March 24, 2011

My lengthy review of FZ & The Mothers’ “Playground Psychotics” on

Filed under: Uncategorized — boomaga @ 3:36 pm

Forgive me if I’m unfairly painting with broad strokes here :  your Zappa fanatic is, to a man, each and every one, without exception, an insufferable bore.

Given his musical enlightenment, you would expect to see a golden glow around his head and blinding bursts of kundalini energy shooting out of this top of his skull.  But there he is, sitting in the shadows of a curtain-drawn room on a sunny day, attracting dust motes with his clammy kind of nervous, value-judgment-y sweat and I am positive he’s never, not even once in his life, checked into a Holiday Inn and had a Fear and Loathing moment…  and boy oh boy, does he HATE Flo & Eddie.
This little grey guy doesn’t consider anything before ’80s Zappa worthwhile and dismisses early Mothers humor as annoying, but when it comes to the 80’s albums with their negativity and the weird forcedly-provocative themes, they just get a pass.   I can hardly believe such a gross album as “Thing Fish” has so many champions, when “Playground Psychotics” is left defenseless.
Frank got dark – after being the center of a whole galaxy of freaks and weirdos in Laurel Canyon where he held court in the huge cabin, he withdrew.   He just didn’t like (most) people much, and mostly kept to the fam and the Synclavier.  But I think Frank had at least some fun touring back around the turn of the 70s, and enjoyed the company of the musicians in his band and the funny sounds they would make, and that is all over “Playground Psychotics.”
Don’t get this one if:   if you have no facility for theatre-of-the-mind and couldn’t give a sh*t less why Jeff quit the band; you’ve never seen “200 Motels” and “The Story of 200 Motels” and don’t care to; if you’ve never imagined what it’d be like to be a long haired rock musician on tour in Nixon’s America, cracking each other up, getting drunk in the lounge, making fun of the opening band, pouring beer over each other and fighting …
Howard and Mark and Frank and Jeff and Ainsley and Don and George and Dick and… they were having a great time and it’s a joy to hear it.  And it is the majority of the album, but hey, let’s say you’re not into that, well, guess what –  there are STILL plenty of musical reasons to get this album.
You’ve got your Billy the Mountain, a great rendition featuring a Rhodes solo popularly attributed to George Duke (I think it’s that Bob Harris guy – it’s not as jazzy or adept as George would’ve done it); a rare Concentration Moon followed by Mom & Dad; a great Status Back Baby; A good Sharleena and Wino and Cruisin’;  and then … there’s that John and Yoko mess that’s on there that… well, I’ve always been a fan of everyone involved and it’s historic I guess but it’s just… pretty awful.   By which I mean Yoko – she’s awful.   The song is nothing special, John is fine, Yoko is awful.  You ever see what she did to the Stones “Rock and Roll Circus” ?  She took that and poo’d right on it.  She’s awful, isn’t she ?   God, Yoko.
Now Flo & Eddie era Mothers is just one phase of many, and the “Psychotics” is a Flo & Eddie era Mothers album to get AFTER you get “200 Motels” and “Just Another Band from LA” and “Swiss Cheese-Fire!” and “Filmore East” …   But it’s fun to listen to, it’s less musique-concrete / assemblage of non-sequiteurs and more of a chronological day-in-the-life, tapes made on a plane, in a cab, in a hotel room.  PLUS it’s not too “in-joke-y,” you can actually GET what they’re saying.  I’m telling you, that Howard is a funny motherf*cker when he’s stewed.  It’s fun, and THAT’S what’s missing from the 80’s stuff, and if you’re a big “Thing Fish” fan but don’t like “Playground Psychotics,” then you’re a person whose soul is dead and has no joy inside and I want you out of my house by next week.


March 22, 2011

What Would Keep Me Playing RIFT

Filed under: Uncategorized — boomaga @ 8:56 am

Cleopatra in Meridian


I’ve just had a few days off, and have spent a lot of time playing Rift.    I’ve been playing slow, not grouping much, mostly solo questing and crafting, and tanking a few of the instances (well, Iron Tombs [there is no Iron anywhere], Deepspace Mine, King’s Breeches,…  you know, the place names in the game are really pretty boring – I swear there are places called “Abyssal Depths” and “Precipice Cliffs” “Desolate Wasteland Dunes” and, well, shit, don’t that just describe it on the nose ?).   Have a 34 Warrior Tank (Pala/Warlord/Reaver) / Dual Wield dps / experimental PvP w vindicator, a 16 Mage, and a few lowbies.   Of course one may tell you the leveling in the game is slow, slower than WoW, etc.    Whining about slow leveling is stupid, though – you’re lucky if you’re enjoying the game all the way through to your first level cap.    Then there’s the guy at work who will not bear any epeen opportunity  to go by unused, and with that infuriatingnonchalance as they tell you how they leveled to 50 several times already, or got their first 50 in just fourteen hours, staying up all night, dinging right before they had to come into work and be insufferable at you – WELL you know the type…

Here’s what I put on the debriefing when I canceled my subscription:

What could Trion do to make you want to play RIFT again ?

My response:

Better music, more music, more creative music, less “last minute” sounding, with either longer stems or a better layered approach to assembling stems into a flow.

Also:  ALL sounds slider-controllable (can’t turn down the constant  thunder).

Generally, more character to the zones (cultural references, less “tell” and more “show” b/c quest text = tl;dr just give me the quest I’m not reading that much) –

also, figure out something with racials cause as it stands there just isn’t that much different between the races, either in appearance or function in PvP or PvE or RP for that matter.

But the game is fun.   I just need to do other stuff.

I’m terrified of fitting the profile of an MMO player all too well, and my $15/mo is not a concern but my struggle to budget my time like a grown-up is.

Also in the nude:

I bought an album made in an unknown Eastern European country Finland in 2000 by a group called”Ensemble Ambrosius” playing Zappa music on traditional orchestral or period instruments, – surprisingly, they do Black Page and G-Spot Tornado and it’s really quite good, but it was a series of 4 chords into their laconic-jazz swing arrangement of Big Swifty that made me fork over cash monies for the album.

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