Derek Patton

In the modest but growing genre of fingerstyle guitar, artists such as Don Ross, Andy Mckee, and Don Alder I would loosely classify as percussion fingerstyle guitarists, because they like to tap, slap, and bang their guitars. These striking techniques, pardon the pun, add an extra element to the creation of their music, and strengthens the rhythm in percussion heavy pieces. They also amplify a sense of musical flair, emphasizing the style in fingerstyle, and makes their performances all the more impressive acoustically, and especially, visually. More often than not the fingerstyle guitarists I listen to are these percussion types.
Nevertheless, once in a while a non-percussion fingerstyle guitarist catches my fancy. Derek Patton, who I discovered merely yesterday through a YouTube video sent by the artist himself, plays with passion, dedication, skills, and talent. These are qualities aforementioned artists all possess, and are qualities that define superior artists and music. Although Patton does utilize striking techniques, they are not a major theme in his works. Non-precussion fingerstyle guitarists have to rely more on melody and harmony to hook their audience, and Patton presents that with stunning beauty. Here are a few of his pieces I find particularly entrancing:

Eleventh Hour
Faith
Marjorie & Athena

He is promoting himself on YouTube. I, who is enjoying his music, am doing my part to help by plugging him on my blog.

Published in: on September 28, 2008 at 11:12 pm  Comments (2)  

Nijuu Mensou no Musume after episode 19

If Ms. Tome knew how to use her feminine charms she would be irresistible to all but the strictest homosexual men. The show stays classy by avoiding panty shots.
This scene reminds me of City 17 after the Citadel blew up. Twenty Faces doing the old 'jumping away from an explosion' routine.

This current “Mad Scientist” arc prompted me to ponder about the definition of this classic archetype character. It is quite obvious that professor Kakishima is very passionate, obsessed even, about his work, but at what extent can a scientist be labeled with the moniker “mad”? When the scientist’s passion for research overrides common morals and ethics? Or the regard to his or her own life? Or the lives of innocent civilians?
One propensity in Nijuu Mensou no Musume that is starting to bother me is the force feeding of the connections in a plot. When the story advances due to a critical connection or new revelation, the show would immediately flashback to pertinent information (for example, in this arc the poem by Paul Eluard), sometimes to things shown just the previous episode. It is a bit insulting to assume that we cannot think for ourselves, or have the attention span of a goldfish.
Twenty Faces sure has left a lot of unfinished business during the war. In the war he estranged his girlfriend, and then his research professor. With only three episodes left, the show will likely end at the conclusion of this arc. It is highly improbable there will be yet another person to haunt Twenty Faces from the past. But suppose there were more episodes, I would conjecture that the next person to antagonize Twenty Faces, and consequently, Chiko, would be one of his relatives. Perhaps Twenty Faces has a brother or sister who is tired of living under his shadow and decides to steal his fame from him. An idea for a potential second season or OVA.

Published in: on September 22, 2008 at 9:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mushishi – After Volume 4

I have read four manga volumes of Mushishi, and the fifth one is in the mail. My favorite story so far, in both the manga and anime, is the Sea of Brushstrokes, not only because it features the enchanting Tanyuu, but also of how well Ginko and Tanyuu fit each other. She cannot walk and may not ever travel, and he is on an unending journey and may never settle down. Once in a while one comes across a scene from a movie, a television show, an anime, a novel, or whatever medium of entertainment or art, that sears itself into memory. One such instance for me resides in this story. It was when Ginko (the very lucky man) was carrying Tanyuu on piggyback, and she sat on a boulder and Ginko next to it. The short conversation they had was so subtle, so profound, with so much meaning in so little words, and both understanding each other as if their souls were communicating. The halcyon landscape and atmosphere could be an indication of the quality of their companionship, and further adds to the poignancy of the scene. I am both in awe and envy of their match.
Although the dialogue and storyboard are essentially reproduced from the manga to the anime, when the stories are brought to motion and sound, the experience surpasses its origin. There are ten manga volumes, and the anime selected chapters from the first five. There should more than enough material left in the latter five to animate another season. With a masterpiece work of art such as Mushishi, a second season would be enthusiastically welcomed not only by me, but by nearly everyone who has seen the first season.

Published in: on September 15, 2008 at 8:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Persona Trinity Soul after episode 26 – Final Thoughts

'Hey ladies, how about a threesome?' Suddenly, your dad comes back to life, as a woman.
Excessive symbolism in the form of feathers. This was a well composed and touching scene.

At last, to my relief, I finished Persona Trinity Soul. Watching this anime has a tendency to give me a headache. At the beginning of this show, I thought it was going be an intelligent supernatural thriller. Little did I know the story was going to turn into a mind numbing and convoluted mess. The storytelling follows a regular pattern: intrigue would build up for a few episodes, and then there would be an information dump, as a character reveals and explains nearly everything that has happened the previous episodes. The process repeats. After the first information dump, my reaction was “Hmm, interesting.”, after the second “Sure…OK.”, and by the last dump I was like “Whatever.” I understand the show wanted to maintain the sense of mystery, but as the story grew ever so tortuous, my concern for the plot waned. By the end of the final episode I am still not very sure what the heck went on in the anime, and nor do I care.
There are some redeeming qualities. The anime has really attractive female character designs. There are moments here and there that are well composed, such as Ryou’s escapade in a bear suit in episode six, and the snow scene with Kanaru and Shin in episode twenty-four. The main characters themselves, although none of them are in anyway exceptional when compared to the rest of the medium, were decent and functional.
Alas, these few pluses were smothered by the overly convoluted script. I should have dropped Persona Trinity Soul earlier.

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 10:17 pm  Comments (2)  

Kino no Tabi – Book one of The Beautiful World

For years I have heard an overwhelming majority of praise for Kino no Tabi, but I never acted upon their recommendations. Finally, however, in order to qualify for free shipping for an online book order, I picked up the first light novel of Kino’s Journey.
I am indifferent towards the main characters. Kino’s naive morals are disagreeable to me, but fortunately, bond by a wise advice, she does not force her values onto anyone, no matter how unpleasant a custom might be for her. Hermes, Kino’s talking motorcycle, comes across as simply another voice, and is lacking in personality. It is the first novel, so perhaps future books will flesh out its character.
As the title implies, the novel follows the adventures of a young girl named Kino. She is a perpetual wanderer, and any city, town, or establishment she encounters she tries to the best of her efforts to only stay for three days. While Kino and Hermes are at a speck of civilization, they, and the reader, inadvertently learns about its history, usually explaining the peculiar culture and behaviors of the location. But because Kino and Hermes are there for a fleeting three days, and also each account of a city lasts a mere twenty-five to fifty pages, the description and history of each city are explicitly stated and very brief. I prefer novels where its world is slowly but surely constructed, using not only history lessons like in Kino’s Journey, but through more taciturn ways such as the atmosphere, the character themselves and their interactions, or the occurrence of certain events. By the end of such a novel a detailed and vivid world is painted, and there is a sense of satisfaction to be had in having seen the gradual composition of a complex world.
Kino’s Journey offers not depth, but rather breadth of locale. The pair visits many quirky places and people, and romantic perspective taken by the main characters strives to highlight the beauty in the sights they see.

Published in: on September 5, 2008 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment