Fight the Power!


Spotify playlist Number 8: Rebel Yell

I wouldn’t openly champion the idea that I have a rebellious streak, but what makes my blood boil is self-serving and corruption in authority. I expect many of the british people feel the same way which is why the news about the MPs expenses scandal has refused to die down.

On a different note, the latest (albeit minor) revolt covered in the press is the campaign for Rage against the machine to beat the Xfactor finalist to the Christmas number 1 spot. Whereas I sympathise with the principles, I cannot help but feel a strain of cynicism with the details: both artists feature under the Sony Label.

I half believe this is ingenius spin doctoring on behalf of Sony to raise Christmas sales during a flagging economy, (as well as act as an insurance policy as they represent both the runners.) Potentially the publicity stunt could extend projected annual Xfactor artist sales: lets face it, all popular mainstream fads reach a peak and eventually pass. By turning this event into a publicity stunt both artists and the Xfactor programme get a boost in the headlines, to which the latter will no doubt get a token publicity boost next year as there will be a precedent for contention. Shouldn’t we just let this fad die down naturally rather than fuel its longevity?

On the other hand this could be a geniuine grass roots revolt – which has now succeeded. Whatever your thoughts on the matter, Simon Cowell has vested interests in both Xfactor and Sony so hes quids in. This is not necessarily a no win situation for people who really like music, as the overall goal is to diminish chart control from pop-pap manufacturer Xfactor.

…I could easily rant on, but the actual reason for this post is that I’ve made a playlist on the loose theme of rebellion either through lyrical content or band attitude. I make no apologies for including Billy Idol or Pat Benetar!

Don’t you open that Trap-Door…

Atic Atac
I watched the fantastically written ‘Micromen’ on BBC4 recently
– hats off to Alexander Armstrong for his humorous portrayal of Sir Clive Sinclair. The program brought back many fond memories of those dark days of the early home computer. Me, my brother and my sister had a plethora of spectrums; firstly the ZX81, then the 48k ZX Spectrum, and finally the 128k Spectrum +3. It lead me to think about some of the great games I played: the most inspirational game I believe was AticAtac.

Great things about this game:
1. The trap door animation and sound.
2. The walking sound (which is now embedded in my brain). The game title is almost an onomatopoeia of this sound. (Note a similar sound can also be heard nowadays through the indicators on a Citroen C3 if I remember correctly.)
3. The abstract yet instantly understood elements: top down perspective, the door graphics, the progressive room architecture (distinguishable despite being constructed from lines).
4. The room with a devil that keeps coming toward you — to this day I still find this frankly disturbing. (Interestingly if you picked up the cross he would run away!)
5. The strategy: you had to remember which rooms lead to where and the locations of the keys.
6. The choice of playing different characters, the navigating of a maze of rooms, and the carrying of different keys to enter certain rooms. These elements have also inspired other later day game developers such as ID software who made Wolfenstein3D, Doom and Hexen, and Quake.

From a glance by todays standards it looks rudimentary and no different from hundreds of other sprite laden spectrum games, but you could tell by playing it that a lot of thought-process, time, care and energy went into the development of this game; it not only paid off but inspired the decisions and ideas of the modern day game developers, and also through approach to a design, me!

A touch of class

Spotify playlist Number 7: Classical and Soundtrack Classical and soundtrack

I’ve always been a closet fan of classical music. It seems to have a stigma attached to it as the domain of the stuffy and pompous. Regardless of these percieved notions or implicit connotations I have loved the genre since my formative years. I’ve rummaged together a ‘concert’ list of favourite peices as well as orchestral and instrumental film scores that to this day inspire me.

The Sounds of Science

Spotify playlist Number 6: Experimental Randomness Experimental Randomness

Where would we be without pioneers? Scientific mavericks? Revolutionary thinkers? Probably still fumbling about in caves dressed in pelts. This playlist is a celebration of the few brave explorers within the realms of music and sound. You may hear techno, dance, ambient, instrumental; mainstream and underground — however it all sounds a little bit experimental. Each track of beats, bleats, and beeps has been lovingly selected for its quaint and melodic properties. Venture forth!

Together in Electric Reams

Spotify playlist Number 5: Ultimate 80s Ultimate 80s

At heart I’m an eighties throwback – the decade I was born somehow feels like a home to which I can never return to, yet never let go of. I doubt I will ever figure the cause of this deep rooted love as it is shrouded through the perception of childhood, and subject to nostalgic romanticism. Nethertheless, here is a collection of 200+ songs (over 15 hours) worth of eighties tunes — and its freakin’ awesome!

A Modern alternative

Spotify playlist Number 4: Retro Indie Echo retro-indie-echo

My favoutie kind of music: a retro sounding indie mix featuring elements of electro, punk, alternative, sustain and echo. Inspired by the punk/alternative period in the very late 70s / early 80s, and all the way through to its influences over modern day indie rock. Occasionally electronic, always slick.

Unwired for sound

Spotify playlist Number 3: Indie Acoustic Collection Indie Acoustic Collection

A few breezy guitar strumming tracks that remind me of summer. A bit late in the season as the promised barbecue season from the Met office seemed to only last a week in June. However if you believe that summer is also a state of mind, perhaps this audio smokescreen will help you fool yourself. And why not?

Down with the Kids

If you use spotify, check out my playlist ‘Insane Ghetto Beats’.Insane Ghetto Beats
Wildchild – Renegade Master – Fatboy Slim Old Skool Radio Edit • Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – White Lines • DJ EZ Rock – It Takes Two (With Soundbyte Intro) • M – Pump Up The Volume (7″) • House of Pain – Jump Around • Tone-Loc – Wild Thing • Jay-Z – 99 Problems • Beats International – Dub Be Good to Me • Snoop Dogg – Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang • Naughty By Nature – O.P.P – LP Version • S’Express – Theme From S’Express • Young MC – Bust a Move • LL Cool J – Phenomenon • Beastie Boys – Root Down • RUN-DMC – It’s Tricky • N.W.A. – Express Yourself • De La Soul – Me, Myself & I – Radio Version • The Notorious B.I.G. – Mo Money Mo Problems • Tone-Loc – Funky Cold Medina • Pharrell – Can I Have It Like That (feat. Gwen Stefani) • Cypress Hill – Insane in the Brain • N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton • Public Enemy – Rebel Without a Pause • Wise Guys – Ooh La La • Dr. Dre – Still D.R.E. – Explicit Version • Beastie Boys – Shadrach • Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance • Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five feat. Melle Mel & Duke Bootee – The Message • The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight • Uffie – Dismissed • The Chemical Brothers – Get Yourself High (Radio Edit) • Cypress Hill – I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That • Tone-Loc – On Fire (remix)

Common sense and social networking

Is it really any surprise that the youth don’t actively use Twitter? Realistically future technologies will only be sustained if they fit in with the socio-economical model of their intended target audience. Throughout history money has always dictated what gets developed, and whether it gets used; Twitter is sustained by the working professional market, and especially the man-child iPhone user paying a premium for a pseudo benefit; did anyone actually believe that teenagers would have the inclination and money to send progressive SMS updates of their miserable oppressed lives? Besides, was it going to be worth reading anyway? i.e. ‘Just stabbed Keith. LOLz.’

To me it seems that today’s emerging technology has defined and created its own market sector; a post-teenager class of skilled working people using new media as a tool for social networking. I say post-teenager, as all technology is used and abused to personal effect. Look at Myspace for instance, each page is the equivalent of an exercise book or a bedroom that you decorate with stickers, posters, photos, and enforce your own music on other people. Facebook is a halfway house — an organised chaos, facilitated by applications that on the whole evaluate to little more than pointless widgets.

I believe Twitter is the offspring of Facebook, ripping off the main ‘live’ elements that are of interest: the current photo and the ‘what are you doing now’ textfield. A limit on user generated content was always going to be a win over a blog entry as essentially its less crud to sift through. We are faced with so much ‘information’ these days we either naturally filter it out, or bypass it completely. On that note I’ll leave it.