Figures In Motion – Confusion Will Pass

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

Figures In Motion - Confusion Will Pass
Searching for a new album to write about, I tuned into Jamendo's Indie radio station.  I'm not sure how exactly they put this thing together - from what I can tell, it plays songs tagged as "indie" back-to-back like a radio station; you can't skip ahead or go back to hear previous songs.  So if you hear something you like, you'd better click on it.

One of the songs that came up was Curled Up by French indie band Figures In Motion.  It's off of their debut album Confusion Will Pass, which was released in 2014.

Confusion Will Pass is the first full-length album of Figures in Motion. It was entirely written, recorded and produced at home. Mastered by Jeff Ferrand (WooDBox Studio).
 This album was a treat to listen to.  It truly lives up to the "indie" tag, though touches down into pop and alternative on a few tracks.  Overall, I heard some heavy Coldplay influences - the lead vocalist Mickaël Menu sounds a lot like Chris Martin - mixed with Radiohead.  Not surprisingly, Radiohead is listed first among their main influences (others include Sigur Rós and Aphex Twin).  The sound of the band is predominantly electronic, but there are some acoustic touches as well, with a lot of piano.

I couldn't really key in on the lyrics - it was hard for me to figure out what they were singing about.  Granted, I was working while listening, but Menu's singing style made it hard to pick out distinct words and I found it hard to decipher any meaning behind the music.  That said, the instrumentation is fantastic and was what drew me to the album in the first place.  I just wish I could have picked out more of the words.

Figures In Motion - Cycle EP
From what I can see, there aren't any new albums from Figures In Motion available on Jamendo.  I checked out their website and was disappointed to find that they have a "farewell" message posted; I'm not sure when they disbanded, but it looks like it might have been a while now, and "Confusion Will Pass" is their only full-length album.  If you want to check out some of their other work, you'll have to make do with their 2011 EP, Cycle.  That one opens with a track that just screams "Radiohead".

Avoid creative block

It’s funny – just this afternoon I was feeling an urge to be creative – I just didn’t know what I wanted to create.  I still don’t, actually.  But I thought opening up my WP dashboard (for the first time in weeks, admittedly) would be a good place to start.

I figured, “Why don’t I type my way through?”  And then on my Dashboard I saw that I had this draft sitting around, with a link to a Reddit post from /r/Blogging called “How to Avoid Creative Block and Have A Good Supply of Writing Ideas”.   It’s been a while since I read it, so I had another go.

So, go on and read the article below.  I hope that it helps or inspires you!  I can’t say exactly that it’s helped me, but I’m going to take some ideas from it.

(Oh – and the image I uploaded for this post?  I was going to create a graphic using Canva and a creativity-related quote, and one of the templates I found I just happened to like.  So I didn’t even create this one!)

How to Avoid Creative Block and Have a Good Supply of Writing Ideas from Blogging

Friday Roundup

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

Hope Americans are having a great Thanksgiving week, and everyone else is having an all-around great Friday.  Keeping things simple this week; I've got a list of tracks for you to check out.  In no particular order, here they are!

  • Serena Foster - "Show Me The Way" - This was another submission by email; Serena Foster apparently had a bit of a re-invention in 2016, leading her to this EDM-influenced pop sound.  She's had music featured in American Horror Story, Ink Master, and The Flash.  This track has a nice catchy beat - this was released as a new single this past Tuesday.  Have a look at her other stuff at http://www.serenafoster.com!
  • Ralph Castelli - "Good Morning" - If you're playing "One of these things is not like the other", you're a winner if you picked "Good Morning".  Very light indie track - the title matches the feel of the song quite well.
  • Wordsmith - "The Statement" - Wordsmith is right.  Great hip hop track with mind-bendingly fast lyrics.  I still haven't caught everything in the song after several listens.  Very talented artist.
  • The Madpix Project - "Moments" - Title track of one of their recent releases, this one is more good pop.  It's actually somewhat similar to Serena Foster's track, just slightly more beat-oriented.  They have many more albums on Jamendo if you're interested.
  • Duo Teslar - "Universal Funk" - Pretty much as advertised.  This is some solid funk music and is fun to listen to. 
  • We Were Cheerleaders - "Alchemy" - I find it hard to go wrong with a little bit of hard rock.  This is heavily blues-influenced, mixed with a little bit of metal.  Mostly blues.  I love that these guys are from France but sound so rooted in the southern rock scene.
  • Scream Inc - "Higher And Higher" and "I'll Be The One" - No - that second track is NOT a Backstreet Boys cover.  From the name I would have expected a "Scream-o" band but that's not quite what they are.  About as hard rock as We Were Cheerleaders, but they have some sort of weird sound combination of Rush and Avenged Sevenfold.  I probably wouldn't listen to these guys a lot but interesting enough for the weekend.

Have a great weekend!

SIDDHI KID – Savage

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

My taste in music must be in a state of flux; lately I've been really tuned into electronic / dance songs with a good beat.  Enter SIDDHI KID (http://www.siddhikid.com), an electronic group fronted by Brayden Pierce.

From the press kit:
Unleashing a wild blend of electronica/dance and ghost-pop, SIDDHI KID peers into the duality between man’s emotions and primal urges that define our very nature. Perceivably human, but not so far from animalistic. Conjuring a wild and free infectious dance groove, Siddhi Kid delves into the deepest recesses of our mind with “Savage” where we have the urge to go wild and savage, but forced to remain within the constraints of society.

SIDDHI KID, fronted by Brayden Pierce, derives from the ancient Sanskrit word “siddhi,” meaning “supernatural powers attained from spiritual enlightenment through meditation” and “Kid,” a Felini-inspired reminder to “never lose your childish enthusiasm.” His upcoming album, Animalism, is a visual and aural journey playing on the question of what defines us as humans? With influences and blends from artists such as Daft Punk, Chromeo and Prince, SIDDHI KID delivers an infectious production that pulls from Dance/Electronic and Future Rn’B, peppered with house influences throughout.

So I thought this track was really good.  The beat is catchy and the accompanying video (which you can see on Youtube) is pretty fun to watch.  It features what looks like archival footage of monkeys playing various music instruments with some trippy transitions.  I particularly like the monkey wearing the sombrero and glasses, by the way.

I consider "Savage" to be a fairly short track, compared to similar songs in the genre.  I appreciate that, because if there's one thing that I generally don't like, it's a 10 minute track.  That's not to say that ALL 10+ minute songs are bad, but there's only so much repetition I can handle.  There's not much repetition going on in this song; that is, it feels fairly fresh for the entire 4 minutes.  I didn't feel tired listening to it - in fact, the opposite.

I wouldn't say that the song is "energetic", exactly, but I really love the driving beats behind it.  I feel like it would fit very well on a playlist to help me make a night time drive and keep me alert and motivated.  That's where I see this song playing for me - in the car, at night, driving a long-ish distance.

A quick note about the accompanying artwork (at the top of the blog post) - it completely matches the sound of the song.  You can see the "savage" animals in the picture, at the same time it's kind of trippy and funky looking.  That's the best way I can describe it.  Either way, it's a piece of artwork that would entice me to have a listen!

Definitely recommend it, and you can check it out in a few places:


There are no affiliate links in this post.  The track & video came from a submission to altairwaves@gmail.com.  Thanks for reading!

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) – Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (IMDB) was a bit of a surprise movie for me.  It showed up in several podcasts I listen to – one of which was The Adam Sandcast (Apple Podcasts), so my first thought that this was another Adam Sandler Netflix low-effort vehicle.

But then I saw it pop up on Filmspotting (Filmspotting.net).  At the time, I had no clue that this was a film directed by Noah Baumbach, so this was my first clue that The Meyerowitz Stories had some pedigree behind it.  Filmspotting usually thumbs its nose at the Adam Sandler Netflix films, so to give it some attention came out of the blue for me.

Seeing it on one of the longer running film review podcasts sealed the deal – I was going to watch the movie anyway, but I made a concerted effort to watch it sooner than later so I could properly enjoy the podcasts.  My next wave of surprise was at how good the movie was.

I’d have to say that Dustin Hoffman’s elder, partially dysfunctional Harold Meyerowitz was my favourite part of the movie.  The next favourite part was that you could see pieces of him in each of his three children (played by Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Elizabeth Marvel).  I thought it was great how you could tell that these were his kids in terms of personality, if not looks.

The story is rather straightforward, so not much to write home about there.  It’s more about the characters in the movie and how they react to what’s going on.  It was nice to see Sandler give a bit more of a nuanced performance than his comedy stylings, though you could see bits of his comedy dip into the role (in a good way).

I REALLY liked how Baumbach plays with the screen; many times characters will be cut off mid-sentence, and often characters will pop in and out of the frame during a scene.  I won’t try to delve too deeply into analyzing the use of these cuts and framing devices, but I feel like it helped to serve the nature of some of the characters.

I definitely recommend this one.  It’s not an Adam Sandler movie, it’s just A Movie.  Has me thinking it’s about time I re-visit a few other “artsy” films I haven’t seen in a long time.

A bit of progress

When I last wrote about my weight loss goals, I was trying something new: “flexing” my calories for the week, in an attempt to give myself fewer calories during the week and more on the weekend.  Well, that didn’t work out exactly as planned.

I’ve reverted to just focusing on my daily number.  The short reason is that it was a pain in the butt to manually track everything.  Actually, that’s also the long reason.  Anyway, the point I’m making now is that going back to basics and tracking my daily numbers still works.  And since I’m making sure I am active every day, I’m not at all worried about going over my daily goal a little bit.

But enough writing – how about some friendly charts?

Libra Scale Data October-November 2017
Libra Scale Data October-November 2017
FitBit 28-Day Step Average
FitBit 28-Day Step Average
Net Calories - 30 Days
Net Calories – 30 Days

I’ll quickly walk you through what you’re looking at here.  In the first chart, that’s my scale results since October 27th.  I think what it’s saying is that I’m currently on track with my goal weight, but I have some work to do.

The second chart are my FitBit steps for the past 28 days.  That’s how I’m staying active.  Most weeks I reach my step goal (10,205 currently – I may need to alter it) almost every day.  This is helping to make sure my NET calories are a reasonable difference from my daily goal.  I try my best not to eat back anything.

And the third chart are my net calories.  You can see there are some missing days, as well as some really low ones.  I missed a couple of entries, and not all of them are complete.  But with the exception of one day there – I’m well below 2000 net calories.

So things are going well.  I could be doing better, but I could easily be doing a lot worse.  It’s a lot easier to ADD pounds than it is to lose them.

Make it Okay

I was turned onto the podcast “The Hilarious World of Depression” (Apple Podcasts, apm podcasts) when Wil Wheaton announced he was going to be a guest on the show – back on September 24th.  I wasn’t really interested in the “depression” side of things – mostly I am a big fan of Wil Wheaton and like to hear him speak.

To be brutally honest, the interview wasn’t all that special for me.  I’ve heard and read Wheaton’s thoughts on depression and what he deals with on a day-to-day basis – that wasn’t new.  But I thought I’d give the show a chance, because the host (John Moe) is charismatic and despite hearing some familiar stories, the conversation was frank, honest, and true to the name of the show, funny.

I’ve been listening constantly since then – Margaret Cho, Neal Brennan, and John Green – and hearing about new people I’d never heard before and hearing about their struggles with depression.  I think it’s important to note that despite coming from different backgrounds, their stories are all strikingly similar in terms of how depression affects them and how they cope with it.

I say that it’s important to note this because I think a lot of people suffering from depression feel that they are alone.  I don’t know this for a fact, but that seems to be a common thread in all of the stories I read and hear about depression (and surprise, it’s a common thread in THWOD [excellent acronym for a show, by the way]).

It’s also important to note that it got me thinking about myself.  Am I experiencing symptoms of depression?  Am I depressed?  A cursory self-diagnosis says no; but it’s not something I’ve really thought about addressing before.  In high school, I think I remember feeling like I was depressed.  I don’t think I really was, but with less than 18 years of life experience it can be hard to tell.

The last thing that I want to do with this post is play down the seriousness of depression.  We’ve all seen the cause gaining traction in media – I even wrote about the coverage this past year.  What I’m trying to do is highlight the fact that it’s important to accept that depression affects a lot of people – often people whom you don’t expect.  It’s a silent illness that is hard to diagnose and treat.

I’m glad that I don’t feel like I’m suffering from any form of depression.  But I know some people aren’t so lucky.  I’m also glad to know about this website through THWOD: Makeitok.org.

I haven’t fully taken the time to look through the website, but it looks like a very comprehensive place full of lots of knowledge about mental illness.  I think it’s worth combing through, whether you feel like you need to for yourself, or to find out how to better talk about it with other people who might need help.

Thanks for reading.