by Christopher Lewis

Currently in Paris, France

I'm not much of a photographer, but I like to play one on Instagram.

Human Face Video Mapping by Oskar & Gaspar. Making of.

To be sure this technique will soon find its way into many electronic music acts. Skrillex, I’m looking at you.

Caine’s Arcade

via Mark Frauenfelder at BoingBoing:

Nirvan says: “I just finished this short film about a 9-year-old boy’s elaborate DIY cardboard arcade. Caine made his arcade using boxes from his dad’s used auto parts store. He hadn’t had many customers, so we set up a fun flashmob to make his day, and filmed his response.

My favorite part:

…I asked Caine how it worked and he told me that for $1 I could get four turns, or for $2 I could get a Fun Pass with 500 turns. I got the Fun Pass.

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Getting lost in Jonathan Blow’s “The Witness”


by Kyle Orland at Ars Technica:

But Blow says creating a story that was so personal was tougher than he expected, leading to a few initial attempts that “came out kind of patronizing, as you can imagine,” he said. The key to making the writing process work, Blow said, was just opening up in a way that was “very personal and honest and straightforward.” He compared the process to going on a first date, where you can come off as artificial if you try too hard to present what you think your partner wants.

An inside look at a new open world puzzle game from Jonathan Blow, creator of the critically acclaimed sidescroller Braid. I’ve been curious for some time what Blow has been getting up to since Braid, and I’m happy to see that’s it’s both a bit of a departure and an evolution from his previous work.


(via The world’s first location aware musical album app drops today - Apps)

This App/Album (Applum…?) currently only works at DC’s National Mall, but the idea is creative. As the listener of the album moves around, the music changes, music that is intentionally crafted to sound a certain way for a given location.

An idea occurs to me: an audio scavenger hunt based on the same mechanic. As you approach certain areas of interest, audio clues are triggered to lure you on. Or perhaps I’ve just described what this already is; sadly, I don’t live anywhere near DC.

Cultural Inputs - Week of 1/10/11

A somewhat weekly post where I tell you about stuff that I think is worth your precious Earth-time.

Listening To…

All Day by Girl Talk

All Day

Mashup extraordinaire. You really don’t have an excuse not to check it out since the whole album is available for free. This album is thick with nostalgic and iconic pop music all blended together in a juicy transitional dub.

E=MC² (Energy = Music x Coffee, Squared)

2 years worth of bookmarked Pandora tracks. Most of it danceable. Much of it synth-heavy. There are a few surprises in there (Minnie the Moocher!), but they’re all great:

  • Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked by Cage the Elephant
  • Ultra Violet by Way Out West
  • Traverse de Rn85 (Vs Facteur) by Dubmood
  • The Big Room by Dero
  • Gray or Blue by Jaymay
  • Minnie the Moocher (Theme Song) by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra
  • Shove It (feat. Spank Rock) by Santigold
  • Heartbeats by The Knife
  • Harrowdown Hill (The Bug Remix) by Thom Yorke
  • Violate by Bones Domingo
  • Let’s Do It by Hystereo
  • Happy Up Here by Röyksopp
  • Ora by Ludovico Einaudi
  • Earth Versus the World by The Polish Ambassador
  • Moar Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff by Deadmau5
  • The Gulag Orkestar by Beirut
  • Sharpen the Knives by Adam Freeland
  • The Immortal Squirrel by Alexander’s Dark Band

Mixed Race by Tricky

Mixed Race

Tricky is an artist that I like to check in with every few years hoping that I will discover some evolved version of the greatness that was his first album, Maxinquaye. Sadly, this hasn’t really happened yet. Though Blowback was a great album, it signaled a very distinct transition away from the silky smooth vocals and beautifully crafted lyrics of previous works.

Mixed Race is almost a return to form, but gets muddied down by the unwelcome infiltration of over-produced and out-of-place electronic arrangements and repetitive, clunky samples. Still, there’s some good stuff to be had in there. It’s kind of like having a close friend cook your favorite meal that’s never eaten it before: all the right ingredients are in there, and the intentions are good, but it still tastes like shit. And yet, you manage to enjoy it by picking out all the bits you don’t really care for.


Exit Through the Gift Shop

Exit Through the Gift Shop

A film that at first blush appears to be about Banksy and street art, but takes an unpredicatble turn and instead focuses on the life of Thierry Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash, a crazy French guy who films fucking everything. The film offers up amazing footage and context for modern street art and the artists who, undetered by the risks involved, impart their often striking yet transient works across various urban landscapes around the world.

Still, there’s more to this movie than just a plain documentary about street art. The story really revolves around Thierry Guetta and his infinitely odd nature. By the end you might feel like you’ve been had, but by whom, and why, is less certain. It’s on Netflix Instant Watch, so it’s easy to find and even easier to recommend.


Amnesia: The Dark Descent developed by Frictional Games

Official Trailer:

This game is scary. Like really scary. The opening moments really send home just how seriously the guys as Frictional take immersion. It opens by encouraging you to get your gamma set nice and dark, wear a pair of “good” headphones and turn out the damn lights. I’ll admit, I can’t always adhere to their last suggestion. This is because, unlike most games that consider themself of the survival-horror genre, Amnesia is actually terrifying. Part of the reason for this is the omission of any way to defend yourself, beyond just running as fast as you can in the other direction. That’s right: no guns. And it’s fucking awesome because of it.

Case in point: Deep in the dungeons of the castle, I discovered something was chasing me. I looked at it only briefly enough to slightly erode my sanity. I made the snap decision to extinguish my lantern and hide inside a nearby room. Pulling the door shut, I crouched and hid, while simultanously holding the door shut (which requires constant attention). This fucking creature, this horrible ghastly thing, moaned and beat on the door for a while. For a moment I even though it might just get tired and move on. Fuck no. Instead, it just tore the door off its hinges and disemboweled me right there in a pool of my own piss and tears.

Allow me break down a few of the game mechanics for you. You have a health meter, but you also have a sanity meter. All sorts of things can impact your sanity level, from sounds, ceilings caving in, or being chased by some god-awful abomination. None of these occurrences happen with enough regularity to really let you get used to them. When you start to lose your sanity, you halucinate both sights and sounds. And christ, are the sounds terrible. When being chased, you can choose to hide in the dark where you can’t be easily seen, but Daniel (our unfortunate protagonist) doesn’t deal well with holding up in dark places in the bowels of a freaky castle. No, he’s so scared of the dark it slowly drives him crazy. This leaves you choosing which is more important: your life or your sanity.

Much of the game requires the player to solve some pretty straight-forward physics based puzzles, all the while conserving oil for your lantern and sprinting from light source to light source. As you progress you begin to unravel the source of the evil in the castle in which you’ve woken up. Great dialogue. Great atmosphere. Solid, if only adequate graphics. A must-buy for anyone who values immersiveness and a quality narrative.

Pick it up on Steam for $20.

Still not convinced? Check out this hilarious gameplay video: Holy shit, Amnesia WHAT THE FUUUCK:

Even Yahtzee liked it, and he doesn’t like anything: Zero Punctuation Review

Cultural Inputs

A somewhat weekly post where I tell you about stuff that I think is worth your precious Earth-time.

Week of 12/27/10


Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein - An autobiography of sorts. The author writes about becoming Japan’s first major American-born reporter. It gets even more interesting when he becomes wrapped up in the seedy world of Japan’s largest criminal organization: the Yakuza. Crazy shit happens in this book, and Mr. Adelstein’s style is as dark and gritty as his subject matter. If you fancy a good noir style read, and have even a passing interest in Japanese culture, then you’ll probably dig this.

White Like Me by Tim Wise - Still working on this, but so far I’m really enjoying it. I’ve spent the past 10 years of my life surrounded overwhelmingly by the white homogeny that Vermont has to offer. This was recommended to me by a close anti-racist friend of mine. So far, it’s really opening my eyes in ways that are, to be perfectly frank, downright embarassing. There are a lot things about being white that distort my (and my white peers’) perception of what it’s like to be black in this country today.

Listening To…

Jigsaw & Public Warning by Lady Sovereign - A combination of snarky hip-hop and grime. “Public Warning” came out 4 years ago, when Lady Sov was just 21, and has a whimsical adolescent flavor. “Jigsaw” is her most recent album and sports a little more polish, and features some very danceable tracks. I first learned of Lady Sov from a friend who was embarassed to admit to me what he’d been listening to. I gave it a listen, expecting nothing in particular, and found it surprisingly catchy.

"A Million Miles From Home" by Cinnamon Chasers - From start to finish, the album is silky smooth. Great coding music. Discovered this electro-synth-house sound thanks to their fun music video, shared by the folks at Laughing Squid:


World of Goo - I was a little late to the party on this one, but I finally picked it up for the iPad. At $10, it was a bit more than I usually spend on apps, but it was worth every cent. It’s gorgeous, addictive and surprisingly deep. WoG is essentially a physics-based puzzler, where you build structures made of goo balls (of which there are many kinds) to reach a goal. In short, it’s effin’ solid, and full of character. Here’s the official trailer: