More speakers does not always equal better sound.
It entirely depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Do you need surround sound on your PC?
Where did you go?
Okay, you got a link with ideal specs for the artwork (size, resolution, etc.)?
What up, Evangelion syncing
Also, I feel the reason they may seem overly warm to the point of recession is also due to my DAP: the Ipod Mini. It's a great DAP, but for whatever reason Rockbox doesn't want to play nicely on it, so I can't EQ a little on it. Also my portable amp isn't the greatest, but hey, I'm just wanting the X3 at the end of the day. What tips are you guys using? I'm using some Auvio single flanges, but also had the Vsonic long single flanges on. Thinking a nice triple flange may work wonders.
I think we have to separate portable audio from home audio here. I think portable wise the far east is significantly larger that NA. Korea Alone probably is close to being on par.
As an aside. Do you have any info on who actually makes the Blox drivers?
Does that mean you have a bad one. By an older Krell integrated and get urinated on by the pseudoCognicenti for buying in at the low end.
Nah, what fun would that be? Ima wing it and try to give everything a personal flair for now.
Yes well, you're new. If I had it to do all over again I would copy my every reply SQL em with a random response output logrithm with a keyword filter and call it Modulon Defender of the Internet. Creating an artificail person can be fun (or does that one belong in the disaster date forum)
6 / 4 / 13
I would like to begin this entry with a word of thanks to those who actually take the time to read through my admittedly self indulgent, meandering "walls of text" (as they've been lovingly referred to by certain others). Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if there were folks who post here---not infrequently---who have never read a single diary entry of mine. Sometimes I feel like an interloper who comes in and goes about her business for a moment before leaving again, quietly slipping out the back door. So for those of you who do take notice of these pantomimes over in the corner: thanks. I'd also like to make an appeal to you guys while I'm at it, and that's to please discuss music more! Not the head-fi member, but the aural fuel for that burning desire to fill your ears. Discuss films. Discuss books. Discuss that even the most pious of saints had their moments of doubt. Hell, discuss antique furniture or the culinary arts if you want. Just for pity's sake don't discuss accumulating wealth. That's one fetish no one deserves to have to slog through post after post about.
Speaking of fetish objects . . . .
I've been on a major vintage planar kick lately. The Fostex T50, the original, has been at the center of these fixations. It sort of coalesces into this category unto itself, as it existed under various guises throughout the 70s and 80s, and there were several OEMs that sprung up like the NAD RP18. I managed to track down one of these New Acoustic Dimension models---the version with the mylar rather than kapton diaphragm---as well as some other even rarer creatures like the Akai ASE-50 and the Aiwa HP-500. The latter is purportedly more impressive sounding than a lot of other headphones, with some ortho-heads I know even preferring it to stuff like the Paradox T50RP. If you want to read more, Tyll talked about the exact set I now own. Naturally I'm excited to hear it.
Photo courtesy of Kabeer via Wikiphonia.
Photo courtesy Wikiphonia, once again.
I'm still looking for one of the original "v. 1" iterations of the Fostex T50. There's also the Sansui SS-100 which is sort of a Frankenstein's monster comprised of T50 v. 2 drivers and T30 magnets, a truly beautiful looking headphone, but a headphone that falls short of the others listed above in sonics according to several sources. The SS-100 comes up from time to time on the 'Bay, but lately it's been going for rather unreasonable sums in my humble opinion. I think I'll wait for the icy grips of madness to thaw a bit before venturing down that road. As for those other guys, the orthodynamic Yamahas, I've been pretty content with my YH-1000, but I'd still like to track down an anisotropic version of the HP-1 at some point.
This morning I've been enjoying my Audez'e LCD-1 quite a bit. Really, it's still among my favorite headphones of all time.
Yup. From Wikiphonia
From what I hear the drivers are just as complex as the original T50's despite the OEM housing. Personally though, I love the hodgepodge look of the thing. I always keep an eye out for another one, as my fondness for it is such that I want a backup pair; unfortunately they only made 25 of them in total.
Sort of feel the same way---though to an admittedly lesser extent---regarding the HiFiMan HE-400. My pair is one of the earlier ones, distinguished from subsequent revisions by their white drivers I believe? The overall balance of these earlier models is darker than their replacements; it actually reminds me a bit of the Stax SR-007, though overall much grittier, fuzzier in background, and less refined. Still I find their sound to be really quite impressive given the simplicity of their construction. That's not a backhanded "hey, it works" type compliment either. Especially since many of the early units didn't work! There was a very brief window between the faulty pre Chinese New Year batch and the newer driver revision however, a batch that still had the white drivers and corrected the previous issues. When it came together, it came together. For their asking price there isn't much in the full-sized arena today currently in production I'd rather listen to personally. On that note, I was saddened to hear that the newer versions are apparently more fatiguing, possessing an aggressive treble and sounding harsher overall. I think their earlier, darker tilt gave them a unique place in the HiFiman lineup. In some ways I actually feel these earlier models sound even better than the HE-500.
As for the LCD-1, had they made more of them and had the rediscovery of orthos been closer to its current apogee at the time, I think it would have been destined to become a classic.
"Fetish is effectively a kind of inverse of the symptom. That is to say, the symptom is the exception which disturbs the surface of the false appearance, the point at which the repressed Other Scene erupts, while fetish is the embodiment of the Lie which enables us to sustain the unbearable truth"
I really like the AK100.
Have I mentioned this?
For one thing the user interface is among the best of any portable for me personally, a nice combination of straightforward touch screen usage and mechanical feedback. It's small and easy to tote around but not so small as to feel obnoxiously insubstantial like the Clip players. It also sounds really good in my opinion, but it's limited. That's its big, fatal flaw. My high impedance SM64 sounds great. The Heir Tzar 350 Sibilance Generator Plus sounds good. For reasons that frankly escape me, FitEar's stuff sounds pretty darn good. On that note, I'm really curious to try the specially-tuned version of the F111 that was made to pair with the player; that may be happening in the coming weeks (along with the Parterre).
Point being, there are special considerations when pairing stuff with it, sure. I don't need to mention the high Z on the thing. ....Or I didn't, at any rate. The AK120 on the other hand seems to be garnering praise from folks who hear it, even reluctant praise from sticklers and curmudgeons, which I see as a very good sign. Well, good in the sense that my "can't I have a player that plays nicely with a wider variety of stuff?" lament may be a thing of the past. Not so good in the sense that I'll likely be shelling out over a grand for a portable device. Honestly though, screw sending messages through monetary-based forms of protest. I'm too far gone for that sort of thing at this point. The UI plus SQ is too much of a FTW to care about the USD. FWIW. SRSLY.
I posted a track by Nadja a while back, "Breakpoint." This was the track that got me into Nadja. It's also a track that fully exemplifies why you should listen to stuff until the very end, why you should hold out despite getting antsy.
This reminds me of a sage I once new, a dude from my LiveJournal days with the handle LostCosmonaut. If you're feeling adventurous and want to end up feeling wholly inadequate, check out his LiveJournal some time. He's still at it even though most reasonably coherent folks have abandoned ship long ago. His breadth of knowledge with regard to music, film, and pop culture puts mine to shame. Hell is entire outlook and practical philosophy put mine to shame. But then he's older, so his truly epic posts are something of an inspirational target. Anyway, this guy once said something to the effect of rock 'n' roll being at least partly about building up tension. I really think there's something to this. At first, my temptation to trace everything backward through time takes hold and the appeal of linking rock directly to stern, well-lined Indian men sitting on cushions playing drone instruments presents itself. I mean, drone is about tension right?
But there's a key difference. With drone, the idea is to eventually let go and transcend that tension, to give in and let it pound your face into the floor. Like Old World medicine: you have to let the big burly guy beat the crap out of you ("massage") or give in and admit you lost the bet with Mother Nature, accepting a swig in the penalty phase ("medicinal tea"). It's like ego dissolution. Stop clinging to that flesh slicker, sailor.
In the case of rock, it's all about keeping that tension alive and well. One should never never say they had a relaxing moment where rock is concerned. Sure, the spiritual elements may be involved, but it has to be abused in a certain sense and co-opted into the service of something for which it wasn't actually intended. It's all about holding out as long as possible for a payoff. You have to know, or at least think, that something is coming. The big crescendo. So if rock is anything like meditation, it's the mutant Western version. Repetition is thus one of the most valuable tools in the arsenal of a rocker, provided it keeps the tension going. I suppose this puts it closer in line with tantric sex. Stop slicking that flesh stick, sailor.
In that sense one of the most gloriously rock 'n' roll moments of the 90s was Boredoms' Super Ae. Specifically "Super Going." The build up in tension is just masterfully controlled curtesy Seiichi Yamamoto, right up to the explosion at the end, an amazing rock orgasm. That final release. Aural sex with the rock gods. That it only lasts 12 some minutes is totally your fault, too. Incidentally there's a 30 minute long version called "Super Go!!!!!!" if you think you can handle it.
Of course, this is more about a general spirit than distinct genre definitions. The "spirit of rock" also pervades punk and metal and other beasties that sprang forth from its loins. Getting back to Nadja, my original point---the whole reason for bringing this up in the first place---was that sticking around 'till the end is important. In this case the track "Breakpoint" eventually succumbs to its own gravitational pull and burns itself out, not so much exploding as in "Super Ae," but rather fizzling out and dissolving into a beautifully mellow coda, a complete 180 degree turn-around. Ironically it's something totally un-rocking that turns "Breakpoint" from a meditative exercise into an actual rocking track. Plus you just have to love Aidan Baker singing about infestations of parasites in a chill tone while lazily strumming a guitar, his voice fluctuating and faltering under various process filters, the jumbling up of ones and zeros as the whole track just slithers down the drainpipe.
"a fetish can play a very constructive role in allowing us to cope with the harsh reality: fetishists are not dreamers lost in their private worlds, they are thoroughly 'realists,' able to accept the way things effectively are -- since they have their fetish to which they can cling in order to cancel the full impact of reality"
Someone mentioned black metal not too long ago in this thread.
I wanted to touch on a specific sliver of what is inevitably a morass of different subgenres and styles. In this instance: that warped and twisted, misanthropic one-man outsider stuff. This has always been one of my favorite areas of black metal, and it was really the first that truly appealed to me enough to warrant a closer look. At the risk of losing some of my "cred," I'll admit that it wasn't Von or Burzum or older non vikings-go-camping-in-the-woods Darkthrone that really got me into it either. It was Xasthur. Yeah, the not-so-kvlt USBM guy who put out thirty or so different variants of the same record before calling it quits a few years ago.
Seriously though, how kvlt is it to be idolized for being kvlt? It seems a bit self-defeating. Someone like Xasthur may end up in the shopping cart alongside Isis albums half the time, but in a way that makes him more of an outsider. I suppose it just depends on what direction your facing, as being outside the confines of one genre inevitably puts you in the jurisdiction of another. Really his farewell album Portal of Sorrow was a perfect swansong for him, a huge middle finger to the community he was somehow supposed to please.
"Cemetery of Shattered Masks" from Xasthur's Defective Epitaph
Xasthur is usually labeled 'atmospheric' or 'ambient' or 'depressive black metal.' And before you ask, yes, there's happy black metal. It's usually about how fun it is to dress up like a viking and drink beer while dressed as a viking and make love to girls while dressed as a viking. Or, if you're Darkthrone, how fun it is to go camping dressed as a viking. Xasthur on the other hand is all about darkness and voids, feeling suicidal, being trapped in mazes, feeling suicidal while being trapped in mazes, gray landscapes, communicating with the dead via telepathy, general bleakness, and so on and so forth. Malefic, the guy behind the project, doesn't seem like the sort of dude you'd want to talk to at a party.
This particular strain of black metal is indeed all about conjuring up a certain depressive ambience. Most tracks are awash with buzzing guitars, drenched in distortion. It's a sound that owes much to mid period Burzum obviously, but in the case of Xasthur I also hear a lot of dirge-like undertones that call to mind funerary heavies like Thergothon, Skepticism, and even old progressive stuff like Jacula. It's the minor key elements in particular that connote a spectral cascade, this haunted waltz that is particularly Jacula-ish at times. Up 'till his last few efforts, Malefic's percussion was largely handled by drum machines. This is pretty common place for solo efforts in black metal, and in some cases it just adds an entirely new variable of weirdness into the equation. I can't help but think of the wonderfully named Benighted Leams whose albums likely feature some of the most gloriously retarded drum machines ever recorded: rapid lawn sprinkler tik-tik-tik misfires of tepid thwaps, lurching and often completely out of sink with the guitar parts. It lends a likely unintended industrial vibe to this stuff at times.
For the most part Malefic / Xasthur's programmed drums sounded competent. It was actually when he started recording real drums that things took a turn for the more overtly bizarre. Over the course of his last few albums, the instrumentation and arrangements started getting more warped, more off-kilter. By the time Portal of Sorrow came around, Malefic was using his largest repertoire of techniques, experimenting with new instruments, and in general trying to expand his sound as much as possible while remaining loosely in the confines of the niche he carved out for himself. I get the sense he exhausted his creativity and wisely decided to put the final nail in Xasthur's casket. In the end, Portal of Sorrow was fairly left field (it features Marissa Nadler of all people on vocals half the time), and this confounded a lot of metalheads who previously chastised Malefic for being too formulaic, inspiring them to instead chastise him for being too unformulaic. C'est la vie.
As an aside, now isn't really the time to be listening to Xasthur where I'm currently living. This---and much of black metal, really---is definitely the soundtrack for cold weather. December and January music. I have fond memories of walking to college in cold, windy, sometimes rainy weather and listening to Xasthur. My first class at the time was early in the morning and happened to be located across the campus, so I would often cut through the landscaping, passing through lawns with huge trees whose roots protruded from the ground like wood sea serpents. The perfect accompaniment to overcast skies.
It's kind of hard to mention Xasthur without talking about Leviathan too, as both are probably the most well-known examples of solo USBM projects; they also did a truly epic split together that stands as one of the most iconic documents of the whole movement. I actually think Wrest, the dude behind Leviathan, is something of a scumbag, and like Burzum there's this mythos developing around his criminal actions, only in this case because it seems to mainly consist of domestic assault-your-girlfriend type stuff. Then he tries to pass it off as an artistic statement under the title True Traitor, True Whore. I know these guys want to go for the whole "you aren't supposed to like me" thing, but come on, that's just pathetic.
Anyway, I think Wrest is the more talented musician of the two regardless of his personal life. It's his Lurker of Chalice side-project, not Leviathan, that stands as his magnum opus in my opinion however.
I'd love to track down some of the earlier EPs, but as it stands the self-titled album is LoC's only distributed released. While it's comprised of a lot of this early material, it has this cohesive ambience that just slays, a down-tempo and opiated wandering-thru-mistry-forests-at-dawn feel to it. Wrest's vocals are especially grim and have this depth that gives them a bit of a unique flare in a genre where growls and screams are often indistinguishable from one artist to the next; they sound weary and aged, like the demon who found the microphone happens to be a granpappy or something. At times a given track will veer off into laid back, almost jazzy territory as in "Spectre As Valkyrie Is." Therein lie some of my favorite moments. Definite foggy, early morning drive material.
Plus you have to love the Ray Harryhausen monster shot used on the re-release's cover.
"In Nevil Shute's World War II melodramatic novel Requiem For a WREN, the heroine survives her lover's death without any visible traumas, she goes on with her life and is even able to talk rationally about the lover's death -- because she still has the dog who was the lover's favored pet. When, some time after, the dog is accidentally run over by a truck, she collapses and her entire world disintegrates"
At this point I could go on about a number of other USBM bands like Weakling, Black Funeral, Nightbringer, Wolves in the Throne Room, Crebain, Draugar, etc. etc. Plenty of other permutations of 'dark' and 'night' and 'funeral' I'm sure. In a certain sense however no artist in the annals of USBM history is quite as amusing to go on about as Velvet Cacoon.
Yes, that's Cacoon with an 'a.'
There's a rather predictable irony in the black metal community at times, with many individuals shunning the livestock-like mentality of others while in the same breath succumbing to herd tendencies but hard. You find this in any indie movement coupled with varying degrees of self awareness, but in the case of black metal there's a certain oblivious intensity to everything. You get the same curious dualism of the indie scene, but here it gets dialed up even more: a sworn devotion to certain canon (a very religious mindset despite the claims of anti-religiosity) coupled with a compulsive urge to seek the newest thing. There also seems to be a higher percentage of conartists and frauds in the black metal scene for some reason. This bubbling cauldron of alchemic ingredients is what helped spawn Velvet Cacoon.
When they first appeared on the scene, stories began to surface about how the two band members were "ecological terrorists" who lived in seclusion, on the lamb and hiding out in a cave in rural Oregon or something. Supposedly one of them played a diesel-powered guitar and used tanks of water to somehow amplify said guitar. Yeah, it sounds like utter BS, but people really bought into this. There were rumors of concerts given in the woods using a single lit torch as a light source, rampant experimental drug use, and a frontman who ended up in an insane asylum. Of course amidst all this fantastic lore their earliest demos quickly became much sought-after collector's items.
The truth eventually came to light that all this backstory was bullschiit. In fact, the members of the band weren't corpse painted troo grim warriors so much as some fairly innocuous young man and his girlfriend. As one might expect there was outrage within the black metal community, and for that in and of itself these two deserve some recognition. Masterful trolling, really. I mean at one point their website consisted of a single link to an Air mp3. You know, Air, the French electro-pop band. If anything it all serves as a reminder to not take this stuff too seriously. As someone who appreciates the more self-conscious side of metal, I like when its pageantry and theatrics are deconstructed. That being said, I'm not sure how malicious their intent actually was. On the one hand they produced their own mythos, something not uncommon in music, and from it some interesting meta-level criticism was gleaned; on the other hand their early demos were actually completely stolen from other artists and repurposed as their own. By their own admission, they're scumbags for doing that.
As far as I know however, their main albums were all legitimately original material. There seems to be actual talent behind all that drama. Genevieve in particular has garnered quite a bit of praise, and for the most part I think it deserved.
The band seems to have split up in 2009 after releasing two final albums around the same time: the more overtly black metal P aa Opal Poere Pr. 33 and the massive black ambient epic Atropine. The latter in particular is something I've been digging quite a bit since its release, a double CD monstrosity clocking in at just over two hours. It's the sort of album you have to plan for, turning off all the lights and stretching out across your bed. It's the soundtrack to just lying there as black vines grow all over you.
There's a novelty factor with a lot of these guys, no doubt. There's also an inherent risk in adopting a certain angle, as people are going to likely end up accusing you of releasing the same album over and over again. Really though, misanthropic one-man black metal is naturally adverse to change from the outset. You can always adopt something utterly bizarre, you just have to stubbornly stick with it until the bitter end, and in that sense most misanthropic one-man black metal outfits aspire to release the same album over and over again. It's a statement in and of itself. It says "F U world, I'm not changing." It's a purposefully myopic vision that traps you inside a solipsistic framework, lets you roost inside someone's damaged---often entirely deranged---psyche.
Sin Nana immediately comes to mind, a chap who likes to take pictures of himself LARPing about the Tasmanian backwoods dressed vaguely like The Observer (aka "Brain Guy") from MST3k. His recordings as Striborg are even more of an acquired taste than anything I've posted so far. You basically enter into his damaged world with these recordings, an often confusional tropical jungle of spidery insectoid guitar riffage, poorly recorded oppressive ambience, and broken drum machines. Remember that blurb about drum machines above? It's here in full force: machine gun blasts of often mis-timed, acoustically deadened thup-thup-thups that crawl out of every nook and cranny, tiny malfunctioning Dr. Rhythm moths trying to find a bug zapper to end their wretched existence. Indeed, much of Striborg's character comes from this bizarre industrial-tinged rainforest of buzzing guitars and wayward samples; it becomes a whole wretched ecosystem unto itself.
On his later recordings he switched to real drums as these guys are wont to do, and while they don't have that woodpecker quality of his earlier recordings, these later ones still have a certain woozy totter to them, as if they were played while intoxicated. They may very well have been. The rest of the surrounding ambience is often a result of some ancient synthesizers Sin Nana probably found in a hole or something. These synths... are truly horrific. They don't wash over you so much as burble and fart at you. Coupled with the overall vibe this stuff gives off, I can't help but think of those 70s cannibal films from Italian production companies.
Moving along. I can't resist taking a moment to mention Botanist, one of the most striking new discoveries I've made in the last couple of years concerning one-man black metal weirdness. This guy just takes creating an outsider persona to another level: playfully confessing a desire to see the world overrun and dominated by plant life, titling every one of his tracks after various horticultural specimens, using cultivation diagrams as album art. All of this would have merely been a precious curiosity however were it not for the musical genius behind it. To that end, there are absolutely no guitars employed on any of these recordings. Instead he uses a hammer dulcimer. That's right, a hammer dulcimer. An instrument that normally renders folk songs. Behold!
Dunno 'bout you, but to me that's EPIC.
"Sometimes, the line between the two is almost indiscernible: an object can function as the symptom (of a repressed desire) and almost simultaneously as a fetish (embodying the belief which we officially renounce). For instance, a relic of the dead person, a piece of his/her clothing, can function as a fetish (in it, the dead person magically continues to live) and as a symptom (the disturbing detail that brings to mind his/her death)"
So I heard a story that del Toro was originally slated to direct the live action Evangelion movie and when that fell through he took some of the ideas and made Pacific Rim. Kind of like how Blomkampf made District 9 after the Halo movie fell apart.
Yes I'm excited.
I'd like to leave a word of thanks in this thread to the person or people (I apologize for my bad memory; I cannot remember who it was) who recommended Daft Punk's new album. I just bought it today and I'm loving every second of it. This is absolutely brilliant.
@MF: I do read a lot of your posts the whole way through. That last one, however was a bit of a challenge. I read down until you began discussing black metal and then stopped (not out of distaste for the music, but lack of endurance). I think your posts are very well thought out and well written. I definitely enjoyed reading the first portion of this last one, discussing rock and drone. I agree that rock is best appreciated when zero relaxation is involved. Tension and excitement should be the main focus. If I ever have the time and willingness to do so, I will read that other guy's livejournal posts as well.