Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint, about rewiring things and punching people, and now I'm working on a new one called Heat Signature, about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Here's some more info on all the games I've worked on, here's the podcast I do, here are the videos I make on YouTube, here are some of the articles I wrote for PC Gamer, and here are two short stories I wrote for the Machine of Death collections.
Before it vanishes from the dirty little corner of cyberspace that these legally questionable – but morally laudable – offerings dwell in, you must hear the latest Sissy Wish track on Fluxblog. Usually it takes me so long to realise how much I like a Fluxblog track that it’s gone offline by the time I’m ready to recommend it, but this one’s instantly great. I’d say more, but the truth is I’m still kind of a musical retard.
I don’t have the language to talk meaningfully about what songs are like or what’s good about them, and I frequently have to listen to something ten times or more before I even know if I like it, let alone how much. This is why people like Matthew Perpetua know I’m going to like something even before I do, and why my favourite tracks on a given album are only just now starting to line up with those of the person who recommended it to me five years ago.
I need to know stuff like, what’s the word for the rhythmic structure in the chorus to Yayaya? There’s something in the way she sings that string of nonsense that lets you know she’s just leading into the real line, and something about the systematic structure of the latter half of the couplet that leads logically up to the rhyme, even if you can’t make out the words. It’s logical to the extent that if you’d paused the chorus halfway through the first time I heard it, I’d still be able to hum the next bit for you. And I don’t know how, or why, or what you call that.
This is also why I get confused and scared when people I normally agree with suddenly hate a band like The National, who seem to be a) great and b) just like all the other awesome stuff we both like. I start to think it’s just been coincidence that our tastes line up a lot, and really they’re appreciating this stuff on a higher intellectual level I don’t understand, and I’ve just fallen for some crass commercial knock-off because I’m too stupid to know the difference.
The awful truth is that I only ever liked this artful, worthy stuff by smart, emotionally fractured geniuses because it sounded pretty and didn’t irritate me. And, of course, because not many people had heard of it.
Graham: I could not agree more. I like music, I listen to music all the time, but I have no method by which to articulate my thoughts on the subject. With games, I feel as if I have at least some critical faculties. Music, by comparison, seems ineffable.
It doesn't help that 95% of the music journalism I read is by people who have the same problem. Instead of conveying helpful information about an album, they fall back upon referencing obscure bands from the 1970s. Oh? It sounds just like this other thing I haven't heard? That's great.
Also: people disliking bands you thought they'd like? Dude, you are that person. Our musical tastes seem to overlap in several areas, but attempts at recommending songs have seemingly failed thus far. I assumed you were appreciating music on some higher intellectual level and I was just too stupid to know the difference.
bob_Arctor: yeah the reviews of Alligator on music sites were really negative, but in the comments people wrote "you are wrong, this is one of my albums of the year".
Generally listening to stuff you like is best. It will never overlap 100% with someone else, and if it did it would be dull.
Tentaculat: Here's my theory, feel free to ignore or laugh at it.
You sound like the kind of person that consumed by meticulous detail. You think in maths, and this translates to an entirely bizarre taste in music - more than half of the bands you mention I have never heard of.
At first I thought you were just being snobbish about music, which a lot of, dare I say, pseudo-intellectuals are prone to being. However, I knew that first impression was flawed because deliberately liking obscure bands only because they are obscure, and denying oneself the wealth of good popular music, seems like a rather stupid thing to do. And you are quite obviously not stupid.
Instead, your brain is just wired to perceive the world differently. I've heard theories that people similar to yourself have particularly strong 'male' brains, but this sounds ridiculous to me. Instead I think perhaps you're teetering on the brink of the Autistic spectrum. I don't mean this in a derogatory way, I am very much pro neuro-diveristity. Another theory dictates that we are all on the 'spectrum', just at different ends of it.
Johnny: Cut the fancy words mate. Tell it like it is. People are different.
Tentaculat: Indeed. I was just musing over why some of us might be musically challenged (or a musical retard as Pentadact puts it), and that being inclined towards more cereberal persuits is at the expense of other brain functions that allow others to instinctively quantify music. The creative brain vs the functional brain, while not being mutually exclusive, are quite seperate abd might explain why it takes certain kinds of people 10 listens of a song to 'get it'.
I could have simply said that people are different but where's the fun in that? :P
johnj: You mentioend the frnehc ages ago. "all my friends have got haircuts like jhill dano"
you know what! points mean prizers" SMASH TV!
ggood reocmmmendation. is the sum of what i want to say. ignore!
Anonymous: i like to have sex listening to sit on my face?!