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Evergaze Eternity (Evergaze Eternity)
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Gli Evergaze Eternity iniziano la loro storia nell'ottobre del 2007, quando Giovanni, Michele e Irene decidono di dar vita ad una band che fosse sintesi delle loro molteplici influenze musicali, aventi tutte come comune denominatore una distaccata vena intimistica, onirica e malinconica. La prima formazione stabile si ottiene con l’ingresso di Stefano alle chitarre e Andrea alla batteria ed è con questa line up che gli Evergaze Eternity registrano, presso i Syncropain Product di Marco Ribecai a Pisa, il loro primo Ep “Incompatible Existences” e la cover di Red Stars dei The Birthday Massacre, in due sessioni distinte iniziate rispettivamente il 6 giugno e il 14 dicembre 2008. Durante le registrazioni della seconda sessione, Stefano lascia la band e la registrazione delle chitarre viene terminata dallo stesso Marco Ribecai. A sostituire Stefano alla chitarra arriva Nicola e la band inizia l'attività live. Nel frattempo Incompatible Existences riceve recensioni positive ovunque, arrivando ad essere Top Demo sulla rivista Metal Maniac. Infatti, nelle quattro canzoni che compongono l’Ep, la band interpreta, nel segno dei The Gathering, un gothic rock con arrangiamenti eleganti, ricco di riferimenti musicali che vanno dal gothic/doom metal al dark/pop, all’elettronica, al rock alternativo, alla psichedelia. Su tutto l’incredibile voce ed il fascino di Irene, dal timbro lirico ed etereo, vicino a quello di Anneke. Nel luglio 2009 ad affiancare Irene entra nella band Valeria che, con la sua splendida voce dal timbro più orientato al rock/pop, le risulta naturalmente complementare, permettendo così alla band di sperimentare nuove strade e di esprimere al meglio le diverse sfumature della propria musica. Con questa nuova formazione la band è attualmente impegnata nella composizione del primo album ufficiale la cui uscita è prevista per il 2010.

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Valeria: vocals
Giovanni: Synthesizers/FX/Programming

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Harry Styles, Lianne La Havas and Dave among the Ivor Novello Awards winners for 2021

Mercoledì 22 Settembre 2021 15:45

 Ivor Novello Awards, celebrating Britain’s best songwriters and composers during its ceremony last night (September 21). Nominated in the PRS for Music Most Performed Work category, Styles was awarded his first Ivor for ‘Adore You’, the second single from his Grammy-nominated album ‘Fine Line’. The two other big Ivor accolades – Best Album and Best Contemporary Song – were awarded to Lianne La Havas and Dave and Fraser T Smith, respectively. La Havas won in her category for her self-titled third studio album, released in July 2020. The category also saw the likes of Fontaines D.C., Tom Misch + Yussef Dayes, Pa Salieu and Laura Marling being nominated. Marking their third Novello win in four years, Dave and Smith won for ‘Children of the Internet’, performed by Future Utopia, an exploration of the impact of social media on the younger generations. Celeste and Jamie Hartman jointly took out the Songwriter of the Year award for a collection of work released last year. This included ‘Stop This Flame’, ‘I Can See the Change’ and ‘A Little Love’ for the John Lewis Christmas advert. The evening’s Special International Award went to Bon Jovi‘s Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora for their 30-year musical partnership, while the Ivors Inspiration Award went to duo Goldfrapp – made up of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory – for their work together. Find the full list of winners below. All but two of the Ivor Novello Awards categories (PRS for Music Most Performed Work and Songwriter of the Year) were judged by separate panels of songwriters and composers. The Ivor Novello Awards 2021 winners are: BEST ALBUMLianne La Havas – ‘Lianne La Havas’ BEST CONTEMPORARY SONGFuture Utopia feat. Dave & Es Devlin – ‘Children of the Internet’ PRS FOR MUSIC (MOST PERFORMED WORK)Harry Styles – ‘Adore You’ SONGWRITER OF THE YEARCeleste and Jamie Hartman BEST SONG MUSICALLY AND LYRICALLYObongjayar – ‘God’s Own Children’ BEST ORIGINAL FILM SCOREBlanck Mass (Calm with Horses) BEST ORIGINAL VIDEO GAME SCORE Gareth Coker (Ori and the Will of the Wisps) BEST TELEVISION SOUNDTRACKGeoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury and The Insects (Devs) The post Harry Styles, Lianne La Havas and Dave among the Ivor Novello Awards winners for 2021 appeared first on NME.

PinkPantheress: meet the mysterious, TikTok-conquering breakthrough artist

Mercoledì 22 Settembre 2021 15:40

Over the past 30 years, garage has become an integral influence on areas of the UK music scene. In 2001, So Solid Crew’s pacy MC-ing on ‘21 Seconds’ led them to topping the charts; a year later, The Streets’ seminal ‘Original Pirate Material’ cribbed from the funky sounds of old-school ‘90s garage to craft a generation-defining debut record. It’s not a surprise, then, that we still celebrate the sometimes forgotten genre by way of homage. Making sparky renditions of the hidden sounds of garage, drum and bass, and jungle is 20-year-old PinkPantheress, whose songs have become some of the most popular sounds on TikTok and beyond. Fans from all over the world have spent the past year (virtually) documenting their lives to her music, however, it took PinkPantheress some time to allow the world to catch a glimpse of her. Being a part of a digitally-savvy generation, she has managed to shelter under a cloak of invisibility online – all because she wanted people to hear her music before seeing her. And with the music video for recent single ‘Just For Me’ (produced by hitmaker Mura Musa), the Bath-born artist offered her first face reveal, though she insists that she is “enjoying the limelight right now” with the current level of privacy that she has. Even with her penchant for mystery, she’s become one of the UK’s biggest breakthrough artists of the year – despite the fact that people barely know who she is. Until now. Finally ready to talk to NME over Zoom, PinkPantheress tells us all about her TikTok fame, her garage expertise, and why she believes that Americans should dig deeper into the UK’s musical history. For a good amount of time, you kept your identity hidden. Why? “I think it’s down to how much you put out there. I wanted this to be more about the music than how I presented myself. It’s about how much you can control, and you can’t control everything, but I’ve decided that I can sometimes be incognito. It’s nice that people are interested, but also feel like, ‘Well, I can only give them what I want to give them’. I love the privacy I have as of right now.” Did you think you’d ever be in this position? “I’ve wanted to be an artist my whole life, but I kind of suppressed it because I thought that the chances of it actually happening were slim to none, and it also wasn’t really in keeping with what I was doing at the time. It’s been something that I have wanted to do since I was 10. When I was in school, I was leaning more towards a career in film. I’m still at university to do film – and I’m not planning to drop out. I’m going to stay here as long as I can, yet I do feel like film is a closed book for me. But it’s not fully closed because I still love it and I want to direct videos.” What was the moment in which you wanted to become PinkPantheress? “I’d say it was when I saw Paramore live at Reading Festival when I was younger, and I saw Hayley Williams on stage. She was doing something that I wanted to do, so I thought I’d better start manifesting early so I can get there. “Performer-wise, Hayley Williams is a big influence; she’s amazing and one of my favourites in this game. I have never seen someone have so much fun on stage and look so effortless while doing it. I was so jealous of her.” What has been blowing up on TikTok done for your career? “I tried all the other options in terms of getting my music out there – and I feel like TikTok was my saving grace. I was using TikTok anyway just to watch videos, but the idea of it being used as a music-sharing platform struck my mind one day when I made a video with zero followers and it kind of did well. I don’t want to use TikTok to promote my music forever, but as a leg-up, it’s truly amazing for a new musician. “I wanted this to be more about the music than how I presented myself” Central Cee recently sampled you on his new single, ‘Obsessed With You’… “I’m not going to lie to you, I am such a big Central Cee fan! And when I saw his message I was like, ‘You know what? Obviously, it’d be a yes’. I’m super excited it’s out. I think it’s great. I’ve always wanted to be a sampled artist, and I’m glad that process starts with an artist like him.” Where does your love for the garage and drum and bass samples you use come from? “If you’d listen to my music and think, ‘No one’s done that before’, then it’s probably because of my melodies. Typically the people who sample garage are rappers, which is super cool; artists take modern songs and make them garage hits, like AJ Tracey’s ‘Ladbroke Grove’. I’m a big fan of that. “For me, what I want to do – because I’m super lazy – is to take a garage beat that I really, really like and chop it down a bit, make a loop out of it, and then sing on top of it. There’s no one in the UK that doesn’t like garage, so it’s that with a twist.” Do you think that your music is a gateway to garage and other UK club genres? “My music isn’t the standard for garage. It also isn’t the standard for drum and bass, or jungle. I don’t even want to box my music into any of those genres for many reasons, one of them being that I believe that what I’m doing with my music and the samples is just me dipping my toe into the pool. If you want to dive in, you need to look at the earlier drum and bass, garage, and jungle stuff. “You can’t just listen to my stuff and think, ‘Yeah, this is it!’. You have to go back to the roots and listen to Shy FX, Adam F, Shola Ama – you need to listen to all of them to get a taste of what it’s all about. That’s something that’s super important for me to share with everyone – I don’t want to act like I’ve done anything that hasn’t been done before. “UK garage has been around forever, but I don’t know if Americans grew up with it like we did. A lot of them might think it’s a new thing – take a dive and listen to some old records.” How did you learn about these seminal UKG and club artists? “It came from three things. One: YouTube. Two: my mum’s car. Three: from being a British teenager and being in London a lot, even though I’m not from there. I found that going to parties and being in the car with my friends, who are really into garage, exposed me to this music.” And what comes next? “There’s definitely a body of work on the way, so watch this space. There are a few things in between that I shan’t give away since you know that I am a lover of mystery. The project is a bit of a mixtape, more than an EP, but all I can say is that it’s coming out some time next month, and it’s a bit dark. “Eclectic? You can be the judge of that. But I hope to have the same amount of love for this record as I’ve gotten already at the start of my career. It’s been really nice to see everyone react this way to my music. I just hope that I’ve just created a moment.” PinkPantheress’ latest single ‘Just For Me’ is out now  The post PinkPantheress: meet the mysterious, TikTok-conquering breakthrough artist appeared first on NME.

‘Diablo 2: Resurrected’ interview: accessibility to the front

Mercoledì 22 Settembre 2021 15:35

“Whenever we make a game, we’re always asking ourselves ‘where’s the fun?’,” starts Rob Gallerani, Studio Design Director at Vicarious Visions. “With Diablo 2: Resurrected though, we just had to not screw up the fun.” READ MORE: In-game exposition dumps are nothing new – so why is ‘Deathloop’ so good at it? The game is a faithful remaster of the original, genre-defining Diablo 2. Released in 2000, the action-roleplaying, hack-and-slash game sold a million copies in two weeks. In twelve months, that number had grown to over 4 million sales and in the two decades since, the community of players has remained healthy, competitive and dedicated. The team knew that any remaster of one of the most adored games in history would have to be handled carefully. “We had to get it right by the diehard fans because they are the ones who are going to scrutinise every little detail. We had to get every little quirk right,” continues Gallerani, who knew appealing to both classic players and a new audience was a fine line the team at Vicarious Visions had to walk. “We spent a lot of time working on how you get into the game.” The front end of the game is completely different and has a much more modern look with a big ol’ play button. Things like online play and inviting friends to play can now be done from within the game. The team also worked with AbleGamers, an American organisation which has spent over 15 years “pushing the inclusive efforts of the industry forward by training and consulting studios while connecting them directly with players who can share their personal experiences.” It resulted in more accessibility options like the ability to make the font larger, playing in colour-blind mode as well as a retooled camera control. “When you make the game approachable for more people, you’re making the game better for everyone,” says Gallerani. “It’s better for people with permanent issues but it also helps out, say, a parent with a newborn baby. They can control the volume so they can play while listening out for a crying infant. The thumbstick can be switched so you can play the game with one hand, in case you need to play while holding the baby.” “It doesn’t make the game easier, it just makes it more accessible,” he reasons. “You really need to look at what is important. Is fighting with the camera an important part of the game? No. People have always complained about the size of the inventory but that’s part of the game and we haven’t changed that. We’ve added things like item comparisons though because it’s such a staple part of every game. Diablo 2 was always about numbers, grinding and tone and all of that is still true whether players have to now click on the gold or walk over to it to pick it up.” After a series of successful open and closed tests, Diablo 2: Resurrected is released this week. There are no nerves from the developers though, only excitement about seeing the reaction from fans. “I think we got most all of it right,” says Gallerani. Diablo II: Resurrected. Credit: Blizzard Entertainment, Vicarious Visions As well as looking out for bugs, “those tests were us trying to earn the trust of the community. We had people who had been playing Diablo 2 for the past twenty years pick up ‘Resurrected’ and not bat an eyelid. The only feedback we got was stuff like ‘this potion isn’t blue enough’ which we can work with. It’s hard to enter a bug that says, ‘Don’t make the game crap’,” which is what online feedback usually suggests.” “People weren’t even sure they were playing the new game at first and that was an incredibly proud moment for me,” says Kevin Todisco, Senior Software Engineer. “The mantra from the start was always ‘this has to be the game you remembered playing 21 years ago’.” “It needed to trigger that nostalgia. It feeling like the game you remember it being was super important. But what you remember and what it really was are not always the same thing,” says Gallerani, aware that a lot of people will remember Diablo 2 through rose-tinted glasses. It’s one of the reasons Diablo 2: Resurrected has a toggle function that will allow players to switch between the new game and the old one. See, Resurrected is built upon the games original architecture. “This is probably the only game that has been remastered from a 2D-based game into a 3D one, but is still running the 2D game.” Diablo II: Resurrected. Credit: Blizzard Entertainment, Vicarious Visions Inspired by other games like Starcraft: Remastered, the toggle is there “to remind people that yes, this is the same game that’s running underneath, it’s the exact same code. It’s the exact same engine. All we’ve really done is added this beautiful new 3D layer on top of it,” says Todisco. “It also kept us honest.” Using the original architecture meant the team had to know Diablo 2 inside out. At the end of the game, players face Baal, a boss monster with the ability to clone himself. Gallerani noticed that the clone’s health bar would be one pixel lower in SD but didn’t know why the code was doing that and assumed it was a bug. After Googling and checking forums though, the team discovered it was how players could tell the difference between the two Baals, so they then had to recreate that quirk in ‘Resurrected’. After spending so much time with the game, the developers of ‘Resurrected’ are even more sure of why Diablo 2 was such a cultural behemoth. For one, it was released during the era of pencil and paper tabletop games and turn based fantasy games but came at a time where computers had started to get more common and more powerful, resulting in a perfect crossover. “The game was dark, which made it cool because not everyone’s parents wanted their kids to play it,” says Gellerani. “There was also no right answer on how to play. Whatever you wanted to play as, the game never tried to stop you. It let you play how you want to play.” “It was just as much the people playing as it was the game though,” he adds. Gallerani is an original Diablo 2 player but before working on it, Todisco had never played it. As soon as the job was confirmed though, he went back and immersed himself in the world as a Barbarian. A good choice according to Gallerani. “I had fun playing on Normal difficulty but as soon as I started on Nightmare and got into The Blood Moor where there were more mob groups, minions and bosses, I totally got it.” “The game does not hold your hand. It smacks you in the face and tells you, you need to get better.” That friction inspired a sense of community within the development team because, like Todisco, a lot of others were simply too young to have played Diablo 2 when it first came out. “They’d get to Duriel for the first time and ask people like me if he’d always been broken,” starts Gallerani. “’No dude, just get good.’” “We underestimate how important that is in games today. People are smart, they’ll figure stuff out. They’re lazy though and they won’t figure it out if they don’t have to. On the team it created a culture of the old guard shepherding in new people. I’m actually really excited to see that on a more global scale when Resurrected is finally released.” Diablo II: Resurrected. Credit: Blizzard Entertainment, Vicarious Visions Before they were brought under the Blizzard Entertainment umbrella at the start of 2021, Vicarious Visions were owned wholly by Activision. They were responsible for the recent remaster of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 as well as the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Gallerani believes the current trend of remakes is driven by nostalgia. “There’s no risk, is there? It’s like putting on an old sweater and right now, in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s nice to have something you know you’ll love.“ “It would be easy to put on my cynical hat and complain that there are no original ideas in gaming anymore but there’s a lot of innovations in these remasters.” Take Diablo 2, for the first time it’s available on consoles which comes with challenges like making sure it looks good on huge screens and the portable Nintendo Switch. “I don’t think we could make the game without putting our own creative additions to it,” he adds. “We’re also at this point of games technology and graphics where we’ve got the opportunity to breathe new life into some of these games,” says Todisco. Diablo II: Resurrected. Credit: Blizzard Entertainment, Vicarious Visions The original Diablo 2 was a deliberately 2D game because it allowed the original developers to create their vision as best they could with the limited 3D tech available at the time. They had to use tricks like shadow casting to give the game the feel of 3D. “We have the chance to take this real classic and make it even bloodier, grittier and darker. I hope that we achieve the vision that they would have wanted to make possible 20 years ago, had they had the technology,” says Todisco. “We want to really bring this game into the modern era and make it last for another 20 years. It’s a preservation of history as much as it is a remaster of a good game.” “We’re not trying to fix the game,” says Gallerani. “We’re not trying to give players the next iteration of Diablo; that’s what Diablo 3 is for. That’s what Diablo 4 and Diablo Immortal will be. It’s a great time to be a Diablo fan right now though.” The team are currently working on Ladder, a competitive type of closed realm Multiplayer, to be added to the game post-release. “The main reason for that is we know the race to 99 is really important and we want to make sure that experience is smooth for everyone. Let’s be honest, we know games aren’t perfectly flawless right when they come out and we want to make sure we do things right. The focus is to stick the landing, then Ladder will follow and we’ll talk about additional changes or additions after that. The game is going to be watched, it’s an ongoing relationship between us and the players.”   For a team so focused on making sure ‘Resurrected’ honours its past, what did the team make of the news that original creator David Brevik would not be buying or streaming the game because he’s not supporting Blizzard right now, following the ongoing lawsuit? “We’re supportive of all our colleagues and when it comes to past creators, we support them and their views,” explains Gallerani. “We thank them for the legacy they left because we really did use the original Diablo 2 as a vision for this game. Right now though, our focus is on preserving this piece of history. Hopefully it endures through all these ups and downs.” Diablo 2 Resurrected is releasing on September 23. The post ‘Diablo 2: Resurrected’ interview: accessibility to the front appeared first on NME.

‘The Sopranos’ greatest moments – as chosen by ‘The Many Saints Of Newark’ cast

Mercoledì 22 Settembre 2021 15:32

In honour of The Sopranos returning for a big-screen prequel, NME sat down with the cast, director and writer of The Many Saints Of Newark to hear about their favourite ever scenes from the series. Oh! When Paulie visits the medium Chosen by: Michael Gandolfini, who plays Tony Soprano “My greatest moment of all The Sopranos? Oh my god… Paulie Walnuts going to the medium’s house. When he talks to the ghost is one of my favourite moments for sure.” Tony Sirico as Paulie ‘Walnuts’ Gaultieri – season two, episode nine. CREDIT: HBO Tony winds Janice up at dinner time Chosen by: MG “Paulie is great, but I also like when Janice goes to anger management and she starts getting better and Tony is poking her at the dinner table until they argue. I love that sequence.” Tony and Janice before their fight – season five, episode 10. CREDIT: HBO Gloria sweeps Tony off his feet Chosen by: LOJ “So I watched the series top to bottom after having shot the movie and I just loved the whole thing – but I thought that when Gloria came on and had that affair with Tony, that whole storyline, man, was a ride!” James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano and Annabella Sciorra as Gloria. CREDIT: Alamy / HBO The rise of Bobby Bacala Chosen by: Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Harold McBrayer “Bobby’s storyline, I think it’s season four or five. Deep into the series this periphery character takes centre stage. I won’t spoil it for anybody but he has this family tragedy and he takes centre stage. I was so moved by his work.” Steve Schirripa as Bobby Baccalieri. CREDIT: Alamy / HBO Tony in the coma Chosen by: Michela De Rossi, who plays Giuseppina Bruno “I think in the series, my favourite moment is when Tony goes into the coma. You can see all the different characters’ real nature, without him alive. You can connect all the seasons and you can say: ‘Oh now I get you. You’re like this.'” Carmela looks on as Tony lies in a coma – season six, episode two. CREDIT: HBO When Carmela grabs a Kalashnikov Chosen by: director Alan Taylor “There are some great Carmela moments that are just so perfect. There’s this ridiculous, it’s just a quick action thing that in fact doesn’t fit in with the rest of the show at all, but in the pilot she hears sounds outside the house and she runs over and opens this little cabinet. It’s part of a column and there’s two grenades and a rifle in there! She grabs the rifle and runs outside. I love the idea that that’s part of her potential as a character, even though that was never really explored again in the show.” The Sopranos’ pilot episode. CREDIT: HBO “Nostradamus and Notre Dame. It’s two different things completely” Chosen by: creator David Chase “I’m kind of ashamed because it’s something that I wrote. I look back and I’m amazed at the scene between Tony and [Bobby] Bacala after the World Trade Center, when they’re talking about the World Trade Center and Quasimodo and Nostradamus, that whole nonsensical conversation. I like that a lot.” Bobby and Tony enjoy a meal together – season four, episode one. CREDIT: HBO ‘The Many Saints Of Newark’ is released in UK cinemas on October 22 The post ‘The Sopranos’ greatest moments – as chosen by ‘The Many Saints Of Newark’ cast appeared first on NME.

Ten years on, ‘Dark Souls’ is still corralling us through its hostile world

Mercoledì 22 Settembre 2021 15:29

Ten years of Dark Souls. That’s not very long in the grand scheme of things – it’s been thirty years since there was a good Sonic The Hedgehog game, for example – and yet I can barely remember a time in which the gaming world wasn’t looking forward to the latest “Soulslike”, when flourishing indies weren’t listing the game as a primary inspiration, or when we weren’t all talking about movies, novels – absolutely anything – in direct reference to it. This *thing* is the Dark Souls of film, of literature, of countless other nodes of art and culture. READ MORE: 20 years later, ‘Ico’ remains a minimalist masterclass in cinematic and emotional storytelling Of course, Demon Souls and King’s Field were doing similar things earlier, and Bloodborne and Sekiro are seen as the more refined renditions. But Dark Souls was ground zero for the phenomenon itself. After scouring the depths of every critical compilation, and watching every lore video under the sun, is there even anything new to say about the original game? Probably not – but after years of playing FromSoftware’s landmark action RPG, I’m going to persevere and give it a go regardless. From the start, Dark Souls appears unusually occupied with issues of the body and its regulation. You begin as a withered “Hollow”, locked in a prison cell somewhere in the “Northern Undead Asylum”. An asylum is already a strange thing to see in the midst of Dark Souls’ medieval, vaguely European, fantasy world. These kinds of institutions only really came into prominence late in the 19th century. Nevertheless, it says a lot that FromSoftware has you begin your journey in such a place – an institutional structure created solely to classify, manage and control bodies deemed dangerous by the State. Dark Souls. Credit: FromSoftware Within minutes you’re jogging down the Asylum’s long, cobbled corridors. Constricted, channeled and forced to make use of your shield to block incoming missiles from an undead crossbowman. It’s a quick lesson on the kind of raw physicality you can expect from the world of Dark Souls. What quickly becomes apparent is that unlike most action games, you’re forced to continually balance your stamina gauge. Dark Souls doesn’t offer weightless forms of freedom, but instead continually staggers and knocks you back. Attempt to move too swiftly and you’ll exhaust your character’s energy and be left in a stunned state of uselessness. In the Asylum, this means running down the corridor when the crossbowman begins to reload, rather than simply marching slowly towards him with your shield up, being pinged back by every arrow’s impact. Later in the game, there’ll be countless moments where a hulking boss – a Havel or Smough – will drain your entire stamina bar in a single hit. Other times you’ll make the mistake of unloading on a vulnerable enemy, forgetting to leave enough in the tank to safely disengage. Your equipment load hampers your ability to move too. Dark Souls’ famous “slow roll” bewilders many on their first run through the game. Deck yourself out in heavy plate armour and a greatshield, and yes, you’ll benefit from some extra defence, but you’ll also be excruciatingly slow. In this way, Dark Souls continually heightens all things bodily. There’s a physical weight and presence to every action, and while sometimes punishing, this is also profoundly impactful. Just as your character’s decaying face is a sign of their hollowed humanity, and your ailing body a reminder of your physical limits, the world of Dark Souls similarly impedes, hinders and irritates. On top of the Asylum, we’re introduced to a number of churches and libraries. These levels, like the institutional buildings of the early 20th century, enclose and corral. When thinking about Dark Souls, I always think of these kinds of cold and cramped environments. Of hostile architecture that snares and entraps. Dark Souls. Credit: FromSoftware I can picture it now – a dark hulking figure, his back towards me. Burnt into memory, searing as bright as Gwyn’s flaming greatsword, is your first tangle with a Black Knight. It’s an unusual affair – gone is your regular gaming arena, full of promise and potential. Instead, we’re handed a finely tuned ambush. Confined by the narrow passage, your weapon clangs against the stone walls, and, unable to roll or strafe, your body can only flail. It’s one of FromSoftware’s classic funnels of death – a concept the Souls games return to again and again. Sen’s Fortress is perhaps the best example of a classic trap-laden gauntlet. Huge swinging scythes, pit traps and rolling stone boulders are a mix of traditional D&D dungeons and the tombs of Indiana Jones. Like many video game levels, it’s about fighting your way to the top, but at each and every point Sen’s Fortress is keen to slow you down or reset your progress entirely. If you’re knocked off of a ledge or pathway, it isn’t just instant death, either. Instead, you’re bogged down in a grueling quagmire filled with hulking demonic beasts. Exhausting, torturous, perhaps even laborious. And yet, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.   There are also the stymieing swamps of Blighttown. Over the years, swamps have become a bit of a FromSoftware trope. If I was to hazard a guess as to why, it would be that, like restrictive architecture and boobytrapped corridors, they force players to slow down and send them into a state of heightened awareness. Purposefully irritating, the lower levels of Blighttown, as well as places like the sludge-infested sewers of The Depths and the pitch-black Tomb of Giants, seek to regulate player movement in various ways. The world of Dark Souls is often one of mud and muck. Ten years on and we’re not only still thinking about Dark Souls’ inhospitable world, but returning to it, like the undead corralled into their cells to live out their last days in the Asylum. Of course, at this point there are more interpretations about what Dark Souls is about than you can count. People often talk about feelings of mastery and of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles and odds, but for me, more specifically, Dark Souls is about wrestling back bodily control. Whether that’s learning to control your frail undead character, or conquering the mechanic limits FromSoftware has so dastardly set, or breaking out from the Asylum and the cycles of its governing authority. Ewan Wilson is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to NME. The post Ten years on, ‘Dark Souls’ is still corralling us through its hostile world appeared first on NME.

Various Artists – ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ review: a loving tribute to The Velvet Underground & Nico

Mercoledì 22 Settembre 2021 15:26

If Metallica’s new 53-track cover album free-for-all ‘The Metallica Blacklist’ took the maximalist approach to the tribute record by letting pretty much anyone who fancied it have a slot, this tribute to The Velvet Underground’s seismically influential 1967 debut ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ is a far more refined affair. The album laid the groundwork for pretty much all underground alternative music to come; compilers Verve Record have thus attracted an innovative elite. Right upfront, here’s Michael Stipe delivering a gorgeously fragile ‘Sunday Morning’ speckled with electronic flutters and swirls, bedecked with Fleetwood Mac-style backing vocals. And here’s Matt Berninger of The National shifting the tone of ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’ away from itchy desperation towards glowering anticipation of the hit. Throughout, the chosen few do justice to the album with artful reinventions of which Warhol would be proud. Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olson’s ‘Femme Fatale’ softens Nico’s original take (which, to be fair, isn’t hard) into ambient, slow country textures, arguably improving the raw material in sumptuous and elegant fashion. And if the idea of a ‘Venus In Furs’ stripped of John Cale’s legendary electric viola line – as delectably cruel as the lash of a Moroccan dominatrix – sounds unfeasible, Andrew Bird & Lucius pull it off by taking the spare strings route, giving this opium den classic a medieval torture chamber feel. Kurt Vile’s ‘Run Run Run’ stretches the track to seven minutes of modern colour, playing on the underlying drone effect of classic rock’n’roll. But it’s St. Vincent & composer Thomas Bartlett, embodying the soul rather than the sound of the original, who go furthest out, transforming ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ into a spooky spoken-word duet between Annie Clark and a vocoder over haunted piano tones and the antique atmospheres of dusty jazz 78s. And then ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ cuts loose a little. Thurston Moore and Bobby Gillespie deliver a faithfully scratchy and corroded ‘Heroin’ and King Princess has ramshackle retro fun with ‘There She Goes Again’. With acoustic, tambourine and kick drum, Courtney Barnett inhabits ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ so comfortably she could be rocking away on a swing chair on its porch. And between Fontaines D.C.’s squealing drone rock take on ‘Black Angel’s Death Song’ and Iggy Pop and guitarist Matt Sweeney relishing ‘European Son’’s febrile noise frenzy, the album’s closing art-rock segment is fittingly honoured. Indeed, what’s most pleasing about this ‘…Mirror’ is that it reflects the original’s dark, experimental essence. It’s heartening to hear that, more than 50 years on, ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ has similarly venturous and intrepid descendants who still nurture its spirit; who can refurbish its imperial ermine furs and tread new roads in its shiny boots of leather. Welcome to tomorrow’s parties – today. Details Release date: September 24 Record label: Verve Records The post Various Artists – ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ review: a loving tribute to The Velvet Underground & Nico appeared first on NME.

‘Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy’ preview: a smart, satisfying space adventure with bags of personality

Mercoledì 22 Settembre 2021 15:18

When Guardians of The Galaxy – the movie – was released in 2014, it revolutionised the cinematic world of superheroes both at Marvel and beyond. Following Christopher Nolan’s gritty take on Batman across his Dark Knight trilogy (starting in 2005 with Batman Begins), studios were desperately trying to turn comic book extravagance into something believable. Sure, the likes of Iron Man (2008), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Thor (2011) were littered with quips ripped straight from the cartoon page but those heroes still took themselves very seriously. Then Guardians of The Galaxy arrived. A fluorescent, brash team of misfits with flexible morals, James Gunn’s wacky, outrageous and heartfelt film has influenced pretty much every superhero film that followed. So Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, an action-adventure game developed by Edios-Montréal and published by Square Enix, has some very big rocket boots to fill. Based on our hands-on preview, it takes the expected but twists it with enough new to make it feel like a very different adventure to what we’ve seen before. Credit: Square Enix While Marvel’s Avengers is all about playing as your favourite hero, Guardians of The Galaxy sees you wrestling with leadership as Starlord Peter Quill although riffing entirely on the comics rather than anything seen in the films. Following a brief tutorial presentation, my hands-on preview of the game starts at Chapter 5, which the developers refer to as “The Scooby Chapter”. Straight away, we’re given the freedom of the Guardians’ spaceship, the Milano, which acts as a base camp between missions. Walking about the ship, you can interact with the Hollywood roster of Guardians – Rocket, Groot, Drax and Gamora – while investigating their living quarters launches a series of backstories that goes some way to explain this ‘What If?‘ style alternative reality. Long story short, Thanos was taken down by an interplanetary resistance army and the universe is still adapting to this new world order. Later in the chapter, we’re finally introduced to the Big Bad of the game (the brainwashing Universal Church of Truth) but for now, we have to go pay the Nova Corp a fine. Like titles in the storytelling Telltale Games series, these conversations and the choose-your-own-adventure responses have repercussions later in the game. Ignore Rocket and he’s reluctant to crawl into air vents to help you solve puzzles and later in the level, I make Quill open his big mouth and soon regret it. This easter-egg filled world-building is brilliant for diehard fans of the series but can also be easily avoided if you’d rather indulge in the action end of this adventure game. Once I’ve spoken to every person on the ship (including a space Llama, for some reason that I’m sure will be explained elsewhere in the game) and tried out the crafting function (Rocket can upgrade your equipment using items found in-universe but they’re never needed to progress) we land at the deserted Nova Corp station and we’re mercilessly introduced to the battle mechanic. In Guardians of The Galaxy, players take control of Quill for battles but you can also issue commands to the rest of the team. It’s not complex but it does take a lot of practice to get right. And since we’ve jumped straight to Chapter 5, I die. A lot. (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself). Credit: Square Enix My instant reaction to confrontation is to go charging into the battle and treating the game like a beat-em-up. In my defence, the hand-to-hand combat is a lot of fun, with Quill delivering a variety of blows and laser blasts that feel suitably weighty but I’m quickly overwhelmed and find Quill and the gang starting over from the last checkpoint. Next, I try managing the rest of the team from a distance, like a tactical RPG, but The Guardians quickly spread out and get bested. We start again. Striking a balance between the two is your best option. With each team member bringing something new to the battle, different enemies will require a different order of attack but you’re never given much time to sit back and strategise. It’s an intense experience that takes a lot of work to get right and is never spoon-fed to you. Get to grips with this though,and it feels really satisfying. The same can be said for the huddles. During combat, when you build up enough momentum, Quill can gather the team together for a pep talk and if done right, it supercharges every member of the team while an 80s soundtrack kicks in. I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun in a game as dominating a corridor full of enemies while ‘Take On Me’ plays. For a handful of seconds, everything falls into place and I feel like I’m truly mastering this game. Credit: Square Enix Then I enter a room with a Grenadier and I die a load more. If I’d been better, I’d have then been thrown into a combat puzzle where I’d have to fly about and shoot clamps stopping the Milano from escaping while brainwashed Nova Corp Soldiers tried to take me down but thankfully, I ran out of time. I’m not sure I could take the sight of Star Lord dying any more. Yes, at times Guardians of the Galaxy is incredibly frustrating but it never feels impossible. It helps that the game looks beautiful, the characters have their own personalities, and this team of misfits actually has friction between one another. I think there’s a chance the banter between the Guardians might get annoying after a while but during my two-hour playtime, the sheen never wore off. Like the movies, the themes of chosen family, grief and reluctantly doing the right thing are threaded between the wacky adventures and I find myself really rooting for this gang. It’s just a shame they’ve got me in command but as I walk out of the Square Enix offices, I’m already counting down the days until I can return to the Milano and do right by my Guardians. It feels like I’ve only just scratched the surface of what this game has to offer and I already want more. Marvel’s Guardian’s of the Galaxy releases on 26 October 2021 The post ‘Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy’ preview: a smart, satisfying space adventure with bags of personality appeared first on NME.

Lane Moore Sweetly Swipes Locals on Tinder Live

Martedì 21 Settembre 2021 19:18

Click here to read the full article on SPIN.  “Hot Singles in Your Area Want to Talk to You?” Imagine that ad coming to life. Oh, you didn’t ask for that? Well, that’s because you didn’t know it could be so entertaining. Luckily, multi-hyphenate and expert Tinder swiper Lane Moore knew. And boy, are we glad. As a child, the lifelong entertainer amused family and friends with impressions, short films, plays, and singing. As an adult, these skills and ideas parlayed her into someone who was destined to bring originality to a stage. Her fun-loving “cool chick from next door” vibe and monster motivation also made her perfect for sharing her findings, albeit compassionate or hilarious, to the masses in a relatable way. From her band, It Was Romance, being named one of the year’s best by Bust Magazine to her acclaimed book, How To Be Alone, to receiving a GLAAD Media Award for her work with Cosmopolitan on LGBTQ coverage, Moore seems to know just what an audience wants. Moore’s connection to her audience now is evident, but when she was younger, finding those bonds didn’t come simply. She grew up mostly parentless and ended up living in a car as a teen. “Meeting people and finding connections was something I was interested in ever since I was little,” Moore recounts in her book. “I didn’t have that so I was always looking for it.” As an adult, connecting with others remains important to her and still carries over into her personal life — like when she observed her friends navigate the online dating world. Eventually, that sparked her own interest in giving it a go. “I saw my roommates on these dating apps and noticed this trend of something different coming up culturally. For no reason other than that, I knew I had to try it for myself.” The very first time Moore opened up Tinder to peruse a fresh offering of connections, she knew that this extreme mix of profiles full of charm and cringe was worthy of sharing. What started as just sharing her findings with friends turned into a national tour called Tinder Live. With that came a world of new friends — from dating app users to married folk — who all wanted to get in on the interactive swiping fun. “I got the idea literally the second I got on Tinder years ago,” Moore tells SPIN over the phone ahead of a tour stop in North Carolina. “I was like, ‘This is so insane!’ Some of the men’s profiles were so insane, it immediately became clear to me that it needed to be a comedy show. I decided I’d put my Tinder on a projector screen, swipe through the profiles live, and we’d all just experience, in a group setting, what it’s like to go through this process. I came up with this idea for the whole show that day. It made so much sense to turn it into a comedy show.” Saving you some swiping (and possibly carpal tunnel), Moore is taking to stages across the country to swipe through locals. An interactive show, she hooks her phone up to a projection screen so you can help find the perfect match while weeding through the craziness. Judging by the popularity of Tinder Live, there are plenty of people ready to laugh at it all. “The audience is a mix of people from all walks,” Moore says. “Women trying to navigate dating apps. Men who have no idea how hard it is to online date. And then there are also married couples who are just laughing at it all with us. “There’s a lot of harassment and misogyny in between the hilarious and the good on dating apps so my goal was to unpack that all in a funny, light, and silly way for all people,” Moore continues. “The most amazing thing I’ve found from having a fully improvised and totally interactive show is that anything can happen.” Being that each Tinder Live show is localized, there’s always a chance that people in the crowd will know a person seen on the screen. “Oh yeah, that’s a thing,” Moore laughs. “At one of the shows, someone told me they knew one of the men. He was one of her mom’s French teachers. So I got more info and then went on his profile and told him I was a French teacher. It’s all just so silly how it works out.” She is also teaching others how to navigate a dating app without them even knowing it. Learning the do’s and don’ts should be a prerequisite, although (clearly) it’s not. But what matters most is how the audience responds, and when it comes to Tinder Live, it’s a smash. Feedback on shows is key, and after hers, Moore says she generally hears one or two things consistently. “I either hear they love the show so much they do mini-Tinder Live shows at home, or they thought the show would be mean. I guess when people see the name of the show, Tinder Live, they think it’s going to be cruel. But then, they’re pleasantly surprised. I don’t feel the need to punch down. I want it to be sillier more so than anything else. It’s all so much fun.” The post Lane Moore Sweetly Swipes Locals on Tinder Live appeared first on SPIN. To see our running list of the top 100 greatest guitarists of all time, click here.

Billie Eilish launches her own vegan Air Jordan sneakers

Martedì 21 Settembre 2021 19:14

Billie Eilish has launched her own vegan Nike trainers – you can see the preview images below. The ‘Happier Than Ever’ pop star revealed the two pairs of Air Jordan sneakers – one lime green, the other a neutral beige – on Instagram yesterday (September 20). Both styles are “100% vegan with over 20% recycled material”. READ MORE: Billie Eilish – ‘Happier Than Ever’ review: an artist secures her status as a generational great “I am SO excited to finally share my two Air Jordan silhouettes with you!!” Eilish wrote, adding that “it was such an incredible and surreal experience getting to create these, especially in a sustainable fashion”. The trainers will available from September 27 via Eilish’s official store, and on Nike SNKRS on September 30. Speaking to Nike (via Page Six), the singer explained that the Air Jordan 15 was her “favourite” style – recalling “begging” for a black-and-red pair. “When I got them … I looked at them as if they were $1 million sitting right in front of me,” she said.           View this post on Instagram                         A post shared by BILLIE EILISH (@billieeilish)   Eilish said hailed Nike’s Air Jordan KO 1s as “the best shape with everything – with pants, with shorts, with dresses, with skirts … I love the way they make your legs look.” As for her choice of lime green, she said: “This colour is such a classic, stupid, little ‘old me’ thing, I guess. I really wanted to kind of have almost like an ode to myself … this was me, for a while.” Billie Eilish debuted three ‘Happier Than Ever’ songs during her headline set at Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas last night (September 20). She performed ‘I Didn’t Change My Number’, ‘NDA’ and ‘Therefore I Am’ for the first time – you can check out NME‘s photo review of the event here. The post Billie Eilish launches her own vegan Air Jordan sneakers appeared first on NME.

The Fugees to Reunite for the First Time in 15 Years

Martedì 21 Settembre 2021 19:09

Click here to read the full article on SPIN. The group is coming together to celebrate the f Initially, a person close to the group said that Lauryn Hill, Wyclef and Pras were set to perform at the Global Citizen Festival in Lagos, Nigeria on September 25, at the time, the person familiar with the situation said that the group was going to tape their set the weekend of the 18th, however, one of the members was ill and the set couldn’t move forward. More from SPIN: Killing You Softly: Our 1996 Fugees Feature The 35 Best Videos of the Last 35 Years Fugees’ Pras Implicated in Multimillion-Dollar Malaysian Financial Conspiracy Further, the group long maintained they would never reunite, although they’ve been adamant about their enduring love and respect for each other. The last time the Fugees released music was in 2005 with the single “Take It Easy,” and disbanded shortly after that. In 1996, The Fugees’ Grammy-winning second record The Score really introduced the world to a socially conscious and musically rich blend of hip-hop the genre had yet to manifest, delivered in highly lyrical triple-threat form. There is no word yet on new music, though after Hill’s laser-sharp guest appearance on “Nobody” from Nas’ recent Kings Disease II, sources say it’s not out of the question. “The Fugees have a complex but impactful history,” Ms. Lauryn Hill said in a statement. “I wasn’t even aware the 25th anniversary had arrived until someone brought it to my attention. I decided to honor this significant project, its anniversary, and the fans who appreciated the music by creating a peaceful platform where we could unite, perform the music we loved, and set an example of reconciliation for the world.” In a statement of his own, Wyclef Jean added, “As I celebrate 25 years with the Fugees, my first memory was that we vowed, from the gate, we would not just do music we would be a movement. We would be a voice for the unheard, and in these challenging times, I am grateful once again, that God has brought us together.” On Wednesday night, the Fugees will perform at a location in New York City that has yet to be shared. Additionally, Fugees charitable fund will partner with Global Citizen to work on philanthropic initiatives around the tour. See the full list of dates below: September 22 – NYC @ TBANovember 2 – Chicago, IL @ United CenterNovember 7 – Oakland, CA @ Oakland ArenaNovember 12 – Los Angeles, CA @ The ForumNovember 18 – Atlanta, GA @ State Farm ArenaNovember 21 – Miami, FL @ FTX ArenaNovember 26 – Newark, NJ @ Prudential CenterNovember 28 – Washington D.C. @ Capital One ArenaDecember 4 – Paris, France @ La Defense ArenaDecember 6 – London, U.K. @ The O2TBA – Nigeria @ TBADecember 18 – Ghana @ TBA The post The Fugees to Reunite for the First Time in 15 Years appeared first on SPIN. To see our running list of the top 100 greatest guitarists of all time, click here.

 

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