Rock Out With Your Cock Out

We turned on to Water Street. A row of houses greeted my father and I. Confusion set in. There’s a concert here? Where’s 2A? We found it. A normal house with grass and siding and the normal damage of a St. Cathrines legacy. The 20somethings in ratted t-shirts, skinny jeans and ironic glasses gave it away. 2A was a basement apartment made into a venue.

My dad knew the bands. My sister’s former robotics team had deep roots in the Niagara indie scene. They greeted him with handshakes and hellos. I stood aside. I missed a lot during my married days. I was a fish in outer space, my 53 year old father having more rapport with them than I.

Its my constant flaw that I close down in new crowds. Its a reflex. Its hindered my approaching. I usually have to down a few to break it. After the approach stage is over, I’m solid. The ego and the humor and the caveman take control. Getting a number is not the problem, taking that first step is.

The band we came to see, The Dirty Nil, played first. They harken back to early punk with melody and experiments mixed in. They are rock. They have stage presence, blowing the other two bands out of the water with their wildness. By the end of the short set, the frontman in his trademark red, white and blue dress shirt, was soaked in sweat, sore and had a smile larger than any other. Every moment on that stage was his and he made it memorable for all.

I’ve taken up the guitar after years of lame excuses and self-doubt. After just three weeks of practice using Rocksmith, I’m gaining a lot of skill. I started horribly. Barely able to land my fingers on single notes. Yesterday, before the concert, I breezed through my 20th play of a Black Keys song. Granted, the skill level is still low, but fuck if it ain’t cool as hell to play music.

Like approaching, I push through the tough parts. My fingers slip, my hand cramps and I pick the wrong string. Yet, I get music out and I keep at it. My hand is still not dexterious enough for many chords. But, eventually, I’ll be ready to create my own. Pair it with my writing skill. Make some art. And, enjoy every moment I rock out in my parents basement to the sounds of my personal progression.

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New Song: HMS Conqueror

Finally fished through all the half finished songs I’ve made over the last 3 months. Few tweeks and shit and here’s the newest official release.

On 2 May Conqueror became the first nuclear-powered submarine to fire in anger launching three Mark 8 torpedoes at Belgrano, two of which struck the ship and exploded. Twenty minutes later, the ship was sinking rapidly and was abandoned by her crew. General Belgrano was unable to issue a Mayday signal because of electrical failure; this and poor visibility meant the two escorting destroyers were unaware of the sinking until some hours later. A total of 323 men were killed. Adding to the confusion, the crew of the ARA Bouchard felt an impact that was possibly the third torpedo striking at the end of its run (an examination of the ship later showed an impact mark consistent with a torpedo). The two ships continued on their course westward and began dropping depth charges. By the time the ships realized that something had happened to the Belgrano, it was already dark and the weather had worsened, scattering the life rafts.

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Saint Constantine XI Palaiologos

I have enough songs for another album, but I’m going to keep working on new sounds and new beats. This is my first full song using industrial beats coupled with a spiritual feeling. May be the new direction, maybe not, but I like it.

The title is the that of the last Byzantine Emperor, the last of the Roman emperors to some historians. He died throwing himself into battle against the Ottoman horde and died with his men. He hasn’t been canonized by the Orthodox Church (Turkish politics probably play into that), but many Greeks and others consider him a saint for his actions.

From Wikipedia:

Before the beginning of the siege, Mehmed II made an offer to Constantine XI. In exchange for the surrender of Constantinople, the emperor’s life would be spared and he would continue to rule in Mistra, to which, as preserved by G.Sphrantzes, Constantine’s reply was:

To surrender the city to you is beyond my authority or anyone else’s who lives in it, for all of us, after taking the mutual decision, shall die out of free will without sparing our lives.

He led the defence of the city and took an active part in the fighting alongside his troops in the land walls. At the same time, he used his diplomatic skills to maintain the necessary unity between the Genovese, Venetian and the Greek troops.

He died on 29 May 1453, the day the city fell. His last recorded words were: “The city is fallen and I am still alive”, and then he tore off his imperial ornaments as to let nothing to distinguish him from of any other soldier and led his remaining soldiers into a last charge where he was killed.

Although it is alleged by some like Sphrantzes, who doubted the truth of the story that the only way the Emperor was later identified was by his purple boots and that his body was decapitated and his head sent across Asia Minor to legitimize the victory, others claim that the Turks were never able to identify his body, and that he was very likely buried in a mass grave alongside his soldiers.

Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos

Profiles in Good Music: Deadmau5

Decided to start profiling my favorite bands and artists, since this blog is centered around the aural things. Who else to start with than the local boy who made it big: Joel Thomas Zimmerman, better known as Deadmau5.

Joel Zimmerman aka Deadmau5 was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1981 (for a while, maybe currently, I lived down the block from his mother). Deadmau5’s career began during the 1990s experimenting with his sound and DJ-ing. In 2005, he released Project 56, a compilation of fifty-six short demos. Among this EP is “Just Before 8bit”, which influenced his later albums.

His first LP, Get Scraped, was released in 2005. Two versions of this album exist: the CD version which was released first, then the download version in 2006 which as several changes to the song list. No singles were released from Get Scrapped, but The Oshawa Connection is my personal favorite.

Soon after, he began his own record label, mau5trap, which, along with Ultra Records and Ministry of Sound, released the 2008 album Random Album Title. RAT (wink) had two major singles, “Faxing Berlin”, which launched his career in clubs both Euro and North American, and “I Remember”, which were featured in several video games. His next album, For Lack of a Better Name, sent him into skyhigh popularity with the track Ghosts N’ Stuff, which even metalheads and wiggers know of.

In 2010, he released 4×4=12, and in 2011 began a world tour that recently concluded in Toronto. His performance there made Canadian music history as he is now the only Canadian act to headline a concert at the Roger Center (Skydome). A place usually reserved for acts like U2, Bon Jovi and other stadium-usual bands.

I wasn’t a fan of techno of any sort until I came across Deadmau5. The first track I truly listened to was Ghosts N Stuff and was blown away at the complexity and smoothness of his sound. I’d heard other techno tracks, usually European, and none of it ever clicked. I found myself bouncing to Ghosts N’ Stuff and knew I had to explore further. Which lead me to dubstep and my own attempts at electronic music

While I won’t say, like other kiddos, that “his music saved my life” I did learn that its cool to let go. I was usually a silent, stoic listener at concerts. Hearing and rocking out to his music and the other artists I’d come across was a beginning to releasing the years of fear and worry about looking like a fool. Now, who gives a shit? Have a good time. Enjoy, ’cause if you don’t, then what’s the point of even listening to music?