“The Colour of Magic”, Sir Terry Pratchett’s Own World

Creating worlds rests only in the power of gods and authors like Sir Terry Pratchett. A world renowned British author, satirist and knight, Sir Terry Pratchett weaved his own world into the pages of novels in a collection called “Discworld”. 

Terry Pratchett published his first of the Discworld series, “The Colour of Magic”, in 1983 when he was 35 years old. The series grew to be 41 books in length, and it features many locations and time periods within Discworld itself.

I won’t ever be able to give a proper explanation of what Discworld is, but Pratchett’s website can straighten out all the details I don’t mention. 

“The Colour of Magic”

“The Colour of Magic” as the first installment of the series is perfect. The story features a disgraced wizard, Rincewind, and a tourist vying to travel all over the Disc with his magical luggage, Twoflower.

Rincewind and Twoflower battle dragons, pirates and demons while having no real goal except exploration and survival, which adds to the hilarity of the misfortune the incur.

By the end of the novel, it leaves readers the drive to crawl all over Discworld to interact with the crazy people that reside there. This want to explore Sir Terry Pratchett’s fantasy haven is from his extraordinary capability to imagine a world of chaos and magic that feels like it could exist. 

Worldbuilding Artistry

I regard Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld to be one of the finest works in worldbuilding. He weaves readers, characters and time together to create a fine thread of tales so thick and dense that it would seem impossible to understand, but in reality it isn’t difficult to understand. 

It’s fun to pick up one of the Discworld novels and explore the diverse array of characters, landscapes or cities that exist there. The realism and creativity Pratchett uses to blend his narrative style into his own universe is beautiful and breathtaking at times. 

Pratchett is not the only one with this gift. There are a few well known Game Masters (or GMs) that run tabletop roleplaying games that can elicit a similar response through their own worldbuilding techniques. 

Matthew Mercer and Aabria Iyengar both have extraordinary skills in storytelling and worldbuilding. The worlds these two GMs fantasize and pop into existence are built to explore. Players and characters have to live through dangerous dragon hoard raids, political plot twists and crazy complex puzzles that GMs make. 

The End of the World(building)

Worldbuilding makes our own real world bigger too. By having an audience tour small patches of life an author makes, we get a sense of how unique and wondrous our own planet is.

Seeing crazy characters some writers might imagine lets readers wish and find similar characters that mill about around the world. 

Many writers and creators of worlds make their fantasy universe to fix or even highlight problems in our own world. Their worlds can be used as mirrors and we can see our blemishes and scars that need fixing and healing.

I love drawing inspiration for new ideas from the most radical corners of literature as they themselves draw from some of the strongest wells of imagination.


Why Love the Vampyre?

What good is a vampyre story? Sure, they provide some entertainment and create a little bit of mystery in our history, but what do these stories provide for humanity’s culture?

The vampyre started out in many cultures as a being to fear. According to an article from, many cultures across western Europe and India frequently referred to blood sucking demons that hunt in the night. Vampyres resided in villages and were thought to be the center of demonic cults. 

How did the vampyre become a mainstream media staple? 

I’d like to think a lot of the fascination behind vampyres, ghouls and all the undead tropes came from Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and other gothic romantic writers. Their nightmarish stories exploited the human conditions and emotions of fear and death to look at parasitic immortality and rotten flesh. The attention these authors received 

Stoker’s novel, “Dracula”, inspired many of the modern day vampyre stories like “Nosferatu the Vampyre” by Werner Herzog, “Twilight” and maybe even Playboi Carti’s “Whole Lotta Red”. The following stories are only a select few of the hundreds that are inspired by the vampyre. 

Succulent Stories

“What We Do in the Shadows” by Taika Watiti is probably one of my favorite comedy films and vampyre flicks I have seen to date. This mockumentary is set in New Zealand and criticizes the common vampyre tropes by making the vampyre community a welcoming place and explores roommate relationships too. 

Here’s a great clip from the film (it does involve a bit of swearing):

This scene is from YouTube, uploaded by IGN.

I have written an article that looks at another vampyre film, “Only Lovers Left Alive”. I love this film and story because of how it looks at the music culture and influences of vampyres on the world from the shadows. If you want to read more about this film, you can read my article.

Another one of my favorite and more culturally unique vampire films is “Thirst” by Park Chan-wook, an elegant Korean director. This vampire film treats the affliction more like a virus that has spread rather than romanticizing the bloodthirsty nature in more common myths. 

It focuses more on the romance and relationship between the priest and Tae-ju, which means Park Chan-wook uses the vampyre affliction as a medium of storytelling rather than a central plot point.  

Here’s a clip from “Thirst” in which the priest and Tae-ju first start their relationship:

This video is on YouTube, uploaded by Focus Features.

Bland Bloodsucker

There are a lot more really great vampyre films, but I am going to focus on how some directors and authors don’t use the setting well.

I found Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” boring. I have never been a fan of found film or the book version, letters and found writings, as an interesting way to tell a narrative. I would have much preferred Stoker’s massively influential novel to be more narratively focused, but at least it created more vampyre stories that I enjoy far more.

One cool thing I found recently is a website/ company that will email the original Stoker story piece by piece as it follows the dates of the story. Dracula Daily might be a better way to experience the original Dracula story than his novel, so if that interests you, be sure to check it out. 

Undrinkable Narratives

“Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” is one of the worst vampyre adaptations I have read. I still am not sure why I decided this book would be a good idea to read cover to cover, but it was extremely tropey and also blames most of American slavery on vampyres. I haven’t seen the movie and nor do I plan to. 

In “Dracula Untold” and “Dark Shadows”, these films involve vampyres just for the sake of entertainment. I found them to be lazy additions to the original “Dracula”, and if they tried to do something new to the story, it wasn’t handled well. 

Bad Blood but Fun Times

“Twilight” is not a good film, but it provides enough entertainment that the movies are almost watchable. Just look at these clips of Kristen Stewart and Billy Burke interacting as father and daughter.

This video is on YouTube, uploaded by OFFALICK.

The acting is fine, but their script is awful and cringey. These are not normal teen to parent interactions, but they’ve made the relationship funny to watch and gawk at. 

Another rough but enjoyable vamp flick I’ve seen is “The Lost Boys”. There’s a whole lot going on in this movie, but between the fun cast, music and cheesy scenes it’s hard not to enjoy it. The trailer puts on a show and makes the movie seem a bit better than it actually is, but if you like tropey 80’s goth and vampyres, then you’ll probably enjoy the movie. 

Into the Sunrise

Vampyre aesthetics seep into music culture, architecture and clothing too. The romanticized gothic architecture of Dracula’s Castle is seen worldwide and the dark, dreary and sleek coats and styles that people wear all add so much beauty to the horrific nature of a vampyre. It’s interesting how much people love a bloodsucker and serial killer. 

All these vampyre stories have enough differences in them to add to the beauty of the vampyre genre. They create mystery, spill blood and have some beautiful costumes and aesthetics. The vampyre genre adds more than entertainment to the world. It adds a sense of glory and love to death and immortality.

New Album Review

“Remember Your North Star” by Yaya Bey Won’t Be Forgotten

Hadaiyah (Yaya) Bey is a splendid R&B artist that resides in New York. Their new album, “Remember Your North Star”, is an unforgettable excursion into the effects of misogyny and failed love.

Bey’s magnetic voice attracts ears like no other. Many tracks are like whispers into the soul, and when they picks up the rhythm I get lost in their encapsulating storytelling 

Yaya Bey’s previous work can be found on their Bandcamp and Spotify. They have released a few other albums and EPs over the past couple of years, but this release is getting much deserved love from many music journalists. 

Bey is also an art curator and physical art creator. As stated on the album’s Bandcamp page, “[i]n 2019, her work was featured in the District of Columbia Arts Center’s “Reparations Realized” exhibit and Brooklyn’s Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA)’s “Let the Circle Be Unbroken” exhibit”. 

Smooth Tracks

I thought it would be harder to pick out some of my favorite tracks on this album, but the way Bey is able to set up certain tracks for emphasis makes the choices more straightforward. 

Wow. “keisha” blew me away with its elegance in storytelling and vocals. Bey conveys so many emotions in the short span of 2 minutes and 55 seconds. The warm instrumentals slyly slip us into a fight for love and attempt at understanding the lack of mutual warmth in a relationship. 

The music video for this track is super cool. Bey has gorgeous style and there are a few clips that make the song more emotionally impactful too. Also, this song is explicit:

Video from YouTube. Uploaded by Yaya Bey.

In “street fighter blues”, the opening lyrics, “Love/ Love is a waste of time/ I’m spinning out of my mind”, set us up for an epic exploration of personal grief about love. Finding that beautiful soul after years of iffy and horrible relationships feels impossible. This song is that feeling. It exudes the smothering of hope in finding someone truly wonderful to share your life with. 

As “reprise” is the longest track by almost 1 minute and 30 seconds, the instruments and beats that make up the background of the track have the most depth out of any track on the album. The syrupy flow that the horn pushes allows for the hard cutting lyrics and vocal flow of Bey’s voice to slice the air into the perfect bars. The bars are bite-sized and delicious, just like this whole track. 

There are so few faults in this album that it doesn’t leave much to be desired. The only thing I could think of is a bit more instrumental depth in a few tracks like “mama loves her son”, but really the simplicity of the beats brings out the beauty of Bey’s voice. 


If you’re not listening to this album by the time you get to this point in the article, then you didn’t read the words I have written down. Sure, the emotional and personal focus of this album is hard hitting, but the artistic beauty and perspective that Bey lends the world is more important than a few tears you might shed. 

I cannot wait to see where Yaya Bey’s work will lead them. Their voice in the music industry is vital to the future depths that artists will be able to explore in the future. Dancing around diverse genres of art gives artists an appreciation of how much their own sound can develop through the billions of perspectives the world offers, and I think Bey’s “Remember Your North Star” does just that. 


“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, Hunter S. Thompson’s Review of America

Journalism hasn’t changed much in the past 50 years. Sure there is a ton more equipment and technology to capture new types of media and perspectives, but the grime-y corporations in charge of pumping out the central perspective of what a country’s culture is and should be remains the same.

Sometimes this isn’t an inherently bad thing, as we are able to have more “objective” reporting through outlets like AP News

Hunter S. Thompson was a radical mainstream journalist, at least in American culture. I am not proficient in media history, but his efforts to create gonzo journalism, a style written without objectivity usually set in the first person perspective, is one of the more chaotic approaches and critiques in journalism’s history. 

In Thompson’s book, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, he is the protagonist, reporter, drug fiend and agent of chaos throughout the entire narrative. His perspectives offer a distorted and often terrifying view of Las Vegas and America. He is able to offer insights on the “American Dream”, journalism and one of Thompson’s favorite topics, Richard Nixon.

One of my favorite aspects of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” are the illustrations done by Ralph Steadman. None of them are able to be posted here but the drawings and artwork are all over his website. Fun fact, this book just turned 50 years old on Jul 7, 2022. 

Quick Synopsis (Spoiler Free)

Photo of Barstow road sign that also points to Las Vegas and is surrounded by desert.
Road sign outside of Barstow, CA. Photo by ChrisGoldNY. Provided by Creative Commons License

Thompson’s character is given the name Raoul Duke and his attorney (his travel buddy) ventures to Las Vegas to report on a road and desert race, the Mint 400. Duke is reporting for Rolling Stones magazine. While on their drug-fueled nightmare, they see a cacophony of lizard people, witness circus clowns doing inappropriate things with animals and they interact with too many law enforcement officers all while never getting arrested or put in cuffs. 

The drug abuse never really stops in this novel and can be hard to read and think about most of the time. It puts a strange abstraction on the entire series of events, which makes it difficult to assume what is real and what is a hallucination. 

At the end of the novel, Duke and his attorney have gone through the epitome of hell on Earth in Las Vegas. Their “journeys” lead them through the heart of the American Empire’s greed capital, a place where no one wins and you leave unhappy. 

Why Do We Need “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”

Thompson does many great things with this novel. He taps into the vein of America and drives a needle straight into it. Thompson is aware of racial inequalities, capitalistic greed and the villainous nature of Richard Nixon. 

Duke serves the purpose of reporting on a largely unimportant race and reporting on the sense of what it means to be a journalist in America. He portrays big media companies like Rolling Stones magazine as money grabbing snake pits and the casinos as a spike trap to lose it all. 

This novel serves as a reminder of how biases in the media can be beneficial to the advancement of journalistic techniques. Thompson gets to the heart of what he sees as issues and reports on them. His own perspective is able to critique and loosen the strict flow of how media empires operate. He creates the opportunity for change by showing the horrors of the backstage. 

A Few Highway Exit Thoughts

One thing I want to learn from this novel is how to write like Thompson did. His wicked fast style allows for readers to plow through his words while still appreciating their beauty and realism. 

His brevity creates the attitude that journalism and reporting should be quick and to the point, which allows for multiple stories to be ingested rather than one big clunky thing that weighs down the readers. 

Non-Music News

Peaceful, Playful and Pitiful Parks of Raleigh

This is about to be the start of my fourth school year in Raleigh, NC and it has been a hectic adventure with the pandemic and all the unsightly and sometimes frightening chaos that feels normal at this point. I often need time to clear my head from the dark looming clouds on the horizon, but music isn’t always enough to make the sun shine. 

While I find Raleigh’s “skyline” ugly and sparse, the city offers some great local parks to sit and enjoy local, urban “nature”. The animals, birds and plants are nowhere as good as a real forest or the wilderness, but they still bring some peace and quiet to the city. 

A lot of these parks are a short walk from NC State’s central campus. They are great places to study with friends or even stress free date spots. 

Peaceful Parks

I often venture forth on a quick 5 minute walk to the Raleigh Rose Garden to enjoy the well kept rose bushes of varying flavor and color. The small park has many great benches and tables to enjoy a picnic, snack or even a nice book in the shade. This miniscule attraction is like a pocket dimension where nothing matters as long as you don’t mind mosquitoes munching at your ankles. 

Another great place for shade and relaxation is Nash Square in downtown Raleigh. Another small park, but it is covered in trees and shade, which is a requirement in our syrupy, southern heat waves. The center monument of this wonderful box park, celebrates the firefighters who have lost their lives protecting the citizens of North Carolina. 

Nash Square does have many squirrely inhabitants. The squirrels in this park are an issue. I stopped for a break to drink water and snack for about 5 minutes and too many of the furry tree-rats stared me down with their soulless, beady, black eyes. 

Playful Parks

In Pullen Park, there are many child oriented options to imbibe in. A slow train ride that skirts the premises, an indoor carousel and paddle boats to explore the murky algae infested waters are all exciting options to choose from here. This park is right next to NC State’s campus, which offers a really easy option for first-year students to enjoy the parks and recreation of Raleigh.

I spent many hours in Pullen Park my first year at NC State because it was a calming walk on the greenway from Sullivan Hall to the park. I could easily pick a nice spot by the water and enjoy the weather, sounds and people watching all without the need of a car.

Dorthea Dix Park is a bit too long of a walk, but a nice short drive away from NC State. The wide open fields and more dynamic view of the Raleigh skyline offer good spots for photos or frisbee. Dix Park is also very close to the state farmers market, so grab a picnic blanket, basket and fresh fruits to enjoy on the rolling hills. 

Pitiful Park

While exploring Raleigh, I have found one park I never want to return to. The North Carolina State Capitol building is unsightly. The grotesque and worn down columns that support an eyesore of a building don’t work well together. 

The space outside the building is even worse. There are relics like cannons from wars that celebrate death and destruction, while a monument lamenting the horrors from the deaths of millions sit right next to it.There are a smattering of other monuments in the spaces outside the capitol building that serve as an insight into the history of Raleigh and North Carolina. 

Also, this space has limited shade and unique attractive qualities that brings me back to previously mentioned parks like the Rose Garden. 

Finding time to be alone and outside helps me think and keep myself moving forward. I can focus on my mental well-being while taking in the sights and sounds of the surrounding cityscape. Raleigh’s parks help me, and I hope that anyone unaware of their existence can now enjoy the beauty of them.

New Album Review

“Deus Arrakis”, Klaus Schulze’s Final Trip into Space

Klaus Schulze is a famous name in the synth genre. He basically built the genre’s foundations and roots. Starting in 1971, Schulze started his solo career, and in the span of 4 years he released 5 full length albums, most notably “Timewind” and “Irrlicht” are among his first 5 releases. 

Schulze died this year, 2022, on the 26 of April, and “Deus Arrakis” was released July 1 this year. This album is a continuation of his “Dune” album, which draws inspiration from the Frank Herbert science fiction classic that shares the same name. 

The most notable bands that were either inspired by or founded with Schulze are Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel and Popol Vuh. Klaus Schulze also produced many LPs by notable bands and artists over his long, illustrious career, and Schulze has worked on many movie soundtracks.

“Deus Arrakis”

Getting into this long winded music can be intimidating, but thankfully Schulze has broken up the three tracks that comprise the album into reasonably listenable lengths. As a huge “Dune” geek, I will be making constant references to the books, so if you can’t quite follow along, then go read “Dune”. 

The desert sands of Arrakis swirl with the deep red spice, mélange in the opening track “Osiris – Pt. 1”. In this song, Schulze composes a slow opening that wakes us into the dreamy nights in Sietch Tabr. Nights are full of breathtaking stars and trade guild ships zipping to and from spice repositories. “Osiris – Pt. 1” offers up a calm Arrakis night, and makes the world feel like home. 

In “Seth Pt. 5”, the cello takes the center stage. Slow movements bring floods of warmth and glitzy dreams in  another atmospheric song. One thing I have noticed about this album is how it creates a mood and emotional presence more than a concrete objective thought. This track is able to pull from the flow of water and meld your stream of consciousness into its own. 

The final song of the album, “Der Hauch des Lebens – Pt. 5” feels like the patter of raindrops hitting the newly terraformed world of Arrakis. It’s a release of pure relief and contentment that moves through your body and makes you wonder what it would feel like to be exposed to rain for the first time. 

Final Wishes

I heavily enjoy atmospheric music, but I can only listen to so much of it in one sitting. This album did not allow me to listen through all in one go. I had to split up the tracks and parts to listen to the entirety of it, which isn’t inherently a negative quality of any album, yet I forgot how some tracks blend together or play off each other. I lost the ability to differentiate tracks and movements from each other. 

Schulze’s final studio album (that we know of) is great. I will always enjoy listening to this science fiction music because it’s so peaceful. “Deus Arrakis” may not be one of his greatest achievements in music, but will be loved and adored appropriately for what it is. 

I hope all those people and bands that Klaus Schulze supported here on Earth continue to pay tribute to his legacy and open minded nature by creating beautiful music and art for our simple Earthling minds to drool over and inhale.

Music News and Interviews

Delightful Dessert Tunes for Your Free Time

Light, pop styled tunes create a dessert-like euphoria for my ears, which feed my soul a bit differently than the rage and chaos of punk and metal. I enjoy listening to bright, intoxicating melodies just as much as the metal and hardcore bands I dive into in my previous article. 

Sweet melodies bring new types of joy to my ears that can consist of light, beautiful vocals. The intoxicating factor of dessert flavored tracks is how an artist or band’s instruments emphasize and support their vocals. Heavy drums would lead to a heavy, forced rhythm, light electronic noises might cause a vocalist to create a dreamier tone and sharp guitars could influence the vocals to have a syrupy, smooth effect. 

I Am the World Trade Center

So what are some examples of these sugary rhythms and addicting tracks? 

Well, I have been unable to stop listening to I Am the World Trade Center. They are a duo from the late 1990’s who unfortunately stopped making music due to their name and a split in the partnership. Their three studio albums all have electronic, danceable beats and silky smooth vocals. 

Out of my favorite tracks, I think “You Don’t Even Know Her” and “Pretty Baby” are the most addictive ones. 

The airy vocals and deep, techno instruments in “You Don’t Even Know Her” create a soothing ambiance like a cloud covering the sun. In “Pretty Baby” the instruments are more rhythmic and the vocals more apparent. I equate the emotions that I get from “Pretty Baby” to the way an other-worldly being might get by smelling the emotion of jealousy. 

I don’t really understand my attachment to I Am the World Trade Center. I don’t think their music or beats are extremely unique from a lot of modern electropop, but my brain drives me to listen to their music often. 

Jens Lekman

Lekman is a Swedish pop artist who released two albums this year, “The Linden Trees Are Still in Blossom” and “The Cherry Trees Are Still in Blossom”. I still have only listened to “Linden Trees”, but with how much I enjoyed it I will definitely be getting into “Cherry Trees” soon. 

A storyteller in music is always one of my favorite types of musicians. People that convey morals, humans and emotions through songs and albums are able to draw in listeners because of the story. Lekman is one of these artists. 

In “Shirin” off “The Linden Trees Are Still in Blossom”, Lekman shows off his vocals, storytelling and emotions. The epic combination of drums and string instruments adds an ambiance to the sound waves. Lekman explores love and rejection in a quick four minute track, which is done with grace and loving personal anecdotes. 

Jans Lekman is able to offer a different type of intoxication than that of I Am the World Trade Center. His is more focused in the heart, while the latter focuses on driving you to move your feet in rhythm.


How do I describe what makes SPELLLING’s (Chrystia Cabal) music so beautiful? Is it the way her voice puts every single one of my brain cells in a perfect bliss? It’s like every single nerve in my body twitching out of excitement and joy. Every moment of her songs pounce on you unexpectedly. They feel golden, epic and full of never ending joy. 

Her newest album “Turning Wheel” is produced masterfully. New artists worked with her to perfect the back up instrumentals, vocals and effects. How could I ever tire of something as elegant as smooth silky vibrations sliding up and down my spine to sedate me into the perfect rest. 

I can’t say I fawn over many artists, but Cabal is different. In “Emperor with an Egg”, Cabal uses unique metaphors to describe the actions of a determined emperor. Epic instrumentals spring forth and add to the absolute treasure hoard of sounds, and that’s only 3 minutes of music. 

I lay awake at night thinking about the hours and hours worth of B-Sides, new projects, off shoots and mistakes that might exist. My greedy fingers need to tear through the sublime worlds brought to life through Cabal’s evocative music

Post-Dessert Coffee Thoughts

SPELLLING, Jens Lenkman and I Am the World Trade Center all make dreamy music that spawned physical requirements for me to continuously listen to them. Syrupy tunes end up making beautiful, epic representations of life worth living. 

In the constant darkness that surrounds many of our daily lives, it’s great to feed that rage and chaos, but getting your daily dose of Vitamin D in the form of intoxicating, electro-pop tunes is extremely healthy.

Music News and Interviews

Head Smashing and Sweat Inducing Bands

Hardcore and metal music aren’t some stiff sheet of protection from the elements. These genres are warm blankets when you have a 100 degree fever and your chills are shaking your body relentlessly. 

The hardcore and metal genres are reminders that it’s okay to not be okay. Rage, hate and pain should and does course through everyone’s bodies as they’re normal human emotions. 

The need to sweat in a pit, feel a bit of blood pumping through an accidentally split lip or accept the sharp pangs in your ears from loud guitars will course through me for a long time. In the chaos of a good pit, there are no rules. Working through the crowds of people to feel an elbow in the stomach is a good sign of a good pit. 

My day to day taste in music is driven mostly by my general feelings of the world and myself, as it probably is with many people. Whenever I get the urge for songs to thrash to, I have found a few bands that are worth supporting.

Impulse Machine

This North Carolina band defines their music as “experimental rock and metal”. They are an arts and media collective working to experiment as much as they can off and on the stage to bring new, chaotic sounds to metal and rock.

One of my friends introduced me to this band, and I enjoy what they do and that they are local. I haven’t been able to go to one of their live local shows, but I’ve heard they try to make their performances theatrical and thrashable, which is all I ever want out of most concerts. 

Some of their tracks are a little lost on me. For example, I found “A Town Called Liberty” to be a bit corny, but kind of in a good way. Still not sure about it. It’s not the metal I listen to them for, so I toss it aside. 

Some of my favorite tracks of theirs are “kill_me” and “I’m Not Going to Die a Horrible, Gruesome Death (And Other Hilarious Jokes You Can Tell Yourself)”. These tracks are roughly 5 minutes long and have heart pounding instrumental sections and good old metal screams too. 

One special aspect of Impulse Machine is their lyricism and vocals. I think their lead singer sounds great when he sings and when he does his metal terror rampage, which I can’t find when I listen to many metal bands.


Gulch is one of those special metal bands that instantly connected with me. Their hard, fast rhythms, intense vocals and lyrics sucked me in immediately, and I don’t want to stop listening to their music when it’s over so quickly. 

A few of my favorite tracks include “Sin in My Heart”, “Lie, Deny, Sanctify” and “R.S.A”. All these tracks pierce right through your ears and electrify you in the process. Specifically, “R.S.A” brings that beautiful coarse guttural metal noise and then explodes into a flash of fury that makes me start punching the air. 

Also, one of my favorite parts of “Lie, Deny, Sanctify” is the opening screech from the guitar. The drums on this track bring an incredible dark beat to the deep sounds of the guitar and bass, and all this makes this short song burn right through your ears (in a good way of course). 

As a small, new band, the only thing I hold against them is that they don’t have enough music. I am craving more tracks and albums from them, but I will have to keep waiting for them to produce more in the future.


I have so little information about Lexan it’s disappointing. All I know is that they’re from Ohio and they have one EP that was released earlier this year in February, but all that is okay because they released some banging tracks.

Their four songs off their “Demo” EP pump me full of death defying energy. The raspy vocals of this punk group work well with the rhythm guitar, bass and drums. Basically, their sounds combine, making a chaotic scene of rage feel comforting and moshable at the same time. 

I found “Man Made Ultra” to be my favorite of their four songs so far, as I like its lyrics the most:

“Polycarbonate fused to the hate,

Now im a carcass even earth wouldn’t eat.

I’m man made, ultra, plastic monster.”

Lyrics from Lexan’s song “Man Made Ultra

Lexan is a hardcore punk band, so their lyrics are understandably dark and dreary. The whole EP talks about being a plastic monster of a man, which is a neat way to express the hollowness of the world surrounding the artists and emotions they might feel. 

Some Concluding Thoughts

All three of these young bands are still making music and trying to find their footing in the music industry. I appreciate their unique qualities and perspectives that they have brought to the hardcore punk and metal genres. 

I hope you all have been able to gain some comfort from the raging and screaming as I do, but I completely understand if the music doesn’t “click”. Absorbing other people’s emotions through music and art presents new perspectives to learn from and adapt ourselves better, which is why I try to involve myself with increasingly diverse content to appreciate the lives around me a bit more every day.


A Bit of Love for Film Anthologies

What do anthology films bring to the film world that full length feature films cannot truly present? They show the synthesis and thematic similarities across a wide array of stories. 

There are many films, TV shows and books that split themselves into completely different segments, which take on new narrators, worlds, ideas and plots than the stories that already exist in the medium.

One of the brilliant uses of anthology collections is that it is a prime way for younger, newer artists to grasp a project and showcase their work through it. Young filmmakers that have limited experience in the film world are able to take a chance and make a story their own with a more limited screen time, which allows for a wider appreciation of their art. 


One anthology where multiple directors came together to create a sci-fi anime collection is “Memories”. All three directors were in the prime years of their careers when they made this collection. Within “Memories” are three 40 minute short films that depict the human struggle to survive in an apocalyptic world setting. 

In “Magnetic Rose” (directed by Koji Morimoto) space garbage men explore an eerie, ancient dump. In “Stink Bomb” (directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, who made “Akira”) there is a bioweapon outbreak in Japan. In “Cannon Fodder” (directed by Tensai Okamura, one of the “Evangelion” directors) we experience a war-lusted world through the perspective of a young boy.

Each of the short films bring out perspectives only a science fiction writer could extrapolate from the world. I love being able to see the synthesis between the beautiful animation styles and stories that these directors have made for us to see. 

The diversity of the directors adds to the value and appreciation of this anthology. Because each story was handled and made by a different person, it’s like having a perfectly planned three course meal where each course complements the next or the one prior. 

“Coffee and Cigarettes” and “The French Dispatch”

Another way film directors use anthologies is to express themes that transcend one person’s life and they take on a more expansive view of humanity as a whole. In “Coffee and Cigarettes” by Jim Jarmusch and “The French Dispatch” by Wes Anderson, there is little to no overlap between the stories that are shot on screen. 

In “Coffee and Cigarettes”, each scene and story are focused on coffee and cigarettes. Cups of blasted clay clink together for a “cheers” and the sharp inhale then pause after a drag from a cigarette are seen and heard in almost every scene. This film collection focuses on the mundane and chaotic world we live in. Bill Murray, RZA, GZA, Iggy Pop and other familiar faces flash on the screen for a few minutes of time as their characters process cigarettes and coffee.

Similarly, “The French Dispatch” has a diverse cast, but the narrative thread is more prominent: it’s the last issue of the fictional newspaper, “The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun”, and all of the journalists’ stories are shown in order of publication in the paper. 

Each of the stories in “The French Dispatch” have their moments of tension and some are more passionate and evocative than others. “Coffee and Cigarettes”, I think, has the same issues. These movies combine all the fragmented pieces of life into one big place that can be split up or reassembled in many fashions. Both these anthology films are fun to re-watch, as the stories grow more powerful every time I watch them. 

“Chungking Express”

I put Wong Kar-wai in his own little section of this essay because of how well he is able to synthesize strangers’ lives. In “Chungking Express” specifically, Wong Kar-wai takes one tiny food vendor and a few characters to explore love.

The first half of the film is focused on a recently dumped detective who wants to fall in love, and the second half is focused on a cop who is dealing with an ambiguously defined relationship and being alone. Both main characters are remarkably different and are set in the same world, location and time. The two stories briefly overlap and that is it. 

“Chungking Express” (and “Fallen Angels” too) perfectly blend two seemingly separate stories into a beautiful hulking beast that is a testament to how chaotic and crazy finding love can be. 

Concluding Thoughts

All the mentioned anthology films are only a slice of what is out there. In TV shows like “Adventure Time” there are few episodes that focus on multitudes of stories that kind of overlap, and many literary magazines publish collections of short stories by different authors which can tie together in some fashion.

The anthology is not an uncommon form of media representation, but I think it doesn’t get enough attention and use by artists trying to pave their way in a culture where it is hard to make even enough money to live. I would love to see more budding artists combining together to create mass works of art in the future so I can see how the minds of collaborators make giant artistic feats.

Music News and Interviews

New, Unwavering Built to Spill Singles

Built to Spill has been in the forefront of the indie music scene for a little under 30 years now. They were one of the first bands that I latched onto when I started to listen to more alternative music, and being able to start with them has let me appreciate Martsch’s musical writing talents to the fullest. I love Built to Spill and Doug Martsch, but these latest singles for their new album are underwhelming. 

Built to Spill is on tour in the United States right now (I went to their concert at Cat’s Cradle a few months ago), and they are using it as a preview to their new album coming out this Fall. Martsch is working with Melanie Radford (bassist from Boise, Idaho) and Teresa Esquerra (drummer of Prism Bitch) for this new project.

The Tracks:

The most recent song, “Fool’s Gold”, is alright. None of these songs are bad or not exciting to listen to, but they all leave me wanting a bit more. In “Fool’s Gold” specifically, I wish the opening wasn’t so long and the instruments were a bit more distinct from the classic Built to Spill sounds. 

I found “Understood” to be the strongest track that has been released so far. The guitar riffs and drum beats are solid and definitely starts with a more distinct sound than the other two tracks. I enjoyed the lyrics in this song the most because they explore the unknowability of understanding a concept or person.

In “Gonna Lose”, I found too many similarities to the Built to Spill classic track “Goin’ Against Your Mind”. “Gonna Lose” is a whole 6 minutes shorter, which makes me want a bit more from it so it can be different enough to make a solid impact on my ears. 

Concluding Thoughts:

These songs are still fun to listen to. I like hearing them every now and again, but my issue with them is they don’t try to do anything new with Built to Spill’s sounds. It’s extremely difficult for artists to constantly reinvent their art, but these past couple of albums for Built to Spill haven’t really led to anything new and exciting. 

I will keep listening to the older wonders of Built to Spill and keep, and an ear to the ground for anything they make, but I truly hope Doug Martsch and company can explore the possibility of their musical talents with more gusto in the future.