31 December 2005

Wine Bottles

Illustration Friday theme: Flavour

The Brokedown Gate

It has been a while since I worked in this style. So, this is the first in five years. I realised that my style has slightly evolved somehow. This is probably the last one for 2005.

30 December 2005


Walter Jon William's 'Hardwired' is the quintessential pulp cyberpunk of the sort one sees in movies. Wired implants tied to firearms, powerful aircraft in the stratosphere, dangerous women, action-packed and more! It's an entertaining read, though 'Hardwired' isn't a 'Neuromancer' or 'Islands in the Net'.

Cyberpunk fiction can be dated today. The future envisioned in the work of Gibson and Sterling is here in many aspects and more often than not, the future is here in more ways than the cyberpunk could have predicted.

I am presently reading Sterling's 'Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next 50 Years'. He has adopted a futurist persona, while dropping his journalist and science fiction writer personas. The narrative voice adopted by Sterling in this book is grating. Sterling and Gibson (who has stylistic pretensions I think) can write dreadful, impenetrable prose sometimes. Not difficult but just dull. I will speak more on this volume later. I am also reading 'Sir John Fisher's Naval Revolution' and I am also referring to a few of the reference books about the 1890-1914 period. The so-called naval arms race.

In a similar vein, Front Line Assembly's 'Hardwired' (1995) was released after the well-received 'Tactical Neural Implant'. And this release features the hard-hitting 'Circuitry' single.

1. Neologic Spasm
2. Paralyzed
3. Re-Birth
4. Circuitry
5. Mortal
6. Modus Operandi
7. Transparent Species
8. Barcode
9. Condemned
10. Infra Red Combat

Front Line Assembly's music, in my opinion, can easily be a soundtrack to the many dark futures created by the so-called cyberpunk writers. The aural experience and the thematic direction are quite appropriate. Then again, everyone has their personal vision as to what constitutes the near future.

I wonder if anyone remembers those lacklustre Shadowrun* novels of the early nineties. They appeared to have suffered a quiet demise, not missed by most anyhow. The Earthdawn** novels have certainly disappeared.

*A series of cyberpunk mixed with fantasy novels based on a pen and paper roleplaying game.
**A series of fantasy novels based on a pen and paper roleplaying game.


An early sketch of two airships. I shall have to do a more detailed one in future.

28 December 2005

Ocean Liner

An ink sketch based on a 1930s poster.

Illustration Friday theme: Holiday

An ink piece, again, exploring the same style which I was experimenting with. Limited colours but dramatic contrasts.

27 December 2005


Another fast doodle. Again, a fun little sketch of an imaginery landscape.

"If his fatal sentimentality demanded that the promises he had made her and the anguish they had shared should, in some way, unite them, he could see with his own eyes that no union had been achieved. Because they spent so much time in silence, it had always been possible for Lee to deceive himself they shared an unspoken and profound closeness; only when he occasionally spoke to her did the space between them become apparent and sour."
'Love' Angela Carter

26 December 2005


I just made a new CD-R compilation of Front Line Assembly singles. A number of the singles were bought over eBay a few months ago. I have always found Front Line Assembly (for that matter, a lot other industrial bands) to be a lot more inventive with sounds, unconventional structures, use of samples (especially from films!) than the crowd-pleasing Nine Inch Nails with its supposedly themes of teenage angst. Front Line Assembly, and the many incarnations*, has always been building 'soundtracks' for the dystopia, the wasteland and the police state of the near future, cliched in a sense but the soundtracks are aural experiences, sonic journeys.

1. Millennium (1000 Years of Decay Remix)
2. Circuitry (Predator Mix)
3. Plasticity
4. Fatalist (Remix)
5. Iceolate
6. Columbian Necktie (Tongue Fed Edit)
7. Surface Patterns (Surveillance Remix)
8. Prophecy
9. The Blade (Technohead)
10. Vanished (Re-Entry Mix)
11. Virus
12. Mindphaser (Edited Version)
13. Everything must perish (Radio Edit)

Front Line Assembly is the quintessential cyberpunk band according to some. This compilation is to be played LOUD.

*Intermix, Delerium, Equinox, etc.

"Yet, always on the point of disintegrating, he contrived somehow always to hold himself together for he sincerely believed that, since the world was full of a number of things, it was a moral imperative to be happy as a king. This was the final modification of his puritanism; that if he had enough to eat and a roof over his head, he knew he ought to be content even if the king he always thought of in connection with the smiling couplet he repeated to himself every morning was Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria."
'Love' Angela Carter
The Long Walk

On Christmas evening, I headed to Spinelli's at the Heeren. There I met Corrinne whom I have not seen in about two years for coffee, she then departed, returning to her cave. Then, I met Brian. We headed to Sim Lim Square. On the way there, we went to Sunshine Plaza where we met Poon. We visited a few model and toy shops beforea heading to Sim Lim Square where Brian bought the Conflict: Flashpoint set of games and a Sapphire 128MB Radeon videocard.

Subsequently, we had dinner at Mr.Bean's at Selegie Road before embarking on a long walk through the streets.

We started off for the Singapore Management University (SMU) at Bras Barsa Road. The campus is gorgeous. The interior and finish of the place is stunning as is the long underground atriums, passageways and shops. The underground areas are massive.

The night became a walking tour of buildings of various sorts, from the old to the new.

Cathay building
National Library
Parkview Square
Raffles Hospital
Golden Landmark Hotel
North Bridge Road
Arab Street
Alwar Street
Baghdad Street
Pahang Street
Sultan Gate
Istana Kampong Glam (Malay Heritage Centre)
Jalan Sultan
Mjd Haijah Fatimah Mosque
Golden Mile Complex
Golden Mile Tower
St John's Headquarters
The Concourse
Plaza Park Royal
The Gateway
Old police barracks
Straits Settlement Volunteer Force (SSVF) and ex-People Defence Force (PDF) Headquarters
Supreme Court
Boat Quay

Basically, it was closer to a walking tour of history, architecture and more as our discussions range from the Art Decor buildings with their flagpoles to the reflectivity of solar radiation of the twin Gateway buildings.

All in all, a very satisfying walk in the night. Pity we didn't bring our cameras. We shall do this again with cameras in future.

Darth Birdy has managed to capture several of the scenes with the camera built into his mobile phone. The images are posted on his blog.
Approaching Storm

A doodle of an approaching storm with strong headwinds...

25 December 2005

A Strange Sight to behold

I was dozing in bed when a bird through the door! And my sister followed it into my room. It was a surreal sight. The bird had somehow found its way in and was rather at a loss as to how to leave and my sister was trying to assist. For the next minutes I flung the windows wide open and the bird and distressed bird finally flew out!

The fabulous second single from the 'Implode' album. The first mix is by Rhys Fulber and Mike Plotnikoff is one of drama with extreme highs and lows.

The second track is remixed by Front 242. The Haujobb remix of Prophecy as all the hallmarks of the Haujobb song but the vocals are lost. The two Aqualite mixes are extremely strong in the bass department. The first Aqualite remix has an emphasis on screeching metal guitars at various parts.

1. Fatalist [Creatine Mix]
2. Retribution [Ioxin Mix -Front 242]
3. Deception
4. Fatalist [Aqualite Rmx]
5. Prophecy [Haujobb Remix]
6. Fatalist [Tribal Techno - Aqualite]


A secret place in the wilderness. A place of beauty.

Ink sketch, circa 2000.