I opened last week’s update wishing for an Apple Music playlist that recreates detective Harry Bosch’s jazz music collection for those of us who’re okay with digital in place of vinyl. Well I’ve found one: BOSCH JAZZ by Bobby T. It’s 111 songs (nearly 12 hours), lovingly put together by an obvious fan — you know an amateur playlist is going to be good when they’ve bothered to make their own cover art.
There’s so much new music out, I’m going to need a commute again to get through it all. I’M KIDDING! I think I’d rather be unemployed. But Ryan Adams seems back to his old ways, just musically, one would hope, releasing a third album called FM available on his site now and on streaming soon. If you count Romeo & Juliet as a double album, then he’s put out four already this year. Also, King Princess with Hold On Baby, which I’ve heard through once and wasn’t entirely satisfied by. The first half of DOMi and JD BECK’s NOT TiGHT on Anderson .Paak’s new label, though, sounds amazing and entirely tight. Plus there’s new Perfume, Maggie Rogers, and Billie Eilish…
I saw somewhere recently that the use of ellipses, as in the punctuation mark above, is a boomer (not really, but just everyone who isn’t young) thing. It’s made me very self conscious lately.
Wednesday was my day off which I spent playing games and drone flying with my dad in a very pleasant return to the sabbatical era.
It never occurred to me 1) to call them reading slumps, but it’s a perfect name for this state of being all read out after going through too many books too fast; which happens to me annually, or 2) that it also happens to other people. I read the first third of Seveneves (enjoyed it fine) and then suddenly left it alone for weeks. No progress this week either.
Instead, I picked up Life Is Strange: True Colors for the Nintendo Switch on sale, having enjoyed the first series many years ago. True Colors is still episodically arranged, but released as a single installment. I’m about halfway through, and would recommend it as a light gaming experience (no skill required) with good writing and some actual emotional weight. It features an inclusion and diversity situation that seems unrealistic for the small town it’s set in (you play a Chinese American girl and get to determine her sexual orientation, you’re surrounded by people of color, mental health issues are discussed), but I love that they’re simply showing and not telling. Bear in mind the game looks a decade old on the Switch, so just get it on your platform of choice. I prioritized portability and a lower price.
End of Sunday update: I’ve just about finished the main game now. It felt shorter than I expected, but was still about 10 hours? I would have enjoyed a more epic and twisty mystery, but the point seems to be soaking in the quiet small town moments, music, and interactions with new friends. And feeling depressed. There are a few sucker punches in here.
Have also started on a new mobile gacha game, ALICE Fiction by Wonderplanet. Years ago, this company released another title that borrowed the aesthetic and some of the narrative set up of Mamoru Hosoda’s Summer Wars, recently mentioned here as one of my favorite anime films. Sadly, while they had the idea then, the execution in Crash Fever did not pay off. This time, they seem to have brought a much bigger budget and many more influences. The result is a more generic but probably quite crowd-pleasing anime-ish puzzle game. While there’s the old tiresome squad battle thing going on, it’s underpinned by a color-matching game mechanic that I don’t mind at all. In fact, this linear gem conveyor belt thing is definitely familiar. I may have encountered it before in some game on the Xbox360. Anyway, it looks great and is worth a look if you’re into any of this.
It’s worth mentioning that ALICE Fiction’s conceit, seen in the second App Store screenshot, is that it’s set in the metaverse. Not new, we’ve had this for ages, e.g. Sword Art Online and its many game adaptations. But I’ve been seeing an increase in mediocre open-world games that bill themselves as a/the metaverse, for obvious marketing and investor-attracting reasons. I expect this trend to accelerate, with hundreds of companies willing some faux-metaverse into existence, creating extreme confusion as to what it really means, so that by the time we actually have one it will (thankfully) be referred to as something else entirely.
Looking for a new show on Amazon Prime Video, we found Chloe, a co-production with the BBC with a premise that sounds like you’d struggle to get with it, but by god does it work somehow. In part thanks to Erin Doherty’s shapeshifting performance of a pathological shapeshifter, and in part due to deft direction that creates effective suspense. It’s not something to watch directly before trying to sleep.
Midjourney upgraded their algorithms and the new V3 system creates even more impressive images than before. I’ve been playing with creating food photos lately, trying to make unlikely pairings such as Spam slices sprinkled with 24K gold flakes. Also a series on Conscientious Consumption, where you are bludgeoned over the head with symbols of the environmental and moral costs of what you’re eating.
Oh, I’ve also been using the VSCO app’s fairly new Dodge & Burn brush feature and loving it. Fairly mad that in this day and age of touchscreens, all the other popular photo editing apps don’t let you just reach out and light pixels. Instead, we have radial/linear masks in Darkroom, and other clunky controls. VSCO has been flirting with the bottom of the barrel lately (Hipstamatic firmly owning said bottom), but the addition of this one classic tool has helped its chances of survival significantly.