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Review of Gavin Goode by David B Seaburn published by Black Rose Writing — July 29, 2019

Review of Gavin Goode by David B Seaburn published by Black Rose Writing

A copy was provided by Netgalley and Black Rose Writing, in exchange for an honest review.  I’ve written the review as spoiler free as possible.

I really enjoyed this story, its opening sentence is quite intriguing… 

“I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but I think I died today.” 

What follows is the story of how we get to this point and dealing with the consequences. 

There are nine main characters, I really like the way you get to know them through the story.  It has excellent character development and chapters are named after the characters, giving a layered and evolving story, often giving different people’s view of the same situation giving an insightful perspective into both their behaviours and attitudes. 

There’s a few twists and surprises and elements of mild suspense, these run through the book and build with the developing story and characters. The story explores the infallibility of people – character flaws, choices, mistakes and dealing with the consequences. People aren’t perfect, they have secrets and get things wrong and ultimately it is about the strength of family bonds and sticking together, love and dealing with whatever life throws at you. 

The writing very cleverly resolves the elements of tension and brings a sense of closure. Despite the circumstances the writing maintains a positive feel. It’s very engaging and thought provoking, the sense of perspective puts a spin on right and wrong depending on whose viewpoint you are considering. It also makes you think about the choices we make and how some have more serious consequences than others, even if we are not aware beforehand. 

Review of ‘Amazing Things are Happening Here’ stories by Jacob M. Appel published by Black Lawrence Press — July 14, 2019

Review of ‘Amazing Things are Happening Here’ stories by Jacob M. Appel published by Black Lawrence Press

This is a book that I selected to read on Netgalley, receiving a complimentary copy for an honest review.

What I like about these stories are that although set in different times, they highlight issues of humanity, making decisions and enduring the consequences and these themes remain throughout time.

The writing style is very engaging and absorbing. Sometimes it’s more about what isn’t written, they’re thought provoking and tend to raise more questions when you’ve finished reading, challenging perceptions and beliefs. 

Canvassing

This is a great story about a judge recalling the troubling story of a girl who was murdered during his youth. A massive twist with the last sentence, a wow moment. But then a while afterwards you’ll start thinking of lots of questions, all the ifs and buts and the influence of privilege and money.

Grappling

A story of blind love born out of tradegy, it’s a tale about being devoted to one person, despite them being really bad for you. It’s set in 20s Florida but still rings true today in the fact that people put up with atrocious behaviour in the name of love, whilst other suitors are ignored. 

Embers

This is a story about a male high school student, Zach, who falls for a girl, Vanessa. He doesn’t speak to her at school but gradually gets to know her and they become friends. Initially this seems another story about unrequited love and blind love but this is different, this time there is empathy and compassion so although they do not have a sexual relationship, their bond is strong and arguably is a much better outcome in the situation – although of course it never feels like that. It is a type of love, albeit a different type from the one Zach wanted. Again there are lots of after thoughts about themes such as destiny, accepting a future and not really questioning why you can’t follow your dreams. 

Helen of Sparta

I must admit, this one left me a bit confused initially. On the face of it, it’s a story about a teenage boy and his sister who pick up their drunk mum’s friend from the airport.  They take a detour to her old school before returning home when there is a sudden revelation. This is one that you need to think about and it came to me a little while after I finished.

The Bigamist’s Accomplice

A story about Arlene and her husband Benny, who is in a nursing home. He falls in love with another resident, Connie, and the story is about how Connie’s husband Jim arranges for Benny and Connie to pretend to be married. It’s a story about love, letting go and acceptance. That said, Arlene and Jim have totally opposite views on the subject, neither is right or wrong. How would you feel in this circumstances? 

Amazing Things are Happening Here

A story about the cover up of the disappearance of a patient from a psychiatric ward, it’s a tale about humanity, choices that we make and dealing with the consequences. At one point I even thought the nurse could be a patient fantasising, such is the thin veil between reality and fantasy. 

Dyads

A story about a woman, Penny, who takes a professor, Victor, and his daughter, Patagonia, out to see seals but ends up on a rescue mission for a humpback whale, it’s calf and male escort. Another story about the choices made and ultimately living with the consequences rather than changing circumstances. 

Live Shells

A story about May, who’s first husband, Donald, turns up unexpectedly whilst she’s found a new line interest in Tanner, her autistic daughter’s special Ed tutor. There’s a rather uncomfortable dinner with both men present and an even more terse boat ride to scatter the Ashes of May’s deceased mother ending up in a fist fight began the two men. It’s another story about choices, sticking by them and deciding, albeit 20 years later whether they are the right ones. 

Review of Saint Young Men (Volume 1) by Hikaru Nakamura published by Kodansha Comics — July 13, 2019

Review of Saint Young Men (Volume 1) by Hikaru Nakamura published by Kodansha Comics

I found this on Netgalley and was instantly drawn by the description – Jesus and Buddha returning to Earth to share a flat in Tokyo for a gap year. 

What I didn’t realise initially is that this is a manga and that’s not something that I’ve read previously. I also didn’t realise that this one has been waiting some time for an official English release. It was published in April 2019 and the good news is there’s a new volume every month. It’s available from outlets such as Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Indie Bookstore.

The first thing I had to do was look up how to read it. The website mangaxmate.com had some very useful instructions:

So you basically read from right to left in case you’re wondering. 

But that’s exactly why it’s good to step outside your comfort zone and read something totally different because I really enjoyed Saint Young Men. The artwork is excellent, it’s black and white with lots of detail and excellent facial expressions at times, conveying moods and feelings perfectly. There’s often subtle background details like slogans on t-shirts. 

The writing is excellent too. The characters of Buddha and Jesus have an endearing friendship and they find themselves in lots of unusual situations such as meeting a gangster in a sauna, doing a stand-up comedy routine, taking a commuter train and attending a theme park. 

There’s lots of clever humour in Saint Young Men, as you’d expect it pokes fun at both of the characters and their respective religions but in a quite a subtle way – for example they are called hippie and man perm.  

It’s more a case of taking a different perspective, which you may do after reading this too. Jesus is portrayed as a consumerist who’s keen on spending money and likes blogging whilst Buddha is much more frugal and enjoys manga. Although they often disagree – for example whether to watch the parade or go to the theme park shop to buy a souvenir they always work it out amicably between themselves. 

There’s also some handy translation notes at the back, these explain some of the cultural and religious references and help put some of the situations and associated humour into context. 

There’s also a specially-penned afterword by British Museum curator Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, who helped acquire pages from Saint Young Men for the British Museum genga collection.

Review of ‘To You Baby, With Love’ album by Tupperwave on power_lunch corporation — July 7, 2019

Review of ‘To You Baby, With Love’ album by Tupperwave on power_lunch corporation

This is a nostalgia trip, reliving the 80s through snapshots of that time.  Its uptempo, a heady mix of disco, funk and slow grooves.  It conjours up memories of friendships, films, TV programmes and shopping centres.

If you’re too young to remember you can create your version, it’s the soundtrack to a youth you never had. 

Back to yesterday

It certain is, an 80s disco funk kinda vibe. It’s uptempo and got the feelgood factor. 

Excuses (w Meltnet)

An 80s vibe with a slow groove from looping melody, bass, pad and drums, it has a pulsing / side chain kind of feel. In fact it reminds me of when a needle gets stuck and jumps. 

Fast Ethernet (with 4kapas and || nothing ||)

Classics 80s drums, keys and sax, it’s another slow groove with vocals. 

One Night Classic

This is a classic indeed, an 80s slow jazz groove.

Palm Springs

Another slow jazz groove with a nostalgic fuzzy feeling.

Empty Bliss

Keys, sax, heavy reverb on the drums, it’s a slow lamenting groove. 

Style (with kurdtbaba)

An uptempo feel to this track, processing on vocals is just enough to make them hard to hear and give them rhythmic qualities. Has a kind of fade into obscurity. 

Back To Yesterday

An uptempo 80s disco vibe, great feel good factor. 

Right on Time (with bakmahn)

Different vibe to this one, it’s uptempo kind of old school hip hop at times. Processing on the vocals gives a glitchy / rhythmic feel. 

Something Special

A slow groove, keys and sax. The vocals have a boyband feel. I really like the looping effect. 

Leisure (with TVNN_PINEZ_M4LL)

An arp to open, spoken words that sound like they’re from a film I can’t quite put my finger on. A solid slice of 80s pop with a fuzzy, warm and familiar feeling. It’s Better off Dead. I think.

Review of ‘My Friend Called Tusk’ charity single by All Atomic on Pink Dolphin Music Ltd (release date 8th July 2019) — July 2, 2019

Review of ‘My Friend Called Tusk’ charity single by All Atomic on Pink Dolphin Music Ltd (release date 8th July 2019)

All Atomic is a UK based music producer who is releasing a very special charity single called My Friend Called Tusk on 8th July 2019.

All profit from the sale and streaming of My Friend Called Tusk will be donated to the charity Save The Elephants. Their mission is to ‘…secure a future for elephants and to sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places they live; to promote man’s delight in their intelligence and diversity of their world, and to develop a tolerant relationship between the two species’

My Friend Called Tusk evokes the movement and wisdom of these wonderful animals and hopes to raise money to protect both them and their habitat. 

The single is a downtempo, chillout, synth based track with an 80s retro vibe. Bass and drums / percussion create the chilled groove that is layered against an acid type lead and synth leads, one of which conjures up the image of elephants. Subtle changes in feel create a great movement to the track.

My Friend Called Tusk is available in digital and vinyl formats, including a very limited number of copies of a small 5″ vinyl picture disc single.

Featuring 2 exclusive remixes of the main track, this double sided CD-size record will thrill record collectors.

My Friend called Tusk is available from pinkdolphinmusic.bandcamp.com

Radikal Technologies announces availability of DELTA CEP – a paraphonic semi-modular synth —

Radikal Technologies announces availability of DELTA CEP – a paraphonic semi-modular synth

Fresh from turning heads and opening ears on both sides of the Atlantic, having showcased Eurorack module and desktop versions of its DELTA CEP A paraphonic semi-modular synthesizer — serving up nine essential synthesis ‘modules’ melded together to form a potent yet straightforward starting point to the ever-widening world of the Eurorack small-format modular system — starting with an award-winning appearance at The 2019 NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA (January 24-27), followed by another head-turning, ear-opening Stateside showcase at Synthplex 2019 in Burbank, CA (March 28-31), then moving closer to home for an appearance at SUPERBOOTH19 in Berlin (May 9-11), before making its well-travelled way to support SynthFest France 19 in Nantes (7-9 June), cutting-edge sound synthesis specialist Radikal Technologies is proud to announce all-round availability of its latest creation through a growing global network of authorised dealers.

Radikal Technologies’ DELTA CEP A can function as a standalone synthesizer or — when removed from the chassis — a 68HP-occupying Eurorack module forming the centre of a powerful modular voice. Whichever way it is brought into play — purchasable as a desktop paraphonic semi-modular synthesizer or Eurorack paraphonic semi-modular synthesizer module, the deftly-designed DELTA CEP A is the perfect starting point for any modular user. Undeniably it lives up to the PARAPHONIC-MODULAR wording boldly blazoned across its featured-packed fascia.

For the benefit of the uninitiated, a paraphonic synthesizer is one where all of the notes generated go through a single filter and VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) combination. “Paraphonic synthesizers can be played polyphonically, because their oscillators allow for independent pitching according to chords.” So states the DELTA CEP A owner’s manual, before positing: “Polyphonic oscillator control allows for multiple voices to be played simultaneously, which is ideal for pad sounds. The DELTA CEP A sounds particularly good in paraphonic mode, because it consists of two oscillators per voice, which provide a nice beating effect when two oscillators are detuned against each other.”

On the face of it, a semi-modular synthesizer has hardwired connections for its most essential sound generating and altering attributes — as opposed to a modular synth system, where the user has to establish all the connections between the separate modules with patch cables to generate tones and sound effects. “So much freedom can quickly become confusing,” claims that owner’s manual. “That’s why semi-modular systems such as the DELTA CEP A have pre-wiring, which greatly simplifies entry into the world of modular systems and, ultimately, electronic sound generation.” As such, users can play the DELTA CEP A right out of the box, but, of course, can boldly go a step further and add their own patching.

Perusing the DELTA CEP A’s featured-packed fascia from left to right immediately introduces its uniqueness when pitched headlong into a competitive world where Eurorack edges towards ubiquity. Underpinning that uniqueness is the INTERPOLATOR. In a nutshell, this intriguing section has an ability to store so-called ‘snapshots’ of sound creations into the DELTA CEP A’s internal memory; moreover, users can consequently play those snapshots sequentially, creating cool sonic sequences. Saying that, they can cleverly create smooth transitions from one snapshot to another, allowing for some stunning sound morphing effects! Independent from the INTERPOLATOR itself, the snapshot memories can also be used as preset memories, and are filled with wonderful sounds from Radikal Technologies’ team of skilled sound designers.

DELTA CEP A also packs a well-equipped MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) to CV (control voltage) interface in its aptly-monikered MIDI2CV section — significant when wanting to use the instrument in PARAPHONIC mode, meaning users can play chords, transforming the DELTA CEP A into the perfect pad and ensemble section. The MIDI2CV section helpfully has additional outputs for connecting to external Eurorack modules, and a dedicated digital bus for controlling Radikal Technologies’ radical-sounding RT-311 SWARM OSCILLATOR — an advanced DSP-driven oscillator Eurorack module that, as implied by name, goes far beyond the realms of standard oscillator fare, firstly thanks to two oscillators that can both build swarms of (up to eight) oscillator ‘clones’ capable of being pitched in musical intervals, chords, clusters, or fat detunes, dutifully backed by having all parameter settings saveable as interpolatable snapshots, enabling even more radical results — directly with notes and chords to layer additional voices in monophonic and chords mode.

Moving more speedily along, the LFO 1 section features five waveforms, MIDI and clock synchronisation, and an invertible DEPTH control for modulation purposes. Providing up to eight oscillator clones of its own, DELTA CEP A’s single swarm oscillator is accessed via the SWARM OSC section; PARAPHONIC play mode (allowing four voices to be simultaneously played), PITCH quantisation, and easy tuning (DETUNING) access are amongst its edited highlights. However, more familiar territory follows thereafter; the MIXER section mixes the outputs from the swarm oscillator and the noise source or an external signal for the filter. Familiarity continues with the powerful VCF (Voltage Controlled Filter) section, centred around an analogue 12 dB multimode filter alongside a stereo digital emulation of that 12 dB multimode filter, plus a digital 24 dB lowpass filter. Furthermore, an ADSR section supplies an envelope generator with snappy-sounding curves, together with ATTACK and DECAY voltage control inputs. Its VCA neighbour can be controlled by either the ADSR envelope or GATE signal, while also providing external inputs for the following FX processor section — itself really representing the icing on the DELTA CEP A’s advanced audio engine with mind-blowing modulated stereo delay effects, as well as chorus, flanging, and phasing par excellence!

Encompassing no fewer than 23 knobs, 14 buttons, 28 RGB LEDs, 14 outputs, and 17 inputs straightforwardly spread across its feature-packed facia, DELTA CEP A duly delivers on its potent potential for serious synthesis — still further boosted by adding additional modules. Carefully chosen connectivity provides users with welcomed freedom to integrate it into their existing Eurorack small-format modular system. Or opt to use it as an independent standalone synthesizer with Radikal Technologies’ desktop-destined alternative, courtesy of the tailor-made chassis — complete with integrated stereo OUTPUT; stereo FX-INPUT; MIDI IN, OUT, and THRU; and DC 12-19V, 2A DC-IN connections, plus onboard ON/OFF switch.

Those transatlantic trade show attendees who witnessed whichever version of the DELTA CEP A in action or even spent some time trying one out for themselves will surely be happy to hear that they can consider adding one (or more) to their own studio or stage setups now that they are available all over the world from Radikal Technologies’ growing global network of dealers.

DELTA CEP A is now available for purchase — priced at an RRP of €899.00 EUR/$999.00 USD (Eurorack) and €1,198.00 EUR/$1,298.00 USD (desktop) — through Radikal Technologies’ growing global network of authorised dealers.

For more in-depth info, please visit the dedicated DELTA CEP A webpage

Watch Radikal Technologies Product Designer Jörg Schaaf’s sonically-stimulating DELTA CEP A video playlist:

About Radikal Technologies (www.radikaltechnologies.com)

Radikal Technologies was founded in 1995 as a pro audio equipment distribution company by present-day President Jurgen Korduletsch.Within a few years the company moved into developing its own product designs, starting with the SAC-2K (SAC-2.2) Software Assigned Controller, an award-winning DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) control surface, supporting popular environments like Digital Performer, Logic, Pyramix, and Nuendo. Next up, a move into electronic musical instruments introduced the trailblazing SPECTRALIS ANALOG SYNTHESIZER/BEATMATRIX/FILTERBANK desktop hybrid in 2004, while more recent DSP (Digital Signal Processing) developments — combined with a relentless pursuit of perfectionism in the realm of cutting-edge sound synthesis algorithms — resulted in the aptly-named ACCELERATOR polyphonic synthesizer keyboard marvel. More recently, Radikal Technologies has been making its musical mark upon the ever-expanding Eurorack modular marketplace with worthy modules drawing upon its illustrious past while looking to the future.

© 2019 Radikal Technologies GmbH