Covid Update 2020

Hello Folks

Thanks for supporting the blog and reading some reviews of new music.  Support for the blog has gone down a lot, sadly. Labels that used to send you a promo CD, just send you an email with a link and like the musicians who get screwed from youtube, Spotify, etc… and can’t earn hardly any money, the journalist are expected to work for free and not even get a reward of a CD or LP, every now and then… Anyway, the blog is slowly winding down, I hate to say as only a few labels, Fruits De Mer, Zygmatron Promotions, and that might be it send me anything to review.  Still some bands from Denmark send me the record, which is nice and I get some CDs from some bands occasionally.

Anyway, I am super busy with music, my lands and soon my recording studio, which I hope they will start to build in a few weeks. Doctors of Space (all links below), we put out a 7″ in December and the production of our first full length record has started. It is called First Treatment and features a great hand painted cover from Dr Weaver.  We also have been jamming almost every month this year except for April and May and have made some incredible music.  In addition, we have recorded another 8-10 studio tracks, some of which you can hear on our Covid Sessions on bandcamp. This might come out on a CD at some point, if there is enough interest.
http://doctorsofspace.bandcamp.com

Øresund Space Collective, despite not being able to play live this year (yet), have been digging in the archives and mixing material from 2010. Our bandcamp subscribers have had a preview and it has been really positive. I am waiting for feedback from the guys who played on the music to proceed.  Our next studio album is mastered now and we are just waiting for the artwork to be finished. We hope for an October release. We will see.  Another live CD from 2019 will be released to the bandcamp subscribers this summer and later to the public, whatever copies are left. http://oresundspacecollective.com
http://oresundspacecollective.bandcamp.com

IMG 4888 - Covid Update 2020

IMG 4799 - Covid Update 2020 Aural Hallucinationswe finally got the albums and I painted 160 covers. There are 145 black and 15 white. 153 vinyls were produced and like 9 test pressings. I used blacklight paint on a lot of the covers and they look really cool. All the titles were hand written on the back by myself and my wife. I numbered them as well. most of the records are just the AH logo made with a stencil.  The CD-R version (100) and the tapes have arrived as well. Matt and I have been slow to make new numbers but there are a lot of sketches that just need more work when there is time.  Matt will have a solo tape release this summer, I think and will be doing some gigs as soon as it is possible.   Http://auralhallucinations.bandcamp.com

My friend Santtu Laakso from the band Dark Sun, also known as DJ Astro has been back making music after a 12 year break and I have mixed a number of tracks for him and Martin (DOS) has recorded some guitar as well. This is going to be a great record. I will keep you posted. You can hear the first track, Chrononaut on this radio show link below.
Radio Show

scorp - Covid Update 2020

Dr Space, well, I have recorded a huge amount of solo material during the break and this will be released on some limited editions CDs (not CD-Rs) in 100 copies.  Scorpoodledoo is the first one.  There are two more to follow. My solo album, Nakawana is in production and this will only be made in 150 copies.  Much more on this in the coming months. http://drspace1.bandcamp.com 

Dr Space’s Alien Planet Trip Vol 4– Space with bass also was just released on vinyl June 30th and this double LP turned out incredible. Cool poster and the reviews have been outstanding. It is the solo work that I am most proud of so far.  The material above is much more minimal in nature. The material on Vol 5 is also finished now with two extraordinary and very different guitar players. You have to wait til next year to hear this one though. Sorry…
https://oresundspacecollective.bandcamp.com/album/dr-spaces-alien-planet-trip-vol-4-space-with-bass

BMC - Covid Update 2020

Finally, Black Moon Circle?? Remember them from Norway?  We still do not have a permanent replacement for Daniel, who left the band in December but if you have followed the facebook page you will notice the band was in the studio with Tomas, the current drummer in Motorpsycho. The chemistry of the band was amazing. Sadly, I was unable to fly up for the studio session due to the virus so my parts are currently being done remotely. Some of the material is brand new and some of is songs that we played last year on tour.  You will hear more about this later in the year.
Http://blackmooncircle.bandcamp.com

find the cost of your paper

Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.

27