Monday, 21 March 2011

The Rising Sun

This is serious business.
As you may or may not know already, Japan is in a bit of trouble at the moment. They had an earthquake and soon after a tsunami, which probably isn't a very nice thing to experience.
So, good old Buckethead, being the kind and generous soul he is, has decided to make a song dedicated to Japan and it's people, and release it on iTunes.
But that's not all! All the proceeds that are made from the sales will be donated straight to Japan relief efforts.
And other than that, it's a pretty good track too.
Download it for £0.79, from iTunes, here. CLICKY.
Just download it. What else can you do with £0.79? It's a win-win situation: You get a great Buckethead shard and some money goes to Japan. Suck on that, Comic Relief.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

3 Mobile - The Saga Comes To An End (Almost a Definitive Review)

Since November, and since getting my HTC Desire, I have been using 3 Mobile as my phone network. I used to be on Vodafone, but swapped to 3 as they had the best deal on contract phones, for example, the Desire.
People always said that 3 Mobile were terrible. I never knew just how terrible, as nobody had ever really said why they were so bad - Just that 'they were'. Well, as I found out personally, they suck because you can't get signal anywhere. At home, in a semi-built up area, (ie., not in the middle of the country) there was no service at all. Not even enough to make emergency calls. There was so little signal, in fact, that I couldn't send or receive texts, and my phone didn't know which time zone it was in. That's bad, especially in 2011. 3's website claimed my postcode had full indoor and outdoor signal for everything.
So I called 3 up. I was diverted to an Indian call centre, much the same as I was for Xbox Customer Support.
Initially, I was asked to remove/replace the SIM, turn the phone off/on etc., the usual business. After this had no effect, I had to wait for a call from their engineers. A few days later, I got the call. The claimed the mast was broken, and it was under repairs.
They asked me if I could get signal in other areas, as it could be the phone that was broken. I told them I could in about 50% of places, very rarely would I get signal indoors. They were still adamant that it was in fact my handset which was the issue, so I had to put my 3 SIM card into another phone. It still had no signal.

Anyway, to cut a long and boring story short, I am now about to cancel a 24 month contract while I'm only 3 months in. But I have to send the phone back to them because it was free. I am very surprised they allowed me to cancel at all. When I first got it I had to sign a sheet saying if anything went wrong they wouldn't help me at all, this included terrible reception.

However, one good thing I will say about 3, is that their customer services are very good. They called me back, like they said they would, and called me every time they said they changed something asking if it had made a difference to the signal. It never did, and they said the signal in my area should be fixed, so I don't know if they actually tweaked stuff or just said it.
But, the people I spoke to knew what they were talking about, all spoke English well and were very helpful. When phoning Xbox I soon got sick of saying my surname using the phonetic alphabet. So, well done there, 3. They probably were so good because I'm their only customer.

So I will be returning to ye olde D500. It will be a bittersweet reunion, as it doesn't do anything. It's just a phone. Even though the Android OS is noticeably becoming less responsive and is degrading by the week, at least it can do things.

So, until June, I will get a SIM only monthly thing and use 'Uncle Sam(sung)'. Then, in June, I will get an iPhone 5, hopefully. If not, an iPhone 4. It will be a good day.
Until then... It's going to be a dark 5 months of disconnectivity. I can't take pictures of Cat Milk, Deli Crépes, or silly things and put them in the Dropbox or Photobucket.
But, I will have signal, so if I happen to be indoors and need an ambulance, I can get one.

Goodbye, 3 Mobile. It's been a troubled three months.
Goodbye, Android. Father Time didn't take to you too kindly, did he?
Goodbye, Mobile Tubes. You will be missed, until next time.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Definitive Review of 2010

Well, there it goes. 2010 shuffles off to the graveyard of previous annums. It's been alright, I s'pose.
In future years, I'll look back at 2010 and think: That was the year that the Double Rainbow guy happened, a parrot sang Bodies by Drowning Pool, I started university and Buckethead had a bad back. That didn't stop him though, because he still battled on like a soldier to release 11 albums.
Politics took a turn for the worse, as Julian Assange and WikilLeaks were targeted strategically by the governments of the world. To no avail, however, because it made them look worse when they made up excuses for shutting things down.
BP lost an oil rig, but nothing was really done about it after the Daily Mail got bored of calling it an outrage and waste of our license fee. I bet the situation is no better than it was before.
A few billion pounds has gone missing between the cusions of the sofa in 10 Downing Street, the guy in charge now doesn't like people so he's putting prices up for almost everything in his power.
V for Vendetta is becoming the future. The majority of people are controlled by the media and only have a memory as long as the 30-minute news program they are watching. After it finishes, they probably know less than they did before it started.
Overall, not a good year for politics, I don't think.

Music in 2010 was, for the most part, horrendous. Justin Beiber is popular, the Kings of Leon have lost the funk, Rammellzee died, Ronnie James Dio died, Jedward didn't die.
On the plus, Buckethead carted out some smoo wedges. 11, in fact, ranging from collabrations to insane solo messes, and then back to the start with a nice melodic tribute album to Michael Jackson, Captain EO's Voyage. Serj Tankian's second album was OK. It wasn't as good as Elect the Dead, but it was still pretty good. Poets of the Fall cotinued to be amazing with their fourth album, Twilight Theater. It follows a similar path to the others in that there isn't a bad song on it, and it also contained War, part of the Soundtrack to Alan Wake.

Films have been good. Not new ones made in 2010, but old ones I've got from LoveFilm. Into the Wild was incredible, Moon was good, The Last King of Scotland was gritty, Blood Diamond was deep, and quite an obvious inspiration for Far Cry 2. The Hurt Locker was inspiring, but was a very American film.
On the other hand, Avatar and Batman Begins both sucked, and were a waste of a rental and a waste of £1.995.

Games have been possibly the best pocket of entertainment this year. Some good things have graced the Box in the last 12 months. Dead Rising 2, Assassin's Creed 2 and Brotherhood (ACII was actually 2009, but I only just got it). The previously mentioned Alan Wake was brilliant. One of the best storylines in a game since either Condemned 1 and 2 or Fahrenheit. Fallout New Vegas came out, and although I haven't played it yet, I know it will be good.

TV this year was average. The IT Crowd season 4 was disappointing, but still very good compared to regular listings. My purchase of all seasons of Peep Show made up for this year's shortcomings, as well as season 7 being just as good as the others. I had a massive binge on seasons 1-3 of Prison Break, and they were pant-wettingly exciting, despite it getting a bit silly in parts. The Pacific also looks very good, but I haven't seen that either.

So. All in all, 2010 was a bit average. The highlights balanced out with the... lowlights (?).
Semi-teed, semi-smoo. Could have been worse, I s'pose.

Monday, 20 December 2010

The Definitive Review of the HTC Desire

I caved.
iPhones are expensive, too expensive for me to be dealing with. *See HERE for an update on this situation.
For half the monthly price, I could get a free phone, unlimited texts, 500 minutes and unlimited internet.*
This seemed a good deal, and the free phone was a HTC Desire. I didn't want to like it when I was playing with it in the Carphone Warehouse, but to my surprise, I did like it. It has a nice screen, the touch screen is better than I expected, not too big or heavy, pretty good camera... Android. That's the bit where it falls. Android. However good the anti-Apple nerds shout, Android will never be an iOS. Yes, it's good. It does the job for me, but it just isn't an iPhone.
In this review, I will compare almost every aspect of this phone to the iPhone 4.

*Not really 'unlimited'... 1GB is what they gave me. It sucks to be a real user of mobile internet, not someone who only wants to show off with a fake iPhone.

So, the review:

The Business.
The phone seems to be well built. Rubbery texture on the back, plastic on the front. Glass screen. No surprises. The screen is pretty good, apart from appearing to love trying to scratch itself. The iPhone has Gorilla Glass, scratchproof. It's had this on every iPhone and iPod Touch released, and even a 1st generation iPhone's screen will look almost brand new now, under general use. The Desire's screen, although mine never got scratched, seems very scratch prone. Don't keep it in the same pocket as keys or coins. I bought a screen protector as soon as I got out the shop, before even using the phone. Even with this plastic covering, the touch-response works well. Typing and clicking small buttons and links online can be troublesome, more later about that.

The Eyes.
The resolution is 400x800. Pretty good for a phone it's size, but looks like a 1980s digital watch compared to the iPhone 4's Retina display, with it's 960x640 resolution.
The Camera is pretty good, I think. Most reviews say it's sub-par, but it's 5MP, with autofocus, flash, tap-to-focus and it seems to work well enough to pick up text for Evernote.

The Shell.
The Build Quality on the phone is pretty solid. I think it should survive a few missed-pockets. Like all my new things, it suffered the 'Slippery Gadget Syndrome', in which all my brand new and expensive thing wants to do is land on the floor, by any means possible, from as high as it can. So, from personal experience, I know it can survive a drop off the desk, a tea spill, a missed-pocket into the snow. It does have a rubber case, but that's mainly to protect from scratches and hopefully to make it less slippery.

The Fingerspace.
The touching business is a lot better than I was thinking. Accurate 90% of the time, however it doesn't agree with cold fingers, gloves, or accidental touches.
Typing is good most of the time, but sometimes the software just seems to have a little fit and go mental, replacing words like 'know' with 'Oklahoma'. It's favourite auto-correct error is changing 'the' to 'Tue'. Massively irritating. Moving the cursor to midway through a word it has changed can't be done. So, if I have typed a word like 'toffee' and actually wanted 'coffee', I'd have to delete the whole thing and write it again. It also cannot understand abbreviations or acronyms, for example, CD. I have to type C, then select it as only being C, then type D. If I don't do this, it will auto-correct to something else, apparently the first word it thinks of beginning with C. Other times, it finds words completely at random, such as Oklahoma from trying to type 'know'.

The Guts.
This phone is not very technically powerful. It has a tiny amount of RAM compared t the iPhone 4, a processor incapable of multitasking, video hardware which can't play videos properly and about 300MB of internal storage, which is embarrassing compared with the iPhone 4's minimum of 16GB. Luckily, there is a 4GB memory card in the phone, upgradeable to 32GB. Even then, the iPhone could double that with the 64GB model.
The battery life on it is horrible. From fully charged at 9AM on a morning, send a text, float on the tubes for about 10-20 minutes, check the time on it a few times and the battery is below 50% by 5PM. Multiple times have I forgot to charge it at night and it be completely dead by the morning. I am used to my Samsung D500 lasting around 6 days without a charge under use described above. The reason? The battery is Lithium-ion, whereas Apple products and old Samsung phones use Lithium-polymer. Polymer is more expensive, but lasts around 5x longer than lithium-ion.
The moral of the story is to never go anywhere without a charger. If you go somewhere regularly, buy a second charger to keep there in case you forget the first one. Even turned off it seems to suck up power for something.

The (Paranoid) Android (of Notre Dame).
The Android operating system is not iOS4. Far from it. It tries, but falls short in so many places. There appears to be no easy way of doing things, such as changing the wallpaper, selecting your ringtone, deleting text messages, finding contacts, making new contacts, typing a text to someone who you have not already texted recently... All involve multiple menus and buttons just to get working. I don't like reading instruction manuals. I can usually work out phones and computers pretty well, but a lot of this seems to be designed by masochists or The Riddler.
There are a few easily noticeable glitches in the OS. I'm running the newest version, 2.2 I think (No easy way to check, can't be bothered to Google how to do it). Firstly, I get a lot of mysterious error messages in the menu bar, which look like random phone-related words arranged in random order.
Also, it suddenly decides it no longer wishes to text people. Despite having signal, unlimited texts, and the other person having signal, it will sometimes say "Cannot deliver message after multiple attempts". That's it. No error log, no reason, nothing. What does that mean? The only way I've found to solve this is by deleting every single text you have from that person in the recent conversation thing and start again.
Often the lock gets stuck with the slider at the bottom of the screen, and to fix this you need to turn the screen off and on again with the sleep button on the top.

The Time-Wasters.
Downloading applications is an arduous affair. The Android Market is their version of the App Store. It seems to have about 3% of the Apps of the App Store, most of which either need paying for or suck, or both. I have often had apps crash the entire phone whilst downloading, and the only way out is to un-battery the phone and turn it back on. I have also tried to download a coin-flip widget, which has been claiming to be 'Installing' for the best part of two weeks now. The 'Cancel Download' button is blocked, so it's always there, stuck floating in Application Purgatory.
Lastly, the most annoying this is that HTC and Android have filled the phone with their own terrible apps. I thought: "Fair enough, I'm getting a non-Apple product, it will be filled with demo bloatware." The problem is, though, that bloatware can be uninstalled. HTC and Android apps can't. This means I'm stuck with two sets of almost every app, GMail/Mail, Calendar/Google Calendar, Twitter for Android/HTC Peep. I can't uninstall any of them, and they are just taking up loads of space with their turdness. There are also Facebook apps I can't get rid of, which really annoys me. Worst of all, none of these apps can be programmed. They are exactly how HTC/Google wanted them. They all open on their own, using up the phone's already limited RAM and sucking up my not-so unlimited internet. So yes, that annoys me, especially since I only use the GMail app, which sucks itself.
The GMail app is unbelievable, really. It's pretty counter-intuitive, to be honest. I can't find anything in the settings to allow it to automatically check my account for new mail, and alert me when there is. When I first got the phone, it worked well, and it alerted me whenever a new email came. Now, however, it never alerts me. I need to manually click 'Refresh' when in the application, even then, it will say there is no mail when I know there is, because I can see unread messages on my computer. When it does find emails, it will sometimes say 'Inbox (5)' but not load the 5 unread messages. I don't know how to fix it.
As for the Android OS's ability to use Flash, well, I will say that it needs work. Flash barely functions on the Internet browser. Often the phone will revert to the home screen and close the browser app when it encounters Flash objects. I have the option to not load Flash unless I touch the object, but it doesn't seem to like that at all. So, I do like the option of having Flash on my phone, but I want it to work.

The Verdict.
So there it is. The Definitive Review of the HTC Desire. I might add more to it as I think of more ways to creatively say it's not as good as an iPhone, but I probably won't.
Overall, it's a good enough phone. If you can live with Facebook apps and multiple of everything else, and have access to electricity 24/7, then it's great.
If you've used an iPhone, ever, you will instantly see endless limitations.
Finally, it could be a lot worse. Non-Apple phones still suck as a whole, only a few make it through the suck-pipe unscathed.

The Pros :
  • Pretty well built
  • Good enough screen
  • Flash capability
  • Physical buttons on the case
  • Better than the Samsung D500 in most aspects
The Cons:
  • The Android OS is buggy
  • Poor battery life
  • Very little internal memory, MicroSD limited to 32GB
  • Technically not very powerful
  • Can't sync with iCal, iTunes
  • Very few useful Apps on the Android Market, not many developers support the platform over iOS
  • Inability to delete unwanted HTC/Google Apps

Is it recommended?
Well, if you want a new phone, ask yourself this:
Can I afford an iPhone?
If the answer is Yes, then get the iPhone. Without question. If the answer is No, then I think the Desire an alright runner up.

Lovely Day for a Guinness.

My return has happened!
It was foretold in the ancient scriptures!
I am Alpha and Omega!
It is the best of times, it is the worst of times!

Friday, 3 December 2010

A Day Will Come...

Posts will be happening shortly. I'm doing a hiatus, like System of a Down, but will return in full force with more posts than your eyeballs can keep up with.
There is a lot to discuss, Lord Elrond, The Bucketed One has done some fresh slabs!
All will be revealed. Good things come to those who wait, like Guinness.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Banjo Binges

The other day I got my Limited Edition of Spinal Clock from TDRS. It's Limited because the first 500 pressings were signed and numbered by Buckethead, which I like.
I got #2, which I was a little bit disappointed at, but not too much. I was hoping for #1. On my copy he signed and numbered it, as well as drawing some arms and hands coming from the banjo's spine.
On the whole, it is a much, much better album than I was expecting. The tracks are actually structured rather than a recording of a guy strangling a banjo. The standout tracks are Lafayette's Landing, Spinal Cracker and Skeleton Dance, which all seem to be structured. The other tracks are OK, but nothing special.
But, as always with Buckethead LE albums, it has it's fair share of complete arse. Notably Gelatin Nerve and Whale On This.
Overall, a good way to spend $25, if you like Buckethead, and possibly banjos. But it's likely that the banjo nerds on their version of the TDPRI will see this as sacrilege.
It sounds a bit as it could be the theme to a Western film, and is less inbred sounding than I was expecting.
I will do a review shortly. I remember when I ordered this I thought it would be a play once and iPod straight away and then not listened to much again, but I think I'll certainly listen to it every once in a while.
There is a scan of the cover of mine.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Apple's New Stuff

It's that time of year again. A few months before Christmas, so Apple decide they have to release a whole range of new Poodies to allow them to continue to buy themselves diamond-encrusted iPhones and all that.
All the info I have here is taken from the Apple Website and the Engadget.
Anyway, to the matter of goosing:

iPod Touch G4:
Not much has changed, dramatically.
-Same amount of GiggleyBytes; 8, 32, 64.
-Front-facing camera so you can see your hideous friends if you want to talk to them. If you over-use this feature, you are probably better off getting an actual iPhone.
-Retina Display, just like the iPhone 4.
-720p Video Recording, I don't think it has a camera on the back as well, so you might not be able to see what you are recording if you have to use the front one. (Unless you are Bootsy Collins)
iPod Nano:
I Have no idea what is happening here. The iPod Nano has become some little, stumpy Elephant-Man version of the iPod Touch. This is no way a winning design. I think next year they will revert to at least something more like the old ones.
-Smaller, square.
-Multi-touch screen
-8 or 16GB capacities
-Clippy thing
-FM Radio (very surprised!)
So... That's it. I'm not a fan.

iPod Shuffle:
It's basically a remake of the old version. Apple seem to want to kill the iPod Shuffle by making the last design with no buttons on it at all, but they might have brought it back this time. Maybe they are hoping stupid people will buy both the Shuffle and the Nano because they think it's an optional Click-Wheel.
Not much to say about it, really. It's an iPod Shuffle.

iPod Classic:
No changes at all, as far as I can see. Just the regular old iPod. I'll get this one if I do any upgrading.

A few changes here, nothing enough to make me want one, or be able to see the point in them, but at least they've tried.
-It's smaller, blacker and looks all better compared to the last one.
-Streams HD content better, apparently
-Still no TV tuner, still basically the same as plugging your iPod into your TV.
-Looks like the name iTV was scrapped. Just as well, really. Not only were the real ITV annoyed, it also sounded ridiculous. TV/ATV is good.

iTunes 10:
A new iTunes has been announced to match all the new iPods, and I don't think I like it. They are trying to get me to join up to a silly social networking service called Ping. It's basically but probably not as good.
They have changed the logo, from the CD with a note in front to a blue circle with a note in it. I don't like it at all.
Also, they have moved the window-control buttons on the top-left corner to go vertically instead of horizontally. Not a fan of that either.
I think I'll be better off keeping with iTunes 9.
The lack of a CD in the logo makes me worry that in a few more iterations of iTunes the rip from/import from CD functionality will be dropped, allowing only for management of downloaded files or ones previously ripped.

The good thing about being a Pessimist is that you are always right or being pleasantly surprised.

Spinal Clock

I found out about this the day it happened, but I've been too lazy to make a post about it.

Buckethead has announced an LE. Another one. Called Spinal Clock.
It is a CD filled with 9 Banjo Binges, and it will be out 'on or around September 15th' said Travis.
It was $25 for the Limited Edition version, which will be signed and numbered by Buckethead.
Originally, there was only supposed to be a limited run of 300 copies, but they sold out so fast that Travis upped the limit to 500 copies. Slightly un-rarifying them, but these will still be one of the lowest numbered Limited Editions ever.
I think I have a good chance at getting my mittens of #1. It will be a good day then.

Monday, 23 August 2010

I Done a Binge

Since I have started to get some money in the bank, I have suddenly amassed a lot more stuff than I would have from (mainly) Amazon.
It started with a simple celebratory purchase of a White Coily Cable from Bullet Cables. I bought that as consolation for not winning a Snarling Dogs Whine-O Wah pedal off eBay. That really annoyed me when I lost that because my internet was too slow to place another bid in the final seconds.
Then I floated to Amazon, goosing my Wish List and picking out my most desired things from that. To date, I have Peep Show Series 6 on DVD, Come Down With Me by Errors, Lucas amd Kissing the Rain by Kevin Brooks, Unison and Cobra Strike CDs from TDRS, A massive Flaming Lips Poster, a preorder of Imperfect Harmonies by Serj Tankian, an Aphex Twin T-shirt, a Praxis/Transmutation press poster kit (in the post now) and Break the Cycle by Staind.
Quite a binge, I think.
And I will get paid again in three days, so, it will be another worthy reason to buy more stuff.
I'm thinking I need Maggot Brain by Funkadelic and Alchera by Heirs next. And I need to get Transmutation on CD...

Monday, 2 August 2010

The Definitive Review of Best Regards

So. Here it is. The only review you will need for Buckethead's latest effort: Best Regards.
I also think that this could be the longest post I've ever done on this Blog... Unless you count the Honduras Diaries or Internet Diaries as one post being segmented.
I will do a track-by-track dissection of the set, trying to describe the style of music on each differs from the others where applicable. I don't usually like this method of writing reviews, because I know it can be boring. So, for that reason, I will label the ones I think are imperative to the set so you don't have to read through the ones I'm not especially keen on.


There are some real, actual, structured, well-made tracks on here. Others are what you should expect from a Buckethead Limited Edition release such as In Search of The... or Cyborg Slunks. The ones that are clearly planned are ones that I would not be disappointed if they were to be on a regular album release. However, these are not the 'usual' kind of music from Buckethead, but more of the niche albums like Dragons of Eden or Population Override, sans the Travis, who is replaced by Melissa.

I will review this as I would in order of the discs coming out of the box.


I. The opening track on Blue disc is amazing. Track 1 is pretty 'epic'. By that, I mean it is epic in both the Soothsayer/Forgotten Trail way, and also that of the way Padmasana or Mrs Beasley way. This disc plays out like I expected: Amazing opening track, but in my mind I was thinking: "There is no way it can be this good throughout". I was partially right. Each disc has it's highs and lows, but there aren't any discs which don't have their share of both halves.
The Blue disc, as I said, opens amazingly. A trumpety, heroic sounding battlefield soundtrack which you could easily put a slow motion, lachrymose montage of images to. Track 1 finishes, leaving me thinking I had struck gold.
Track 2 happens.
I check... Is this the same disc? Yes. From the loud and monumental opener comes an odd collection of clicks and killswitch things, with the pitter-patter of drums behind it, and a variety of odd sound effects (likely from Melissa's keyboard). These include whirring, whistles, canned applause and dripping water. Eventually, it slows to a more 'conventional' sounding LE track. Buckethead doing oddness and the occasional drum tapping.
Eventually, Track 2 ends. It's been a long haul, but I think Track 3 makes up for the second's randomness.
II. It's a swirly, spacious chamber of sound, which has some slow and melancholic guitar in it. No drums here. It reminds me of an Aphex Twin/Selected Ambient Works Vol. II kind of feel, or even something more like Death Cube K's Maggot Dream, which I don't see as a bad thing. I think that once you get into the envelope of this one, it can feel as big as Track 1. I really like this one. Good thing I am, too. It's a long'un at 15:02.


The first track on the Orange disc follows a similar pattern to that of Blue Track 2. It opens with some sounds that don't seem to fit together that well, and a low hum in the background which I thought originally was my CD player. I realised it wasn't when it changed pitch to match what Buckethead was doing. This isn't the best track. Nowhere near. I'd rank it higher than Blue Track 2, but not by much. It's odd throughout, with very little in the way of 'music' as I would say. Regular kind of ISOT styled stuff here.
III. Track 2 opens with a quiet, soft piano type thing, followed by a nice smooth guitar, and slow drums to match. I think this could be a contender for one of the favourites on the set. Buckethead continues to do the guitar, while Melissa seems to be more active in this one than in previous tracks, as she provides the 'lead' as the guitar gives the slow, steady backing. If I had to say what other track it was like, I would say either like Padmasana, Track 8.1 from ISOT or Aunt Suzie from Cyborg Slunks. A long, slow and very nice track. This is what I wanted from the set. This is my favourite style of Buckethead - The Real Diamond/Shadows/Electric Tears type.
Track 3 opens sounding similar to Track 1, but quickly you realise that it is certainly one of the structured ones, eventually creating a repeating section and a relative tune. It's pretty samey throughout this one. Not a huge fan of it, really, but it's better than the 'noise' tracks.


Track 1, again, is similar to the other non-musical tracks. It's the second-longest on the set, at 30:53. For the most part it is a selection of noises and beeps put together in a kind of semi-tune. Every few minutes thought there will be something which hints at a real tune, where the three instruments work together rather than fumbling around trying to find sounds which will match together.
IV. The second Track on the green CD is another one of those that don't have much to live up to by going from previous tracks on this disc. This one, however, is a beautiful, Colma-styled, echoey mythology, which goes on for only 10:18. They keyboards on this one are styled to make a violin/orchestral sound, and it works together brilliantly, and similar to Blue Track 1, could easily be used for a meaningful montage towards the end of Saving Private Ryan. This is also a strong contender for the favourite.


Track 1 on Yellow opens with a very short, but odd sound. The first second is what sounds like a chicken noise being made on the guitar. I don't know why we don't hear this more often on Buckethead's albums. Despite the odd opening few seconds, it turns to a track which is not actually that bad, but a bit repetitive. I like the drumming on this one, and the keyboards are set to a kind of backwards Stylophone thing, which I'm not sure if I like. Buckethead's favourite effect returns, just like it did on ISOT. I'm not a fan of this effect to be honest. So, Yellow is not off to a great start.

Track 2 is not very good either, really. It sounds a lot like Green Track 1, in which it is a mush of sounds floating around hoping to work well together. Melissa making plane noises, Brain rustling on the drums and Buckethead fidgeting. The guitar effect on this one is similar to the sound of the acoustic guitar in Can You Help Me? off Bucketheadland 2.

V. Track 3 on Yellow is another one which is very clearly inspired by Dragons of Eden. Slow, smooth and almost upbeat sounding, but not too much so. This track is long and calm, with Melissa using the sad-violin sound on the keyboard, and Brain doing steady drumming. This track is most similar to Orange Track 2 because Buckethead provides the backing music while Melissa and Brain are more in front than they would normally be.

Yellow Track 4 is similar to Track 1 on this disc, in that Buckethead does fidgeting, Melissa provides the backing hums and Brain pretty much leads the song with lots of fast drumming. This track, I think gets better the further you get into it, and like Green Track 1, has moments of good matching. Most of it however, is a bit messy.


The first track on Purple opens with high pitched jingles on the guitar. Drums kick in and the whole thing evolves into a semi-organised mess. More organised than tracks like Green 1, but a lot more improvised-sounding than the better tracks on the set. As it progresses, the guitar becomes more electric sounding, but the drums remain pretty much the same throughout. Melissa occasionally chimes in with what is similar to the opening sounds of Blue Calx by Aphex Twin.

Track 2 on the Purple disc is the longest on the set, coming in at 31:53. Brain seems to lose the full drumkit on this track to replace them with a set of bongoes, making a rhythmic, almost African-sounding background. It is also quite similar to Slapatron by Pieces. Eventually, the amount of bongo decreases, and is replaced by electronic drums, likely by Melissa. Throughout this, Buckethead is messing on with a variety of hideous effects which I don't care for too much really. Occasionally he will chime in with something which sounds pretty good, but like the other improvised tracks it rarely lasts more than a minute or so. Towards the end of the track it tuns into something I wouldn't be surprised if Aphex Twin had released it. Fast electronic drums, guitars which sound like synths and repeating loops.
I'd say Purple is the weakest disc in the set, being the only one which doesn't have what I think is a 'good track'. I don't think the Purple disc would feel out of place if it were put into ISOT back in 2007.

So there it is. What I would call a well crafted and in-depth review and overview of Best Regards. It took less time than I was anticipating...
In conclusion, I really like this set. I was very pleasantly surprised when there was a good percentage of the tracks that I actually really like. Maybe the others will eventually grow on me in a similar way to what ISOT did. First impressions were much better than that of ISOT, so as far as I'm concerned, it's a victory.
Was it worth my $75? I think so.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Best Regards - A Review Foreword

I will be eventually writing a somewhat in-depth review of Best Regards. It might take some time, because I'm both forgetful and lazy. Also, the long-promised review of In Search Of The... took a good few months to finish (I had it saved as a Draft for ages) and was only actually completed and uploaded a few weeks ago, where it received [not so] much critical acclaim.
I will be holding off on one of my world famous 'Definitive Reviews' for a few reasons, other than the laziness and forgetfulness listed above: My Blue Disc doesn't play at all. I tried on my CD player, iMac and Xbox, and none of them played. I emailed Travis and he is sending me another one out. I got an email reply within 1 minute of sending it - That's what I call good customer service.
I will also hopefully get a review of Alan Wake up shortly... I finished that the other day. Pretty good, I think, but not without a few irritating drawbacks. And I also want to do a post about the book I've just finished reading: A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon. I thought it was actually better than The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Google Has Turned Poogle.

The new Google Images Search is awful.
I can't be bothered to wait around 30 seconds for the page to load about 10 miles worth of images just so I can click on 'Switch to Basic Version' only to have the page load again.
When clicking on an image, it takes you to the host site, only with a silly box in the middle, which the image never fits into because it's either been shrunk or overly enlarged.
If I decide that I want to actually look at the site, then I click on the X in the corner which makes the page load again.
Maybe if I had faster tubes I could use this. It isn't that I don't like it, but it's that I can't use it. Also, the image sizes are not visible until I mouse-over the image, which takes loading time, up to another 5 seconds.
It's tedium.
I'll use it for a bit longer to see if there is an option to permanently change back to the original Images search... But if not then I will start using another search engine.
Come on, Google. Nobody likes/uses/wants Bing. There is no need to try to better it by doing the same thing with image search.

I have managed to make a crude fix, with some help from
So: I use iGoogle as my Homepage. I like it. It has gadgets and all that which I use, as well as links to my GMail.
I added a gadget to the page which allowed me to store links I use regularly, so I used the same thing as in the above link, and searched for the word 'Google'.
In the URL, I then changed it to add '&sout=1'. This makes it display the old, better, cleaner, easier to use settings.
I have also added this link to my Bookmarks bar, so I never have to use the new Google Image search again.
I don't know whether to feel proud of myself or sad...

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Best Regards II

Today my set of Best Regards turned up in the post, in great condition, and without any stupid people ransoming it back to me at customs.
I got #3. Nobody knows how many are being made, but I think it's up to the #500-600 now, so probably either 999 or 1000.
I'm glad I got in there quickly!
Number 3.
Numero Tres.
Nr. Drei.
Número Trois.
The Big Dog.
The Lord of the Rings.
The Bourne Identity...
I got carried away.

Anyway, enough chit-chat!
You want pictures, and pictures thou shallt receive!
You'd better put seatbelts on your eyes, 'cos they are going for the ride of their lives:

It's a good day.
Speedy shipping as well.

Sunday, 18 July 2010


My favourite Month is November. It has the best of everything: Cold sunlight, beautiful Autumn colours, dark nights.
Sometimes I feel like I just wish that it would be Winter again. There is something about late Autumn and Winter that I love - Not Christmas or my birthday, but I just love the dark nights, rain hitting against my window, going outside in the freezing wind but being warm under a massive coat. Listening to Electric Tears with a big a mug of tea or Horlicks, looking outside at the wind and rain and feeling cosy.
That smell that's in the air which smells like it's about to snow, the wet leaves on the ground, in beautiful colours and shades of reds and orange. I like it how I think of this scene and can see, feel, smell and hear everything as though I was there now.
I like going away for the weekend in a cottage in the country, sitting out in the crisp air at dusk and admiring the beauty of everything around me. Being able to smell the log fire smoke from the chimney.
It's times like these when I wish I lived in somewhere like Canada, where I imagine it to be snowy for most of the year, but even when the sun is out, the air is still cold and crisp, and each morning the grass outside has frozen.
Despite having a horrendous Winter in this country last/this year, I still want it to come back, even though when we were in it we couldn't see the light of Spring.

You feeling that?