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Archive for January, 2009

Hundertwasser Architecture Models

Posted by Scott

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My dad was a civil engineer so he would sometimes bring home project models and I loved to play around with them, but most were your basic hotel mock-ups and the like. It’s probably for the best though, if he had brought home anything like the examples above my head would have exploded. These are simply amazing. I want these under a plexi-glass bubble in the middle of my living room. Apparently they were taken from Taschen’s “Hundertwasser Architecture: For a more human architecture in harmony with nature” book. I found the pics on Doctor Casino’s flickr page where there are more details. Link

Razer Death Adder Mouse

Posted by Scott

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So I was at Best Buy the other day and I happened upon the mouse isle. I wasn’t really searching for a new mouse so much as an alternative input device (more on that later) but I remembered a few of you had recommended the Razer mice in the comments of the design mouse round-up so I thought I’d give them a shot. I played around with both the higher-priced “Lachesis” model and the “Death-Adder” (yes, only “gaming-grade” products are allowed to have names this bad). The Death-Adder felt the best in my hand so I focused in on that one. After playing around with it for a little while I liked it enough to pick one up. I think it was around $60, not cheap, but certainly not as bad as some of the Logitechs which can push the $100 mark.

Once I got it home the first thing I noticed was how light it was compared to my old Logitech which I had weighted with some quarters. I don’t know how I missed that at the shop but I was starting to think it was a deal breaker, I really like heavy mice. But as I used it I started to realize that the extreme precision of the Death-Adder more than compensated for it’s lightness. I think before I needed the weight to make up for how imprecise the Logitechs can be, in this case there was no need. The Adder floats effortlessly across my desk surface and the resolution is incredible. What I really love about this thing is the width, I don’t have to cramp my hand to hold on to it, it fills out the palm nicely.

It’s really a small issue, but this thing looks really cheap. The industrial design department over at Razer Inc. must be comprised solely of 15 year old FPS enthusiasts because this thing is damn ugly (I know it doesn’t look so bad in that pic up top, but you have to see it in person to truly appreciate it’s tackiness). And to top it off, it has a glowing blue thing in the middle of it that looks like some sort of tribal tattoo from 1998. And no jokes, it actually pulsates! WOW….I can just imagine that design meeting… Designer: “Hey, how about we take the ugliest, most tacky part of the design and then draw as much attention to it as possible by mounting a blue light underneath!” Product Manager: “Make the light pulsate and you’ve got yourself a deal.” Overall, the materials look pretty chintzy too but I guess I don’t mind since they seem to have spent the cash they saved on making this thing look good on making it work better.

As for real issues, I definitely miss Logitech’s Micro-Gear wheel and there are only two extra buttons on this thing, back and forward. Other than that, it’s definitely a winner, I certainly prefer it to my Logitechs at this point and I’ve only been using it for a couple days. They have several models to choose from, some with more buttons/features I’m sure but since their site doesn’t have an index it was really hard to see all the mice and compare them at a glance. I would give you a link to the website, but that too seems to have been developed by high school students so I’ll spare you. Seriously Razer, I know your demo is gamer kids, but that doesn’t mean your site has to be completely non-functional.

New Villager+Seefeel+Willits+MF Doom

Posted by Jakub

New Villager - Rich DoorsYou had your fill on MGMT, Passion Pit, and Crystal Stilts or Castles in 2008 but its 2009 and you need that next big underdog party jam to get your friends to the bars and excited again. New Villager’s Rich Doors is exactly that track, the catchy hand claps with big stomps just scream out for your attention. All this week I’ve been saying the lyrics over and over in my head and out loud: “You got the right sound rich enough to take them down, your breakin’ new doors whatcha you think you lookin’ for!”.

I’m not going to lie but when friends early on in my music collecting career tried to play me Seefeel to get me to like it, I wasn’t really feeling it. I’m guessing they always played me the wrong song because I never bought a record once by them, even the Warp Records releases. This song from the Starethrough EP has me all the way though with its hypnotic vocals and rhythm, which leads me to where some of the Gang Gang Dance and OOIOO sound comes from.

I remember buying my first Christopher Willits songs that were on a compilation called E • A • D • G • B • E which had some minimal guitar sounds that i’ve never experienced. Here’s a guy that plays guitar daily like millions of people and it took this long to have someone make recordings this pretty and different sounding?

MF Doom over some strings and horns will never fail once and Ghostface being in the song doesn’t hurt the cause either. I picture this song “Angels” as the backdrop of a 50′s rainforest themed restaurant that offered ballroom dancing in the evenings(maybe i’m thinking of Casablanca?) but i’m sure it was used for Charlie’s Angels in some way, right?

New Villager – Rich Doors

Seefeel – Starethrough

Christopher Willits – Or With The Tea

MF Doom – Angels

Manifest Hope Gallery Show

Posted by Scott

ISO50 - Manifest Hope
My “Progress” print will be featured in the upcoming Manifest Hope:DC Gallery as part of the lead up to the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday. The gallery runs Saturday, Jan. 17 through Monday, Jan. 19 in DC. I had #112 of the original 200 I signed at press framed and shipped it out last week. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend, hopefully somebody can check it out and let me know how it went. Here’s the details:

The MANIFESTHOPE: DC Gallery will be open to the public in Washington, DC for the days preceding the Presidential Inauguration, Saturday, January 17th, 2009 through Monday, January 19th, 2009 between the hours of 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Art exhibition management will be provided by our Washington, DC gallery partner, Irvine Contemporary.

MANIFESTHOPE: DC
January 17th-19th, 2009
10:00am – 6:00pm
3333 M Street NW, Washington DC 20007
http://www.manifesthope.com

2009 debut music videos

Posted by Jakub


Fever Ray – If I Had a Heart from Mute Records on Vimeo.

Fever Ray – If I Had a Heart


Go (Widescreen) from 800beloved on Vimeo.

800beloved – Go

Alela Diane: White As Diamonds

The Knife is back but only half back and without Olof. Before I get into this video, how was the name The Knife not taken by a hair metal band in the 80s? Well if you want to see darkness then look no further than this video. The one part when all you see is a bed of bodies in the empty pool outside of the mansion will not get out of my head, the shots are wonderful all the way thru. Congrats to Mute on putting a budget together in a crazy time during early 2009 and delivering a wonderful piece like this.

I’ll be posting more about 800beloved very soon but to just give you a taste here is the video for “Go”. Sean Lynch has one of the best voices you’ll hear debut in 2009. Think who sings colder and more distant than what you hear, its like his voice is the boldest grey, you can’t even compare it Joy Division or The Cure.

The beautifully shot “White As Diamond” video by Ryan Jeffery gave me goosebumps the first time I saw it, part of me was happy that I didn’t rely on the shots color which is what usually gets me but more of the cold northern woodsy landscapes are what grabbed me.

Columbia’s DEC PDP-7

Posted by Scott

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The DEC PDP systems never cease to be a source of inspiration for me and the above example of a PDP-7 system at Columbia’s Electrical Engineering department is no exception. I am not sure who took this photo as there was no credit included (source: Columbia Computing History). It would be tempting to gut the cases and fill them with modern studio equipment if you could find a nice used example. Also, if you have an oscilloscope in your computer you win.

For you Mac heads out there, this is your great-grand daddy. A PDP-7, referred to as the “Unix Genesis Machine”, was used by Ken Thompson and his team in 1969 to develop the Unix OS (a very early precursor to what would become Mac OS X).

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The Alan Parsons Project – Pyramid

Posted by Beamer

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Where do I even begin? Alan Parsons is beyond epic. He never leaves my turntable, car, or iTunes playlists. Always on repeat.

At 18, Alan had his hands on the Abbey Road tapes while working at Abbey Road Studios, and shortly thereafter engineered The Dark Side of the Moon. This guy was a machine.

Pyramid is my favorite release of the group, though AllMusic calls it “average,” and claims that isn’t a necessity. Shame on them.

Which one is your favorite release?

The Alan Parsons Project – What Goes Up

The Alan Parsons Project – Hyper-Gamma Spaces

A semi-related treat: