Peeve

Peeve

If you asked me a year ago what my political leaning was, I would have said “conservative” in a heartbeat.

I am not sure what to call myself anymore.

 

I have been following Jordan Peterson for a year (as I described n earlier posts). Recently, the professor started the downhill path towards self-parody. His third podcast with Joe Rogan (which also includes Bret Weinstein), was a masturbatory walk down downtrodden paths on “censorship”, “free speech” and the ever ominous bogeyman for the conservative: “cultural marxism”.

 

 

I also found it amusing that Joe Rogan, ever the open-minded host that he is, has disabled his youtube comment section (most probably in response to his friend Graham Hancock, who attributed his stroke to stress from reading the comments).

 

Jordan Peterson isn’t the only one to disappoint me. Before him, Stefan Molyneux used to be a (simple) libertarian, but he has since joined the conservative circle jerk and is now seeing cultural marxism even in movies like “It”.

 

 

Cringe.

Ironically, the only conservative who has stuck to his ideals and not pandered to the crowd is Ben Shapiro, who calls out people of his own party if they stray from conservative values. Even then, I cannot agree with Shapiro’s views on religion and leadership. I cannot fathom a traditional society. But I understand his views.

 

 

I wouldn’t consider myself a Marxist scholar, and I do not think communism will help anyone. But a lot of the people who use the term “Marxist” do not understand what Marx espoused. Marx was for the individual, not the community. For him, that could only happen once the idea of “class” was disposed of. Communism isn’t Marxism, it takes after ideas that were mutated, developed or even butchered by other thinkers who might have loosely associated with Marx.

 

in fact, it’s the wrong sociologist that the conservatives are after. If anyone argued for collectivism, it was Durkheim or Weber. Ironically both of these thinkers’ ideals are the bread and butter of modern capitalism.

 

I am not endorsing liberals either. I think all sides are flawed. And I am not some enlightened individual in this mess. At most, I am only aware of my own confusion.

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Audio Log II

Audio Log II

Having done a lot of remastering now, I have more or less settled on the procedure that works the best for my iTunes library:

  1. Declip with Perfect Declipper with “greedy” settings; attenuate waveforms at -6dB with a natural dynamics setting of 100%. This declipper is far better than the one in iZotope RX 5. The songs are at 44.1 kHz and 16bit since that is the only format I can play with on Stereo Tools. Dynamic range can be increased by as much at 7dB if the songs are mixed well, though some albums can only be improved by 2dB.
  2. Using a parallel or upward compressor (FabFilter Pro M, basic settings). There is an expander setting but it doesn’t have a very nice effect on the songs. The parallel compression maintains transient peaks while adding a bit of warmth and punch to the music. Dynamic range is usually unchanged, maybe dropping by -1dB at most. I do this with iZotope RX 5, so the songs are automatically converted to 32 bit float.
  3. I normalize the songs to -0.1dB just to standardize the volume. Declipping sometimes makes parts of the song softer even if its in the same section (same riff, same melody, etc.).
  4. Check if the songs are okay and have no problems.
  5.  Apply a noise-shaping dither (MBIT+ on iZotope RX 5) to downsize the file back to 16 bit.

This isn’t a cure for bad production, but it definitely helps with most of the brickwalled masters. In most cases, the bass gets better shaping so it sounds more thunderous. The natural dynamics EQ setting shapes the frequency bands (of which there are 9, a lot more than what I usually play with on iZotope) quite nicely, so most instruments can get well separated, unearthing the bass guitars from the mix and bringing more depth to the music in general.

Some things that I did wrongly before settling on this:

  • I used the declipper on iZotope RX 5. While it does shape the music, the iZotope software has a huge treble bias (in general, not just the declipper). So a lot of songs sound way too bright and cymbals just downright bleed into the headspace. The same can’t be said for the bass.
  • I tried reducing gain on the file (making it softer) and then re-adding compression. This is analogous to rolling a ball of dough and then rolling it out with a rolling pin. The idea was that the new waveform has nice peaks and more attack, so visually it had a good range (songs could usually go up from DR5 to DR10). However, this method added too much attack to the music (it’s compression, after all). This makes the resulting song way too overheated (audio-wise). There is less spacial distance between the instruments and the songs can often sound too noisy. The lesson here for me was to use my ears and not my eyes when re-mastering music.
  • Using a stereo imager (comes with iZotope Ozone). In theory, this widens the soundstage (thereby increasing space and then dynamic range). It does- but usually also changes the alignment of the instruments. Again, this is with iZotope, I don’t know if other imagers do the same thing. This isn’t to shit on iZotope, its software was clearly designed to be applied on raw sound files, not repairing already mastered songs.

 

I am not sure if there will be a third audio log, since this pretty much seems like the holy grail repairing procedure for my music files for now, but I am sure some new technology will come in the future that can do a better job than my current software.

 

 

Why Slavoj Zizek Writes In Convoluted Sentences

Why Slavoj Zizek Writes In Convoluted Sentences

Neotenianos

(Updated Sep. 1)

An oft-repeated reproach to Slavoj Zizek’s writings is that he’s impossible to understand. In fact, Zizek is sometimes held as an example of a decades-old trend of academic meaninglessness; for example, in this recent article, Nathan J. Robinson shrewdly accuses Zizek of always defending himself against critics by claiming to have been misunderstood.

The fact is: on this point, Zizek’s critics are often right; Zizek is often hard to understand. And this, I claim, is intended. Zizek, like many other philosophers throughout history, is obscuring his points and stances in order to make them palatable for the ruling ideology, while still understandable for those paying attention (hopefully me and those reading this!). Let me explain.

The keyword here is esotericism. These days, this word is commonly misused for things vaguely related to the spiritual world of ghosts and suchlike; what “esoteric” refers to, strictly speaking, is…

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Thoughts On Codex Omega

Thoughts On Codex Omega

Haven’t really written much lately (laptop was down, was mostly using my father’s crippled computer). Also haven’t really listened much to music from this year, till Septicflesh released this album. It’s not even their best album (that’s a fight between Communion and The Great Mass), but some things immediately stand out:

  • Despite the replacement of Fotis Gianakopoulos with Kerim “Krimh” Lechner , the songwriting and drumming have actually gotten tighter. In fact, I was very surprised that Krimh went for atmosphere and slow drumming, with very little blastbeats. Krimh fills in tastefully without being predictable.
  • The bass guitar is very audible despite the album mastered at DR5. This is an audio-engineering miracle.
  • There are many doom-heavy moments, especially at the end of most of the songs here- where there are no drums, just symphonic elements and some wailing electric guitar (especially at the end of ‘Enemy Of Truth’). In fact the symphonic elements in this album have been particularly strong. Sounds like the Bloodborne soundtrack at times.
  • The album is more than the sum of its parts- as a whole, there are numerous small moments within the song that sound really interesting or powerful. However, the song structures are very simple and most of the songs in the second half can be downright forgettable. The band could have done with some more experimentation.
  • Album feels like an extension of Titan- it’s better than Titan in my opinion, but it doesn’t quite have the tonal variation on Communion & Mass.

Overall not the best album, but one that did meet a lot of expectations I had. I’ve been listening to ‘Martyr’ and ‘Enemy Of Truth’ a lot lately.

Autonomy Lost

I’ve been in a funk, lately.

I have been unfriending people for a while now, to the point that my friend list now stands at about a hundred. It should be less, but I got tired of sifting people out.

Not that these folks were bad friends, some of them are well-meaning in their own ways, most were just people who I don’t feel any chemistry with. I don’t mean this in any snobbish way- I’m quite confident that I am different from most people. The structure of my thinking, my reliance on instinct, I don’t know (the logicians want to put everything in words on a piece of paper. I’ve tried that, and I realised there were too many things we can’t impose logic on). I want to be in an empty room while tending to the fires of my rebirth. In most cliques / friendships, I am just playing a role. I don’t want to be an actor anymore.

Most of the people I know tend to be ultra rich people (owing to my education in ACS).

My parents thought I would be inspired to to join the ranks of the rich if I went to school with them.

Shame. It only taught me that the system’s rigged. I will never be rich, not in this life.

I have to consider every cent that I spend, even with the expensive luxuries like a pint of beer or a pair of earphones. These decisions aren’t made lightly. I had to skip outings and prepare meals at home for weeks, sometimes a couple of months.

The people on my social media drive their own cars while posting about how they want to give back to society. Also please type ‘JWOO’ in the discount code to redeem 50% of my protein powder.

I’ve also been trying to let go of my ideologies, which proves more difficult than letting go of people. Feels like learning to walk again without my crutches. The goal is to learn to stand.

Being in free-fall induces a mental vertigo. Questioning everything from the meaning of life to the meaning in life. I tide the time with the things I love best- media. Games, music, movies, television. Creation. The materialization of a person’s intellectual or psychological impulses.

I’ve been listening to Jordan Peterson a lot, and he’s literally and figuratively God-sent. I don’t agree with everything he says. I am not going to buy into Jesus. Not before, not now, not ever. But he’s also reminded me that the atheist provides nothing (not that the concept of nothing isn’t appealing on it’s own).

I want to learn more about Hinduism, but the people of my race are mostly apathetic to the rationale of the religion. Either that, or they believe in idol worship and pray for miracles, as would any other pious person of another religion. Different window, same view.

My work should be starting soon. I will probably buy a gym membership to that 24/7 gym at River Valley. Some structure in my life would be welcome at this point.

I am not emotional or sad, by the way. As I said earlier, I am just in a funk.