Akira Kurosawa Movies

In July 2006, a Japanese court ruled that all movies produced prior to 1953 were to be made available into the public domain. And so, many movies by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa were made freely available online, and most importantly legally. Those available on archive.org include Sugata Sanshiro (姿三四郎), They Who Step on Tiger's Tails (虎の尾を踏む男達), Stray Dog (野良犬), Rashomon (羅生門), Ikiru (生きる)

No doubt, the list I've present here is by no means complete and is likely to be further updated when reliable sources of the public domain films are made available. The sole film by Kurosawa that I would really like to see available soon is Seven Samurai (1954 - ouch, not really possible). I have not seen all of his movies, but my favourites so far are (in no specific order): Ran, Kagemusha, Seven Samurai, Rashomon.

Kurosawa's films have had a major influence on world cinema and continue to inspire filmmakers, and others, around the globe. "Seven Samurai" is frequently quoted as being one of the greatest and most influential films ever made, and has influenced modern filmaking in movies such as The Magnificent Seven, A Bugs Life, and Star Wars. Kurosawa's works are also influential to society in general. Most notably, the phrase "Rashomon Effect" has entered popular modern day usage indicating a conflicting situation.



Download the public domain movies by Akira Kurosawa here, available for free, courtesy of archive.org:
Format: 256Kb MPEG4 (Other formats are available on their respective sites)

Sugata Sanshiro (1943) - (195 MB) - site
They Who Step on Tiger's Tail (1945) - (149MB) - site
Nora Inu (Stray Dog (1949) - (313MB) - site
Rashomon (1950) - (226 MB) - site
Ikiru (To Live) (1952) - (367MB) - site

The Moonlight Sonata, aslo known as Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor "Quasi una fantasia", Op. 27, No. 2, was composed by Beethoven in the summer of 1801 in Hungary, on an estate belonging to the Brunswick family. The composition was published in 1802 and was dedicated to Beethoven’s pupil and passion, 17 years old Countess Giulietta Gucciardi.



Download the piano scores for the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven here (pdf):
Beethoven - Moonlight Sonata

Source: All-about-Beethoven.com
Wikipedia: Piano Sonata No. 14 (Beethoven)

Slowly Minute is is the solo project of 24-year-old Sapporo resident Takahiro Chiba. Takahiro blends crazy melodies that don’t line up with each other into playful electronics and live instrumentation - sounds of harps poking at pianos, beats that feel like the computer is drunk, vocals from a cartoon dreamland, and a strangely cinematic, often hilarious use of classic stock keyboards.

Slowly Minute is signed to indie label Bubble Core Records, the same label for Japanese DJ, Nobukazu Takemura. The track "A Constellation and Shooting Stars", from the album "Tomorrow World", combines a good mix of piano sections and synths to create a totally different lounge music piece, heavily influenced by ambient and jazz. What it really feels like is as if the artist were painting an imagery of what he is trying to present.



Download the track here:
Slowly Minute - A Constellation and Shooting Stars (mp3)

Do visit the artist's page at Bubble Core Records for more info and mp3s.

Emme Wong Lyrics

Here are the lyrics to Emme Wong's (黃伊汶) song 愛失救


愛失救 黃伊汶


和我 從前談論海枯石爛
現在 望我都嫌太浪漫
給我電郵 話你得不到空間
自從來電 變得愈聽愈煩

怎去熱戀 怎麼心淡
然後愛到結尾 只有散
喜愛默哀 何必相愛
心灰到眼淚亦能沖淡 Ha..

* 全數接收 愛已失救
沒有心相戀 由我善後
不會內疚 搶先開口
誰又要同情心 縮開你手
誰人願 勉強搶救
動作比分手 還要荒謬
今次問你 知不知醜
離別你眉頭 都不需皺一皺

一切落空 不必起哄
難道講分手 必須發瘋
不要自己 隨便失控
怎可以透露 極其心痛

Repeat *

看你最終 天天站在原地
請記得 是我不喜歡你
要你看通 被別人拋低的滋味
自知失去你 亦總不會死

Repeat *

誰要和你 潛入深海 巨浪
願望若過多 才會絕望
親我 或留住我 一點不稀罕
未能忘掉我 才絕不嚮往
即管拋低我

DJ Mixing Software

Here are some software designed for live mixing between tracks as a DJ would on actual turntables. I have tried many of them and here are some which I think work pretty well for a DJ who wants a good combination of mobility and performance. For best results, use 320K mp3 or Wav when mixing on these software.


1. Traktor



Traktor DJ Studio (now known simply as Traktor) is a software DJ solution developed by Native Instruments. This is actually one of my favourite and most frequently used software if I'm mixing live. I have personally used it in conjuction with a configuration of turntables and an external mixer.

The interface is straight forward and any DJ/musician would find many of its features handy and useful. It also offers a wide variety of features such as support for MIDI controller, EQs, 4 decks, multiple effects, master tempo, etc. The best part about this software is the ability to use it with Tracktor Scratch - meaning you could manipulate the digital tunes on vinyl.

Latest version available is Traktor DJ Studio 3
Download the demo from Native-Instruments here.


2. Ableton Live



Ableton Live is a powerful all-round DJ software. This piece of software is rather unique in the sense that it also allows for composing and arranging track "on-the fly". For this very reason, it is also extremely popular among many professional DJs and musicians. Some people who use Ableton in their livesets and compositions include Armin van Buuren, Sasha, Mogwai, BT, Paul van Dyk, and Daft Punk.

I seldom use Ableton in my sets, in favor of Traktor, partly due to the lower system requirements and functionality. It includes tons of features that I seldom (or never) use when mixing live sets such as track arrangement and sampler. For newcomers, the interface maybe a little daunting but the program provides a nifty little tutorial that'll guide users step-by-step.

Latest version available is Ableton Live 6
Download the demo from Ableton here.


3. Mixxx



Mixxx is an open source DJ tool designed for both professional and amateur DJs alike.

Mixxx allows DJs to mix music live with a clean, simple interface. Futhermore, Mixxx has a number of key features to help DJs in the mix: Beat estimation, parallel visual displays, and support for various DJ hardware controllers.

Mixxx is available for both Windows and Linux. The interface for Mixxx is clean and minimalist. I had only briefly tested this software but it provides basic functionality that any DJ would need for mixing (2 decks, cross-fade, EQ, queuing etc). According to the site, it also supports MIDI controllers. Best of all, it is free (as in freedom of choice and free beer) due to the nature of its GPL license.

Latest version is Mixxx 1.5
Download Mixxx from Sourceforge here.

Long Vacation Piano Score

Here are some piano scores to several songs from the OST of the popular Japanese drama "Long Vacation" on Fuji TV by actor Takuya Kimuya (木村拓哉). The OST was written by Cagnet and contains a wide range of musical styles including RnB, piano instrumental and jazz. I've tried playing parts of the score and found the generally "Close to You" is somewhat easy but "Minami" is rather technical to perform.



Close to You - Piano Piece of Sena 1
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Close to You - Piano Piece of Sena 2
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Minami - Piano Piece of Sena
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Salakavala is a suomisaundi psytrance group from Finland. They group has released many tracks on the internet prior to their album "Fractal Fishing". In addition to that, they also host the popular Finnish psy label Antiscarp.

Suomisaundi, is the dark, twisted metamorphosis of psytrance. It is commonly heard at forest parties at Finland and Sweden but in recent years has proliferated to the rest of the psychedelic trance community worldwide. Nevertheless, suomisaundi is still considered a rather underground sect of the already non-mainstream psytrance genre.

I must say its really something of an eye opener for people who are not familiar with psytrance and the suomi music scene in general. This is exactly the sort of music you have to listen to appreciate.

You can download the entire album in 320K mp3 format here:



Salakavala - Treacherous Tunes
1. When it Comes
2. Oatshaker
3. Antifeidaus (feat. Toletrancer)
4. Fifty Kopecs

Recommended tracks: Track 1, Track 3

Do visit Antiscarp Records for more downloads of Salakavala and other suomisaundi artists such as Mullet Mohawk, Igor Swamp, and Puoskari

A New Day has Come

A New Day has Come
Celine Dion


This is a rather old but cool video by Canadian singer Celine Dion, and here are the lyrics to this great song:

A new day has...come

I was waiting for so long
For a miracle to come
Everyone told me to be strong
Hold on and don't shed a tear

Through the darkness and good times
I knew I'd make it through
And the world thought I had it all
But I was waiting for you

Hush, love

I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe
I've been touched by an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come

Where it was dark now there's light
Where there was pain now there's joy
Where there was weakness, I found my strength
All in the eyes of a boy

Hush, love

I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe
I've been touched by an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come

A new day has...come
Ohhh, a light... OOh

Psytrance mix

Tracklist:

1. Prometheus - One Cell Short of A Brain [Twisted]
2. Puoskari - Dancing Legos [Antiscarp]
3. Derango - Masterdamnit [Inpsyde Media]
4. Transwave - Adoration of The Aum [3D Vision]
5. Aerosis - Take a Suntrip [White Label]
6. Elastic Plastic - xHamburger [White Label]
7. Chi.A.D - Astral Warrior [Nova Tekk]
8. Infinite Dimensions - Apocalypse [White Label]
9. Pandemonium! - A Mad Scientists Night [Metapsychic]
10. Blue Planet Corporation - Antidote (Pleiadians Mix) [Completely Cabbaged]

This is a psytrance mix I did towards the end of September. The set starts out with a good dose of suomisaundi, dark, prog-psy and then transitions into the much harder parts involving old-school goa trance with selected tracks by artists such as Transwave and Chi.A.D.

Download it here:
Feng - Psycho Mix
(51 MB)

光良 - 童話 (Piano Score & Lyrics)


Here's the piano score to Malaysian singer Guang Liang 光良(Michael Wong)'s hit track 童話 (Fairy Tale) also known as "Tong Hua". I don't like the song but some of my friends seem to really love it! The piano score is pretty good though. Anyways, enjoy!

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And here are the lyrics to the song:

童话 - 王光良

忘了有多久 再没听到你
对我说你最爱的故事
我想了很久 我开始慌了
是不是我又做错了什么

你哭着对我说 童话里都是骗人的
我不可能是你的王子
也许你不会懂 从你说爱我以后
我的天空 星星都亮了

我愿变成童话里 你爱的那个天使
张开双手变成翅膀守护你
你要相信 相信我们会像童话故事里
幸福和快乐是结局

我要变成童话里 你爱的那个天使
张开双手变成翅膀守护你
你要相信 相信我们会像童话故事里
幸福和快乐是结局

我会变成童话里 你爱的那个天使
张开双手变成翅膀守护你
你要相信 相信我们会像童话故事里
幸福和快乐是结局
一起写我们的结局

Talamasca - Obsessive Dream

Talamasca has offered his latest psytrance album for free download on his label "Mind Control Records"!



Talamasca
Obsessive Dream
Format: CD (2XCD)
Label: Mind Control Records (France)
Date: May 21, 2007

Track listing:
CD1
01 Talamasca - Obsessive Dream
02 Talamasca - Get It All
03 Talamasca - My Destiny
04 Talamasca - Feelings
05 Talamasca - Supernatural
06 Talamasca - Flashback
07 Talamasca - Overload
08 Talamasca - Spritual Renewal
09 Talamasca - Party Generation
CD2
01 Talamasca With Spacecat - On Purpose
02 Talamasca With XSI And DJ Gogo - The Good Team
03 Sirius Isness - Breaking The Matrix (Talamasca Remix)
04 Talamasca With Skazi - Imaginary Friend (Remix)
05 Talamasca With GMS - High Vibe (Live Version)
06 Talamasca With Shagma - This Isn't A Mistake
07 Talamasca With Eskimo - To Be Continued
08 Talamasca - Frenchman In Tokyo (XSI Remix)
09 Talamasca With Yuman - Ambient'n'roll

The album is a full 2 CD album, with the first CD offering tracks produced by Talamasca and the second CD a compilation of remixes of various groups such as Spacecat, Sirius Isness, Skazi, GMS, Eskimo, XSI and others.

The album is produced in much of a full-on (morning trance) style but has some orchestral psy and old-school goa elements laced in it. What I don't really like about the album is the uniformity of mood throughout all the tracks. However there are some notable tracks worth listening, - Overload, Spiritual Renewal. The second CD offers a greater variety of styles as many artists are featured on it.

While I don't find the album particularly prominent or outstanding in any aspect, I would say it is really noble of Talamasca to let people download the entire album for free. This is a rather decent album, but definitely nothing the sort of material you'd expect in his previous Beyond the Mask and Zodiac albums.

Download it from Mind Control Records here:
Talamasca - Obsessive Dream (full album)

Psybient Mix 26/07/07



Tracklisting:

1. Shpongle - Shpongleyes [Twisted]
2. Testrauschen - Der Panther [White Label]
3. Carbon Based Lifeforms - Comsat [Ultimae]
4. MFG - Hypnotized (Feng Chillout Mix) [White Label]
5. Darkfarmer - Filament [Textone]
6. Astral Projection - Still Dreaming (Anything can Happen) [Trust in Trance]


This is a short psybient/psychill mix I did last night. Just slightly over the 30 minute mark. The set starts off in a surreal mood and gradually progresses, building up intensity and introducing new styles at the same time.

The first track needs no further intro to psy connossieurs really, because any real psy addict would know about Shpongle/Hallucinogen/Celtic Cross/Mystery of the Yeti/Younger Brother - Simon Posford. The second track is a little obscure by underground German electronic music projekt from Munich - Testrauschen. The original "Hypnotized" by MFG (Message from God) was really energetic and trippy but I managed to remix it to sound rather dub-ish and got it mixed with the more electro and IDM sounding "Filament" by Darkfarmer, originally found on textone's Designated Drivers Compilation. Still, the remixed "Hypnotized" still sounds a tad harder than I'd intended it to be. The final track from Astral Projection is actually a chillout version of their legendary goa trance track "People can Fly" from the Israeli group's debut "Trust in Trance" album.

Download the mixset here:

Psybient Mix 26/07/07 (35 MB)


Enjoy!

Rakuzen Chulan Square

Here's a brief report of my Sunday lunch at Rakuzen Chulan Square branch, Kuala Lumpur, some 3 weeks ago with friends.


Chawan Mushi 茶碗蒸 (Steamed Egg), Kaori-hako kani sarada 香り箱かにサラダ (Crab Salad), Chuka Kurage 中華くらげ (Chinese-styled Jellyfish), Yanagawa-nabe 柳川鍋, and Yakitori 焼き鳥 (Skewered Chicken)


Sashimi Moriawase 刺身盛合せ


Salmon Temaki サーモン手巻き, California Temaki カリフォルニア手巻き, and Soft Shell Crab Temaki


Shiitake しいたけ (Skewered Mushroom)


Kimuchi Nabe キムチ鍋 (Seafood Soup-based hot pot)


Unagi Kabayaki うなぎ蒲焼


Sashimi Salad 刺身サラダ


Tempura Moriawase 天婦羅盛合せ


Today's Nimono この日の煮物


Soft shell crab


Sushi Moriawase 寿司盛合せ


Overall, it was a satisfying experience. Yanagawa nabe was something new I tried that day and its quite decent. Favourites here are Shiitake, Sashimi Moriwase, and Sashimi Salad. The Nimono was surprisingly good! (I'm guessing its probably even better going down with a good bottle of sake!)

Rakuzen has a really cosy environment, pretty decent food (although portion is a little small), and its good value for money.

Will return someday!

Moonshine at Laundry Bar

Recommended by Armand Tanzarian, Post Rock musician and a frequent collaborator of mine, I was coaxed into attending Moonshine for May. Moonshine is a music show that happens every month at Laundry Bar, The Curve, in the suburb of PJ, approximately 30 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.



Four of the best bands in the Malaysian underground scene were featured that night. First up the line, was Estrella, a band which plays jazzy, acoustic music. They were the best band on the night IMHO. Great music for chilling out.



Next up was Furniture, which delivered an ambient, spacey, post-rock set that was made distinct by the vocalist's child-like vocals..



Laila's Lounge is up next. Apparently, they played a rock set reminiscent to Radiohead.



Armand told me that they had saved the best band for the last. They Will Kill Us All (TWKUA for short) was the band everyone in the crowd was cheering for, and they did put on a truly banging set that night. But their music wasn't quite to my liking, its just that they're not quite the usual music I listen to. By the time they had finished playing, the crowd was euphoric, and the music sounded as though it were still pumping in your ears.



And let's NOT forget about getting wasted!!



Enjoy!

Photos courtesy of Laundry Bar

Eluvium is one of the more recent ambient acts I've listened to and really got hooked onto. Coming from the indie music label, Temporary Residence. (Which is Explosions in The Sky's label), you can be assured that Eluvium is definately going to be a listening pleasure.

His 2007 album, Copia is an hour long epic journey through ambient landscapes. Eluvium's works are predominantly piano pieces, with subtle intermissions of strings. The music is emotionally provoking at times, yet it keeps its mostly calm, soothing setting throughout the entire album.



TRACK LISTING
1. Amreik
2. Indoor Swimming at the Space Station
3. Seeing You Off The Edges
4. Prelude For Time Feelers (mp3)
5. Requiem on Frankfort Ave.
6. Radio Ballet
7. (Intermission)
8. After Nature
9. Reciting the Airships
10. Ostinato
11. Hymn #1
12. Repose In Blue

For more downloads, visit Eluvium's label at temporary residence.

Its been almost 3 months since I've had any updates at all. Sorry.

I've been spending most of my time on exams after exams, project curio, and I even managed to catch a gig which featured some Malaysian underground bands. More on that later.

For those who didn't know, Utada Hikaru released yet another single!! Though the single's title is yet to be announced, it will feature the track "Kiss & Cry" from the Freedom Cup Noodles commercial. It will be available on sale in Japan beginning 29th of August 2007. So thats something for us all to look forward to. Here's the fan editted video of the radio rip version of "Kiss & Cry" on Youtube:

Utada Hikaru - Flavor of Life Promo Pic

Here's one for all of you Hikki fans out there. It is promotional picture for her latest single "Flavor of Life". Yeah, the latest news is that she recently divorced with her husband Kiriya Kazuaki after 4 years of marriage. I just hope that Kiriya can continue to do some of her PVs, her videos like the ones of Hikari, Final Distance, Sakura Drops, and Colors were all so cool!


courtesy of utada-online.net

You might also want to read a detailed post about "Flavor of life" here:
Hikki's New Single - Flavor of Life

My Little Airport - 悲傷的採購

My Little Airport has again released a new track on their site after 2 months!! It seems that the rumour is true - they might be releasing a new EP soon. The track entitled "悲傷的採購" literally translates to "purchase of sadness". The track is heavy loaded with synths (casio by p) and has a overall lingering electronic but light feel to it.

My Little Airport的新歌"悲傷的採購"延續了上一首歌"畢業變成失業"的主題,即係時下香港年輕人對工作的觀念和一些社會的現實事情。在這一首歌里,Nicole的聲音和阿p的casio電子鋼琴非常合拍,聽起來有一份好輕鬆,煩惱抛諸腦後的感覺。



Download:
My Little Airport - 悲傷的採購 (mp3)

〈悲傷的採購〉

唱: nicole
曲/詞/編/ programming/ casio : 阿p
監製: my little airport

訂了一季 又到下季
為何人大了就要成為工作的奴隸
最愛作的不可發揮

我的感覺 逐漸流逝
從前曾話過要如何欣賞世界的美麗
現在只懂得放假去消費

如果繼續這樣 我還是我嗎?我還喜歡我嗎?
或者我應該死去吧 總好過變得更差
如果繼續這樣 你還願意嗎?和我奏著結他?
日子不應該這樣吧 而現實就是這樣可怕

You can download more of My Little Airport's tracks from their official site and also read about their past tracks on my posts below:
My Little Airport - 畢業變成失業
我愛官恩娜,都不及愛你的哨牙

We Have Your Head

Here's a track that I was sent to me by Kevin from Big Scary Monsters Records. The artist featured below is none other than Richard Walters, an indie/folk rock artist, although the track below leans more towards the minimal genre.



While this is not exactly a genre-breaking track of any sort, the track is quite special in the sense that Walter's melancholic singing style blends in surprisingly well with the distinct shoegazing background of repetitive guitars and gentle piano sections. If you're a fan of shoegaze or chillout music, then this is an artist you should try listening to.

Richard Walter's EP "The Pilot Lights" has just released in February and was recorded in part by David Kosten (producer for Air Traffic, Iain Archer, Bat For Lashes and many more) and in part by Guy Sigsworth (ex-member of Frou Frou (along with Imogen Heap) and producer for Björk, Madonna, Lamb and others).

Richard Walters - We Have Your Head (mp3)


You can check out Richard Walters' myspace here and also buy his latest EP at http://www.bsmrocks.com

林憶蓮 - 詞不達意

林憶蓮 - 詞不達意

4’24
OT: Communication (2003) – The Cardigans
曲:Peter Svensson 詞:小寒 編:劉志遠 監:Jim Lee/Sandy Lam
Recorded & Mixed by Jim Lee
Guitar & Bass Solo: 劉志遠
Drums: Melchior Sarreal
Background Vocal Arrangement: Jim Lee/Sandy Lam
Background Vocal: Sandy Lam
Pro-Tools Editing: Jim Lee
Recording Studio: 唐樓錄音室 (HK)/上赫錄音室 (Taipei)
Mixing Studio: 上赫錄音室 (Taipei)

有些人用一輩子去學習
化解溝通的難題
為你我也可以
我的快樂與恐懼猜疑
很想都翻譯成言語
帶你進我心底

我們就像隔著一層玻璃
看得見卻觸不及
雖然我離你幾毫米
你不會知道我有多著急
無心的坐視不理
我尷尬的沉默裡
淚水在滴

我無法傳達我自己
從何說起
要如何翻譯我愛你
寂寞不已
我也想 能與你
搭起橋梁
建立默契
卻詞不達意

在你的盲點裡寸步不移
不論天晴或下雨
陪著你悲傷歡喜
你難道從來不覺得好奇
你身旁冷清擁擠
我一直在這裡
不說一句

我無法傳達我自己
從何說起
要如何翻譯我愛你
遺憾不已
我也想 能與你
搭起橋梁 建立默契

我必須得先看明白我自己
翻譯成一句我愛你
我也想 能與你
搭起橋梁 建立默契
卻詞不達意 詞不達意

Thanks to re-sandy-lam.com for the lyrics

Crane's Perfect World

Cranes is a shoegazing band formed in the mid 1980s in UK. They play mostly alt rock, dream pop, and also sometimes gothic rock. This is a track from their band's 1997 EP entitled "Can't Get Free". The band's style leans heavily towards ambient and ethereal sounds. The shoegaze "feel" is further amplified with the calm, gentle strumming of a solo guitar as well as lead singer Alison Shaw's ever prominent child-like vocals.



Cranes - Perfect World (mp3)

Visit Crane's official site on dadaphonic.com for further details of the band's latest gigs and downloads.

14 message ~every ballad songs 2~, Every Little Thing

"14 message ~every ballad songs 2~" is the title of Every Little Thing's 4th "Best Of" Albums. It was just released on Valentines Day 2007 and is currently No. 2 on Oricon's Album chart. It is a collection of some of Every Little Thing's best songs and celebrates the tenth anniversary of the group's debut. Includes all their singles, live recordings, and fan-selected tracks spanning their complete history of ballads!

14 message ~every ballad songs 2~(フォティーン・メッセージ~エヴリ・バラード・ソング・ツー~)全曲原音で収録されており、ヒット曲「UNTITLED 4 ballads」収録曲、「恋文」、「また あした」といった前作ベスト以降の14曲が収録されている。



収録内容:
1. UNSPEAKABLE
2. キヲク
3. 雨の鳴る夜、しずくを君に
4. ソラアイ
5. nostalgia
6. しあわせの風景
7. azure moon
8. ルーム
9. 恋文
10. 五月雨
11. 帰り道
12. good night
13. また あした
14. 愛の謳

I'm listening to the album now and I really like what I'm listening to so far. I'll probably submit some lyrics once I'm done translating them. In the meantime, you can view the PV of ELT's song UNSPEAKABLE from Oricon here. You can also read about the interview with ELT regarding their new album (sorry it is in Japanese only).














Open Office is a suite of office applications developed by Sun Microsystems. It is an open-source alternative to Microsoft's Office Suite and for this reason, it is often bundled together with various Linux distros such as Knoppix, Ubuntu and MEPIS. It also has the ability to save the documents in native Microsoft Office formats so that you can continue to work with your document even though the computer doesn't have Open Office installed.

Of course, there are several setbacks to Open Office. Firstly, its the incompatibility of the formatting Open Office with Microsoft Office. Of course, as time advances, compatibility between the two offices have increased by leaps and bounds and formatting is now a small problem for Open Office. The next issue is printing problems with Open Office in Linux. This is a problem that I have personally faced numerous times. Most users overcome this problem by either exporting their document as a PDF file and print them or take the drastic measure, ie. to reinstall their printer in Open Office.

Of all the problems mentioned above, the most common problem faced by Open Office users is of course the program's slow loading time. I've tested some methods to speed up Open Office's loading time and here's a list of methods I've found useful for my machine. I'm running a P4 with 256MB of RAM and Open Office takes almost 30 seconds to load. After applying the changes, Open Office now loads about 30% faster!! (thankfully!)


1. Increase Memory Cache
This is a method to decrease the loading time by tweaking the memory settings.
Go to:
Applications-->OpenOffice.org Writer-->Tools-->Options
Under the OpenOffice.org heading, select Memory,
Under Graphics Cache, change the "Use for OpenOffice.org" to 30 MB (or more if you have >512MB RAM)
Change "Memory per Object" to 2.0 MB
Close OpenOffice.org

2. Reduce Number of Undo Steps
Go to:
Applications-->OpenOffice.org Writer-->Tools-->Options
Under the OpenOffice.org heading, select Memory,
Now change these settings:
Undo:Number of steps = 25

3. Disable Java Runtime Environment
Apparently Open Office also loads the Java Runtime Environment at startup to handle databases. If you don't use database, you can disable the feature.
Applications-->OpenOffice.org Writer-->Tools-->Options
Click on Java, and deselect “Use Java Runtime Environment.”


Restart the program and and this should give you a much faster Open Office!

Happy Chinese New Year

祝大家在豬年,豬肥屋潤,事事順利, 風調雨順!!
Happy Chinese New Year!!

Prison Break Flash Game

"...We go tonight..."

This is the official Prison Break flash game on the Prison Break DVD special site. In this game, you play the role of prison inmate Michael Scofield trying to breakout to save his brother Lincoln Burrows from a death sentence. You have to make your way through tunnels and secret rooms to ultimately steal across the yard and over the wall. Breakout your way towards freedom!

As Micheal Scofield said, breaking out is just the beginning!



Tips:
Sneak up behind guards to knock them out. But be really careful when you're doing this, they'll hear you if you run. Avoid search lights by hiding in the shadows. Use the left and right arrow keys to walk, holding SHIFT to run. Use the up arrow key to reach above. Use the down arrow key to crouch or climb down. Press space bar to jump.

Play it now


You might also want to know how to fold the paper crane from Prison Break.

Intercontinental Hussle of Magyar Posse

Magyar Posse is a six piece band, capable of conjuring up sounds that are surprisingly fun to listen to. The band is from Finland, and specializes in post rock. The track "International Hussle" below is performed live in Oulu, Finland on 17/04/2005 and is part of a larger liveset performed by Magyar Posse. The track is somewhat progressive and builds upon the steady melody and background. Towards the second hald of the track, a solo violin plays - giving the track some much needed elegance. Towards the end of the track however, the track is extremely distorted sounding, providing a stark contrast of mood as compared to the progression and solo violins.



Magyar Posse - Intercontinental Hussle (mp3)

You might also want to check out Magyar Posse's official site.

The Postal Service

The Postal Service is electronic indie band which is popular among the worldwide underground music community. The track featured here "Such Great Heights" has been featured in many various TV series and films such as Grey's Anatomy, and the trailer for the film "Garden State".



In this special remix by house/techno DJ and electronic music artist John Tejada, the track "Such Great Heights" is presented as a rendition of electronic music closer to likes of tech house and electro clash. Light enough to be listened on its own, yet still mixable into house sets, the track is made up of simple beats and light synths - groovy and ideal for mixing into intros of sets.

The Postal Service - Such Great Heights (John Tejada Remix) (mp3)


You may want to also visit postalservicemusic.net and paletterecordings for more info on "The Postal Service"

Kid's Return (キッズ・リターン) was one of Takeshi Kitano's greatest films. Like many of Kitano's films, Kid's Return is centred around the yakuza (Japanese gangster) theme. The movie is about two high school dropouts who try to find a direction and meaning in their lives—one by becoming a yakuza lieutenant, the other by becoming a boxer.



As usual, Joe Hisaishi (久石譲), the composer of film scores for many of Takeshi Kitano's movies, gets to write for Kid's Return as well. The track is has many traditional sounds such as drums and also manipulates vocal samples to infuse that native Japanese folk rhythm into the track.

And here's the piano scores for Kid's Return.
[Page 1] [Page 2] [Page 3] [Page 4] [Page 5] [Page 6]


Credits to joehisaishi.net for providing the scores.

You might also want these other scores by Joe Hisaishi:
Laputa: Castle in the Sky's Piano Score
Kikujiro no Natsu Piano Score

Tics by Lars Horntveth

Been listening to alot of Scandinavian music lately - Bjork, Efterklang, Sigur Ros, and now Lars Horntveth - musical leader of Norwegian ten-man band Jaga Jazzist.



Over the last ten years, he has crafted a truly unique and innovative body of work. While Lars' style is remarkably similar to his works in Jaga Jazzist (of course, they're the same person involved in different projects) but the tracks released under Lars Horntveth's own name are a far more personal piece of work. His track were recorded entirely with real instruments and a nine-piece string ensemble on board to supply some extra textures, with the exception of programmed beats. In the tracks "Tics", strings (in both simple, short bows and pizzicatos) are the instruments of choice chosen by Lars to give the track a curious, playful, yet relaxing mood to it.

If you're a fan of Jaga Jazzist or the like, don't wait anymore. Download the track featured below on Lars Horntveth's official site now! You won't be disappointed.

Lars Horntveth - Tics (mp3)

Bjork - Verandi

Bjork is one of the hallmarks of contemporary Icelandic and Scandinavian music. And here's a free download featured by Bjork on her official website. This is a track from her single "Hidden Place", which in turn from her 2001 hit album "Vespertine". Quoting from her site, Bjork mentions that:

"'Hidden Place' is sort of about how two people can create a paradise just by uniting. You've got an emotional location that's mutual. And it's unbreakable. And obviously it's make-believe. So, you could argue that it doesn't exist because it's invisible, but of course it does. And it's sort of a one-nil situation."



I've always liked the way she writes and arranges her tracks. Her albums are often very graphic and thought provoking, depicting scenes of distorted sexual acts such as fellatio and vaginal penetration. Despite the unconventional style in many of her tracks, it is still somewhat easy on the listeners' ears. The track "Verandi" featured here highlights Bjork's signature vocals and with that flute and eerie synth loop reminiscent to church bells ringing in the distance and repeating in the background. You will be left feeling slightly disturbed, but never confused after listening to the track.

Bjork - Verandi (mp3)


Do visit her official site for more news and downloads.

Our Last Day - Casshern OST

This is the soundtrack for CASSHERN, a Japanese film released in 2004. I know its a bit late for this post but I just couldn't resist writting about it. Apart from The Myth OST and Requiem for a Dream OST, this album is another of the best OSTs released in recent times. The soundtrack consists of 2 CDs, CD1 being a collection of tracks inspired by the movie and CD 2 the tracks that make up the background music in the movie.

The music in these 2 CDs are extremely varied and ranges from j-rock (Hyde, The Back Horn, GLAY), house (Satoshi Tomiie, Towa Tei), lovely ballads (Onitsuka Chihiro, Shiina Ringo, Utada Hikaru) and plain instrumental (Shiro Sagisu in CD2) as well. The track "Requiem" by The Back Horn which is featured in the fight scene between Tetsuya and Burai has become quite a cult favourite and helped boost The Back Horn's popularity worldwide immensely. "Borderline" by Onitsuka Chihiro is also a great track with hauntingly beautiful vocals. The track "誰かの願いが叶うころ (Dare ka no negai kanau koro) by Hikki is the ending theme for the movie. Coupled with a piano solo, the track has a certain melancholic aura to it. As for CD2, my favourite tracks by Shiro Sagisu are "軌道" which is the music for Tetsuya's revival and "The Last Day" during the final scene. Shiro Sagisu's talent combined with his fine use of orchestra and simple strings help make the music both dramatic and emotional in each and every aspect.

Simply put, ther's never a filler or a boring moment in this soundtrack. Instrumental or not, every track is great in its own special way and that's what that makes Our Last Day a great soundtrack.



Our Last Day - Casshern Offical Album

CD1
1. 椎名林檎 / 『茎(ステム)』
2. MONDO GROSSO / 『LIKE NO ONE'S LOOKING』 [Listen Realplayer] [Listen WMP]
3. HYDE / 『MASQUERADE』
4. TOWA TEI / 『ORIGINAL HUMAN』
5. ACIDMAN / 『水写』
6. SS:ST(Shiro SAGISU & Satoshi TOMIIE)[Listen Realplayer] [Listen WMP]
7. 鬼束ちひろ / 『BORDERLINE』 [Listen Realplayer] [Listen WMP]
8. THE BACK HORN / 『レクイエム』
9. GLAY / 『無限のdeja vuから~Peaceful Session~』
10. 宇多田ヒカル / 『誰かの願いが叶うころ』 [Listen Realplayer] [Listen WMP]

CD2
1. 荒廃
2. 暗影
3. 胎動
4. 眩暈
5. 神意
6. 軌道
7. 復活
8. 足音
9. 祈り
10. 幻影
11. 叫び
12. 記憶
13. 輪廻
14. THE LAST DAY

CD2 Composed and Arranged by Shiro SAGISU, Except:
[M-8] Composed by Tomohiko GONDO , Arranged by Tomohiko GONDO and Yuichiro HONDA
[M-9] Composed by Yuichiro HONDA and Tomohiko GONDO , Arranged by Yuichiro HONDA
[M-11] Composed and Arranged by Shiro SAGISU , Additional Production: Yuichiro HONDA
[M-14] Composed and Arranged by Tomohiko GONDO


The film is brilliant, and the soundtrack just blows your mind off, what else can you ask for?



Casshern OST's official site from toshiba-emi

Here's a great game that is similar to the style of Risk board games except it has simpler rules. Your armies are dice, and when you attack another country, all the dice involved are rolled. In this game, you start off with a predetermined amount of dice and make strategic decisions to attack and claim enemy territory. One wrong move and that could be your last!!



Play it now

This game is developed by the great folks at gamedesign.jp.

My Little Airport - 畢業變成失業

My Little Airport has just released another track on their site last week! The track entitled "畢業變成失業" which literally means "Graduation becomes unemployment" is a really cool track. The song retains the band's usual style and manages to capture the essence and feeling of many Hong Kong's youth which is the helplessness once they graduate and step into society.

My Little Airport 又推出新歌 "畢業變成失業"。新歌亦保留My Little Airport一貫搞笑,輕鬆又可愛的風格,令人聽起來很舒服。更難得是歌詞内容可以形容香港時下好多年輕人剛剛畢業踏出社會,又要面對失業,很迷惶,很無助的一種心態。

真喺好好聽GA!!



Download the track here:
My Little Airport - 畢業變成失業 (mp3)


Here are the lyrics:

唱: nicole
曲/詞/guitars: 阿p
編: 阿p/ nicole/ 阿賢@22cats/阿科@22cats
bass: 阿賢@22cats
drums: 阿科@22cats


一畢業就等於失業,
一畢業就等於失業。

Shoo do do do do do do do
shoo do do do do do do do
shoo do do do do do do do
shoo do do do do do do do。

七個月見左三十九份工,
搵份工仲難過搵老公,
我今日只想留在家中。

Shoo do do do do do do do
shoo do do do do do do do
shoo do do do do do do do
shoo do do do do do do do。

見工見到入左去東涌,
點知份工要去掘山窿,
我今日只想留在家中。
聽見同學逐個搵到工,
但我仍在尋尋覓覓中,
沒有人比我更加「火農」,
不幸正與我結伴中。

Shoo do do do do do do do
shoo do do do do do do do
shoo do do do do do do do
shoo do do do do do do do。

之後見岩份工以為好輕鬆,
因為份工基本上係無人工,
我今日只想留在家中。

Shoo do do do do do do do
shoo do do do do do do do
shoo do do do do do do do
shoo do do do do do do do。

一畢業就已經失業,
一畢業就已經失業。


You might also want to read up on my other posts about My Little Airport here:
我愛官恩娜,都不及愛你的哨牙
HK's best kept secret - My Little Airport

Back by popular demand! Here's the music video and lyrics to つじあやの Tsuji Ayano's popular track "風になる" (Kaze ni naru - I become the wind). The track is the theme song for Studio Ghibli's hit movie "The Cat's Returns" (猫の恩返し). I can't explain how it feels, but the video is really cool cuz everyone is wearing glasses in it.



「風になる」歌詞

忘れていた目を閉じて 取り戻せ恋のうた
青空に隠れている 手を伸ばしてもう一度

忘れないですぐそばに 僕がいるいつの日も
星空を眺めている 一人きりの夜明けも

たった一つの心 悲しみに暮れないで
君のためいきなんて 春風に変えてやる

陽のあたる坂道を 自転車で駆けのぼる
君と失くした 想い出乗せて行くよ

ララララ 口ずさむ くちびるを染めて行く
君と見つけた しあわせ 花のように


忘れていた窓開けて 走り出せ恋のうた
青空に託している 手をかざしてもう一度

忘れないよすぐそばに 君がいるいつの日も
星空に輝いてる 涙揺れる明日も

たった一つの言葉 この胸に抱きしめて
君のため僕は今 春風に吹かれてる

陽のあたる坂道を 自転車で駆けのぼる
君と誓った約束 乗せて行くよ

ララララ 口ずさむ くちびるを染めて行く
君と出会えた しあわせ 祈るように


陽のあたる坂道を 自転車で駆けのぼる
君と誓った約束 乗せて行くよ

ララララ 口ずさむ くちびるを染めて行く
君と出会えた しあわせ 祈るように
君と出会えた しあわせ 祈るように


ROMAJI:

wasurete ita me wo tojite
tori modose koi no uta
aozora ni kakureteiru
te wo nobashite mou ichido
wasurenaide sugu soba ni
boku ga iru itsu no hi mo
hoshizora ni nagameteiru hitori kiri no yoake mo
tatta hitotsu no kokoro kanashimi ni kurenaide
kimi no tameiki nante harukaze ni kaete yaru

hi no ataru sakamichi wo
jitensha de kake noboru
kimi to nakushita omoide nosete iku yo
RARARARARA kuchizusamu
kuchibiru wo somete iku
kimi to mitsuketa shiawase hana no you ni

wasurete ita mado akete hashiri dase koi no uta
aozora ni takushiteiru
te wo kazashite mou ichido
wasurenai yo sugu soba ni
kimi ga iru itsu no hi mo
hoshizora ni kagayaiteru namida yureru ashita mo
tatta hitotsu no kotoba kono mune ni dakishimete
kimi no tame boku ha ima harukaze ni fukareteru

hi no ataru sakamichi wo
jitensha de kake noboru
kimi to chikatta yakusoku nosete iku yo
RARARARARA kuchizusamu
kuchibiru wo somete iku
kimi to deaeta shiawase inoru you ni

hi no ataru sakamichi wo
jitensha de kake noboru
kimi to chikatta yakusoku nosete iku yo
RARARARARA kuchizusamu
kuchibiru wo somete iku
kimi to deaeta shiawase inoru you ni

kimi to deaeta
shiawase inoru you ni


ENGLISH:

I forgot, closing my eyes
To take back the love song
Hiding in the blue sky
I'll stretch my hands to it once more
Don't forget that no matter when
I'll be right next to you
Gazing up at the starry sky, although the dawn is lonely
Just your one heart, won't grow dark in sadness, and
I'll change your sighs into the spring wind

I'll ascend the sunny hillpath
On my bicycle
And I'll take along those memories you lost
La la la la la, I hum a tune
And it color my lips
The happiness I've found with you is like a flower

I forgot, opening the window, the love song, as I started to run
Entrusting it to the blue sky
Once more, I held my hand over my head
I won't forget that no matter when
You'll be right next to me
Shining in the starry sky is the tomorrow where our tears tremble
Just your one word, holding it to my heart
For your sake, I am now being blown back by the spring wind

I'll ascend the sunny hillpath
On my bicycle
And I'll take along the promise I swore to with you
La la la la la, I hum a tune
And it color my lips
The happiness I was able to meet with you is what I pray for

I'll ascend the sunny hillpath
On my bicycle
And I'll take along the promise I swore to with you
La la la la la, I hum a tune
And it color my lips
The happiness I was able to meet with you is what I pray for

The happiness I was able to meet with you
Is what I pray for


If you enjoyed the video, you might also want to read these related posts about Tsuji Ayano:
つじあやの - 心は君のもとへ (歌詞とPV)
COVER GIRL by Tsuji Ayano
Balanco
Tsuji Ayano

Computer Testing Utilities

Here's a list of software that's essential for your testing and benchmarking of your computer's performance. By running these software, you are able to determine a system's capability, overall stability and compare it to other systems (benchmarking). All software featured below are freeware and are often used to test new computers as well as overclocked systems.

1. CPU Z
While not exactly a testing software, CPU-Z is a freeware that gathers information on some of the main devices of your system. It is really useful as it displays all information about your system such as processor type and specification, L1 and L2 cache size, motherboard and bios version, and RAM information. Good for identifying information that is critical for troubleshooting a problematic system.



Download CPU-Z 1.38 from cpuid.com


2. Memtest

MemTest is a RAM reliability tester. By running MemTest you can ensure that your computer's RAM is functioning correctly. This is a good thing to check whenever you buy a new computer, install new RAM, or change the configuration of your machine (for instance, to overclock it). If you are the sort of user who likes to push the performance of your machine to the edge, relying upon whether your machine will boot after your new BIOS tweaks is a poor way to determine the safety of your new settings, you can use MemTest as a true test of stability.



Download Memtest from hcidesign.com


3. Disk Speed

This nifty piece of software performs disk speed test and provided details about how fast your disks can transfer data. The information provided includes data transfer rate for linear reads, random read transfer rate and the seek time of the drive.



Download Roadkil's Disk Speed from roadkil.net


4. Prime95

This is a popular software among overclockers worldwide for benchmarking of their systems and is also a distributed computing project. The software is widely used for "torture tests". Testers often leave the system to run Prime95 for weeks and months on end. Prime95 uses the computer to find Mersenne prime numbers, and in the process of doing this, it pushes the CPU's floating point units extremely hard, causing the CPU to become extremely hot - making Prime95 an extremely viable software for testing system stabilty. There is also a Linux version called MPrime.



Download Prime95 from mersenne.org


If your computer passes all these tests, then you can be pretty confident that your computer is fit and ready to go!

Here's a list of some of the top 10 nujazz/downtempo tracks I've listened to. I've actually published this list on internetdj.com sometime ago but I didn't feature it here. Most artist from this list are indie-based and signed to small labels with the exception of Japanese DJ, Towa Tei.

Best of Contemporary Nu-Jazz, Downtempo and Breakbeat:

1. Neutrino - Syupaman (mp3) [Read more]
2. Seksu Roba - Zero Gravity Miniskirt (mp3) [Read more]
3. Ohrlab - Voyage (mp3) [Read more]
4. DishTone - Grand Piano
5. Cinélux - Hollis (mp3) [Read more]
6. OMR - The Door (mp3) [Read more]
7. Slowly Minute - A Constellation & Shooting Stars
8. Towa Tei - A Ring
9. Zagar - Bossa Astoria (mp3) [Read more]
10. Skalpel - Ninjazz (mp3) [Read more]

Enjoy!

In the Emmy Award winning TV series Prison Break, Michael Scofield leaves origami paper folded cranes in important places in his attempt to arrange an escape from prison for himself and his older brother Lincoln Burrows who was sentenced to death. FOX has called this paper folding a crane or a swan on various occasions before, but it really is an origami duck. Since watching the series, I've always wanted to fold the paper crane for fun. Found the following instructions from flettfolding.

Instructions on How to Fold the Origami Crane from Prison Break:








And there you are! You're done! Your finished product should look more or less like this:


by Smart J

You can also download the original pdf file from flettfolding.

And here's a video on Youtube teaching you how to fold the paper crane as well:


Here's another version of the crane and this version is the official version released by FOX on Prison Break's official site. It doesn't look too much like the actual crane in the series IMO.

 



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