Archive for October, 2009

Cool stuff I want, Part 100,000,002: Serato Scratch Live

Posted in Music, Stuff on October 19, 2009 by thebigsmoke


Hip hop video of the day, Sunday 18 October 2009

Posted in Music on October 18, 2009 by thebigsmoke

Nas: Nas is Like

One thing I have to say about Nas is he’s a hell of a rapper. The production on his records doesn’t always do his microphone skills justice, but this collaboration with DJ Premier definitely hits the right note. In ‘Nas is Like’ his clever life and death lyrics are perfectly complimented by an inspired strings sample and a heavy beat.

I have to admit, when I compare Nas to Dizzee Rascal or another of the current crop of pretenders, I find myself desperately pining for the good old days. Nas is like half man, half amazing. No doubt.

Hip hop video of the day, Monday 12 October 2009

Posted in Music on October 12, 2009 by thebigsmoke

DJ P & DJ Crime: B-Boy Massacre

DJ P is best known for teaming up with DJ Z-Trip to produce seminal mixtape Uneasy Listening. That was ten years ago and since then Z-Trip has gone from strength to strength, playing at sold out shows across the globe. His association with DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist no doubt helped him reach a new audience, but it’s his technical flare and talent for rocking a crowd which sets him apart; he was recently voted the number one DJ in America by DJ Times and will feature prominently in the upcoming DJ Hero video game.

Because DJ Z-Trip has become so established, a lot of people forget DJ P had anything to do with Uneasy Listening at all. Whereas Z-Trip responds to his audience and always seeks to accommodate their needs, P seems to have nothing but contempt for the average listener. His scathing attitude to chart music and mainstream hip hop makes him an underground hero; but it also makes him inaccessible for most.

I have recently sought out some of DJ P’s more obscure mixes and have been really impressed by what I’ve found. I may post some mixtapes in the near future, but for now here’s ‘B-Boy Massacre’, an eclectic blend of Midnight Oil, U2, The Ultramagnetic MCs, The Prodigy, The Police and more. Just what you might expect from P, and it has lots of samples from the film The Warriors which is a nice bonus. DJ Crime is apparently responsible for splicing together the video, and he’s done a fine job too.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Posted in Video Games on October 11, 2009 by thebigsmoke

Being the comics nerd I am, I rushed to get my copy of this game when I read the reviews and it eventually hit stores. Does it live up to the hype? Well, yes, it pretty much does.

It really helps that they brought in Paul Dini to write the script, because in Arkham Asylum the story mode actually feels like an interactive comic, and a decent comic at that. I raced through the main game in a matter of a few days and was sad when it all came to an end. At least the Challenge mode is still keeping me occupied.

One area where I was a little let down was with the puzzles. I didn’t find them particularly challenging, so the bits where I got held up involved old-fashioned button bashing combat or jumping from platform to platform without getting hurt. There are countless riddles to be solved and items to be found, but you can find various maps which provide you with all the solutions. It makes the exercise a bit pointless.

Anyway, overall it’s all highly addictive and easily the best superhero game to have ever been made. I wanted to keep on playing to see which familiar character would feature next. For fans of Batman, this is probably the most rewarding aspect of the game.

Recently read

Posted in Books on October 9, 2009 by thebigsmoke

The Complete Raffles Volume 1: The Amateur Cracksman & The Black Mask
By E. W. Hornung

I thought I’d take a break from posting up YouTube videos to share my thoughts on my recent reading. In particular, I wanted to express my affection for the Raffles stories by E. W. Hornung.

If you haven’t heard of A. J. Raffles before, he’s an urbane man about town, gifted cricketer and thrill-seaking professional thief. Created by the brother-in-law of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it’s not unusual to hear him described as Sherlock Holmes’ antithesis. The Raffles stories are boys own adventure and they do share a similar kind of format, with Raffles assisted in his endeavours by faithful sidekick and chronicler Bunny Manders. Their relationship is much like the relationship between Holmes and Watson, as Bunny spends a good deal of each story trying to fathom the enigmatic behaviour of Raffles.

There are other similarities too numerous to mention, but personally I don’t think of Raffles as an inversion of Sherlock Holmes exactly. I love Sherlock Holmes and I know I would enjoy a true opposite of his character, but Raffles is something different. He’s certainly a skilled criminal, but his crimes are frequently opportunistic or else carefully laid plans are thrown into jeopardy by unforseen circumstances. Because of this element of unpredictability, Raffles’ skill as a thief doesn’t mirror Holmes’ superhuman feats of crime-solving as you might expect. The unpredictability and the thrilling nature of the crimes makes everything seem a bit of a jaunt, even when the stakes are high.

The first volume of The Complete Raffles is in fact two sets of short stories, which makes for very comfortable reading. Definitely read it if you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes and other boys own adventure stories.

DJ Z-Trip at The Stanton Sessions

Posted in Music on October 8, 2009 by thebigsmoke

Nuff said!

Modern Warfare 2

Posted in Video Games on October 5, 2009 by thebigsmoke

Bringing the Call of Duty series up to date is the best decision the people at Infinity Ward has ever made. The original Modern Warfare is one of the best games I have ever played and absolutely essential; playing it often felt like being part of Black Hawk Down it was so well realised. I am very excited about this sequel, it looks incredible.

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