Mar. 6th, 2010

erkhyan: My fursona (Default)
Thorgal was originally a comic series by Van Hamme about a Viking who turns out to be an alien who meets nordic gods... or something like that. Anyway, in 1999 someone decided to make a full album of music inspired by the story. The first time I heard it, it was an extract from the second Track that immediately called to me. Three years ago, I finally got the album itself and... well... it turns out the whole thing combines exceptional music and melodies with lyrics that border on Narm-y Purple Prose. Since I can't share the album with anyone, I'll share what I thought of its contents:

01. Ouverture (00:26)
Bass line with sound effects that are an interesting mix of natural and electronic. Too short a piece to be really worth listening alone.

02. Enfants des Étoiles (03:49)
The song used in the trailer that introduced me to the album. The chorus actually sounds very good, with lyrics not too bad. If only the verses weren't purple prose declaimed in a rap music manner by teenage girls...

03. Mon bel Amour (03:54)
You will die of sucrose-induced poisoning. This is the album's main ballad, with not half-bad music but with lyrics that would sound too purplishly romantic to even appear in a Céline Dion album.

04. Terre du Nord (03:44)
An interesting mix of ethnic chanting and electronic music. Without any understandable lyrics, this actually makes for a nice listening.

05. Aaricia (03:46)
The album's second love song. The melodies are excellent and the voice is good... but as usual, the lyrics will make you want to gouge your ears out. Bonus points for the chorus, which is in English rather than French: Looove will... Lo-o-o-o-ooo-ve... Love will bring, Looo-o-ove will bring... Looove will... Lo-o-o-o-ooo-ve... Love bring my love back to me... What, did George Lucas write this song?

06. Oracle 1 (01:02)
Celtic instrumental, mingled of course with some electronic sound processing. The slightly epic rythm makes me think of someone riding a horse at full speed over cold mountains.

07. Louve (03:34)
A song about a kid named Louve ("She-Wolf") who grew among wolves. The verses sound good as a children's song, the chorus sounds good as a song about the vast expanses of untarnished nature. Problem? While the verses and the chorus are excellent on their own, they don't sound good together. The backing vocals featured in this song are among the best, though, perfectly complementing the main singer's voice at all times.

08. Oracle 2 (03:29)
Electronic instrumental, with some ethnic chanting... and, surprisingly, an electronically modified diva's voice. The "bombarde" (Breton wind instrument) solo from Enfants des Étoiles makes several appearances.

09. Kriss de Valmor Intro (00:38)
A short piece performed on a very aerial electronic organ. As the title says, it introduces the next song, and does it efficiently enough.

10. Kriss de Valmor (05:21)
This one begins in a very unsettling mix of pipe organ and electric sound effects, with some sinister-sounding choirs in the background. It makes you understand from the beginning: Kriss de Valmor is not a nice person. But then the singing begins, and you get several women who tell you how evil Kriss de Valmor is ("Evil looks like a woman"). And the song surprisingly manages to make you believe it... especially the chorus. A good example of an unsettling but very well-done song. Well, if you don't count the last minute and a half: someone apparently went happy-go-nutty with the mixing tables.

11. Shaigan Sans Merci (02:19)
It begins with a very deep, evil male voice who recites a speech intended to bring your morale to its knees, aided by a macabre instrumental in the background. Around the two-thirds of the piece though, the instrumental turns into a nostalgic tone, and the recitation suddenly takes a desperately hopeful tone...

12. Terre du Milieu (05:20)
A fully instrumental piece, mixing traditional Breton instruments and electronic music all along. This piece makes you think of vast tundras under a cloudy sky, seen from an eagle's point of view. It inspires vastness and freedom, probably as the authors intended. One thing they probably didn't intend though: the music also has a very sensual edge, like the kind of music that underlines both the emotion and the erotism behind a movie's love scene.

13. La Mémoire des Vivants 1 (04:22)
A song about the regrets of people who went to war with friends at their sides and came home alone. A tad Definitely narm-y, but good enough.

14. La Mémoire des Vivants 2 (01:06)
Ethnic chanting set to the main melody of the previous song. No understandable lyrics, so it doesn't sound as narm-y. It actually sounds like the kind of music you'd hear in a movie when the heroes come back to their village after a terrible battle and are greeted cheerfully by the defenseless people they just saved.

15. Les Elfes (01:36)
The piece that will make you understand that not all elves are beautiful, perfect creatures. In this one, a very unsettling, mechanical voice chants... something. But it sounds very sinister.

16. Jolan (03:34)
This is probably the song with the best voices and melody in the whole album. If it was remade without the purple prose that make up the lyrics, it would be perfect. Bonus points for both the singer's voice and the backing vocals: ex-cel-lent.

17. Rituels (02:30)
Features the same voice as in Les Elfes, but in a setting that makes it sound like a mix of Tibetan monk chanting and Celtic music. Plus the same opera voice as in Oracle 2.

18. Déesse Frigg (02:46)
Yet another speech with background music. This one is the goddess Frigg welcoming Thorgal in Asgard... for a short stay. And promising him that he'll be back to the trouble and pain that is his earthly life soon enough. Bitch.
erkhyan: My fursona (Default)
There was an almost-rematch of last week's flood just right now. Mom had forgotten to turn the tap off after washing the dishes earlier in the afternoon. Fortunately, with the sink now repaired, no water reached the ground. I still don't want to look at this month's water bill...

In other news, I visited the exposition on "Studying Abroad for Young Malagasy" exposition on wednesday, just to see if there was an opportunity. Turns out it should have been called "Studying in France (and a few less important locations) for Young Rich Malagasy who are interested in Management and Marketing". I'll explain. More than half the booths were occupied by French associations. The other half were split between a British university (De Montfort university — a wink to Class Menagerie fans!), one Chinese university, the LimKokKwing University in Malaysia and the university of Douala in Cameroon. There were also offers from Canada, but there was no way I could plan on these: I'm at least two years short on studies for the minimum requirements.

Mom wants me to still take a try at these, no matter if 99% of classes are about management and marketing. It matters little that I have as much affinity for these as, say, Spock has for hardcore pornography. I have no single managerial and very little marketing skill, nor do I feel I could easily learn these. I warned Mom that if I were to take a management or marketing class, it would look like my third year at the ISPM: the greatest efforts, for grades that would never go above a C- at the very best. Not to mention stress and the fact that, well, studies aren't cheap.

In other news, a friend of mine lost his grandfather to a messy accident involving alcohlol and a truck. I didn't attend the funeral but was present for the "famoahana", or the small ceremony that happens before transferring the corpse from the house to the church. I hope I didn't make yet another social faux pas by not being more present (but did I mention I really can't stand attending funerals?)

Mom's getting impatient for me to get another job. Especially since she's had to replace much of her photocopier's internal parts, which means we're quite tight on money (Mom insisted on withdrawing from our saving accounts rather than my more accessible bank account)

The Malagasy New Year happens on March 16. Very few Malagasy even know that... The date is based on the beginning of the rice harvest, which make me wonder if the date is really shared by all 18 ethnies or only those whose culture revolves around growing rice. For example, how does it work for the cattle-based cultures like the Bara and the Antandroy, or those like the Vezo whose lives are based on the ocean and its products? The local education system is so Merina-centric, I can't even learn more than the most basic facts about the 17 other ethnies.

The pups are doing fine, though there are definitely frictions caused by Poopy's turbulent nature... and on the other side, Blotchie's near taciturnity. Note to self, bring Blotchie to the vet's on monday.

What is it with all the earthquakes? Come on, don't start making the Malagasy think that the latest Roland Emerich movie is close to happening for real!

Note on the devastating storm that hit France: why is it that there were so many fatalities? I mean, warnings were given far enough in advance that even I heard about the storm's destructive power several hours before it began. And yet, over fifty people lost their lives. I'd like to understand -- after all, I was there for the 1999 storms, which caused less fatalities despite hitting with very little advance warning.

Last: are Washington DC's new gender-neutral marriage laws going to be challenged by a referendum or not? TV5 Monde says the former, Yahoo! News says the latter. A bit confuse there.
erkhyan: My fursona (Default)
First, I forgot to say: I completely burnt today's lunch rice. Heh. Mom wants me to stop teasing her about HER burning the rice on a regular basis. You think that'll stop me? ;-)

Second: Somali pirates seize tanker off coast of Madagascar. What did I say last year? It was a matter of time before they realized Malagasy waters are literally havens, with the chance of meeting coastguard units close to the absolute zero.

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erkhyan: My fursona (Default)
Franck P. Rabeson

September 2011

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