Welcome to Pages of Fun!

This is the personal Web site of Robert Wm. Gomez. I am an artist, musician and nerd living in Chicago, Illinois who has been maintaining this site (in one form or another) since 1996. Enjoy your visit!

The Music Studio Instrument Samples

Jump For LOVE!

I recently took the time to sample all of the default sounds from the Apple IIgs music composition program The Music Studio for use with my new sampler. The sounds were recorded directly out of my IIgs via an Applied Engineering sound card and into the Octatrack. I then took the WAV files into my PC and cleaned up the audio a bit. The IIgs outputs a rather noisy signal.

Blind Woman's Curse (8/10)

A surprisingly good Japanese martial arts/gangster film. The time and setting, with a mix of cars and kimonos, is a bit weird after having watched so many Hong Kong kung-fu classics. The fighting is not terribly exciting, but the story, characters and weird visuals were enough to make this enjoyable.

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin on PC (6/10)

FEAR the blandness!
The first F.E.A.R. game did a really good job of building up the tension to provide creepy scares and atmosphere. This one is just an in-your-face string of loud, quick cuts of Alma that fire off with such regularity that they just become part of the background noise of the game. This background noise also includes the multitude of text info items you pick up and never need to read. So, as far as a horror story goes, this wasn't so great. I didn't really know or care about what was going on.

Red Steel on Nintendo Wii (5/10)

Red Steel Box ArtI think this was one of the earliest titles on the Wii, and one that was supposed to showcase the new fangled motion controls. If anything, it showcases just how infuriating the waggle controls can be. I actually like the first person shooting setup on a lot of Wii titles such as The ConduitGodleneye, and Metroid Prime. The shooting controls here a very wonky. You are required move the controller closer to the television to use gun sights and lock on to enemies. You have to waggle the nunchuck to interact with doors and objects. In both cases, just hitting a button would have probably been sufficient. To add to the problems, the game is just downright buggy with tracking aim. Often the cursor would jump to the center of the screen for now apparent reason, like it was losing connection with the wiimote. Terrible.

Quattro Mosche Di Velluto Grigio by Ennio Morricone (10/10)

Format: CD

I forgot how much I liked this score. I tend to only remember the prog-rockish opening number because it is such an integral part of the opening credits of the film. But of course there's the excellent "Come Un Madrigale"—perhaps, the most lovely decapitation music ever composed. The rest of the CD is rounded out with mostly standard giallo faire, but there's a tinge of 70's rock drums and screams added to the arrangements to tie everything to the movie's rock star protagonist.

L'Uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo by Ennio Morricone (10/10)

Format: CD

Morricone's subsequent Giallo soundtracks would rely heavily on improvisational and experimental music. However, this one retains quite a bit of the easy vibe found on his late sixties romantic drama scores. It's not dissonance-free, about half the tracks are free-form spaz outs, but the variety helps to make this one the best Giallo scores ever. Even the oom-pa-pa number, "Sei Sei Stonato" is great.

Eccentric Orbits: The Iridium Story by John Bloom (9/10)

Eccentric Orbits is the history of the rise, fall, and eventual rebirth of the world's first (and only) global satellite phone system. This is not the sort of book I would ever expect to like. Corporate history is not really my thing. However, this is more the story an astounding technological achievement that was almost destroyed but not for the small group of individuals who believed in it and were willing to risk millions for it.

Veruschka by Ennio Morricone (10/10)

Format: CD

As far as easy-listening Morricone goes, this is one of his best. There are hints of bossa nova, echo-y instruments and, of course, Edda Dell'Orso. "La Bambola," of which there are three versions represented here, is one of Ennio's finest pieces.

La Califfa by Ennio Morricone (10/10)

Format: CD

For a brief period, this CD was my holy grail of Morricone soundtracks. I took to eBay in search of it only to find sellers who listed the CD but didn't have it in stock (my only negative feedback came from one of these failed purchases). Eventually I found an honest seller and to this day the album remains one of my favorites from the Maestro. It's far more symphonic than his horror or western scores, so it doesn't have that immediate hipster/cool factor to it.

Ms .45 (8/10)

This one casts itself off as a female version of Death Wish complete with two uncomfortable assaults of the lead actress in the first ten minutes. But rather than being a standard tale of revenge, it becomes a decent into madness as Thana grows more and more unhinged in her killing spree. The visuals, especially the insane climax, are really quite astounding. There is not much of a story here, but I was glued to it all the way to the bizarre, slow-motion ending.

Il Poliziotto Della Brigata Criminale by Ennio Morricone (9/10)

Format: CD

I finally bought this CD after being nagged by my Discogs.com wishlist alert for months. I shouldn't have waited because this disc, like all of the Morricone releases by Dagored, is worth having. The opening track and much of the record features a pounding piano rhythm that is not dissimilar from many 70's Italian police drama scores. Then there are creepy dissonant noise tracks and even an easy-listening gem, "Sospiri Da Una Radio Lontana."

I Figli Chiedono Perché by Ennio Morricone (10/10)

Format: CD

Don't be dissuaded by the fact that all the tracks lest one are titled, "I Bambini Ci Chiedono Perche." This isn't one of those Morricone scores that is just slight variations of the same song over and over (I'm looking at you Indagine Su Un Cittadino Al Di Sopra Di Ogni Sospetto!). Although the main melody, often sung by Edda Dell'Orso, is the focus throughout. It ranges from mysterious to bittersweet to spine-chillingly epic.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 on Nintendo Wii (8/10)

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Well, it took me about half a decade, but I finally finished Super Mario Galaxy 2. I really liked the first one and this is a lot more of the same. There's a bit of "been there, done that," in my opinion of the game. A few new additions have been added, like being able to ride on Yoshi and use his tongue like a grappling hook. But, for the most part, this is pure 3-D platforming at about the best it will ever get. Which is to say, yeah it's pretty good for a not-so-deep game.

John Wick (6/10)

Now that the sequel is in theaters, I thought I should see the original since since a lot of people who opinions I respect loved it. Maybe I had inflated expectations, but I wasn't impressed. What it has going for it is a nice character build up in the first twenty minutes and an original fantasy-ish world that is gradually built up. Everyone seemed to rave about the action, but I found it to be sterile and dull. Its action sequences are a never ending flow of perfect head-shots and zero danger for John Wick.

Connecticut Privateer Samuel Smedley by Jackson Kuhl (7/10)

A short book about a lesser known hero of the American revolution. As the captain of a Connecticut privateer vessel, Smedley captured a dozen or so prizes, ran aground, was captured twice and escaped from a British prison. It's all pretty exciting stuff, but there aren't too many first-hand accounts of the action so the book is a little sterile in its telling of the facts. I had to remind myself that this is straight up history and not an Aubry-Maturin novel.  Even so, enjoyed the book for what it was.

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