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- “NPR” by Can’t Stop Won’t Stop – Puppet Rap!
- “Grief” – A Dance Short Film
- “Run Away” – A Dance Short Film
- TV ads for Liberty Coin & Currency
- Republic Services Roosevelt: Generating Power from Refuse
- Blackmagic 4K tests: battery life, data and record time
- Timelapse for Buzzfeed
- Roxanne – Tango Short Film
- “Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon” – The RA Scion redux
- Three web Spots for Familyshare.com
- Garrett Gibbons Demo Reel 2013
- Ayron Jones & The Way – Feedin’ From the Devil’s Hands
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- Dance choreography films for Katie Baillie
Tag Archives: review
Last Fall, Seattle Hip-hop artist RA Scion worked with a Brooklyn-based producer named Rodney Hazard and gave us all an album that defied expectations and elevated Hip-hop music. “The Sickle and The Sword” generated a ton of well-deserved buzz, but was quickly cut off due to some legal confusion and drama on behalf of the producer. The producer demanded that the album not be sold or distributed, and the album was cut off short.
Not so easily defeated, RA Scion and his team began searching for a new producer to bring to life the vocal tracks that had been abandoned by Hazard’s beats. Vox Mod‘s work caught RA’s attention, and “Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon” was born.
Here are links to the album:
I’ve spent the last week listening to the new album. The old version was one of my favorite albums to come out of Seattle, and I’ve been apprehensive about what the new sound and the new take on this beloved material might be. Not knowing what to expect, I abandoned expectations and dove in.
The surprising news to me is that the essence of the first album has generally been transferred to the new album. Despite the fact that Vox Mod apparently hasn’t heard the old album at all (or at least he hadn’t when The Stranger interviewed him), the album achieves a similar vibe that is conscious, mystic, intelligent, uplifting, challenging, and incredibly clever.
Here’s a track listing that compares the new track titles to the old:
|#||The Sickle and The Sword||Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon|
|1||Ex Oriente Lux||Passage to Transience|
|2||Constant (feat. Daniel Blue)||Fixed (feat. Daniel Blue)|
|3||In Veneration||Opalescent Jetsam|
|4||Backwoods||Plush Portal Stylings|
|5||The Prospector's Appraisal||Introspector|
|6||On Saturnalia Eve (feat. Blake Lewis)||Venus in Transit (feat. Blake Lewis)|
|7||Myrrh||Laurel & Wine|
|8||Hoof x Horn||Holly & Oak (Again & Again)|
|10||Woodwalker (feat. Mark Shirtz)||Finding Forbearance (feat. Mark Shirtz)|
|11||Hungry Like (feat. Rodney Hazard)||Patina Green (feat. GMK and Royce the Choice)|
|12||Black Friday||Run One Through|
|13||OurSpace (feat. Romaro Franceswa)||Interstellar Parish (feat. Romaro Franceswa)|
|14||Seven Gen. (feat. Greg Cypher)||Res Publica (feat. Greg Cypher)|
I’m blown away at the contribution that Vox Mod gave to this project. Songs that didn’t quite land with me before, like “Hoof x Horn,” have evolved into some of my favorite tracks. “Holly & Oak (Again & Again)” replaces “Hoof x Horn” and brings far more to the table than the first version was able to bring. Vox Mod’s irresistible beat on that track turn head-nodders into dancers. The track flows and soars and drives through you, building and teasing and rewarding the listener.
Other songs feel so different from the original that I had to go back and listen to the Rodney Hazard versions just to make sure that I was remembering it right. Hazard’s “Seven Gen.” was a positive song but it never really resonated with me. At the Fall 2013 album release party, I was blown away at the energy of the live version and wondered why the recorded version was such a different experience. Its replacement, “Res Publica,” takes the song from a solid song to a classic. As it comes across in its place as the final track on the album, it feels like RA Scion has taken a trip to the future, through deep space, and is now coming back to Seattle with the same pragmatic intelligence that made Common Market so popular. One of my favorite tracks out of all of his work, “Res Publica” feels like coming home to the 21st-century answer to “Tobacco Road.”
In some cases, I miss beloved tracks from the first album – “Woodwalker” and “On Saturnalia Eve” were two of my favorites. The tracks that replaced them, though they have identical vocal tracks by RA and Blake Lewis (Mark Shirtz recorded new lyrics), have very different feels. They are solid songs, they’re enjoyable to listen to, but I miss my old favorites. It’s bound to happen, and I’m just grateful that I was able to get a download of “The Sickle and The Sword” when I still could.
In the vast majority of instances, however, I can’t think of anything other than what I’m listening to. The album has a maturity, cohesiveness and sense of purpose that the old one never was quite able to achieve. “Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon” is a start-to-finish journey that rewards listeners who like to sit down and soak in an entire album, start to finish.
“The Sickle and The Sword” was an ode to the harvest, reaping beats from the earth. It carried the mystery and melancholy of Fall, and was released near the Autumnal Equinox. Now we have “Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon,” released almost exactly on the Vernal Equinox, which somehow takes the same vocal tracks and infuses them with new life. The album has grown, the Spring is here, and we’re all hoping that this new duo will last a long, long time.
I love Dropbox. I use it daily to sync business data and project documents (but not the source media) between various computers on our office network. It’s simple, powerful, and free (or cheap, if you want more storage). Today I learned about Dropbox’s worst nightmare: Copy.
Copy is a Dropbox competitor that has awesome improvements over Dropbox, but is otherwise very similar.
Some of the improvements over Dropbox I’ve noticed so far:
- You start with 15 GB (2 GB on Dropbox), and get 5 GB for each referral (250 MB for Dropbox). $99/yr plan is for 250 GB (50 GB for Dropbox).
- If you’re sharing a folder between several people, the space used on each account is also shared. With Dropbox, a 12 GB file shared by 3 people would occupy 12 GB of space on each account. With Copy, it occupies 4 GB of space on each of the 3 accounts.
- More powerful management of selective sync (where certain folders don’t sync across, such as Lightroom preview files).
- Easier management of shared folders (which tend to easily get lost/misplaced with Dropbox), using the preferences pane for the desktop app.
- A very cool workgroup/company sharing feature, which gives plenty of options for sharing folders among coworkers. Dropbox has a workgroup mode and shared folders, but Copy’s implementation is far slicker, in my opinion.
Otherwise, all of the key features of Dropbox seem to be present in Copy: web/desktop/mobile app access, automatic backup and syncing, easy sharing (including with people who don’t use the service), etc….
It doesn’t appear that Copy has the same level of encryption as Dropbox has, so I wouldn’t jump into this if you have highly-sensitive information (this means you, Jason Bourne).
Try it out. Use one of my links and you’ll get an extra 5 GB as a referral bonus. It runs well as a parallel app to Dropbox (and Google Drive), and is definitely worth the install.