Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Resignation and a Relatively Short Goodbye

Well, this is it.

A little over a year ago, we started this blog with little expectations except to share music with our friends on IGN. We essentially made it as a little project that grew out of a thread that gauged interest as to how many would like to see a music blog from other IGN users. As someone who's always had an interest in writing and is studying journalism in college, I signed up immediately to write.

When the site was created late on June 30th, 2010, it started quietly but began to grow over the next month, garnering around 3,750 views of the site. As someone who's never owned or been the administrator of a site before, I thought this was pretty neat even if it wasn't a high number.

I had no idea that, despite a large dive in activity, we'd garner 34,000 views in June this year and accumulate 118,000 views over the past year.

For that, I'd like to thank every single one of you who's checked out this site because you've helped us make improvements. You've helped me improve my writing. You've helped us all, certainly.

To those readers, I want to apologize. I want to apologize for the lack of activity from me and the other writers. I know I could have done a better job. Because I don't have nearly any time for LPC anymore, I've decided to resign from the site and leave The Red Agent as your lone administrator.

I'm doing this because of changes in my personal life (nothing bad, though; it's for the better), because I'm leaving IGN at the same time, and because of many other variables. I don't really want to leave the site, but it's time that I give up my position to a more deserving writer who wants to contribute and make LPC an active site again.

I don't have any regrets of my time on the site because all of you made it fun. Thanks for helping me become a better writer and (hopefully) reading the posts I've made on here.

34,000 views? 118,000 over a full year? I never would've imagined it. Thanks so much. I'll see you guys at a later point, hopefully sometime in December.


I have a Twitter and I post about music from time to time

Seiichi Yamamoto & Fushigi Robot - Mind Game OST (2004)

It wasn't too long ago I saw this movie. It was something I had kept aside for a rainy day I suppose, as I looked in my collection only to find this title that was totally obscured to me. Immediately I fell in love; it was a touching, bold, and brilliantly charming work about, in as plain of words as I can find, the experience of life. The animation was carefully experimental, shifting between normal anime styles into rotoscoping of the actors faces onto their characters faces and bright segments of action and art, the characters themselves were defined and likable in their idiosyncrasies, and, what brings us here, the music cast a brilliant mood and even within itself was quite likable. Because of this I went out searching, only to find out that, not only did I already have the soundtrack (not listened to yet), but it's likely why I found the film. And that's all because of one of the names in the title.

Co-founder and seminal member of Boredoms, Seiichi Yamamoto has left footprints of himself all around Japan's numerous music scenes, which is evident by taking a look at his dizzying discography. Even with his wide range of acts, there are several attributes that seem to follow him: lucid, surrealistic music, a significant focus on percussion, abnormal instrumentation. Seeing as that doesn't change here, any fan of the Boredoms or Rovo or Omoide Hatoba or any other Japanese band it seems my find a treat in this (I can even recall saying at one point that the music sounded very much like something Seiichi would do).

It starts with a spastic drum track brilliantly titled "Startin'" which abruptly cuts out into a charming synth piece before finally hitting the poppy, arabesque main theme. Among these is the theme... rapidly changing moods and themes. Among charming pop numbers like the title track or Atarashii Hito (not performed by Seiichi Yamamoto) are janky anti-pop pieces like No Chaser or Big Unit and ambient pieces and drum pieces and jazz pieces and even a nice sort of mash-up classical arrangement by frequent anime composer Yoko Kanno. It's a dizzy collection within itself, but carefully eclectic. There's a steady charm within it, and even without the movie there seems to be a story sliding throughout the moods.

But I definitely recommend the movie.

Buy it... please tell me if you find a place

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Roundup of Things I've Listened to Lately

Next to last post for me on LPC. I guess I'll see how this goes.

Washed Out - Within and Without (2011)

Ernest Greene, arguably the first real member of the chillwave genre, outdoes himself with this record. Hard to beat fantastic cuts like Soft and A Dedication.

Try it
Buy it

Lil B - I'm Gay (I'm Happy) (2011)

This album exists. Thank you Based God.

The Beach Boys - Sunflower (1970)

It's a shame that I hadn't listened to this very much before the last week. Typical outstanding stuff.

I think this works
Just buy it

WU LYF - Go Tell Fire to the Mountain (2011)

You might not like the vocals, but they completely fit the music and this could end up being one of the best albums of the year.

Try it
Buy it

Eric Copeland - Waco Taco Combo (2011)

How surprising that the leader of one of the most overlooked bands of the 2000s creates another solid album that's going to be overlooked. Great sampling work at hand on this album and the 17-minute long Spangled ends up being worth it in the end.

Try it
Buy it

Thanks for reading. One more day for me.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lil B - I'm Gay (2011)

When I reviewed Lil B's Illusions of Grandeur mixtape earlier in the year, my aim was to open people's eyes and ears to the other side of Lil B as an artist. By now, most hip-hop heads and most music fans who know how to use the internet are familiar with the Based God and his antics, which involve the consumption of Wonton Soup in conjunction with having his way with your bitch. If this was Lil B's ploy to make a name for himself then it certainly worked. However, it also resulted in his more serious projects being overshadowed. There's nothing wrong with a bit of infamy, but when your best work is often overlooked then you have to re-think your strategy, which is exactly what Lil B did with I'm Gay.

I won't go into detail about the album title, because this is a review about the music. But needless to say, Lil B was adequately aware that naming his album I'm Gay would attract plenty of attention, which would result in listeners, which would ultimately result in word getting around that the based god really is a serious artist. Lil B's aim as an artist has always been to let listeners hear the real him, how he feels about the world, how he thinks and how he acts, which is why he and many of his fans often refer to him as 'The realest person doing it'. And in just 44 minutes, Lil B sounds more convincingly real than he ever has before.

Opening track 'Trapped in Prison' does what every opening track on a good album should do- set the tone and feel of the album. A song about dealing with racism, Lil B's confidence in himself is evident from the opening minute. "It’s more than Martin Luther King fighting for a dream; Watch me go against everything you believe". Punchlines are not lost on him either. "I'm nicer than grandma with a cup of iced tea; You see me I got ice like Ice T". Where Lil B really shines the most is when he's talking positive. On 'Gon Be Okay' he says "I'mma ask how you doing today; we gonna win somehow, someway". On 'I Hate Myself', a story about his struggles growing up and wanting to let go of the past in order to be happy, Lil B closes the song by saying "Don't think too hard, free your mind" after reflecting on some of the things he's seen growing up in the hood and how it made him feel. While that may seem like a tired subject in the realm of rap, it works when told in such a direct, no-nonsense manner.

The highlight of I'm Gay is without question the production. The album album sounds raw yet soulful, with a wide variety of well-executed samples, including Slowdive on 'Open Thunder Eternal Slumber', Goo Goo Dolls on 'I Hate Myself', and my personal favorite, a simply terrific sample of Gerard McMann's 'Cry Little Sister' on 'Unchain Me'.

I'm Gay has no guest features, it's just based god on all 12 tracks and no one else. Production-wise this is not an issue. As far as Lil B's rapping is concerned, this can be a major issue for some listeners. Firstly, Lil B can rap when he wants to. I'm Gay is not exactly the prime showcase of his rapping abilities. His style is notable for his unconventional (and sometimes non-existent) rhyme schemes, coupled with a slow flow that is often inconsistent and lazy sounding. Understandably this can be an issue for listeners, especially ones who aren't used to Lil B and his style. I tend to enjoy his style simply because of how convincing he is as a storyteller. The lyrics on this album are great and while he may not spit them in the most appealing way, he still tells his stories well, which is what really sells it for me. And while I wouldn't mind hearing these stories in a more conventional manner, something about the way that they're delivered in Lil B's uniquely odd style makes them all the more real.