Can't ####ing wait. They should both be here by the end of the week, then I'll get some weed and listen to music and play Dragon Quest XI and Katamari Damacy REROLLED. (Wouldn't it be great if phones had a DEL key so you're not having to hunt for the exact place to tap to get to the beginning of a word to edit it?) I was worried about money, but I've got like a thousand CDs that could quickly be sold. I hope this isn't a slippery slope, especially selling CDs to free up money for stuff I can't afford.
Raul Seixas - Krig Ha, Bandolo! (#12): Quick -- longest-feeling sub-30-minute album? I'd have to put the Jazz Butcher's Sex and Travel and I had one other in mind that I've forgotten (crap, I'm going to try to think of it all day now) but these are all long-feeling in a *good* way. So is Krig Ha, Bandolo! It doesn't sound terribly "Brazilian", mostly being creative 1970s rock and roll (on the whole very well done, to tell the truth.) Every song sticks in your head and there's a decent assortment of styles. Not a slight album, just short; still, that's a strike against it. Recommended if you can get it for cheap (or, like me, you could just pirate it.) Good rock record. (Update: Jesus, I moved on from this record two days ago and I'm still getting some of the songs playing in my head. There's really nothing much I've heard that's anything quite like it, and it's not the kind of music I'd put on willingly were it not for its inclusion on a list.)
Chico Science & Nação Zumbi - Da Lama ao Caos (#13): Like Mike Mizanin: AWWWE-sooome! Sounds like nothing else so far, largely because it's from 1995 and draws from far different influences, with rap and punk and stuff. It sounds a bit like contemporary Mano Negra (soon to see Manu Chao go solo) or that Gilberto Gil live album or even Pet Shop Boys' Pandemonium or Inner Sanctum. Notably, these are all live albums (including In the Hell of Patchinko or Radio Bemba Sound System.) It's that loose, partyish, lotsa-sound/hi-NRG vibe. This album seems like it could be political; the "¡Viva Zapata! ¡Viva Sandino!" in the opening track lets you know where their sympathies lie. Although the instrument is rarely used for more than licks and textures, this is a really nice guitar album in its own way -- is Nação Zumbi the guitarist? Only Google knows. (Nope, it's the band name. I'm guessing nação means "nation", then -- I had guessed "Nathan".) Pretty highly recommended, unless it's averageish mid-'90s music that I'm overrating because I haven't really heard it before. "Rios, Pontes & Overdrives features a Mark E. Smith clip in the intro. I remembered it from the Beleza Tropical 2 compilation (didn't like it then, but it works great on the album.)
Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms: I swear, this album has slowed the listening to a crawl simply because I don't know what to write. This was famously one of the first rock DDD albums, or at least one of the first albums specifically intended for CD, and has seen heavy radio/MTV play. So far, so good. The problem is that the non-hits (even some hits, see "Money for Nothing") go on forever with few ideas. "Walk of Life" was used in a commerical for some diabetes drug, and it's no better in its proper context. The song sucks. "Money" is legit one of the best tracks they ever did. But yeah, overlong and overboring. The equivalent of Peter Gabriel's So. The slick sound treats Dire Straits better than Gabriel.
Dire Straits - On Every Street: The follow-up, years later, after all momentum from Brothers in Arms had died out (plus the grunge effect?) Eh, it's 61 minutes long and really doesn't have to be -- the songs are mostly stretched out to unjustifiable length, but that comes with the 1991 territory or whenever the album came out. Some of the semi-hookfests, even, are less tolerable for it, which is a shame because the album is better than Brothers. The songs are better, there's still plenty of Dire-Strait-ness to the proceedings (they never sold out). The disc, while hardly diverse, is very listenable but there's nothing profound about it. Certainly it doesn't replace the earlier albums, and it makes good background music while still being good to listen to: kind of like the Grateful Dead in this one limited way. A good album to go out on all the same. What's with the cover? Spoons for heroin? And what's with the tape hiss?
Haydn - Piano Sonatas 42, 48-52 (Glenn Gould): The 52nd is the big one; like the "London" symphonies, number fifty-two is not coincidentally the most celebrated and most Beethovenian. It's seriously good music and between these recordings, Bavouzet's cycle, and a vinyl box set with some chick, I've got late Haydn covered. These are the last six surviving sonatas (#43-47 are lost); three are two-movement and three are three-movement. As for the recording: it's Glenn Gould, YMMV. The humming is mostly not a problem and he's surprisingly good at this repertoire (I was familiar mostly with his Bach). I guess I should say to hear a second recording, but the Gould actually feels pretty definitive.
Medtner - Piano Works (Nikolai Demidenko): I'm unfamiliar with the composer but I really liked the cover (it's on Hyperion). This is post-late-Romantic, even, being essentially Romantic music well into the 20th century. I probably need to read the booklet. The music is also mostly really slow and long, which actually works better than you'd think it might over 71 minutes. Unless other Medtner music is less comatose this is my only disc by him, but it's far more replayable than a lot of stuff I liked better (and I really don't dislike the album at all anyway.)
Art Farmer - Foolish Memories: A 1981 release, basically a wizened Farmer leading a typical bebop quintet with a bunch of Germans I've never heard of. Apparently Farmer actually plays the Flügelhorn here, giving his playing a softer sheen that I would never think to notice unless I saw it in the liners. The music is good enough straight-ahead retro-bop music, but I'm struggling to figure out why I would ever pull this disc, of all discs, from the shelf once I'm done with it here. The playing is all serviceable, and the album tries very hard to be an early-'60s Blue Note LP, complete with how it handles sides. For some reason it abandons Blue Note is in its cover, the laziest and ugliest this side of Yes' Talk.
Ella Fitzgerald - The George and Ira Gershwin Songbook: Confession: I've never remotely cared for Gershwin, either his pop stuff or his classical stuff, and I had always found Gershwin (instrumental) tracks to be kind of a bore on jazz albums, but this is a three-CD set of a whole bunch of different Gershwin songs, all sung by a legend I have exactly nothing by, not counting "A Fine Romance" with Louis Armstrong. This (the purchase) was intended as sort of a reference work (for me) -- these bop versions can bear little resemblance to the vocal originals, maybe even be hard to parse without knowing the song going into it. Well it's no big deal because the music is good, provided I'm in the mood (sometimes it's just too damned slow). Now if I could find a sort of encyclopedia of other standards I'd be set. Was this 1959 recording originally a four-LP box, or is this an extended version for CD, or what?
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (Definitive Edition): The main game I'm playing. The series is better known in America as Dragon Warrior and it goes way back to NES days; if you've played the originals, a lot will seem familiar, from the monster designs to the level-up, member-joining-the-party, and staying-at-an-inn jingles, to you-name-it. Other than that the games haven't been more different over the years; there are minigames to craft rare weapons and shit like that (probably some sort of alchemy/chemistry mechanic, to judge by the items you can get). There's voice acting, which probably shouldn't surprise in 2023, but I've been living under a gaming rock from like 2003 to 2022. The acting is surprisingly good. If you like JRPGs, you've already probably picked this one up but it's available on PC, PS4, Switch, what-have-you. Highly, highly recommended. I don't play games every day but I've put away hours on this just levelling up (which makes the game very easy because modern-day RPGs don't expect you to do that, not like in the old days.)
Katamari Damacy Rerolled: It's Katamari Damacy. It's remastered, but the only thing I noticed was the adaptation for the 16:9 screen. I don't think I've ever played this game sober. A gamepad is a must, as practically all the controls in the game use only the two analog sticks and it'd be really unergonomic to try to map it to the keyboard. One of the best soundtracks of any video game, ever. Can't recommend enough, though it has to be bought from a third party which then gives you a download/purchase code for be used in the Steam client/frontend. Getting the game is convoluted and probably, sadly, makes it more trouble than it's worth for most people.