15 April 2006
In Strict Confidence - 'Exile Paradise'
Good news! The new In Strict Confidence album 'Exile Paradise' is due out in May!
01. The harder they come...
02. Promised Land
03. Forbidden Fruit
04. Fading Light
06. Manchmal redest du im Schlaf
08. Der Teufel
09. Away from here
10. In Favilla
11. Something to remember
12. ...the harder they fall.
02. A Single Touch
03. Blind Spot
The 'Where Sun & Moon unite' EP is excellent and this should bode well for the album.
J. G. Ballard's ability to conjure surrealistic imagery of abandoned landscapes juxtapositioned by pop culture icons is unsurpassed. 'Hello America' is a journey by dreamers and idealists into an abandoned America, where petroleum, coal and other forms of energy had ran out a hundred years ago. How very apt. Especially in these times wheb every society is held hostage through oil by rigid fundamentalist Islamic regimes in the form of Saudi Arabia and Iran. These theocratic states pander to modern society's addiction to oil and wield tremendous power. And at the same time, they have been havens for the current form of Islamic terror sweeping the world. Too bad, I see little evidence of a moderate Islamic counter movement towards Islamic extremism though I am aware of one.
In this imaginery abandoned America, American society had utterly collapsed through the lack of energy sources. Most of the population hads completed a form of reverse migration back to the Old World. And an environmental diaster had transformed the North American continent. The Eastern Seaboard and Mid-West had transformed into a desert wasteland while the West was threatened by constant storms.
And into this forbidden landscape saw an expedition consisting of a party of scientists with obsessions. These dreamers would be so intoxicated by their dreams that they had abandoned all pragmatism and good sense including fundamental ones such as survival and ventured into the heartlands of America. Embarking from a haunted New York landscape of skyscrapers half buried by the sands of an inhospitable landscape, the party journeyed through surrealistic scenes after another to Las Vegas, ultimately, confronting the self-declared President of the United States, Charles Manson. A meeting with destiny. And the imagery is simply precious. Androids of the past American presidents. Teenaged Mexican youths wielding automatic weapons. Animatons/Automatons of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and more. Titan ICBMs. Mysterious Earthquakes. Lost nomadic tribes of Americans each conforming to an ideal, The Gamblers, the Executives, the Bureaucrats. Tropical rainforests in Nevada. Robotic Helicopter gunships. Self-powered microlights. Environmental disasters.
14 April 2006
I have been meaning to get this compilation but have put it off for half a year or so. Then, I spotted it in Borders a few hours ago. Thus, I bought it.
1. Walk (Infusion Mix) -- Cure
2. Situation (Richard X Remix) -- Yaz
3. Lips Like Sugar (Way Out West Remix Edit) -- Echo and the Bunnymen
4. Need You Tonight (Static Revenger Mix Edit) -- INXS
5. Shake the Disease (Tiga Remix) -- Depeche Mode
6. Little Respect (Jaded Alliance 'Electrospect' Remix) -- Erasure
7. New Song (Peter Black & Hadrock Striker Mix Edit) -- Howard Jones
8. Forever Young (Hamel Album Mix) -- Alphaville
9. Bizarre Love Triangle (Crystal Method Extended Mix) -- New Order
10. White Lines (Don't Don't Do It, Elite Force Mix) -- Grandmaster & Melle Mel
11. Girl U Want (Black Light Odyssey Mix) -- Devo
12. NoWhere Girl (Adam Freeland Mix) -- B-Movie
13. Boy (DJ Irene Rockstar Mix) -- Book of Love
14. Suedehead (Sparks Remix) -- Morrissey
Initial impressions? Well, I will only speak for the singles that I care for, namely, tracks 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 13. The remix of Yazoo's 'Situation' is alright, nothing extraordinary. The vocal track has been preserved. Likewise, the vocals of Depeche Mode's 'Shake the Disease' is preserved though the mix seemed somewhat disjointed. Erasure's 'A little Respect' has a slow bouncy repetitive beat beneath the intact vocals. These three remixes are just okay. Passable.
Like the previous mix, Howard Jones' 'New Song' incorporates a bouncy, stumbling repetitive beat which seems to sap some of the original vitality of Jones' simpler beat. However, this mix is somewhat better than the precious one which is some sort of a house mix. At least, it clocks at 3:26 rather than 6:31 of the previous one. The mix of Alphaville's 'Forever Young' is by far the one of the most promising of the bunch preserving the melody with thumping background. And no, it is not merely a speeded up mix. There is additional production work. Excellent. The Crystal Method is a big name and their remix of New Order's 'Bizarre Love Triangle' is on par with the Hamel one of 'Forever Young'. It's hard to describe as it is made of many disparate elements. Finally, the remix of Book of Love's 'Boy' has added production work incorporating guitar work, giving it an edgier feel instead of the original candy pop feel.
There has been suggestion of a second volume which I hope to see. All in all, this is an alright collection but I would advise one not to pay too much for it.
13 April 2006
Burger King Far East Plaza
In 1984-85, this was the hang-out place for teens. It was a period when Wendy's, then the third largest hamburger chain in the world, occupied this spot. I could remember that they served 'Frosties', a thick milkshare of sorts, and three-decker hamburgers!
Today, Wendy's is no more, being replaced by a Burger King joint. It didn't last long in Singapore, like Hardees, Jack in the Box, and a few others. Strangely enough, A&W, which was the first fast food joint to make it to our shores in the early seventies, ceased operations recently.
Today, Far East Plaza appears to have re-captured its former allure for teens. I think it is the leading shopping place for the younger set again.
12 April 2006
After Action Report: Friedrich 01.04.2006
Designer: Richard Sivèl
01.04.2006 - Saturday
Russia/Sweden: Shyue Chou
Another after action report of the same game. This time, Tim wrote the report.
*Image taken from boardgamegeek, contributed by the famous Lawrence Hung.
Wayne peered into the water. The Apollo's propeller had stopped, and the mass of churning bubbles dissolved in the water that swilled against the hull. Lying on her back, like its drowned bride, was the statue of an immense reclining woman. Almost as long as the Apollo, she rested on a bed of concrete blocks, the ruins of an underwater plinth. Her classical features were only a few feet below the surface. Washed by the waves, her gray face reminded Wayne of his dead mother's when he gazed into her open coffin in the asylum mortuary.
'Wayne, who is she?' Anne Summers stared at the impassive face. A colony of lobsters had taken up residence in the woman's nostrils. As they emerged from their domain peering up at the dripping bulk of the Apollo, Anne held her handsome nose. 'Wayne, she must be some kind of goddess...'
Paul Ricci squeezed between them. 'A local marine deity,' he suavely informed them. 'The Americans of the eastern seaboard worshipped a pantheon of underwater creatures - you'll remember Moby Dick, Hemmingway's Old Man and the Sea, even the great white shark affectionately christened "Jaws".'
Exerpt from 'Hello America' (1981) J.G.Ballard
11 April 2006
My first 5.2 km run in three years. I made it though I was significantly slower. I read that George W. Bush can complete that distance in half my time. Whoa!
I came back, read two chapters of J.G. Ballard's surrealistic 'Hello America' before falling asleep for a short while.
10 April 2006
09 April 2006
I went running at Toa Payoh Stadium earlier. Needless to say, I was out of shape, managing to walk and run 3.6 km instead of running the usual 13 rounds (5.2 km). I should really run more often...
Bah. I need to go back to Kinokuniya tonight to change a book I bought yesterday. The seams of the spine in 'The Art of the World of Warcraft' is badly glued and is coming apart.
'Collapse: How Societies choose to fail or succeed' Jared Diamond