Distilled Emotions

I have hem hawed on how to approach  this subject for some time now because I wanted to make a positive post but was unsure how I could do so.  The subject is about my favorite soundtrack “Halo 4”.  I do not just mean of the Halo series but of all my soundtracks and it has even managed to take out “Star Wars:  The Empire Strikes Back”.  What made it so hard to write about was the fact that 343 in their quest to appease the fans decided to back away from the musical paths they had blazed in Halo 4.

Truth be told; however, I was one of the un-pleased in the beginning.  But as I have listened to both the cd’s for this soundtrack I have decided it is the best overall Halo soundtrack because of its variety and cohesiveness.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all the Halo soundtracks.  I just find that the Halo 4 soundtrack stands on its own better than any of the others with the least skip-able tracks.

Just listen to this track by Kazuma Jinnouchi.

 

The track starts out hauntingly sterile and cold then moves into the human sadness of Master Chiefs long struggle and the friends he has lost.  Now compare this to another track by Kazuma, which is one of my favorites.

A driving track that perfectly fits the activity of fighting through the belly of the Infinity in a massive mantis war machine, or as Caboose calls it “Freckles”.  Finally, listen to this stirring tribute to all the qualities embodied in the character of Spartan 117.

 

However, there is so much more because Kazuma Jinnouchi was not the only composer for the “Halo 4” soundtrack.  Neil Davidge also contributed many great tracks such as:

And

finally rock out to this track.

 

All I can say is that I was disappointed that “Halo 5: Guardians” did not follow up on the great work done in “Halo 4” and not just in the single player campaign or graphic beauty.

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Where’s the Dramamine?

I am a big fan of Science Fiction, if you have not guessed it, and one of the big story hooks is the “big dumb object”.  This is used to cover the various stories that use a large mysterious object, be it an asteroid or giant ship, as the focus of the tale.  As for me, I have read many stories that have contained large mysterious objects that were still very good reads, since each author brings their own quirks to the story line.  One of the creations that falsl into this trope is the Dyson sphere.

A Dyson sphere is an enormous hollow sphere that encases a star where people are living on the inner surface that faces the star.  The living space is just ridiculous compared to a normal planet.  Star Trek the Next Generation did a credible take on the idea in the episode “Relics”.  Another BDO in past and present science fiction is the idea  of a ring world.  First introduced and written about by Larry Niven then utilized in the Halo franchise of video games.

What got me to thinking, and the reason for this post, is a flaw in the idea of a Dyson sphere.  One of the reasons given for creating a Dyson sphere is the large living surface on the inside of the sphere around the star.  The flaw that I have recently perceived is that there is no way, other than the writing gimmick of artificial gravity, to create a uniform gravity effect over the entire inner surface.  If you do not resort to a gimmick, then you are left trying to simulate gravity through centrifugal force by spinning the sphere.  That is how Niven’s Ringworld creates its illusion of gravity.  The Ringworld spins around its sun like a hula hoop.

The problem with trying this approach with a Dyson sphere is that wherever you place the axis of spin, you are going to have a greater centrifugal force around the equator of spin and less at the poles created by the axis.  There is no way to spin the sphere such that no axis is created or does not result in the creation of an equator or poles, which would effectively turn the sphere into a ring as far as comfortable living space goes.  This is my thought anyway, let me know what you think.

Halo 4 Soundtrack

Courtesy of Amazon

 

Like many fans of the Halo series, I was disappointed by my first listen of the tracks of the Halo 4 music.  This was not the Halo I loved and was familiar with.  However, as I played the game, I found that the music drove the action just as the soundtracks to the earlier games had and I began to like what I was hearing.  Eventually I was hooked and bought the CD.  It is now one of my favorites.  Unfortunately, the fan base was not as accepting as I was, causing 343 to try making a soundtrack closer to the original three.  I have not played Halo 5 yet, nor heard much of the music, but the little I listened to on Amazon did not inspire me.  I hope I am wrong.  For me, I am sorry that they did not stick to their guns and support the new composer because I would have liked to see the music evolve as the soundtracks from Bungie did.

In Awe of Skyrim

Last night I decided to download the soundtrack to the popular video game Skyrim.  I have played and defeated the game and enjoyed the music, which I have since heard on my Pandora “Halo 3” station.  I was reminded of many of the themes I had enjoyed hearing in the background as I fought dragons, giants, and ancient ghosts.  As I was downloading the music, I thought about all that goes into some of my favorite games like Halo, Mass Effect, and Skyrim where you get to become the hero in the great adventures I have read in books or seen in movies.  Today, games are marked with as much or more production quality as any great movie.  Years ago, I purchased the extended versions of “The Lord of the Rings” and have not only watched the movies several times, but also the hours of behind the scenes materials, which is what brought to mind the making of Skyrim.

Not only do they create all the artwork, story, and music that movies do, but they also have to create the game play that gave, in my case, months of entertainment.  I just felt the need to express my appreciation and awe at the feat of artistic accomplishment that the creators of Skyrim produced.  Being a longtime fan of SFF, I would rank Skyrim in the halls of other favorites such as Star Wars; Lord of the Rings; Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn; Bladerunner, Babylon 5, and the Sillmarillion.  For anyone interested, I downloaded the soundtrack for Skyrim from Amazon for $8.99 and got 53 tracks for over 2 hours of music by Jeremy Soule.