James Eldred

What is Abuse?

Twitter unveiled a new way to try and handle online abuse and trolls sometime last week. Unofficially dubbed “Twitter Time Out,” (TTO) the system punishes accounts Twitter deems to be abusive by limiting their exposure to other accounts for 12 hours. Their own followers can still see their tweets, but to everyone else, it will appear as if they’ve taken a break from the social media service. Their tweets simply won’t be seen by anyone, including anyone mentioned in them.

I know, because it happened to me this weekend. And let me tell you, the experience taught me a lesson; that Twitter still doesn’t know what the fuck it’s doing about curbing abuse and harmful accounts. Continue reading

David Bowie Is Rare Vinyl

 

David Bowie Is was originally an exhibition at the V&A in England. It was massively successful, and since then it has gone on the road around the world. Now, it has made its way to Tokyo. I went there just the other day. It was amazing, breathtaking and at times nearly reduced me to tears. It’s the end all be all experience for any David Bowie fan, an audio/visual smorgasbord of memorabilia, rare video, behind-the-scenes footage and various Bowie ephemera from his birth to now.

You should go. That’s all I really have to say about that. Besides, photos weren’t allowed inside so writing anymore about it would be rather pointless. So instead, let’s talk about the records you can buy there, because vinyl. Continue reading

Surviving Horror With Horror

How is everyone? Yinz doing okay?

Yeah. Me neither.

Continue reading

YMO 101: The Solo Records

This is part four of my guide to Yellow Magic Orchestra.
Part 1: The Studio Albums
Part 2: The Live Albums
Part 3: The Compilations and Remix Records

Before Yellow Magic Orchestra released their first album in 1979, all three members (Ryuichi Sakamoto, Yukihiro Takahashi and Haruomi Hosono) were already accomplished solo musicians to some degree. And their penchant for releasing music on their own continued on both during their time in YMO and after.

And I don’t mean they would occasionally release an album once or twice a decade. For a while, all of them were seemingly putting out music non-stop. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Toy Music – Dancing Super Mario Brothers

  • Credited Performer: Akihabara Electric Circus
  • Released September 15, 1988
  • Label: Eastworld/Toshiba
  • VGMdb Information Page

In 1988 a group by the name of Akiharbara Electric Circus released two arranged game music albums. One featured nothing but reworked version of music from Super Mario Bros. 3. It’s a weird record.

The other is this, Toy Music: Dancing Super Mario Bros.

It’s fucking batshit. Continue reading

A Year Ended, Let’s Make Some Lists

I usually don’t do year end lists. For one, I don’t like lists. I think they’re lazy. Give me a 2,000 word essay on the state of music in 2016. Don’t give me a list of albums you thought were neat.

But I relented this year, for a few reasons. One, I bought a shitload of new music this year, which is something I really haven’t done since I moved to Japan three years ago. And a lot of it was really, really good.

Additionally, a lot of it was either Japanese or, for other reasons, the kind of stuff that flies under the radar for most people. And I’m not under the illusion that my taste in music is somehow better or more important because so much of what I like isn’t popular, it’s just different. And since none of the year end lists or articles I read mentioned damn near any of these albums (save for one obvious exception) I thought I’d go ahead and write up my own for a change.

But I didn’t stop there. Like any other year, I bought a lot of old music too, much of which in the form of reissues. And again, a lot of them where fantastic. So, in addition to “Best New Music,” I’m also including a list of “Best Reissues.” Because the old shit is always better.

So let’s get down to it. The first list is numbered, the second is not. Continue reading

My Weirdest Record: Score Yourself…Sexual I.Q. Test

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In the late-60s and early-70s there was a brief fad of sex manuals. No doubt born out of the attention from sex researchers like Masters and Johnson, these books were made with the mass market in mind, designed as educational materials for couples looking for advice on how to get down and dirty. The Joy of Sex and Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex* (But Were Afraid To Ask) are the all-stars of the genre to this day I think.

Sex records were also a thing around this time, although to a much lesser extent. I occasionally see these record stores. They often that feature dirty stories, “documentary” style interviews about sex, or just straight-up recordings of people doing it. Due to the fact that many of these records were mail-order only (and illegal) when they first came out, they’re pretty hard to find these days.

This LP, however, is the only one I’ve ever seen that combines both the sex record and the instructional sex book into one handy combo. Score Yourself…The Sexual I.Q. Test is exactly what it sounds like, an interactive test designed to gauge the listener’s carnal knowledge.

It’s really stupid. Continue reading

The Biggest Guide to Tokyo Record Stores on the Internet

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This all started because my boyfriend gave me his old MiniDisc player.

We were watching Techmoan on YouTube, some video about an obsolete tape format, and I mentioned how I wished he would do an episode on MiniDiscs, because they always interested me. Then, my boyfriend told me that he actually had a MiniDisc player (that he never used) and would give to me. It was a wonderful gift from my wonderful little man, but unfortunately he didn’t have any discs for it.

I went to my regular record store haunts scoping the back shelves for used MiniDiscs, but to no avail. After that, I decided to branch out and search some lesser known shops. Still turning up empty-handed, I reached out even further, doing research online to dig up as many record stores as possible, figuring that at least one would have used MiniDiscs somewhere.

It was at this point I realized that I had probably been to at least half of the record stores in and around Tokyo so I figured what would be the harm in hunting down the other half.

So if you find this useful and want to thank someone, thank my boyfriend. It’s all his fault.

And in case you’re wondering, no, I never did find a damn MiniDisc. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Ghost In The Shell Megatech Body Co. Ltd (Playstation Game Soundtrack)

ghost1 - Copy

 

For all its acclaim as an anime action epic, the original Ghost In The Shell film is actually a pretty quiet affair, peppered with only a scant few minutes of solid action. The majority of the film is a drama, that alternates between police procedural and meditative discussions on technology and what it means to be alive in a world where humanity and machine seem to be one in the same. The whole thing climaxes not with a giant battle, but with a conversation between a robot and a cyborg, discussing if life has a point without mortality.

Accompanying all of this is a legendary score by Kenji Kawai, which combines modern technology and traditional Japanese instrumentation with an end result that resembles something that Philip Glass or Dead Can Dance might compose. Just like the film itself, the score to Ghost In The Shell is haunting and beautiful, a work of art that is nearly unrivaled.

Got all that? Good. Because the Ghost In The Shell game that appeared on the PS1 is a third-person shooter where you take control of a tank and blow shit up real good. And the soundtrack is non-stop pulse-pounding techno, all of which has the subtlety and nuance of a jackhammer. Continue reading

Trials Of The Blood Dragon Review (And Narrative Analysis)

 

When a game is announced at the giant gaming convention known as E3, its release date is usually months, if not years away. But Ubisoft bucked the trend this year with Trials Of The Blood Dragon, which was announced at the press conference last week and then immediately released following its conclusion.

An odd release strategy for sure, but it is by far not the oddest thing about the game, a strange amalgamation of the Far Cry: Blood Dragon franchise and the long-running and extremely popular Trials motorbike game series. By taking the VHS B-movie aesthetic of the Blood Dragon universe and combining it with the always off-kilter Trials sense of humor and style, the creators of Trials Of The Blood Dragon have made an interesting thing, even if it whole doesn’t match the sum of its parts.

Oh, and also the game might just be a stark social commentary and allegory for America’s war on terror, criticizing how the media twists the will of the people to fit the machinations of an evil and uncaring military-industrial complex.

Or maybe that’s just me seeing that. But we’ll get there. Continue reading

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