10Feb2016 1745: Keeeeeerbal
Oh no help me every day I'm Kerbaling until like midnight. I built a space station. Send help. Send liquid fuel.
It's a week of returning champions at the Monthenorium, as Beach Slang present another track off the same album: [Beach Slang - Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas]. As I said before, if you're dying for more mid-00s screamo you'll probably want this. Bad Art is more a straight-ahead rocker than the slow build and angst of last time.
Courtney Barnett's label is the most effective music label on the planet. [Courtney Barnett - Depreston] marks the third time she has shown up in the Free Singles; the full album is streaming on YouTube; she got the previously-mentioned mention on a webcomic I've read for years; and she's even invaded one of the podcasts I keep up on. Basically they found the most effective way to market to a guy who wants to hear a lady mumble about that one time she was house hunting in the suburbs.
I really like how descriptive the username on YouTube has become. It lets me know ahead of time whether a song is being passed around by fans, uploaded by a label, or just collated by the automated Google Music bot. [DJDS - Stand Up And Speak] shows up on BODYHIGHTV, so I was able to brace myself for repetitive dance music that tries to contain a social message.
There's a slimy ouroborous at the heart of [Sad13 X Lizzo - Basement Queens], a Free Single from Google that also promotes Google tools. That's one step of brand synergy beyond what I expect from the famously corrupt music industry. Sad13 and Lizzo made an incredibly self-referential song about good times and partying and recording in their basements. If Google Video had gotten anywhere these two would shortly be starring in a streaming-only sitcom with this as the theme song, title, and ultimate plot description.
[Aoife O'Donovan - Magic Hour] is an ominous pop song based on an echoing guitar/piano substrate, like all the radio that came around in the 60s and 90s. I think it's about love but it's not afraid to talk about skeletons and shit. And then a violin.
04Feb2016 1800: The Witness
The Witness came out. Stop all the presses. I felt certain I had typed a thousand words about The Witness last week but no -- I was merely rushing through the post to get back to playing it. So. Blow. He used all his vast Braid monies to make a monster of a game. The craft that went into every branch and rock of this game is staggering. It's set on an island that is not all that large in absolute terms, but the tightly-controlled sightlines and impossibly-dense biomes fill it with mystery. You can stand inside the quarter-acre of bamboo forest and see nothing of the mountain next door or the village just over the rise. A rain forest in summer abuts a forest in autumn abuts a desert and they all feel complete and expansive.
Moreover, I can't think of a game in recent memory where the raw experience of discovery is 90% of the game. Picross? But it's like sitting down with a 400-page compendium of GAMES magazine for a long winter weekend. A long weekend. I'm at 31 hours and despite seeing something that could be termed an ending I still have several hundred puzzles to go.
I'm reading too much into the game, just like you could read too much into Braid, and I think what I'm reading is that Blow hates completionists as much as I do. I've seen what it takes to get 100% and it's in the neighborhood of the infamous Idle Star. I'll do the puzzles for puzzles' sake but there will come a point that I leave The Witness and don't return and that's fine. I'm perfectly fine with games that contain content only 1% of all players experience, content that blocks access to other content, "good" endings that require "bad" completion -- I even made one, once. I want Internet rumors and myths to spring up around every cranny in the Impressionist prison he's constructed. And I keep saying "he" when in fact there's a medium-sized team of programmers and architects(!) behind the madness. When have dev teams ever hired architects? Every building is just a primitive cube stretched out, right?
Or maybe, just maybe, Jonathan Blow created a game where you draw dicks on everything and he's just taking the piss.
Google Free Music had once again not updated as of press time, despite any stoppage of presses. I've been trying to get into Chvrches lately but I can't? I also can't articulate why. I don't yet know why [Chvrches - Leave a Trace] grates on me but [Ladyhawke - Dusk Till Dawn] doesn't.