Archive for December 17th, 2009

My favorite bands this year

Discovering new artists has been my hobby this year — even replacing videography as my #1 interest. Here are the artists I discovered this year, and I believe that they are the best of the best newcomers. Regarding Blitzen Trapper and Portugal. The Man, I knew about them since 2007, but it was only this year that I actually got into them for good.

Find legal, free mp3s in the links provided.

[I like the three first just the same]

1. Blitzen Trapper
1. Cloud Cult
1. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

4. Paper Route
5. Malbec
6. Seabird
8. Living Things
9. Cage the Elephant
10. Portugal. The Man

Right now, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros are on a constant rotation. I try to get into other music in my 39 GB iTunes library, but I keep going back to them. Their album is one of the best in our decade, in my opinion.

My favorite song of theirs, the “Desert Song“, is one of my all time favorites too. Very avant-garde. The video too. If these guys had proper PR behind them, this song would have been a classic already.

Caprica, a review

SyFy Channel put up on their web site an extended-cut version of Caprica’s 2-hour pilot, for free. I’ve watched the teaser scenes the channel put up early this year, and I didn’t like it back then. It really felt like a boring soap opera. And in fact, there was a huge online backlash from people feeling exactly like I was.

Having watched the actual pilot though, I can conclude only two things: either we were all wrong, or in the 9 months following the teasers SyFy re-shot part of the pilot to make the show more sci-fi than it originally was meant to be. Apparently, that’s what happened: they added/changed scenes based on feedback from the DVD version that was released a few months ago.

The story is taking place 50+ years before the annihilation of the 12 colonies by the Cylons. It shows the first baby steps of Cylons, how they were created and why. Most importantly, it will show how Cylons will get to acquire their artificial intelligence, and how this will end to the first Cylon war.

What I liked:

– The pacing was good.
– The characters were interesting and were evolving well.
– The CGI were good.
– The story was moving from tech to soap and back to tech with a good pace.
– Learning and seeing more about the rest of the Colonies was a nice touch.

What I did not like:

– The technology shown was uneven. We see a USB key (yes, actual USB), 2008 model cars, and… coin-operated park meters (that looked very old even for our own standards), while at the same time they have very advanced virtual reality systems, robots, and even spaceships. Overall, it’s a ’50s noir era for fashion, but with 2000s and futuristic tech. I personally find it laughable, cheap, and a cop out.

– This really pissed me off: [Spoiler] When the daughter’s data were corrupted inside the Cylon, we are given the impression that the father lost the data. Which is not freaking possible, since there is this thing called BACKUP. Digital data that can be copied once, can also be copied unlimited times. So when the father shouted “nooooo…”, like he lost his daughter’s data, that was completely unrealistic. It was disrespectful to my intelligence.

– The Cylon’s voice is robotic, while even a Powerbook at 500 Mhz can re-create the human voice. In fact, their house robot had a human voice. There was no reason for the Cylon to have a robotic voice, other than for being faithful to the original series.

– That God/Gods shit is all over the pilot, and I don’t like religious themes in my sci-fi. It’s like adding mustard in my soup. Having said that, the show does deal with a theme that will become more prevalent for us too, in this century: God, human’s desire to imitate him via science, and the polarization that this will create.

– The audio in the external scenes is bad (seriously vocodized too in order to cut out noise). The show needs a better sound guy.

Despite all that though, the pilot is definitely watchable. It could be better if SyFy had more money in order to expand the Colonies worlds.

Rating: 7/10