Sushi Strikers and the pesce-pedant

 

‘In a world without fish…’

What a potent opening statement.  How does it make you feel?  Are you sad for the fish?  Are you concerned about the ecological effects?  Do you wonder what caused such extinction?  Or are you yelling ‘MY TASTE BUDS’ at your screen?

If the latter, I have the perfect game for you.  Sushi Strikers.  I also have more than a few hundred pedantic words to follow that you should probably skip. Continue reading

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Superorganism

There’s nothing more mesmerising than finding a niche decade-old blog with only a few committed followers. First, you bounce between confusion, intrigue and bemusement. Then you realise it’s the blogger’s life and an understanding blossoms. An appreciation of their craft and commitment.

Superorganism are a London-based collective of varying ages and backgrounds and it’s only fitting their self-titled debut garners a similar reaction. This album sounds like the Internet.

Orono Noguchi sings throughout in an affectedly cool drone with not a hint of modulation in tone. If this is a blog, her voice delivers the main text. Other voices come in the form of suitably computerised monologues and samples, intermittently chirping in. They intrude like blog comments, supporting and dissenting in equal measure.

The rest of the band consists largely of the New Zealand indie group The Eversons, handling the synths, guitars and production. It’s pop perfection. Synths swirl, drums punctuate and the bass drones. Dotted throughout is a bluesy open chord slide guitar that often rises to introduce a new verse. It’s a simple stamp that adds a welcomed roughness. It makes the album feel cohesive and assists the pulsing pop in supporting the laconic Orono.

If Orono is languid, her words are far from it. They’re encouraging and uplifting with hints of sadness being overcome with every word.

Take the chorus of ‘Relax’. First time around, Orono repeatedly utters ‘just relax’ as car horns screech from all directions. She’s a calming voice in the distractions of life. On the second, the horns are replaced by cars skidding and crashing. The 17 year old singer is the blogger who tells you to relax when you’re at your most stressed.

The album opens with ‘It’s All Good’ and the first words heard are ‘Good morning Orono, you are awake / The weather today is dark / Would you like to get up? / Or perhaps do nothing.’ A sample of motivational speaker Tony Robbins later follows, which is hilariously drowned about by a chorus of voices yelling ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’. It’s evident that Orono is not the imposing, chirpy motivational speaker. She’s the blogger who is trying self-improvement techniques but cannot quite shake her underlying wry observations and lethargy. One ear in the cacophony of reality and another in the simplicity of happiness.

None of the pop simplicity bellies the greatness here. This is a confident exercise in craft. No melody or hook is lost and any roughness is pitch perfect and thematically consistent. It’s a celebration of sound.

This is not a London-based collective. These diverse individuals work perfectly together. They’ve earned the right to be called Superorganism

Originally written in March 2018

Scratching the Itch 9 – All Our Asias by Sean Han Tani

 

After a long break, we’re back! Luke & Gareth are joined by the still delightful and now super GamesMaster professional Sam Greer (@SamMGreer).

This episode, we play around with polygons in All Our Asias, a game with a striking aesthetic reminiscent of the PS1 era.

And then we we talk for far too long about Monster Hunter World and Metal Gear Solid Survive.

Blade Runner 2049: Where the Servile Women Are

Let’s cut to the chase, Blade Runner 2049 has problems.

In one scene, superior Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright) propositions the replicant K (Ryan Gosling) with sex, which he declines with that broody stare that gives every single moviegoer palpitations.  Lt. Joshi, understandably upset by being denied the chance to be up close and personal with that broody face, leaves K’s flat.

Compare this to a scene in Blade Runner (1982) Continue reading

Hellblade or: How I Learned to Keep Worrying and Appreciate Horror

As in life, many people go head first into video games cocksure and confident of their actions, be it with calculated puzzle solving skills or swift reactions and perfect aim.  I am not one of these people.

Save for Tetris – I am okay at Tetris – I doubt every action, question every decision and tentatively hover over every trigger.  I’m a gaming mess.  A gibbering, bumbling, anxious mess.

And this is why I hate Hellblade, or at least hate playing Hellblade.  Continue reading