Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Review: Beatles Love

I know, I know, another Beatles compilation. But what caught my attention this time around was that George Martin and his son were asked to remix a score for a Cirque de Soleil show. The producers were given freedom to basically mash up any track from the entire collection of released music. The result was a bit surprising, and a bit disappointing.

When hearing the premise, I thought what probably everyone else thought, "This can only be a spectacular disaster."

But upon hearing a clip, I was amazed to hear how effortlessly songs meshed together. Come Together, Dear Prudence and Cry Baby Cry are blended together as if they were always meant to be.

I purchased the album and began listening with a sense of unfamiliarity and anticipation that I hadn’t experienced with a Beatles album since skipping a class in high school and listening to Rubber Soul for the first time. (I’m a rebel, I know.)

The liner notes claimed that they restricted themselves to only the material that can be found on the final releases (except one), but I’m pretty sure that the Strawberry Fields version was from the Anthology collection, so I’m not sure how truthful their claim is.

There are some impressive technical achievements in this collection, but for the most part, I was disappointed. Most of the remixing was confined to creating smooth transitions between tracks. When the songs that were more heavily tinkered with came up, I found myself uneasy, as if mentally trying to reconstruct the songs back into their original arrangements.

In the end, this release is an interesting twist that shows how versatile and enduring the Fab Four’s music can be, but will probably fail to impact anyone other than the already die-hard fans.

Here’s what I believe is the most interesting and successful track, so judge for yourself...

Beatles - Drive My Car

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

In the iPod

Today’s Mix:

1. Cha Cha Cha - The Little Ones
2. Pretend It’s a Race and I’m on Your Side - James Figurine
3. Culture Vulture - The Librarians
4. Baby I’m Yours - Arctic Monkeys
5. A Modern Girl - Sing-Sing
6. I Turn My Camera On - Spoon
7. I Can Hear Music - The Beach Boys
8. Whoo! Alright-Yeah... Uh Huh - The Rapture
9. Warrior - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Gaming isn’t a game anymore

Video games have become such a huge market that companies are pumping billions of dollars into the production and marketing of their products. Gears of War uses cutting edge CGI in its commercials, Marlon Brando reprises his role in the Godfather video game and companies such as Toyota and Coca-cola are creating virtual products in Second Life which you actually pay for with real money.

Shrewd corporate strategies weren’t always the norm though. has a hilarious set of feature articles reminiscing about the early years of the gaming industry when no one knew what the hell they were doing, especially in advertising.

I remember seeing some of these ads when they first appeared and now wonder how I wasn’t frightened away from playing video games because of them.

Of course I wasn’t the design savvy, cerebral giant that I am today. [insert sarcasm smiley]

Check out this classic ad from 1991:

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Have-Nots

Every New Yorker wants to persuade you that the capital of consumer lifestyle can offer you anything to your heart’s desire, but I just have to scoff at that idea.

The notion of bouncing from one bodega to another on New Year’s Eve searching for bags of ice wasn’t the ideal New York experience, but that’s exactly what happened. I’d duck my head just inside the door and ask “Do you sell any ice?” only to get blank stares from the guys behind the counter.

Yeah I know that at one point in time if you wanted ice you had to carry a block five miles from the next town over, but come on guys! Aren’t we supposed to have advanced since then? Weren’t we supposed to have Mr. Fusion cars and weather control by now?

If I wanted chess pieces shaped like Lord of the Rings characters, there’s an entire street in Greenwich dedicated to that. But oh my God, ice?!

The misconception in Manhattan is that there are so many stores jammed into the streets that you can find absolutely anything. The problem is that every store carries the same damn thing.

I’m sure that everyone’s had that wild goose chase around town to find a weird, obscure item. It’s just that in New York it’s much more impossible to hunt down your 5/17” drill bit or Japan-based soy sauce.

Booze and smokes I have no problem finding.