Roger Williams: The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect
Trevor G. Bond & Christine M. Fox: Applying the Rasch Model: Fundamental Measurement in the Human Sciences
Scott Westerfeld: Uglies
Sven Plöger: Gute Aussichten für morgen
Henry David Thoreau: Walden
Mike Oldfield: Changeling
Raymond Chandler: The Lady in the Lake
Scott Westerfeld: Pretties
Suzanne Collins: Catching Fire
Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Scott Westerfeld: Specials
Eckart von Hirschhausen: Die Leber wächst mit ihren Aufgaben
Edward R. Tufte: The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching out Corrupts within
Ayn Rand: Three Plays
Oscar Wilde: Lady Windermere’s Fan
Henryk M. Broder: Hurra, wir kapitulieren!
John Green: Paper Towns
Vince Ebert: Denken Sie selbst! Sonst tun es andere für Sie
Dave Eggers: Weit gegangen
Elisabeth Kabatek: Laugenweckle zum Frühstück
Habe ich dieses Jahr wirklich nichts von Terry Pratchett gelesen? Das schreit nach einem Vorsatz für 2010! Erst einmal werde ich aber wohl die fünf, sechs Bücher fertiglesen, die sich hier angefangen türmen (Gibt es intelligentes Leben?, The Greatest Show on Earth, Kritik der reinen Toleranz, Nothing for Ungood, Eine Geschichte von Liebe und Finsternis, American Gods usw.). Literarische Höhepunkte für mich waren 2009 eindeutig die beiden Hunger Games-Bücher sowie Paper Towns. Meine Lieblingsalben kamen von Richard Shindell und den Ninja Dolls.
Despite the upcoming soccer mania, there are several promising concerts announced for 2010. I just saw that The Hooters will be playing in my hometown (Waiblingen) on Friday, May 7th. Great news!
I’m also looking forward to produce some of my own music next year. Manticess are going to release a single and I’m currently trying to decide whether or not to promise to put out solo music on a regular basis, probably weekly. I’d welcome the challenge, but I’m also thinking of writing more often. I’ve started two novels, one back in Belgium, and one this November (for NaNoWriMo). I like both outsets, but only the latter seems to be suited for a prediodical release format on this very homepage. I mean, I wouldn’t start publishing parts until I’m almost through, but it might be an alternative to the song-a-week-madness outlined above.
In different news, look what my mom made me for Christmas (with a little help from Carissa’s patterns):
Pain of Salvation played in Pratteln at the Z7 yesterday. I must confess that I’m not a big fan of the band’s more recent work. Still, “The Perfect Element Part 1″ remains one of my all-time top 10 albums. A total of four song off that album were on the setlist, so I was indeed thrilled. Additional highlights were the raw “Fandango” with its weird measures and a haunting rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (rather differently arranged than on the DVD recording). The audience was very introverted. The musicians on stage were very extroverted. Daniel GildenlÃ¶w, Johan Hallgren and the new bass player did not compromise but gave 100%. Despite the scarce response from the roughly 300 people present, the concert became a success. The sheer mastery of GildenlÃ¶w as a singer and as a guitarist was mind-bending. Even the heavy noise of certain songs was ripe with contextual emotion. It was pretty hard to decide whether to go along and mosh or to just stand back and be in awe of the action on stage.
In total the band played 110 minutes and given the rarity of superb progressive metal in combination with a passionate live show I enjoyed every single one of them.
On Wednesday evening I came up with the little melody that opens “After I Have Gone”. I wrote some lyrics on Thursday, but accidently left the paper with them at work. So when it came to record a demo for Susanne, I had to improvise a bit, because I couldn’t remember all the words. (More than 90% turned out to be ‘correct’, though.) She recorded vocals and some flutes on Friday in a bit of a hurry, because she was going to be away over the weekend. Unfortunately, I couldn’t use the flutes as they were the wrong key. They would have added quite some Christmas sparkle! Something like a string quartet had been on our mind for some time now. So I used the opportunity to arrange two violins, one viola, one cello, plus a flute. Digital copies of the original instruments had to suffice. A big thank you goes out to fellow song fuer Caleb Hines, who used his arsenal of virtual instruments and provided us with a wonderful orchestra track. I spent several hours mixing the five tracks (voice, guitar, stereo strings, keyboard bells), which is somewhat ridiculous. Still, I really enjoyed what I heard and I’m extremely content with the result.
The lyrics of the song were inspired by Richard Shindell‘s beautiful ballad “Before You Go”, which is basically God’s last words to his son before sending him to earth. I took up the narrative from Jesus’ point of view, both after he left the Heavens and after he fulfilled his mission. I’m still unhappy with the line “my memory has gone”. I had wanted to describe the way becoming human transforms his memories from heaven. But I also wanted everything to rhyme, so sacrifices were made. Also, the time constraint is at times a blessing, because it teaches you to not get lost in details.
In other news, Manticess will be playing a little gig with JODA this Friday at the university of Konstanz, IBZ II (K5 beneath the Mensa) around 19.30! Be there! We’ll be giving away free cds!
I encourage you all to buy (and subsequently drink) less, or even better no bottled water. I stopped about seven years ago. If you wonder why you should change your habits, just have a look at these facts about bottled water (via MiLo).
Note to self: future updates should pertain Dragonforce and capitalism. Respectively.
Yesterday, I watched The Longest Day. I was surprised to find the whole movie shot in the respective native languages. It added a lot to the authenticity and – given the serious topic of the film – didn’t diminish the experience of watching it at all. In Germany, foreign films are usually dubbed in German. The art of replacing the dialogue has declined enormously over the last three decades. Fortunately, DVDs usually feature the original audio track along with the German one. The only other international films I can think of that have not been somewhat de-babelized are Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, both excellent examples of superb film-making.
Today’s music review is about “Force of Gravity” by Sylvan, a German progressive rock band that delivers flawless music with a bit of sound track atmosphere in the more quiet parts. The album is pretty good and includes stand-out tracks like “Embedded”.