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A Darkening World

May. 1st, 2014 | 06:15 pm

There were dark places in the woods across the road from where I grew up, under damp sienna and umber coloured leaves, in hollow trees, by the black ponds where no one went, but these were living darknesses, full of unseen life, populated by a churning mix of beetles and worms and insects cycling and recycling dead plant matter in a cool loom of fertility. But the days were still bright surrounding the woods, and I wonder now when the darkness began to overtake the light. In all honesty it's been along time coming. I studied the Holocaust, and the war in Vietnam. I studied antarctic exploration and finally feminism. I thought studying these things would equip me with the tools to fight the darkness, but darkness seems overwhelming. it is no longer this or that unlivable horror, separated by time and space - these Montreals, these Breslans - but a darkness closing in, an undeclared war, a blanket of unbroken sorrow and death.

Whenever I take photographs or videos now, no matter how bright and pleasant the day seems, when I look at them, the don't seem true until they have the look of something destroyed.

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Edward Artemiev and the Sochi Opening Ceremonies

Feb. 8th, 2014 | 10:13 am

Ha! Was happy that the opening ceremony in Sochi used Edward Artemiev's music a couple times at pretty dramatic moments, but especially the theme music from Stalker in an oddly quiet and introspective moment with imagery reminiscent of Solaris just before the end. The only other mention of the Stalker passage online is here as of yet.
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Favourite Releases of 2013

Dec. 31st, 2013 | 01:08 pm

Altar of Plagues - Teethed Glory & Injury (God Alone) (Burnt Year) This deconstruction/reconstruction of genres deservedly won the 2013 Last Rites.
Caladan Brood - Echoes of Battle (To Walk the Ashes of Old Empires) (Wild Autumn Wind) Can't wait to see where this band goes.
Summoning - Old Mornings Dawn (The White Tower) (With Fire and Sword, bonus track). The wait was worth it.
Karen Peris - Violet (Sweet William) (Wales Because the Sun Would Shine)
Light Bearer - Silver Tongue   (Matriarch)
Preterite - From the Wells (Broken Sea)
Deafheaven - Sunbather (Vertigo)
Sun Devoured Earth - A Static Life (Depersonalization)
Thy Light - No Morrow Shall Dawn (Wanderer of Solitude)
Lorna - Heart of Wire
Jachna/Buhl - Tapes (Live)
Julie Holter - Loud City Song (Hello Stranger)
Wintercult - The Last Winter (La Tristesse Durera Toujours)
And of course Tim Hecker's Virgins

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Altar of Plagues

Sep. 5th, 2013 | 07:15 pm

In one month Altar of Plagues, the influential Irish black metal band, will play their last concert. This is a group that in barely 8 years, three full lengh releases and a few eps, managed to define a new direction in extreme metal, and came to be associated, purely by subject and sound, with Cascadian Black Metal - along with actual Cascadian based bands like Ash Borer, Wolves in the Throne Room, Skagos et al. Altar of Plagues output culminated in this year's startling, unforgiving Teethed Glory and Injury. Influenced by multiple genres - post-rock, black metal, electronic, grindcore, even punk - but defined by none, this final release has been recieved with confusion by some critcs. While all admit it's originality, it's uncompromising vision, some are unable to come to terms with the sheer tonal and aural range of the overall package.

Here's Burnt Year from Teethed Glory and Injury. It has to be some kind of short, sharp masterpiece.

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Movies in IMDB's top 250 I Really Can't Stand for One Reason or Another

Aug. 8th, 2013 | 06:03 pm

Of course, this list doesn't include films I don't think should be anywhere near the top 250. Maybe I'll do a top film list of my own. If anyone really cares, I'm willing to say why I hated any individual film.

The Godfather
The Godfather II
The Dark Knight
Forrest Gump
Raiders of the Lost Ark
American History X
Saving Private Ryan
Back to the Future
Life is Beautiful
The Departed
Django Unchained
The Dark Knight Rises
American Beauty
The Green Mile
Toy Story 3
The Prestige
Reservoir Dogs
Cinema Paradiso
The Lion King
Star Wars Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Die Hard
Toy Story
Gran Torino
Good Will Hunting
Sin City
The Thing
The Wizard of Oz
Hotel Rwanda
Gone With the Wind
The Grapes of Wrath
Annie Hall
Into the Wild
There Will Be Blood
The Terminator
Million Dollar Baby
The King's Speech
Groundhog Day
A Beautiful Mind
The Princess Bride
Life of Pi
Monsters, Inc
The Truman Show
Jurassic Park
The Artist
District 9
Rain Man
Mystic River
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Lost in Austen

Jun. 20th, 2013 | 10:15 am

Finally watched this, and while I liked the acting and characterizations of all the main players, the story itself was bloody boring. More interesting would have been Lizzie's adventures in London, because Amanda just wasn't motivated in the same way. A longing backward glance isn't a life. 4 out of 10.

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The Next Doctor

Jun. 8th, 2013 | 12:08 pm

The next doctor should be female and / or a person of colour, absolutely, I really want that, and I want to add my voice to the chorus. The woman who is currently the doctor's companion is actually perfect for the role, and Jenna Louise Coleman was a welcome change after the Amy/Rory duo became sluggish and enervating starting around 6 episodes into their tenture. I like Matt Smith's doctor well enough, but I'm not sad to see him go either. Clara, however - Clara is cool.

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All I See Are Trees

May. 9th, 2013 | 05:11 pm

Here's yet another piece of music designed to make you sleep. The original tracks were recorded to tape on an SK-1 that was circuit bent very early on - late in 1986, at the start of winter, I took it apart and began modifying it - a project that lasted a couple years. I even used an old Atari 800XL to generate some of the samples in other pieces. Of course, the old tape tracks have been upsampled and anti-aliased and otherwise altered, but the underlying train track from The Canadian 2 somewhere between Winnipeg in Manitoba and Hornepayne in northern Ontario has had only light equalization applied to it. This is aural melatonin.

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I hate cars

Apr. 27th, 2013 | 08:45 am

I've never owned a car, driven one, or even wanted one. Sometimes I forget how much I hate cars, but then I step out onto the sidewalk, and the horror of the personal automobile confronts me like a deadly river of hopped up metal.

I hate cars generally, and car culture, and they are expensive, they pollute, they are an addiction, people shelter themselves in cars from other people, they live a different reality with cars than without. They have changed the way the world is, the way cities and countries work. The landscape gives in around them, it accepts the grid, the bold lines like magic marker across our ideas of space. Cars are one big step toward the lie that splits us into the public and the personal - the creator of suburbia and all the horror that entails. Cars are not an extension of any body, they are truncation of the body, an injury. To speak of life before the personal automobile is like speaking of food before Monsanto, but no one wants to make the comparison. I don't need to be driven over by a car to hate them, though cars drive over lots of people every day.

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Day One - A Poisoned Apple

Apr. 3rd, 2013 | 11:53 am

A poisoned apple? An apple of the same sort from the same store made me ill before, and I surmised last night as I felt so ill that I missed my train - there must be some lesson to take from it. Eat better, wash thoroughly what you eat, avoid food that has too much pesticide in it. Nevertheless, I will catch up with the train tonight in Edmonton - an adventure of sorts already. The taxi driver was pleasant, and we chatted about the Times of India Bollywood awards on the way to the airport, our favourite Bollywood films, and the fact that no one ever gets used to Vancouver weather. His two children are in university, he is happy here.

I'm taking the train from Vancouver to Kitchener to visit family and friends, and I'll be updating this as much as I can between today and when I return. There may even be pictures!

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