Checkpoint: Bach & Dates Edition

Checkpoint: Bach & Dates Edition

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If someone told me last month that I would be attending Johann Sebastian Bach recitals with a female friend and by lonesome, I would have my doubts. If I someone told me last month that I lined up 3 dates in 5 days with hopes a 4th date sooner or later, I would have called them a liar. 

I attended the first two of Angela Hewitt’s Bach Odyssey recitals. Thursday was with a friend and while it was a bit of a slow start, it ended strong which left me wanting more. The majority of Bach Odyssey I consisted of Bach’s “inventions” which were interesting at times but ultimately very erratic for someone who’s looking for something livelier and more substantial. Inventions were made for students to practice and it was evident why they’re not normally played in public. The two-part inventions were a bit boring at times. The three-part inventions were livelier. 

The recital ended on a high note and left me wanting to attend the second recital. Unfortunately the friend whom I attended the first one with had to go home for her friend’s wedding. I didn’t want to go solo but fortunately, I had a first date lined up on Friday who may have been open to the idea. To my surprise, my date was well versed in classical music and a big fan of the arts in general. Unfortunately she had a prior engagement and couldn’t attend. But she did insist that I attend by my lonesome regardless and I’m glad I took her advice. 

Bach Odyssey II consisted of the composer’s “French Suites” which were a whole lot more entertaining and intriguing than the inventions of the first. My appreciation for the piano and pianists grew ten fold after watching Angela Hewitt crush each and every suite. I never fully appreciated how a single person can play such complex music with just two hands. It was an entertaining performance throughout. 

Friday’s date was overall a success despite my doubts of a romantic relationship developing. I found her fascinating and we had some very thought provoking conversations about our lives and perspectives. I have every intention to see her again; I hope she feels the same — if only as friends. My doubts for something more stems from the fact that we’re just so different in our thinking and our lifestyles. Seemingly the only things we have in common are the fact that we’re both asians and a bit introverted. I have additional dates on Monday and Tuesday. I honestly don’t have high hopes and neither are with the one I’m keen on meeting but instead of dwelling on that fact, I just gotta keep moving. 

I’m still playing Yakuza 0. If I’m going to finish this game, I ought to stop doing the lengthy but enjoyable side content. 

LTTP: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

LTTP: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

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It’s been nearly a decade since I poured any significant time or effort into a rhythm game. I wasn’t into Guitar Hero or Rock Band and since they stopped making Dance Dance Revolution games, rhythm games dried up for me. I witnessed fervour for Hatsune Miku and other anime related rhythm titles but none of those interested me. I believe the last rhythm game I played with serious zest was Rhythm Heaven for the Nintendo DS.

I recall the original Theatrhythm Final Fantasy title being very intriguing in Giant Bomb’s Quick Look. So when I saw the sequel, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, hit the $15 price point, I couldn’t resist checking it out for myself.

It’s a given but being a fan of Final Fantasy franchise increased my enjoyment of Curtain Call tremendously. Playing through the classic songs of all the old Final Fantasy titles was like running through those games without the fuss of actually playing them. The accompanying backgrounds triggered memories of running through the fields of Final Fantasy VII or duking it out against L’Cie in Final Fantasy XIII.

I’m sure wrapping a rhythm game with a battle system isn’t an original idea but I found Theatrhythm’s implementation it was very clever. Levelling up characters, equipping the appropriate skills and items gave this game a level of strategy that I didn’t expect. Higher level characters and skills helped mitigate the damage dealt when I missed a music note or helped dish out additional damage to defeat enemies for loot.

It took me an hour or so before I clicked with the rhythm mechanics. It’s not a complicated system but there were tricky notes that tripped me up for quite some time. Slowly ramping up through the “Quests”, which were nothing more than a series of songs placed on a world map, helped me tremendously. I’m still not playing through songs at the highest difficulty levels but that doesn’t diminish my enjoyment.

Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy: Curtain Call was a pleasant surprise. It was a fun and easy way to inject Final Fantasy nostalgia but at the same time, it was also a great way to expose the soundtrack of Final Fantasy properties that I never played before. I’m not done with it and I don’t think I will ever be. It’s one of those timeless classics that I can see myself revisit time and time again.

I love it


Checkpoint: My Eclectic Music Taste Edition

Checkpoint: My Eclectic Music Taste Edition

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This week I realized that the music I listened to varied wildly depending where I was.

  • At work, it was whatever was playing on Rdio’s “Chill Instrumental”.
  • On the bus, it was instrumentals, synth and other video game related tracks found on my iPod Nano.
  • At home, it was whatever was playing on Spotify’s 80’s hits playlist.

On Music With Lyrics

There was a very brief period in my life where I was in tune with pop music but I let it pass me by rather quickly. I was never able to keep up and stay engaged with 90’s music with lyrics unless it was incredibly catchy. I often found 80’s music were easier to listen to and because of that I gravitated towards a lot of the old hits regardless how cheesy or bad they were. The lines were often accompanied with a beat that I enjoyed.

Lately, I’ve been digging into some of the more iconic 80’s hits like Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A album. The catchier of the tracks were dissected with attentive listens and I would look up interpretations to see if they matched my own. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to view “I’m on fire” as an older man lusting after an underage girl. Discovering “Born in the U.S.A” wasn’t a very patriotic song was also a mini-revelation.

Why Instrumentals?

Because it’s easy to just hook into the beat and let it take me on little journey or set me in an atmosphere. Since some of it is from video games, it’s also shorthand for “Remember when this happened in the game?”. I rarely get tired of repeated listens of an instrumental unless it contained grating bass beats.

Other genres?

I’ve revisited classic hip hop hits for exploratory purposes. I dabbled with whatever worldly music makes its way onto FIFA titles as well. On whims, I’ve tackled specific artists’ works in more depth but those were more concerted efforts and not what I would deem “part” of the regular rotation.

I’ve never taken music seriously as others and usually listen to whatever sounds good to me.

With The Witcher 3 in limbo, I thought it was a good idea to try out the Street Fighter V Beta in between bouts of Rocket League and Contradiction. How’s it going? I’ve yet to throw a punch in Street Fighter V but I’m enjoying Rocket League and Contradiction immensely.

Perturbator’s Dangerous Days released today

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And I just bought it. How does one even get into 80’s synth and dark synth? It started with  me delving through Hotline: Miami’s soundtrack and discovering who was behind my favorite tracks. Moon was one but Perturbator was the star of the show that I gravitated towards to.

I listened to one track then an entire album and before long, I listened and bought all of the Parisian’s discography. I just couldn’t get enough of it.

I couldn’t be the only fan of these 80’s sounds and found fellow fans in this NeoGAF thread. I tried listening to other artists but none of them stuck like Perturbator’s work. Needless to say, I was looking forward to his next release with much anticipation.

I haven’t listened to the album in its entirety but with tracks like “She is Young. She is Beautiful. She’s Next.”, how could I not buy Dangerous Days?

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