Lennon is quoted to have said that if you wanted to give rock and roll another name, it had to be Chuck Berry. Once during a live show, the audience screamed for Chuck to continue playing overtime while another band was waiting their turn. The other band was Pink Floyd. And it's not hard to see why - Chuck Berry was the perfect blend of skills and showmanship, going on to influence every subsequent guitar player you can name.
This ex-convict, who played music with local bands to earn a little extra, possibly never imagined how he was shaping the very essence of rock. Growing up as a teen playing the blues, influenced a lot by blues players such as T-Bone Walker, he made possible what was needed for the creation of classic rock. With his Maybellene, an adaptation of a traditional song called the Ida Red, he started to create what is, with little controversy, the greatest genre ever. Rolling Stone went as far as to say that rock and roll guitar starts with Maybellene.
Chuck Berry was soon the idol for teenage kids all over with his powerful riffs, which were soon to become the archetype for rock along with his content such as School Days, Sweet Little Sixteen and Rock and Roll Music and his eccentric stage acts. And with Johnny B. Goode, history was made. You can imagine how powerful the song must have been when it was released, a glimpse of it can be seen in Back to the Future when Marty plays it to an audience still not familiar with rock and roll.
It is impossible to pin-point one founder of Rock and Roll but Chuck Berry is the closest you can do if you want to talk of one man who shaped it. This rock god turns 86 today and, even at his age, still plays once a month at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis. It is mind boggling to realise just how much this man gave to rock and roll.
As Eric Clapton said, if you want to play rock guitar, there's nothing you can do much that Chuck hasn't already done. And then there's his duck walk, which is now one of the greatest rock and roll stage moves of all time, and who else to adopt it than another great guitar god Angus Young.
Other influential guitarists to listen to
Robert Johnson: This guy was so good that, it was said he sold his soul to the devil. After countless movies, countless covers - especially Eric Clapton's version of Crossroads - this guy is still as much shrouded in mystery as ever.
Link Wray: Possibly the least known of the list, Link Wray was one cool guy. Not everyone can boast of introducing the power chord - the holy grail of rock, punk and metal. Jimmy Page, in the documentary, It Might Get Loud, is seen playing a record of Link Wray's Rumble and playing air guitar. Jimmy Page air-guitared to Link Wray. This is the guy the legends listened to.
Jimi Hendrix: Who else to take a guitar, set it on fire and then play badass solos using teeth? Hendrix learned every possible thing that can be done with a guitar, invented a lot more and went around being a guitar god in general.
Eddie Van Halen: Anyone who has seen a video of Van Halen with his guitar pick between his lips, his fingers tapping out the masterpiece of the solo that is Eruption, knows how good this guy is. Though legato and tapping techniques have been there for a long time, Van Halen took them and basically overhauled them.
P.S. this is in no way a list of the best guitarists ever. It's just a few guitarists who revolutionised the art. Like Chuck did. Here's to Rock and Roll music.
Shut up and take my money
No place like home' shoes: Ever got lost walking in the streets? That was a rhetorical question. Of course you got lost and if you are a poor person like me, you do not own a smartphone to guide your way. To help out poor souls like us, Stamp Shoes and Dominic Wilcox came up with the brilliant idea of putting the map into shoes. The GPS-enabled shoes they made are called 'No place like home', because you can program your address in there and they lead the way. With LED lights, the right shoe shows how close you are to your destination, while the left one glows with direction. You can store addresses with a USB drive and sync it with your phone. Pretty neat, but no words on the price. So doesn't help us much… yet.
Moots Hydroponic Garden: If you are like normal people, you've started a garden only to forget all about it the next week, up until your mom politely reminded you that your nature-paradise has succumbed to death and dehydration. With Moots Hydroponic Garden, you can plant anything you want indoors, and the futuristic looking flower-pots will remind you if the plant needs more water or nutrition. Finally plants can talk!
Hug & Dream Meenie: A good night's sleep can mean an awful lot when you are awake at 3AM working because sleep eludes you. The Japanese manufacturer Takara Tomy came up with a solution: a breathing Meenie Mouse doll that helps you fall asleep and dream better. They worked with Respiratory specialists and developed a slowly breathing plush so we never get up. You can get the breathing kolbalish for 50 dollars. Bless the Japanese!
SpareOne Emergency Phone: Imagine you are stranded on an island alone. A phone call could potentially save your life, but your android's life decides to give out. Or, you live in Bangladesh, and it has almost as much electricity as the deserted island. That's why we need SpareOne Emergency Phone. It runs on AA sized batteries that will last up to 15 years, and has a talk-time of 10 hours. Sure you won't be able to play Temple Run in your 120 dollar phone, but it might save your life, which is, if not more, at least equally important. Or so we think.
Socrates Socks: If you make socks with Kevlar carbon fabric and Military grade elastics to hold 'em up, you name it Socrates Socks; because that is a logical course of thought. The toes are made of carbon threaded heels and they have an 'Anti-Droop' design for the middle section, all because socks get old and holey. Now these will probably outlive you.
Explorations Dhaka Electronica Scene
Explorations by Dhaka Electronica Scene, is very different from what I had thought it would be - for starters it wasn't the upbeat party music that I always associated with electronic music. Very calm and very much Bangladeshi, the album is an indication of the rich electronic music scene in the country - something not many people know of yet. As one of the co-founders of DES, Omer Nashaad, puts it, “DES is the home of Electronica in the immersive cultural hub of Dhaka, and commits to stimulate and power the electronic culture locally and internationally.”
The album starts with Dhaka Dub Heirarchy's 'Another Sunset' - very Baul-y music slowly building up towards funky basslines, the drums and then finally a very classical melody - sets the perfect opening for the tracks to come. 'Drifting' by Lintwahn and
The B-Regiment is a very soothing, trance like song with its repetition and the small overture of spoken words.
Zayed Hassan's 'Integrity' however is good, but doesn't stand out. Again, keeping with the whole ambience of the album, the track is very tranquil. In fact, with most tracks in the album, you can feel the calmness.
As Dr. Das, the former bassist of Asian Dub Foundation (Fortress Europe from NFS Underground, people) put it, “All the tracks are of mid tempo or of a half-speed-feel and refreshingly unfrenetic, with more than a nod to the sound and rhythm of Baul drums.” After all the calmness and hypnotic tracks, Fahad Zaman's Mongrel comes as a refreshing, quirky mix of beats. It at times borders on Bollywood-y, but overall, the track, in its quirkiness, is fun to listen to. The B-Regiment's second track on the album, If Lalon Jammed Today, is one of the better tracks with its strong groove that gets you nodding along. But the name seems misleading, the track being not very Lalon-like, although it has its share of Baul elements. Going out of the Baul-ness of it all, Alchemy Project's 'Silence in the Dark' is rich in its ambience with its slow beats and soulful strings while Big Machete's Processun is more densely packed with noise and feedback - one of the more experimental tracks on the album.
Overall, the album is quite good. Being a major milestone in the electronica scene in the country, this shows how diverse the movement here is. The artists seem to have original, differentiating ideas about what to do with the music, and their incorporation of traditional elements is very smooth. Big Machete, one of the artists on the album says, “Before now, Electronica in Dhaka gave most people an image of seedy dance floors, cheap bass lines and sausage wielding Bollywood dancing. And then Dhaka Electronica Scene happened. It has been a humbling experience, finding out the amazing electronica talent hidden throughout Dhaka.”
With their second album coming out soon, DES is something to look forward to. Explorations is available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and Google Play while the free preview (full tracks) can be found on soundcloud.com/dhaka-es/sets/
By Shaer Reaz
The internet is alive with buzz from a game that many tout to be better than anything Blizzard's disappointing Diablo III had to offer. It's a David versus Goliath story as a relatively unknown action-RPG sequel takes on the descendant of one of the founding-father games of the genre. If you are a Diablo fan, you should be weeping, because Torchlight II is here to dethrone the Diablo franchise by sticking it to them where it hurts: by grabbing the attention of those who aren't willing to pay $60 for a game with so many bugs and security protocols. The anti-piracy policies of Blizzard haven't done anything to help Diablo III recover, either.
Torchlight II asks you to select a class from four possible ones: Outlander (weapons specialist, ranged attack), Engineer (ranged attacks, robots, and support machinery), Embermage (magic, ranged and melee attacks) and Berserker (fast melee attacks, rapid movements). Whichever class you choose, you are probably going to come back and experiment with the other classes when you've finished the game once.
The gameplay is very similar to previous Diablo games, only jacked up a notch. The movements are insanely fast, the scores of enemy rushing in to attack you from every side gives the gamer an adrenaline rush that quickly turns addictive. It's easy to finish half the game in one sitting. The whole point of the game seems to be collecting loot, the weak storyline not doing much to change this view. With each kill you have the chance of improving your arsenal of weapons and armour, providing a huge variety in the way you can crush your enemies (or die under the rush of monsters).
If you're new to action-RPGs, this will be slightly difficult for you. The controls can become jerky once in a while, but the keyboard-mouse combo works pretty smoothly for the most part. You just have to get used to the gameplay, and memorise how to use hotkeys.
The graphics are okay, not as good as in Starcraft II and Diablo III, but still appreciable. One complaint might originate from the cut scenes department; Diablo III had cut-scenes that looked like a high-budget movie, Torchlight II's looks like it was cropped together in a basement somewhere, as an afterthought. It still works though, the story told through comic-book like animation, as seen on the game Shank.
If you're part of a LAN network, fire it up and play with up to six friends in offline co-op mode. It's fun times six.
The game also features safeguards against loot-stealing, where one player scoops up another player's loot once it's on the ground. Each player receives unique loot from a multiplayer kill.
Overall, the game is brilliantly put together, with no bugs or technical issues plaguing it. It's a small top down RPG game, so it doesn't require much in terms of hardware performance. If you're frustrated at not being able to play Diablo III, or you're disappointed by it, give Torchlight II a try. It'll give you a little respite, guaranteed.