Perceptions

Right. Note to … uh … just about everyone I know. Just so you know, I’m going to equalise you all: your name is Bob, you’re an industrial-gothic rock journalist action-RPG fanboy, and a big fat slutbucket to boot.

Here’s a rant, perhaps because I’m tired … perhaps because I was awake half the night with near-hurricane-force winds battering the house … perhaps because I’m signed off with flu and feverish … or maybe just because there’s a running theme here.

Just reading an exasperated message on Twitter. Another person trying to manage everyone else’s opinion of them, about who they are and about what they do. He’s maybe the third or fourth person this week to do that. To correct a name, to challenge an expectation or to try to control the way another person views them. Just like every band who’s ever tried to divorce themselves from the genre with which they are associated. How do you do that?

Answer: you can’t. Any time you walk into a room, the people in that room have made up their minds about you before you even open your mouth. Perhaps you can alter it … God knows, I’ve heard “You’re not like I expected you to be” enough times in my life – generally from anyone who’s formed a negative impression without even bothering to say hello. Does it worry me? No. Because your opinion of me is your problem, and my trying to force that into a particular direction is like trying to push water uphill.

Whatever reputation or label you are trying to fight against, arguing about it is never going to make people represent you the way that you want to be represented. All the breath you waste in resisting something that is by its very nature completely outside your control is breath you should be spending on proving them wrong simply by being something else. Don’t worry about what they’re thinking; chances are, they’re only worried about your own opinion of them.

xkcd: duty calls

LA Noire

Australian developers Team Bondi have created an interactive game noir, published by Rockstar Games. The detective story is set in the late 1940s, and promises to blend “action, detection and complex storytelling” as the player solves a series of murders. The postwar world of freeways, jazz and corruption is vividly brought to life with astonishing animation.  The game has been in development for several years, and appears to take place in the world of LA Confidential. I just hope that the gameplay lives up to the fine graphics and proves as exciting to play as it is to watch.

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2008 trailer

Stellamara – Seven Valleys


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I found Stellamara when I was searching for free MP3 world music downloads to use in my video game mod, Mournhold Expanded. The subterranean city district in my mini-expansion had a nightclub, so I needed music for my elven dancers. Stellamara fit the bill, and I included their (no-longer-available) free-download snippets in the mod, figuring that since they were giving the music away anyway, they couldn’t mind too much. Still, I knew in my heart that they had given the music to listen to at home, not to redistribute, so I always felt that pang of guilt.

When Mournhold Expanded was automatically entered into ModDB.com‘s Mod of the Year competition in 2006, I panicked, fearing that if I had won the prize, I might get my butt sued off by certain grumpy musicians – why should I profit from their hard work? I contacted the organisers and found it was too late to withdraw the mod, so they just flagged it as ineligible for the grand prize. It’s unlikely that it would have won, but I had to make sure that it wouldn’t. In the end, I got the kudos of an “honorable mention”, which seemed fair – I’d worked very hard on the mod, and it was great to have the recognition. Still, I wondered many times whether I should try to remove the music from the mod, which would have the added benefit of reducing the download size. I’ve never done so for several reasons, not least because the music gives an instant sense of exoticism that cannot be conveyed by visuals alone. Put simply, Stellamara sounds like music made by elves in some far away world.

The distinctly elven-looking vocalist/producer Sonja Drakulich created Stellamara to develop “devotional music” based in Near Eastern and medieval modal traditions, blending Turkish, Arabic, Balkan, Medieval European and Persian music. To aid her on her quest, multi-instrumentalist Gari Hegedus and cellist Rufus Cappodocia use the makam Middle Eastern modal scales to form Stellamara’s timeless soundscapes.

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