25Jan2017 1800: 2017 Overture
We've got a very musical week here on the Monthenorium! First and most importantly, the new Neil Cicerega album Mouth Moods dropped late Monday and set my Twitter feed on fire. If you can survive the first sixty seconds, you can survive the next four years. At its core it plays to all the strengths of his debut album Mouth Sounds. He's dedicated to the ideal of smashing Internet song memes into your mouth, revisiting songs and samples in myriad combinations, but Mouth Moods is the most technically proficient outing so far. Billed as a sequel to Mouth Sounds and prequel to Mouth Silence -- and presaging a 2018 reboot as The Mouth Sounds -- Mouth Moods reaches deep into the viscera of Eye of the Tiger and extracts a new narrative; dares to envision a future where 300MB should be enough for anybody; and gives a solid effort at making Wonderwall a dance tune. Let us all come together for one week and marvel at this album and then drop it and move on to other things. This is the way of the Internet.
My Ednaswap CD arrived -- yes, a physical CD, because figuratively nobody has the mp3 rights and I don't like queueing up a pirate playlist at work. You don't lose much on YouTube in this case. Mid-90s guitar distortion is just as effective at any bitrate. But given that I may never talk about the originators of Torn again, I want to drop this last wiki link to lead singer Anne Preven. She appears to have pivoted nicely into a song/ghost-writer role and is still writing tunes with guitarist Scott Cutler. Two months ago I knew none of this!
Finally, uh...I'll just leave this here. Probably don't watch with little kids around? Even though little kids are involved?
18Jan2017 1830: Into the Future
Here we go into the future. This week may be our last week with the Internet, so I want to say it's been an honor yelling about music to you for the past eleven(!) years. I mean. I'm a straight white middle-class American male; there's no such thing as a bad year for me. I went into work this morning and my boss informed me I had over-reported my vacation time for 2016. Here: have these seven hours of vacation back. I could slip on my driveway and fall into a pizza. I'll be fine.
How are you?
11Jan2017 1915: AGDQ
Everybody out there with a second screen should be watching Awesome Games Done Quick, a biannual festival of memorization and reflex. The best of the best gather to display their skill with popular entertainment, a digital Cirque du Soleil. And if you missed somebody destroying one of your favorite games, the YouTube archive has you covered!
So let's talk about the Bobiverse. It is a silly book, exploring the concept of the Von Neumann probe in much the same way The Man Who Folded Himself explored time travel. The novel starts with a Bob and branches out across space and time until The Bobs are running the joint...probably? Because the book also ends abruptly, almost in mid-thought, before resolving any of its many mysteries. It is a wonderful breezy introduction into the Bobiverse to come but does not stand on its own. The point-of-view chapters and malleable timeline lend it a fractured air that could have ended at several points, but the current text feels like the author forgot to paste the last two chapters into the document he uploaded to the printer.
And whooooo this weekend is the Aether Revolt prerelease! The Age of Sail steampunk India setting has been a blast, a technicolored romp with no frowns allowed and frigging cat-monkeys. The holiday weekend means I might have time for a double-feature of gloriously ornate doodads.
04Jan2017 1830: Increasing in Pitch and Tenor
Oh hey hi happy new year everybody. It's already January, a bright snowy light after a December given over to flu and travel. Did you all start your year with positivity and light? Because I was going to make a nice post about the promise that lies ahead and all the cool things I did over break but god damn look at what showed up in the mail today
and I am unreasonably, unconscionably angry. There is a scream in my mind that began when I laid eyes on this bag and it is increasing in volume and pitch. Menards had one shot, the first and last chance for a century in either direction, to have the year, the dates, and the discount all match up at "17". If you want a one-week sale, this is it. This is an affront to symmetry, to math, to our thrice-damned calendrical system, and to marketing. You blew it, and none of your PR team living today gets a do-over. If the accountants say you only get 15% to work with, you don't make the banner and theme "celebrating 2017". HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN AAAAAAAAAA
Understand that this company also has 11% sales at corporate whim, sometimes back-to-back, and yet somehow forgot to do that for Veteran's Day, literally the elevenest holiday there is.
The news doesn't get any better, as over the break I read through the latest Thursday Next novel, The Woman Who Died a Lot. At some point during the holiday my parents' cat peed all over my laptop bag and this book. It improved my engagement about 30%. I don't come to the Thursday Next series to not go to the Bookworld. And, while an unreliable narrator can be an interesting artistic technique, populating one's book with nothing but unreliable narrators all of whom are occasionally the same person did less than nothing for me.
There were some bright spots, too. The always-excellent Expanse series brought me Babylon's Ashes. The Expanse plan is for nine books (just like the Harry Dresden plan was for maybe twelve) and the Real Shit started last year in book 5, Nemesis Games. So now the authors are free to just get on with the business of doing Real Shit for at least four novels. Babylon's Ashes continues doing the Realest Shit with their mid-future setting and it is glorious. Well. It's a little light on Amos and Alex after the deep crew introspection of Nemesis Games, but! They're still represented and it's only in the service of casting a broader interplanetary net. I still recommend it. I recommend all six books unreservedly. You should be reading them right now!
And sitting on my table four days after learning of its existence, aching for my touch, is We Are Legion (We Are Bob) [Book 1 of the Bobiverse]. I haven't read word one, but the concept is a triumph of niche marketing and the cover is a triumph of fontwork. Let's crack this open to a random page and see what--
I found Goku already waiting at the rendezvous.
Yeah, we're going to get along just fine. Stay positive, everybody!