Friday, August 29, 2008

August 2008 travel/tour blog

August 2008 has been an incredibly busy month for Straylight & I, with a couple of festivals and a few Crystalline Effect gigs around Europe. 

First up we went to The Netherlands for Summer Darkness festival.  It's like a mini-WGT, but set in the beautiful town of Utrecht.  Here are a few (non-gothy) shots of the town:

Holland 001
Utrecht, Holland.  August 2008.  Photos by Straylight & Virul3nt.

On August 16th, we went to Tallinn, Estonia, to play a gig with my other band The Crystalline Effect.  We were supporting Hocico.  It was a brilliant gig...there were about 220 payers in a really cool theatre-venue.  Hocico are one of my favourite bands and it was great to meet them, and I was pleased to find that they are pleasant and non-pretentious guys too.  I think they're one of the best live bands around, at least in this scene. 
Here's some shots of the city of Tallinn:

Estonia 001
Tallinn, Estonia.  August 2008.  Photos by Straylight & Virul3nt.

The next day, 17th August, we went to Riga, Latvia, for another gig in support of Hocico.  This time the venue was a lot bigger, and there were at least 350 people through the door.   There was a steel barrier in front of the stage with people up against it for our set.  Awesome party... 
Some shots of Riga:

Latvia 001
Riga, Latvia.  August 2008.  Photos by Straylight & Virul3nt. 

After Riga, we continued on to Budapest, Hungary, for another Crystalline Effect gig, this time in support of Snog.  We were driven from the airport to the venue, all through barron industrial landscapes, and were too tired to take photos anyway, so no photoset from Budapest.  After soundcheck we did a photoshoot for a local website.  It was a pretty bad gig for us; I had a bad feeling from the start, and there were only about 60 payers.  After our set I went backstage and drank until the room span, and was horrendously hungover the next day at the airport on my way back to London. 

The following weekend we were at Infest, UK.  We met some fucking great people in August and saw some damn cool stuff.  The partying continues...:)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kong Was Right

First off, I would like to congratulate myself...

A little while ago wrote an article about how stupid the piercing scene is getting. It was inspired by microdermals and how the recent burst in popularity is symptomatic of some downward trends in the scene. Nobody cares much what I have to say, I'm not a piercer and pretty lightly modified. I'm pleased then to see this article come up on modblog:

A big thank you to Jordan Ginsberg for saying what needed to be said. I have to be honest, I only skim read it because I'm a busy man, but I got the gist of it and it seems that there is the voice of reason in there. He is also a lot more eloquent than my article, but I think we are observing the same phenomena and made a few of the same points.

I'm not going to repeat myself. What I want to vent over is the inevitable shit-fest the comments afterwards turned into. There are times when Modblog commenters would have to be the most rancid shit-fest creators on the internet. Most of the time they are very nice, and think are the majority are all good people. Unfortunately There are posts that come up that, even before the horse bolts, you know exactly where it is going. I have been playing a game recently. Looking at a controversial post, guessing what particular variety shit is about to go down, then testing my prediction as the comments unfold. I'm invariably 100% right. Even when the comments look like they might be veering into uncharted territory there is always some retard that has go jumping in head first with some cliched agitation, whereupon nobody has the maturity to ignore them, and off the horsey gallops into the sunset.

Before I start talking about my spidey senses, let me first get this off my chest. Since the Shannon stopped running the blog it has certainly changed, and some people have been kind of rude to the people currently running it. I say to those people who are complaining, fuck off and die. I can only imagine the hard, thankless work that goes into running the whole thing. I think everyone here needs to give them a big thank you and stop being such a bunch of spoiled bitches.

Now back on to my spidey sense. I will list the content, and typical response, so like me, you will never have to bother clicking through to the comments on those 'edgy' modblog posts ever again.

Content: BDSM slave type with offensive or degrading tattoos

Ah, this separates the men from the boys, or more so the men from the fruit cakes, so I thought I would start with it. Most recently this manoeuvre in the cannon was played out when a sub girl had "worthless cunt" tattooed about her pussy, but don't be fooled, the enlightened commentary afterwards was nothing new. Funny that most people forget that modern western modifications has a lot it's roots in BDSM culture, though of course we are specifically talking tattoos here, where I know a lot less of the history. Either way, the scene has been overrun but this lovely little vegan do-gooders who would put missionaries to shame with their preaching power. "oh, I think it is ever so terrible when somebody has such a low sense of self worth that they would have 'fuck my filthy pootang' tattooed across their abdomen...". I'm beginning to think these vegan do-gooder types have severe emotional issues of their own. Fortunately they channel the angst into the pretense of enjoying mung beans, but every now again in spills over into telling other people what to do. I think we all need to remember that BDSM has been around a lot longer than vegan do-gooders and will certainly still be around after the vegan do-gooders get eaten alive by the same Borneo tribes they have been stealing tattoo designs from. BDSM is a good thing. If someone wants to be a sub, then let them be a sub and mind your own fucking business. The really ironic thing is that if it is a male sub, the vegan do-gooders don't give a toss, it is only women subs that gets their thin blood boiling. I guess It gives away what other hypocritical leanings these vegan do-gooders might have, which brings us to...

Content: Absolutely stunning girl with only a few mods

There is a few directions this one may go. One is the feminist slant which gets on the objectification of women pony. This has gotten a bit old though, so many try to hide it with the "she is obviously only on modblog cos she's hot, she doesn't really have any interesting mods" thing. Again, I will point out it is not a competition, but I'm sick of always pointing that out. I would like to point out that people who object to the objectification of women are always women who cannot themselves be objectified. To simplify that; ugly girls. It reminds me of that thing about "men like to look at women, women like to look at women". I like foxy women. I like them even more if they have a few tattoos or piercings. Shannon had no shame in posting these things purely for the cause, enough said.

Content: Ugly girl

I'm suppose I am at the risk on contradicting myself, but what the hell. It gets my goat when people bitch about stunning, but lightly modified girls. It gets my entire herd of rutting boy-goats when a less than stunning girl gets posted and people make comments like "she's fat". I justify my love of stunning, but lightly modified girls because I think simple well done mods are vastly underrated in the mod world (and I am a man, hence have a wee soft spot for absolutely stunning women). When a less attractive girl gets posted I guess I end up looking more at the mods... bearing in mind my tastes in women are kind of quirky so we might be thinking of different kinds of girls. It's only natural though, I don't look at the pictures of men on modblog sexually either, but you can bet your ass I have looked at MANY more pictures of pierced cock than pierced pussy, just because that's where a lot of my mod interests lie. I guess it is just one thing that crosses my moral boundaries (which I really do have, despite pretenses of amorality). You should NEVER try to make someone feel bad because of their body. NEVER. If you don't find someone physically attractive, don't have sex with them, other than that treat them exactly the same you treat everyone else. When someone gets posted on modblog, they read the comments. If you think she looks like a horrible beast of a sow, that's ok, but keep that thought to yourself. Express it in a medium that will get back to the girl and make her feel like shit, then you deserve a nice dose of prostate cancer.

Content: A tattoo of an anatomically incorrect pink rhino tattooed by the subjects 5 yr old son

Usually with this one we get either a) It looks shit, despite well-meaningness, or b) isn't it teh cutest lil thing you ever seen, comments. First, it comes into the whole modern art debate. A 5 yr old isn't not a great artist. It is technically impossible for there to be a great artist until sometime in the twenties or thirties. Why? Because at least 50% of art is skill and technique, and it takes YEARS to master it any field, whether it be painting, sculpture or tattooing. It is the farce of modern art that has led to red faces when anonymous entries from 8 yr olds of abstract scribbles to prestigous art competitons win 'serious' art prizes. So, the tattoo looks shit, I think we all agree that it does, but beauty is in the eye, so I'm sure the wearer loves it all the same. There is also the 'kid might be embarrassed by it when they are older angle. I feel most sympathetic towards this one, I always have the feeling that the whole exercise is so the parents can bask in their own crapulence, rather than any benefit for the child. In conclusion, though, like most of the provocative tattoos on modblog, obviously it was the wearers choice, if you have something to say, don't...

Content: Procedural pic of a implant that's gone wrong being removed

This one will always degenerate quickly into two camps. The "that was stupid, they got what they deserve" camp, and the "people are free to do what they want with their bodies" camp, and perhaps a side deabte about the degree of responsibility heave mod practitioners should be held to (a mute issue as far as I can tell, nobody is forced to go to them). As always, with my incredible gift of the gab, I will show you the final and most correct camp. Some people think getting you're ears pierced is an affront to god and would roar with laughter should you get your hoopy ghetto girl earring snagged and an infection as a result. Accept the fact that your light mods put you in the same boat as heavy mods for most people in the world. Hypocrites aside, my camp is built upon the golden foundations of being a big kid and looking after yourself, a camp somewhat abandoned once we invented lawyers.

Ok, so you want a big bit of silicone under your skin, that's your right. Find a practitioner who can do it with the best possible known techniques, use a cheap hack and it's your fault as much as the practitioner when you are in the ER room. Lets say you got the best work possible, and it still goes ass up, that's implants for you, but you're not surprised because you did some research and knew it had a high probability.

So, you are off to the ER because you don't really want to do lose a limb or die, good move. Here is where I get itchy. If you were in Australia, the hospital would fix you up, they might be a little rude, but that's life and you are all better again, all for free. That's right, the tax payer paid for your little adventure, which means I paid for your little adventure, and there is something not quite right about that. Just the same as I don't want my tax dollars to save a drunk driver who just ran over five orphans and a kitten before crashing into a retirement home, I don't want to pay for your fucked up mod. You and the orphan-killing drunk are in the same boat now, how does it feel? You want the mod, you pay for it, if it fucks up, you pay for it. Don't blame the practitioner, pay him for his work, and don't blame the doctor, pay him for his work. I have the feeling that in the states there would be a nice fat medical bill at the end, which may or may not be covered in your health insurance (I'm pretty sure my Thai health insurance would cover it I suppose, and I pay for the insurance). Maybe this really isn't an issue at all in some countries. Either way you have wasted the doctors valuable time in a horrendously understaffed hospital (all hospitals seem to be understaffed). This all might be minor quibbles, but it is the only thing that plays on my mind.

So if you paid for the mod, and paid for it to be un-modded, then there are no other issues here, and if you are thinking of saying something, just don't. I would like to see a modblog where the discussion is based on a) what went wrong, and b) how can we make our techniques and procedures better to make implants more viable.

Content: Any thing about skullboy

A young guy with a skull tattooed over his face (I thought it was something to do with the misfits, I could be wrong... who the fuck are the misfits anyway?). Generally he gets quite positive comments, all is well. You will occasionally get things along the line of "oh my, what will he do for a job", which is fair enough, if he is sitting on welfare I will personally neuter the dumb fuck (apparently he sticks up posters for a living). All seemed rosy for skullboy until an interview was posted about him, and it turned out he is a complete ass. That was until those truly enlightened people on modblog decided they couldn't have such an ambassador for the scene thought of as a complete ass, so they decided to change angle. Now, if one dares to criticise his ass-ness, it is simply because you don't "get" the punk scene, you aren't picking up on his subtle and complex irony, you simply don't get "it". Read the interview, there is nothing subtle or ironic about it. Face it, the guy is a cock. The tattoos are well done and look great, but he is still an ass. It's a bit of pity, because it could make other similarly modified people an ass by association. I have nothing against him, just don't make the assumption that great tattoos make a great person. If someone talked to me the way he writes in his interview... I don't know what I would do, move to BKK to get away from him I suppose.

Content: Stretched nostril piercings (like Pauly Unstoppable kind of sizes)

Most people will all be ooh and ahs, which is quite nice, especially when it is someone like Pauly Unstoppable, who comes across as a great guy. However, there is always some callous asshole who wants to point out that it is ugly. Personally, I don't like them aesthetically either, but, just like with the ugly girl, the owner of said nostrils will read what you are writing, and you have no reason to try to hurt them. I always try to imagine what kind of prick writes those kind of things. I think I have developed a pretty good profile. Firstly, they are damn ugly themselves, or at least insecure about their own appearance, and hence only value and can only judge a mod on aesthetics. These are probably the same kind of people that can't value a stretched septum because it cannot really be seen, hence, what's the point? More accurately, these are people who feel somehow oppressed in their own lives. People who cannot express themselves in real life, so they have the urge to hassle people on the net. These are the worst kind of losers. Criticising someone on the net for the appearance or choice of mods is akin to taking your anger out by beating a stray kitten to death. A plague on all your houses.

Content: Pierced or Tattooed pets

This is a real gray area. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you the kind of excrement that will follow this. I don't know how I feel about and I'm only including it to be thorough. All in all I'm against it, and I feel ok telling the people doing it, because I'm not telling them what to do with their own lives, it has to do with a 3rd parties life. Modblog would choose to argue about the risk of the mod, the amount an animal perceives pain and so on. Most of those questions don't have any definitive answer so is not really worth debating. I guess my question is, does the animal appreciate the mod in the same way a person appreciates a mod? No, of course it doesn't. The procedure is a means to an end for us, so worth the trauma and risk. I don't think there are many dogs out there who are lusting after some earrings. Of course, somebody else will jump on this and say there is no dog lusting after a docked tail either... like I said, a gray area, probably best off not being featured on the blog at all.

Content: Woman masturbating with a crucifix

This was a real post, back when Shannon was running the show and we seemed to get a lot more sexually orientated material. If you follow the mind of the average poster, you go something like this. "Hmmmm, how can I go better than this picture. Making fun of Christians is so 90's, I think I will go one better and show how big minded I am by saying that, although I'm not Christian, I am so full of vegan do-gooder love and acceptance that I will defend the Christian faith.". So you end up with a whole heap of posts about how this person should remove the crucifix from her privates, wash it off and place it back on the mantle and hang their head in shame for not being punk enough to become a straight edge preacher. You get posts about how nobody should be try to offend Christians, after all, they are human, too. These kinds of comments fill me with so much bile, I don't know where to start. Ok, so we have three baddies here in a way.

1. Christians shouldn't do many things they do, most of all, telling people how to live their lives.
2. Vegan do-gooders shouldn't be doing that exact same thing.
3. Miss Crucifix shouldn't be sticking an uncomfortable icon up her cunt, when she could be using a 12 inch black rubber cock, also useful for self defence.

Compared to the first two baddies, Miss Crucifixe's choice of tittilation really doesn't compare. Realistically, doing naughty things is a turn on. Miss Crucifix wasn't out to burn the Christian faith, she was out to get her rocks off. After spending her childhood having her ears pissed in with a bunch of jesus-y crap, I can understand the correlation, and I hope she had a fine orgasm. It could also be that she spent her childhood having her ear pissed in by new age love and acceptance types, and she is getting her naughty fix from offending the very same kind of people that get their hemp underwear in knot on modblog. Either way, in the meantime, the Christians and the vegan do-gooders can enjoy some toe tapping through a hole in a sheet and please please please keep away from the keyboard.

I think that will do for now. Never again will you have to bother with clicking through to the comments ever again. You now know what they will say before they have even thought it. Sit back and just enjoy the blog, the way it should have been from the beginning.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Shiv-r, Parasite - now available

[1] Parasite [5:37]
[2] Fractured Light [4:56]
[3] Control [4:31]
[4] Parasite (Virul3nt mix) [4:47]
[5] Control (Kong mix) [4:18]

Format: CDR (black thermal print, not inkjet - same format as used by labels like Alfa Matrix and DSBP for somecurrent releases)
Packaging: Card wallet
Mastering: Kolja Trelle/Soman @ Koltron Studios, Germany
When your order is received, you will be sent an e-mail with a link to 320k mp3s, so you can listen to your purchase before it arrives in the post. Keep in mind this isn't automated - you'll have to wait until your order is seen by a human being!
Samples: Myspace, VampireFreaks and
Purchase: Here.

We are also in the process of sending this to distributers Infrarot (Germany) and Storming the Base (North America + the digital realm of iTunes, Amazon, etc), so you can always get it from them at a later date.

Monday, August 4, 2008

All tracks updated, mastered by SOMAN, cover-art unveiled

The debut Shiv-r maxi-single is completed and has been mastered by Kolja aka SOMAN!  Kolja is responsible for mastering most albums from many of our favourite artists such as Hocico, Dulce Liquido, Feindflug, Grendel, E-Craft and many others, and his treatment to Shiv-r has really added an extra degree of sonic brutality. 

All tracks in the Myspace and VF players have been updated with the new, mastered versions - so even though they're compressed, go take another listen!  Kolja lended a bit of mixing consultation to the tracks as well, and the songs themselves have also been updated from the original versions - check the bassline in Control which has been beefed up with an extra Moog layer, and some level tweaking was done to Fractured Light. 

We've finished work on the cover for the maxi-single.  Read an article about the making of this artwork here.

Here it is:

1. Parasite
2. Fractured Light
3. Control
4. Parasite (Virul3nt mix)
5. Control (Kong mix)

Kong and I have both done a remix, each of which highlights our strengths and establishes our roles in the band.  My mix (the Virul3nt mix) is a straight up club mix of Parasite.  Light on melody, it features a distorted, punchy kick (which I'm very proud of making!), an analogue bassline, pure club-structure, and interestingly my vocals replaced with female vocals, to give the track a different edge to the original. 
Kong's remix is a dark, emotive piece with glitchy drones, spooky strings and classical structure.  It won't be for the clubs, but I defy anyone to listen to it just once - it's one for repeated play on headphones. 
We won't be uploading the remixes to the myspace/VF players, 'cause we're evil like that.  This should give those who purchase a copy of the single something to look forward to.  For any DJs who want to know: Parasite, and the Virul3nt mix, are both 140BPM (perfect for that 2am industrial club sound), while Fractured Light is 124BPM (hint: same BPM as "Get Your Body Beat", so a bit slower and sexier).  Control has (as Haujobb would say) NNFS or "no need for speed". 

Parasite goes to the CD pressing plant TODAY.  I can't wait to get the box back later this week!  I'll also submit it tonight to our awesome friends Storming the Base for aggregation to the digital stores, so it will turn up on iTunes, etc, in a few weeks.