Monday, January 24, 2011

Foundsound Orchestra: 52 Weeks Project

Happy New Year!

Ok, my challenge for 2011 is to make a new Found Sound Orchestra track every week and post it here. No doubt quality control will take a hit at various times during the 12 months but hopefully by the end of the year those that have stuck with it will have enough decent songs to make a nice 10 or 12 track album. Please feel free to download, play and delete to your hearts content.

So, here we go – the first track is ‘Thankyou 3 times’. Spot the samples…….

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mister X: The Little Comic That Could

I was rummaging through my trade paperback shelves the other day and came across my copy of the first volume of iBooks Mister X trade. Shamefully, this well-designed and thought out book has never found a large enough of an audience (despite the book being optioned for film back in the 80s with Patrick Stewart rumored to play the lead at the time). Besides this trade I have a couple of Vortex issues that I came across at the time, and a couple of issues of the attempted Caliber relaunch in the 90s (Caliber does still, to this day stand as one of my favorite small press comic publishers of that decade).

Part of the problem, I think, is just the hit or miss distribution of small press comics back then. Back in the 80s, and through part of the 90s, distribution for most media (comics and music chief among them) were still fairly regional to the point of what may have been popular in one part of the country never got seen in others.

What was Mister X you might ask? The very short Wikipedia article can be found here. Dean Motter, the creator of Mister X has a bit more information about him:

In the late 1970s, Dean Motter edited and art directed Andromeda, a Canadian comic book series which adapted the works of major science–fiction authors such as Arthur C. Clarke and A.E. van Vogt. During that time Motter and collaborator Ken Steacy created The Sacred & The Profane (Star Reach), which Archie Goodwin referred to as "the first true graphic novel" in the contemporary comics medium.

Motter achieved recognition for his album cover design during his tenure as art director for CBS Records Canada, and later with his own studio, Modern Imageworks. His record jackets and promotional graphics (for acts such as The Nylons, Triumph, Loverboy, The Diodes, Liona Boyd and Jane Siberry) have won several awards. Motter has been nominated for a Juno Award six times, and won twice. He won a Juno Award in 1983 for "Best Album Graphics" for his work on the Anvil album Metal on Metal. The following year, he again won the "Best Album Graphics" award for his work on the Seamless album by The Nylons, along with Jeff Jackson and Deborah Samuel.

In 1988, he co-wrote and illustrated Shattered Visage for DC Comics based on Patrick McGoohan's 1960s British television series The Prisoner. The following year he created the logo and basic cover design for DC's Piranha Press imprint.

Mister X, at best, was a mystery. Who was Mister X? What was he doing? How did he find all those tunnels? For some, this strength was a great weakness. Many of the stories only had vague resolutions, as the enigma of the main character was central to the theme of the book and the stories.

The question remains: Why should we care? Well, I think the important reason why we should care about Mister X/Dean Motter is that he was a trailblazer. Books like Mister X, while obscure then and now, are important for the fact that they prepare audiences for what comes later, like the works of groundbreaking creators like Grant Morrison. Thematically I know that I can see similarities between the works of Motter and Morrison, even though I doubt that they were intentional. Both of these creators made books that were "essays" on their internal landscapes, using comic books as a media for bringing out these musing, and while Motter never did super-hero books, his Mister X or his Prisoner comics presage much that later comic creators would do, and at the same time he showed that the linear narrative of the comic book could be successfully usurped by the more non-traditional narrative styles of speculative fiction. For helping bring these sorts of depths of storytelling to comics alone, Motter is an important figure.

I suggest checking out the first trade of Mister X, if only for the incredible work of Los Bros Hernadez on the art of the first four issues. They really set the tone for the issues to follow. Amazon has some used copies listed here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

History of the Mash-Up: International Bastard Pop Weekender 3

Back when mashups were only being made in the UK and called Bootlegs, a lovely chap by the name of Deep Disco Force (Nick) organised a series of gigs/weekenders/piss-ups in his home town of Trier, Germany and invited GYBOers to go along and do their thing at his International Bastard Pop Weekenders.

I went to number 3 in March 2004 and took a video camera. I made a film about it. Well, that was SEVEN. YEARS. AGO!!!

I thought the time was right to put it on Youtube for all y'all to see. So, here it is: the trailer, main movie (in two parts due to YT's 15min rule), plus some DVD extras too. Not in HD cuz there was no such thing back then, of course in those days, I used to wear an onion on my belt - it was the fashion at the time... Dribble, bleurgh, etc.

Huge, huge thanks to all the lovely guys I met who've become firm friends and who so generously gave their time to talk to me on-camera whilst everyone else was getting drunk and having fun.

This post is via ThriftshopXL on the GYBO boards from this thread. These videos have some great stuff to see.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Former WotC Employee Charged

Not sure how I missed this one:
A former Wizards of the Coast employee has been charged with felony theft for allegedly stealing $45,000 worth of Magic: The Gathering promotional cards, according to SeattlePI. The theft came to light when large numbers of promo cards were spotted being offered by a Burien, Washington retailer at a Portland convention. The retailer ended up turning over 1700 cards worth nearly $45,000 at market prices to WotC.

The cards were allegedly stolen from a Wizards of the Coast storage locker to which former employee Donald Henry had access. Henry has been charged but not jailed in the case.
I guess I was a bit boggled by the fact that Magic cards could be worth $45k, and here I gave a box of them away when I quit playing. Anyone out there know what position this Donald Henry had with Wizards? (via ICV2)