Ocean travel without a boat

Journal of Peter Greenwell

Month: Jun 2013

Alphaville – Catching Rays on Giant

I vaguely recall this German synth-pop band from the 80s. They came out with a couple of synth ballads which made it big in a few places. Maybe Big in Japan did become big in Japan.

Anyhow, Catching Rays on Giant is their latest LP, and it arrived 13 years after the last. This is pure discofied synth-pop. 80s revivalist music at its finest. It’s all very operatic and major key.

This record immediately gripped me. There’s very few weak tracks on it, and its laden with melodies and hooks, from the opening pulse-beat of Song For No One to the dramatic waves of Miracle Healing. In between, there’s some utter gems of pulsating synth-rock, like Things I Didn’t Do (album highlight), Phantoms and Call Me Down.

The record slumps a little with its ballads and it probably would be better off without the slow sonorous stuff. This band sound a hell of a lot better when they’re choofing along at 100+ beats per minute.

The whole thing is beautifully retro, and wouldn’t be out of place stacked up next to stuff by Heaven 17, Human League, early OMD etc. It arguably outdoes any of these for sheer theatrics.

I’m glad I discovered this record.


Gaming during my uni break

I’ve been catching up on some gaming while in between semesters at university. I’ve returned to Rift after seeing my wife take advantage of a deal the gaming app Raptr was doing. I played Rift when it first came out (after beta-testing it) and I found it then to be a ho-hum game that trod a similar path to many before it. This time around, it seems more fun. I highly doubt it’ll be the keeper that either Everquest 2 or Lord of the Rings Online is but we’ll see.

I also gave the free-to-play game Dragon’s Prophet a whirl. Sure, it’s nothing special either but you can’t beat free.

Lord of the Rings Online has been getting a workout too. I’ve played bits and pieces of Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 here and there. Logically, I also gave Skyrim an airing.

Some screenies.


My Rift character Himalia


My character and Isabella getting it on in DA2

My character and Isabella getting it on in DA2

Raymond E. Feist – Magician’s End

Magician's End (The Chaoswar Saga, #3)Magician’s End by Raymond E. Feist
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, the ride has been a bumpy one. Mr Feist has written some gripping page-turners and thrown a few inconsequential potboilers in there for good measure. This large concluding tome wavers between both, and there are some tedious moments in it – like the discussion of magical theory and strategy. But when things are in motion – when battle commences, when people are on the move, when evil is being smote by magic – then things rock and roll.

It’s hard to describe events as thoroughly conclusive. It’s open just enough to where a new series could spin off from it. The book’s title is descriptive enough without giving too much away, and through the 600+ pages, you *can* see it coming. But the journey is a mostly good one.

On to fresh fields and woods anew.

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