CD of the Day (and strong contender for CD of the Year) Gregory Porter’s LIQUID SPIRIT


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I’ve been listening to a lot of music recently. Actual cds not mp3s, not rough compressions or rough approximations of the song, but the full CD sound spectrum of the song.

MP3s were never designed as a replacement for musical CDs, it is a sampling medium, great for helping you decide what is worth buying (or even audio books where for the most part all you are reproducing is a person’s limited conversational speaking range) but not suitable as a replacement for a full range music recording. MP3s get rid of extraneous info, the highs and the lows, the extremes, but oft I’ve found it’s those very pauses and extremes… that compression schemes such as MP3 would lose, wherein we are best found.

I’ve listened to everything from Rock to Rap, sampling all those voices from the near and far. And some of those CDs are very good, but only one recently has been inspired, has been revelatory. Revelatory as in revelation. Gregory Porter’s LIQUID SPIRIT is that cd. Not since stumbling upon the works of Terry Callier or Solomon Burke have I been so impressed with a new discovery. It’s not just his voice, or even the lyrics, which as stated are inspired, it is his phrasing, his delivery. Smooth and easy crooning, holding at bay… a night falling into day. It’s a very relaxed delivery, crooning to you, as the stars… dim.

Melancholy. That’s the word, there is a vein of melancholy in Gregory Porter’s Grammy acclaimed vocals, but melancholy that is tempered by a fervent romanticism. This is timeless music, as valid for an audience of 1920 as it will be for an audience of 2020.

This is today’s MUST BUY, not just the CD of the day, but a CD to enjoy from first song to last for far longer than a day. An essential CD.

In an age of Itunes when everyone is satisfied with listening to the distant echoes of music (mp3s) this is a CD that will prompt you to invest in, that nearly extinct device, a portable CD player.

However, it is the 21st century so thankfully we have alternatives to just having a portable CD player. You can, for a little more, buy a simple media tablet about the same size and weight as a portable CD player, but that allows you to play your MP3 cd-rs and cd-rws (as much as I rail against MP3 for music, for audio books or Old Time Radio it works just fine) as well as view DVDs! That folks is what we call… a win/win!

Price both the CD and a good portable media player-tablet, at the links below. You’ll be glad… for both.

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Liquid Spirit CD

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Coby TFDVD7009 7-Inch Portable DVD/CD/MP3 Player, Black – nifty portable media tablet… now it appears Coby Electronics has gone the way of the dodo, so you may want to pick up these low cost DVD/CD/media tablets while you can.

Enjoy the links. And if you purchase through the links, I want to let you know it is always appreciated, and helps keep this Blog going. Thanks and enjoy the items!!!

And for those looking to catch Gregory Porter in concert, he has a pretty lively 2014 touring schedule, He’s currently tearing through Europe, but has a few stateside stops as well, to include, PA, New orleans, Colorado, DC, and a few more. View the whole schedule here!

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Dvd Spotlight: THE BIG TRAIL

The Big Trail (Two-Disc Special Edition) (1930)


“One of very few wide-screen productions filmed at the dawn of the talkies, The Big Trail was dismissed by reviewers of the day, little seen, and soon shelved and forgotten–for more than half a century, as it turned out. For movie buffs, it became a sort of Holy Grail. After all, the esteemed Raoul Walsh had directed, the early 70mm angle was tantalizing, and wasn’t this the movie that was intended to make a star of Duke Morrison, a 22-year-old former prop man whom Walsh had rechristened John Wayne for the occasion? For curiosity value alone, surely it rated a look.

Restored in the late 1980s and warmly embraced by film festival audiences… The Big Trail is now an authentic classic, and a swell movie. Probably always was.” –Richard T. Jameson, Amazon Reviewer

“This is a rare chance to compare the widescreen and traditional screen versions of the same film….and they were shot with separate camera crews at the same time. The 1.33 version is NOT extracted from the widescreen print. This is two entirely separate cameras and crews….the difference is amazing. The compositions are not the same, the lenses are very different and the directorial comparisons are a great lesson in Hollywood style. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!” —- FineArtBuyer@Amazon

The Big Trail (Two-Disc Special Edition):Price or Buy your copy here, and support this Blog when you do so! Thanks!

DVD REVIEW: DOCTOR WHO – THE HAND OF FEAR aka the SEXIEST DR WHO Villain?!!!?

Well that’s a strange heading for a blog post I admit, but I was re-watching the 1976 episode of DOCTOR WHO: THE HAND OF FEAR, and man is this a ‘rocking’ episode of Doctor Who!

Okay the following contains spoilers for the episode (as well as a smattering of risque adult themed humor :)), now you regular readers know I typically avoid spoilers like the plague, but there is no way to really sell this episode and not describe its reveals. And it is still a great episode, even when you know what is coming.

However, jump to the last paragraph if you want to avoid any spoilers (or avoid tasteless humor :)).

For the rest of you… into the mystery.

This 4 part episode works in large part because of the villain of Eldrad played by Judith Paris. A silicone rock based creature who is one of the first scifi gender-bending characters I’m aware of. This alien menace starts out off camera as a dude, becomes a dudette, and in the final episode returns to a dude form. It’s probably just as well that I didn’t see the whole serial as a kid, as my young mind may not have been able to compute all that. But as an adult I can appreciate the entire serial.

But yeah the first three episodes, and much of the fourth are just great, and again largely it’s because the villain of Eldrad is such a rich and complex character. Powerful, a bit violent, but also a bit vulnerable, it’s just a well written part, that Judith Paris I thought performed the heck out of.

It didn’t hurt at all that she was drop-dead gorgeous. Between her and Catwoman in the Adam West Batman reruns… I knew puberty had arrived. 🙂

Wait did I say that out loud?!!

What can I say that woman was frigging gorgeous. Okay there were slight problems, she was an alien menace, and she was made out of rock. Okay I see that being a minor hiccup, but hand me my ‘Ben Grimm’ condoms and cry ‘Clobbering Time!’, and I’m good.

(Heh, Heh! That joke is only for fans of the FF. Yes, I am evil! 🙂 )

Okay getting my mind out of the gutter (I’m telling you, I’m going to find that costume and put my girlfriend in it— wait… did I say THAT out loud?!! DOH!!) it’s just a great 4 part storyline, right up till the last episode, when Judith Paris’ Eldrad gives way to a male version.

Now, I’m not a sexist, and I’m not going to hate on the rock dude villain, because he’s a dude, but I am going to hate on him because… he is effing rubbish! Eldrad turns from a complex, intriguing, nuanced character, to this blustering, shouting, scenery chewing, mustache twirling stock villain… yeah.. it is just disappointing; a glaring combination of bad writing, and horrendously bad over acting.

But thankfully the screen-time of the male Eldrad is brief, and the episode ends on one of the pivotal scenes between the Doctor and his companion, Sarah Jane Smith. It was a good four part-er that really showed how well these two work together and what they mean to each other, which made the ending all the more… bitter-sweet.

All in all it is not a perfect episode of Doctor Who, largely because of dropping the ball with the demise of Eldrad, but that aside it’s a beautifully directed, and well performed episode that comes highly recommended. Plus the DVD offers a commentary with the cast, so it’s worth getting for that alone. Grade: B/B+.

Doctor Who: The Hand of Fear (Story 87)

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Art Book of the Day: GRAPHISTES WORLD ARTBOOK 01! CONTEST– Win this Book!

This is a review of the GRAPHISTES WORLD ARTBOOK 01, subtitled BOOK OF CREATION, it is published by Oracom Editions and compiles selected artwork from a French on-line artists collective.

First impressions, presentation. It’s a sizable SC book at 11″ x 9″, and feels substantial at 220+ pages. Nice striking cover image, on a nice pull out gate-fold cover. It’s a matte type paper stock on both the cover and the interior pages, and utilizes a sewn binding (initially had thought it was glued, but is a sewn binding. Pretty spiffy for a soft-cover.).

The Matte paper stock, I can appreciate its use on the darkly illustrated cover to help minimize finger-prints, however on the interior pages I’m not a fan of it, as I think a gloss paper stock would have better worked to showcase the images on the interior. I’ll go into that in more detail in a bit,

Now getting into the content, the actual images themselves, there’s more than a bit of crossover in terms of style and theme and subject. The images are mostly computer generated imagery, a lot of video game like landscapes. Much of it is a bit dark for me, in terms of actual brightness not content. I think this is the printing job, rather than the images. Because the images viewed on-line look great (as in the ones I post with this blog), but in the actual book the images appear muddy and un-dynamic.

It may be what the artists are going for, but I’m inclined to think it’s printed a bit dark. So that is where a glossier, brighter, higher contrast interior paper stock could have helped the images come alive, and not fade into the background as much.

It’s definitely a preference argument, but generally I feel glossy paper works much better for art books, and that this particular art-book, because the images are so dark, would have benefited from a higher-contrast glossy paper stock.

Mainly because the dark muted images, lots of purples on blacks, one after another tends to reinforce the need for a more varied palette. The detail in the images just get lost. There are a lot of images I think I would like, if I could see the detail in the images.

But just when you think the similarity is getting to you, you turn the page and there is a burst of artistry and an unexpected, thematically intriguing image to bring you back into the book.

Among such standouts are [the creator or studios nickname is listed with the image, but the table of contents gives their full name] :

28162 has a lush and beautiful and vibrant image with PINK DREAM and SANS UN DEFAUT

Kiko has a wonderful, futuristic landscape scene with IN THE MORNING, but I do think it looks a bit dark, muddy

Mr. Xerty has a nice collage like work with JING

Pim does the lovely LIGHT PULSE

3mmi Design has several intriguing images with DELIVRANCE and TONIGHT IN HELL

Maliciarosenoire offers us the nicely composed INCERTAIN

Graphic Traveling bring us the imaginative NYX

Grivetart’s NEW YORK 2030 and EXPLORERS are both quite excellent

Graphaddict’s offers us the well composed and lit SPACE MOUNTAINS

Pezcado’s MAINS DANS LA MAIN is quite ingenious

BeautifulReal brings us the sumptuous and strange LAST TRAVEL

KarimDesign’s offers us the attention getting LAST BREATH

Aiven’s 5 PAR is likewise imaginative and compelling

Todavia’s DEATH OF A SIREN

Lord K’s POLAR SUMMER

So these are some of the ones that stand out, and make the book well worth a viewing, despite my issues with the printing. Beyond the brief French introduction, the book consists of all images, so it can be enjoyed by all. Final Grade: B-.

******

CONTEST! WIN THIS BOOK!

This book isn’t currently available on Amazon US, but is available from Amazon UK and Amazon FR. It’s like $50.

But wait a minute! For being a Heroic times follower, I’ll tell you how you can win it for free.

It’s really, really easy to win this review copy they sent me.

Be the 15th person (follower, you have to be a follower of this blog)to comment on this post, you win the book.

Put contest in the comment, include your email address so I can get in touch with you. Comments do not get posted if you put contest in it, and they come right to me.

The 15th person, maximum of 3 attempts per person and consecutive attempts not counted. 15th person (follower) to leave a comment saying “you want this book and love Heroic Times”… wins the book.

Pretty simple.

Okay, that’s all folks. Go hug somebody.

HEROIC TIMES The Best of Fiction Contest!

I wanted to take a little bit of time and thank those of you who have subscribed to this blog, and take the time to ‘like’ posts etc. It just is… strongly appreciated, and very awesome of all of you.

I do this blog for a very simple reason…

It’s the reason anyone does anything, in the absence of money or threat.

I do it because I am compelled.

So I’m always happy to see that my eclectic, ramblings from the edge; can entertain more than myself. Because make no mistake, I entertain the heck out of myself with this blog, but it is added enjoyment to entertain Lesley or Max or Martin or Beth or any of you gals and guys who have subscribed, liked, commented, sent emails, and purchased items at Amazon through my blog links. That continues to be a very huge and very necessary part of keeping this blog going.

Okay so to thank my subscribers I’ll be holding three contests over the next several postings. Just a little bit of giving back to my subscribers and supporters.

I have writers that I approached to answer my patented, slightly insane HEROIC TIMES questionnaires. The answers are across the board brilliant and fun. I consider myself well read, but these guys are going to introduce you to writers and books and short stories, that were new to me. They are now on my list of items to get, and I think will find place on your list as well.

Really, really great stuff.

So a contest/quiz will be posted at the end of each one of the upcoming questionnaire posts. The first person to respond with the correct answers wins a prize.

I’m still brainstorming what all the prizes will be, but one of the prizes will be the following:

King David

Just because I’m a huge fan of Kyle Baker, and I think that’s a particularly lovely book, whether or not your religious in anyway. It’s just captivating storytelling and art.

DEAL OF THE DAY: DOCTOR WHO style SOLAR POWERED Pocket Watch- Retracted

UPDATE: Having received this one I have to update this post. It does not live up to expectations. First the pics are quite a bit larger than the actual item that feels tiny and insubstantial. And possibly I got a used, defective one but I didn’t see the solar part at all.

I figured you’d open it up and light would hit it and the hands would start rotating, and there would be a cool way to set it. Right?! I mean proper Steam Punk! Nope.

It’s just a dinky watch, with a normal battery that supposedly gets solar charged, and has a frustrating method for setting the time, and is even more frustrating trying to read the time.

A curio for its looks, but functionally it’s… hmm how do I say this nicely… not worth the money. At $10 or under it might be a cute thing to display, but as a functional watch it’s a bust.

Now possibly I got a bad one, as it has some decent reviews at the link below. But I can only go by my experience. And my experience… not good. I’m sending mine back for a refund. So DEAL OF THE DAY… retracted. 🙂

I don’t wear wrist watches. I never picked up the habit, and working with electricity it’s just one less thing I had to remove, so I got used to not wearing a wrist watch.

However pocket watches, or what the British call fob watches (fob, because that’s the name of the small pocket on vests, where the watch was meant to go) I simply cannot get enough of.

A great pocket watch is just a strong buy for me, and an especially unusual and finely crafted one… just a must have.

Enter today’s DEAL OF THE DAY:

Solar Powered Turbine Fob Watch

You can view the item here:

EER Patent Solar Powered Turbine Fob Watch by Alchemy Gothic

Today’s recommended Items!

“We have trampled on the backs of apes… to clutch the muddied hems of Angels.”

—Only Alan Moore could have written a line like that. I’ve been listening to one of his best CDs, the incendiary and game changing SNAKES AND LADDERS, 2nd only to Moore’s own excellent MOON AND SERPENT THEATRE OF MARVELS.

SNAKES AND LADDERS
SNAKES AND LADDERS

Moon & Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels
Moon & Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels

Other Recommended items:

Brought to Light – Gary Lloyd ; Audio CD -Essential Alan moore spoken word audio book
Brought to Light

Dead Man’s Shoes – Paddy Considine ; DVD – Essential British Crime Thriller
Dead Man’s Shoes

Enjoy!