­oped itself exten­sive­ly and spo­ken in great cer­tain­ty: there is no longer any debate, and glob­al warm­ing and cli­mate change are both real and caused by humans.

So if there’s one post you peek at on the sub­ject today, let it be this one.

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Understanding Electronics: The (Non)Magic of Free Energy

I fig­ured I’d make a brief post to wet my read­ers’ feet in the vast pond of elec­tron­ics engi­neer­ing. Here’s a real­ly inter­est­ing video about the sub­ject of free ener­gy, nar­rat­ed by a spe­cial­ist who actu­al­ly works in and under­stands elec­tron­ics, and is able to point out in fair­ly com­mon terms why and how free-ener­gy devices are not pos­si­ble to cre­ate.

TL;DR — it’s not because there exists any set of spe­cial workarounds to our exist­ing laws of physics, or that alter­nate laws of physics exist for well-known phe­nom­e­na that are some­how wait­ing to be writ­ten. Rather, it’s almost uni­ver­sal­ly the case that peo­ple, even well-mean­ing ones, tend to mis­in­ter­pret units of mea­sure, fail to prop­er­ly con­cep­tu­al­ize math­e­mat­i­cal equa­tions, and fail to incor­po­rate numer­ous sci­en­tif­ic pro­ce­dures and prin­ci­ples in their work. To add fuel to the fire, most peo­ple who cham­pi­on free ener­gy devices gen­er­al­ly choose to spend their time with those of the same mind­set, an effect which in time mul­ti­plies the shaky devi­a­tions of com­pre­hen­sion and foun­da­tion­al stud­ies, and fur­ther dimin­ish­es the capac­i­ty to be self-cor­rect­ing.

Auditory Flashbacks: Helium Vola

For those who haven’t heard of them before, today’s post is going to give some exam­ples of the amaz­ing work that’s been cre­at­ed over the years by Heli­um Vola. Based in Ger­many, active since 2001, and head­ed up by com­pos­er Ernst Horn who also holds con­sid­er­able renown for his oth­er work under Deine Lakaien and Qntal, Heli­um Vola mix­es the haunt­ing into­na­tions of numer­ous dead lan­guages with the effer­ves­cent melodies of its ongo­ing elec­tron­ic, neo-medieval, and neo-clas­si­cal explo­rations.

While the over­all atmos­phere of most of their work is marked­ly ethe­re­al in nature and has long found its great­est strengths in that style, it hasn’t stopped the band from branch­ing out in oth­er ways, as can eas­i­ly be noticed over time. This has result­ed in cer­tain tracks giv­ing an utter­ly chaot­ic feel­ing at times, peri­od­i­cal­ly laps­ing into wide vari­a­tions of melody and tem­po, pro­duc­ing rather unex­pect­ed results that can tend to be a strong hit or miss to the lis­ten­er. This is more preva­lent in their recent albums than the old­er ones, seem­ing to come and go at whim on cer­tain tracks, sug­gest­ing both an ongo­ing, ephemer­al sort of exper­i­men­ta­tion, and per­haps unex­pect­ed­ly tap­ping into a listener’s more vis­cer­al reac­tion. There are times one won­ders what’s sud­den­ly tran­spired, when all of a sud­den the song weaves back into its orig­i­nal tone and tem­po, that much stronger for the jux­ta­po­si­tion.

This is some­thing that’s high­ly sub­jec­tive, to say the least. You’ll have to lis­ten for your­self and decide.

Also, while Heli­um Vola’s work tends not to be first thing that springs to mind when­ev­er one thinks of the word ‘dance,’ the raw, organ­ic, flu­id emo­tions expressed in these songs and their qui­et­ly rest­less rhythms bring a spe­cial con­tri­bu­tion to the table, and when one is immersed in the soar­ing vocals and flut­ter­ing tones of cer­tain songs, it’s not long before one feels the sen­su­al wisps of temp­ta­tion pulling at the mind to sway and drift in uni­son, to speak melody through motion, to aspire to dreams that fly as high.

On a per­son­al lev­el, I’ve found this a very rare expe­ri­ence to dis­cov­er in any musi­cal artist, and I find myself wish­ing we had some­thing — any­thing — like it in Cana­da. Along­side bands like Qntal, Atarax­ia, and oth­ers (who will be dis­cussed in future posts), I’ve noticed HV falls into a very spe­cif­ic niche even with­in the goth­ic sub­cul­ture where their par­tic­u­lar style seems much more wide­ly rec­og­nized. I find it odd they’re not more well known giv­en the obvi­ous­ly dark direc­tion in which their music leans, but either way, it doesn’t real­ly mat­ter so much as the fact I feel bet­ter off for hav­ing expe­ri­enced their work, and I’d like to offer the same to my read­ers. It took years of explor­ing before I found them, and that was large­ly by acci­dent.

With­out fur­ther ado, let us take a brief jour­ney through time.

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Sheep Pong and Other Feats of Engineering

So, I loaded up Face­book this morn­ing and saw this in a friend’s feed:

Sheep. Pong.

This is SERIOUSLY awe­some.

There’s no easy way to explain the efforts that prob­a­bly went into mak­ing this video, or the huge amount of time it must have tak­en to set things up and get them work­ing just right, but as a part-time home tin­ker­er who owns a few cas­es of elec­tron­ic and LED parts, I can appre­ci­ate the extreme­ly dif­fi­cult, beau­ti­ful feat they’ve done with this.

Good work, and keep doing what you love. My hat’s off to you, sirs.

Amidst the misty tides, and the Sentinel song.

My ear­worm du jour …

While it was at first the melody that caught my atten­tion and made me shim­mer a lit­tle on the inside, when I final­ly got around to read­ing the lyrics I real­ized all of a sud­den that this has pret­ty much been an anthem for the past few weeks.

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The Canadian Parliament Attack and its Aftermath

On Octo­ber 22nd, gun­shots rang out on Par­lia­ment Hill as a sin­gle gun­man, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, attacked a group of sol­diers on cer­e­mo­ni­al duty at the Nation­al War Memo­r­i­al, caus­ing the death of Cpl. Nathan Cir­il­lo. The gun­man then pro­ceed­ed indoors at Cen­tre Block, where at the time cau­cus­es were still in ses­sion, and fired sev­er­al more rounds before being engaged and killed by House of Com­mons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vick­ers.

While the scene ini­tial­ly unfold­ed like the wild script of a Call of Duty game, with the added hor­ror and pan­ic among a mul­ti­tude of onlook­ers, the dif­fi­cult real­i­ty began to sink in as the events left a strong impres­sion on our nation­al psy­che. Since that day, Cana­da as a nation and as a cul­ture has been left to wres­tle with the high­ly nuanced cir­cum­stances of these events and the inci­dents lead­ing up to them.

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Auditory Flashbacks: Darkhaus

Ear­li­er this week, I was lis­ten­ing to some music I’d been intro­duced to quite recent­ly when this lit­tle ear­worm by Dark­haus came scream­ing in.

It’s called “Son of a Gun,” and it’s way too catchy to keep to myself.

Lis­ten, enjoy, and pass it on:


Lyrics (here).

(NSFW) Followup: SWAT Standoff at East Burnside & Carroll on 2014-08-09

Short­ly after one o’clock on Sat­ur­day morn­ing, offi­cers from the Vic­to­ria and Saanich police depart­ments attend­ed reports of a naked and pos­si­bly armed man scream­ing at res­i­dents and run­ning the across rooftops of sev­er­al busi­ness­es near the inter­sec­tion at East Burn­side and Car­roll. The man was first spot­ted hold­ing what two bystanders believed was a large kitchen knife, lat­er revealed in video footage to be noth­ing more than a rolled-up T-shirt.

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