вівторок, 24 квітня 2018 р.

MFT: Portal challenge chamber 14 speedruns

Oversights are tricky beasts. Usually, they lead to cumbersome bane and sullen exasperations. But sometimes oversights bring an unexpectedly inspiring element to the experience. Case in point - Challenge Chamber 14 in Portal.

Today, it is needless to say that "Portal" is one of the greatest video games ever made. Not a big revelation. It is one of a kind experience - mind-bending riff on the puzzle game combined with tenacious intensity of First Person Shooter of Doom's kin. But instead of massacring hordes of bastard demons - you are slaughtering the very fabric of reality by opening numerous portals and making the most nonsensical routing operation ever.

It is fun and engaging game that simply offers something completely different and absolutely else. I still remember how much of a surprise it was to play for the first time. Imagine Portal mechanics applied to Doom Wad The Sky May Be or just plain whitespace. That's going to a psych-out.

Among other things, "Portal" offers a reasonable variety of ways of completing the levels. Some are more elaborate while others are blunt and straightforward. But there is one level that has absolutely out of the box speedrun solution - "Challenge Chamber 14".

Here's how it goes. You need to get a cube and then put a pellet into the receiver in a minimal amount of portals. There are several combinations to pull this off neatly. But there is also one trick that allows you to skip the entire level. It wasn't a result of some ominous insight not it was a part of design, but rather an oversight that was left in the release and subsequently embraced.

And rightfully so - it impressively adds to the overall experience and offers a sleek opportunity to escalate things to utter Kafka-Escher abstract absurdity for a moment. You can watch endlessly the speedruns of this level. It is magnificent.

пʼятниця, 20 квітня 2018 р.

MFT: Letter A in e.e. cummings The Enormous room

e.e. cummings was the man. He was so tough you could drop a sun on him and he's going to shrug it off while looking really unimpressed and intensely bored. He was that kind of man.

"The Enormous Room" is his first novel. The book was published in 1922. It tells a story of his World War One mishaps with his friend William Slater Brown. It is wild and bizarre store told in a twisted phrases. In a way it bears a backwards resemblence to earlier stuff of Jean Genet.

But i'm here not to tell something about this book. I was reading this book lately and it was deeply engaging read. To the point i accidentally alphabetized the text. It happens with me sometimes.h

Here's the result.

вівторок, 17 квітня 2018 р.

Zur-En-Arrh Transmission: Ultimate playlist of ultimate ultimate

  1. The La's - I can't sleep
  2. X - I must not think bad thoughts
  3. Head of David - Jack Nicholson
  4. Steel Pole Bath Tub - Bee Sting
  5. Membranes - Great Mistake
  6. Walkingseeds - Kill, Kill, Kill For Inner Peace
  7. Inca Babies - Opium Den
  8. Inspiral Carpets - Smoking Her Clothes
  9. Feedtime - Ha Ha
  10. Grong Grong - Black Hell
  11. Boredoms - Pow Wow Now
  12. Flying Luttenbachers - Eaten by Sharks
  13. Ruins - Fallout
  14. High Rise - Pop Sicle
  15. Spacemen 3 - Losing Touch with My Mind
  16. God bullies - O Shit
  17. Kilslug - Into the Hole
  18. Brainbombs - Anal Desire
  19. Wire - It's So Obvious
  20. Cows - Camouflage Monkey
  21. Girls Against Boys ‎- Click Click
  22. Lubricated Goat - Stroke
  23. Clown Alley - In the Cartoon
  24. Live Skull - I was wrong
  25. Band of Susans - Plot Twist
  26. Uzi - Ha Ha Ha
  27. Pussy Galore - Spit 'n' Shit
  28. Breaking Circus - Took a Hammering
  29. Half Japanese - 1,000,000,000 Kisses
  30. Butthole Surfers - Earthquake
  31. XTC - Helicopter
  32. Pere Ubu - Life Stinks
  33. Mission of Burma - Max Ernst
  34. Wesley Willis - Casper the homosexual friendly ghost
  35. Magazine - Because You're Frightened
  36. the Dead Milkmen - moron
  37. And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Monsoon
  38. Drunks With Guns - Blood Bath
  39. Halo of Flies - Wasted Time
  40. Flipper -  Ha Ha Ha
  41. Ultravox - The Man Who Dies Every Day
  42. Killdozer - Live Your Life Like You Don't Exist
  43. Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancin'
  44. Birdsongs of the Mesozoic - I'm a Pterodactyl

неділя, 15 квітня 2018 р.

MFT: Dictionary of Comic Book Onomatopoeia


Comic Book Onomatopoeia is probably the last fortress of the weird that is left in the medium. Sure, one might say that there are numerous artistic experiments going on here and there and that is true - there is a lot of stuff that challenges all sorts of artistic boundaries in one way or another. The problem is that all those stuff barely does something to otherwise absolutely traditional and straightforward narrative. just feels boring and unexciting - something no artistic experiment have a right to be. Even if it tries something it still feels as a rethread of same old in other words. It never goes beyond challenging, it never attempts a coup.

On the other hand, despite being tried and tested technique - onomatopoeia still delivers the goods like nothing else.

I guess my fascination with comic book onomatopoeia comes from a
Despite challenging all sorts of aesthetic boundaries, comic books rarely if even challenged the language and visuals itself.

The best comic book ever "Paul AUster

середа, 11 квітня 2018 р.

MFT: Louie Louie in Japanese

"Louie Louie" is one of the greatest songs in history of music even though there is nothing special about it. Even if you overthink it so hard the fabric of reality will crack – there still will be nothing special about it. Any way you look at it – it is just a song. A very solid one but it is just a song.

The song is what it is – mind-numbingly sincere upbeat cheerful love song. The story goes: sailor is on the cruise for three days (!), he longs for his love but soon they will reunite and you know what it means. And nothing else.  

It is written in a crude creole english. This makes the song extra clumsy. Chunks of words are bound together into a narrative as if they were torn out of a dictionary to approximately match the content of the message. This tears away any semblance of nuance and leaves only barebones designations of events. This extreme simplicity makes "Louie Louie" curiously direct to the point. 

In a way, it is a perfect example of something so blissfully simple that its simplicity transcends beyond reason and attains charming somewhat gibberish mystique that is utterly unsettling and incredibly thought provoking.

Case in point – that time when FBI investigated the song for being obscene. It was ridiculous but you can understand why it happened - the song is too simple to be just a song - there should have been a second bottom or something. In retrospect FBI's quest seems like a hard case of pareidolia.

"Louie Louie" is easy to learn and fun to sing. Thus hundreds upon hundreds of cover versions of all walks of life in any shape or form. Even more – it was mimicked, elaborated and blatantly ripped off so much you can compose a box set consisting of all variations over the years (with a separate disc dedicated to Frank Zappa) without getting repetitive.

But of all the cover versions available, my favorite is not even recorded one. It is something completely different and absolutely inappropriate. 

My favorite version of “Louie Louie” is merely a Japanese translation of the song. Why? I can’t really explain. I just like the way it looks. It is different and unusual. I know what it is and yet i can't comprehend how something so familiar can be so different and unknowable.

Take a look:

I know what it is and yet it feels different to me. And that what makes it special. It was translated by Yumiko Ebina. Interestingly, one type of japanese writing couldn't contain the might of Louie Louie so it was translated using three types - Kanji, Katakana and Hiragana. 

вівторок, 10 квітня 2018 р.

MFT: Bookshelf Symbol 7 Font

There is something dada in Bookshelf Symbol 7 font. Sure, it is just another standard supplementary symbol font bundled with Microsoft Office - but it doesn't really mean anything. No one really cares about this font. Even font fetishists don't care about. It is neglected and wrapped in infamy.

This font is better known for unfortunate inclusion of certain notorious symbol and subsequent epic saga of handling a removal tool than for its usefulness. And i think it is not fair. Bookshelf Symbol 7 might be utterly useless from an utilitarian point of view but it is definitely a treasure trove for conceptual explorations.

The thing is - this font is stuck between two worlds. On one hand - it is designed as utilitarian symbol font without much of a purpose. On the other - it is a somewhat bland gimmick font for squares. Curiously it manages to be both and none in the same time. It feels out of place. And that is what makes it special. 

This font is perfect for constructing intentionally alienating typographic poems. Since it is merely a symbol switcheroo - it is relatively easy to compose a coherent message behind symbols. It might seem off-putting at first but over time it really comes together as an elaborate lettrist detournement.

понеділок, 9 квітня 2018 р.

BSPH: Butthole Surfers - The Lord is a Monkey

"The Lord is a Monkey" is a song by seminal American band Butthole Surfers. It was first released in 1995 on a "Beavis and Butt-head do America" soundtrack and then in a slightly different form on their 1996' album "Electric Larryland". It is one of the few highlights of the record.

Unlike many other songs on the album, “The Lord is a Monkey” is a no holds barred uncompromising assault on senses. It has more abrasive sound and much more destructive attitude than the rest of songs on an album. In many ways is a throwback to a classic early 1980’s Butthole Surfers dizzy disaster blasting psych-out as heard on “Rembrandt Pussyhorse” and “Locust Abortion Technician”. 

 “Beavis and Butthead”-version is straightforward stream of intensity and menace. It is wrapped in sleazy mist and steadily stomps to a exhilarating climax gradually adding new and new bits to the mix. There is apocalyptic circus pipe organ in the second verse and then guitar infernal laughing contest than slowly morphs into a strangling after the third verse. 

“Electric Larryland”-version is more operatic with several parts jumping on each other. There are detached out there programmed drums and distinct scratching buzzsaw feedbacks throughout the verses. Its biggest difference is in the vacuum cleaner meat mincing blow out bits that blast out of nowhere and turn things inside out and back again. 

The song is excessively cartoony in its composition. Every instrument in the arrangement is too big to fit the frame - everything is over the top. The pieces don’t fit together neatly, there is always something disruptingly sticking out. 

The song’s instrumentation is exquisite. It has massive overwhelming avalanche of drums that goes a long way down in a nasty shepard tone sequence, bass line that disturbingly erroneously tries to keep its place in the composition while out of breath and desperately gasping for air and finally sprawling hydra of guitars that steadily ties a tight knot around the listener’s neck who’s all into upping the internal tension and adding some redness to the cheeks. All while above this the vocals bear ominous thousand yard stare menace of hapless chaos lurking beneath the sounds. 

The crudeness of the arrangement is imposing and that gives the song gleeful demented intensity. Because of that it occasionally rubs the ears the wrong way and it makes the song quite unsettling listen in the headphones. 

From a lyrical standpoint, the song is very curious. Formally, it is stylized as an anti-religious rant. But it quickly derails and go right through the stratosphere with a stream of consciousness cut-up of mashed together buzzwords namedropping images in an increasingly bizarre combinations.

"The Lord is a Monkey" is a kind of a song that erupts upon listener and leaves an elaborate hollowness inside which rings odd and rather backwards for a long afterwards. The music can be best described as a throwing of a butterball in the air and then ferociously bashing it in a “Street Fighter II” style combo and then throwing it off the very long angular staircase and then pinning it to the floor and thrashing senseless into a pulp puree.

MFT: Portal challenge chamber 14 speedruns

Oversights are tricky beasts. Usually, they lead to cumbersome bane and sullen exasperations. But sometimes oversights bring an unexpected...