Review of Caracal and Art in General


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Before I write a review of a new album, I sit down and read a few other reviews to check to see if there was anything I missed.

I did that in preparation to write my thought on Disclosure’s most recent release, Caracal. What I found was several reviews expressing that Caracal is more of the same from the electro-pop bothers, but I spun this record again this week and realized that music critics don’t cut artists any slack.

For the record, I wouldn’t classify myself as a critic, just a musician sharing his humble thoughts.

This record was incredibly well crafted. Disclosure is consistent and leaves no stone unturned in their production. It’s ultra-clean and brutally crisp. The way they produced this record is what they know. It’s what they do best. So why criticize them for not pioneering a completely new sound? Their subdued beats and subtle bass allows for the intensity to build to an intense degree without getting exceedingly loud or obnoxious like dubstep. Another thing I admire is the limited amount of sounds they employ. At any one time I can only identify up to five or six different sounds. And yet, they are able to paint an incredibly intricate soundscape. Who cares if their record sounds similar to the last one? Does that even count as a bad thing? Settle changed pop music forever – and for the better. Bob Dylan released five records before he went electric.

Similar to settle, Disclosure recruits a cast of A-list artists as features on their tunes; among them Sam Smith, Lorde, and Gregory Porter. Sam Smith comes back with the track, Omen, a seemingly somber and equally as groovy sequel to Latch. Lorde’s track Magnets straight swings, man. How Disclosure achieved such a laid-back groove with computers is beyond my knowledge. Gregory Porter’s appearance on this record makes me intensely happy. Porter is a contemporary jazz singer fairly popular on the jazz circuit. For a musician in the jazz world, this is an incredibly huge break for him. The optimist in me would like to think that people would hear the track, research the singer, listen to some of his music, and become an everlasting jazz nerd. A boy can dream. Overall, is seems as though this record was made to be a catalyst of dancing. Nothing is too fast and the average song length is just under five minutes. But nothing ever gets boring, the brothers seem very careful about adding and subtracting textures when needed to catch the ear and keep the crowd interested.

Speaking of catchy, every track has a great thematic melody that has its own hook. Sometimes it sounds like they borrow ideas but, hey, what is art but the synthesis of preexisting ideas? Everybody has their own musical vocabulary.

As for me, it is clear that Disclosure knows what they are doing and do it well. Sounding like yourself is not a crime. The real offense is when you do not.

Devan is a dj with KSSU

What Enriches Your Sacramento State Experiences?


That is the question.

In the past, I’ve been involved with high school extracurricular such as ASB (student government). I know how much work that has been, but that has motivated me to continue on with being active in high school. I just didn’t want to sit in class to class and go home with no enjoyment afterword. Now in college, I haven’t found anything like ASB to be involved in. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be an active student. I have always been skilled at being organized and understand commitment, but thanks to Sac State’s EOP / Full Circle Project and the Theatre Department, I was able to develop and expand more on these concepts that will help me in my future experiences here in campus and at future use.

From the start, Education Opportunity Program (EOP) is what I’ve selected during my college application. It’s a program for low income students and this help gives guidance to be successful all through their college years. In this program, they required every student to get a head in academic, so there was a program called Summer Bridge at the same time they required students to select a learning community. This was when I was introduced to Full Circle Project (FCP), a program that’s for Asian Pacific Islanders where students get to take the same courses and attend to the same events to learn more about the API community. Students have the chance to get to know other APIs and get connections and resources. Being in FCP, I didn’t like it at first because it was too many requirements that confused me during this semester. It was easier in the summer because the schedule was specific that when we will have to attend to class. In this semester, FCP has required their students to enrolled in three classes and they also have mandatory meetings (and events). I honestly didn’t like it at first because it was all too much. There were confusions with time classes and meetings all among the students. How I was able to handle this hassle? Well, I became organized in scheduling my duties. I began to construct a calendar (hand drawn) of each month, so I can see what events do I have to attend. Even if I only began this system last month, this has helped me to remind myself so much more. I was able to notice events that I never would have gone if I never wrote it down on a calendar. I just don’t use this technique for FCP, but also for any appointments or important dates such as exam dates. Now, I have two calendars; one for assignments and due dates and the other for notifications of event or any appointments.

On the other hand, being a Theatre major means that I have to do at least two shows as a crew member (props or tech crew) and have to at least audition once. Over the summer, I did the dance audition for the first fall play, Flight, but I didn’t passed. I really wanted to be stage manager, but I realized that I couldn’t do that also. Even though I had a calendar to organize events, I knew that I would not be able to handle myself with that type of stress. Being stage manager, you have to be committed to all of your work because everyone is counting on you, even the director for the play is. I almost crew for Flight instead, but I chose not to do so because I still wasn’t sure if I will be able to stick with this from the start to the end. Recently, I had decided to be a part of the upcoming show (that open on the 12th) Compleat Female Stage Beauty. Everyone in this production has to be there from the 12th (opening night) to the 22nd (closing night) and be there for every show. All rehearsals without audience has all finished already. I took part of being the tech crew, specifically to sound. Coming to rehearsals the past days did eat a lot of my homework and free time, but I knew that I chose a sacrifice to balance everything out. Yet, I did not back out. Yes, I knew this would be a challenge for me because it’s time to be organized and be committed.

At first thought of Sac State, the campus sounds unimpressive because I am a Sacramento born and been here for most of my life. Yes, Sac State sounds boring because it’s a local campus, but when you think hard about it, Sac State has what other schools doesn’t have. There are programs, like the Theatre and Dance Department, the Engineering Program, Teaching Credential Program, etc. that are provided and the diversity of the school. It’s easy to judge Sac State in any ways. What I have taken with me was being more organized and being committed thanks to the opportunities that I’ve taken while I start my first year here.

Alexandria is a DJ with KSSU11-15 Blog

Beautiful Noise, Exquisite Tastes, and Creative Minds: The Complete TBD Fest 2015 Experience


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This past weekend TBD Fest has left a mark of music, art, design, food, and ideas in the city of Sacramento. The festival drew in thousands of diverse people, locals and visitors alike, to experience the unique Sacramento festival that is TBD.

To start off, this weekend was incredible. Everything from the acts to the food was something to look back on. The lineup fit the flow of the weekend; starting Friday off with bang, reaching a pinnacle of epicness on Saturday, and concluding with a sure sense of satisfaction on Sunday       (sorry for the tongue twister).

 

Festival Grounds

A vital part of any festival is to get a feel of where you will be for the next few days. The first thing to do is find a schedule and a map. They weren’t readily available, but the customer service tent had no problem handing out printed schedules (nothing too fancy, just a print out). Since there was no map, the only option was to explore the grounds.

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Having fun with the displays!

The grounds weren’t too vast and the layout was simple: a main stage on opposing sides with smaller stages near them. In between there was the “Rise + Create” space. A vendor village, complete with local vendors selling food, drinks, art, and clothing. All the food and drink being carefully crafted, the clothes being hand-made or hand-pressed, and beautiful pieces of art being created. This section of the festival truly shows the creative and tasteful minds of Sacramento. Near and around the “Rise + Create” space there were some awesome displays. Changing pillars of light, painted pyramids, murals, and the great display by PORTAL SAC. the perimeters of the grounds had the bars and food trucks. The festival even had it’s own giant ferris wheel (which all the proceeds from went to helping those recently affected by the California wildfires). There was a lot to see and do at TBD Fest besides watch the musical acts.

 

Demolicious Derby

If none of the musical acts were catching your attention or it was just too hot for you to be standing outside, then the “Demolicious Derby” was the place to go! It took place under a shaded tent with a nice patch of grass (I’m assuming so none of the dirt or dust flies into your food). It’s a cook off between two Sacramento chefs of the fine dining scene. They both have to use a certain ingredient. They also have to cook and serve out of a food truck. The food was completely free and completely delicious.

While waiting for the food, festival goers could watch the cooking from a live video feed screened on a large screen outside. The visuals and smells would make the audience even more hungry. Some moves such as adding the spice would make the audience “ooo” and “ahh.” A comedic MC would be hosting the event so it’s not just two dudes cooking food. Attendees would have to partake in both dishes and place their used forks in their respective choices. Both competitors were always good and humble chefs.

A little example of a cook off: both chefs had to use lamb. One made street tacos, but instead of a tortilla, he a used flattened and fried pork bun. The other made a greek style lamb poutine. Drooling yet? We were.

 

The Music

As mentioned  earlier, each day had a lineup that made a great flow for the weekend. Little disclaimer: I’m not really a big fan of EDM, so I didn’t catch much of the DJ sets.  

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Toro Y Moi

Friday was explosive. The first artist was the band, Cathedrals. With their chill, new wave sound, and heavy bass, Cathedrals gave the crowd something great to vibe to. Then I was able to catch Towkio, Chicago based rapper associated with Save Money and Vic Mensa. Even though the crowd didn’t know the words, Towkio and his DJ were able to pump up the crowd. Head back to the main stage and you would be able to catch the dreamy set of Toro Y Moi. This was one of the artists I was looking forward to watching the most, and they did not disappoint. Playing a good blend of the newest album, What

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Tyler, The Creator

for?, and their older stuff, the set was great. Ty Dolla $ign got the entire crowd dancing or jumping to his songs. The best part of his set was when he pulled out a bass and started groovin out (I didn’t know he could even play instruments). He was even able to stage dive into the crowd during the end of his set. The only EDM set I caught on Friday was some of was RL Grime’s. Playing a heavy trap set for the festival, he had everyone moving. The craziest crowd goes to the set of Sacramento native, Death Grips. The experimental industrial noise rap group made the biggest mosh pit of the weekend, bringing the first big dust cloud into the air. Being in the mosh, I breathed in a little too much dirt. The night ended with Tyler the Creator bringing  energy to the stage. Although he couldn’t bring the visuals he wanted, the set was still crazy. The crowd moshed, jumped, and sang along to the words. It wouldn’t be a Tyler the Creator set without his comedic side comments. The day really set the mood for the rest of the weekend.

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Chance the Rapper

Saturday was big. With the longest day of TBD Fest, there was a lot to do. Although the day was spent mostly walking around the grounds, eating, and hanging out, all the musical acts were great. Dark pop duo, ASTR, started the day off for me. They gave an electrifying performance with some heavy bass hits, melodic scales and licks, and some crazy dance moves. I even had the pleasure of interviewing them backstage (interview coming soon, really cool people). Joywave, an electronic indie band, drew one of the larger crowds for the small stages. Before playing, they took time to perfect their sound and it was worth it. The crowd was very responsive with each song and it was awesome to be apart of. Ratatat was one of my favorites for the weekend. The electric guitar duo had holograms and lasers, putting on one of the best visuals for the weekend. Porter Robinson had some nice visuals as well. Although I couldn’t really vibe to the music, he still put on a good show equipped with anime graphics and massive confetti shots. The crowd loved it. I was able to catch the tail end of Magic Man’s set on the opposing small stage. Although there weren’t that many people watching the set, they still gave it their all and ended with their hit, Paris. Chance the Rapper was the main act I was looking forward to for the whole weekend. The set was amazing. He came with his full band, Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment, which made for a much fuller sound. The visuals weren’t top notch, but it didn’t matter because the music and energy put out from the performance was, to me, the best for this weekend. Sing alongs, jumping around, crowd participation, amazing trumpet solos, it had it all. Even though he admit to go out of order of their intended set due to excitement (Chance would become a father two days later) they still made it the best. Saturday had something big for fans of all different music genres.

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Tears For Fears

Sunday was a great way for the weekend to wind down. Up and coming rap/r&b artist (who recently made a song with Kanye West) Post Malone put on a good five song set to start off our day. Although he has blown up due to the success of his hit song, White Iverson, Post Malone still kept it humble, and kept it entertaining. He even performed White Iverson again for his closer, having the crowd sing the entire last verse to closer. After, we were walking and on the nearby small stage, this band O began to play. They were able to keep us and the others for their whole set. They’re an indie band from San Francisco, do check them out. I was sad to have missed Dr. Dog and A Place to Bury Strangers due to attending a Demolicious Derby, but I heard the sets were amazing. Right when we got to A Place to Bury Strangers, the lead singer had just smashed his guitar to end his set. Sad to have missed that, but it was on to the 90’s alt rock band, Dinosaur Jr.! Although they are getting old, they can still play flawlessly. With great

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Madeon

tunes and heart reaching solos, Dinosaur Jr. had a high-caliber set. After, Black Lips took the smaller stage. This goofy garage rock outfit from Georgia had a really fun set. After some jokes and moshing ensued, it was time for the OG (an older act, usually more famous in the 80’s)  headliner (every festival has to have one amiright?), Tears for Fears! Watching their set was like jumping back into the past, a time where most of the people attending TBD were either not alive or too young to go to a concert. Of course, the crowd sang along to classic hits such as Everybody Wants to Rule the World and their closer, Shout. They even surprised the audience with a slower yet full version of Creep by Radiohead. Madeon electrified the crowd as the last EDM performance of the weekend. I had to jump around a few times for that performance. I wasn’t able to stay, but I heard and read that crowd favorite Chromeo properly wrapped up TBD Fest with their funky tunes.

 

Closing Remarks

2015-09-22 04.01.12Overall, TBD Fest is a must-go for anyone in Sacramento, the surrounding Northern California area, or anyone in the world that wants to have a good time. Although not as big as famous festivals such as Cochella, TBD Fest is able to provide some of the top acts in music today in a comfortable yet enthralling environment. Everyone from the acts to the volunteers to the workers to the security to everyone else helped make this weekend what it was. It wasn’t just  about the music, but about the local artistic minds and tastemakers coming together to bring entertainment to Sacramento. It’s exactly what this city needs, a positive driving force in today’s creative culture.

 

 

Check out our mini Instagram Vlogs of the Festival!

If you liked this article, be sure to tune into KSSU.com on Wednesdays from 6:00pm-7:00pm for the 30/30! 30 minutes of music followed by 30 minutes of talk with me, Jerel Labson! 

Also be sure to follow my personal blog, jmbldup.wordpress.com!  

 

CSUS: Hitch a Ride


CSUS: Hitch a Ride
By: Josue “Josh” Alvarez Mapp (a.k.a. DJ Mappquest)

Parking issues are as synonymous to Sacramento State as water issues are to California.  To help remediate the issue, Sacramento State has constructed four parking structures over the decades.  The largest parking structure (Parking Structure III) can accommodate 3,000 vehicles parked in it.  As an attendee of Sacramento State, the structure is constantly packed, along with all “close” parking lots.  In total, Sacramento State has 15 parking lots and four parking structures sprinkled around campus.

However, in a day where convenience is everything, some lots are outside of the realistic range of some.  For example, Parking Lot 11 is situated across J Street, the main entrance to Sacramento State.  In relation to the buildings for classes, and anything else, it can be a “hike” to get there with the amount of traffic around the J Street Main Entrance intersection.  There are a number of other lots outside of the convenience range.  However, parking to this day is still bad.

There are many things to alleviate this, such as the Hornet Shuttle, plus a major bus junction by the north end of campus, numerous bike routes and bike parking, dorms, and local apartments.  But with all this, Sacramento State is still seen as a “commuter campus”.

I’m not saying parking close helps, but it is a step.  What doesn’t help is when parking lots or services close at specific times.  Sacramento State has provided something along these lines.  In a previous article I referenced the Ramona Ave Parking Lot.  This lot will be re-opened in the Fall Semester for students.  Because the lot currently resides a distance away from campus, a Hornet Shuttle service will be taking students from the lot to The Well and back. Nice, right?  What’s the catch?  The lot and the shuttle operate from 7:30 AM to 6 PM – prime time for most daytime classes, but not so much for events, meetings, club/organization activities, etc. Though parking alleviates by the evening time, it is a hassle to move your vehicle.  By the time you sit in the driver seat, temptation of life away from campus may set in.

An incentive for the Ramona Lot is a much cheaper parking permit that works only at the Ramona Lot.  The permit costs $84 and provides approximately 250 additional parking spaces (to help with the loss of 280 Residence Hall parking spots).

The proposed Ramona Avenue Extension to be completed by 2016.

Ramona Avenue is slated to be extended and connect with Folsom Blvd for a more direct line to campus.  But that’s not my issue here.  As I hinted in my last article, none of this helps with the campus spirit and campus community.  The campus is vibrant with activities from programs like ASI and UNIQUE, clubs and Greek organizations, and much more.  But when people get to their cars, they may not be driving closer to campus to attend these functions.  Instead, they may go somewhere else.  The campus has much to offer, and the campus administration is not aiding that cause what so ever.  The Ramona Ave lot may stop the bleeding, but it won’t close the wound.

Welcome to Sacramento State!  We are a “commuter campus” that struggles to rise above that stigma.

CSUS: Pardon The Mess


CSUS: Pardon the Mess
By: Josue “Josh” Alvarez Mapp (a.k.a. DJ Mappquest)

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One of the planters added into Lot 7.

For much of the summer of 2015, Sacramento State has been getting various sorts of touch ups here and there.  The one that grabbed my attention most was the various amounts of fenced off parts of Lot 7, one of the parking lots on the south end of campus.  On my most recent visit to campus, I discovered parts of the project was the removal of parking spots to include planter space for drought resistant plants (or so that’s my guess).  Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for doing our part to help fight the drought and do our parts for the environment as a whole.  I am also all for beautification of the campus.  Sacramento State’s campus is a beautiful one.  Hands down one of the best in all of the CSU system.

It wasn’t too long ago that the campus had a beautification project around Brighton Hall, as well as along the path from the University Union to the Library.  I thought these were solid touches on otherwise bland land.  It doesn’t serve a function in the sense of helping students get the classes they need, or help them with additional parking spots, but it didn’t take away from that either.

A corner of Brighton Hall that was spruced up a while ago.

A corner of Brighton Hall that was spruced up a while ago.

The Lot 7 project is one of many happening currently.  I have not seen them all as I only see or frequent half of the entire campus.  Some of the other projects to be noted this summer include:

  • Adding a physical median divide on the southern tip of State University Drive East by the Capital Public Radio station.
  • Major sidewalk construction (for what it seems to be something good for pedestrians) on Callery Pear Way between the Public Services Police Station and Parking Structure 3
  • Construction for something unidentifiable at the time I went by in the Library Quad close to Brighton

There are more, I’m sure, but I haven’t been across all of campus.  Part of Parking Structure 1 will be dedicated to Residence Hall Parking for people living in the dorms.  To alleviate parking, UTAPS has (re)introduced parking at the Ramona Lot (which is located on Ramona Ave which is off the beaten path by Power Inn Rd, off of Cucamonga Ave), with a shuttle to take students from there to campus and back.  The lot is open 7:30 AM to 6 PM.  Any cars still there will be locked in the lot.  This is a decent solution for students who come strictly for classes in the morning or afternoon.  However, this counteracts possibilities of fostering a campus life (i.e. clubs, organizations, events, etc.).

The unknown project in the Library Quad.

The unknown project in the Library Quad.

What is going on in Lot 7 (and perhaps Lot 8 as well), is a waste.  It is not good for the students, which should be the focus of anything and everything the campus does.  It doesn’t increase quality of life on campus by any stretch.  All it does is take away space for parking in a place where parking is still a premium (the planter pictured above takes what use to be 8 parking spots). The only project I would welcome on campus that could temporarily take away parking would be converting a lot, or part of a lot, into a parking structure.

Welcome back to Sacramento State!  Please excuse the mess, and less parking in convenient locations.

My thoughts on KSSU


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KSSU – Sacramento State’s very own student run radio station. What I have learned and experienced from my time here has truly been amazing, and I wanted to take this time to talk a little about my time here at KSSU.

I am not sure what exactly made me apply to be a DJ in the first place, however I am sure it had to do with my love of music and people. This seemed like sort of a perfect fit for me to share my passion and enthusiasm for music with all of you. I was also drawn to the station because I had initially done some research on KSSU before applying and it looked like an amazing group of people who enjoy working together, as well as being a part of the Sacramento State community.

I was a bit intimidated as well, however, given this impressive work record and prestigious place in college radio. Nonetheless, I decided to apply and see what happened. So I did, and here I am. The process was rather straight forward, and I have no complaints. I think that the hiring process (if it can be called that for unpaid folks like me) was as easy and logical as it could be, and from the moment that I set foot in the KSSU offices, I was made to feel right at home.

But then came the first day. That day when you realize that you actually have to fill an hour with content and think to yourself, dear god, what have I gotten myself into! But after the first few shows, I began to find my groove. I started to experiment with what music I played, what order I played PSA’s and talked, or even changing up the ratio of talking to music for a particular show.

I am still not one hundred percent confidant about my show, but I certainly have come a long way from that first day when I timidly entered the studio with a USB drive of some music and a vague idea of what it was I wanted to accomplish. I think, perhaps, that the point of KSSU is exactly that. The ability to find your own voice and to pave your own path. The very anxiety of that first show transitioned into the competence of my shows now.

There is still a ways to go, for me at least. Twelve shows is hardly time to find my footing proper. I do hope to continue my show over the summer, but we’ll see. Since I am a graduating senior, this may just be goodbye. I hope that this goodbye will not be an end. While I may no longer be on the air Tuesday afternoons, KSSU will most definitely continue to broadcast from the tiny studio in the University Union of Sacramento State. Brave new DJ’s will take my place, build up their own shows and audiences, and share their message with the world. That is, I think, the greatest thing about KSSU. The ability for us as students to share our voice with whoever will listen, and to shape the very future of a little internet radio station known as KSSU.

 

David is a DJ with KSSU

“Matriarch” by Veil of Maya Album Review


 

Veil-of-Maya-Matriarch-artwork-600x600So here I am, chilling in my philosophy class before the professor shows up. I whip out my iPod and check out the channels I am subscribed too. I mostly use YouTube for finding new music and cool skate videos. Browsing through the videos, I noticed that Sumerian Records put out the whole new Veil of Maya album “Matriarch” and I about exploded. I had to sit for an hour and fifteen minutes anticipating the awesomeness of VoM. Luckily, I only stayed in class for about twenty minutes because class today was an optional Final Exam Study session. Who needs to study for finals anyways? I’ll just wait until the day before my finals.

So I had already heard a few songs from the Album and had already been in love. The rest of the album was fantastic as well. I did not even need to listen to the entirety of each song before clicking to the next and welcoming in frission (where you get goosebumps from good music). There was the usual VoM stuff; technical math-core (complicated song structure), drop tuned guitars, and ominous background sound effects. VoM threw in some new stuff such as clean vocals (in comparison to the low gutturals from the “Common Man’s Collapse” Album), guitar melodies in the higher registry, and an overall album theme, hence the name “Matriarch”. Before the album was released, my favorite of the leaked songs was Mikasa, which also had a music video. There was heavy breakdowns, awesome never-before heard clean vocals, and an overall empowering feeling brought forth by the entire band.

Looking at the track listing, each song is named after Matriarchs or powerful women, both fictional and non-fictional. In one of the YouTube comments, someone even mentioned that one of the song names is a very threatening character from an action anime. I took the Youtuber’s word and moved on to the music. I will have to say that my favorite song, other than the leaked ones, would have to be “Daenerys”. I have no idea where the name Daenerys comes from, but it did not spell check me on Microsoft Word, so it is legit. Anyways, the song starts out really light with some nice moving around on the guitar. It then goes into a two-measure guitar solo before the vocalist pops in and the song takes a more serious turn. With some power chords blasting right into a heavy breakdown, Veil of Maya shows off what they are known for. Right after are some clean vocals from their new vocals, which were pretty impressive by the way. The chorus is repeated throughout with some technical instrumentals in the background, before closing the song with a guitar solo build up to more cleans and a mini breakdown. Finally, a guitar playing a riff in the higher register ends out the song.

Most of the time I listen to music on YouTube except for when I really like a whole album, which I purchase to support the band. Veil of Maya, I’m going to support you and buy your new album “Matriarch” when I get home tonight.

Thanks for reading everyone!

I may or may not have a show during finals week due to, well, finals. However, check out www.kssu.com and listen to other DJs do their stuff!

Much Love,

DJGingerbeard

Zelda Over Finals


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The best way to prepare for finals is not at all.

Just kidding.

That’s terrible.

I only have two “real” finals. “Real” meaning using scantrons, studying from a study guide, and bringing in a notecard. The real finals are for philosophy and geography, so it is probably a good idea to study and bring in notecards. However, I work two jobs, so studying does not really seem like a good idea when I could be sleeping or getting music for my show or even playing Zelda, because Zelda: Skyward Sword is taking too long to finish. I will probably study an hour before my classes and put some chicken scratch writing on a tiny index card. Seems like the best option.

For my other two classes, Music and Theatre, we have “different” assignments. “Different” meaning not using notecards, scantrons, or formal study guides. In theatre, we all passed around papers, writing one entry on a paper about a given dialogue. You cannot write your name, and you have to write about whatever the professor says. For example, he says write a name and greeting and you write “What’s up, my name is Gregorio.” You can make it normal or comedic. We did this for ten entries, then opened up the paper. There are a bunch of ridiculous things written, but for our final we have to tie in all ten entries and turn it into a monologue that makes sense. We then perform the monologue in front of the whole class. Good thing I have some experience acting, or else I would die. As for Music class, we have a choice of playing a solo or a duet. The duet has two options: two moderate songs or on hard song. The solo is just a choice of three hard songs.

So yeah, my finals are not going to be too hectic. I just have to make sure I beat Zelda before finals week so I can focus. If not, I will be tracing and retracing my steps trying to find the next dragon in my mind while I’m sitting in class.

Thanks for reading! For more shenanigans and random subjects to talk about (along with some great music) listen to my show “Shred the Gnar” on www.kssu.com every Tuesday morning at 8 o’ clock!

Much Love,

DJGingerbeard

Dissecting The Plot In You


tpiy

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of “The Plot In You” because one of their new songs popped up in my feed on YouTube, and I opened up my brain to see what I can recall of TPIY. Basically, I liked one of their songs a whole lot, but never took the chance to really check them out. The Plot In You is a four piece metal-core band from Ohio, with One EP and two Albums out. Notorious for their harsh lyrics and calling out particular groups of people while keeping that metal vibe, TPIY quickly gained fame after releasing their debut song Wifebeater from the EP “Wifebeater” (which one could assume was about his father). The Plot In You is signed onto Invogue Records, and will be releasing a new album which currently has an unknown release date.

The song that popped up in my feed was called “Crows”, which is about Landon Tewer’s (the frontman) life and how he has changed, but so has everyone else. The “Crows” symbolizes death and how in the end, everyone faces it. This is emphasized with the line “The crows are waiting on me”. This song was an unreleased track from the b side a 7” they never released. My curiosity took me further, so I played the album stream from “Could You Watch Your Children Burn.” I had already heard tracks from their album “Firstborn” a long time ago, but this album really got to me. Most songs consisted of talking about how people who are hypocrites and live a mundane existence should separate themselves, or simply die, from society. Tewers talks about religious folk, lustful males, rapists, and his own family very unkindly. One of my favorite songs is “Troll” which I also saw live when TPIY was on the “About That Life Tour” with Attila. The song basically empowers the listeners individuality and gives the belief that you are a juggernaut and will not take any flack from anyone. Another song that was a favorite by TPIY on YouTube was the song “Premeditated”. In this song, Tewers talks about his plan to kill a rapist who violated someone very dear to him. With clean vocals, dark breakdowns, and the usual “I will destroy you” moments from TPIY, I could easily see why this was a favorite by fans.
All in all, TPIY is a very angry band. Their song “My Old Ways” that was released in a music video on February 23rd seemed to be quite lighter in comparison to “Troll”. To hear that kind of change and it still be a good song makes me very excited to hear their upcoming album. To make a long explanation short: The Plot In You is a band full of angry dudes, relatable stories, great songs, and a uniqueness that I have not heard from any other band. They are probably not sane people, but hey, who is really?

Thanks for reading you lovely people! If you want to hear music from The Plot In You and other bands that I just so happen to enjoy, tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” on www.kssu.com Tuesday mornings at 8 o’ clock!

Much Love,

DJGingerbeard

Soul Stealing Puppets, and other “Avenue Q” talk…


Avenue Q

I have a friend who is scared of puppets. So, of course, I invited her to Avenue Q. And, I think her fear may have rubbed off a little. There were some, normally inanimate, objects that sang. The way the mouth and eyes looked was scary, and resulted in title of this piece. Avenue Q is a musical for adults featuring puppets, which is a really strange mix. The show takes its look from Sesame Street. There are 3 types of characters: Humans, puppet humans, and puppet monsters. For this blog entry, I will refer to the actors that are not puppeteering as actors. I will refer to the actors that are puppeteering in this show, as just puppeteers. That’s just for simplicity’s sake, they are all talented actors.

Avenue Q is an exception to puppet shows being for kids. It is, delightfully, not for children. A lot of puppet shows I can recall don’t show the puppeteers, so I don’t know how much this is thought about: But, are the puppeteers doing their job if I’m focusing on them, or if I’m focused on the puppet? On one hand, the puppets are meant to be characters in the musical. The puppets are having the conversations. Kids are visually fixated on the colorful fuzzy characters. But, speaking for me, I look at the actors usually. It was a difficult transition for me to look at puppets, instead of the puppeteers. I remember consciously trying to focus on the puppets. The puppeteers in Avenue Q are all in black, so it seems I should be focused on the puppets. But, these are talented people, who are characters in plays and musicals. The focus would usually on them. Also, if they didn’t put energy into the performance, the puppets wouldn’t have it either. And, I can remember the body language that some of these puppeteers had, and it seemed like it was adding to the limited body language that the puppet could show. Taylor Grossman, for example was very kinetically emotive. The puppeteers used the same body language that their puppets had. I ended up watching the puppeteers a lot, because I liked their performance so much. So, they did a good job. But, did they do their job, as it pertains to me looking at the puppet?

Speaking of body language, some of the puppets were handled by two puppeteers. But, only one could be the voice of the character. The other puppeteer would provide just the body language of the character. This was odd but necessary. Having someone on stage doing only the body language of a character, while the character is talking, is a special kind of entertainment. I loved taking some time to watch the other puppeteer. I think this supports the idea that the puppeteers added lent their body language to the puppet. They had the facial expressions, the character movements, and all while puppeteering.

And, about that puppeteering, it looks brutal. Having one person puppeteer one puppet, that doesn’t seem too bad. But, add one more person, and I was amazed at their lack of falling. Have you ever watched ice skating, and were in awe that they don’t trip all over each other? That was me every time I saw two puppeteers and one puppet. Just puppeteering the puppet seems ridiculous. The puppets’ mouths open up, so at least one of them controls that. And, each of the puppeteers use one of their hands for the puppets hands. So, the person on the left is the puppet’s left hand. The person on the right, is the puppets right hand. I can’t think of how I could manipulate the puppets hand, and make it look like it was connected to the same body as the other hand. Also, the hand movements would be strange. Then, you have to move around like that. There are song and dance numbers, and the two puppeteers need to be connected at the hip. Some of the choreography had them moving around quickly, and moving back and forth around other puppeteers. The whole thing amazed, and perplexed, me.

I did just enjoy the show. Avenue Q is a great show, and this cast and crew did really well with it.

Tracy is a DJ with KSSU

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