As many original series start out in science fiction, L5 makes no one disappointed beautifully philosophical introduction;

“Life on Earth was beyond repair. The planet’s resources spent, it’s capacity for life diminished. Mankind was within mere generations from extinction.”

L5 is a very interesting example of crowdfunding as it was intended to be a mini-series of “hard science fiction”. It started out as a Kickstarter campaign in September, 2010 co-founded with concept artist Stanley von Medvey. The storyline of L5 is very interesting and it takes place on the huge spaceship Argo, in which the cabin has been in cryosleep for 200 years. After an unsuccessful mission trying to find an inhabitable planet, they have awaited their return to their home, planet Earth. The dilemma is that their cryosleep intentionally got prolonged and thus they should have woken up and returned much earlier. However there are some legitimate reasons to why their awakening was delayed by the ship’s computer and they are in for an interesting future.

I was stunned from the first couple of frames by the computer generated images that have been created for this project. After the great introduction which got me curious about what this was about, the story progresses about how the ship’s personnel will cope with the confusing circumstances. The animation flows very well but there are a couple of scenes in which one can distinguish this production’s quality from some commercial ones, however it can compete with many of those (even if those would be running on much more than a $12,000 budget). The CGI makes it seem viable to continue with these sorts of projects because it does so much to emphasize the work. It can be succesful and look great even if they are in the genre of sci-fi, heavily dependent on demanding CGI animation, in this example produced by Studio Hemoglobin. Watch the trailer below to get a tease of what the project managed to create.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/19185577]

This is one of the aspects to highlight that stands out of the crowd with this production. It is a trend that is growing more nowadays with fan-made productions which are often crowdfunded. There also seemed to be a certain openness throughout the production and it could be followed at a blog. It proves how Kickstarter-projects can be leading examples of how the money that crowdfunders invest are correctly spent. It is also interesting to see how the attitude almost automatically creates a more detailed and participatory circle of production instead of a line of production, where the results and input of funders from the crowd finances the possible sequels.

The part of L5 that I feared the most was the acting one but I must admit that the acting does not feel affected by the budget at all. It actually feels like believable performances that are carried out by the actors and one can only assume that it is due to their passion. Set and scenography also feels better than expected, much because of the  works with CGI but probably a lot due to the amount of money that was spent in the budget on this, e.g. the costume designers to create space suits that look like they could work in reality.

However the big negative sides of L5 that I experienced was the sound and audio mixing. Sometimes I felt it being very difficult to hear the dialogue due to an imbalanced mixing of the background noises and music that went on as the actors were talking. Furthermore I do believe that the script could have been improved as there is not almost any introduction to the characters and development of these which seem like the main characters. The project might have been a really tough start for the production team behind L5. Things like an original score seemed to have gotten put in a bit late in production and it had to get its own funding through IndieGoGo.

I must say that one can feel it was thirty well-spent minutes watching this work. Although I believe it would have needed more development in some aspects in order to become a full-fledged competitor for the hard-core sci-fi fans out on the Web.

I decided to watch the first part of L5 even though the project has been put on hold for now. This is because I have always had an immense interest in space and science fiction since childhood years. I also think that this is a pinnacle to what crowdfunded low-budget projects can achieve in terms of product quality, especially with CGI technology.

You can download the first part of L5 from VODO where there also are torrents for low-resolutioned (SD) and high-resolutioned (HD) formats. If you like the idea and concept and want to support the project there are also ways through VODO to do exactly that with various flexible options to choose from. If you are interested in reading more about the project, head over to the official page here. It is also available for streaming on the closed source streaming service Vimeo. Edit 8/11: Here are subtitles in 5 languages for the episode compatible with the Xvid format.

Over and out,
mt1as

What do you get when you mix electronic ambient dubstep with Portuguese guitar?

The only member of M-PeX, Marco Miranda

M-PeX (Marco Miranda) with Guitar

M-PeX is a Portuguese project consisting of Marco Miranda and this project EP mixes atmospheric electronic sounds with the beautiful melodic rings of a nylon stringed Portuguese guitar. It feels difficult to brand this work into already existing categories as it feels very unique in many ways. I always find it very amusing to be questioning the ideas and prejudices of what things be like, hence my huge omnivorish interest in music.This is exactly what M-PeX does with this music and one can understand why the project has been on tour.

The Ignis EP has an hypnotic vibe to it where the music makes one immerse oneself somewhere else for a moment. I find it sad that none of the songs features any vocal additions as I think it would be able to add a layer of texture into an already interesting landscape of sound. However the theme of Ignis is to create something which follows along the path of the ancient theories regarding the platonic solids, hence the tracknames Materia,Beryllos, Aqua, Ignis and Eter, justifying the instrumental EP.

The innovative mix of ambient dubstep with traditional guitar melodies is something calming and I find it to be a very bold step by M-PeX to do such an experimental sound which I think he should be very proud of.

M-PeX - Ignis EP Artwork

Ignis EP Artwork by Marco Madruga

This is an EP which sounds’ I would like to hear more of and knowing that this is not the first release, I will check out the earlier releases and return with reviews on them!

Ignis EP is released by Enough Records and you can download the M-PeX 5-track EP from ClearBits torrent here. If you want a physical release and do not live in Portugal, send M-PeX an e-mail and order directly from the artist!

Ignis by M-PeX is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

I’m back!

It’s been three hectic days since the last entry and I have been thinking a lot about how I need to get into new routines when it comes to writing on this blog. The lifestyle changes have started taken place but I have to admit that I listened to some music on a streaming site on Saturday evening, which did not follow the principal ideas of this challenge of using non-profit media. This is also an interesting perspective of the project. How open should I be? And could this interest collide with questions of integrity and private life? I will have have to reflect more on this and write about it later to give you my take on it!

The situation was involving a couple of other people and I was hosting a dinner so I thought I would play some music from a playlist on SoundCloud. I find it very hard to integrate open solutions now in the beginning and it is decisive that I take a stand in my decisions to leave so called “free” services such as Spotify, Grooveshark and Soundcloud altogether (as there are mixed licenses and advertisements on those services, not leaving much space for knowing whether songs are commercial or not).

Jamendo, the truly Free Streaming Site

It takes time to get into the new mindset so I started looking into alternatives and I found a solution to this issue! It is spelled “Jamendo“, a very interesting platform for legally free music released by independent artists. There are also various ways to get tuned in on their Internet Radio, and using VLC, a free and open sourced media player (possibly be one of the most famous open sourced projects), one can tune in right away after installation!

Look out for new reviews and tips coming sooner than you think!

“Ich bin ein Berliner!”

– John F. Kennedy, 1963

As this is my first review I want to make it personal and I really hope that you can find it inspiring.

This is a review of a live set that was played at the Netaudio festival during October 11th in 2009 at my favorite club Maria am Ostbahnhof in Berlin, Germany.

This release is a single set with a mix of trip-hop, hiphop and downtempo and it is a very varied set of tracks that are rather well-mixed together. Many of them have a heavy beat with interesting additional instruments. It also connects to different kinds of melodies, some dynamically growing, some that could be specified as oriental and some that are made up of simple but addicting effects. I often think of the production as Phil Spector coined with his term a wall of sound something that makes it stand out.

The mix also features some artist’s rhyming and also an excerpt from John F. Kennedy’s speech in Western Berlin, June 26th by the Berlin Wall. I have always been inspired by these rather rare occassions when artists include political speeches in their music and make it sound great.

Cover Image, artwork by Front