Saturday, October 25, 2014

Review: Zella Day - Zella Day EP

I stumbled upon this artist from Sputnik Music which got lot of good albums recommendation. So I decided to give it a go and, bam, I was hooked.
Sweet Ophelia,
When young blood escapes
Vows that break
Go up, up away
Zella Day - Sweet Ophelia
This album (or mini album) from Zella Day consisted just of 4 songs, totaling in 12 minutes and 25seconds. But, boy, those four songs just soooo good. I keep hitting replay button again. And again. And again. And again...

So, how should I describe Zella Day? I would say like Lana del Rey met Florence Welch met Elly Ghoulding: the sheer epic result is simply mind blowing.

Many EP is just an epic song with lots of filler. But in Zella Day, there are no filler, all her four songs are strong: good lyrics combined with big hook and blasting melody. Oh, and the melancholy, we must not forget the big dose melancholy.
You did to me so well
Hypnotic taking over me
Make me feel like someone else
You got me talking in my sleep
Zella Day - Hypnotic
The lyrics is good, I love how poetic all her songs are. The theme is mostly about blinded in love.
Take me to the garden of your ecstasy
Make myself a heaven from your falling leaves
Woven in the fabric of your tapestry
Cover me in honeysuckle memories
Zella Day - Compass

From Hypnotic, Sweet Ophelia to Compass and East of Eden, we will meet pounding bass,  strings and layer upon layers of sounds. Her musics is really rich. The only sparsely instrumented is Compass, which only capitalized her vocal.

And she sing really good. Her high register is really good. She soar effortlessly to falsetto, without sounding breathless. However, I would like to hear more of her lower register, because she had this dark voice which I liked.
Call me wild, drinking up the sunshine
Be my man and show me what it feels like
Denim sky unbuttoned down the middle
Spilling out little by little
Zella Day - East of Eden
I would like to see how her full album sounded, I hope it would be even better than this epic EP. If you liked Lana Del Rey, Florence Welch or Elly Ghoulding, I would recommend you to try Zella Day. She is good.

Zella Day + Deadbeef + Aune T1 with Phillips PCC188 + Sennheiser HD600  = eargasm.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence

You must already noticed now, that I rather like Lana Del Rey. I really dig her melancholy and old style. Yes her persona is rather made up and not natural. Yes those lips almost certain face job. I don't care. As long as she keep produce music I like, she can put one meter long nose, or third arm or fly or whatever.

This album is very different than her previous two albums. Dark is what it felt at first. But different dark than Born to Die dark. In Born to Die, the darkness is glittering with flashes of neon and orb-lamp. Of recklessness and willfulness. In Ultraviolence, the darkness is lightened only by a splash of fireflies, of fond memories and little bit of sands in moonlight.

Gone is the hip - hop and heavy strings, replaced by echoing electric guitars and -what-is-it-called?-reverb? And simple drum. Simpler band arrangements, with a splash of strings here and there. The result is a fresher sounded album, although still heavy with melancholy and drama.

The lyrics, to be honest, still not 100% good. I mean, //You dance in circles around me // You're fucking crazy // You're crazy for me // is definitely bad. Or // He used to call me DN // That stood for deadly nightshade //. Really? Nightshade as in Potato and Eggplants? And why on earth "hydroponic weed"? At least, nightshade did sounded cool, I'll give you that
But there are gems here and there. The same song which gave us vegetables also give us this gems: // I can hear sirens, sirens // He hit me and it felt like a kiss // I can hear violins, violins //. Domestic abuse or BDSM? You choose.
Oh, and did she just take a jab at USA? //I’m talking about my generation // Talking about that newer nation // And if you don't like it // You can beat it //. What do you think?

I won't go detailed review of each songs here. But if you ask me, personally I like the Bond - movie-esque "Shades of Cool", the twanged "Brooklyn Baby" (really love the guitar), "West Coast" (nice tempo switching there!) and the operatic induced "Money Power Glory".
All in all, this album gave nostalgic vibe, with big doze of melancholy thrown. If Born to Die felt like good girl had her first taste of bad (and loving each second of it), then Born to Die: Paradise Edition felt like grown woman comfortable in her sexy, womanhood, and Ultraviolence felt like a woman who reminiscing how her life gone. Jaded, tired, sad but still starving for love, even a violent one. That how Lana on this album felt.

Lana's voice sounded much stable and matured here. Her voice soaring high and smooth. I really loved how she sounded on "Brooklyn Baby". And those soprano on "Shades of Cool" is really good. I kind of missing her low voice though. There aren't many singer with good rich, dark low voice. And song like "Born to Die" is shining because of those low voice.

This is quite good album. I like how fresh, yet how Lana Del Rey is this album. Dark, nostalgic, and melancholy. In short: a Lana Del Rey album.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: Word of Radiance (Stormlight Archive Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson

Now, I know that this review is kind of late but I want to make sure that I wore off my excitement and able to give more honest review. Read on!

Word of Radiance is the second book from Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive series. And this series is AWESOME!!! This book is even better than the first book, if that even possible. The character development is deeper, the cast screen time is more balance, the story is more cohesive, and the final is even more awesome.

I love how Mr. Sanderson dig Shallan's background. If the first book was all about Kaladin, in the second book Shallan emerge as strong secondary main characters. Now we can understand why Shallan do what she did, and why she felt the why she felt. Maybe in the third book we can read more about Jasnah? (crossing fingers). Just read that the third book is about Szeth.

There are some scene which almost make me tears (I swear, it was just prickling in the eyes....), and there are scene which make me want to strangle Kaladin (just how dense he can get!?!). The last hundred or so of the book really make me want to scream and make me to stop reading but unable to lol. And the scene with Syl and the last fight is awesome. Although the last scene with Dalinar and Adolin is really unexpected (who would guessed that Dalinar would do that, and Adolin to do it? Really!). And that early dead! God, it was almost broke my heart. Almost.

There are so many new plot development that I think I had to reread the book at least once before reading the next book (by the way, when it was scheduled? 2015? 2016? Damn it, that's way too long!). So many plot and twist, so many new mysteries (is the artifact on the last scene with Szeth is that artifact?!? Is Hoid really the person who wrote that letters?!?).

I really didn't want to spoil much, at least not as much as what I already did (sorry lol). What I'm saying is, you really had to read this book. I assure you, you won't regret it!
Well, at least I did not. It was worth the sleepless night when I did it.

Highly Recommended.
ps: sorry for my previous melt down. Just ignore it.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Running Away

Do you remember MIRC?
I still remember MIRC, chatting senselessly into Indonesian chat room (or called room back then). Or downloading Dragon Ball wallpapers, then saving it to 3.5" floppy disk. And how many pop up I had to close before I can see the web content. God damn the Internet Explorer.
I was using Yahoo! back then. On a computer with dial up connection. The Net Cafe I used was cost me about IDR 6,000 (maybe equivalent to IDR 20,000 now). For comparison, now Net Cafe only cost IDR 2,000 an hour, with 1Mbps connection speed. And now I'm browsing the internet using my phone or my notebook. With 2 Mbps (or more) connection.

I find it easy for me to lost myself to the wide and wild internet world. Sometimes I spent my day only browsing and browsing, shunning the world, not caring if it was a brilliant, clear day or dark and thunderous rain. I care not if there are peoples out there. I'm going to internet. I was happy.

Or so I though.

Actually I was lonely. And the saddest part is I don't understand that I was lonely. I tried to fix my loneliness by going to internet. I'm like a shopping junky. You see, shopping junky thinking by going shopping and buying things to their heart content, they can make their loneliness go. And maybe it does, for some times. When the excitement wore off, or their money spent, the loneliness back. I'm like that. For sometime I was excited and happy browsing the internet. Reading news, new gadgets, pretty pictures, funny videos, the stuffs. But when the excitement wore off, I'm back being lonely. Then the cycle continuous. Back and forward.

The thing is, I'm not exactly liked people. I find it exhausting to socialize with them. Because I found peoples always have expectations to met, emotions to respond, the rules to obey (or at least to be respected), etc. It's exhausting. So most of time I hold other people at bay, not letting them too close to me, but not to far either. And I find it hard to trust people. I always hold back some part of myself. I just can't let it all go.

Sometimes I'm afraid that I become some kind of user-person. Using people, then discard it when I don't need them. I'm afraid that I grow too dis-attached to other people that I became cold and bitter person. Or maybe I already gone to that path, I don't know. And I'm not sure if I'm care.

I'm not blaming the technology. What I'm saying is, those technology made it easier to run away from peoples, and the REAL world. Before then, I was running to books. That's one reason I loved fantasy novels. Maybe THE reason. And every day, I'm only tried just to getting by. I don't make much efforts to be MORE. As long as I getting by, it's enough. And I believe it going to destroy me.

But it's so easy just not to care. Just so easy just to lay back and let the life running by it self.
No worry about life. No worry about other peoples.

 I'm going numb. And the only excitement I can feel is small in number. And I think it's going smaller and smaller.

I don't know.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Nostalgic and Melancholy.

Have you ever see a place, photograph, movie, song, book or other things which take you back to your old times? My life was hectic recently, every day I'm going to office at seven-something, and back at my rented room at seven-something. Everyday I'm wading through the never ending jobs. Then today, I decide to take a 10 minute break and open my long unused Facebook apps. There on the update stream, a friend just liked a photo which I was tagged. Feeling curious, I open the link and voila, a grainy photo from my last week before high school graduation came. Then the 10 minutes break stretches into 1 hour break. How naughty of me.

The photo was taken at 2005, I'm not remember what day or month it was, but from the uniform I'm sure it was either Monday or Tuesday. You see, we got 3 set of uniforms: White and Gray-blue (Monday - Tuesday), Yellow-cream and Chocolate-cream (Wednesday and Thursday) and the last one is Boy Scout one (Light chocolate and brown for Friday and Saturday). Back then, Saturday is school day, although the school finished 1 hour earlier. And I remember very well, the photo was taken at noon. Is till remember the heat of the day. It was a windy day too.

My class is pretty crazy one. I remember how everyone got along so well, some even date each other. I think there was 2 or 3 couple formed. Indonesian school is different to West school. I believe in the West, we can choose what we want to learn, although there were some courses which mandatory. So your class-mate is differs every course. Kind of how University and College run. Here in Indonesia, all course is mandatory. So, every day we met the same people, until we divided into two major: IPA (science-based courses), and IPS (social-based courses). Of course, there were some mandatory courses, but mainly the focus of the major courses is different. Thinking back, my second year is pretty crazy too. Pity we got split.

Some of my classmate are from my first and second grade class, which is about 50 - 60% of the class. The remaining are shuffled from other class. Although not from the same first and second class, but we still got along very well. We got into trouble together, we got praised together, we choose together, every day is really fun. Oh, how I miss those days. Where we start to think about future and the world, but still innocent enough to appreciate simple, mundane teenage things like crush, homework, mischief, quiz etc.

It was awesome.
It was glorious.

Tributes to  my old high school class, Pajero. Really miss you guys!!!