Sunday, October 4, 2015

Adulthood (Video)


Boulder Theater:
Mesmerizing, spellbinding and genre-defying: With their fourth full-length studio release Extras In A Movie, Papadosio reveals a striking cinematic cornucopia of sounds: orchestral, electronic, organic, acoustic, psychedelic and celestial. The 16 selections that comprise the song cycle are concise and structured – launch pads for the improvisational excursions that are a hallmark of the band’s celebrated concert performances.

“The writing process was a challenge for us, to see if we could integrate some songs that were shorter than five minutes,” notes the band. They envisioned the title Extras In A Movie as a concept connected to themes of interpersonal interactions and relationships.

Hitting virtually all major and secondary U.S. music locales and select festivals across North America, Papadosio tours on a massive scale but maintains a close intimacy with their fans. With the new project they are expanding their collective stylistic palette. “We like to have a lot of colors,” they explain. “We’re starting to push that envelope in the way we want to go – to give the people who are at the shows more of a variety of emotions. We don’t have filters. We record what’s happening.”

Originally from the creative collegiate hotbed of Athens, Ohio, the band is now centered in Asheville, North Carolina. Not that they are homebodies as they clarify. “For the past five or six years we’ve done maybe 150 dates a year and have been gone for 200 days. We were cutting back a little, but now with the new project the number of shows is about to go way back up.”

Extras In A Movie balances Papadosio’s celestial sonic ambience with an organic edge and multiple guitars, both electric and acoustic. “A lot more guitar in general,” they say. “ That’s something new with this record.” What also distinguishes the new music is the prominence of their vocals. Extras In A Movie opens with a dense, harmonic introduction titled “The Last Leaf” and across the span of songs emerges subliminal echoes of prog-rock forefathers like Jethro Tull, Yes and Genesis.

Trippy titles abound: “Gazing the Great Oscillator,” “Moon Entendre,” Anima Mundi.” Noting that these designations often come late in the creative process, if the band can’t find a suitable name, they might invent a word. “Obove” is such a creation. In the lexicon of Papadosio it is a term that references “an over arcing emotion.”

While the band gleefully dismisses observations on their collective intellect, an exegesis of their themes indicates complex underpinnings. A new song, “Therian” was inspired by archeological cave paintings depicting creatures that are half-beast and half human. “Bypass Default” is a treatise on being nagged by all of the earth’s problems, and is appropriately discordant. “The Wrong Nostalgia” includes a take on modern radio with the line “Who sold these assholes on the airwaves?” -- lyrics with an edge and a bite.

It is the band’s wish that Extras In A Movie will enchant loyal fans and introduce new audiences to the Papadosio universe. “Our intention is to give people music that can be themes in their lives so they can connect to the music. To provide them with a place to hang out so they don’t feel weird in what they are thinking -- to give their brains and their hearts a home.”

Extras In A Movie, Papadosio’s self-produced fourth full-length studio album, will be self-released October 2, 2015.

Cue XL
Smile and Nod
Bypass Default
New Love>
The Sum>
Find Your Cloud XL
Gazing the Great Oscillator*>
Moon Entendre*
E: Snorkle

More information:
» Setlist: Papadosio at Boulder Theater Oct 3, 2015

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Martian

"Dariusz Wolski’s dazzling 3-D cinematography often shows people dwarfed by the immensity of their surroundings: Watney by the mountains and craters of Mars, the Hermes crew by the infinite blackness of outer space, even the NASA engineers huddled together under their enormous, and too often useless, screens. But the animating humanism of Scott’s film is irreducible. It’s a wry tribute to the qualities that got our species into space in the first place: our resourcefulness, our curiosity and our outsized, ridiculous, beautiful brains."
The Martian is a 2015 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. The film is based on Andy Weir's 2011 novel The Martian, which was adapted into a screenplay by Drew Goddard. Damon stars as an astronaut who is incorrectly presumed dead and left behind on the planet Mars, and who then fights to survive. The film also features Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in supporting roles.

Producers Simon Kinberg began developing the film after 20th Century Fox optioned the novel in March 2013. Drew Goddard adapted the novel into a screenplay and was initially attached to direct, but the film did not move forward. Ridley Scott replaced Goddard, and with Damon in place as the main character, production was green-lit, and filming began in November 2014.

Filming lasted approximately 70 days at Korda Studios sound stage in Budapest, Hungary, one of the largest in the world. Wadi Rum in Jordan was also used as a practical backdrop for filming. Wadi Rum had been used as a backdrop for other films set on Mars, including Mission to Mars (2000), Red Planet (2000), and The Last Days on Mars (2013). Ridley Scott chose to film The Martian with 3D cameras. Around 20 sets were constructed for The Martian (where 70 were built for Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings and over 100 for American Gangster). Actual potatoes were grown in a sound stage next to the one used for filming. They were planted at different times to be used to show different stages of growth in the film.

Andy Weir avoided writing Watney as lonely and depressed in his novel. While Watney's humor is preserved in the film, Scott balanced it against visually depicting the character's isolation in the inhospitable territory. Damon said he and Scott were inspired by the 2003 documentary film Touching the Void, which featured trapped mountain climbers. Scott also expected to film Watney as a Robinson Crusoe, a character in full isolation, but learned to film Watney differently since the character would be self-monitoring his behavior under the watch of various mission cameras.

Forbes‍ '​s Peter Himler said American astronauts had traditionally been used by public relations to promote commercial products, starting with the drink Tang. Himler said it "came as no surprise" that NASA astronauts in the International Space Station were reported by The Guardian and CBS News as having read Weir's novel and hoping to see the film on board the ISS. NASA participated in the marketing of the film despite its lack of involvement with previous films. Though it turned down a request for Interstellar to be screened on the ISS, The Martian was screened on board 402 km (250 miles) above the Earth's surface on September 19, 2015, and also at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, and at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral on October 1, 2015.

What I’m concerned about is the way in which a mission to Mars is portrayed in the book and film. It looks a lot like an Apollo mission to Mars, and in 2015 that’s a problem.

From outward appearances, almost all of the hardware is NASA hardware. All of the important decisions are made by NASA people. There isn’t a whiff of commercial space in the film. Not a SpaceX, nor even a Boeing. It’s all NASA. (Not that NASA isn’t great. It is.)

Moreover of the six astronauts in Mark Watney’s crew, five are Americans and one German. NASA’s mission to Mars is nearly American only. (I’m American. I love America.) This might all be fine except for the fact that it isn’t 1969.

It’s 2015. The world has changed. Spaceflight has changed. And NASA isn’t going anywhere without private and international partners. It simply can’t begin to afford an Apollo-like, go-it-alone, brute force mission to Mars.

A few years ago SpaceX began flying cargo supply missions to the International Space Station. By NASA’s own estimates it would have cost the agency six or eight times as much had it developed that capability through its traditional spacecraft building methods. NASA is slowly privatizing, but if it is to reach Mars any time in the 2030s it must do so more rapidly.

Another big problem for NASA is that White House leadership changes every four to eight years. NASA has been on its “Journey to Mars” for four years or so now, but that could very well change with the next President. He or she might think the moon is a better first stop, or could scrap the Mars program entirely.

NASA needs stability to accomplish long-range goals. That means it must enter into long-term plans with major international players, which would force the White House and Congress to honor those deals over decades. Unfortunately there is, as yet, no international consensus that NASA and its partners should go to Mars. Many want to go to the moon first.

To be fair, in an interview earlier this year, The Martian’s author, Andy Weir, acknowledged much of this. Moreover, in the film, China’s space program actually saves the day with a spare rocket to deliver supplies to Watney on Mars.

But I’m afraid the public will see an all NASA crew landing in all NASA vehicles on Mars, and assume all is well on our happy little journey to Mars. It unfortunately is not.

For the curious: Ares 3 launched on July 7, 2035. They landed on Mars (Sol 1) on November 7, 2035. The story begins on Sol 6, which is November 12, 2035.

More information:
» Houston Chronicle: "As NASA Seeks Next Mission, Russia Holds the Trump Card"

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mac Miller - "Brand Name"

On October 21, 2014, it was revealed Mac Miller signed a recording contract and a distribution deal for his label REMember Music, with Warner Bros. Records, for a reported $10 million. On July 30, 2015, Miller revealed that he had completed his third studio album, which will be his major label debut. Miller’s third studio album GO:OD AM was released September 18, 2015 and with it came the video for the opening track “Brand Name.”

Monday, September 21, 2015

Nickelodeon's Bringin' Back the 90's with The Splat

Speculation from social media users has been growing since August, when Russell Hicks, president of content and development for the media company, revealed his interest in bringing back classic Nicktoons.

"We are looking at our library to bring back ideas, shows that were loved, in a fresh new way," Hicks told Variety last month.

Nickelodeon has remained tight-lipped about the project, releasing veiled messages on social media with the hashtag #TheSplatIsComing.

"They all follow the same pattern," Ken Harris, managing partner at Cadent Consulting Group, said in an interview with CNBC last week. "They will monitor social media closely and they'll turn people on to the process. The whole goal is not to spring something on people, but rather to have them anticipate it."

The question is: What is "The Splat"?

Whether the network plans on creating a new channel, expanding programming blocks or implementing streaming services has yet to be determined.

While specific information on "The Splat" remains unknown, the project is gaining massive attention on social media.

On Tuesday, there were more than 12,000 tweets mentioning Nickelodeon on Twitter. In comparison, the company averaged 2,700 tweets in the last 30 days, according to Topsy.

Google searches for "The Splat" were up by 2,250 percent in the last week, jumping 350 percent on Tuesday after rumors circulated that the program could launch as early as October.

This wouldn't be the first time the Viacom-owned network dipped into the archives. It created the TV Land channel in 1996, which broadcasts classic television series from the 1960s to the 2000s. The channel is home to shows such as "Golden Girls," "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Roseanne."

This time around, the company would be catering to a niche audience of millennial consumers—instead of boomers—and, once again, introducing old programming to a new generation of viewers.

"Any nostalgic brand can hit a chord with a consumer base that is interested because they remember it fondly," Harris said.

That has been the case with several revitalized classics in the last year. Universal Pictures' reboot of the "Jurassic Park" franchise reaped big rewards at the box office in June, taking in $1.6 billion globally. New installments of "The Terminator" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" both grossed more than $400 million globally, according to Box Office Mojo.

And more are on the horizon.

Sony Pictures is releasing a "Goosebumps" film in October, based on R.L. Stine's novels that were popularized in the '90s, and Lions Gate is bringing "The Power Rangers" to the big screen in 2017.

Sunday, September 20, 2015