Steve Winwood and self-realizations

Oh shit I accidentally bought a Steve Winwood album. I hate it when that happens. Continue reading

VHS Rip Success – Mario Paint Instructional Video

Just a few days back I was complaining that I couldn’t get my radical new VHS ripping machine to work properly, but that crisis is now thankfully over! I got it all up and running thanks to the magical wonder of DVD-RAM. Whatever problem I was having setting up my DVD rips to work in my computer was apparently not an issue with DVD-RAM. My computer read those files no problem at all, and I was able to convert them to a YouTube-friendly format with ease.

So enjoy the official Mario Paint Instructional Video. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Famicom/Namcot Game Sound Museums

When I moved to Japan a few years back, my game music collecting habit really kicked itself into overdrive. And whenever I would go out looking for CD soundtracks of my favorite classic titles, I would occasionally stumble upon these strange tiny CDs of Nintendo game audio. I would pick one up whenever I saw them. They were cheap, and many of them were for some of my favorite games of all-time, so why not?

Next thing I knew, I had over 30 of them. Continue reading

Tales Of Woe And Analog-To-Digital Conversion

It’s eight o’clock on a beautiful Sunday evening. I worked a long day, time to relax.

And by “relax” I mean “work on dubbing a VHS tape to a DVD via a VCR/HDD/DVD combo unit I bought last week, while copying a new record to my hard drive via a USB phono-preamp, followed by copying an obscure ambient audio tape to my computer via the same device. I’m also ripping a concert DVD to my hard drive so I can convert it to audio and then into individual MP3s.

Sometimes I wonder why I can’t just stream shit like everyone else. Continue reading

The Glory of Hard-Off

I’ll get the obvious joke out of the way now.

In Japan, software is just called “soft” and hardware” is just called “hard.” The suffix “off” is often used to signify sales. There’s an entire chain of stores that make use of that grammatical choice. They have bookstores called “Book Off” that are quite common in and around Tokyo. Their stores that sell figures and models is called “Hobby Off.” They even have a used housewares store that is named “Off House,” I’m not sure for the reasoning behind the flipped words there.

But yes, they do have a hardware store, and it is called “Hard Off.” I understand that’s funny and I will not besmirch you for laughing. Shit, I’ve lived here three and a half years and I still giggle sometimes when I say to myself, “wow, that Hard-Off is huge.”

By the way, they have a liquor outlet store called “Liquor Off” and I think that shit is even funnier, but I digress. Continue reading

The last post about Twitter

For all intents and purposes, I am quitting Twitter.

Longtime readers of my sites probably know that I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. I love it in many ways. When I was coming to Japan for vacation, a retweet by William Gibson(!!!) helped me get tickets to a Muse concert. And when I decided to move to Japan, a helpful user on the site led a guiding hand, showing me which companies would fit my needs best.

A few months later, I had to block said user after he tweeted out some transphobic bullshit and lashed out at me for criticizing him for it.

Which leads me to what I don’t like about Twitter. Continue reading

Listen to Whipping Post

I didn’t go good on my last test. I’m going to listen to “Whipping Post.”

I can’t meet anyone and I’m lonely all the time. I’m going to listen to “Whipping Post.”

I can’t find a job. The market’s dried up. I’m going to listen to “Whipping Post.”

I’m working in a warehouse with no air conditioning. I’m going to listen to “Whipping Post.”

The place I just moved into has cockroaches, my roommates are assholes and I’m fairly certain my next door neighbor is a drug dealer. I’m going to listen to “Whipping Post.” Continue reading

#BootDuke

Three months ago I wrote about how Twitter restricted access to my tweets because I was engaging in behavior that they deemed abusive. Mainly, I was telling assholes who are murdering the planet that I hope they get cancer and die.

I stand by that. If you think that’s harsh, well, I really don’t care. Continue reading

Logic Exhibition – Vintage Synths Galore

Hideki Matsutake isn’t a household name in Japan, let alone the United States, but his influence on electronic music on both sides of the Pacific cannot be understated. He worked as the sequencer programmer on the first two Yellow Magic Orchestra albums, as well as many of the solo albums by Yukihiro Takahashi and Ryuichi Sakamoto. His skill with the notoriously difficult early synthesizers and sequencers of the 1970s no doubt helped YMO craft their sound. In turn, YMO served as a major influence to artists not just in Japan, but the world over. It’s hard to imagine a world with Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me Baby” without Yellow Magic Orchestra’s 1978 debut album to help lead the way.

In addition to his work with YMO, Matsutake is an accomplished solo performer under the name Logic System, and has also worked alongside countless musicians in Japan from the 1970s to present day. In celebration of his decades of accomplishment, he recently released the five disc retrospective Logic Chronicle, which demonstrates his amazing versatility across genres and sub-genres of electronic and rock music, from synthpop and dance music to avant-garde and prog. It’s an incredible collection and I highly recommend it.

To help promote its release, Matsutake held a major exhibition over the weekend, which included interviews and a concert performance. Sadly, I couldn’t make it to either of those, but I was able to swing by the pop-up store for it. I came there hoping to snag some obscure Japanese electronic music. I didn’t expect to see the actual instruments used to help invent synthpop. Continue reading

David Bowie Record Store Day 2017 Vinyl Reviews

This Record Store Day saw two “exclusive” David Bowie releases. One is a five-sided, three LP live album entitled Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74), while the other is Bowpromo, a re-issue of a promo-only LP from 1971.

Both of these are releases are limited editions. The live album got a pressing of 17,000 worldwide, while Bowpromo received a one-time pressing of 15,000. This will no doubt lead to them commanding a hefty price on the secondary market. As I write this in Tokyo, the record stores are just opening their doors in the UK, with the US soon to follow. Copies of both records are already flooding eBay, and I expect even more to show up on the site very soon. And if the stock at my local Tokyo stores was any indication, those who didn’t snag one in the stores within the first hour of doors opening will probably have to go to eBay if they want one.

But should you even bother? Continue reading

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