It's been a minute since I posted a playlist on here, so here's the latest:
(Or if the embed doesn't work, here's the Spotify link.)
This time it's on Spotify instead of regular files. I've had Spotify Premium for a few months, and I'm liking it a lot; now that the vile radio ads are gone, it's reminding me a lot of the brief glory days of Napster?! I didn't think I'd have that feeling again, of being able to just check out anything I was curious about without any particular rigamarole. Yeah, I know, I'm late to the party. (Also, Discover Weekly is pretty cool. I keep a bucket of interesting stuff that rolls through the weekly, if you wanna lurk on that.)
Anyway, this playlist: Uh, it's about trying to make ends meet and find time to party a little in a kind of broken-down sci-fi universe. I guess it's Dicebox x The Z Radiant crossover mixtape fanfic. Yeah, that's a thing now, welcome.
On my end, this has been a very good year. Due in large part to Ruth! Being in her life is a delight and her influence makes me a better me, and also I've probably had more adventures this year than in the previous three combined. Speaking of which, that's what's up with the early New Year's post, here: I'm going to be in Edinburgh and then Belfast with her, and will probably be mostly offline. (Well, night-tweeting in the deep Eurosphere, at most.)
As for next year: It's a big pile of things that are scary but really exciting, and a smaller pile of things that are just plain scary. I'm pretty sure I can handle both piles. Wish me luck, and I'll wish you some.
Anyway! It's kind of insubstantial for a Christmas present, but I figured I'd share this latest mix tape with you. It's short and asymmetrical, it's called "Every Devil As She Pleases," and it's about feeling sorry for yourself but nutting up and setting things right anyway. (I was trying to make a sequel to "Shinier & 1000⨉ Harder," but it insisted on becoming something else.)
- Plane — Gauze
- The Kills — What New York Used To Be
- Sondre Lerche — Face the Blood
- Metric — Gimme Sympathy
- Miike Snow — Paddling Out
- Tegan and Sara — The Ocean
- Green Day — F.O.D.
- Nedelle — Fanfare
- Jesca Hoop — Born To
- Lorde — 400 Lux
Halation blears the freeway signs,
And holy blood turns back to wine.
What each man catches, time releases
—Let every devil as she pleases.
This is sort of an experiment in mixtape-as-short-story. Definitely influenced by This Time I Know It's For Real (Brenna and Chase's epic playlist / comic). It's also an exercise in exorcism. This story works best as a video game, but I really didn't want to make a video game, and trying to do it in pure text would have lost enough in translation to not be worth it. But the plot and main characters congealed really quickly and vividly for me, and I wanted to make something tangible to share how much fun I'd had thinking about it. So! Multimedia funtimes.
The librettos over at the mini-site only talk about the story, but I spent some time thinking about gameplay too, so maybe I'll say a thing about that before I hit post.
I love top-down brawlers, and I love it when combat acts as a story vehicle. I also like when a game's walk-n-talk segments stay in a restricted area so you get to know the NPCs really well over time. (Alundra pretty much did this part the best.) I'm also fascinated by the potential of friendship/relationship sim mechanics; I haven't really liked any of the games I've tried that are built around this, but I loved stuff like deciding who would choose to lead the party after Crono died. (Sorry, spoilers I guess.)
So anyway, S&1000×H would be split between brawler and walk-n-talk segments.
The brawler part is nothing but bosses. Some of the battles have a chase component, and some enemies will throw some mooks at you, but the core is just eight big multi-part setpiece fights. Combat would have a lot of context-sensitive actions; lots of blocking/parrying, and a few different attack types to choose from at any given time.
Each fight is split into multiple parts. In most of them, you're badly outmatched for the first round and have to struggle to stay alive, but you learn a lot about the enemy's tendencies and patterns. At the halfway point you get to use the power you stole from the last enemy to improve your battle transformation, making a choice from a few options. These changes add up, and your battle form gets progressively more inhuman over time, resembling your enemies more and more. Then you fight back on a more even footing for the second half of the battle.
(This totally guided the structure of the mixtapes! I think having several songs per boss let me outline their personalities a bit even if you aren't combing the libretto.)
(Also, I liked the effect of breaking the rhythm in Act 3.)
Cleista fills the "spotter" role, telling you what to watch for during a fight and often talking back to the enemy. He's usually an invisible voice, but can sometimes project as a human figure made of insubstantial flames.
Some of the walk-n-talks are pretty long, but they all limit the amount of stuff you can do before the story moves on. So the player will choose to hang out with the NPCs that are most interesting to them, and that will determine who Jessie's closest to. This is mostly for its own rewards, but I figured whoever turned out to be Jessie's boyfriend or girlfriend or bestie would be the person Melciel the Nail would choose to take control of, and then you'd have a different voice actor reading her lines in the endgame depending on how you played the friendship sim part. Yes, it's totally impractical, BUT ADMIT IT, THAT WOULD RULE.
A few years back, I happened across two separate songs called "O[h] Katrina," and decided to make a pair of mixes around them because I thought it'd be funny. I finally finished the second one!?!! Wow that was a stubborn damn mix tape. I think it came out okay, though.
Oh Katrina, Part One
- Conor Oberst — NYC-Gone, Gone
- Peter Bjorn and John — Dig A Little Deeper
- Tender Trap — Oh Katrina
- Florence + The Machine — Dog Days Are Over
- Masia One — Telephone Love
- Xperiment — Currently Flow by See-Saw Kids (Xperiment x B Lewis)
- Lykke Li — Dance, Dance, Dance
- Fort Wilson Riot — Love Song for Mabee Burlingham (Pieces of the War pt. 1) (Live)
- Balkan Beat Box — Joro Boro
- Frank Black & Teenage Fanclub — Handyman
- The Go! Team — Buy Nothing Day
- Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings — How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?
- Harvey Danger — The Show Must Not Go On
- Jesca Hoop — Hunting My Dress
- Johnny Flynn — Kentucky Pill
O Katrina, Part Two (the new one)
- The Go! Team — Lazy Poltergeist
- Haley Bonar — Bad Reputation
- Garbage — Special
- Passion Pit — Eyes As Candles
- The Black Lips — O Katrina!
- Flying Lotus — Do The Astral Plane
- Dr. Dog — These Days
- CHVRCHES — Gun
- The Kills — Damned If She Do
- Feist — One Evening (VV Mix)
- Sloan — Witches Wand
- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club — Shadow's Keeper
- The Acorn — Restoration (Four Tet remix)
(Yes, the last track shifts the theme on purpose. I wanted a palate-cleanser at the end.)
- Ben Babbit — Animal Bones (Exit)
- Okkervil River — Westfall (live)
- The Mountain Goats — Maybe Sprout Wings
- Sarah Jarosz — Shankill Butchers
- Sleater-Kinney — Jumpers
- Cast King — Saw Mill Man
- Toadies — Possum Kingdom
- Christine Fellows — Instructions On How To Dissect a Ground Owl
- First Aid Kit — Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
- Soul Coughing — Screenwriter's Blues
- The Beatles — Run For Your Life
- Verbena — Camellia
- Telepopmusik — Ghost Girl
Usually I pore over a mix playlist for a couple months before I let it out the door, but you know what, I threw this together last night and I like it and I think it's probably done. Please to enjoy, y'all.
- Nedelle — Ghost Ships
- Lego Big Morl — 溢れる (Album ver.)
- Sondre Lerche — Private Caller
- The Futureheads — Back To The Sea
- Pato Fu — Cities in dust
- French Kicks — So Far We Are
- Christian Scott — Cease Fire
- Avi Buffalo — What's In It For?
- Hallelujah the Hills — Nurses 5 Float Past
- Wye Oak — Holy Holy
- DJ Evil Dee — Gotcha Opin Remix
(Twitter/Facebook peeps: grab it now, because I'll probably access-lock the post in a week or two.)