Something for the Weakened

Archive for October, 2011

Something For Your Consideration 14

October 24th, 2011 by Alastair

In which I move away from the format of the previous installments of this irregular feature and invite you to do some comparing and contrasting. First of all, I wish to bring to your attention the track Widowmaker by hippety hoppity hardcore chaps The Criminal Minds. This is what it sounds like.

Widowmaker by The Criminal Minds

Good, eh? Well I rather like it, so nyerr. This particular track opens the compilation TCM that was put out by the fine folk at Rephlex last year. It continues on in a similar fashion and I would highly recommend it if you like this sort of thing. My first exposure to them came in a Norwich based secondhand record shop. I was completely unfamiliar with their output and even their name, but having been a fan of a fair amount that Rephlex have put out in the past, decided it was worth a punt. Plus being the massive cheapskate that I am, the fact that it was only three or four quid made it all the more appealing. But the reason for the low price wasn’t just the fact that it was pre owned. It was a promo copy.

Now I’ve bought promo copies a fair few times in the past. I can generally live with the fact that you don’t get all of the packaging or occasionally end up with something that isn’t a final mix (though I’ve yet to hear one that sounded any different to an actual release yet). I’ve read all the disclaimers stating that they’re still the property of the record company, but as (in my experience) they’ve always been on sale at some point after the material has had its proper release, I don’t see anything wrong in reviewers flogging/giving away something they seemingly no longer have any use for. To be against that would be akin to going against the very idea of secondhand record shops, which would be the mark of a madman (even though I have none left in my general vicinity, sniff). The fact that a lot of them seem to be just CDRs these days, rather than properly pressed CDs is a bit of a blow to me and my slowly dying stereo, but I can see why the labels have started doing that in these cash strapped days. My issue and of no consequence to anyone else. Anyway, as I said, all of my promo acquisitions have contained recordings indistinguishable (by me) from the actual releases. All, until I listened to The Criminal Minds.

What I present to you hear is a snippet of the version of Widowmaker that features on the disc in my posession. The whole thing is commercially available, so in a vague attempt to stay within legal parameters, I’m not going to put an mp3 of the whole track out there for public consumption. Go and buy it. Granted, I didn’t in any way that actually benefitted them fiscally, but as regular readers should know by now I am nothing if not a morally compromised, hypocritical skinflint. Does that make it okay? Probably not. Hey it’s some free publicity (not that anyone reads this shite anyway). Actually, having done some more digging, I’m not 100% certain that it is officially available any more. Rephlex don’t even acknowledge the album’s existence on their own site and there don’t seem to be any obvious results coming up for paid downloads. There were apparently various issues with sample clearances when some of the tracks were originally released (early to mid 90s! I thought it was all brand new! Maybe I only enjoyed it all because it sounded old…), so maybe they reared their ugly heads again. Dunno. I’ve not been able to find any further information after some pretty weak Googling. But no matter, we’re veering further and further away from the point. You’ve listened to the first clip, yeah? Well go back and do that now. I’ll still be down here when you’ve finished. Done?  Now wrap your ears round the first 2 minutes again.

The Criminal Minds – Widowmaker Extract

Having tracked down the Soundcloud version, I was quite surprised to find that there was an intro. The promo version starts exactly where my extract does, which to be perfectly honest I much prefer. I suppose it’s partially down to familiarity (I have listened to the album a fair bit during the month and a bit I’ve had it), but I really think it has that much more impact coming in straight with the beat, rather than a sample and some fannying about. But that’s not what we’re here to discuss. Have you got 1 minute 46 seconds in yet? You’ll know when you have. Hear that? There’s one of those on every track! Almost all with a different message. Catalogue number, release date, website details, all sorts really.

Obviously I have the ability to cut them all out – I can make an extract with a fadeout, it’s not tricky to hack out five seconds of audio from the middle of a track. But I’ve no intention of doing so. Why? Because I really like them! I presume they’re put there to deter people from piracy, to at least make it faintly possible to track the pirates down, without distracting the reviewer/potential pirate too much from the music. I am obviously neither of these things (honest, m’lud), but I don’t find that they detract from my listening experience. Again, it’s familiarity with what I’ve listened to. Hearing the Soundcloud version, I was slightly disappointed when the “Crunch!” came in without any preceding message. I don’t find them distracting anymore, they’re just parts of the tracks as far as I’m concerned and I’m really rather fond of them. I have to wonder if all Rephlex promos contain similar incidents. I’d rather like to hear some more.

An Unfortunate Realisation

October 20th, 2011 by Alastair

For as long as I can remember I’ve been able to do slightly odd things with various parts of my anatomy. Popping the ball of my shoulder out, a weird sort of belly dancing thing, oddly dextrous shoulder blades have long been in my armoury of party tricks if ever I feel the desire for attention or to accidentally repel women folk. Sadly though, it would seem that I am to be deprived of one of the major weapons in this armoury.

I’ve always been able to bend my leg around in such a way that I was able to place my foot under my rib cage and hold it there. I did try to find a picture online of someone else able to perform this feat, but to no avail. Perhaps I’m the only one. That’s the best description I can come up with anyway, you’ll just have to use your imagination. Because I am no longer capable of pulling it off.

That’s not entirely true. I did do it on Monday. It wasn’t the best performance of the double jointed feat I’d ever done, but I imagine that it will be it’s swan song, because I’m assuming it’s the reason why my ribs have been giving me such gyp over the past couple of days. I stated that it was going to hurt inthe morning at the time, but oddly it didn’t (or perhaps I was paying the hangover more attention). The following morning I began to wonder if my liver was going to explode. It took me most of that day to realise what was actually going on. The issue seems to be increased belly size, meaning that I just don’t have enough under rib area spare these days to store a whole foot. Either I start going to a gym or I retire the trick and I think we all know which of these two is the most likely.

Or my liver will explode over night and the whole thing will be moot.