Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mount Kimbie, Green Beer & Arcade Games

Weekly Update 2017-12: Mount Kimbie pushes music boundaries with their carbonated electronic sounds while I drink carbonated green beer and try to get a little silver ball through a cartoon beer bubble hole.

Music: Mount Kimbie
I found this band while listening to a Spotify Album Radio for BADBADNOTGOOD's album IV, which is a masterpiece in and of itself but also provides excellent suggestions for other musical discoveries. Mount Kimbie is an electronic duo out of England with an interestingly eerie sound. They have some elements of pop mixed with dance beats, but also some weird ambient stuff and sound really pared down at times. I'd say their music is really experimental but somehow always works really well. They even have a song called Carbonated that samples either the sound of soda fizzing in a glass, or something that sounds exactly like that. But I really want to show you the song that got me into them:

It's been a long time since I've made “chlasserole,” probably the easiest and most delicious thing in my cooking repertoire, so this weekend I pretty much ate an entire casserole to myself. It definitely felt right.

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I also played my very first live show with TDot Batu on repique, and I have to say I killed it. I definitely made a lot of mistakes, but the parts that I actually knew how to play were solid. And I found five bucks on the ground at the venue, so technically I got paid! Why do I always seem to find money on the ground when I play shows with this band? It's really weird.

I've actually begun a critique session at work with the other two designers in my department. We take an hour every other Friday afternoon to discuss personal work unrelated to EventMobi. There are many benefits to this (including for EventMobi as well). We already work so well together that I thought it might be nice to see how each other work in other media beyond product design (or even just beyond the constraints of EventMobi). Other than the obvious benefits of taking a refreshed look at design, building our critique skills, and improving the pieces themselves, we learn more about each other as people and grow even closer as a design team. Which, in turn, allows us to produce better work. We are a well-oiled team.

Knowing that this critique session was looming actually gave me the motivation to work on the colours and branding of FriendCanoe. Here's a sampling of what I have right now:

Complete with new face empty states from last week! Still needs some work though...

And finally, I really went outside my comfort zone this week and attended the drumming practice of one of the other Brazilian drumming bands in Toronto (yes, there are at least five that I know of!) to see what that was like. They're all really nice and talented. This band is called Bloco Loco, and they play a Samba style of music which is different from TDot Batu's Bahia-based style of Samba Reggae. There are certainly some similarities, but this music includes my new favourite instrument: the tamborim.

It's kind of like a tiny American-style tamborine, but uses a stick similar to a kit brush to hit it to make sound instead of your palm. And there are no little cymbals. I feel like it almost acts as the repique of the Samba band because it has such a high-pitched sound that works really fast above the low beats of the surdos. But alas, I was not skilled enough to try the tamborim (this band is incredibly skillful) so I played segunda (a big surdo that acts as the base beat for the rest of the band to work over). It was awesome but another difference with this style is that all the drums are played over the shoulder, and my drum is HEAVY so I am feeling the pain today. Better stick to a nice, light repique for the time being.

Other than continually studying the new repique parts for TDot Batu this week, I'd like to get some work done for my Chai Mitzvah class. Specifically, I'd like to finish the Shabbat and Passover content of my research into something polished for the book I am making. Eventually, when all the content for all five holidays is done, I'll start thinking about the visuals and layout of the book. Gotta lay the groundwork first!

Random Thought: Green Beer
What is it about St. Patrick's Day that makes us want to drink green beer? I mean, I know the obvious answer: everything has to be green (and sometimes orange) themed for the holiday. Makes sense that far. But for all the beer that some people drink on the holiday, and the amount of food colouring it takes to turn beer the correct emerald shade of green, that's an insane amount of food colouring.

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I thought about this as I drank the beer you see above, with so much food colouring in it that it turned my friend's hand green (and he wasn't even drinking green beer – it gets everywhere). There's just something so satisfying about a holiday you can consume, I suppose. I feel much the same way about Passover (which is coming up soon!), a holiday that is closely tied between the story and the foods we eat. I suppose a good way to celebrate a holiday is to internalize it, and what better way to internalize that the literal act of consuming. In any case, let's just say I was reminded of this ONE glass of green beer for many bathroom visits over the weekend. Sorry.

Inspiration: Ice Cold Beer
After a somewhat dizzying first venture to Tilt, Toronto's newest in a slew of arcade-themed bars, I was tricked into a second visit to the place on St. Patrick's Day. I must admit that perhaps the trick is to not become too inebriated before entering the bar, but rather to adjust slowly to all the dazzling lights and sounds so that one can become accustomed to, and perhaps even empowered by all the distraction and finally win that game of Bobby Orr-themed pinball.

But I digress, amogst all the pinball gams and digital arcade games, one reigns supreme over them all. And it's deceptively simple. It's called Ice Cold Beer, and involves two joysticks each controlling one side of a horizontal metal bar. Balancing on the bar is a ball bearing, which two people have to work together to angle properly into the correct hole on the backdrop. As I said before, deceptively simple.

I absolutely love the simplicity of this game. Not only is it deliciously analog, it's so charming I could die. Anyone can understand how it works within the first time playing it, and it's extremely addicting. And, best of all, it's inexplicably art nouveau-themed!

Just after we made it to the 5-hole. When you lose all your lives, the little screen flashes “OOPS”. So charming!

I can't think of a better way to spend my St. Patrick's Day than drinking beer and playing beer-related arcade games with my friends!

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