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
Advertisements

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.

Appetiser – The Divison Beta

Tom Clancy's The Division™ Beta_20160220150849

So The Division open beta has been crowned ‘the biggest beta ever for a new game brand on current generation platforms’, with 6.4 million players taking part in the glorified demo, all playing an average of 5 hours.

I was sceptical of The Division.  In general, RPG MMOs aren’t my cuppa, and after really, really trying to enjoy Destiny I had little hope for Ubisoft’s attempt.  No matter how much it looked like Freedom Fighters – seriously, where is Freedom Fighters 2?

Yet, I was pleasantly surprised by the beta.  Firstly, the network performance was good, with no drops and matchmaking actually working unlike the Rainbow 6 beta.  Secondly, the game was actually okay. Continue reading

Main Course: Evolve

evolve_2015_game-wide

The power! The fucking power! Fear me ants mwhahahaha. The feeling of omnipotence you inherit as a monster is tremendous, if played smart. That’s a big if. It’s hard to look past the simple 4 Vs. 1 definition from an outside perspective and an ignorant attitude towards it, but Evolve is incredibly detailed. It’s a lot more complicated than your generic multi-player shooter, if that’s what you’re wondering. Continue reading

Main Course: Far Cry 4 review – creatively destructive

         image

About three hours into Far Cry 4’s campaign I decided to climb some towers and reveal more of my map. This was a chore I had been avoiding since the first obligatory tower. I hopped into a buzzer – the game’s lightweight helicopter – and flew to the nearest tower which sat half way up a mountain, surrounded by lush trees.

I ditched the buzzer on an out‑of‑sight cliff a short distance from the patrolling guards, and proceeded to grapple nearer to the tower. Plan A was to throw some bait near my enemies so that a bear or snow leopard would clear out the area for me, but the game politely prompted me that no animal was interested in the bait. Plan B was to sniper my enemies from afar and stealthily pick off any stragglers. From my position I could only see one guard, so I took him out before edging closer with bow and arrow in hand.

Far Cry® 4_20141208222146

Gotta climb ’em all

I took shelter in a nearby bush and aimed my bow’s crosshair at the unsuspecting head of a nearby guard. Before I had the chance to shoot, I heard a grunt and squeak from behind and was suddenly attacked. I turned around to see a disgruntled boar head-butting my legs. Whether it was of poor self-control or lack of forethought, I quickly ran backwards, recklessly firing arrows at the boar. Continue reading

Main course: Destiny review

Destiny_20140914181005

When I first sat down to play Destiny, I had readied myself with six A4 pages to jot notes on. After a few weeks playing I have only scribbled on three of those pages. This doesn’t indicate how good or bad Bungie’s latest is, but it certainly shows how little there is to say about it.

Continue reading