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"Ratatouille is a nearly flawless piece of popular art," writes A. O. Scott of the New York Times, in a review accompanied by this picture:
Stephanie Zacharek in Salon calls it "one of the most beautiful animated pictures I've ever seen," in a review accompanied by this picture:
Any student or critic of art, popular or unpopular, knows why these statements are wrong and what's missing from these images and these movies (also Shrek, the Incredibles, Toy Story, and the rest): line. For reasons mostly of budget and a kind of unthinking rush to modernize, filmmakers have thrown out possibly the central tool in the history of visual expression, and replaced it with tricks of sfumato and chiaroscuro that give objects a rounded, "realistic" look but make everything in the frame bulbous and doughy. It would be like making music with no "attack transients" (sharp sounds at the beginning of notes that give them their texture and bite)--all music would become billowy and ersatz, like New Age music. Years after photography mooted realistic painting in the world of portraits and "scenes," these Tinseltown hacks persist in imitating photographic depth, using computer short cuts, and the results are often simply grotesque (see above--eyes without lashes that are merely encircled by reptilian lids).
It's not a fluke that Toy Story "pioneer" Jon Lasseter worships Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki and has given his films a boost in the US. It's guilt from a fast food franchise owner at all the excellent cuisine he's displaced. Miyazaki is a poet of line.
So expressive! Whereas Pixar and its offspring have the smooth, slightly frozen look of '70s album cover illustration done with an airbrush:
A topic for another day: the Pixar movies are also the embodiment of Disney Values. The plucky little guy triumphs over adversity and learns a valuable lesson. Whereas in real life plucky little guys have boots in their faces all over town, while the big entities (such as entertainment conglomerates) grow more and more dominant.
On the National Symphony's program of videogame music* at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, here are the
RAVE REVIEWS!* "Live orchestral music with cutting-edge video screen visuals from Halo, Mario, Zelda, Warcraft, Metal Gear Solid, Kingdom Hearts, Sonic, Everquest II, God of War, Medal of Honor, Myst, Tron, and a classic arcade medley from Pong to Donkey Kong" [hat tip shm]
Los Angeles Times: "A GROUNDBREAKING SHOW! Video game music has come a long way from monotone bleeps to full-blown orchestral, choral, and opera arrangements. This fully choreographed tribute highlights the best games and their best features, whether it's the full choir accompanying Halo or the light show complementing Tron."
USA Today: "This spectacle is just the latest sign that songs written for the interactive gaming world are blasting out of consoles and into the mainstream!"
The Washington Times: "Video games are attracting serious composing talent!"
MTV.com: "If your idea of a hot Saturday night is a few hours of Xbox and a trip to the local Pink Floyd laser-light show, then Video Games Live is your dream date!"
Keywords: adolescent impulse dig dug
"Vox Computational" [mp3 removed]
Update: The chimy percussion in the chorus was bugging me so I redid this. The track has subtler percussion (an octave lower, plus a new "high" chime), a vibrato synth wail before the break, and it's been remixed.
Update 2: A couple of notes sounded out of tune to me, so I fixed them.
remix of work by Oliver Laric. A full size version (too big for the present page) is here.
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Belatedly discovered Bleep.com, an electronic music site specializing in, um, bleepy dance music of recent vintage (and some classics). The mp3s cost money, but I'd pay a little for decent quality DRM-free mp3s of such things I've been looking for (or just came across on their site) as: A Guy Called Gerald's Black Secret Technology, miscellaneous early Black Dog, previously unreleased Swayzak tracks, Elektroids Elektroworld, CiM CDs I don't have, and Lab Rat XL (a Drexciya alias). The site is all about labels, which I don't really get at this point--with no CD printing or promotional costs, why is another middleman between musician and the public necessary?
GIF by unknown artist X 9