Fred O'Brien

World On Fire: the Music of ‘Fallout 3’

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Fred 11.08.02017 This is part of a series of articles in which we reflect on video game soundtracks. The pieces examine the musical content of the score and analyse the effects it has on the game. Fallout 3 recently turned eight years and nine months old, so it would be remiss not to talk about it. It’s… Read more »

The Rise and Rise of Audiobooks

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FRED 14.06.02017 Answering a demand we barely notice is there, the growth of audiobooks seems unstoppable. They are filling the silences that litter our days, redeeming commutes, menial work, and empty evenings.      Last week, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) released the 2016 sales figures for audiobooks, and things are looking rosy. There has been… Read more »

Keep Playing: the Fire at the Heart of ‘Whiplash’

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FRED 09.06.02017     Whiplash hit—and shot—plenty of nerves when it was released in 2014. It lit up the year’s film awards season and will in all likelihood endure as a classic piece of cinema; but why? What about the film strikes so deep, is so morbidly absorbing? Whiplash is ostensibly about jazz, but its core speaks… Read more »

Gorillaz Go 1-D

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FRED 12.05.02017     When is a virtual band over? That’s been the question on my mind since listening to Humanz, an album that confirmed fears which had been lurking since Plastic Beach. Gorillaz don’t seem to be a thing anymore. Albums have their name on them, the gang get wheeled out for interviews, but I don’t hear them in the music…. Read more »

‘Be Here Now’ and Mr. Hyde

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FRED 14.10.02016 Oasis’s infamous 1997 mad fer it cocaine extravaganza, Be Here Now, was re-released today, joining last week’s documentary about the band’s early years—Supersonic. Both have generated press, which has got me thinking about the group. I have a lot of time for them, which is fairly easy to get away with. I’m also quite fond of Be Here Now, which… Read more »

The DMCA Rabbit Hole

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FRED 27.06.02016     In the latest of an ongoing dialogue about revenue and copyright in the music industry, Big Name Musicians released a petition last week directed at the United States Congress. ‘THE DIGITAL MILLENIUM COPYRIGHT ACT IS BROKEN AND NO LONGER WORKS FOR CONTENT CREATORS’ is the all-caps gist of their concern. A worthy and important… Read more »

Album Sides and Beauty from Circumstance

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FRED 11.03.02016 Context shapes conduct more than we often care to admit, and the same is true of art. In his 2012 book How Music Works, David Byrne writes that artists ‘unconsciously and instinctively make work to fit preexisting formats […] pictures are created that fit and look good on white walls in galleries just as… Read more »