Posts by Alec Rojas

Explore the sound and space of ‘Proteus’


No text. No rules. No enemies. No multiplayer. No time limit. No expectations. No reward. Proteus isn’t your normal videogame.

A 16-bit, 90MB monolith made over the past year, Proteus puts a player on a randomly generated terrain which contains aural cues, so the soundtrack changes as you interact with the land, or, well, simply walk through it. There might be a way to win if you want to find it.

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“Full Of Fire”, A New Music Video by The Knife

The Knife - Full of Fire

The Knife - Full of Fire

The Knife - Full of Fire

It only makes sense that The Knife will go all out in an intoxicating, slightly NSFW nine minute video. I mean, it’s only been since 2006. So by revealing that their next full length Shaking the Habitual will be a 98 minute, triple-LP (with a track called “Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized” that breaks the 19 minute barrier) and a European tour with twenty stops, 2013 has proved active for the band/sibling duo. With seven years since their last release, Silent Shout, the detail-obsessed, twisted-identities of Karin and Olof have been synthesized into this eccentric, focused short film by Marit Östberg.

Drums stumble like dominoes as Karin Dreijer hauntingly coos during the first few minutes. As the melodies ascend up note by note, the percussion builds into some heavy beast as Östberg explores the mundane hugs, long stares, sexual energy and broken glass of different peoples lives. The aggressive second half, something partially as diabolical as Richard D. James not giving a fuck, delves into a head banging, percussive beat. As the protest gets shut down and the crowd scatters, the beat remains relentless, weird tweak and, well, confusingly hypnotic. But to warned: pisses are taken, leather straps utilized, and stories entwine towards the end pf the track as the rhythm becomes self-conscious. A no shits given given attitude. A rowdy, engaging, creepy piece of music to start February.

‘Don’t Look Back’ by Miguel


If 2012 was the year Los Angeles reinstated itself as a center for R&B and hip hop, the L.A. native Miguel might be the overlooked megastar (an oxymoron, but accurate one) waiting in the wings. While Adorn has hit the LA radio waves in full force, the deliberate sexuality and sweeping musical references throughout his second release, Kaleidoscope Dream, show an artist with a larger repertoire than expected. Don’t Look Back, one of the finer cuts on the record, is peppered with such references. The melody recalls the Beatles And I Love Her, the outro calls from Time of the Season. His falsetto dips in and out as he croons about, on the surface, a predatory love. Twilight lovers could have a field day with the lyrics. Yet it is about a love of the night life, requesting freedom to prowl and enjoy the dark without regrets. In an album filled with fresh takes of R&B, these classic references only reveal this stars ascendancy.

Gaming: The Gourmet Way

Gourmet Gaming

Gourmet Gaming

Contrary to popular belief, not all gamers consume hot pockets and never leave their parents basement. Proper fuel is needed for gaming. After all, a promised reward is a fictious motivator. With the proliferation of food and cosplay, it would only make sense to bring the food from the screen into reality. So leave it to the creative crew at Gourmet Gaming to bring the fantasy to life. They dare you to sip the potion from Amnesia: The Dark Descent. But did you ever want to chug a health potion from Diablo? Or try your Pokemon‘s favorite Poffin? With recipes abound, shake things up for your next LAN party. Just remember: The Cake is a Lie.

Portal Cake

‘Kneel Before Religious Icons’ by Vatican Shadow

Vatican Shadow

Say what you will about electronic music, but in 2012 EDM emerged as THE style of mainstream pop. Boy bands, rappers, divas and DJs have whipped the world into one nation under a groove. We’re all just dancing along, somehow.

Fortunately that means there is ample room for growth and rebirth of genres on the fringes of the genre. Dominick Fernow remains one of those music makers that takes steps away from conventional electronica, as evidenced in his new project Vatican Shadow. Also known as the widely prolific noise rock/industrial “band” Prurient AND as a member of Cold Cave, his trademark feedback-enriched sounds and industrial grooves dominate this project. This EP, Kneel Before Religious Icons, churns and slogs through industrial, almost Gothic rhythms. Each track has been purified and muddied via cassette, allowing additional layering and distortion. The repetition to grind away the initial rhythms and minimal (if any) melodies. This deconstruction of melodies into drones and then into mere echoes, crawling under your skin, are elusive and enchanting all at once.

There and Back Again – A Review of ‘The Hobbit’

The Hobbit

After almost too many years of waiting, the audience finally gets what it wants. The nerd/geek fantasy first came to life to the tune of billions of dollars of revenue and endless DVD sets, each claiming to be more essential, more complete, more fulfilling than the last. 9 years after snagging 11 Oscars at the 74th Academy Awards for its grand finale, The Lord of the Rings receives the beginning of the prequel that started it all: The Hobbit, elongated and trifurcated for our viewing pleasure.

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RIP Austin Peralta

Austin Peralta

Austin Peralta, son of Stacy Peralta, passed away at the age of 22 last week. Peralta’s star was on the ascent with several full lengths and innumerable live performances. Even his collaborations at such a tender age were the stuff of jazz dreams. Chick Corea, Robert Glasper, Flea and Frank Ocean have all paid their tributes and now is our time as well.

Last year on the site we celebrated his Brainfeeder release Endless Planets. In February 2011 I took my then-girlfriend, a classically trained piano player, and some of my closest friends to the album release party in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles. It was a true Brainfeeder party, a motley assortment of LA’s young weirdos and music-obsessed. You can listen to that concert in its entirety in the Soundcloud player above. It contains his hallmarks: untamed expressiveness and music theory hung, drawn, and quartered. After the concert me and the lady had a conversation.

“I don’t get it.” She said.
“What do you mean?”
“He plays out of rhythm, out of the key, changes tempos. I was never taught to do anything like that.”
“But it makes sense, right? Even when he is off the deep end, he’s still in the water.”
“Yes it makes sense.”
“That’s jazz, B. It’s not supposed to make sense until it has to, wants to, or simply does. And even then, you have to trust it will find a resolution, like all music.”

Maybe that was Peralta’s biggest gift: his technical prowess and theoretical mind were soldered into his motherboard like few other musicians. Some guys have the chops, others have the theory. He had both. His modal recognition (in simple terms, playing different scales with the musical key) on the keyboard made sense into nonsense and back again. He could collaborate with anybody, from Flying Lotus to Teebs to the jazz greats, an essential link to the past and future of jazz. This is what we are missing. This is what we will miss.

‘Take This Up’ by Star Slinger


In the UK, Darren Williams isn’t just a producer, a music student, or just a scruffy Mancunian. Also known as Star Slinger, his brand of UK bass/house/future garage has set the model for dance music this year. Toss in the Jet Jam party scene (an audio/visual expansion of this club party) with his fresh exciting remixes and you get some of the best party music for today’s youth.

Take This Up was the precursor for the Jet Jam parties that popped up during his current U.S. tour. I went to the one at the Echo and it was a gully-as-hell trap party with these 2-step vibes. Take This Up is no different, as the sample gets squashed to hell, restarted at an almost manic pace and chopped to pieces into a speedy, seizure-dancing beat. Not as bass-heavy as most other tracks, it’s a hip hop dance floor banger for 2013.

‘Kid Icarus (Little Jam)’ by itsnotyouitsme


As much ambient and shoegaze rock as pastoral pop, itsnotyouitsme has been a hidden favorite in the realm of new classical and electronic ambient. The genres overlap so beautifully (maybe it’s the “glacier rock” movement that started it all, or the efforts of Philip Glass and Brian Eno that planted the first seeds) that it is hard to ascribe itsnotyouitsme’s sound to a specific spot. The Harlem-based duo of Caleb Burnhans and Gary Mcmurray take the best from both worlds – string instrument chops, meticulous looping and effects – to create an otherworldy reflection of chamber music.

Kid Icarus (Little Jam) is from the much beloved 2010 album fallen monuments. The album was recorded entirely live but one could never tell. The string melodies fall on top of each other, sequenced and improvised together with enough distance to hear the phrasing. Yet it is mixed enough to feel like each new string line is an inevitable conclusion, a relaxing, thoughtful conclusion.

‘Carry Me Back’ by Old Crow Medicine Show

Old Crow Medicine Show

Morphing into folk, bluegrass, country, western, or even the blues, “Americana” takes much from it’s environment and the instruments that populate it. In that regard, the native Appalachians of Old Crow Medicine Show, one of the best live acts in the country, are as much punk as they are country and old-time music. The band are real DIY-ers: they got their start busking in Nashville over a decade ago, like the medicine shows at the turn of the 20th century. This is a 21st century take on that classic music. If anything, Old Crow Medicine Show charge their music with veiled political references, foot-stomping rhythms, and corn liquor. In other words, all the good stuff.

As a tribute to one of the hotly contested states in this years election, Carry Me Back seems like a classic from the old-time string bands, extolling the excellence of Virginia. Based off the old Virginia state song, Carry Me Back to Old Virginny, it tells the story of a young man filled with pride to fight in the Civil War and the accompanying false nationalism. But by the end it is a staunch anti-war song – dead horses, starvation in prison camps, and bayonets can’t shake the love of country and home. Carry Me Back isn’t just a faced paced hoe-down but exalts the love of country and home – that America is for you and me.