sign up maybe for being Alex Griffin 

                Facebook or Instagram: you don’t have to choose. You can have it all you sick social media fuck. They buy each other and you use them both because it is so hot. Every angle of your face has been thoroughly explored by you in countless photos, though since you’re a number the social media has counted everything up for you. With great ease you can export it all: your Facebook content, your Instagram photos, your Tweets onto an Excel Spreadsheet. Algorithms are your life’s rhythms letting you know where your Klout scores go. 

                A punch in the head might hurt you at first. If it doesn’t you are a damned fool or you are wearing a bike helmet. The punches of life come pretty fast and honestly you don’t move that fast in the morning. Your life is an okay-type thing that you are improvising roughly eighty to ninety percent of the time. Outside of your field of vision things are constantly going on and you curse your inability to observe it all. Evolution has messed you up with its filtration system showing you what you need to know not what you want to know. Interestingly as you have greater access to more information than you could ever process you realize it is not enough it will never be enough. 

                You get positive reinforcement and it leads you nowhere you think. People try to spare your feelings but you don’t have any feelings to spare. “Give me the truth I can take it” you say to your friends all of whom suffer badly from underemployment and heavy debt loads. Sure the show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” used to be cute to you until you realized how few people ever truly make it in the world. Now you would be happy with a small house out in the middle of nowhere with Wi-Fi making organic soy milk for other back to the landers who have amazing online presences. 

                Batman has had quite an impression on your life. You know how much Batman cares about his city with his money and obsessiveness. For a while you thought you cared about your hometown and later on you realized it was just a phase, your hometown sucks. The homes you have entered have been scenes of such destruction but all you think about is the Billy Bass without batteries, because that is the only way Billy Bass should be, dead and lifeless.

sign up maybe for being Alex Griffin

                Facebook or Instagram: you don’t have to choose. You can have it all you sick social media fuck. They buy each other and you use them both because it is so hot. Every angle of your face has been thoroughly explored by you in countless photos, though since you’re a number the social media has counted everything up for you. With great ease you can export it all: your Facebook content, your Instagram photos, your Tweets onto an Excel Spreadsheet. Algorithms are your life’s rhythms letting you know where your Klout scores go. 

                A punch in the head might hurt you at first. If it doesn’t you are a damned fool or you are wearing a bike helmet. The punches of life come pretty fast and honestly you don’t move that fast in the morning. Your life is an okay-type thing that you are improvising roughly eighty to ninety percent of the time. Outside of your field of vision things are constantly going on and you curse your inability to observe it all. Evolution has messed you up with its filtration system showing you what you need to know not what you want to know. Interestingly as you have greater access to more information than you could ever process you realize it is not enough it will never be enough. 

                You get positive reinforcement and it leads you nowhere you think. People try to spare your feelings but you don’t have any feelings to spare. “Give me the truth I can take it” you say to your friends all of whom suffer badly from underemployment and heavy debt loads. Sure the show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” used to be cute to you until you realized how few people ever truly make it in the world. Now you would be happy with a small house out in the middle of nowhere with Wi-Fi making organic soy milk for other back to the landers who have amazing online presences. 

                Batman has had quite an impression on your life. You know how much Batman cares about his city with his money and obsessiveness. For a while you thought you cared about your hometown and later on you realized it was just a phase, your hometown sucks. The homes you have entered have been scenes of such destruction but all you think about is the Billy Bass without batteries, because that is the only way Billy Bass should be, dead and lifeless.

ELLO: A Couple Days Later Review

                Well I wanted to give ELLO a chance. Of course leave it to my online-obsessed friends to invite me immediately. September 24th heralded the move of Beach Sloth from its scant social media presence to join the anti-marketing social network. Everyone has been talking about it I read all the articles about people who don’t get it, people who have no desire to get it, and people who want invites. Usually those three can be rolled up into a single person. My experience with it seems to be more of getting acclimated to it trying to get everything down pat. 

                There have been previous attempts to create social networks outside of Facebook and Twitter. Google Plus is a notable example of a social network with a lot of power behind it yet nobody can be bothered with it now. For a few seconds people believed that it would overtake Facebook. I am on Google Plus though I can’t even remember the last time I used it. Yes it is associated with my Gmail account but I can’t be bothered with it, I think I have a few hundred friends on there and never shared a thing on it. And with Google Plus they have Google behind it. What chance does a couple of weirdoes with far smaller pockets have? 

                ELLO is up against a lot of better-developed less-elitist inclined social media sites. I spend time on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, hell even that dinosaur BlogSpot. What can ELLO offer me that I do not already get from those sites? Sure ELLO claims to have no desire for ads but ELLO is about eight seconds old so it is still in that rose colored glasses phase. How can ELLO really find a unique ground among so many other kinds of media? 

                A few things that ELLO is trying out combine pieces from all aforementioned social media sites. They have GIFs like Tumblr, following that works similar to Twitter, and views to mimic what Facebook fan pages do. Comments can work as Facebook/Twitter tags. Later goals of ELLO include audio integration (something Tumblr offers, and something that eventually improved/sank Myspace) along with integration with other social media (Instagram, YouTube, Vine, etc.) stuff that plenty of social media sites have done before. Excluding the simple Bauhaus-inspired formatting which is fairly clean there seems to be nothing new under the sun with ELLO. 

                My experience with ELLO has been uniformly positive however. ELLO is to social media what vaporwave is to music. Vaguely mysterious with the ghostly shadows suggesting social networking it is a strange thing indeed. Part of this is due to the beta version’s relatively limited amount of features that are rather straightforward after spending about an hour or two on it. I am reminded of the differences between Vimeo and YouTube. Vimeo is stylish artistic. YouTube is chock full of ads all over the place like the CBS of the Internet, sure it is popular but it is pretty damn tacky. Both have found their own place. I think ELLO is basically Vimeo. With a greater emphasis on style ELLO may be able to attract enough users to ultimately make it moderately successful. 

                Right now ELLO is for the groups of people who long to escape from their well-known friends and find themselves in a new artsy environment. That might change. I doubt it. Thus far the most I have gotten out of ELLO is simply tweeting about it (tweet featured in a Vogue article) and blogging about it. Hopefully this might change. The ‘Noise’ feature seems to be a well-thought out version of Facebook’s feed but far more aesthetically pleasing.  Until ELLO figures out a way to truly expand and create a sustainable site, it holds a notable distinction for being the first crypto-social networking site. How that is even possible speaks volumes to the simultaneous privacy and exposure people seem to want in a new weird online world.

ELLO: A Couple Days Later Review

                Well I wanted to give ELLO a chance. Of course leave it to my online-obsessed friends to invite me immediately. September 24th heralded the move of Beach Sloth from its scant social media presence to join the anti-marketing social network. Everyone has been talking about it I read all the articles about people who don’t get it, people who have no desire to get it, and people who want invites. Usually those three can be rolled up into a single person. My experience with it seems to be more of getting acclimated to it trying to get everything down pat. 

                There have been previous attempts to create social networks outside of Facebook and Twitter. Google Plus is a notable example of a social network with a lot of power behind it yet nobody can be bothered with it now. For a few seconds people believed that it would overtake Facebook. I am on Google Plus though I can’t even remember the last time I used it. Yes it is associated with my Gmail account but I can’t be bothered with it, I think I have a few hundred friends on there and never shared a thing on it. And with Google Plus they have Google behind it. What chance does a couple of weirdoes with far smaller pockets have? 

                ELLO is up against a lot of better-developed less-elitist inclined social media sites. I spend time on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, hell even that dinosaur BlogSpot. What can ELLO offer me that I do not already get from those sites? Sure ELLO claims to have no desire for ads but ELLO is about eight seconds old so it is still in that rose colored glasses phase. How can ELLO really find a unique ground among so many other kinds of media? 

                A few things that ELLO is trying out combine pieces from all aforementioned social media sites. They have GIFs like Tumblr, following that works similar to Twitter, and views to mimic what Facebook fan pages do. Comments can work as Facebook/Twitter tags. Later goals of ELLO include audio integration (something Tumblr offers, and something that eventually improved/sank Myspace) along with integration with other social media (Instagram, YouTube, Vine, etc.) stuff that plenty of social media sites have done before. Excluding the simple Bauhaus-inspired formatting which is fairly clean there seems to be nothing new under the sun with ELLO. 

                My experience with ELLO has been uniformly positive however. ELLO is to social media what vaporwave is to music. Vaguely mysterious with the ghostly shadows suggesting social networking it is a strange thing indeed. Part of this is due to the beta version’s relatively limited amount of features that are rather straightforward after spending about an hour or two on it. I am reminded of the differences between Vimeo and YouTube. Vimeo is stylish artistic. YouTube is chock full of ads all over the place like the CBS of the Internet, sure it is popular but it is pretty damn tacky. Both have found their own place. I think ELLO is basically Vimeo. With a greater emphasis on style ELLO may be able to attract enough users to ultimately make it moderately successful. 

                Right now ELLO is for the groups of people who long to escape from their well-known friends and find themselves in a new artsy environment. That might change. I doubt it. Thus far the most I have gotten out of ELLO is simply tweeting about it (tweet featured in a Vogue article) and blogging about it. Hopefully this might change. The ‘Noise’ feature seems to be a well-thought out version of Facebook’s feed but far more aesthetically pleasing.  Until ELLO figures out a way to truly expand and create a sustainable site, it holds a notable distinction for being the first crypto-social networking site. How that is even possible speaks volumes to the simultaneous privacy and exposure people seem to want in a new weird online world.

Snoqualmie Falls - Dream Sequence 7.4

                Dream Sequence is gigantic. Taking up the majority of the conscious realm Snoqualmie Falls quickly move the environment sounds towards a surreal soundscape. Every possible frequency is overwhelmed by the sheer slab of sound that comes forth. A gradual piece it feels simultaneously menacing and comforting in tone. With each additional movement the darkness grows larger in scale. Nestled within the over-sized clouds of sound are shimmering beams, little flashes of light that permeate through the impending gray. 

                Over the course of the first ten minutes Snoqualmie Falls introduces the listener into a beautiful natural environment. Editing allows them to pull further away from the tangible into the deep unknown. Whispers emerge out around the twenty to thirty minute mark. Pieces seem to emit great feelings of hope. Angelic extended voices hover above the dense drones that have come to give the entire piece its structure its sound and its ecosystem. Towards the end of the thirty minute segment recognizable instruments are incorporated. Guitars begin to ring out beyond the touch of the large dense fields of sound. 

                Counteracting that with the fifty minute mark is a doubled effort to destroy any traces of humanity. Down go the guitars the wordless angelic hues into pitch blackness. For the finale the song returns back to its pastoral roots, to the quiet field recording, as if the song is waking up from heavy dreams. Everything moves in a peculiar way on Dream Sequence allowing things to focus on texture on the elements lost.

Monolyth and Cobalt – Polarlicht 7.9

                Monolyth and Cobalt refuse to keep things static. The manipulation of sound is kept gentle. Intersection between the glitch effects and the instruments feels so natural. Elements of the sound go everywhere. Various moments are reminiscent of Jim O’Rourke’s experimental work, Goodiepal’s work incorporating folk into electronic (or electronic into folk) and moments of early Mego releases. By using such a broad palette Monolyth and Cobalt subject the listen to a wide variety of moments, all of them done quite tastefully. 

                On the opener “Polar (Introduction)” the song remains relatively relaxed for much of the duration allowing plucks as the only reminder that the sound has organic origins. By far one of the collection’s highlights is the absolutely jubilant “Titanium (Geology)”. Aspects of it shine through with such enthusiasm. Excited anxious tones nervously quiver. The opposite approach is taken on the scrapings of “Skyscrapers; Sleepwalkers”. Nearly asleep the song appears to stumble through with guitars moving with a degree of unease. Sounds shift into the steam-like industrial noises found in the background. “Adolf Wolfi Never Died” takes wind chimes and uses a sound not dissimilar to early Four Tet recordings. The folksiness of Four Tet appears again on “Et Ces Arbres Qui Cueillaint Des branches” which is downright glorious. 

                For the final stretch of the collection comes the epic “Birds Are Some Holes In The Sky Through A Man Can Pass”. The constant moves make it a regular engaging emotionally charged piece. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Licht)” ends the collection off on a noir note with disembodied voices and a clear debt to jazz.  Polarlicht plays with perception.

Feel No Other – Feel No Other 6.9

                Feel No Other is a disorientating experience. Expanding into literally every possible genre it can get its hands on Feel No Other is an adventurous album indeed. Influences are nearly impossible to pinpoint. With such a wide range of styles Feel No Other is a unique group. A few features help to tie much of the pieces together. Vocals bring the pieces together serving as one of the consistent elements on the tracks helping to give the pieces a sense of narrative. 

                Eclectic pop introduces “my brother’s guns and knives”. With a consistent beat and multiples synthesizers the song manages to impart a sense of dread. Taking a similar approach with completely different instruments is “winter is all over you” which uses a folksier template. Incredibly organic it is one of the highlights of the piece. Such an atmosphere continues on the mellow “altavilla milicia”. Using a strange spaghetti western style on the aptly named “gunslinger” Feel No Other allows the sound to spread out a bit relying on texture rather than traditional melody. “eclipse” is an electronic interlude to help clear the palette for the album’s next turn towards more ambient pieces. 

                The best piece on the album comes right before the ending. “even the blue” brings together the alluded to previous genre. Nearly theatrical in execution it highlights the power of the singer’s voice. Finishing the album off is the whimsical “toy soldiers”. Feel No Other is a dramatic introduction into an emotionally charged world.

Taking a Shit with the Door Open by Steven Ye

                Life is made of small gestures. Nothing big happens. Rather the gradual accumulation of experiences is enough to reveal greater truths. Somebody lying down on an un-vacuumed carpet can get such realizations. One moment everything is normal. The next a sudden awareness of how much time is spent being naked checking social media telling untruths to whoever cares to ask. Yes these are the things that make up a life. Those who say otherwise have not truly lived. Life consists of plenty of moments where the moments can be wasted. In fact early on in life people are encouraged to waste time to socialize. Somewhere along the line that time gains value and life’s quality begins to suffer. 

                Pop culture exists to create an outlet for killed time. Feeding killed time into pop culture is a time-honored tradition. Some people make entire careers out of careful analysis of what pop culture says about society as a whole. Most don’t. Most choose to focus on the surface level stuff, rapping on the beat, matching up, the technical prowess required. Digging deeper into the actual original intention is what gives pop culture its true meaning. Hence an artist who longed for riches and spent money on nice things later on shows exactly how that longing successfully translated into tangible goods. The world appreciates it and the world likes it. Every single move towards new products is something that the world at large encourages for purchases help things move forward for reasons that remain hard to fully define. Growth is a must in every country yet nobody can really state why. 

                The tiny subcultures grow too though their growth is harder. People obsessed with fonts, obsessed with obscure games, they become obscurists. Individuals who identify as obscurists might not realize how limited the reach is for their passion, how few care about that artist who might have one or a few songs. Nobody cares besides a handful of equally lonesome people. When interests become too narrow they tend to do the opposite of bringing people together, they break them apart piece by piece. Suddenly that interest becomes another barrier to friendship in case they didn’t already have enough of them. 

                Memorable days are the ones that remind people why they should spend more time socializing. Sure online interaction is one thing. Going out and meeting new people is quite another. Age has its restrictions limiting who can go where. Eventually those are thrown out for a day of mildly doing nothing, of a blank canvas of a day where nothing was expected and everything was delivered.

Taking a Shit with the Door Open by Steven Ye

                Life is made of small gestures. Nothing big happens. Rather the gradual accumulation of experiences is enough to reveal greater truths. Somebody lying down on an un-vacuumed carpet can get such realizations. One moment everything is normal. The next a sudden awareness of how much time is spent being naked checking social media telling untruths to whoever cares to ask. Yes these are the things that make up a life. Those who say otherwise have not truly lived. Life consists of plenty of moments where the moments can be wasted. In fact early on in life people are encouraged to waste time to socialize. Somewhere along the line that time gains value and life’s quality begins to suffer. 

                Pop culture exists to create an outlet for killed time. Feeding killed time into pop culture is a time-honored tradition. Some people make entire careers out of careful analysis of what pop culture says about society as a whole. Most don’t. Most choose to focus on the surface level stuff, rapping on the beat, matching up, the technical prowess required. Digging deeper into the actual original intention is what gives pop culture its true meaning. Hence an artist who longed for riches and spent money on nice things later on shows exactly how that longing successfully translated into tangible goods. The world appreciates it and the world likes it. Every single move towards new products is something that the world at large encourages for purchases help things move forward for reasons that remain hard to fully define. Growth is a must in every country yet nobody can really state why. 

                The tiny subcultures grow too though their growth is harder. People obsessed with fonts, obsessed with obscure games, they become obscurists. Individuals who identify as obscurists might not realize how limited the reach is for their passion, how few care about that artist who might have one or a few songs. Nobody cares besides a handful of equally lonesome people. When interests become too narrow they tend to do the opposite of bringing people together, they break them apart piece by piece. Suddenly that interest becomes another barrier to friendship in case they didn’t already have enough of them. 

                Memorable days are the ones that remind people why they should spend more time socializing. Sure online interaction is one thing. Going out and meeting new people is quite another. Age has its restrictions limiting who can go where. Eventually those are thrown out for a day of mildly doing nothing, of a blank canvas of a day where nothing was expected and everything was delivered.

Inherent Vice

                I am a big Thomas Pynchon fan. Having enjoyed a lot of his books from the tiny “The Crying of Lot 49” to his massive tomes “Gravity’s Rainbow”, “Mason and Dixon”, “V” I never thought I would see the day where one of his books would become a movie. For a long time even Thomas Pynchon seemed to find any adaption of his work to be impossible, having told someone they could make a “Gravity’s Rainbow” opera only if they used one instrument: the banjo. 

Yet here in a new century, new millennium, things have changed for Thomas Pynchon. He has started writing very prolifically with “Against The Day”, “Inherent Vice” and “Bleeding Edge” all delivered within a seven year period (really fast for a guy who previously released one book a decade for most of his career). It sort of makes me wonder if all of these more recent efforts were things he had been working on for years. “Against The Day” and its sheer length suggests the work had been going on for quite some time. “Mason and Dixon” probably my personal favorite, with its obsessive attention to language, history, and geography, appears to have taken roughly twenty-two years to get fully together. 

“Inherent Vice” is considered by most Thomas Pynchon fans to be a sort of nice mellow introduction into his world. I am pretty happy that Thomas Pynchon has finally given the go-ahead for a movie to be made from one of his books. Judging from the trailer I feel that a lot of the intense energy he has in his books has actually been effectively translated onto screen. Plus having Joaquin Phoenix as the lead does not hurt either as Joaquin Phoenix is basically told to be as crazed as possible. 

Honestly I want the movie to be the success I know it can be. I am still shocked that there is a film made from one of Thomas Pynchon’s novels. The talent looks impressive. Additionally I like the fact that even though this is one of Thomas Pynchon’s ‘less insane’ books a lot of the maddening plot still seems to be there. Right now it looks like a cross between “The Big Lebowski” (which is what the book itself reminded me of when I read it) and his usual paranoia/goofball work. 

Not sure if this is going to be the thing that introduces Thomas Pynchon to a larger, typically non-reading audience. I hope it does.

Plebeian Grandstand – Lowgazers 7.2

                Lowgazers rages against everything. Anger has finally been given a name and its name is Plebian Grandstand. The assault is relentless. Screaming at the listener with every bit of energy the body can muster Plebeian Grandstand simply dominates. Instrumentally the band is rather ferocious. Drumming is about disgust at the kit than anything trying to keep a basic rhythm. Guitars are the true boon of the album as they offer the listener an anchor of sorts. By giving the guitars a bit of structure there are a few fantastic moments that arise. 

                 For the first few moments “Thrvst” appears to be relatively subdued. This slight break lasts for approximately twenty seconds before the drums begin bludgeoning. And yes they bludgeon because this is violent music. Everything around is fully decimated. On “Endless Craving” the guitars get a chance to shine. While the sound continues to get pulverized by vocals and percussion the guitars show off a real talent for form. “Lowlifers” gets downright gorgeous with its veering from beauty to ugliness. At times the music even stops for a rare breath. “Relief of Troth” immediately follows to provide something of a palette cleanser. 

                “Svn in Your Head” goes for malice without the punishing drums. Guitars linger providing a brutal field of sound. “Aimless Roaming” makes up for the loss of the drums as it maintains a machine-gun staccato rhythm. For the finale of “Mvrk Diving” Plebian Grandstand make their final stand against the world taking dark ambient, metal, distortion and all that entails. Lowgazers leaves nothing behind.

Orme – Debut 7.5

                Trapped in amber Orme’s Debut feels positively timeless. Clarity is of the utmost importance for each of the four pieces. By retaining a sense of group play the songs manage to express something truly beautiful about the quiet moments of life. Every instrument is given plenty of space to be fully recognized. Pieces are ideally paced. Debut is an album that celebrates the splendor and subtle grace of acoustic folk. Inclusion of the cello is a wise choice as it adds to the overall spry feel of the pieces bringing a much needed classical component. 

                Gently introducing the collection is the spiraling work of “Le bois”. The restrained playing is accompanied by cello adding to the sense of lightness. About halfway through the piece the instruments frolic allowing themselves a great deal of space. Emotionally it is diverse going from joy to bittersweet. By far it is the highlight. On “Retentissant” things quiet down. Joys are found in the small gestures the slight ache of the strings. Passion defines “Sur le pavé” which ends up being the densest piece. With its constant zigzag approach it covers a lot of territory before it finally calms down. 

                Finishing off with the rustic “Des cours”. A slight move towards deeper sounds helps to keep the piece propelled. Strings prove to be particularly prominent on this piece. Light percussion halfway through helps to make it feel closer to a contemporary sound. On the final moments the song appears to be rushing towards a beautiful conclusion. Orme’s Debut is light and full of exquisite detail.