The Melancholic Gaze...

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~The Pale Yellow Moon, Ezra I. Limm 2008 ~

The clock is ticking.
yellow lunacy,
pale and fading,
i cant foresee.



~Konspirasi Bising Internasional, OAG. ~

Benarkah teorimu?
Fenomena menakjub.

Logikkah reaksimu?
Melankolik Matamu.

Konspirasi gadis curiga,
mimpi ku resah tak terkata,
panik dunia,
panik semesta.

OAG: Permysuri (review)

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OAG is local alternative rock band. There isnt much writeup about them online, and even their official website is not updated. They may have passed their hayday, but hey, it's all about the music, and they are by far my favourite local alternative band. In a typical song, smooth guitar riffs, warm bass, and 8-beat percussion accompany the lead singer's (Radhi) exceptionally emotive voice. A surprising number of songs in this album have a certain "timelessness" that I feel would make it a good listen in decades to come.

The opening song, Permysuri (Track 01), is a song sung by a guy to his new wife, his princess (Permaisuri in malay). It opens with a very warm bass line, and maintains a strong positive tone throughout the song. The song feels like it was made by someone who just found paradise - even people who dont understand malay would feel it.

Ya know how relationships go stale? Indifference is the antithesis of love. Slumber (Track 02) is all about that. Radhi laments the process of a breakup. Less lively and very much laid back compared to the other songs on the CD. There are points of tension between laid back laments.

"selamba sayang kau berfoya foya, kau selalu bertanya tanya, ke mana hilangnya minda? ke mana arah tujuan ku? tujuan mu?"

Biru (Track 16). This is my favourite track in the whole album! Flawless harmonics, catchy melody and poetic lyrics makes this one very timeless piece. "her gaze.. pierces my shadow.". Tension after a breakup. The indifference that hurts, and makes you feel blue. This song is so well vocalized/composed by Radhi that you get the feel that his ex is in the audience and he is singing to both her and the audience. He also manages to pull of a resigned tone of voice while singing the lyrics. That is some feat. Poetry and expression in this song is par excellence.

"apakah ini semua? dari awal hingga akhirnya...
yang tak menentu... kau terseksa... ku terharu...
memandangnya... terangkanlah, untuk dia,
terangkanlah, untuk ku.
kenapa ku tak selalu menghampir mu, dan selalu oh -
inikah yang ku terima? ..
kau berlalu tanpa suara,
pandangan mu,
pandangannya, menembusi bayangan ku..."

60's TV (track 03), The Name of The Game (track 04) and Knocked Silly (track 13) have that nice upbeat alternative rock feel. Track 20 is an accoustic, malay version called TV 60-an.

Stereokumonomu (track 09)is my second favourite song of the album. Beautiful guitar harmonics along with reverberating drums. The vocals are modified, "metalized" so to speak, to make them go with the instruments with even more harmony. A great uplifting song.

Sound Experience.

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When I was 5, I remember jumping around on my parent's bed dancing to ABBA and Beatles. Later on, I got my first music player, an old Sony Walkman. The sound wasnt great, but it did allow me to record from the radio, and it was fascinating. Then came the age of CDs and MP3s. 128kbps MP3s plucked from the internet sounded ok. By that time i was listening to music on my cheap computer 2.1 (subwoofered) speakers. I still didnt have a CD player though. Eventually, I got my hands on a MZ-R909 Mini Disc player. It was made from magnesium/aluminium and had really good build quality, fit and finish. Sound quality was way ahead of the old tape walkman. By the time I was in college, I had got my first iPod. It was a third generation (clickwheel) model. The earbuds provided for pretty decent, not surprising as the iPod itself had cost RM1600.

That was the start of my pursuit of better sound quality. The white 3rd generation iPod earphones had significantly better than those provided with the following generations of iPods. There were much more natural sounding than that of my brother's 4th gen iPod Photo earbuds. Saved up for awhile and finally upgraded my listening experience. My next pair of earbuds would be my first in-ear buds (canalphones). The venerable Sony MX71s (RM150). The in ear buds had much better bass response/separation and for the first time i could discern low pitch instruments clearly.

Fast forward a few years. I am now a student in Australia. Canalphone technology has progressed steadily and the MX71s were starting to showing their age. Physically, they were starting to break up as well after much use and abuse. So I decided to get a popular RM200 pair of headphones. I settled for the Sennheiser CX300. They were Senn's first attempt at canalphone technology. They were much better across the range. A little boomy/muddy on the low end, but had far superior separation on the rest of the range. As a result, high pitched cymbals dont get muddled when playing rock songs.

My music listening experience has improved by leaps and bounds from my first tape walkman, but I was still pretty much stuck to listening to 128kbps mp3s. Even on the Senn CX300s, i couldnt hear any advantage to using higher bitrate mp3s.

All that changed when i came back to malaysia for summer break. I finally found a local distributor for Grado. Grado is a family brand that makes headphones at their small factory in Brooklyn. Yes, New York. Not china or taiwan. They are well renowned for the audio quality of their products and affordable prices.

I decided to get the Grado SR80 after looking around online. Many people claim that this offers the best sound quality for the USD100 (RM400) price range. At RM400, it is by far the most expensive pair of headphones I've ever owned. To be honest, it feels cheaper than the RM60 Phillips headphones that I used to play the electric keyboard. It's lighter and just feels flimsy. Bass is tight and well controlled. Response across the range is quite flat, and thus listening even to "full sounding" pieces of music is not tiring as well separated and defined bass and treble dont compete for your ears. You could hear maracas clearly playing behind the cymbals and other instruments. It's just awesome. The sound melts into your ear. When you take it and put it on, you get immersed. Tight bass, and well separated instruments gives you the feeling that the band is playing for you.

The headphones are great, but another problem arose. Mp3 flaws now are very noticeable. Muddled high ends and bloated bass are all very obvious on the SR80. So where does that leave me? For the first time I actually feel compelled to buy albums. Woot. And I subsequently found that listening to albums instead of individual songs on my computer is more enjoyable on the long run. You dont get bored of one song or another too quickly.

I look forward to reviewing some of my favourite albums

2008: Building A Mystery.

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Last year, I came across ladder theory. It's probably not 100% true, but the jist of its message is true. In past relationships, I've made just about every mistake in the book . It's not about being nice or naughty. It's not about friendship. It's not just about communication. It's complex. And most ladies dont know what they are attracted to even if you ask them - but when push comes to shove, nature takes over and they will instinctively know what they want - even if they cant put it in words. From one of my favourite albums, Mirrorball, Sarah McLachlan describes what all women intuitively desire.

Sarah McLachlan - Building a Mystery

You come out at night. That's when the energy comes. And the dark side's light .
And the vampires roam. You strut your rasta wear. And your suicide poem(1).
And a cross from a faith that died. Before Jesus came. You're building a mystery.

You live in a church. Where you sleep with voodoo dolls (2). And you won't give up the search.
For the ghosts in the halls
. You wear sandals in the snow (3). And a smile that won't wash away
Can you look out the window. Without your shadow getting in the way (4)?

You're so beautiful. With an edge and charm. but so careful. When I'm in your arms.
Cause you're working. Building a mystery. Holding on and holding it in (5).
Yeah you're working. Building a mystery. And choosing so carefully.

You woke up screaming aloud. A prayer from your secret god. You feed off our fears.
And hold back your tears, oh. Give us a tantrum. And a know it all grin (6).
Just when we need one. When the evening's thin.

You're a beautiful
, A beautiful fvcked up man (7).
You're setting up your
.
Razor wire shrine


The pic above, from the ladder theory homepage summarizes it nicely. Money/Power actually refers to social dominance (3) (6). It doesnt matter if you're austin powers, a biker gang leader, or a high priced lawyer. What matters is that you must be at the top of your game. In the modern world, social dominance is almost impossible to achieve without money. Yet if you asked a woman, she would probably tell you that she looks for intellegence, honesty, sensitivity etc. That's BS. Those adjectives unfortunately fall within the yellow 10% part of the pie.

A breakdown of attraction:
  • Physical attraction / Looks - pretty much self explanatory (7)
  • Disinterest - while it may be the antithesis of interest, directly expressing interest in a woman instantly removes that image of social dominance men work so hard to build. You must never turn into a soft whiny wuss kneeling at a woman's knees - confiding every thought and feeling that comes to your mind. A woman could only pursue a man who's running away. (4) (5)
  • Novelty - Why are you unlike every other Joe, Tom, Dick, and Harry? (1) (2)

Do you realize I have just given the breakdown for the definition of an α-male ?

Ezra - building a mystery. laugh.gif




Offtopic: I finally figured how to get smileys to display properly. I took 2 #!%*@#!# hours to figure out how to make Angry Angry AngryAngry appear in the center of a line of text. w00t.