A Wild Janis Appears
We’ve had a whole lotta new music in through the door this week, all of it on the black stuff and it all of it class A material. Rather than summarise two by two - or even three by three, as is often the way - I’d prefer to break each down a little more. It just seems like there’s better sleep to be had that way, for all concerned if you get my drift.
I ordered this mainly because I was informed - quite accurately as it turns out - that ‘Cheap Thrills’ by Big Brother and The Holding Company (1968, CBS) is about as close as I’m gonna get to nabbing that elusive performance by Janis Joplin of ‘Piece Of My Heart’ from The Woodstock Experience on vinyl. I was also aware that, Janis being Janis, there would be other things to like. This was also absolutely correct. There’s a whole tonne of stuff on here that I already hearted big time, from Janis’ harsh yet soulful performance on ‘I Need A Man To Love’ to the 12 bar saloon keys on ‘Turtle Blues’.
The vocals, guitar and tonality of the whole band are just spot on and it does sound like a live album, which of course it isn’t. Producer John Simon’s inclusion of an announcer and crowd noise, combined with the specific space - in terms of drum treatment, reverb and even the arrangement given to the band in production gives the whole thing a very immediate and believable feel. When you throw in a cheeky review of their East Coast premier at the Anderson Theatre on the album sleeve rear, the illusion is pretty convincing. Only the fade-outs would give it away and to be fair, a great portion of it does sound like it was put down live in the studio which, in all likelihood, was the exact process, thought and intent. That’s what I’d do anyway and I wouldn’t even be sorry.
There’s a new Polygon interview with Junichi Masuda, the composer for every mainline Pokémon RPG for the past two decades, including the new ‘Pokémon: Let’s Go!’, out this November for teh Switch. Their approach to that game is intriguing, especially how that have attenuated the experience for a contemporary audience and how they did that as a team; what they kept, changed and scrapped and why. I don’t know if I shall be diving into that particular iteration or not - it might be the case that I’ll hold my horseas until 2019 for the next core game - but either way, they have my interest and the man had a great deal of illuminating things to say about the early days of Gamefreak as a company and what it was like trying to make Red & Blue happen at all.
I had never properly considered to what extent such a long development process - years before the similarly lengthy gamut that modern AAA games have to run - would impact on a group of people. It’s one thing to understand that games take time to make because they are complicated things; the core Pokémon series has always been a bit of an inverse armadillo - soft on the outside / crunchy on the inside - and I perhaps shouldn’t be so surprised at how long a 90s cycle took for a system as deep as Gamefreak’s bug-eyed baby. It’s another thing entirely to comprehend the human back end to a game like this and I would hate to think of the crunch involved on something like ‘Town’, which if the rumours are true, could be our first glimpse of what that next main iteration of the ‘mon series might look like.
Six years is no short amount of time. People meet up, break up, move in, move out, get married, buy a car, buy a house, have kids and those kids grow up. Possibly to play Pokémon. Life happens and it needs must be supported during the whole process. For something as inherently loved as Pokémon...man, these people should have had a fucking union back then.
JD - TACOCAT
[Props to Sarah W. for the thumbnail]