Puzzle games, for me, always seem to be on the forefront of game design. Like Bobby wrote a couple of weeks ago, sometimes game design can feel turgid, rote, and, frankly, uninspired. So many stories lack, emotional depth or attempt to put a real feeling inside you. I mean how many different times do I need to run around with a gun or hack and slash through a dungeon to get loot or save a princess?
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons feels different right off the bat. This new release on Xbox and PS3 is about two brothers looking for a lifesaving ingredient in a beautiful fairy tale world. Josef Fares, a Swedish film director, linked with Starbreeze Studios to give the game a cinematic sweep.
Catchy, vibrant, and irrepressible, “Royals” has become one of the sneaky hits of the summer. 16-year-old New Zealander Lorde released The Love Club EP earlier in the year, and this track the centerpiece. Signed as a 12-year-old, somehow “Royals” reaches a depth of societal reflection far beyond her years. The song pokes fun at the rampant love of luxuries and status symbols in modern pop culture. Coyly teasing from the sidelines, she pokes fun at the double standards of those who “show off” the Maybachs and Cristal they could never afford. All, of course, for the sake of looking cool.
Leave it to the Weeknd to kick it up a notch. Massive reverb syncs with Tesfaye’s additional vocals, taking the loungey vibe up to a snazzier, seductive level. The track escalates from the reflective roots into a echo filled banger, constantly looking back at itself. All of a sudden the music does more than complement the song. The echoes and croons create a delightful excess of musicality, revealing the budding evolution of a young singer.
I’ve been geeking out in PC gaming for the past few weeks, but one thing has me really excited. Uber’s new game Planetary Annihilation mixes strategy and world building under a cool premise. Built for OS/X and Windows, there is a general push to letting the player customize the game however they see fit. Be it small skirmishes to control a piece of land or several planets pitted against each other, the scale of battle is as large as you want. You could kick back, play offline, and destroy some planets. Or log online to join someone else’s attempt to conquer the galaxy.
To some extent 2013 can be slashed in half. Before and after Yeezus, I mean. That seems a bit audacious, right? It’s ONE record, maybe not Kanye’s most loved – although the croissants line still gets me. But if anything, like 808s & Heartbreak, it has opened the door for different producers and the darker side of dubstep, grime, and hip hop to become a part of the mainstream.
So who really made Yeezus?
From break beats getting a turntable treatment, hazy minimalism, and the blend of experimental, trap and hip hop, it’s a good time to be a fan of any type of electronic music. 2013 has provided some real gems. Remixes and mixtapes appear daily and I, for one, cannot get enough of it.
But for me, the dance track of the year is by two brothers from Surrey.
Photo by Doug Seymour
LD Brown has been around for a minute. The Brooklyn acoustic guitarist/songwriter drew attention with his affiliation with the Cinematic Orchestra and his fantastic vocal work on Bonobo’s “First Fires.” Known for his mellow, eccentric, inspired picking, he opened the former and put out his first record, Of the Days, in 2011.
Recording under the name Grey Reverend, his stripped down style simmers in our summer of sangria and spf30. With a new record due out September 2nd and an EP coming out July 29th, it’s a great time for a single. And maybe a song that hits the summer time from a different angle.
Machinedrum’s music has been around for a minute now. Experimenting in glitch and beat music for the past ten years, the dude enjoys coming in from a different angle with each record. Vapor City is his latest project. Based around an imaginary city, each track represents a different district. This first single, “Eyesdontlie,” continues his tradition of hypnotic and heavy beats.
Yet nothing like a remix to make it fly.
“In a world of monotonous horror there could be no salvation in wild dreaming.”
Richard Matheson passed away Sunday. We lost a good one. The 1958 Hugo Award winner might be one of the few people in the world to find such success in books, television, and film. At thirty-seven years old he released his first story in the long running Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he moved to California in 1951 and took to writing short stories and books.
It’s not that Kanye is back. The man hasn’t left since 2004, the year of College Dropout. Wait, that’s not right. Maybe that point was Talib’s classic track “Get By” from 2002. Wait. I think I’m wrong again. We all first met Kanye with “Izzo (H.O.V.A.) in 2001. This is the guy who bragged about doing “five beats a day for three summers.” Since we lost James Brown (RIP) he might be the hardest working man in the business. Because of him, stocks in croissants are up 500%. For real.
It’s not that Kanye’s back. It’s that different attitude, brass bull balls swinging in a brand new style. Audacious, unfiltered, and focused, Yeezus dropped on Tuesday, June 20th.
Lord Quas. The Unseen. The Bad Character. More than just Madlib’s alter-ego, Quasimoto is a rap legend. His 2000 debut The Unseen had ridiculous production and some of the funniest one liners this side of Cam’ron. His 2005 release, The Further Adventures of Lord Quas, provided fans with 26+ tracks (and some absolute bangers) to keep fans chomping at the bit. I mean, who doesn’t want to hear a sleazy alien coming down from space to hang with Madlib?
He’s a treasure of Los Angeles. In fact, even the mayor and city counsel gave him official recognition of his talents. The much anticipated, 8-years-in-waiting, Yessir Whatever definitely contains cornerstones of Madlib’s classic L.A. sound.