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Night at the Grammies


Night at the Grammies cover art

 

http://thedude3445.bandcamp.com/album/night-at-the-grammies

 

Forgot to actually link this album. I made another ironic music album; Night at the Grammies, published over a week after the actual Grammies 2013. I think I am proud of it, somewhat.

My Bandcamp Adventure of 2012 (And 2013!) (Or, How I Accidentally Became a Hipster)


It’s almost been a year in my journey, so I guess I should make a status update.

Background: One day in February or March, I decided to explore Bandcamp. I wasn’t very well-versed on the actual independent music “scene”, so I thought I should look and maybe find some good video game OSTs like Bastion. I found a bunch of really cool albums like Impostor Nostalgia, Unearthed, Tower of Heaven, and stuff by the MarchFourth Marching Band, and decided to start an all-out journey of musical discovery; a pilgrimage of epic digital proportions.

This is what I did: I went through pages upon pages of the tag lists for things like Chiptunes, Experimental, Progressive, 2a03, World, and Alternative (among many others), and bookmarked anything that looked remotely interesting. I ended up with about 50 bookmarks in this “To-Listen” folder by the end of this, and when I started listening to them all, I would go to their recommendations page, if the artist or band had one, and bookmark each of those. I assumed that eventually all recommendations would loop back to people recommending only things I’d already heard of, and I would stop finding new albums to listen to. Obviously when I started this I didn’t think about exactly how much music there is out there in the world.
Now, somewhere around 9 or 10 months later, I am sitting here with a “To-Listen” bookmarks folder well over 100 long, and a “Listen Again” folder with even more than that (interestingly enough, my To Buy folder is only about 15 long, because I haven’t had time to actually listen to these albums again because I’m busy in the To-Listen folder). I’ve discarded more bad music than I can even think of, but I’ve also discovered so, so much. If I hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have ever found amazing groups and artists like Torley, Ubiktune, Chiptunes = Win, Inverse Phase, Virt, Gamechops, Disko Warp Music, Cloudkicker, NickelPUNK, and so much more. I’ve come to enjoy almost every single genre of music, even ones that I previously hated. ESPECIALLY ones that I previously hated. I never thought I would see the day when I found good metal, folk, or dubstep until I started upon this quest. (I still haven’t found any good hip-hop though :|) I was even introduced to the “weird genres”, like future beats, and noisecore.
My goal is to actually finish this To-Listen folder by the time I graduate high school on May 31. The problem for a long time was that, for every one album I listened to, I added 2 or 3 to the folder, and at one point it literally was over 225 bookmarks long. That isn’t so much a problem, anymore, except when I find compliation albums, like ChipWin, 9-Bit Records, or Chip For Cancer, I try to find the bancamp pages for each artist whose songs I like in the compilations. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing to listen to so much music; it’s just incredibly time consuming!

I think anyone who is interested in finding new music should do this. Bandcamp is absolutely filled to the brim with good music of every conceivable style, and you’re bound to find something you like. This is all you have to do:

1) Explore Bandcamp’s tags, even the more obscure ones. Try to find music from your local area, too.

2) If you like an artist’s music, bookmark other albums they’ve made, and look at their recommendations page if they have one.

3)Listen to your bookmarked albums in order. Skipping around to the ones that look the most interesting is easy, but you aren’t giving the other ones that you are unsure about a fair chance.

4)Try everything!

 

This may or may not turn you into a hipster in the end. I’m not sure. I don’t THINK I’m a hipster… but when 4 of my top 5 favorite albums of all time are all independent, this may be a problem ūüėõ

Best of the Year 2012 Awards (Games, Movies, Music, Comics, Etc.)


2012 sure looks like it was a really great year for a lot of stuff! What did I think was the best of the best? Well, let’s see!

Games

I did not actually play very many games in 2012. And I didn’t play any bad ones, so this list is far from complete. However, I am confident this does encompass some of the best games of the year regardless.

Game of the Year:

Kid Icarus Uprising (3DS)

As you may have read in my absolutely glowing review of this game, I find it hard to believe anybody could think that this isn’t one of the best games of this year. I find it to be the best; I even still play it today, playing my favorite chapters, grinding away to finally get the perfect weapon, and then battling out in multiplayer.

Runners-up:

Mass Effect 3 (Wii U, PC, PS3, 360)

Despite my negative opinion of the ending (that was migitated by the Extended Cut, but my main complaint was far from erased), this game was an absolute masterpiece, and one of the greatest experiences of my life for 90% of it. Playing three games in a row where your choices matter and everything you do carries over is brilliant; I encourage all story-based games to do this, as it really makes the series experience that much more worthwhile!

Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)

This game, even though it’s on the Wii, is gorgeous, has great voice acting, an even better story, and an almost-addicting battle system. Everything I hate about JRPGs is addressed here, and I love it to death.

Honorable Mentions:

Spelunky (360), Fez (360), Nintendoland (Wii U), Pikmin 2 (Wii re-release) (yes I’m counting this, it deserves it)

Movies

This category is a bit bigger than the others, due to the fact I’ve seen a ton of movies this year in theaters; 18 in total (okay that doesn’t sound like much but it’s 15 more than I usually see). So There are a couple awards I will give here.

Best Picture

Avengers

I don’t feel like I need to say anything, really. Avengers was one of the most perfect films I have ever seen, and I’ve never met a person who says much differently.

Runners-Up

The Dark Knight Rises

It was everything I had hoped for and more; the most satisfying ending to any trilogy, really. I actually thought it was better than The Dark Knight, which is a very unpopular opinion, but it is mine. Bane didn’t top Joker as a villain, but the overall plot was fantastic, and the ending was so brilliant that I almost stood up and clapped after it was all over.

Looper

While the time travel mechanics were frustrating at times, they worked well, and they told a beautiful story of a man, his future self, and the fate of the planet. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis both did standout jobs here.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

While I simultaneously think it was one of the biggest pieces of trash this¬†millennium¬†so far, Ghost Rider 2 was absurdly entertaining in all the best ways. Even if it isn’t categorized as one, it was by far the best comedy I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Les Misérables

Having not read the original material or seen the musical, I had no idea what to expect in this film, and wow, I was impressed. It was much closer to an opera than a musical, but that’s not a bad thing. Everyone in the film gave their best performances, especially Jean Valjean himself Hugh Jackman, and Russel Crowe was totally a good singer. I don’t care what anyone says.

Honorable Mentions:

Prometheus: Grand in scope, and the best kind of scary.

Dredd: It’s like a generic cop movie… but with great gritty comic book-vibes. My favorite action movie in a while.

Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: The much more light-hearted feel than Lord of The Rings makes everything much more fun to watch, with much less drama. It certainly isn’t better than Lord of the Rings, but it’s still a great film, and I expect the next two to be even better.

Skyfall: The best James Bond movie in years! And I never expected them to actually delve into the origins of the character. Woah.

Man With the Iron Fists: It was cheesy, it was violent, and it was a damn fun movie to watch. RZA’s Director/Actor/Writer/Soundtrack debut was great, and I hope he makes many more movies.

Other awesome movies: Men in Black 3, Amazing Spider-Man, Resident Evil Retribution

Best Actor/Actress

Joseph Gordon-Levitt- Looper – A fantastic performance in a fantastic film.

Runners-up:

Hugh Jackman РLes Misérables

Michael Fassbender – Prometheus

Tom Hiddleston – Avengers

Joseph Gordon-Levitt – The Dark Knight Rises (Yes, again)

Nic Cage – Ghost Rider 2

Best Visual Effects

Avengers: It was easy to forget that in most of the scenes of the movie, two of the main characters Iron Man and Hulk were just CGI creations.

Hobbit and Dredd are the runners-up. Both were certifiably amazing, as well.

Best Score

The Hobbit wins this, which is easy to say considering it’s a Lord of the Rings movie. Man with the Iron Fist had a very unique and well-crafted soundtrack as well, and Avengers was top-notch.

Music

There were an incomparable amount of amazing albums this year; I can barely pick my favorites outside of the top two or three. Hopefully I don’t forget any!

Album of the Year

Preschtale cover art

Preschtale РC-Jeff

This musical¬†odyssey¬†was the most pure fusion of Prog Rock and Chiptunes, and some of the most fun stuff you’ll ever hear. It came out on January 1st, 2012, and it has been the by-far winner of this award for me ever since. Only one album reached its status, and got this award as well in an awesome tie:

One Year Older cover art

One Year Older – Jit

All Homestuck albums are great (you’ll see more later, I promise), but this one…. (pff)… takes the cake. The closest any music has ever made me to crying. The Scratch and Skaian Shrapnel are the best of the album.

Runners-Up:

Induction – Svix: Wow. This thing is awesome, and is a great use of musical motifs. I usually am not a fan of autotuned/robot singing and all that, but Induction is completely different.

Comfortable Bugs – Bowman: Barely released a couple weeks ago,

Ithaca – Bowman: Bowman’s debut solo album didn’t make as much of an impact as Mobius Trip & Hardon Kaleido, but it was sure as hell great.

The Earthen Scar – Eidolon Orpheus: How Eidolon Orpheus could make an album out of a few original songs and some songs from a scrapped album is beyond me, but he pulled it off, and this fantasy journey is totally rad.

Blueshift – Protodome: Another late release, but this third entry in Protodome’s series of chiptune jazz albums is the most polished one yet, and even has vocal songs this time!

Fez – Disasterpiece: Atomspheric, ambient, and very peaceful. I love it.

We Are All Sattelites РClark Powell: Plazmataz sure has a way of making music amazing, and this album is no exception.

Honorable mentions (No particular Order):

I Miss You: Earthbound 2012 РUbikitune

Do Without – Screamcatcher

Homestuck Volume 9 – Homestuck

Omegalodon – RJ Lake

Genesis Frog – Albatross Soup

Nightlife Nightlight – hrmnzr

ColoUrs and Mayhem A– Homestuck

Stray Cat ~Walkabout~ – Cat Boss

ColoUrs and Mayhem B – Homestuck

Starhaven – Block Monster

Spelunky OST – Erik Suhrke

Chiptune Inferno – SuperVolcano

Spiritwake – Solatrus

Jazz and Masks – Cat Boss

Make Music, Throw Music: A Yoshi’s Island Tribute – Ubikitune

And a super-special shout out to Chiptunes = Win and its first three albums this year. I am looking forward to seeing the group expand this coming year!

Comics

2012 was a huge year for the comic industry, with the Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man, and The Dark Knight Rises all coming out this summer, and in the comics themselves, DC’s New 52 relaunch completed its first full year, and Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men shocked the world. What were my favorites?

Comic of the Year

Homestuck

Yeah yeah, I had no indication that I was counting webcomics, but I am. Homestuck has only gotten better in its third year, as the end of the comic draws nearer and nearer, With its insane fanbase, monumental Kickstarter, and more storytelling scope than anything I’ve ever seen, Homestuck is the winner of this award for good reason.

Runners-up:

Gunnerkrig Court: It’s slowly building itself up towards a gigantic climax, and though it isn’t quite at Homestuck level, it’s getting there. Tom Siddell’s writing is top-notch, and his art is beautiful.

Dinosaur Comics: Still the funniest comic ever, even with its gimmick being almost a decade old.

Honorable Mentions:

Amazing Spider-Man

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Green Lantern

Hawkeye

Darths & Droids

Moe

Red Lanterns

Avengers vs. X-Men

Romantically Apocalyptic 

Best Events of 2012

Not really in any particular order, nor are they actually the best things that happened this year.

Act 6 Intermission 3 (Homestuck)

Three nearly hour-long (each) flash games, along with one ten-minute ending movie, all released this fall in Homestuck, expanding the lore of the comic tenfold, introducing twelve new characters, and giving tons of character development to some of the major characters. I wouldn’t be surprised if these games alone convinced tens of thousands of people to start reading Homestuck, after seeing so much about it on tumblr and other places.

Humble Indie Bundle V

Yes, there had been many Humble Bundles before it, but this one was the one that catapulted the service into gigantic popularity. Four of the best games of this generation (Limbo, Bastion, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Swords & Sorcery) and one of the best games of last generation (Psychonauts) were on the table to start with, and it later expanded to include Super Meat Boy, Braid, and Lone Survivor. All for around 8 bucks, and it included their complete soundtracks and everything. I don’t think this bundle will ever be topped for several years, if ever.

The World Didn’t End!

Of course, this is the greatest thing to happen to us! The Mayans spared us…. Now, what other doomsday prophecy is about to pass that will definitely never come true?

This is… all of the awards I have. Thanks for reading, and have a happy 2013!!!!

What I’m Looking Forward To in 2013


Before I make my “Best-of 2012” article, I will look ahead, and see the most exciting things that lie wait in the upcoming year!

 

Video games

—–

There are three games I am extremely excited about, and will definitely buy that are coming out this year:

  • The Wonderful 101: This game is by Platinum Games; the concept is a Pikmin-style action game where you gather 100 superheroes, go around the city, and beat up monsters. It’s¬†ludicrous¬† and looks absolutely amazing. Plus, 4-player multiplayer. What that entails is intriguing.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening: This game is the perfect Fire Emblem. Adjustable difficulty levels, including nondeath modes, for people like me who suck at games. Good multiplayer. DLC support. CGI Cutscenes that are voiced. A story that links all the previous Fire Emblem series together. Portability. And generally, it’s just going to be the best Fire Emblem of all time, and it comes out in February. Cannot wait.
  • Pikmin 3: Obviously, if Wonderful 101 is on this list, this is going to be too. This game has been almost 9 years in the making, and I am ecsatic for it. My expectation level is currently beyond Game of the Year 2013; it’s Game of the Decade 2010s! I will never be more pumped for any video game until Super Smash Bros. 4 news starts coming out.

Movies

A couple movies that I am most excited for. You can see my full (first-version) list of movies I’m looking forward to in this article.

  • Oblivion: Since the trailer came out, I am generally thinking this movie is going to be amazing, and dominate the box office until Iron Man 3 comes out, much like Hunger Games did before Avengers this year.
  • Iron Man 3: I have full confidence this movie is going to be great. I liked Iron Man 2, unlike many people, but I know this is going to top it.
  • Star Trek: Into Darkness: ¬†There’s no way this can flop. Absolutely no way.
  • The Man of Steel: From that trailer that recently came out, I am super pumped for this. It’s almost going to be like… The Dark Knight, with Superman???????
  • Pacific Rim: It’s like my favorite animes… in movie form!!!!!!
  • Thor 2: I want to see how Thor can do without a forced romance plot (since there’s already a love interest fulfilled), and without Loki as the central villain. It has me very interested.

Comics:

These comic events have me pretty excited for 2013:

  • Superior Spider-Man: I am in the extreme minority when I say that I can’t wait for this new series. Without saying any spoilers, I have to say it’s going to last a while.
  • Justice League of America: A new Justice League book with all the B-List heroes. Can this be successfully pulled off, and can it successfully lead to Trinity War? Let’s hope so!!!!

What I’m not excited for is a dumb Ultron massive crossover. I was actually hoping that 2013 would stay Major Event-free this time, Marvel-wise. 2012 only had AvX, which wasn’t actually that huge, but I thought Marvel was getting over its insane addiction to stupid crossovers, albeit very slowly with some relapses (Fear Itself), after Siege.

I’m also looking forward to the conclusion of the 4-year Modern-Day Epic that is Homestuck. Not that I want it to end, per say, but the ending is quickly building itself up to be the most gigantic climax that we’ll ever see in any webcomic (until Gunnerkrig Court gets to its own climax in like 15 years, but that’s different).

 

Music: I… don’t really know of any future music plans for 2013. I guess, Bowman and Clark Powell’s inevitable next albums, as well as some more stuff by Hrmnzr and Astro Kid. And Homestuck Volume 10, which may or may not be the very last Homestuck album. Oh, and WellManicuredMan is releasing a Homestuck-related EP on January 5th. That will be exciting.

 

Other: I’m looking forward to going to college, where I’ll have even less time to post meaningful things on this blog, but I will have many more things to be able to post about.

I’m also hyping up what seems to be an Event Horizon in the number of written works by the Metafic gang, consisting of Ktalaki, WhiteKnight, Kwiko, and I, all from the RealityRevolution forums. Seriously awesome stories are starting to emerge, and it is only a matter of time before…. someone gets published…..

 

 

SBURB OST (Homestuck Fan Album)


SBURB OST cover art

 

http://hsfanmusic.skaia.net/

 

Look at this! In development since July 2011, SBURB OST is the biggest Homestuck Fan Project so far; over 55 tracks by around a dozen musicians, all for free! It’s also some really great music. Download it. Because you should. Every one of you.

Listen to it here (donwload is only on http://hsfanmusic.skaia.net/ , not on the bandcamp website):

 

Andrew Huo


Andrew Huo has also made some other great music for Homestuck, like Phantom Echoes on the Jailbreak album, Skaian Skirmish on Volume 5, and Aggrieve (Violin Refrain) on Volume 1.

Distanced: An Audio Drama


Distanced: An Audio Drama cover art

http://thedude3445.bandcamp.com/album/distanced-an-audio-drama

This is one of the Short Story Writing Adventure Marathon stories that I’ve been putting off making for the longest time. What I have learned from making this Audio Drama is that random fiction generators + improvisation make for really stupid stories.

But anyway, download this album and get a bunch of pictures, including drawings I made when I was 7, .docx files of many other SSWAM stories, and 3 bonus songs (one of which is visible to non-downloaders already, though). It is free and you should download it.

http://thedude3445.bandcamp.com/album/distanced-an-audio-drama

uh oh…


 

 

Someone linked 4chan to my bandcamp. I am slightly afraid now.

Jit EP


I made an album for Jit, whose solo album for Homestuck comes out today. It features three songs and two bonus songs. Maybe you want to listen to them?

http://thedude3445.bandcamp.com/album/jit-ep

It also features a little bit of Wert_Piano at the end of the second song, so I’ll tag him.

Flowchart of my music interests


You may have to click to see the whole thing.

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