Politics From the Bayside and Whale Wars

I really like the band RISE AGAINST. However, I hate their support of PETA, and since they’ve enjoined their music, and their profits to PETA, I’m glad I have the ability to not pay for their music via the magic of the internet while still enjoying it.

PROTIP to punk bands out there – also METALLICA – don’t make political statements and then cry foul when people download your music instead of supporting your politics with your money. LOL, CAPITOLISMS!

Speaking of PETA, I at least respect the guy on WHALE WARS. First time he runs across a Russian whaling ship though, expect him to catch an RPG with his face. The fact that he only attacks the Japanese speaks volumes. The worst part about it is he’s taking food off the Japs plates. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sympathetic to responsible management of wildlife, but they fail it quite badly. It’s not like you go to Black Market McDonalds over in Japland and buy a whale burger. This is a land where fishing is like farming to Americans, and the Sea Sheppards really are taking food off the plates of the Japanese.

Now, I do believe they have a point where they accuse the Japanese of writing “RESEARCH” on the side of their boats instead of WHALING. However, I take this as the Japanese meme of avoiding confrontation. On that note, the captain getting shot isn’t nearly as likely as one of their “stink grenades” going off and tagging him. The fact that he’s like “OH MAH BADGE SAVED ME” just lends credence to the idea.

Furthermore the show isn’t forthright with what munitions the Steve Irwin has on board. The crew has tried to create RPGs on their own (photo gallery of expended munitions) and failed. Which is more likely: The Japanese, who are forbidden from owning firearms, shot the captain and somehow missed, or the crew of the Steve Irwin, which is a revolving door of idiots, screwed up an improvised rocket?

More on the point – which is an inappropriate show of force? The Japanese use a “sound gun” against the Steve Irwin (also embarrassing Engrish) or the Steve Irwin uses rockets and hazardous material (acid) against the Japs?

So the next bit to consider is why doesn’t the program show the whales being processed? Why doesn’t it show the rockets? The program wants to perpetuate this myth that somehow “stink bombs” are going to foul up Japanese whaling. (I would speculate if this worked, there would be footage of the Japs dumping the fouled whale meat into the sea). However, you never see the rockets, nor do you ever see whales being processed. Why? Because whales are processed below deck. While it might be unpleasant to work on a whale that stinks, any episode of Dirty Jobs is going to convince you that all dead animals stink, and there’s not much more to be done about it. Since the skin of a whale is pressure cooked to get the oil out, it’s probably thoroughly washed in seawater. A stink bomb might slow them down, but it doesn’t really hurt the Japanese. Hence the rockets.

If you wanted to make the environmental protection argument, ask the crew of the Steve Irwin why they blew the engines (and all the fuel, and all the oil and killed a sailor) into the ocean back in 1997 when they attacked the Nisshin Maru.

Coraline Soundtrack

I’ve been listening to the Coraline soundtrack. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s well worth it. Skip the 3D one, it ends up getting in the way of the plot.

The soundtrack, however, compliments the plot beautifully. Like “the other puppet movie” (The Nightmare Before Christmas), the music is well integrated. How does it stand on it’s own? Actually quite well. For one, most of the lyrics are anamanapia (which is Latin for “sounds nice, man”). The second thing which grabs you is the range and depth of the tone. The keys are well chosen, as are the instruments for texture and color. Clean instruments make up the “happy” or “whimsical” parts, while the instruments tend towards rough percussion for the less happy songs. They’re all well played, and played by hand. Expect to hear the fingers on the harp. There’s watercups thrown in there too.

The third bit of niceness is that while parts are often quoted between songs, the songs change key and use a broad, broad range. Expect to hear an obo playing at the top end of it’s range, and flutes playing at the bottom. Since woodwinds have a tendency for intubulation distortion, literally the shape of each instrument works against the instrument at the edges of it’s range, these are extremely well chosen.

Oh, the songs are nice too.

Sturgeon: It’s Like TOOL-Lite

Sturgeon’s new album, errr, only album is a free download. Can’t go wrong with free. Question is – what are you getting?

I’ve been on an American Folk kick as of late with Iron and Wine and Nickel Creek plus a few others.

Sturgeon is not American Folk music.

Sturgeon is like TOOL-lite. If you dig the mysticism in TOOL as a “must have”, then Sturgeon isn’t for you. If you like the time and key of TOOL’s music, you’ll probably like Sturgeon.

While it occasionally gets bogged down as a victim of it’s own design (guitar licks are repeated more than they should – almost like NIN) and some of the songs aren’t as well realized as others, it generally feels fresh. Lyrics generally are meaningless but then what does anyone else talk about on their first album anyway?

Iron and Wine

I love American Folk Music, especially when it’s done well. Iron and Wine is one of those where it’s close to perfect. It’s still flawed – from what I’ve heard there’s a bit much in repetition – but the potential is there. The man has a tendency to say, “This is a cool guitar lick” but then runs it over and over and over and sings to it. While not bad, the variance is in his voice, it sometimes makes the songs drag a bit. I would suggest listening to the previews on amazon.

I hate to admit it, but I heard him in the prom scene in TWILIGHT. Kelly loved it, I think it’s a cute but fairly strange Mormon fairy tale. (Protip: The vampires are the angels who chose to live among humans, the American Indians being called dogs is a slur, the rest is left as an exercise to the reader).

The song in TWILIGHT is Flightless Bird, American Mouth which isn’t his best work. Belated Promise Ring really shows off his stuff, but the band is only one guy, so he has to play all the instruments and harmonize with himself. He does have some free downloads on his site, I would suggest checking it out.

46 & 2

The Geometry of Music explores the space that music occupies. Early hints at this concept include the Flower of Life and other forms of platonic solids and Sacred Geometry. This isn’t the first time the Sacred Geometry has been used. The original use of shapes-as-sounds in formal music was found at the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland. Music was decoded from carvings which represented the form of the wave observed when sand was placed on a skin. In more modern times, TOOL has written about Sacred Geometry in their newsletter, but as with anything else mystical and esoteric, TOOL may just be tooling around.