Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity (90's Era)

By the m 90's a lot of what I was familiarized with had changed considerably from what was.

Electing to find the most extreme thing out there (at that time was difficult), I had to settle on what was available.

I had picked up Awake many years prior, and though there was some curiousness to the material I had this extreme snobbish view with accepting it.

My thought process at that time were these songs were too long, or there was so much tempo wankery with exposition that I was turned off by it.

Three years later I come back to Dream Theater and while I was thinking this was going to be a similar experience, it was not even close.

There is a different vibe with Falling Into Infinity. Yes there is the blatant overdose of wankery happening, but there is a very clear cut classic rock vibe oozing forth.

I distinctly remember thinking after listening to this record that there was a profound look at our lives, the politics of age, alliance, starting families, friendships, circumstances changing etc.

One music guest that stood out was Dug Pinnick and this peaked my curiosity. I had also read there was a collaboration with Napalm Death with a reworked version Metallica's The Thing That Should Not Be also peaked my interest.

Though Infinity does stay comfortably in trying to be popular, there wasn't the wide acceptance. This record was a one off experiment and the band would return to they're signature sound on Scenes from a Memory.

You Not Me, New Milenium, Lines in the Sand, and Trial Of Tears evoke something deeply reflective. The shrift of feeling is modulated with Derrick Sherininan's keyboard touch. I prefer this record over many of the newer ones because of the wink and nod to the classic rock foundation of old long play LP's.

I do think the album kind of overstays it's welcome, as I think they tried to keep pushing on the progressive mantel. This record came out during another sizable shift in what was popular. Alternative was in it's full swing, pushing a lot of metal, and this material outside of that circle.

It's an adaquate record I come back to, not that frequent in my rotation of things to listen to, but I am aware of its existence. Thanks for reading.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Technology Tribulations: Home Server/Streaming

As I've been accustomed to in the last while with all the smartphone proliferation, young people prefer to stream content rather than have a dedicated device which stores for quick retrieval.

Since the value of entertainment by all accounts has plummeted in cost, as return on investment has become a lose lose scenario, most of the cartels (RIAA, MPAA, and other governing bodies) have seen fit to institute a highway robbery scheme to force everyone to pay to play.

Since I refuse to play into those rules, I decided to build my own specific system, and to build on streaming artists I enjoy. This made more sense to tackle in this way than paying out the nose for it. A lot of the field now wants many users to pay into a cloud structure, a distant aspect, where I like and prefer the ability to control the content I own.

One weekend had me trying three avenues. First FreeNas, it's a nice little packaged OS that works on both a USB stick or on a physical disc (Compact or DVD). The downside is that FreeNas must never be installed on a physical hard drive. (Loses points right there).

Second was the installation of a trial evaluation of Server 2012, which at first has some interesting elements but I ran into the dreaded lack of network drivers. Somehow the OS itself had the network drivers completely negated, realizing this I wasn't going to sweat any of those details. I moved back to FreeNas.

A little bit about my first experiences with FreeNas, though there are some nice elements of the web GUI, the real fact here is that there is a lot digging, and planning that has to be done before using this in a full time aspect.

For many home users, this is a poorman's band aid server option for streaming and storing anything on old hardware. But for big time enterprise cost cutting companies the operational side of things this could be very useful for cost benefit if there is hardware that supports this design, I've been building two Tyan motherboards with a onboard USB connection I think will work perfectly with this.

Next up, the way the functioning is with FreeNas, built on top of the FreeBSD kernel, this wasn't entirely difficult, until I ran into something unforgivable. Router issues. The IP address scheme should pull all devices on the network (in theory), but with this install, which happened three times, each with different results. Default password issues, network scheme problems, and finally assigning the right server address bugged out the network, which resulted in a hard reboot.

Perhaps it is my overzealous approach which brings up the question, if these software OS's kits are supposed to work right out of the box, why am I getting weird shit? I was in mad scramble trying to trace back strange behavior, software glitch issues with the home network, all with odd results that shouldn't happen.

I went back to the drawing board for a optimal aspect for home streaming to attached devices. In my third attempt I tried the CentOS option, but I am not holding out any hope here as open source of late has been a tad unreliable, and seriously buggy with zero day patch updates, hence the often retorted comment: perma-stage alpha tester.

CentOS was a complete waste. Two versions, one a 6.4 Release and the brand new 7.0 didn't end well. 6.4 I almost had installed until the kernel decided to do a 360 and wouldn't boot after installing a kdump partition for errors. Anything with Linux is notorious error's but nonetheless I trudged onwards. When 6.4 couldn't hang, I bounced to 7.0, and that was a complete fail. I didn't even get to the install section before problems occurred. So it was back to the drawing board.

After doing some research I proposed a hypothesis, and that only specific types of server OS'es could run on a small server without error. Unfortunately, I wasn't going to do anything with Ubuntu as my history with that distro was less than stellar, so it was decided to take another crack at the Windows server install. This time though I would take a different tact and figure out how to get it to work right. I end up trying Essentials, as its a no frills basic OS, with options for updatability if I so choose. Otherwise the process took less than a half hour. I was up and setting up the server.

My experience with this server will prove very useful for my future as I get acclimated to the next paradigm. As for Linux, as much I love it, I do not think it will ever have the dedicated desktop construction that other more prominent OS's have. It just does not work in the way it should, as people are constantly tweaking, revising, as there is this aura of a ever present alpha stage to a lot of it.

I cut my teeth on the Debian fork, not as prevalent now but going from that to Cygwin for minor programing aspects makes more sense at this stage. I am just tired of the bashing on all sides, if you like something then stick with what works, yes its true I was one of those haters, but now I see the other side, I see how each one can benefit. Its just a matter of personal taste.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Living Colour - Stain (90's Era)

Living Colour - Stain  03/15/1993 Epic Records

Punishing. Deep. Angrier. Disgusted. Sorrowful. Lonely. I fervently believe these words describe Living Colour's third outing Stain.

My first inclinations after first listen: uncomfortable, confrontational, and claustrophobic.

Newcomer Doug Wimbush (new bass player) takes over where Muzz once held the position, and he adds a new layering to this record, whereas the punch is quick and unabated.

The poetry sung by Corey is covered in a visceral palate of perpetual disgust, distrust, and disassociation. There is no fitting into a corruptible industry which is hell bent on further exploitation.

Stain is painful. Stain is ugly. The cover I think represents a very stark contrast of social acceptance. I believe this record was a venting of frustration, and it is one I come back to quite a bit. Thanks for reading.


Shores Of Null - Quiescence

Shores of Null - Quiescence 03/13/14 Candlelight Records

Thus far I like this record. Reminds me vocally of Alice In Chains with a twist of modern doom.

The record definitely has a doom vibe, but is evoking very familiar pastures.

Quiescence could fit anywhere in the Swedish style, or American style, it is that mutable.

The power that comes out of this album is melodic progression. There isn't a lot of blatant speed going forth, nor the obnoxious bravado, there seems to be a very calculated intent with this record.

This is my seventh unknown artist from Candlelight, and I'm pleasantly happy to continue to support this label. I await new frontiers of sound Shores of Null will bestow on me in the future, thanks for reading.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Living Colour - Times Up (90s Era)

Living Colour Time's Up 08/28/1990 Epic Records

My story with this record more or less involved me going through a transitional phase. I was walking out of the radio friendly comforts, and delving deep in a wider pasture of cassette tapes and a (brand) walkman.

Piece by piece I would eventually purchase my own tapes, and while I had been accustomed to the pop construct, I was going in a very different area where sounds and attitude gave voice to my blossoming worldview.

Which brought me to a little under appreciated record that quietly came out in 1990. This was my first entry for Living Colour. This was their second album the follow-up to Vivid.

Time's Up was an album filled stark contrasts. Little Richard (musical guest) being one of them (old school meets fresh school).

Yet then the album is lavished with co-existing with the growing hip-hop hardcore gangster rap scene (at that time). Rather than go in that direction (guest) Queen Latifah I think provides a foundation of common sense.

This record shares that urban existence and accepts it as an evolving mechanism. I felt that Time's Up was completely removed from a lot of that blatant bravado, and embraced more of conscientious social awareness in it's commentary, while still staying passionate, connected, and grounded.

While that was the surface element of the album, Time's Up showcased strength, understanding, acceptance, and was not afraid to poke fun of themselves for the sake of it.

The music sounds tight, and still feels modern, though it is closing in on 25 years, I still come back to and recall where I was, and seeing how much things haven't changed. There is still very divisive division, and the themes this record parlayed (then) are still relevant (today).

I've appreciated the albums sharp observation, truthful conviction, and humbled presentation. All of that would conclude with the next release Biscuits (1991), whereas Stain (1993), would be a shift in the bands overall tone, attitude, and inflection. Thanks for reading.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Technology Tribulations: Job Recruiters

Job Recruiters - My take on them

In my travels, I have very intuitive responses to various outlets whom employ scam tactics in justifying a kind of sales pitch. In this case I'm talking about Job Recruiters. In the 90's I was young enough to remember when this was all the rage with certain states because major fortune 500 companies laid off large swaths of the American workforce. Downturn in the economy plus hiring outside consultants, i.e. to scale out any redundancy, pitted blue collar versus white collar.

When those folks were let go, it flooded a market that wasn't really prepared in taking on large out of work population, while also the influx of young graduates from high school (generation x) couldn't really gain traction forward. This is where a specific kind of prospect was created to fill a niche compartment in and around finding people work...or so they thought.

If one was so desperate they'd hire some yahoo to sell their image/brand to some company. Sometimes it worked, other times many, and I mean many people were duped into a false sense of promise.

Enter the 21st century and now these human pig smellies (Invader Zim) have taken to the internet, and lo-and-behold are everywhere. I am as skeptical as the next person, but I know when I see bullshit, and there is a lot of bullshit happening here.

My traction with Job Recruiters was intermittent, meeting with a few jerkoffs whom seem to think they know whats the best fit for my worth. I've been extremely suspect of someone who 'gets' me in the first five minutes after they talk to me.

No, the underlying criticism I have here is how in the world can this be a real and justifiable employment field? Not everyone fits in the same mold, skillset, or career objective i.e. each person is like a snow flake (thank you Lewis Black)

Having been spoken to in this manner that has this faux demeanor, with arbitrary corporate speak platitudes, a lot the spiel is totally and unequivocally condescending. Most of the what a job recruiter is selling you on is a promise that eventually fails, and falls through.

In the process you must jump through imaginary hoops these recruiters use. How do you know if you did well? What is the success ratio of employment retention? How is the reputation of the company they are trying to set me up with?

You know...the one main critical component a real person would utilize and that's called research. By using my critical analysis, and experience to gauge whether or not the situation warrants further inquiry. In a nutshell I don't like getting duped, and sucked into a situation.

They pad your ego to make you feel like your going to get the job, but in the end that dangling fish hook with promising dollar signs is taunted and then whisked away without any real concern to your mental health or well being.

I continue to have questions, yet these new breed of recruiters seem to be a missing one crucial aspect of the job search process: where is the real interview? It is a scam to build up people who are looking for work, who are struggling to find some real meaningful employment that doesn't rob them of a quality life.

Today's job recruiters are scam artists. They don't give a shit whether you succeed or not. Their sole purpose is to engage you, enrage you, lie to you, build you up then chop you down. That is my two cents on this subject.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Type O Negative - Dead Again (2000's Era)

Type O Negative - Dead Again 3/13/2007 SPV Records

Dead Again, is a record that is lighter in texture, giving more of a vibrant viewpoint than the brash tongue in cheek Life Is Killing Me (2003) record.

There is an evolved element, while there is a organic vibe of the drums, as the keyboard components are mere touches adding subtle atmosphere. Both the guitar and bass add an accompanied somber finality for the band.

Like Rasputan whom from lore had many lives (if you read the myriad viewpoints), in a almost self inclusive joke the band used this as way to market Dead Again.

Dead Again is like a rebirth, a fresh kind of slate. A new record label, and a new found freedom (to some degree). Yet, underneath the surface felt uneasy, like rummaging through fresh memories stained by a passage of time.

Though TON always used heavier atmospheric pieces of "Beatlesque" tones, while also employing 70's long play song structure, it was Peter's lyrical gait which pulsated forth with Dead Again. Here he uses a completely different complexion rather than the dark tomes from prior work.

There is a loss that bludgeons the listener if they are aware of it. The realities of age, and the resolution of conquering personal addiction. A lot of it I think was because of their infrequent releases. TON didn't really fit into the American radio format, and because of that they existed in a vacuum almost inclusive to their own whim or whenever it was time to record something. The single September Sun (which was edited down to fit radio format of 4 minutes) is I think a direct result of this.

Since 1994 I've enjoyed watching this band evolve, watching and reading their many trials and tribulations along the way. Many of the personal and private frustrations were given a twisted sense of humor, yet there was always an honesty about how fucked up being in a rock band is

When Peter Steele passed away in 2010 it was punch to my reality in mortality. I was hopeful for another record, but like many fans Dead Again will be the final record from Type O Negative. Though the immediate ex-members still trudge on with A Pale Horse Named Death, and Seventh Void, the family is strong. Thanks for reading.