Thursday, June 29, 2017

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away

This post marks the sixtieth for the Gauntlet of Balthazar since its inception in early October 2016, as well as the twenty-third 391 & the Army of Astraea instrumental Industrial / Electronic recording embedded from BandCamp in this series of Give-Away tracks. This piece in particular is titled "Dystonia", and it is perhaps the most "no holds barred" Industrial barrage thus far, and one that I expect adequately conveys the perception of the panoply of genetic movement disorders as defined  under the "Dystonia" umbrella. Enjoy!

Monday, June 19, 2017

My Dictionary; Word of the Day


(/pleb/ampull-or) noun. From the Latin noun "plebs"; a person from the ordinary, or specifically, the lower classes, and the Latin "ampullor"; "to employ a bombastic style of discourse". Meaning, "an individual on the left side of the political spectrum, who grandstands and attempts to silence their philosophic opponent by the use of volume, emotional tropes and melodrama".

As in, "the spokesperson who represents that disgruntled student association at Evergreen College is really quite an effective PLEBAMPULLOR. Her volume level and her flair for the theatrical make it so no one, especially her opponents, can get a word in edge-wise." 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away

"Aetherial Vines" is a track that I like think of as "background music". It was composited a few months ago completely in the Asus Music Maker App on my secondary (film editing) computer, and thus, it shares a certain "non-organic" quality with another recently posted track, "Kalo Galochi", which was composited in the Ableton 9 DAW suite. Saying that, the majority of the recordings uploaded in the BandCamp hosted 391 & the Army of Astraea Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away series have been created from the bare bones up, and deviated over the course of their growth, or if based on any samples or presets, they have been mercilessly altered and augmented. Enjoy!

To check out more releases in this series, click here to go to the 391 & the Army of Astraea's Bandcamp page

Friday, June 9, 2017

Brexit Update and the British Elections of 2017

In keeping up with global trends, and my general interest in British politics, I thought it might interesting to analyze the results of the 2017 British elections from an American perspective. So, let's begin by looking at the numbers first and hit the analysis (mostly) after.

The center-right Conservative Party, under the leadership of the somewhat feckless Theresa May, took the lead last night. Now it was no great lead by any measure, with the Tories taking only 48.9% of the vote, and racking up 318 seats for their party. In comparison, the Anti-Semitic, even softer on ISIS, Antifa-loving, Trotskyite-Communist  posing in the shape of a dedicated Labor Party Socialist, Jeremy Corbyn, took 40.2% of the vote, and thus, 261 seats in Parliament. Sadly, UKIP itself, under the leadership of Paul Nuttall, received 0% of the vote and 0 seats, proving once again that the British voter is more similar to the American voter than ever, leaning heavily on their two party-dominant system. Come on, Nigel Farage, where are you when we need you?

As far as the other parties go, the Liberal Democrats, under Tim Farron, did very well (for them), taking 12 seats based on 1.8% of the vote. Doing not as well was the Green Party, led by Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley, at 1 seat, based on 0.2% of the vote. Sorry, climate change, there's just more pressing stuff right now!

For me, most of the other parties in the contest reflected predictable aspirations, or flat, pro or anti-UK and EU sensibilities, but hell, for completist sake an inventory should be in order, and in an election this tight, these minor parties will become magnified in their importance when it comes time for MPs to vote on some very important issues, such as Brexit. 

So lets take a brief look and the regional voting starting with Northern Ireland.

The staunchly right-wing DUP, or Democratic Unionist Party of Ulster, took 10 seats in Parliament at 1.5% of the vote. The DUP generally support the Tories, and what is referred to as a "soft Brexit", as May has proposed. In league with them is the Ulster Unionist Party, under Robin Swann, who, like UKIP, scored 0% of the vote, and thus 0 seats. Likewise, the centrist "Alliance" party of Northern Ireland, led by Naomi Long, also gained 0% of the vote and 0 seats in Parliament. Left of the Alliance, but crapping out equally, was the SDLP, or, the Social Democratic Labour Party, headed by Colum Eastwood, who also ran 0 for 0. Conversely, Sinn Fein, the one time "respectable" political arm of the old IRA, under Gerry Adams and Michelle O'Neill, garnered 7 seats, and 1.1% of the vote. Clearly the old divide is still in place with little change. But hey, at least they're not shooting at one another.

The Welsh "Plaid Cymru" party, under Leanne Wood, received 4 seats, based on a 0.6% vote share. To complete the Celtic picture, the Scottish National Party, led by Nicola Sturgeon took the highest percentage below the Tories and Labor, with 35 Parliamentary seats dictated by 5.4% of the vote. Clearly the Scots are more of a "get out there and vote" demographic, or are just more interested in voting for local parties than "foreign" ones, even though they balked at a national departure from the UK just last year, and are strongly against Brexit.

In general these numbers, at least in Scotland and Ulster, reflect regional partisanship and the general populations level of the Celtic regions, with Scotland numbering about 5.3 million, Wales about 3.1 million, and Northern Ireland at 1.8 million. The Welsh are clearly the Celtic sub-demographic most inclined to vote for the dominant political national parties instead of just focusing on their own regional issues isolated from the UK as a whole. While all of these votes and seats just add to the general push and pull of pro-Tory, or pro-Labor, and the soft versus hard Brexit approach, they are in effect pawns on this chessboard, notwithstanding the emotions of the voters who support them.

So, in light of the slight margin between Conservative and Labor, what does this all mean?

Well, what has occurred is what is generally known as a "hung Parliament". It means that the dominant party, in this case the Conservatives, have lost the majority, and they will be forced to form a government with the aid of other parties.

In this instant that other party is the DUP, which will give the coalition 328 seats in Parliament based on 50.4% of the vote. But as anyone can tell, this margin is so slight that an alliance on almost every issue will be required.

Of course, I am primarily referring to Brexit, which as a result of this thin margin will surely be hotly contested by a counter-coalition consisting of, I assume, Labor with perhaps the Scottish National Party, who are both patently anti-Brexit.   

Obviously, from my description of him at the top of this post, and from past forays into this topic, particularly regarding the future of the EU, it must be abundantly clear that I am a person who would distinctly not be inclined to be a "Corbynite" (I know it's kind of geeky Star Trek homage, but fits).

However, even though she is a Conservative, and I generally appreciate right-wing fiscal policy, I am likewise tepid on May. She has proved herself to be soft on Brexit, soft on terror, and hard on increasing Britain's surveillance state and internet monitoring campaigns. The Tories have contested that this policy will diminish Jihadist influence, but I fear that the only thing they will crush with this tact will be personal opinion and public debate - reinforcing conformity and political correctness. I think we can all safely assume that some of these same objections are what led to this election debacle.

I am told that both May and Corbyn attest to be supporters of Brexit, of which I am a strong proponent. However, in May's case her endorsement is, if anything, only a begrudging acceptance of the referendum. In Corbyn's case, I expect that his pro-euro-skeptic stance is a complete farce, or perhaps even an outward lie. Yes, I'm calling him a liar. And I know that by doing so I will lose all of the Corbynites right here, if I didn't earlier, simply because the British bourgeois Starbucks Marxists who support him (yes, the actual laborers do not vote labor now) believe him to be beyond reproach. But, the bottom line is that Corbyn being pro-Brexit this just doesn't add up. Perhaps Corbyn even believes his own fabrication, but in my experience, those on the far left: Marxists, Socialists, Communists, etc., are by their very nature internationalists, and yearn for the systematic removal of all national sovereignty and the promotion of a variety of Globalist organizations in general, and the EU, the UN, NATO, NAFTA, etc., specifically. For goodness sake, the "workers" anthem is called "the Internationale". 

So, even with the referendum, and all of Nigel Farage's good work, the entire Brexit process may be slowed down to a halt, or may be re-written to a "soft-Brexit", with England's ties to the EU not completely being severed from that CONTINENTAL MEDUSA. With a hard EU supporter like Macron being elected in France, it appears that we will have to suffer with the European Union a little longer, or at least until it either goes broke, or becomes a European Islamic Caliphate.

Have you Europeans not all read or seen "V is for Vendetta"? I recommend it highly if you have not, and I truly hope that it is not an accurate prognostication of the future of Great Britain and Europe.

Cheers and good luck.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

From the Graphic Design Studio: The Evolution of a Branding Logo - Part II

Looking back at the last, or rather, the first post in this new series, it occurs that while I displayed the "Partisan Earth" branding logo design shifts over time, I failed to explain why these shifts occurred, as well as to what the visual preferences were that spurred on the overall changes in the design work.

So lets get right to it.

The overall background through all of the iterations of the logo is the Pleiades star cluster, taken from an on-line NASA public domain repository, which was then highly augmented in a variety of graphic design programs. For those of you who are unaware, you do in fact see the Pleiades everyday when driving on the highway, as the cluster is know in Japanese as "Subaru", and the five main stars of the Pleiades cluster just so happen to also be Subaru's well-known corporate logo.

The Pleiades cluster image fits in very nicely with the story-line of Partisan Earth, and plays off many UFO conspiracy theories, which place the "Grays", "Reptilian", and "Humanoid-appearing" aliens as hailing from that part of the galaxy. In the universe of Partisan Earth these species are referred to as the "Mhamazi", the "Nagar", and the dominant species, known as the "Sothians". Likewise, as we envisioned the Sothians originally being human beings abducted from Earth by the Nagar, this fit in nicely with the conspiracy theories of alien abductions, albeit that we flip the paradigm on its head, having "life out there - started here", rather than the usual "Chariots of the Gods" - life was seeded here from out there, as seen in Prometheus, Battle-Star Galactica Re-Dux, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and countless other fascinating, and not so fascinating, Science-Fiction films and series. In fact, recently, the absolutely hilarious "People of Earth" television series, plied this exact paradigm, albeit in a comedic way. It is probably only a matter of time till the Pleiades are mentioned in the course of that series.

The few planets that are set in the foreground of the image were placed there simply for visual perspective, and to psychologically distance the story from occurring specifically within the Pleiades. As the creators we have discussed many, many times, if this specific location should ever be mentioned in the series, or if the action within should even be placed in our galaxy, and rather be ascribed to events occurring in a very distant, undisclosed location, like Star Wars "In a Galaxy, Far, Far, Away...", premise. 

Originally, an attempt was made to make the text that the series name was written in to look "exotic". However, this idea was soon discarded when we evolved the rudiments of the Sothian language, which is written in its own "alien" alphabet. Thus, since the "Earth" part literally is referencing our characters from Earth, it dawned that the font should be straight-forward. Hence the second and third designs, which, aside from color shifting were efforts to push the name of the series to the forefront of the image.

This overt use then seemed too overt and a more subtle approach was taken to the name, matching the understated minimalism that is a hallmark of many, if not most on-line design. This led to the inverted "P" hooking into the normally positioned, and larger, "E". As the "Partisan" aspect of the series is the most erratic element in the overall writing, the off-kilter size and reverse image seemed the most apropos, as we intend to pull the viewer's sympathies in many different directions over the course of the series, and challenge their "Partisanship" over time.

The original chrome look was then disregarded in deference to a more crisp, clear, minimal font - white on the darkness of space, and the image itself was paired down to a 4X4 square. A small planet still hides right next to and below the "H" in Earth, assisting the viewers eyes to the bottom right in order to compensate for the shortness of the the word Earth over Partisan, as well as balancing the hook of the backward "P" pulling the eye into the darkness of empty space on the upper left.

Monday, June 5, 2017

From the Graphic Design Studio: The Evolution of a Branding Logo

With the wrapping up of the "Sculpture Garden" and "Ceramic Art of the Day" features here on the Gauntlet, (until I forge a new piece) I thought it might be a good juncture to coalesce those features away from the clay medium into a more graphic, and computer graphic base.

"From the Graphic Design Studio" will feature both art stills created with practical tools such as pencil, pen, and various paints, on paper and canvas, as well as works created in design programs; such as CG stills manufactured in DAZ, Bryce, Photoshop CS6, Illustrator, Publisher, Artrage, Sketchbook Express and the Google SketchUp.

While some of these pieces may be "art for art sake" and lean to fine art, or be salvages of archival endeavors, this feature will, for the most part, focus on graphic design work that has been created by or for Nevekari Enterprises LLC, in the purpose of holistically developing our projects, particularly our episodic series, but also our award-winning feature and short film scripts.

This primary installment highlights the evolution of the logo design of our first developed episodic series in the "Space-Opera" genre, "Partisan Earth", mentioned here just a few posts ago. From top to bottom the evolution of the idea is pretty obvious, with the last piece standing as the official series logo since the release of our DVD documentary / sizzle reel for the series in May, 2012.

For more features related to this award-nominated project, please feel free to explore: