filling in the gaps #6

Filling In The Gaps is an ongoing series of blog posts I’m working on, where I’m listening through all the music from CDs I’ve purchased over the years that, up until this point, I’d never actually listened to. If this is the first entry in this series that you’ve come across, please click here to catch up on the past entries. Enjoy!

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blog update

After having this blog for four and a half years now, I’ve decided to make some small but fundamental changes in presentation to make it easier for people to both navigate and, uh, look at. The most obvious change is the font style, which, if I’m perfectly honest, I’ve been wanting to update for a long time, but have been too afraid to do because I don’t like change and I know other people don’t either. But, y’know what? Screw it, it’s time for something new. Hopefully this font is a bit easier on the eyes for all of you.

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load state #2: metroid prime

metroid_prime_headerArt by Lofi

Welcome to Load State, a video game review series I am doing which focuses on games that are at least 15 years old, with the intent being to determine how good the game is in a modern context. Video games have changed a lot over the years, and in this series I am exploring whether or not games from eras long past have stood the test of time — regardless of how good they may have been considered at the time they were released. Join me as we take a look this time at a turn-of-the-millennium classic, Metroid Prime.

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2018 in retrospect: top 50 amvs (10 – 1) // editor of the year

10. leolide – When The Party’s Over

Anime: Kizumonogatari
Song: “When The Party’s Over (Redrose Mix)”

During the past few years, I’ve seen so many AMVs using anime from the Monogatari series that I feel like I’ve become more or less numb to them; or at least I thought so, until this year when there were a surprising number of good videos using the series, least of which was certainly not this piece from leolide. In a recent Flying Low post, I wrote about a video called Hypnerotomachia, which conveys loneliness in a very direct way. When The Party’s Over does something similar here, albeit in a very different manner: heavy color manipulation featuring primarily blues cover everything, and the video is little more than jump cuts of the same character’s face with occasional blurs and other relatively simple effects added.

The video is so much more than the sum of these deceptively mundane parts, though, and the AMV that came out the other side feels like a portrait of loneliness — not being alone, per se, but the feeling of being all by yourself in a crowded room. There are no other characters shown throughout the entire thing, but it feels distinctly like all the negative space present in the video is just a dimming of the lights so that we viewers can focus on this one, spotlighted character. There’s an almost tangible sense that we’re seeing the faces this girl puts on for those around her, but that nothing she’s emoting actually reflects what’s going on in her head. It’s a demonstration in the power of simple effects applied in creative ways to build an incredibly tactile mood.

Perhaps even more than this, though, it’s a video that shows how powerful minimalism can be; it doesn’t have a lot of…well, anything, really. A single character, a sparse color palette, not much that actually happens in terms of progressing a narrative, and yet you walk away from this video feeling something very specific, and very relatable. Editors often pride themselves in their technical ability, and using it to say something very grandiose. While there’s certainly a level of technical skill that leolide displays in this one, all the effects in this video are used almost to divert attention from themselves. The video’s acute feeling of loneliness and seclusion is the big takeaway, and leolide succeeds wildly in making a video that one can’t help but feel deep in the gut, long after the party’s over.

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2018 in retrospect: top 50 amvs (20 – 11)

20. VideoBeats – What Remains

Anime: Girls’ Last Tour
Song: “Pale Skin” by Christian Loffler

Ambient techno videos like this are rare, so given the fact that I made one early in 2018, perhaps it’s not shocking that I loved this one. There’s very little tension to be found in What Remains; it’s simply the story of two girls exploring old, deserted ruins. The chosen song is spacey and wispy, and VideoBeats did what he could — without adding any effects to speak of — to match this. The scenes chosen are big and open and cavernous, mysterious and intriguing, and the video itself ends up feeling as vast and unknowable as the environment within it does. This is a slow video, yes, and without the usual drama or slick editing tricks, it won’t be the most immediately engaging to the average viewer. But if you give it space to breathe and expand, you may be surprised by how easily it consumes you.

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