17 December 2005

Front Line Assembly 'Implode'

This is an unusual Dave McKean (of the Sandman comics covers fame) designed cover. The majority of the Front Line Assembly album covers are designed by McKean and are usually of a different nature.

In my eyes, this cover has a lot of elements of Franz Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis'. The transformation into a cockroach...

1. Prophecy
2. Retribution
3. Unknown Dreams
4. Falling
5. Fatalist
6. Synthetic Forms
7. Silent Ceremony
8. Don't Trust Anyone
9. Deception
10. Torched

Two excellent singles were released from this 1999 album. 'Implode' and 'Fatalist'. In my opinion, the best track of this album would be 'Fatalist'.

I met a lot of old friends who were ex-colleagues of mine at Marina Square last night. A few of the girls (which I won't mention who) appeared to have aged considerably since I have last seen them. Their skin had parchment-like textures. Mummies in both senses of the word? (Well, not for all.)
Gunpowder Armies

This volume from Concord Publications is illustrated by several artists including Argus McBride and Robert Hook whose work is simply outstanding.

The volume focuses a lot on British and American troops to the exclusion of combatants from the Thirty Years War, the French Wars of Religion, Seven Years War, etc.

While Hook's illustrations are inspired, Dr. Tim Newark's accounts of each type is somewhat adequate this time. Anyone, one buys these for the illustrations and not the text.

"One - You lock the target
Two - You bait the line
Three- You slowly spread the net
And four - You catch the man"
'Headhunter' Front 242

16 December 2005

Scotts: Impermenance

In any other country, this would be a major commercial building. However, in fast moving Singapore, this decade old building is slated to be demolished in a few years and a new commercial complex will replace it.

Swiftly, our mindscapes or the landscapes of our mind are being replaced by ever taller towering monoliths. Progress. Change. Impermenance.

"The things you do
Aren't good for my health
The moves you make
You make for yourself
The means you use
Aren't meant to confuse
Although they do
They're the one's that I would choose"
'Dangerous' Depeche Mode

15 December 2005


As a reviewer proclaimed, 'The Queens of Hedonism are back', Bananarama is indeed back with a fresh vengeance, an album of exciting new material after a long hiatus. The album includes the fabulous pop gems 'Move in my Direction' and 'Look on the Floor (Hypnotic Tango)'.

The album also includes a splendid not to be missed remix of 'Venus' by none other than the incomparable Marc Almond. There is also a good mix of 'Really saying something'.

1. Move In My Direction
2. Look On The Floor (Hypnotic Tango)
3. Waterfall
4. Frequency
5. Feel For You
6. Don’t Step On My Groove
7. Middle Of Nowhere
8. I Love The Way
9. Lovebite10. Rules Of Attraction
11. Your Love Is Like A Drug
12. Venus (Marc Almonds Hi NRG Showgirls Mix)
13. Really Saying Something (Solasso Mix)
14. Move in my Direction (Bobby Blanco & Miki Moto Vocal Mix)
15. Move in my Direction (Angel City Club Remix)

Forget that recent piece of crap dropped on the unsuspecting public by Madonna. Too bad that the reality is that extensive promotion will ensure that Madonna will outsell Bananarama by a 100 to 1. There is simply no justice.

14 December 2005

Japanese Infantry of World War II

Ink sketch of Japanese infantry of World War II. This is an example of how a small piece can be overworked. Overdone. Adding more shades, detail, textures. Bad idea. I will do a bigger piece with revised poses one day. This way, the details won't be lost.

"Her dreams to give
Her heart away
Like an orphan on a wave"
'Joan of Arc' Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Out of the Blue

Lately, I was listening to the old System F's 'Out of the Blue' CD again. The CD reminded me why I shelved it shortly after purchasing it. In my opinion, this Ferry Corsten effort has little to recommend except the excellent single 'Soul on Soul' featuring Marc Almond on vocals. That is barely the saving grace. I had higher expectations for 'Out of the Blue'. Oh well.

13 December 2005

Here We Are (Back Again)

Finally, a release from Orange Sector after a long hiatus. A compilation with tracks like 'Feel me', 'Yugoslavian Boys', 'Here We are'. Apparently, they are due to release a new album with old school ebm a la Front 242 soon! WOO!

1. Here we are
2. Violent order
3. Kalt wie Stahl
4. Für immer
5. Götter
6. Proximity
7. Flashback
8. Feel me
9. Die Zukunft
10. Bodysmashing
11. Arbeit ist Not
12. Sexomatic (für dich)
13. Yugoslavian boys (Remix)
14. Violent order (Amuck Mix)
15. One day
16. Bitch (Raising Agent Mix)
17. Für immer (F.I.S. Remix)
18. Behind the glass
19. Kalt wie Stahl (W.W.B. Mix)
Duran Duran 'Live from London'

Oh goody. A DVD and concert CD of the recent sellout concert in London has been released.

It seems that every leg of the massively successful sellout concerts in Japan has been released on CD at http://www.themusic.com/encore/duranduran/
Black and White: The Singapore House 1898-1941

Julian Davison, the author of 'Black and White: The Singapore House 1898-1941', noted in his excellent book that there is a scarcity of information on the unique 'black and whites' of Singapore in publications. Another startling point he made was the uniqueness of this form of architecture. It is apparently unique only to Singapore, being an evolution from the colonial bungalows of India.

He has noted that many of the more magnificent specimens of the 'black and whites' were privately built and have been demolished which is a great pity. The gorgeous remainder that we see today were built by the Public Works Department (PWD) for various grades of civil servants.

I have seen a large number of these houses (from the outside) at Mount Pleasant Road, Cluny Road, Nassim Road, Goodwood Park, Chancery Lane, and many many other places. I recall seeing those 'cottages' which used to house New Zealander troops at Nee Soon Camp years ago. I wonder if those 'cottages' are still there.

My grandmother and relatives used to live in a bungalow* that was built before the war but has since been sold and torn down after her passing. Today, there is an apartment there.

I am inspired by the wonderful houses. I am inspired to sketch them. The book would be great photo reference for artists and illustrators.

*It was not strictly a black and white but it incorporated some elements of the black and white. It was a large estate with two houses, badminton court, long windy driveway and huge garden.

12 December 2005

Dinner at Dan Ryan's

Colin and I were at Dan Ryan's for dinner on Friday night. Too bad Wilson couldn't make it. He's going to get PKed by Colin! He would be punished! Hahahaha.


This was my second time there. The food was quite ordinary, however, what is special is that the food is served in 'American portions'. Just what are these 'American portions'? Well, in Asia, most dishes are tiny in comparison to the servings in American diners. Dan Ryan's is, of course, an exception. Too bad about the taste.

Of course, this can also be a searing testament to the obesity crisis in the USA. Strangely enough, here in Singapore, there is an obesity crisis. And the government has acknowledged it through a series of programmes.

When I was an instructor in Nee Soon Camp (Basic Military Training) in 1990-1992, I recalled training a batch of obese recruits. It was a special course created for these fabulous walking wonders. It was surreal. Imagine trying to get a 90-kg recruit over a low wall. The wall was just 1.8 metre high and was groaning under all that weight! Try as he did, the poor obese recruit with his M16S1, helmet and webbing was simply not going to get across the first obstacle in the obstacle course. Never mind about the rest of the damned obstacles!

Oh, the milkshake at Dan Ryan's is alright. Not fantastic.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell' is certainly one of the most delightful fantasy novels I have read in many years. The narrative is compelling and the storytelling is first-rate. The enchanting world of the 1810s created by Clarke is something to be marvelled.

I think this may well go down in time as a classic.

On a related note, I wish Christopher Priest's clever masterpiece 'The Prestige' would receive as much attention as Susanna Clarke's work.

11 December 2005


I drew a pencil outline quickly. I decided that I would use pencils and pigment ink for this piece. I did the ink shades and these were followed by the pencil shades and finally more ink. I also used a gold and a white pencil later. This is not done in my three usual favourite style of drawing. It's experimental.

Illustration Friday theme: Surprise