01 October 2005

Figure VII: Need

Yearning for the impossible, she awaits.

"bombed ruins form the skyline
burnt places - all around
people trading their possessions
a keepsake for some bread"
'Black Market Dealers' Funker Vogt

Bengs verus Batman

Bengs Versus Batman
Okay, I have ideas for a series of cartoons now. They are inspired by the zany Merv Kwok and most perverse Redmeat. Of course, my cartoon is nothing like those two. Haha. The original ideas were quite vicious and dry, and they invariably were attacks on ideals, public figures and so forth. Anyhow, given the situation here, I have decided not to proceed with those. Heheh. So, a funnier and gentler cartoon eventually emerged. Okay, I have a few more ideas but I may or may not proceed.
New Releases from Wave in Head and Neuroactive

I shall place an order for these two CDs some time this month. Can't wait.

"I see with the eyes of the hunter
No one can escape
I am a devil of a gunman
For you it is too late"
'Gunman' Funker Vogt

30 September 2005

M1A1 Abrams

The mount of the US Army. A fearsome behemoth. This vehicle and many like it formed the spearhead of the armoured drives in the stunning capture of Baghdad. Two amazing thunder runs later, the brutal Iraqi regime fell, sparing the city from a bloodbath. If there had been a siege and a block to block war in the city streets, the city would have been razed and the casualty toll to the civilians and combatants would have been horrendous.

The thunder runs were a brilliant stroke of improvision by the ground commanders.

This is a tribute to the brave fighting men in Iraq.

"welcome to a life that knows goodbye
welcome to a mind that dares to wonder why
welcome to the world behind your eyes
welcome to goodbye
'Welcome to Goodbye' Rotersand

Figure IV: Traipsing in the Rain

He stumbled and trudged wearily towards destiny.

"show me my leader and i'll pledge obedience
whisper the name of the enemy mine
blessed be my fate and my tools of expedience
i'm going to fulfil what's my mission divine"
'Exterminate, annihilate, destroy' Rotersand

29 September 2005

Illustration Friday

Theme: Fresh

The Desert Tower

This is another swift electronic piece done using Painter 8.0. The medium is colour pencils with water colours for the sky.

"If God has a master plan
That only He understands
I hope it's your eyes He's seeing through"
'Precious' Depeche Mode
The Pillars

This is a fast electronic piece done using gorache with a little pastel in the skies and ink in the sea.

"build me a shelter,
a place i can dwell in
show me a future that i can enjoy
give me a reason and i'll be your fellow
show me the target i have to destroy"
'Exterminate, annilhilate, destroy' Rotersand

Battleship Musashi

I read this book a couple of weeks ago. It is a light narrative on the building and subsequently, the short operational career of this white elephant. The perspective is indeed different as Akira Yoshimura is a Japanese popular historian of sorts.

You won't find any book reviews in my blog, it takes too much energy to write a good proper one. I will, instead, make a few observations (like in my other blog entries concerning books).

Firstly, during the building of the capital ship, secret police from the civil government were utilised in both arresting ethnic Chinese people and other foreigners living in Nagasaki. Not surprisingly, there was a focus on the Chinese during the arrests and deportations. Military personnel were used in civil roles such as securing the hills beyond the perimeters of the shipyard. A lack of reaction from the populace appeared to point to a quiet acceptance of the erosion of civil rights and the rise of miltiarism during that period. The co-operation of the civil and military in these operations were an indication of the level of ultra-nationalism and militarism which permeated the Japanese society in the years leading to the war. The exercise of funds to purchase warehouses and buildings near the docks to prevent foreigners from observing the construction was another indication.

Secondly, the Nagasaki Shipyard, owned by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, was previously constructing the battleship Tosa and battlecruiser Takao before work was halted. Like the Kure shipyard which built the Yamato, this shipyard was capable of launching the largest of battleships. In the course of building the Mushashi, many new measures were undertaken and this had strained the resources of the yard to the utmost. As noted in many studies, the Japanese navy would have been better served by building more escort vessels rather than this battle wagon. Thus, during a crucial period leading to Japan's eventual defeat, the shipyard was tied up constructing a white elephant.

Thirdly, there was a mention of the warship utilising its main guns in an anti-aircraft role where the skies were cleared of American aircraft using a special shotgun type scatter shell. The claim of a single salvo wiping out a formation of aircraft appeared to be extremely unlikely.

Despite the vast numbers of anti-aircraft artillery mounted (though mostly of the 25mm variety), the Musashi appeared to have shot down very few of its attackers.

The attitudes of the crew and the shipbuilders were that the battleship was 'unsinkable' despite the loss of other major surface ships of the British, American and Japanese. The sense of a created reality due to ultra-nationalism was clearly evident here where it was thought that the martial spirit would overcome anything.

The Musashi also spent most of its life in port due to a lack of oil and also of a role.

Lastly, the book made scant mention of the causes of the war beyond that of the United States imposing trade sanctions and freezing Japanese assets. There was no mention of the war on China and the US demand for withdrawal as a pre-condition to withdrawing sanctions. There was no mention of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbour. The implication is that the United States had forced Japan's hand.

"give me your faith,
something i can believe in
and you'll be my family,
my brother, my friend tell me a truth
that i find not deceiving
teach me a lesson that i understand"
'Exterminate, annihilate, destroy' Rotersand

28 September 2005

Rotersand, Colony 5 and Hubert KaH

A few CDs from Rotersand, Colony 5 and Hubert KaH finally arrived over the weekend. Wooo hooo. I have been listening to them for the most of the last two nights, relegating the Cruxshadows CD to the morning. Rotersand, great stirring, hard-hitting ebm. Colony 5, futurepop. Hubert KaH, great pop music.

"Jesus...had days like this
Cyborgs - cybernetic organisms..."
'Mindphaser' Front Line Assembly

Figure V: Striding with the World before you

Striding confidently through, the Every Man seeks to mold the World in his own image. It was a portent of the shape of things to come.

"And I will write her name and cast it to the sky
silhouettes recede into a mother's tearful eyes"
'Dragonfly' The Cruxshadows

27 September 2005

Fortress in Flames

I have been listening to the Cruxshadows' 'Fortress in Flames' which I bought at Borders over the weekend. This is, by far, the most memorable Cruxshadows CD yet with remixes from Clan of Xymox, In Strict Confidence and more. Rogue vocals has been quite compelling. A form of pop-Goth if you will.

"a host of angels clamor to her side
a light dissolves to kiss the wind
release the dragonfly"
'Dragonfly' The Cruxshadows
Japanese Infantry

The highly trained Japanese infantry swept everyone before them in a series of lightning quick operations in South East Asia in the Second World War. This is an infantryman armed with a Type 100 submachine gun.

EBM, Industrial and Futurepop

My favourite EBM* CDs:

Orange Sector - Masquerade
Orange Sector - Love it!
Covenant - Sequencer
Covenant - Europa
Lost Signal - Catharsis
Flesh Field - Belief Control
The Azoic - Forward
VNV Nation - Praise the Fallen
VNV Nation - Burning Empires
[Active] Media Disease - Organic
X Marks the Pedwalk - Drawback
Front Line Assembly - Civilisation
Front Line Assembly - Epitaph
Front Line Assembly - Tactical Neural Implant
Snog - Buy me... I'll change your life
Snog - Remote Control
In Strict Confidence - Holy
In Strict Confidence - Mistrust the Angels
Imperative Reaction - Redemption
Imperative Reaction - Ruined
Seabound - Beyond Flatline

There is, of course, the standard bearer, Front 242. While, I find Front 242's singles brilliant, their albums can be inconsistent. Thus, I am unable to really list any Front 242 albums.

My tastes in industrial runs towards EBM or electro-industrial. Sampled sounds with processed and distorted vocals! Synthetic pounding!

I don't particular like metal industrial though I do have CDs from Nine Inch Nails and Rammstein. I listen to a lot more like Apoptygma Berzerk, The Young Gods, Lights of Euphoria, Syntec, Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, Haujobb, Cleen, Novakill, Cleaner, Newt, Neuroticfish, Neotek, Neuroactive (early albums), Cesium 137, Icon of Coil, Funker Vogt, etc, but these are my favourites here.

*For the uninitiated, EBM stands for Electronic Body Music or otherwise known as electronic industrial.

"Through waves
They shift
Below they hide
Corporate killers
Side by side"
'Circuitry' Front Line Assembly

26 September 2005

The Road goes ever on*

This is inspired by a photo on the cover of a novel which took on the quality of a painted piece. Of paramount importance here is the will to resist over-drawing. I am often guilty of it due to a clash of two styles I employ. Sometimes, less is more.

*Some of the titles I used will be familiar because they are titles of books or references.

"Don't ask me to surrender"
Her voice fell tired and spent
"My hopes and dreams, a silent heart
I carry here within" "
'Dragonfly' The Cruxshadows

Goth Albums

My favourite Goth CDs:

Frozen Autumn - Fragments of Memories
Faith and the Muse - Evidence of Heaven
Sisters of Mercy - Floodlands
Lycia - Tripping back into the broken days
Lycia - Compilation appearances volume 1
Dead can Dance - Aion
Dead can Dance - Toward the Within
Clan of Xymox - Clan of Xymox
Clan of Xymox - Medusa
Clan of Xymox - Live
Peter Murphy - Dust
Lisa Gerrard - Duality
Red Flag - The Crypt

My tastes lean towards the electronic-goth and industrial-goth direction. I am not a goth, but my musical tastes do lean slightly towards that direction.

I don't care for those MTV 'goth' bands like Evanescene and Marilyn Manson. Lots of mascara and makeup does not a band goth make. I will admit that the lead vocalist of Evanescene has a great voice though. I don't particularly care for the 1980s icons Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Cure either. Ditto for hard rock and metal-related Goth. Thus, I am not particularly interested in Fields of Nephilim, Christian Death, heh, and others. Any goth band that sounds like hair-metal and their metal ballads (think White Lion, Bon Jovi, yes, they were considered metal in the 80s), no thanks.

These are my favourites but I do listen to other goth bands on a less consistent basis. Those bands include Wolfsheim, The Northern Territories, Faith and Disease, Loveliescrushing, Mira, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Chandeen, The Cruxshadows and lots more.

Red Flag's only real 'goth' album is the sublime 'The Crypt'. Sadly, not too long after, Red Flag is no more after the death of one of the Reynolds brothers.

"Massive violence
The slaughter begins
Future Collides
Nightmare begins"
'Circuitry' Front Line Assembly

25 September 2005

Club Street and its Surrounding Environs

I did manage to make it to Club Street in the late afternoon. It was a glorious day with strong sunshine casting long shadows in the narrow confines of the windy streets. It was perfect for taking photos. I soon lost myself in the streets, wandering and marvelling at the restoration and transformation of these shophouses while listening to an encoded album from In Strict Confidence.

That evening, I wandered over to Prego's at Raffles City and had dinner with two funny friends who were just so alive. The dessert was heavenly. Later, I was at Borders again and I picked up three volumes on history, one of which was Michael Grant's analysis on Greek and Roman historians. 'Greek and Roman Historians: Information and Misinformation'.

Later, June Hwang dropped by Borders and we adjourned to Burger King at Liat Towers and had a great discussion on military history and wargames over drinks.

"To celebrate the fact
That we've seen the back
Of another black day"
'Black Celebration' Depeche Mode
The End

And at the end of the trail, she saw a brilliant light. She realised that her arduous journey had come to an end.

"Within this moment now I am for you,
though better men have failed
I will give my life for love
For I am Winter born"
'Winterborn' The Cruxshadows