Kamiko- Video Games As Art

Kamiko is a top down action game in the vein of the original Legend of Zelda and Gauntlet. You can play as one of three divine maidens: Yamato has a giant sword, Uzume has a bow and arrow and Hinome has a dagger and shield combo. In the game you play through four levels which consist of easy to solve puzzles involving sliding blocks, buttons, orbs and keys. The game is download only on Nintendo Switch and is usually on sale for a few pounds but is well worth the hour or so play time, just to appreciate the beautiful pixel art graphics.

The Clangers Soundtrack on Vinyl Review

Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin were giants of British animation, creating Bagpuss, Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine and, of course, The Clangers. With their stop motion animation studio, Smallfilms, they have delighted legions of fans young and old over the last 50 or so years. Part of the charm of Smallfilms was the craftsy handmade products they made, and that could also be reflected in the magical music. I've already discussed that the Bagpuss Soundtrack had recently been released on vinyl but far more exciting for me is the recent re-release of the out of print Clangers Original Television Music by Vernon Elliot.

The music is from the original 26 episode run of the series from 1969, which was recorded in a local Kentish village hall. 50 years after their initial recording, these pieces of music have lost none of their wonder and charm. The Clangers soundtrack remains a seminal work piece of work, not just of children’s television, but of music as a whole. Composer Elliot's contribution to The Clangers was great as he created a warm and recognisable soundscape in an alien world. Listening to the music away from the show you can appreciate the craftsmanship that went onto the compositions; it is all beautifully minimalist performed mostly on a bassoon (in which Elliot was an expert) and a clarinet, harp, glockenspiel and flute. Highlights for me include Music, Cloud and Music of the Spheres as they are all very unique soundscape pieces that stand on their own.

The Clangers Soundtrack is a wonderful album that can be appreciated for its music in isolation from the show and is highly recommended.

LINK- The Moomins 80's Soundtrack Vinyl Review

LINK- Inspector Gadget Retro Soundtrack Review

LINK- Ulysses 31 Retro Soundtrack Review

LINK- The Mysterious Cities of Gold Retro Soundtrack Review

LINK- Sonic Mania Video Game Vinyl Soundtrack

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power- Complete Series Review

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power on Netflix is a modern reimagining of the classic ’80s Filmation series. She-Ra is a part of the He-Man universe and so holds a place in many fans’ hearts, and as expected this has led to many debates about the redesign of the characters. Some arguments seem to be reasonable, like some complaining about the more cartoony super deformed art style, or the redesign of She-Ra herself, but some seem purposely argumentative and toxic like why there is a wider LGBTQ and minority ethnic representation on the show and why She-Ra herself is less 'feminine' .
So, away from the Twitter frenzy what is the show like?

The character redesigns have led to many online discussions, unfortunately not all have been healthy. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power ©Netflix, NBC

Well, I did like the design of the '80s show but the new art style is great too. I am a big fan of Noelle Stevenson (the creator and lead writer of the show), who has created the amazing Nimona and Lumberjanes graphic novels, and her art style feels modern and stylised like Steven Universe. I don't understand why this seems to be an issue when many cartoons have been drawn in a more simplistic style compared to what they were years ago, after all, Phineas and Ferb, Adventure Time, The Amazing World of Gumball and Over the Garden Wall are all brilliant but less detailed and 'realistic' when compared to '80s fare such as He-Man, TMNT, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, MASK or GI Joe. However, what is inarguable and beyond dispute is that the storylines, dialogue and characterisation in the new She-Ra show is much better than in its predecessor. In a medium which has been hegemonic in portraying white characters and often sexualised females, the recent wave of real world representations in cartoons is exciting and the fact that it is backed up by engaging stories not just meant to sell toys is brilliant.

The story itself is classic hero fare: Adora is a cadet in the Fright Zone and a part of the Horde, who are trying to wipe out the 'evil' Princesses. However, after a joy riding accident in the Whispering Woods with her friend Catra, Adora finds the Sword of Power and has visions of She-Ra and the First Ones.
Adora is captured by Princess Glimmer of Bright Moon and Bow and realises that the Horde are evil and that the Princesses aren't a guerilla force but actually just peaceful rulers of their respective lands. Over the course of a few episodes Adora transforms and aims to unite the Princess Alliance that once fought the Horde but ultimately failed and fell apart.

So, as I stated before, the usual Hero's Journey fare. But what really helps set this apart from many shows of its peers is the snappy dialogue and characterisation. From episode 10 of onwards the show goes deep into lore and it is genuinely exciting to see the battle between Adora/ She-ra and Catra as they realise that they want different things in life yet their paths are inextricably and destructively linked.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is an excellent 13 part animated series with a lot of heart. It may not please all previous fans of the show but as a father of a 3 3/4 year old daughter I can honestly say that it is wonderful to have a show that has a strong female lead that isn't wearing questionable clothing or revealing too much skin. The Heroes Journey is a universal tale and in She-Ra it is a tale told well.

LINK- Disenchantment- Complete Series 1 Review

LINK- Gravity Falls Complete Series Review

LINK- Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated Complete Series 1 Review

LINK- Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated Series 2 Review

LINK- Ms Marvel Can Change the World

LINK- 13th Doctor Revealed

Gris- Video Games As Art

Gris is a stunningly beautiful game, probably one of the most gorgeous games I have ever played. The game is a puzzle-platformer set in an alternate reality where ancient ruins, fragile metalwork and iridescent woods are metaphors for the protagonists state of mind. The visual are like a huge canvas filled with dazzling details, that why there are so many images here as each could be a work of art in its own right. Check out and enjoy the images.

Moss- Video Games As Art

Moss is a VR action-adventure puzzle game, which takes all the classsic hallmarks of the genre and then gives it a VR twist by creating a world that seems vast and expansive but is actually little more than small dioramas.

In Polyarc’s words:

Quill is a young mouse who dreams of greatness beyond the confines of her sleepy community. When an ancient magic is awakened, she becomes linked with another - you, the player - who will take on their role in the story.

As a distant evil extends its reach, the two of you are called together to embark on an incredible journey brought to life with storybook-style narration that will draw you into a rich world of myth and magic. 

The game is short, at about 3 hours, but is a must play experience as the level of detail and creativity on show is stunning. The puzzles themselves are self-contained and pretty easy but the world draws you in. I can’t wait for the second chapter!

Clangers Soundtrack on Vinyl

Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin were phenomenally influential British animators, creating Bagpuss, Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine and, of course, the Clangers.

With their stop motion animation studio, Smallfilms, they delighted and awed many children and adults alike. Part of the charm of Smallfilms was the craftsy handmade products they made, and that could also be reflected in the magical music. I've already discussed that the Bagpuss soundtrack had recently been released on vinyl but far more exciting for me is the recent re-release of the out of print Clangers Original Television Music by Vernon Elliot. The music is from the original 26 episode run of the series, which was recorded in a local Kentish village hall. This lends the music a naïve, pastoral sound with natural ambiance.

I have listened to the album a couple of times already and already have a lot of affection for it, but once I've listened to it a few more times I will be writing a more detailed review so watch this space!

The track listing is:

A1: Episode One - Intro Music And Dialogue
A2: From - Music
A3: From - Visiting Friends
A4: G2: Clangers Running Up And Down. How Can They Rescue Tiny Clanger
A5: From - Fishing
A6: From - Treasure
A7: Miscellaneous Clangers Movements
A8: From - Goods
A9: An End Title
A10: Ting Clanger's Radio Hat
A11: Oliver's Special Effects
B1: From - The Rock Collector
B2: From - Glowhoney
B3: From - Teapot
B4: From - Cloud
B5: From - The Seed
B6: From - The Bags
B7: From - Blow Fruit
B8: From - The Pipe Organ
B9: From - Music Of The Spheres

LINK- Bagpuss, Clangers and Co. Exhibition

LINK- Bagpuss Soundtrack on Vinyl

One Eyed Kutkh- Video Games As Art

Video games are cultural artefects but often they do not always show the true breadth of the diversity in humanity. One Eyed Kutkh is a short (about 45 minutes at a leisurely pace) game about a one-eyed creature who crashes his spaceship on a strange planet. He has to find the pieces to fix it and deceive the sun and moon in order to escape the planet. The video game is based on the tales of the far North and it is brief game however, it does do things a bit differently and for that it should be applauded. The games forgoes dialogue and instead has thought bubbles and images which you have to decipher. The art style is naive but unique, reminding me of Balinese shadow puppetry.

The game is well worth a play, it’s not anything extraordinary but is a great palette cleanser for the 100 hour sandbox games or shooting people in the face all the time.

Scooby Doo on Zombie Island- Classic Animation Review

1969s ‘Scooby Doo! Where Are You?’ is a television animation milestone. Many children around the world watched the Hannah Barbara show over the years, mostly through syndication, and as a result it had constantly gained new generations of fans. It's impact on pop culture was vast too, from its oft-quoted, "I would have got away with it too, if it wasn't for you pesky kids" to "It's old man xyz" to popularising the chasing through different doors sequence, you know the one; the chaser is pursuing the chasee(s) as they enter through one door only to emerge from a different or opposite door.

The show was hot stuff and it was doing well but over the years it lost its lustre and when ‘A Pup Named Scooby Doo’, released in 1991, was not well received it looked like the end of Scooby Doo. Due to the popularity and relative cheapness of shows like ‘Power Rangers’, ‘Saved By the Bell’ and its live action ilk there was a lull in television animation in the mid to late 90s and Scooby Doo looked like it was going to join the limbo of syndicated satellite cartoon show for all posterity.

However, in 1998 the straight to VHS Scooby Doo on Zombie Island animated movie released and helped to revive the series, winning over a whole new legion of fans and reviving interest in the characters that has continued to this day.

Zombie Island is a bona-fide great story for our Mystery Incorporated team. Shaggy, Scooby, Fred, Velma, and Daphne reunite after a short time apart to investigate a bayou island said to be haunted by the ghost of the pirate Morgan Moonscar. However, the five find not only a deeper mystery on the island, but their first encounter with a genuine, deadly supernatural threat.

The film is beautifully animated with an anime art style, the characters remain true to their origin form but have been finessed to look slicker and cooler than the Hannah Barbara cheaper animation. The background art is stunning and adds to the creepy bayou atmosphere. The ghosts, zombies and cat creatures are all creepy and genuinely a bit unsettling, I'm not sure my 3 3/4 year old daughter would be able to handle the scares... and there are scares aplenty in this film.

The voice cast are excellent throughout and there is subtlety in their performances, it does keep you guessing as to who the true villain is, and unlike all other previous Scooby Doo episodes, there are REAL supernatural elements which is a real game changer in their animated world. The poptastic soundtrack is also pretty awesome and adds some levity to proceedings.

I love that Scooby Doo never really goes away, much like Alvin and the Chipmunks, every generation has their own Scooby that they love. I recently watched the entire 52 part Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated and loved it, calling it one of the best animated shows I’d ever seen, and I love that each person has their own opinion about the best Scooby Doo! Check this movie out though, it’s awesome!

LINK- Mysterious Cities of Gold Complete Series 3 Review

LINK- Hilda Complete Series Review

LINK- Disenchantment- Complete Series 1 Review

LINK- Gravity Falls Complete Series Review

LINK- Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated Complete Series 1 Review

LINK- Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated Series 2 Review

Detention- Video Games As Art

Detention is a 2D survival horror adventure video game created and developed developer Red Candle Games. It is an atmospheric game and the setting of 1960’s Taiwan under Chinese martial law is an interesting one, especially when considering that it takes place during a storm after school when everyone else has gone home. There is a deep sense of unease that permeates the experience yet it is much better than most cheap jump scare fare… this slowly unravels in front of you and the psychological horror that emerges is more satisfying for it. At certain points it reminds me of Silent Hill 2 and Eternal Darkness, as you begin to understand more of the psychological state of the protagonist.

Detention is on sale on the Nintendo Switch and well worth the 4 quid or so for the 3 hour play time needed to complete the experience. I’m off now to research the Chinese occupation of Taiwan in the 1960s as this game has me proper intrigued about this time period.

Silver Surfer by Slott and Allred- Complete Comic Series Review

I'm a huge comic nerd and have been for over 30 years. Of course I've known of the Silver Surfer for many years, but he just wasn't a character I was that interested in... he just seemed a little, well, lame. I read a few of his comics back in the early 90s and found his brooding angsty vibe a bit too edgy for its own good. My only recent experience with the Silver Surfer was with the second Fantastic Four movie and that certainly didn't help to adhere him close to my heart. However, over the past couple of years I've been hearing people raving about the recent Dan Slott and Michael Allred run so I thought I'd give the Surfer another chance and by gosh I'm glad I did.

Over the course of 29 issues Slott's Surfer takes us on quite the journey. He still carries the weight of the worlds he helped destroy with Galactus on his shoulders, but with the help of young human Dawn Greenwood, he realises he must move forward and make amends for his past misdeeds.
The Surfer and Dawn are perfect travel companions and as their friendship grows through the various adventures you find yourself rooting for this couple. You see sides of the Surfer that are rarely explored (at least in my experience from his cartoon show and frequent guest appearances in other comics) as he often 'Silvers Down' to talk about the existential crises he often faces; how can he enjoy life when he has led so many to their doom? It's not all serious though, the entire run has goofy humour and silliness galore as the Dr Who influence is placed front and centre. Cases in point: After performing a tonsillectomy we have our hero take Dawn to the universe's best ice cream parlour, take her on (frequent) bathroom breaks and keeping her constantly fed and watered.

Silver Surfer by Slott and Allred

One of the most interesting storylines sees the Surfer confront his past sins and the 6 billion survivors of the many worlds he led Galactus to destroy on a new planet called Newhaven. He knows he must atone for this and seeks to offer an apology and help the survivors, when Galactus arrives... hungry for more planets and souls. What follows reminds me of the most recent incarnation of Battlestar Galactica, as the Silver Surfer and Dawn look for a new, safer home for the inhabitants of Newhaven, the space flotilla search for the Promised Land.
This arc is quite dramatic as Dawn realises the true nature of Surfers past but she forgives him and gets him to reflect on what little choice Galactus gave him, easing his conscience. After this drama, events seems to peater out and never quite achieve the sense of pathos I feel that it was striving for but it is an intriguing arc nonetheless as it offers the Surfer a redemptive arc and brings Dawn closer to Norrin Radd.

In the forth graphic novel Dawn and Norrin become a couple as Norrin chooses to save the culture of Earth from the Zenn-Lavians. It is a dramatic arc as Norrin understands what it is to be the last of your kind on an alien planet (much like Dr Who being the last Gallifrayan) as he is excommunicated from Zenn-La but is welcomed as a citizen of Earth. Dawn also meets her estranged mother but at her time of most need, Dawn is abandoned again. The forth graphic novel is full of high emotion and unresolved strands, showing how messy life can get.

For the final graphic novel collection, the Surfer and Dawn are very much in love and enjoying the different worlds. Dawn seeks high adventure and danger but it comes at a high cost when her father passes away whilst they are away on their escapades. Stricken by grief, they attempt to travel back in time but overshoot somewhat and end up at the birth of the current universe. As they are isolated, the Surfer creates a new world and spends his life with Dawn until she passes. Being immortal, he feigns growing older with her and it is here that the true moment of beauty and philosophy come into play; what does it mean to be human and what is the meaning of life?

The love between the Silver Surfer and Dawn Greenwood is well earned and slowly reveals itself ©Marvel

To hammer home the gravitas of Dawn's passing, the Surfer must watch the new (current) worlds events unfold in front of him and not interfere in any way, lest he affect the timeline. This is all very wibbly wobbly time wimey stuff a la Dr Who.

Over the course of 5 graphic novels, 29 issues, Slott and the Allred’s have created a momentous story arc for the Silver Surfer that joins the pantheon of the greats. The art style complements the writing and whilst not as detailed as the super shiny muscular versions from the 90's, it shares much with the cartoony but heartfelt look and feel of much of the Marvel Now imprint, things like Howard the Duck, Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel.

This version of the character makes the Silver Surfer more relatable and likeable than ever before. Dawn Greenwood is an excellently realised character who brings the humanity out of the Zenn-Lavian and the storylines are similar in style to the Kirby/Lee run. More than anything Slott's Silver Surfer has amazing storylines that ring with pathos and humanity and deserve to be read. This may not be your dad's Silver Surfer but it's a brilliant one that deserves to be appreciated.

LINK- Comics in the Classroom (article)

LINK- What Comics Have Taught Me

LINK- Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle Vol. 3- Comic Review

LINK- Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle Vol. 2- Comic Review

LINK- Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle Vol. 1- Comic Review

LINK- Battle Angel Alita: And So It Ends

LINK- The Moomins 80's Soundtrack Vinyl Review

LINK- Inspector Gadget Retro Soundtrack Review

LINK- Ulysses 31 Retro Soundtrack Review

LINK- The Mysterious Cities of Gold Retro Soundtrack Review

LINK- Sonic Mania Video Game Vinyl Soundtrack

LINK- Thomas Was Alone Video Game Vinyl Soundtrack Review

LINK- Akira Soundtrack Vinyl Review

Sine Mora EX- Video Games As Art

Sine Mora EX is a side-scrolling shoot-'em-up that has a unique mechanic, you can slow down and speed up time. This comes in useful as the game is brutally challenging but beautifully presented.

Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle Vol. 4- Comic Review

Another Alita book and another change of pace as we settle on Erica and her life of villainy under Baron Muster. She assists Muster in his search for the Martian treasure and we find out that Erica is quite adept at solving puzzles and committing heinous acts of violence.

Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle Vol. 4

Young Yoko/ Alita is briefly mentioned and we see how she is settling into life at the Baumberg Mansion but this volume is really centred around Muster’s mission to find the secret Martian Tomb and the treasure within.

Muster is a comic book villain, all twirling moustache and cackling but in the very best sense. Just as you judge him as a power crazy monster a flashback on his youth shows his motivation and brings a bit of humanity into the proceedings.

The best aspect of this volume is the mystery around the cypher, which presents a puzzle for reader to solve. We learn about the Caeser Cypher and the importance of the book 'On War', its regular Dan Brown level stuff but does draw you in.

Battle Angel Alita Mars Chronicle is a thrill ride, you don't know where its taking you and can't predict what's coming up but by gum are you excited for what happens next. Kishiro has regained some of the momentum lost from Last Order but I hope we start to get some answers as to what the treasure is and what role Yoko/ Alita has to play in it.

LINK- Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle Vol. 3- Comic Review

LINK- Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle Vol. 2- Comic Review

LINK- Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle Vol. 1- Comic Review

LINK- Battle Angel Alita: And So It Ends

LINK- The Moomins 80's Soundtrack Vinyl Review

LINK- Inspector Gadget Retro Soundtrack Review

LINK- Ulysses 31 Retro Soundtrack Review

LINK- The Mysterious Cities of Gold Retro Soundtrack Review

LINK- Sonic Mania Video Game Vinyl Soundtrack

LINK- Thomas Was Alone Video Game Vinyl Soundtrack Review

LINK- Akira Soundtrack Vinyl Review

Room To Dream- Book Review

Biographies are often too prescriptive and by the numbers, telling you facts that you could pick up online and through cursory looks online. On the other hand, autobiographies often miss out key events or facts to cast the subject in a better light, both often have that rose tinted glow of nostalgia without a deeper critique. History is reality distilled after all.

Room to Dream

It's for these reasons Louise Brooks, 1920s/ 30s silent movie star, said she wouldn't write her memoirs, she could not write the sexual truth about herself that would make her life worth reading, due to her inability to "unbuckle the Bible belt" and overcome her Midwestern upbringing.

With Room To Dream by Kristine McKenna and David Lynch, they have tried to get around this issue by creating an approach to life writing that combines biography with memoir. The result is an interesting combination of the facts, dates etc but with the added bonus of Lynch reflecting upon those times. Whilst not perfect, it does get around a lot of the issues mentioned before. Don't go into this expecting an insight into David Lynch's creative process or for explanations about his work, that all remains hidden and private, but what you do get is an interesting dialogue and snippets from the horses mouth of those reflections.

The biography/ memoir starts off by explaining Lynch's early life, an idealistic upbringing across many different states, due to his father's job working for the Department of Agriculture. We learn that Lynch enjoyed being part of the Boy Scouts of America and reached the highest rank of Eagle Scout. We also learn that he felt most at home in Boise, Idaho where he had many wonderful summers blowing things up and listening to Elvis Presley, who he greatly admired.

We are told how Lynch was a dreamer who saw darkness in the mundane and art was his way to present these to the world. Lynch emerges as an inherently curious child who needed to spread his wings and explore the seamier parts of life to truly live the 'art life.' We find that he was constantly chasing the next big idea or love interest. So far so normal for a biography but there are hints at the more complex character, one who had anger management issues until discovering transcendental meditation.

Room To Dream is an intriguing way to present a biography, however it does have an inherent problem in that McKenna cannot be as critical or as insightful about Lynch as she would otherwise have been. As she is co-authoring the book with the subject on hand I found that it feels very woolly and basic, with the chapter enhanced by Lynch's personal recollections. The book is well worth a read but be aware that it is a glowing account of the auteurs life and you are only seeing what he wants you to see.

LINK- Lulu In Hollywood (Louise Brooks’ essays) Book Review

Bagpuss Soundtrack Released

Smallfilms may not be a name that you are immediately familiar with but the works of founders Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin probably are: Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine, the Clangers and Bagpuss. A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to visit a retrospective of the studio in London.

Since its birth in 1959 the works of Postgate and Firmin have delighted millions of fans across the world. The Bagpuss soundtrack release by Earth Recordings is a surprising but pleasant one. The children's classic stop motion show is 44 years old and, for many people, holds a special place in their heart. I never really got into the show, being born in 1981 but I have seen a few episodes and can see the charm. The newly mastered soundtrack by Sandra Kerr and John Faulkner, has been released on vinyl, CD and digital formats and contains 32 tracks with a mix of folk-music, ditties and improvised pieces. If that's your bag be quick to snap up the limited edition formats.

Jean Michel Jarre Equinoxe Infinity- Album Review

40 years ago Jean Michel Jarre released his fourth album, Equinoxe, and confirmed his place in music history as a trailblazer of electronic music. The 1978 follow up album to Oxygene further developed the sound and style that made Jarre's music instantly recognisable, reaching its zenith with Equinoxe 4 and 5.

And so, it is with much excitement that Jarre fans have waited for Equinoxe Infinity, a sequel proper with the strange Watchers featuring prominently, silent sentinels over the many decades...

Equinoxe Infinity contains ten brand new tracks (or movements) which closely mirror the progression of the original album, peals of thunder are interspersed with the soundscapes of running water.

The opening track, The Watchers, creates a sense of awe and wonder as it opens with the perfect mix of organic and digital sounds. The sound of flowing water is closely followed by a deep booming bass that is followed by a deep rhythm that seems to be approaching closer, until it gives way to a full on sci-fi soundscape... Almost as if the sentinels have awoken.

Track two, Flying Totems, introduces many of the sounds that Jarre that has become synonymous with. There are echoes of Industrial Revolutions part 2 as the piece flows and ebbs. There is a sense of pure joy and freedom, almost as if one were soaring through the sky. It's hard to describe but the sense of elation I get from this track is indescribable. One of Jarre's best in my opinion.

The third movement, Robots Don't Cry, is a more measured piece. It has a steady, almost metronomic melotron sound. A violin wends it's way through the whole thing that is surrounded by the airy sounds of Oxygene. It's an interesting track and a grower for sure, especially when the piano-like sounds come in near the middle of the piece.

The next two tracks, All The You Leave Behind and If The Wind Could Speak are a little more soundscapey, with watery burbles and splashes punctuated with some treated vocals, reminiscent of Zoolook.

One of the highlight of the album for me is track 6, Infinity. It is nothing short of a masterpiece from Jarre. It could feature in many Balearic clubs and be the sound of the Summer, albeit a Summer ruled by Ace of Base. It's so joyful and playful!

Tracks 7 and 8, Machines Are Learning and The Opening are short but strong tracks. Machines Are Learning features a driving rhythm punctuated with odd beeps, bloops and weird vocals. I like it and it reminds me of his older work but can't quite place my finger in it. The Opening meanwhile has a striking rhythm and aggressive synthy sound which I love.

Don't Look Back is track 9 and is quite unusual, starting with an aggressive cello-ish sound that is slowly built on to become softer but no less urgent.

The final track, Equinoxe Infinity, is a seven minute marvel reprising much of what has occurred on the album but with a tinge of wistfulness. Splashes of water merge with echoes that slowly build into a crescendo and a euphoric wall of sound.

Equinoxe Infinity is a thing of beauty.

At just under 40 minutes Equinoxe Infinity is a short but wonderful experience. There is always great danger in revisiting your past but here I feel that Jarre has added to the legacy of the origin work, much like with Oxygene 3 but more so here. Equinoxe Infinity is a much more cohesive album that Oxygene 3 and is probably one of my favourite Jarre albums ever. It is a beautiful and at times euphoric experience and what Jarre fan wouldn't want that?

Come one, come all to hear the return of the great master of electronica!

LINK- Planet Jarre Celebrates 50 Years of Jarre

LINK- Jean Michel Jarre Oxygene 3 Album Review

LINK- Jean Michel Jarre Electronica Vol. 2 Album Review

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power- Episode 1 Review

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is a reboot of the 1985 series. The series is a modern reimagining of the character and world of Etheria, which is a good thing. He-Man and She-Ra are fondly remembered, however if you revisit both cartoons in this modern age you realise just how bad He-Man really is and how much better She-Ra was.

This modern take of She-Ra is written by Noelle Stevenson, author of The Lumberjanes and Nimona, both of which I love. She has a habit of creating plucky and interesting characters and so it is with this series.

Raised as an orphan, Adora/ She-Ra is a strong and willing fighter for the Horde, battling against the insurgent Princesses and looking to rule over Etheria in the name of Hordak. However, after retrieving the Sword of Protection from the Forbidden Forest her latent powers are revealed and her secret origins flash before her eyes.

As a first episode, 'The Sword part 1' has me invested. The characterisation of Stevenson's cast is excellent and the interplay between them is wonderful. There are some wonderful one-liners, ''Are you brain-damaged? Please don't be brain-damaged. Shadow Weaver will kill me.''

I am looking forward to seeing if this series lives up to its promise and will be providing a full series review soon but in the meantime, check out the first episode as it is a well done modern interpretation of a classic cartoon.

Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle Vol. 3- Comic Review

Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle has shown great promise with volume 1 taking us back to Alita's origin as a young orphaned 80% cyborg child named Yoko living on the war-torn surface of Mars with her friend Erica. Volume 2 returned to the present and had Yoko and Erica fighting after 200 years spent apart. Volume 3 returns us to the past to flesh out the storyline of Yoko and Erica in more detail. Yukito Kishiro has always had a bleak view of the world and here it gets incredibly dark as we find out about Erica's family, the tragedy of her past and maybe her descent to the dark side. We find out how the pair were separated yet their destinies forever entwined.

After she is separated from Yoko, who finds her birth mother, Erica no longer has the positive balance in her life and so when the new big bad- Baron Muster, who sports a horrendous deformity which Kishiro seems to revel in drawing, is revealed it is quite simple to work out why Erica would turn on her friend and become a mercenary.

So overall, this volume introduces yet more characters and more sub-plots but doesn't bring a sense of closure to all the other plot threads, however we now know why Erica turned to the dark side after Yoko left.

This series is setting things up but I hope that it doesn't become like Last Order and drag for too long with incidental characters that go nowhere. At the moment though it succeeds in drawing me in and keeping me invested in this dystopian world.

Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle Vol. 3 continues the journey of Yoko/ Alita on.

Sailors Dream- Video Games As Art

Sailor's Dream is a peaceful narrative experience from Simigo. The only objective is to explore and satisfy your curiosity. You explore a variety of locations including ancient ruins, a windswept ship and an old lighthouse. As you explore the world you find pieces of memories that help you to create a narrative. The experience is beautifully realised and when I am a bit stressed or worried I find a quick dip into this app helps me calm right down. Check out some shots from my play through.

Okami Soundtrack on Vinyl Arrives

Okami is one of gamings most beautiful examples for the argument of video games as art. The imagery from the game is stunningly presented in a traditional Japanese brushstroke form and the music is a collection of traditional instruments and modern synthesizer sounds, recalling a dreamily imagined Japan that has never truly existed.

Data Discs recently sent out the pre-orders of the 4 disc pressing of the remastered soundtrack for the game and I received my copy a couple of days ago. Over the next few days I’ll have a listen and post my opinions here but in the meantime check out the pictures I’ve taken below and underneath more vinyl reviews of classic video game soundtracks, cartoons and retro television shows.

Good Grief, Charlie Brown Exhibition in London

Charlie Brown and Snoopy are iconic creations that are beloved all over the world. Creator Charles M. Schulz worked on the strip for over 50 years and created over 17, 000 strips in that time. It is easy to reduce the love of Snoopy and Charlie Brown to stuffed toys and the plethora of commercial products but it is worth remembering that the comic series is an existential piece of work, a reflective meditation on loneliness, defeat, and alienation. Seriously, if you read the comics you will find hard hitting truths and sharp observations on the human condition… it is a masterpiece of presenting truth, but through the mouth of babes.

Charlie Brown is an everyman, he rarely wins but he gives it his best!

Well, Somerset House have an exhibition celebrating the world of Peanuts running currently and I went along for the ride.

The whole exhibition is beautifully curated with many original strips alongside some personal effects of Schulz, such as his childhood baseball mitt, ice-skating boots as well as the stuff you'd expect from an artist such as his pencils, pens, papers etc.
Upstairs the cultural impact of Peanuts is looked at and there are many modern interpretations of the characters.
Overall, the exhibition is a wonderful celebration of this most singular and influential comic strip artist and worthy of your consideration. The exhibition runs until 3rd March 2019 and at a reasonable £14 entrance price, is worth a couple of hours of perusal.