You guys, we have to talk about Saltillo.

This dude is nuts. He emits high-octane nightmare fuel as a byproduct from an inexplicable process of self-discovery the likes of which I’ve never seen. His art is disturbing as fuck. But the music–oh man, this is good stuff.

I’m supposed to be working on some distributed feed stuff tonight, but dammit, this song is incredible and I want to think about it.

Imogen Heap is a musical genius. Whatever you think of her particular style, voice, lyrics; one has to admit that anybody who can sit down and invent an eight track song to any suggested melody, in any key, beat, and meter, on the fly, understands music.

There are some songs which are incredibly close to me. I resonate so closely with them that they are not so much something I enjoy–but a defining element of my emotional core. Like the books you read growing up which you not only remember fondly but strive to fulfill. I’d like to write a little bit about these songs, and try to understand why.

Nik Olendzki, a good friend and fellow Aikidoist at Carleton, introduced me to Carbon Leaf. It was a regular part of the soundtrack at The Quad of Flying Daggers–I remember it echoing from beer-encrusted laminate flooring as you rounded the top flight of stairs, still bundled up in winter coats. The first time I heard it everyone in the room stopped and listened, for a minute, just to reflect.

I feel like a kite high in a tree
Is this where I’m suppose to be?
I wish I was a little boy
When love was taken care of

Back in 2004 I played this mod for UT2004 called Neotokyo, which, in addition to being a really fun futuristic shooter with a good community, had an excellent soundtrack. Over the last five years they've been busy porting the game over to the Source engine, and are almost (fingers crossed) to a first release. One of the coolest things to come out of their efforts so far has been the just-released soundtrack put together by the talented Ed Harrison: a two-disc album which I now have the pleasure of owning.

First impressions: astounding. There is not a single track among the 26 that is not worth listening to carefully. The album has a characteristic "Neotokyo" design: ominous scale and atonal drones, punctuated by sampled vocals and driven by electronic baselines. Soaring orchestral movements empower tracks like "Scrap I/O" and "Tachi", while spacious drums and harsh cello drive the centerpiece "Pravhaba" to inexorable conclusion. "Footprint" evokes a more contemplative mood, with light percussion and querulous synth piano taking time to explore the landscape, building to discontinuous crescendo. The bass sometimes feels lacking, and at some points the layered sound can become so complex it's hard to tell what's happening, but these are minor flaws in an all-around solid release, full of high-quality material. For $11, it's a bargain. Go get it while it's still around.

I guess I’m back. Woke up Tuesday at 7:30. 11 hours of cars, airports, airplanes, half-hearted goodbyes, J.D. Salinger, The Samples, Neil Gaiman, and Something Corporate later, I arrived (somewhat displaced) at the doorstep of my old house. A lot’s changed since I left. The walls, once a gallery of landscape and family photographs, are home to spare collections of hooks where frames once hung. The plan is to re-paint most of the interior walls, hence the spare decoration. The back door, the one that never closed properly, is replaced as well. All the doorknobs feel small here.

Writing the title of this post makes me wonder really where home is. I don’t have a permanent address, really, just a probabilistic chance of successfully being reached. I live a quantum life, shifted by finite yet predictable uncertainties.

Stopped by my old school today to say hello to friends and teachers. Meetings were brief but enjoyable–the security personnel ordered me (contrary to official policy) to come inside, which I gladly obeyed. Mark and I went out to Sushi afterwards, which was amazingly delicious. ^_^

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