a collection of thoughts by reno nismara

“It’s an orgasmic world” -Reno Nismara-

Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment

The Albums of 2009

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Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come for another year end best albums of the year list. For me, 2009 is a better year for music than 2008. Why? Because there are more great records this year than in the previous year. Last year when I made this kind of list, I made the top 5 and 5  honorable mentions. And actually, it was pretty easy to pick those albums. But for the year 2009, it was very difficult to compile and pick which ones are the best. Want proves? Just listen to the great albums that was released in the year 2009 from the likes of Wilco, Manic Street Preachers, Bat for Lashes, Julian Casablancas, Phoenix, Fever Ray, Mastodon, Them Crooked Vultures, Wild Beasts, Florence + the Machine, The Swell Season, and even The Horrors.

But here are the ones that made it to the list…

1. Grizzly Bear / Veckatimest

I always thought that 2009 is the year for Animal Collective. Until this album came out. This is chamber pop at its spaciest. Melodious riffs, beautiful vocal harmonies, spacey layered guitars, catchy tunes, and many more aspects that makes this album the best of 2009. It’s at the same time complex and listenable without the need of further listening. In short, Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest is what The Beach Boys would have sounded like if only Brian Wilson’s father had sex with a sexy female Martian. 2009’s best album. Definitely.

2. Animal Collective / Merriweather Post Pavilion

Let’s just put it this way for this album: For me, Animal Collective should dedicate Merriweather Post Pavilion to the people who don’t believe that originality still exists in the present day. Sure, this album need further listening, but after further listening? This album will thrive inside your brain. And stays there until… I don’t know, because it hasn’t leave from my brain since the first time it thrived into my brain. The rawness, beauty, and of course originalities of this album really amazed me, even for the hundredth listening. How could such album exists? Pure brilliance.

3. Dirty Projectors / Bitte Orca

The combination between modern and traditional, difficult techniques and musical talents, and guitar melodies and vocal harmonies has never been so beautiful and touching before. Kinda like the musical arrangements of Frank Zappa with Rafiki, Timon, Pumba, Mufasa, Simba, and the whole Lion King characters as the singers. On acid.

4. The xx / xx

Who would have thought that a band who call themselves as stupid as The xx, titled their album xx, and used a white capital X letter with black background for their album cover could made a debut album so defining that from first hearing you can already determine the band’s signature sound? All they did was create a twisted yet romantic lyrics, combine two melodies (one Interpol-esque and one Interpol-esque), create simple basslines, make head hopping beats, and sing it wonderfully light. Oh, did I mention that they did all of those with no real drum kit? They did it with a marvelous play of drum machine instead. This album is a classic case of “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

5. The Flaming Lips / Embryonic

After their stunning audiovisual experience with Christmas on Mars, these manic Martians are back to make us a little playlist to accompany our long Uranus trip to celebrate Hanukkah on that planet. The pace might be slow for your taste, but it is stunning nevertheless.

Honorable mentions:

– Yeah Yeah Yeahs / It’s Blitz!

– Girls / Album

– Sonic Youth / The Eternal

– Japandroids / Post – Nothing

– The Pains of Being Pure at Heart / The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

If you don’t agree with what I have picked, then you should tell me what are your best albums of 2009. But if you agree, then we should meet up and start a band together.

Written by Reno Nismara

December 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm

The Albums of 2008

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I want to open this post by saying, “Happy New Year!”. Sorry for the lateness and the rudeness. Let’s just hope that everything will change for the better, okay?

Now, it’s always a dream of mine to make my own “year end best of albums list” at a famous music magazine. Until I reach that dream of mine, I could only make my list at this blog, which are completely okay and awkwardly fun.

In this list, I only picked the five (plus five honorable mentions) best albums of 2008. Why five? Just because. Let me tell you that I chose these albums based on many things and I certainly did not chose these albums subjectively.

So, without any complains about the situations that are happening in the music industry, here are my top five (plus five honorable mentions) best albums  of 2008…

1. My Morning Jacket / Evil Urges.

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Since their previous album, that was titled Z, I always wonder what will their album will sounds like after such a magnificent album. Honestly, I am not expecting too much from their new album, because it will be hard to followed such a magnificent album with another magnificent album. But, what do I get with Evil Urges? Brilliance. I was shocked and amazed with it. They’re not afraid to get spacier after such a spacey experience with Z. They even channeled Prince’s falsetto at the album title track. This is a brave album with such brilliance and such class. This is my best album of 2008. And no, I am not exaggerating.

2. Spiritualized / Songs in A&E.

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Like any other Spiritualized albums, this album generally talks about love, depression, and death. Unfortunately, there’s no Spiritualized album that can matched the beautifulness, the epic-ness, and the honesties of their critically acclaimed album Ladies and Gentlemen We’re Floating in Space. Until this album came out from the surface. From the first hearing, I have thought that this album is going to be the newest Jason Pierce a.k.a. J. Spaceman masterpiece and one of the best albums of 2008. Why? This is not your typical Spiritualized album. In fact, this is not your typical rock album. In this album, Jason Pierce bravely mantained the gospel sound of the band circa Let It Come Down, which doesn’t deliver well enough in that album. But, it doesn’t mean that Songs in A&E is not good. If in Let It Come Down the gospel is too over the top, the amount of gospel in this album is perfectly precise. Songs in A&E is not only good, but better than most of Spiritualized albums, which are also great. This album is heartbreaking (courtesy of the lyrics) and groundbreaking (courtesy of the musical compositions) at the same time. Jason Pierce, I salute you.

3. TV on the Radio / Dear Science.

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I could only give this album two words. Fucking genius. And I could only give this band two words after this album. Fucking geniuses.

4. Fleet Foxes / Fleet Foxes.

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This album generally and uniquely talks about life. Why unique? Because they talked about all kinds of life, whether it’s a life at a real world or a life at an imaginary fairy tale world, which they told at an amazingly vivid kind of way.  Sounds familiar? Yes, it was already done before, but Fleet Foxes keeps it fresh and keeps it original by adding such glorious melodies and beautiful harmonies. This album helps the music industry at being fresh again. This is an original album by an original band.

5. The Kills / Midnight Boom.

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Surprised? Yeah, me too. In fact, I have never liked The Kills before, but this album blows me away. This is a very variative and flexible album. By mixing the beats of hip hop, artsy noise guitar, swaggering rock n’ roll riffs, and of course the rawness of punk, you can hear this album at a party, when you still have a hang over after last night’s party, when you’re having a conversation with some friends in a bar, when you want to be alone, when you’re in love, when you just got your heart broken, and of course when you’re on drugs. The music in this album has the perfect amount of swaggering and cockiness, but this album also has the perfect amount of naughtiness and plainness. This is the kind of album that makes you forget how to skip a track.

Honorable mentions:

– Fucked Up / The Chemistry of Common Life.

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– Vampire Weekend / Vampire Weekend.

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– Coldplay / Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends.

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– Bon Iver / For Emma, Forever Ago.

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– M83 / Saturdays=Youth.

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Got different taste? Why don’t you tell me yours?

The Most Magical Noise in the Whole World

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Music. I always think that music is a well thought out noises, and those noises are full of magical things. For me, the 5 most magical noise or in other words the 5 best songs of all time are…

1. Venus in Furs by The Velvet Underground.

velvetunder

Who said that out of tune is always bad? Just hear this song out first and they will change their mind way before Lou Reed started feeling tired and weary. The blended noise of an out of tune vocal, an out of tune guitar, an out of tune violin, a bassline that could give anyone the feeling of a stab in the heart, the simple drumming, and of course the lyrics by Lou Reed. Personal favorite lyrics in this song? That chilling refrain, of course. “I am tired, I am weary/I could sleep for thousand years/A thousand dream that would awake me/Different colours made of tears”. That part is giving me the chills. No shit.

2. When You Sleep by My Bloody Valentine.

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Remember the melody? Yes, that one. That melody alone is enough to make this song included in my best songs of all time list. Don’t get me wrong, there are many reasons of why I put this song on the second best of my list, but explaining the melody is quite enough.

3. Race for the Prize by The Flaming Lips

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Ever felt like you just being born into the earth with an important mission completed with a big-epic-grandeur entrance? No? Hear this song and you will feel so. For me, this is a song with the most epic intro ever produced. This is another sample of how genius Wayne Coyne and Steve Drozd really are.

4. Not to Touch the Earth by The Doors.

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A song filled with mysticity and a beautifully dark poem by the eccentric Jim Morrison. The music felt like running away from a cold dark place named earth. Then to make it perfect, the music is accompanied by Jim Morrison’s depression at living in this corrupted world. Beautiful. This is gothic at its finest.

5. None. Yeah, none. This space is emptied, because there are still many songs that will be release in the future. And this empty space is for them. Who knows if there will be some great new music, better than The Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter, The Beatles’ Within You Without You, Neutral Milk Hotel’s Oh Comely, Nirvana’s Love Buzz, Sonic Youth’s Disconnection Notice, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ Red Right Hand, Jeff Buckley’s Dream Brother, Spiritualized’s I Think I’m in Love, Nick Drake’s Things Behind the Sun, Pink Floyd’s Lucifer Sam, or even Bob Dylan’s Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.

Agree? Disagree? Either way, tell me what’s on your list of the most magical noise in the whole world.

Written by Reno Nismara

November 12, 2008 at 9:39 am

Back to Jakarta (and Be a Geek)

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After a long long time, I finally came back to where my original home is, Jakarta. Oh yeah, for those of you who don’t know, I spent my seconds, my minutes, my hours, my days, my weeks, my months in Bandung nowadays. I go to college there, so it is kinda hard for me to go home, especially that I am now in my last year. It is very hectic nowadays. Never ending assignments, quiz, and of course exams. Because of those tiring activities, I decided to go home. Why not last week? Why not next week? And most importantly, why this week? Because there’s a toys and comics festival at Electronic City, Jakarta! Hooray!! It’s a pre-event before the Jakarta Toys and Comics Fair takes place in early 2009.

On Saturday, at exactly the first November in 2008, I decided to go there.

I arrived at Electronic City at about 12.00 pm. I go to the highest floor of Electronic City, where the festival takes place, with an excited feeling. Guess what greeted me…

Holy shit, right? It was a Batman action figure signed by the artist who drew everything, from Batman to Thor, from Adam Strange to Predator. Of course, I don’t buy that action figure. Too expensive for me. But guess what…

I bought that! Quite nice, eh? I bought this because he will be the first black president in the U.S.A. and someday this action figure will be limited and will be so expensive. I guess the action figure world has the election fever too, eh?

These are the other things that are on sale at the festival. Have a look.

The other highlight from this festival is a space ship that the bad guys from Goodguysneverwin made. It’s a great space ship. The inside part of the space ship is filled with small size action figure that they also made. Genius! Take a look.

For your information, Goodguysneverwin is a local company that made really great action figure. They made the figure from many things, like baby doll head, tank miniature, and many more. Their famous products are Destroyers (left), Tankbobs (center), and Gunbobs (right).

Honestly, I thought that this was a comics festival, only comics. I was surprised when I saw all those toy booths spread around at Electronic City. But overall, I am happy with this festival. It was very pleasant and it was filled with rare toys and comics, and one of those rare comics that I got there is…

U.S., not a short for United States, but a short for Uncle Sam. It’s a two part graphic novel that was written by Steve Darnall, illustrated by the famous Alex Ross, and published by non other than Vertigo Comics. Nice! I haven’t read it yet, but from the synopsis, this will be an unique graphic novel and a one of a kind experience.

Let me write the synopsis for you.

Clad in star-spangled rags, a man named Sam wanders the streets of an anonymous American city, struggling to remember his true identity. But he’s plagued by inner voices that carry him on a time traveling journey to the dark heart of America… and hint at his own violent past. Is he Uncle Sam – or one of U.S.?

Intriguing, right? So intruiging, I am going to read this graphic novel right now and leave you with the feeling of envy. Cheers!

Written by Reno Nismara

November 1, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Berbeda Media, Beda Pula Nilainya

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Beberapa hari yang lalu, tepatnya pada hari Sabtu tanggal 25 Oktober 2008, saya dan kedua teman saya menghabiskan malam menonton sebuah film karya Riri Riza yang didasarkan oleh sebuah novel buatan Andrea Hirata berjudul sama, yaitu Laskar Pelangi.

Awalnya, saya tidak begitu tertarik untuk menonton film ini, namun setelah menerima sebuah pesan singkat dari bapak kandung saya, yang biasa saya panggil dengan Uchok, yang berisi “Udah nonton Laskar Pelangi? Wajib”, saya mendadak tertarik untuk menonton film ini. Mengapa? Uchok adalah orang yang sangat pemilih dalam menilai bagusnya sebuah film, terutama film Indonesia. Dan saya hampir selalu berpikiran sama dalam menilai film-film tersebut. Singkat cerita, saya pun berangkat untuk menonton film tersebut bersama kedua teman saya tersebut.

Lalu, bagaimana penilaian saya terhadap film itu?

Hmmm…Sinematografi? Bagus. Sang sinematografer sangat memanfaatkan keindahan Pulau Belitong untuk dijadikan sebagai konsentrasi pengambilan gambar. Cerita? Klise memang, namun ini adalah sebuah kisah nyata, jadi sesuatu yang klise itu adalah sesuatu yang sangat lumrah di sebuah kisah nyata. Jika tidak ingin melihat keklisean suatu film, lebih baik tonton saja film-film fiksi yang lain. Akting? Sangat bagus, terutama aktor-aktor cilik yang asli berasal dari Pulau Belitong. Mereka membuktikan bahwa untuk menjadi seorang aktor berkualitas itu tidak selalu diperlukan studi di bidang tersebut. Editing? Kurang. Masih banyak pemotongan-pemotongan gambar yang kasar muncul di film ini. Penyutradaraan? Cukup. Mengapa? Riri Riza kurang berani untuk keluar dari comfort zonenya, alhasil film menjadi sedikit monoton. Namun, Riri sangat berhasil dalam membimbing aktor-aktor yang bermain di film ini agar mereka mengeluarkan seluruh emosinya dengan sungguh-sungguh. Total? Film ini saya beri nilai 3,5 dari 5.

Sebenarnya di tulisan saya ini, saya tidak bertujuan untuk menilai film tersebut. Hal itu hanya untuk menjembatani opini utama yang saya ingin bicarakan di tulisan saya ini. Apa itu?

Sebelum menonton film tersebut, saya mendengar opini-opini teman-teman saya yang mengatakan bahwa film ini lebih bagus dari bukunya. Ada juga yang berkata bahwa bukunya lebih bagus dari filmnya. Bagaimana dengan saya? Saya selalu berpikir bahwa buku dan film adaptasinya tidak bisa disandingkan dan tidak bisa dinilai secara bersamaan. Mengapa? Pertama, dua hal itu jelas-jelas adalah media yang berbeda. Kedua, buku memiliki kelebihan yang tidak dimiliki oleh film, hal itu adalah imajinasi. Ya, imajinasi. Isi dari buku itu terdiri dari tulisan-tulisan yang memaksa kita untuk berimajinasi dalam suatu  situasi, dan imajinasi itu akan berbeda-beda tergantung dari imajinasi yang dihasilkan oleh setiap orang. Sedangkan film? Film itu jelas adalah suatu bentuk visual yang dibuat oleh sang sutradara berdasarkan imajinasinya dari membaca suatu buku tersebut. Kedua alasan ini saja sudah cukup jelas untuk mengatakan bahwa buku dan film adaptasinya itu sangat tidak bisa disandingkan. Mari kita ambil contoh buku dan film The Da Vinci Code.

Buku karya Dan Brown ini sangat bagus, si penulis dengan pintarnya memadukan unsur fakta dan fiksi dari berbagai macam religi, sehingga membuat kita penasaran mana yang fakta dan mana yang fiksi dari religi tersebut. Alhasil, buku ini pun menjadi sebuah fenomena dan sangat laku di pasaran dunia. Sedangkan filmnya? Sangat datar, bahkan sangat kosong. Apakah ini karena bukunya terlalu bagus atau karena sang sutradara Ron Howard tak mampu memvisualisasikan buku tersebut? Jawaban saya adalah pilihan yang kedua. Dan itu tidak ada hubungannya dengan kualitas buku yang lebih baik dari film, melainkan karena ketidakmampuan sang sutradara untuk menyutradarai film tersebut, karena sang penulis menulis cerita yang tidak detail, karena sinematografi yang melenceng dari tema, dan mungkin karena akting dari aktor-aktor film bersangkutan kurang baik. Bagaimana menurut anda?

Written by Reno Nismara

October 29, 2008 at 8:26 pm

A Breakthrough in the Graphic Novel World

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Ever seen this logo in a bookstore (especially comic book store)?

For all of you who said yes, just shut up for a bit. I want to explain a thing or two about this creative graphic novel publishing company to those who said no.

First thing, let me tell you that Vertigo Comics is an imprint of DC Comics (I don’t have to explain this major comic publisher who is responsible for the story of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, do I?) that is founded in 1993 by Karen Berger, who was originally the assistant editor at DC Comics. The graphic novels that are publish by Vertigo Comics is quite unique, because it is marketed for late teen and adult readers. This kind of thing is very rare in the major comic industry in United States, because in United States people usually loves simple superhero stories. But Vertigo Comics? They publish an alternative for those who are bored with a simple superhero stories. What are the alternatives? Quite like these…

From all those covers above, we could see that Vertigo Comics is giving their late teen and adult readers some fresh, sophisticated, and quality alternative graphic novels. The graphic novels from Vertigo are usually contains graphic violence, crude humor, foul language, sex and nudity, drug use, and controversial subjects in the form of horror and fantasy genres. But that doesn’t mean that Vertigo Comics is just using controversial matters to make them famous, because they balance the controversial subjects with quality storytellings, smart dialogs, great pacing, colorful characters, and of course uniquely interesting artwork. Want prove? The company have won many Eisner Awards (Academy Awards equivalent for comic books), including Best Continuing Series (Sandman, Preacher, 100 Bullets, and Fables). There are also some Vertigo Comics’ graphic novels that are already being adapted to the big screen, like V for Vendetta, Hellblazer (Constantine), A History of Violence, and Stardust.
Still want prove? Here, I give you a synopsis of my favorite title from Vertigo Comics, which is Preacher, and you tell me whether it’s just controversy or quality. Deal?
Preacher tells the story of Jesse Custer, a depressed preacher in the small Texas town of Annville. Custer was accidentally possessed by the supernatural creature named Genesis in an incident which killed his entire congregation and destroyed his church. Genesis, the product of the unauthorized, unnatural coupling of an angel and a demon, is an infant with no sense of individual will. However, as it is composed of both pure goodness and pure evil, it might have enough power to rival that of God himself. In other words, Jesse Custer, bonded to Genesis, may have become the most powerful being in the whole of living existence. Custer, driven by a strong sense of right and wrong, goes on a journey across the United States attempting to (literally) find God, who abandoned heaven the moment Genesis was born. He also begins to discover the truth about his new powers, which allow him to command the obedience of those who hear his words. He is joined by his old girlfriend Tulip O’Hare, as well as a hard drinking Irish vampire named Cassidy.
Before this post reach the end, I have to confess first that I completely snatch that synopsis straight from Wikipedia, with a bit editing of course. But I did that just for you, so you can get the most detailed synopsis about Preacher. If I made the synopsis myself, I am not sure that you can get a detailed synopsis. By the way, what do you think about Preacher based on the synopsis? Is it quality or simply controversial? For me, it is both, with a twist.

Written by Reno Nismara

September 26, 2008 at 2:24 pm

The Intelligence of Infotainment

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About two days ago, a friend of mine told me about Dewi Lestari’s blog, which is http://dee-idea.blogspot.com/. If you don’t know her, she is one of the most talented female writer/philosopher/singer in Indonesia today. Her mind intrigues me very much, from the Buddhism to the famous divorce. And she’s hot too. There’s a new post in her blog that talked about all the infotainment news about her recent divorce with a male singer, Marcell Siahaan. In there, she told the reader of the blog about the facts and her opinions about those news. Her response there is very smart and witty. You should read that blog post, because it’s very interesting and very out of the box.

Even though Dewi Lestari’s response to the world of infotainment is very interesting, I have my own opinion about infotainment. Here it is…

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                                                     Rp

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                

So, there it is. My opinion about the intelligence of infotainment. Hope you enjoy it! Cheers!

Written by Reno Nismara

August 30, 2008 at 8:08 pm

Posted in Opinions

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