Katakunci

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Bebelan rekod/vinyl


Perihal vinyl: Setelah menganalisa saya dapati untuk kepuasan mendengar maksimum ialah dengan mendengar muzik yang gitar karennya kurang distortion. Ini adalah pendapat yang diakui oleh Al Sayf dan Elly Rocker.

Namun begitu akibat dari ketagihan muzik gitar berdistortion (metal), maka elemen distortion itu perlu diminimaliskan. Nasib baik saya juga meminati muzik prog rock dan rock 70an. Maka sepatutnya, vinyl pada zaman ini yang patut didengar melalui vinyl. Bahkan rakaman pada zaman tersebut adalah analogue sedangkan muzik Metal hampir kesemuannya digital. Sedangkan vinyl itu dikenali sebagai output analogue. Medium digital jika tidak diproses untuk output analogue TIDAK akan memberikan kepuasan maksimum.

Crap recording WILL NOT results in excellent output, even if your hifi system is RM40K and your vinyl is half a kilogram slab.

Untuk saya, muzik metal dan sebagainya (distortion berlebihan) didengar melalui CD. Selainnya, vinyl. Langkah bijak harus dibuat kerana ia berkait dengan $$.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ulasan: NOSFERIEL Infernal Spell (demo compilation and unreleased track)


Adapun NOSFERIEL berasal dari Terengganu di kawasan Kerteh. Walaupun kewujudan band ini sudah melebihi 10 tahun tetapi dari segi rilisan, sedar tak sedar ada tidak. Mungkin terbawa dengan jatidiri Terengganu yang lemah lembut berbeda dengan kerabat muzik sepertinya yang di pantai barat, lebih egoistik dan tidak malu-malu untuk memperagakan muzik mereka (walaupun mereka patut malu dari segi produksi yang hampagas dan permainan muzik yang tidak memberansangkan).

Atas kesedaran ini, NOSFERIEL menawarkan kembali lagu-lagu dari dua demo Berserk Prism Spell (2002) dan Infernos (2004) di samping menyelitkan sebuah lagu yang tidak pernah dirilis kepada orang awam, Death To Zionis (2008). Matlamatnya, 1. NOSFERIEL masih aktif 2. Ada rilisan terbaru yang sedang menggelegak di dalam studio rakaman sekarang ini. Warm-up kata orang.

Ini membawa kepada implikasi yang agak signifikan kepada orang awam tentang apa yang akan ditawarkan oleh NOSFERIEL untuk album yang sedang di dalam proses rakaman itu. Risikonya ialah apabila NOSFERIEL yang baru nanti gayanya berbeza, pendengar akan rasa tertipu ATAUPUN jika pendengar kompilasi ini tidak menyukainya, album mendatang itu akan dihindari. Akhirnya, kepada mereka yang belum pernah mendengar muzik NOSFERIEL, kesemua ini menjurus kepada keputusan ulasan dalam Krenmaut ini.

NOSFERIEL pada asasnya menawarkan muzik Black Metal dengan sentuhan Death Metal pada satu dua tempat. Nampak di beberapa tempat juga keinginan yang menjurus kepada symphonic terutama apabila munculnya instrumen keyboard di dalam gubahan lagu. Pada masa yang lain, drum teutonic black death yang mengingatkan kita kepada beberapa buah band seangkatannya. Ini semua diolah dengan riff gitar yang simplistik. Dalam kita beranggapan bahawa hala tuju lagu-lagunya ke arah teknikal, rupa-rupanya itu sekadar ejekan sementara.

Perbezaan antara demo-demo dan lagu terbaru pada tahun 2008 adalah fokus. Di mana fokus itu kabur mencapah di dalam demo-demo, ia menumpu pada satu lagu 2008 tersebut. Saya kira, NOSFERIEL memilih minimalis pada teknikaliti instrumen tetapi menganyamnya dengan variasi mood dan perasaan.

Dari segi produksi, tiada apa yang diharap sangat dengan rakaman tahap demo. Dan disebabkan ini adalah rilisan bersahaja, saya suspek tiada mastering dilakukan. Sebab itu apabila bertukar dari demo ke demo dan lagu tahun 2008, berlaku anjakan kekuatan bunyi pada sistem hifi. Jadi kalau anda mendengar dengan volume yang kuat, apabila track mahu bertukar, pastikan tangan anda berada pada knob volume. Nanti terperanjat pula seisi rumah.

Saya berharap NOSFERIEL menggunakan kelebihan sebagai satu band dari kuantiti yang terhad di Terengganu untuk menggunakan kreativiti dan pengaruh yang didapati di persekitaran sana. Boleh saja liriknya disesuaikan dengan persekitaran. Hatta, bagaimana gitar dipetik dan drum dipalu itu pun banyak potensinya untuk disesuaikan. Mungkin harapan saya ini agak terlambat untuk album yang bakal muncul. Tetapi ada kemungkinan juga ini telah difikirkan terlebih dahulu oleh mereka dan ini adalah peluang kita untuk mendengar Black Metal dengan acuan budaya Terengganu.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Viva-voce UTHM (MSc candidate)

I am acting as the external examiner. From left to right: the internal examiner, the supervisor (who used to be my housemate during BSc and MSc in UTM hehehe) and the MSc candidate. The MSc candidate passed with minor corrections. Congratulations!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

USA trip 27 April - 4 May 2014 Pt X (FINALE): Central Park, New York

I've been to New York maybe 7-8 times already. However, all this while I missed the essential place to visit, Central Park. This time, I WILL NOT miss it. So here it is. I spent about 3 hours riding a rental bicycle ($25) and I just rode without any game plan.

Central Park is a really huge park. Not only it is a tourist attraction, it is also a park for the surrounding community. This was the time I missed my family the most. I wished they were with me.

Close to the entrance.

Drum busking. It says there that the girl need the money to record her debut solo album.

The most crowded is close to the southern entrance.

Horse ride as well.

For the boat ride. The lake is HUGE.

It was Saturday. Not only it was crowded with the tourist but also the locals.

That's the lake.

I guess you can now differentiate between the tourists and the locals.

They have a few fields for sports. This is for baseball. There were a few games being played. Maybe for the local league.

It was spring. You can notice the different colours of the vegetation.

The ice skating arena. Obviously it is opened during the winter. No ice during the spring, get it?

This is close to the north tip of the park. Not very crowded.

One of the few lakes in the park.

It also has a trail park.

Not going in there sir. Not much time left.

Dogs ARE leashed. This is common sense that Malaysian people SHOULD consider.

I don't mind walking throughout. But I need 2 days to cover everything then ;)

I did my qars/jamak prayers somewhere here. You do what you need to do. People don't care as long as you don't disturb others.

This area was full with families and college students.

Time to get out and return the bicycle.

I need to go buy some grocery after that.
Accidents everywhere. I think this was the fault of the cab. He should have given way to the bus.

One of the many halal restaurant in NY. If you concerned about halal foods, no concern at all.
Central Park, the first major landscaped public space in urban America, was created in the 1850s as an antidote to the turbulent social unrest, largely as the result of the country's first wave of immigration, and a serious public health crisis, caused by harmful environmental conditions. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the winners of the 1858 design competition for Central Park, along with other socially conscious reformers understood that the creation of a great public park would improve public health and contribute greatly to the formation of a civil society. Immediately, the success of Central Park fostered the urban park movement, one of the great hallmarks of democracy of nineteenth century America.

By the early twentieth century, vicissitudes of the social, political and economic climate threatened the fabric of the Park and caused its first serious decline. Robert Moses, park commissioner from 1934 to 1960, received federal funding for the restoration of many eroded landscapes and crumbling structures, and embarked on massive public programming for the post-Depression populace. When he left office, however, there was no management strategy for maintaining those improvements or educating Park visitors in proper stewardship, and for the next two decades the second — and most devastating— decline took its toll on the fragile 843-acre Park.

Physically the Park was in a chronic state of decay. Meadows had become barren dustbowls; benches, lights, and playground equipment were broken, and the one-hundred-year-old infrastructure was crumbling. Socially, the Park bred a careless, even abusive attitude towards the Park evidenced by unchecked amounts of garbage, graffiti, and vandalism. Positive use had increasingly been displaced by illicit and illegal activity. The perception — and in many cases, the reality— of Central Park was of a lawless and dangerous ruin. Despite a workforce of over three hundred Parks Department employees assigned to Central Park, there was no accountability. New York City had abdicated their responsibility as Park stewards and, as a result, this national treasure became a national disgrace.
To help remedy this troubled situation, George Soros and Richard Gilder, under the aegis of the Central Park Community Fund, underwrote a management study of Central Park in 1974 by E.S. Savas, who was at that time the Columbia University School of Business, Professor of Public Systems Management. The groundbreaking study proposed that two important initiatives be implemented to ameliorate the conditions in Central Park: one, that a Chief Executive Officer be given "clear and unambiguous managerial authority" for all Park operations, and two, a Central Park Board of Guardians be created to oversee strategic planning and policy, thereby instituting private citizen involvement in their public park.

The study's first proposal resulted in the appointment in 1979 of Elizabeth "Betsy" Barlow (now Rogers), a Yale-educated urban planner and writer, who became the newly created Central Park administrator, charged with overseeing all aspects of the Park's daily operations, in essence the Chief Executive Officer recommended in the Savas study. For four years before her appointment, Betsy had been overseeing the Central Park Task Force's program for summer youth interns, eventually becoming the head of that small, private organization, financially separate from the City but existing under the aegis of the Parks Department.

Given her new official status and responsibilities as administrator, Betsy first conceived of and then helped to create a revolutionary public/private partnership with the support of then park commissioner Gordon Davis that would bring private monies and expertise in partnership with the City of New York to manage and restore Central Park. In 1980, the two most prominent private advocacy groups — the Central Park Task Force and the Central Park Community Fund — merged to become the Central Park Conservancy —  the citizen-based Board of Guardians that the Savas study had essentially recommended.

Under a Conservancy-funded master plan, the gradual restoration of those decrepit landscapes evolved, and success bred success. As the Conservancy showed its ability to protect and maintain its investment, many more private individuals, foundations and corporations put their trust and their money into the restoration of the Park. To date, the Conservancy has had three successful capital campaigns towards rebuilding Central Park. The first campaign was launched in 1987; the second, "The Wonder of New York Campaign," was launched when Richard Gilder made a challenge grant to the Conservancy and the City in 1993. The work was continued in the "Campaign for Central Park," which ended in 2008, ensuring the completion of the Park's transformation. Most importantly, for the first time in the Park's turbulent history, the Conservancy has created an endowment that will ensure a sustainable green and healthy future for Central Park.

In 1998 a historic management agreement between the Conservancy and the City of New York formalized the then 18-year public-private partnership. With that contract Douglas Blonsky, who began his career in 1985 in the Conservancy's Capital Projects office as a landscape architect supervising construction projects, assumed Betsy's title of Central Park administrator. In 2004 he assumed the additional role of president of the Conservancy and CEO, responsible for not only the Park's management but also all fundraising and administrative duties.

Blonsky created innovative management practices to ensure that those healthy new landscapes would have a skilled and dedicated staff to maintain them in a professional manner. His clear vision for a well-managed and well-maintained Park took the Conservancy's design and restoration vision one step further with the implementation of Zone Management System, which brought accountability, pride of workmanship, and clear and measurable results to the Conservancy and Parks Department staff under his jurisdiction. Under this pioneering system, the Park is divided into 49 geographic zones for managerial purposes, each headed by a zone gardener, who in turn supervises grounds technicians and volunteers.

The Park's restorations gradually fostered important social changes in public behavior that returned the sanctity of public space to Central Park and ultimately to New York City at large. The American ideal of a great public park and its importance as a place to model and shape public behavior and enhance the quality of life for all its citizens once again defines the measurement of a great municipality. Towards this goal, the Conservancy was first in its demonstration of zero tolerance for both garbage and graffiti. An immediate call to action came when even the slightest sign of vandalism appeared in the Park — a busted lamppost or broken bench, for example— and became the tipping point, that turned public opinion of Central Park from one of dire repulsion to one of deep respect.

Today Central Park has never been more beautiful or better managed in the Park's 156-year history, and the Conservancy is proud to be the leader of the Park's longest period of sustained health and beauty. To date the Conservancy has raised $700million towards the restoration, programming and management of Central Park and is responsible for 75 percent of this year's annual operating budget of $58.3million. Furthermore, just as Central Park was the leader in the birth of urban parks, so today Central Park, through the Conservancy's innovative care and expertise, is the leader in the rebirth of urban parks, public spaces and the quality of life movement. City officials and park professionals from across America and around the world come to the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks to learn of its best practices to restore and manage their local parks.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: USA trip 27 April - 4 May 2014 Pt X: Strand Bookstore

STRAND BOOKSTORE konsepnya lebih kurang macam BookXcess kot.

Dekat 10pm dah ni.

Lewat malam pun masih ramai yang sedang cari buku.

Hasil tangkapan dalam masa 30 minit.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Operasi muzik KDN lagi

Originally posted in Vinyl Passion group in facebook.

------------

RED ALERT!!! Please read...

The last few weeks I got to know that some of our member packages being detained by KDN (at KLIA) under the ruling of Quranic texts. Yes, most of them are Black Metal music. However, since the officers working at KLIA are music-deaf they cannot differentiate Black Metal at all. As long as it LOOKS like Black Metal to their opinion, they will confiscate. Yes, so sad thinking of the ignorance of these officers.

BLACK METAL to them:

1. Cover artwork with monsters, zombies, hantu galah, hantu kom kom and King Diamond (Elly Rocker take note)

2. Loud guitar music with growl scream vocals (ANY kinds of music not necessarily BM bands).

Also they will check,

3. The song titles and lyrics. Even ONE f**k work printed, considered illegal and must be confiscated. I don't know about others like pussy, cunt, dick, butt, blowjob and so on but I guess this is more like porno DVD to me hahaha...

4. If there is a graphic of tits or butts or genitalias. I had my Motley Crue CD confiscated because there is a collage of naked woman body with male head in one of the pages of the booklet and it is a very small one at one of the edge of the booklet hahaha (it is a dumb collage for duck's sake, if I remember this, I still laugh at it).

I can say this because I had SOME (not FEW) packages being confiscated since I've been ordering music for the past 15-20 years. I confronted them twice. Both unsuccessful if the music you ordered has those 4 elements. The latest, I had a meeting with the director of that particular KDN department and a Jabatan Agama Perak ustaz in Ipoh and the meeting went for about 3 hours. Yet, to no avail.

Nowadays, if I got a letter from them, I just show my finger to the letter and forget about it.

But did I stopped? Of course not. It makes me more determined (but more cautious). It makes me appreciate the music more.

Now, I think this is SEASONAL because so far orders have arrived safely. It has got to do with the political climate at the moment. When the politics get excited, the officers also got excited you know... they need to be at the same level.

Balachandran Rajasaharan please guide your son to be the KDN minister la bro so we can order Bathory and Celtic Frost LPs safely. No problem, we can wait for 20 years for him to finish his study.

For the rest of you, have a nice Sunday and keep that hifi cranking, LOUD!

Monday, May 12, 2014

USA trip 27 April - 4 May 2014 Pt IX: Bleecker Street Records

One final stop at record store where I spent real effort at crate digging was, Bleecker Street Records. Reason? I have the time and they have a really good selections on new vinyls.

The street was a colourful one. Lots of interesting stores. You have to be there to understand ;)

The counter.

Not only in the crate, also at the wall.

The ones at the wall are mostly the rarities (and expensive)

See what I mean? You need hours of browsing.

There are store's shirt for sale as well.

Even slipmat (for turntable) although unfortunately I didn't bought them. I should have!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

USA trip 27 April - 4 May 2014 Pt VIII: Academy Records & CDs.

xczxc

I visited this store last time I was in New York. I remembered buying a few nice CDs from it.

This is a Record Store Day 2014 special release at 1000 limited copies. Bought four copies. One for me and another three for friends back home.

I was very involved in the digging that I abandoned my plan to take pictures. Time is very limited and I have to spent it properly. The following photos were taken from this BLOG. It has a very nice review on the store as well.

I think this store is more on the classical and jazz selection. The rock selection is just so-so. Hardly find any metal but I bought a few metal CDs.

The racks at the front are for new arrival, mostly new and sealed.

The towering CD rack is troublesome for a shorter guy if you are trying to find something at the top.



Friday, May 09, 2014

USA trip 27 April - 4 May 2014 Pt VII: Cancellations and New Jersey

Myself and the other two colleagues went to Penn State University on different agenda. Unfortunately, mine was cancelled due to some technical reasons at which that personnel emailed me later explaining. We had to rush the next day to Newark airport as one of us was going to catch a flight to Washington DC. As for me, I got a meeting tomorrow with a professor from University of North Florida who wanted to meet me for an attachment at UTP. He will fly to meet us at Newark. However, he also cancelled. So that was it. All official business done. I got another two days for leisure. Mind you, this leisure time was paid on my own, OK!

Because of that, I had to move to a cheaper hotel within my budget (Days Inn Newark). It was a double storey, small room just like you see in NYPD kind of tv drama. In fact, on one of the nights, there were an argument of a couple with screams and F words. I was living in an American dream!

New Jersey is an old city mostly populated by black american. At the area of Clinton, I cannot find a single white while we were driving around. Talk about segregation of the population.

But the main agenda of taking two extra days was not to stay in the cheap hotel. The agenda was, to get a bus and head for New York! Not that this was my first visit to New York, this was probably the umpteenth time but who can get enough of it?

So my plan was this... the 1st day, I'll do some crate-digging in the so many record stores at the New Village area of New York. Then on the second day, I will be immersing myself at the Central Park. Let's see how it goes.

Jumaat prayer. We were early. There were ladies as well at the back. Our congregation was about 20-30 people. It must be a different experience to be a Muslim in the USA. The gist of the khutbah was not to whine but strive hard. That is what being a Muslim about. Whining is a thing that Malaysian Muslim does every time. And also fighting each other on miniscule matters.

Posing time!



Thursday, May 08, 2014

USA trip 27 April - 4 May 2014 Pt VI: Double Decker Records

Once all the official works done, we were off for a shopping (what else?). I sent the two professors at Macy's while I drove the nearest record store. I went to Double Decker Records.



Modest, nothing fancy but the selection was good! I get to spent only 1 hour here. No serious crate-digging.

The got an interesting metal section. I wish I got more cash to spare.

Some of the selections.

Enough space to move around comfortably.

Catch of the day!


Due to space constrain on the return flight later, I have to buy LPs that really matters (to me). Otherwise it will be too heavy for me to carry.

Off we go.

The long drive to Penn State University. It was raining all the way.