One of my favourite songs. I originally tried to upload this with the studio version but because of copyright I replaced it with an instrumental/karaoke backing track. One part at the start is a bit off because I originally recorded over the studio version and not this one, but the rest of the song should be alright. I got the instrumental backing track from here (all credit for the instrumental goes to their channel) -

Pretty fun song to play. Use earphones/headphones to hear the bass clearly!

Thank you to UG for helping out!

New album on Bandcamp:
Instagram: @aristhought

-Fender Blacktop Bass
-Focusrite Scarlett Studio
-Canon Legria HF R76

All rights for original song go to rightful owners- this is done for non-commercial and personal use only. The usage of this material is under guidelines of fair use. Material remains under all rights of owner and is only used here for nonprofit, critique, and educational purposes. No copyright infringement is intended with the upload of this video.
Film Talks
In which I write about movies I've watched, from a casual movie-goer's point of view.

Dunkirk (2017)
Director: Christopher Nolan

An incredible film that was made even more amazing by the IMAX experience. Some movies almost need to be enjoyed as an immersive experience, its visuals and sounds being vital to its power on the audience, and this is one of them.

This film has relatively sparse dialogue and subverts a lot of typical tropes in war movies, perfecting the "show, don't tell" method into an art, and is absolutely phenomenal. The visuals that span from wide, rolling shots of the sky in the perspective of the pilots to the tight, claustrophobic shots of drowning soldiers in ships keep you tense, on the edge of your seat, and unable to divert your attention the entire time. The scenes are gorgeous, but also devastating and immediate. You feel right there with them, until you almost forget that you're just sitting in a dark theatre in front of a screen.

The sound is absolutely breathtaking as well; the loudness of the bullets and shrapnel and explosions (which will literally make you jump in an IMAX theatre), along with the rolling soundtrack of Hans Zimmer (and the tension building sound of the stopwatch in the background) really completes the haunting atmosphere of the film. It has moving crescendos and high tension, brief moments of quiet, and it's the sound just as much as the visuals that make the film incredibly emotionally immediate.

Plot and content wise, Dunkirk isn’t so much about heroes and blazing glory, it’s about survival, and this movie shows it very well. We see raw fear, desperation, courage and cowardice, hyper realistic human emotions stripped down to nothing but their bare bones. It has almost no character histories or development, and that is probably slightly different from most movies, but in Dunkirk it works; these soldiers can be almost anyone, and in the end, we don't need to know how they spent their childhoods to focus on the sole purpose of the film - the desperation of survival.

The timelines are a little confusing at first until you realise that the movie is telling three separate storylines that overlap and merge; and it’s the utilisation of these criss crossing perspectives that add a lot of emotive and storytelling power as well. You see tragedies and victories from different angles and from the eyes of different people, and each angle will provide a different perspective and emotional meaning to what is happening.

There are some scenes and breathtaking shots as well that will stay with you forever. I don't want there to be any spoilers in this, but some of the last scenes with the pilot will very easily stick with someone for a long time after the film has finished.

If IMAX isn’t possible, watching it on a bigger screen with good sound quality is pretty much a must; computer screens really can’t do the atmosphere of the film justice. Out of all war films I've watched, Dunkirk is probably one of my all time favourites. Despite having little direct gore and no direct visuals of the enemy, it builds its atmosphere to an effect where neither of the above is necessary - and in fact, makes the story even more compelling. You don't need to focus on excessive blood or seeing enemy soldiers run down to feel the devastation and the evacuating soldiers' fear.

Dunkirk is less focused on characters and interpersonal drama and dialogue - which is arguably suitable for the nature of what this movie is dealing with - but in the end, it still has so much raw emotion and fear and anxiety radiating from it that makes it a very very human experience about war. Dunkirk really does the emotional realism justice.

I don’t know much about history, so its historical accuracies and whether it does that right is not up to me to point out, but from a purely visual, sonic, and film-goer's point of view, this was film was more than worth it to watch. I would recommend seeing it more than once because once things click, seeing it again means noticing all the details that you might have skipped over as you were settling into the movie the first time.

On a last personal note, my favourite storyline was the pilots'. I can’t forget that incredibly powerful final shot of the plane, and even though very few words were exchanged and Tom Hardy's face was barely seen, the emotional power of what was said in so few words and what was shown with only about a quarter of his face, was more than enough.

Made a lyric video for this song out of some old footage I had lying around. Hope you enjoy :) As before the full album is available on Bandcamp and on Payhip. Thank you all for the support!

Afternoon drawing/study; Sketch Daily's prompt (July 26): cathedral
Pretty calming to quickly sketch out and draw. Used pencil + ink pen.
is this home. 
You try to settle within your skin,
the home you were long given,
make your bed between the bones and sinew.
Sometimes you want to tear the greying wallpaper down,
fingernails to wall to wall, corner to corner;
Take a hammer to the floorboards
Pry out all the dead memories and set them free;
Break all the windows, lie on the broken glass,
to just let yourself be.
The locked doors and broken hallways lead nowhere.
You light a match to the dust just so you can see.
I’ll rebuild this house from ashes just to live again;
carve marble staircases from blood sweat and tears.
I’ll rebuild this house just so I can finally breathe.

Gone Now is an amazing album. I love this song and took a while to tab out the bass parts to it, had a great time.
Use earphones/headphones to hear the bass clearly!

Instagram: @aristhought

-Fender Blacktop Bass
-Focusrite Scarlett Studio
-Canon Legria HF R76

All rights for original song go to rightful owners- this is done for non-commercial and personal use only. The usage of this material is under guidelines of fair use. Material remains under all rights of owner and is only used here for nonprofit, critique, and educational purposes. No copyright infringement is intended with the upload of this video.
A short piece based on this prompt (I take no credit for the original idea):

Very few people in the world are born with unique, strange abilities. Yours is the ability to hear the music of people's souls.

An Unheard Song

You take a break from tending your flowers and straighten up, stretching in your neatly grown home garden. A couple strolls past on the street, laughing quietly between themselves. You pause, then you hear it. A soft, happy hum - almost like it's from a fairytale - from one of them, and the sound of excited, energetic guitar riffs from the other. You smile to yourself, and bend back down to tend to your plants.

You've had this gift since childhood. At first, you thought everyone could do it.

"All you have to do is listen," 10 year old you insisted six years ago as you concentrated on your mother's gentle lullaby, one she seemingly couldn't hear, to your bemusement.

Once you got older, you realised that this particular ability of yours is unique - not quite a curse, not quite a gift - just a part of who you are.

The fine details of every soul's song vary as the soul ages, as moods fluctuate and as people grow and change, but it always sticks to the same song, the same instruments and atmosphere, the very defining energy of a human being. When you first met your best friend, her soul's swinging and courageous choruses harmonised perfectly with yours. The reverb and gentle dream like world of your soul melded perfectly with her grand and fantastical one to create another moving song when overlapped. You'll never forget what it sounded like the first time you met.

Since then, both of your songs have grown and developed, but still harmonise in peace just like the very first day. You've been friends for seven years now, and you still remember her song perfectly even though your families have moved miles apart.

The next morning when you return to your front yard with a book and a cup of tea in your hands, there's suddenly a new sound in the neighbourhood, unlike any song you've heard before. It's a quiet melody, with hints of flute and the gentle twinkling of wind chimes, and completely out of the blue. You place your things down and follow the noise, tuning out the others of the neighbourhood - the jazz and the metal and the piano, every soul emitting their own unique songs into the universe.

You nod at the neighbours you walk by - you can recognise each and every one of them by song alone. But this time you don't stop and chat. Instead, you focus on the new song, tilting your head and following it into the small woods at the edge of the neighbourhood, where flowers bloom and trees tower towards the light blue sky. The music grows louder and louder in your ears until you see a teenager sitting alone amongst the grass and the bushes - a young boy - about your age.

"Hello?" You ask curiously and he looks up, startled, nearly falling back over into the ferns.

"I - Sorry." He stammers back nervously, hurriedly getting to his feet. His eyes and nose are red and cheeks smudged, and he quickly wipes his face, turning slightly away.

"Don't be sorry. Are you alright?"

He shrugs and you sit down cross legged amongst the grass, inviting him to do the same. He reluctantly settles down again and begins picking at the dirt beneath him. There's a moment of silence between you, and you wait for him to speak.

He takes a deep breath and rubs his eyes again, still not meeting your gaze. "Sorry. I just come here a lot. My parents aren't ever home. I just like this place."

"That's okay. I like this place too."

His forehead scrunches questionably, but he nods, and you lean back, still hearing his music all around you - soft and lonesome and calm.

You return to the woods almost every day afterwards, usually finding him there taking walks amongst the trees, humming to himself. Soon enough, weeks pass and you fall into a routine with him; telling each other stories, picking flowers and studying the plants growing there, laughing and recalling weird childhood memories and embarrassing moments.

As the days pass, he smiles more, laughs more, and begins to talk about his achievements in school, his love for playing the piano, his dreams for the future.

Although you can still hear the music of the rest of the souls not so far away in the neighbourhood, you start listening for his, and his song begins to sound comforting and familiar and safe, like home.

"I got a scholarship to this music school," he announces one day, as you two sit in the same spot you met several months ago. He beams as he plays with the grass, the unbridled excitement reaching his eyes.

You hug him and tell him how proud you are of him.

Later that afternoon as you two head out from the forest, the sun going down, you realise that the song in his soul has changed since you first heard it many, many weeks ago. Instead of a stranger's lonesome, almost melancholic tune, you hear threads of happiness intertwining in and out of the flutes and chimes, a certain hopefulness for the future. You smile to yourself.

"What?" He asks curiously as you two split off at the crossroads.

"Nothing." You reply. "I just want to say, I'm glad you were at the woods that day. I'm glad we met."

He smiles and nods gratefully. "Yeah. I'm really glad too."
Gone Now is the second album by Bleachers (Jack Antonoff), released June 2, 2017. After listening to it many, many times, here are some of my thoughts on it. 

Review originally posted on Medium

Gone Now feels like a story. Like a tragedy simultaneously unfolding and being dealt with, all between music that isn’t devastatingly sad, that isn’t energetically joyful, but walks that perfect bittersweet line in between. You can’t decide between triumphantly celebrating surviving something you never thought you’d survive, or collapsing into yourself with leftover devastation. The music feels anxious and sad but also distinctively hopeful and full to the brim with courage.

Bleachers has always, to me, felt like the kind of music you maybe find yourself humming to because it’s so catchy, and then you really sit back and listen to the lyrics and the meaning, and it’s devastating, and so powerful, and it hits you so hard with its depth and emotional complexity as you explore it further.

Gone Now has exactly that type of emotional intimacy and vulnerability. Sure, at the end of the day, it’s still an album that’s being bought and heard by thousands and thousands of others around the world, likely sometimes at the same time you’re listening to it. But you still feel, in the dead of the night, that it’s you and you alone with the music.

Personally, Gone Now feels like someone waking up one morning and slowly saying goodbye to the world. Fading away bit by bit, in a deeply introspective and personal montage. It’s a whole life condensed into a day, a weekend. Waking up, walking through the world, then they’re gone. As Jack mentioned in an interview before, this album reflects an idea about what everything would be like if he’s gone, and the cover of the album is what he envisions his picture would be like displayed at his funeral.

In that vein, and amongst all the complex issues Gone Now explores, this album really does condense a lot of emotional power into twelve tracks. It’s grief, loss, recovery, farewell, love, heartbreak, falling apart and holding yourself together, all woven between powerful melodies and layers and layers of sound and catchy vocals and music.

Simply put, it’s a certain type of catharsis coming alive in the form of an album.

Recurring themes tie the album together into a cohesive journey; no song really stands in a vacuum on its own, even though each has a distinct enough sound, setting them apart. Self references, repeated phrases, everything creates a cyclic story that makes the album less a collection of songs sat together and more of an interconnected emotional story from beginning to end. Initially, ‘Dream of Mickey Mantle’ directly references ‘I Miss Those Days’ and ‘Don’t Take the Money’; “I miss those days so I sing a don’t take the money song.” But there are so many more threads within the album.

Saying goodbye. Moving on. Leaving. Lost. Rolling thunder and cursed bedrooms. Strangers. Street corners. I gotta get myself back home soon. I just gotta get home.

Goodmorning, to the cops, to the kids, anyone who lent me a favour. Goodbye, to the friends I had, to my upstairs neighbour, to the kids downstairs, to the dream downstairs, anybody who lent me a favour.

And the very end of the album, at the end of Foreign Girls: “Goodbye…You should know that I loved you all.”

The honesty and devastation in the album never loses its impact even dozens of listens later. It’s an emotional concept album, and it feels, at the end of the day, exactly what a second Bleachers album would sound like. As a huge fan of Jack’s music, I didn’t fully know what I was waiting for, only that I was eagerly awaiting new Bleachers music, but after listening to the album, I knew I was waiting for this.

Apart from the themes and emotional impact of the album, sonically, there are so many intricate layers to every song that I’m still a little in awe every time I relisten to the album.

Jack recently posted the Making Of videos of 'Don’t Take The Money' and 'Goodmorning' on his Youtube channel. Amongst many other things, little intricate details like the sounds of the street recorded and played in the background of 'Don’t Take The Money', the harp in the background of the song that gives it its deeply bittersweet emotion; the trumpet in 'Goodmorning', the warped voice recordings — all these little details that we don’t consciously notice listening to the music, but which really, really complete the songs — all of those details give Bleachers’ music the depth that I really love about it time and time again.

Along the line of Bleachers’ music, on a final note, Gone Now also feels in some ways like a musical sequel to Strange Desire. The ‘I’m Ready To Move On’ in the 11th track of Gone Now. The “I wanna be grateful” that can be heard at a few points in the album. And also, if I sit down and listen to Strange Desire from beginning to end, and have ‘Who I Want You To Love’ fade into ‘Dream of Mickey Mantle’, it has an almost natural progression forward.

Gone Now is almost definitely one of my favourite albums of the year, and it’s not even mid July yet. It’s an emotional and incredible musical experience at any time, but personally, it really does have a special impact listened to at night — on a long drive, on a walk through the neighbourhood alone, lying in bed before falling asleep.

There are so many more things that could be said but what it really comes down to is that this is definitely an album that deserves a listen — then several dozen relistens. And many, many more.