Sep 132012

Yeah, I decided to go back to the “Seen and Heard” title for these morning round-ups. I know Phro will be disappointed that I didn’t go with his latest suggestion — “A Nice, Hot Cup of Morning Cum” — but I worried that not everyone would find that as appetizing as he does. Though maybe a dash of nutmeg on top would help. Regardless of the title, the idea is the same: things I saw and heard yesterday that I thought were worth passing on.


Valdur are a three-man band from Mammoth Lakes, California, who I first came across (and wrote about) more than two years ago following release of their excellent second album, Raven God Amongst Us. Yesterday I learned that Valdur have finished writing their new album and will begin recording it on November 12. I also learned that earlier this summer they self-released a limited two-song EP entitled The Hammer Pit, which consists of “rough version” of two new songs.

I was curious to hear The Hammer Pit, since I know that this past spring a new vocalist/guitarist (“Samuel”) joined the band, and his work is reflected on the new EP. I was able to find a Bandcamp page where Valdur are streaming one of the EP’s tracks — “Conjuring the Fire Plagues” — and it’s available for a “name your price” download. It’s a damned killer of a song. Continue reading »

Mar 102012

Blade Runner is not a perfect movie. Among its flaws, Harrison Ford, playing the lead role of Deckard, was the weakest link in a cadre of actors who were otherwise everything you could have wanted. But it’s a movie that makes a deep impression, or at least it does if you’re at the right age, at the right time of your life when you see it. At the right time, it seems profound.

How long do we have? We don’t know. No one knows. It’s a shame we won’t live . . . but who does? A blade runner, a hunter of rogue replicants, of skinjobs, realizes too late that life is precious, even artificial life. He realizes, as we all will eventually, the ultimate tragedy in the loss of a lifetime of unique experiences as all those moments pass away and doves fly off in the rain. Maybe he realizes that he, too, is a replicant. But does it really matter? They’re only accelerated versions of us, their energy draining away to the vanishing point before they’re ready. And who is ever ready?

A video artist named Francois Vautier extracted 167,819 frames from Blade Runner‘s final-cut version and assembled them into a gigantic virtual wall of images — a square of approximately 60,000 pixels on one side alone. He then created a virtual camera as a roving observer of the mosaic, passing over the frames in a compressed version of the movie itself. If you’re a Blade Runner worshipper, as I am, it’s a cool thing to see. Continue reading »