Friday, December 02, 2005

Impulse! John Coltrane

I tossed and turned all night trying to figure out what was missing from yesterdays Impulse! post. Then I had a dream, A lone train churning through the dark city, snow falling, steam twisting and turning upwards to the heavens, backlit by the moonlight. I woke with a start and slammed a record on the player, immediately the room was doused with a shower of sound. John Coltrane.
You can't talk about Impulse! without respecting John Coltrane. He recorded almost 30 albums (live and studio) between 1960 and 67, with Impulse! as it was the perfect platform for launching his sonic experimentations, perfect for spreading his mighty wings and creating some of the most innovative and memorable jazz music of the century. Here are two of my favorite Impulse! releases, enjoy

The John Coltrane Quartet - The Complete Africa/Brass Sessions
Disc 1
Disc 2

John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Wow, looked up Impulse! on google images and this is a picture I found, sold.
Impulse is a heavy label, amazing Jazz label, an experimental label. Some of the great boundary pushers, mad scientists and artistic geniuses dropped their best stuff with the orange and ebony. That is why it makes perfect sense to let some of the best producers and mixologists try their hand at reworking the masters. Honestly I was initially hesitant at picking up this album. I had escaped from work for an hour and cruised over to the best record store in Toronto "Soundscapes" to see Dr. Jason Cop (musicologist) and what he had in the way of new goods. Unfortunately he wasn't there so I found this on my own volition, and I stalled, remembering the great idea but weak delivery of the Verve Remix collection. This album is entirely different.

Impulsive! - Revolutionary Jazz Reworked
Instead of cheesy downtempo house tracks, this offers true interpretations from creative artists. The RZA and Kid Koala's tracks alone are worth the sale. RZA lays down one of the most inspiring Hip-hop beats I've heard, of a Charlie Mingus track, although his ADD gets the better of him as the song abruptly changes direction by the end. Kid Koala's wiggles and worms Yusef Lateef's haunting flute, Koala is literally using his turntable as an instrument on this one, not satisfied with merely sampling he turns these loops into melodies entirely his own.

Impulsive! - Unmixed
Of course the unmixed version of these tracks is untouchable, listening to the remix and original back to back is obviously very cool for you audiophiles out there.

On the subject of innovative jazz, check out this little gem. Compliments of the generous Lord Blak, who graciously hooked me up to the link. I don't know too much about this record I'm listening to it as we speak, so far solid. Sound Directions is basically Yesterday's New Quintet produced by Madlib. Man what a good sound, if you know Madlib, it's exactly what you'd expect to hear if he got his hands on a live band.

I'll Make Him an Offer He Can't Refuse - The Paperboy Mafia

The first two NES games that I wrote about focused on facing an immeasurably large threat with a large arsenal of weapons and basically blowing the shit out of everything on the screen. However, although this always has been, and always will be, a significant video-game genre, there are games that don’t revel in the murder of others. By the time 1989 rolled around, I was a little bit older, and my eleven year old mind was willing to stretch a little bit. Batman and Dead Calm were both released and Nicole Kidman had replaced Uma Thurman as the dreamgirl that was actually 15 years older than me. Looking back at 1989 there were a whole whack of great movies released: Back to the Future II, Heathers (Winona Ryder was another late 80s dreamgirl), Glory, How to Get Ahead in Advertising, Indian Jones and the Last Crusade, etc… However, Frank Steel didn’t see many movies in 1989; he spent his days, and nights, delivering papers. [Editor’s Note: Either I am a moron or there just aren’t that many images of Paperboy on the internet (a horrible tragedy), a lot of the images shown below are from I-Mockery’s hilarious review of a mod of Paperboy called Knifeboy (which you can read here). If you think you see a bloody knife in the screenshot, you are not crazy, but please, for my sake pretend that they are newspapers.]

Paperboy really has to be one of the worst video game concepts in history. While it is easy to understand the desire to be a super-human killing machine, the desire to be a paperboy is pretty much the equivalent of wanting to work at McDonalds – it’s just something that you have to do. Since I lived in the middle of nowhere I never got to be a paperboy, so I decided that I needed to build character and started going to work.

You know who isn't in the paper enough? Paperboys!

The premise for Paperboy seems simple but when you really start to look at what is going on, things are much more complicated. You are the paperboy, you must deliver papers to the houses that have subscriptions, you must not fall over, you must destroy the houses of the people that don’t have subscriptions [this is the weird one, because this is what you end up spending all of your time doing], you must cross the street… if at the end of the day you have failed to deliver the paper to a subscriber they will cancel their subscription, which seems reasonable. If you successfully delivered all the papers and then trashed enough houses your extortion works and one of the terrified house owners decides they have been bullied enough and succumb to your fascist paper delivery service (the true purpose of the game).

You think your big time? Your gonna die big time!

Once you stop looking at the game through the eyes of the paperboy, the whole game changes. You begin to understand the fear that these people have about this rogue paperboy and his entire paper-delivering operation. The paperboy is so evil that he will even defile the graves of loved ones if you don’t pay up (admittedly it is bizarre to bury loved ones on the front lawn, but who are you to judge). In order to rid themselves of this monstrous paperboy, the terrified neighborhood have set up several traps that are designed to knock him off of his bike.

It is very fortunate that a swift paper to the face stops dogs... and humans.

This dog has not been fed in weeks… it is ravenous and has been injected with rabies. Diabolically, it is set on a remote control leash which releases when the person in the house sees the paperboy on his route of destruction. Luckily for you (as the paperboy), one solid sock in the head from a paper freezes the dog in time and you are able to continue on your rampage.

Drugged-up Hippies... not on my street!

The breakdancing guy isn’t part of the neighborhood; he is just a jerk on ecstasy that thinks that it is still time to party and doesn’t understand that some people need their papers delivered on time. For showing this idiot whose boss and hitting him on the head with a paper you get bonus points. Much like the mob, although the paperboy forces you to pay for his services, he gives you a world without drug-crazed breakdancing hippies.

Even though he was born blue, Billy was the only one on the street with a Big Wheels... and he was happy damnit.

However, these two “kids” are in fact hired midget mercenaries that the townspeople have hired with the last of their paychecks in order to kill the paperboy. The situation depicted above is especially tricky as the skateboarding mercenary and the Hot-Wheels mercenary converge on the paperboy in a classic maneuver called “the pinch”. Although in the photo above the paperboy was stopped that is sadly a rare occurrence. When I control this paperboy, he is one rad bike rider, and he generally happily slaps papers in both of their faces before standing up and yelling to the crowd of townspeople: “You tell me you have no money, and then you hire some crazy midget mercenaries to kill me. What am I supposed to think?”

This lady is mad as hell, and isn't going to take it anymore!

The roller-pin lady is sadly one person that has been pushed too far… while everyone else is cowering in their manholes (which is a nice strategy, they can be hard to avoid), she comes right out of the house in her bathrobe and tries to single handedly stop the menacing paperboy. Unfortunately for all of humanity, this paperboy is quick with his papers and after a swift knock on the head; the roller-pin lady is also frozen in time (at least until tomorrow morning).

Where do they get their wonderful toys?

Even once you have finished the level, you have to deal with this crazy eccentric guy driving some weird motorbike/car contraption… and worst of all – papers are useless against him. I think he is a cop, and as every good criminal knows – it is best to run from a cop!

It is probably best to deliver Death's papers in a punctual manner.

Perhaps it is because you are defiling graves, but every once in a while Death himself comes to get the paperboy. He is one bad ass mofo, and it is probably best to avoid him. Now the presence of death does put a bit of a wrench in my interpretation of Paperboy as the grooming of a mafia kingpin, but it does open it up to another interpretation. Maybe Paperboy is Hell for an evil media baron – forever toiling away to take over one lousy neighborhood, only to discover that stupid hippie breakdancers will stop them from ever achieving their goals. Or maybe, I’m thinking about this far harder than the game designer ever did… and really, maybe in the end, I just need my games to be violent even if they aren't supposd to be.

You don't want papers - we'll just see if your family can rest in peace!

Anyways, here is an amazing TV ad for Paperboy from 1989 – check it [FYI for some reason this link didn’t work for me using Firefox]. And here is the kick ass Paperboy theme song… enjoy.

The Quest for Bush

Ok, so this might bore most of you, except for the three Texans fans that are watching this hunt as closely as I am. Reggie Bush is amazing, I know that but do you? Check out this footage of him in highschool it will blow you away. This kid is like those punching bag clowns, you can hit him in any direction but he won't go down. Watch him, he runs at defenders, he makes them run into each other, he runs backwards and somehow ends up 20 yards in front, and he's just damn fast. It's like those Smallville episodes where young superman plays football. You'll have to register on the NY Times Website, but it's free and worth it.
Reggie Bush in Highschool

don't worry he'll get out of this tackle

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Lost albums of 1998

Lets go way back to the late 90's, for me living in Montreal, eating poutine, drinking Torreador 40's, and late nights on St. Laurent. For you? Who knows. I remember Montreal was in love with trip-hop, DJ's, and all things electronica and so was I. These are three albums from that era that still blow me away today. All three have a richly developed atmosphere, dark and beautiful. All three have haunting vocals, over solid beats; D n' B, breaks and jungle thrive throughout. All three I've owned at one time and have disappeared through constant lending. So if anyone else has felt the pain of losing an album let me know, maybe I have it.

Massive Attack - Mezzanine

Lamb - Lamb

Bjork - Homogenic

The Urban Hunter: Special Edition

I feel it is my duty today to warn all of my loyal readers of a serious issue with the squirrel population.

I was out practicing my squirrel fishing technique with some fresh macadamia nuts and my S&W Magnum when the fishing line I was using snapped back at me after being sliced in half. Not only had it been cut but it was smoking… it was then that I knew I wasn’t just dealing with squirrels anymore. So I decided to get out of there and get to the safety of some underbrush. From there I was hidden from the squirrels but still close enough that I could observe them and find out what was going on.

Unfortunately I didn’t leave the house prepared for what happened next. I had only brought along my Magnum and a few Model 36 Mills Bomb Hand Grenades because I was just planning on a quiet afternoon of squirrel fishing. So after sitting in the under brush for about 5 beers time, the squirrels came down from the tree, scoped the area for a bit, and then pulled out miniature light sabers! I had never seen this before… so I whipped out my camera to take a picture before getting out of there to head home and get some more ammo.

Unfortunately, the flash went off which caused what I can only guess to be rage blackouts for the squirrels, because they turned and flew at me with their light sabers. Luckily I had brought along a few hand grenades because I was able to explode one in the air as the squirrels flew towards my head. This took care of those ones, but the explosion brought out more light saber squirrels from every tree in the park. This is when I panicked and started throwing grenades everywhere as I ran out of there. Unfortunately I didn’t make it out without first getting a few light saber slashes on my forearms. I’m not proud of my reaction, but if you were there you would understand.

Careful squirrel hunting!

Dean Hardcore

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Loop Digga

Madlib makes strange beats, about as far away from the mainstream as you can get without going crazy. It's obvious to me that his brain is a jazz archive over a million albums deep, seriously he would kill on Jazz Jeoprady. Here are 2 albums which highlight three of his many Hip Hop skills; Rhyming, Producing and Mixing.
When Quasimoto came out I was driving across Canada shooting a surf documentary. We must have played the album 100 times over, as we drove through the massive old hardwoods of Vancouver Island on the way to the rocky beaches, it's engrained in my mind. I digress, truly a unique hip-hop album. Lazy, jazzy beats drift out of the headphones and wrap your brain in an aural atmosphere, while Madlib comes at you double time with his own voice and his "protege" Quasimoto laying down the rhymes. Fascinating stuff.

Quasimoto - The Unseen

"Blunted in the Bomb Shelter" is a 40+ track continuous mixtape of Trojan's reggae and dub catalogue. Similar in concept to the later released "Shades of Blue" (in which Madlib had access to Bluenotes entire record library) Madlib locked himself in the bomb shelter (his studio) and as the title suggests got blunted. So obviously this is a killer chillout mix, enjoy it with headphones on a sunny, Sunday afternoon.

Madlib - Blunted in the Bomb Shelter

J-E-T- I feel sick...

Yes I have been neglecting to write any commentary on my beloved Jets, I'm not the only one (New York Jets homepage reviews the league now instead of just the Jets) and I swear it's not for lack of trying. Watching a Jets game has become a lot like binge drinking until you puke, follow me? I sit there for the first five minutes of the game with a slight sense of exhilaration (it is a football game after all), this quickly comes to an abrupt and sudden end as the Jets do their traditional three-and-out play, or when faced with the otherside of the field, their patented disintegration dance. Suddenly I feel empty, and actually start to drink in real life. The game goes on and I'm reaching for anything that will make me blind, deaf and happy. Ah yes but this is an analogy, the point of the comparison is that after a Jets game it takes at least 2 days to lose the headache, get the taste of barf out of my mouth, and start eating solid food.

Although I hate this "Major League"-esque scenario of losing to gain, there is something exciting about looking forward to Reggie Bush, perhaps it's his phenom status or just an interesting distraction, but I'm starting to root for this move. If only the Texans could win! To see exactly what has to go down to have a chance of locking in Reggie, read this. Of course this will only work provided that Curtis Martin turns into Mr T. and fights crime next year.

This is interesting, 2 Jets fans stabbed by another Jets fan at a home game, does it get any worse than this? Depressing.

With Bollinger officially proving that he is mediocre, these rumors of TE Doug Jolley getting a shot at the helm are exciting. Imagine the Jets with a tough QB? HAHAHAHA, no really.
A final note for all Saints and Jets fans... Wasn't it nice to watch a football game in which you team isn't hopelessly outmatched? Wasn't it great to see an "Offence" and at times a "Defense"? If I was commissioner I would adjust the schedule to allow for New Orleans and New York to play only each other for the rest of the year. C'mon, it's not hurting anybody, and the kids will have fun.TICKLE FIGHT!

Ain't Nothing Open but Legs

The Craptors have continued to lose in heartbreaking fashion since my last post. I can’t go into too much detail because it is too painful to relive all of those horrible endings. Last night there were some very positive things that happened, the most significant being that Jalen Rose didn’t start or end the game!

I have a love/hate relationship with Jalen. Up until the game started I was applauding Jalen for this amazing quote: "By the time we got [to Detroit], it was almost two in the morning, because ain't nothing open but hospitals, jails, and legs." But when I saw that he was not in the starting backcourt, I smiled and cheered Sam Mitchell’s decision. I think he did a good job coming off the bench and providing instant offense on both ends of the court. All we need now is Charlie V to start instead of Hoffa and we will have our best lineup on the court at the beginning of the game (a truly novel concept).

Chris Bosh continued his development into one of the top players in the NBA. Only six players are averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a game… the other five are: Elton Brand, Tim Duncan, KG, Jermaine O’Neal, and Antawn Jamison. And he is 21 years old! I know what everybody is thinking… he will leave the Raptors as soon as he can, but I think they are missing a key piece of information. He looks like a raptor:

Eerie Similarilty

The final Raptors comment I have is that Sam Mitchell is absolutely insane to switch on all screens no matter what. Dirk Nowitski went off last night because he was shooting over people that were, quite literally in Mike James case, a foot shorter than him. I don’t care if Mike James is absolutely tenacious – that is an uncontested shot by one of the better shooters in the NBA. And that my friends is the definition of BAD COACHING!

No NBA post from Frank Steel is complete without a Ron Artest update.

Now for something completely different… Frank Steel’s favourite player in the NBA Ron Artest listened to the Beastie Boys and “Got [His] Hair Cut Correct Like Anthony Mason.”

The genius behind that haircut is staggering. While we are on a Ron Artest kick, check here for some more hilarity. And if someone wants to buy Frank Steel a Christmas present, check this!

No comment necessary - love this photo.

Long live Ron Ron!!!

Ron Artest loves white supermodels.

UPDATE: I just saw these commercials/websites for NBA 06 - they are hilarious... you have to check out the Billy Joe Cuthbert section.

Which is the Prettiest Fish?

Gold Gourami

Opaline Gourami

Paradise Fish