Monday, February 14, 2011

The LGBT Community

I'm reblogging a post from Sono E. Anderson-Kei's tumblr because it sums up my opinion on this matter entirely, and it's an issue that I feel very strongly about. She was even kind enough to write an extra paragraph specifically for me to publish here when I asked her permission to reprint her post.

The original post this is responding to can be found here:

This is what Sono had to say in response:

Hey, LGBT community. Stop telling me I don’t understand any of this. Just stop. Just because I happen to identify as female, have a vagina, and like men (Though I also like women. I am bisexual.) doesn’t mean I don’t understand. I do. And I sympathize with you. I really do. I know you guys struggle, and that the odds are stacked against you. I know that some people don’t like you for one small aspect of your lives that doesn’t define your whole personality, and that it is totally bullshit to have to deal with that kind of thing.

But many of those things you mentioned? They don’t just apply to sexuality. I have some things not related to my sexuality or my gender that I am deeply deeply closeted about. That maybe two or three people in my life know about. None of those people are my family. I know shame, I know fear, and I know insult.

These things you mentioned, are things I go through too. And my support community? It’s practically non-existent. There’s a few of us scattered around the internet. My community’s voice is barely above a whisper, if anything at all.

I crossdress. Not frequently anymore after an incident in which someone (without my permission or any sort of warning) tried to pull off my clothes to see how I'd bound myself. But it's something that I do. When I do, I am not recognizable as female. I take pride in this. The first time someone refered to me as "him" I was overjoyed. I know that members of the LGBT community crossdress, and that they do it in order to represent themselves as the gender they consider themself to be, regardless of biology. This is not why I do it. As I mentioned, I identify as female, and I am biologically female.

I crossdress as a coping mechanism.

I do not crossdress to be seen as male, and not to try to experience life as a male would. I do it because sometimes it is so PAINFUL to be me, that I need to be someone else. It is why I started costuming, and why I almost immediately began taking on male costumes. I'm finally at a point where I can take on female costumes as well. Many of the reasons I need a coping mechanism are the things that I'm so deeply in the closet about.

This is something I’ve had building up in me for months now, pretty much every time I see a post like this, because I’m getting pretty tired of being told that I “can’t understand” the problems of the LGBT community since I’m mostly outside of it, even though I would suffer the same things for a different reason if I came out.

Can we also get rid of the term "cisgendered"? Please? I'm a WOMAN. I deserve to be called one. If someone identifies as a woman and wants to be called one, I'll call them one regardless of what's in their pants. Whatever someone wants to be called, that's what I'll call them, but I think I deserve the same. I thought the LGBT community wanted to get AWAY from labels, not start making up more.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand, not all of us are totally oblivious, okay? Please stop assuming we are. If you want us to stop lumping you all in together, then you need to stop lumping us all in together.

I know this is an unpopular opinion. I know I’ll probably lose followers for it, and maybe lose friends. But if everyone else on the internet is allowed to express their opinions then so am I.

While our situations may not be exactly the same, I agree with everything she's written here 100%. I am an openly bisexual man and I do not consider myself part of any sort of "community" precisely because I do not agree with the labeling and segregation such support networks can lead to. I think this is a very touchy and contentious issue, and I am very glad that there is someone else whose opinion coincides so exactly with my own.
Sono's original tumblr post can be found here:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Let Me Ask You About Things - Suri from /toy/

Patrick is better known as "Suri" on 4chan's /toy/ board. He is a toy collector and all around cool dude! He recently let me ask him some questions, and here they are.
Warning: this interview contains incidental mentions of fapping, mistaken gender identity, high school, the woes of being a writer and the zen philosophy of action figures.

So first of all, thanks for letting me ask you about stuff!

No problem.

I guess to start on something easy, what kind of toys did you have growing up? I know you collect a lot of toys aimed at adult collectors these days, but is there anything you get nostalgic over?

Lots of Power Rangers stuff is all I can clearly remember. Aside from that, it's all a mish-mash of stuff. Z-Bots and Battle Beasts stick out in my head because I bought them myself for cheap at a flea markets near my grandmother's house, but that's it. I also didn't know they were called Z-Bots or Battle Beasts because they were sold to me by retired women whose grandchildren probably left them there. But really, it was whatever I thought was cool. I've found boxes of stuff from when I was younger and I have no idea what half the stuff is or where I got it.
The only thing I think I really feel sentimental over in terms of older toys is a G1 Ultra Magnus I got at one of the aforementioned flea markets. Had absolutely NOTHING. No hands, no trailer, no anything. Rubber wheels and some kind of yellow windshield though. Loved the thing to death even though I didn't watch any Transformers until Beast Wars (heathen child, burn him, et cetera). I've not yet found mine. I've tried to replace it three times now. They've all been the wrong one and broken almost immediately.

Heh. That really surprises me, actually! You always strike me as seeming to know everything about all the source material, and able to explain anything related to it at the drop of a hat. Where do you think that started?

When I got a computer.

Also, to kind of add to that question - how exactly do you connect up that type of toy collecting from your childhood with how you collect now? Do you consider yourself a "collector" or an "expert"? Or are you still just nabbing what takes your fancy?

Well, to properly finish that question, in middle school and through high school, I didn't really get out much outside of school. I was kind of displaced out of my house for about a year and a half in middle school and I pretty much came home from school, sat on my crappy Dell for two hours doing stuff and then got carted off to my grandparents house 60 miles away. Every single day. So I didn't get a lot of social interaction outside of the monstrous beasts that were my classmates. So I did a lot of reading and what little computer time I had was pushed to as much as I could get.
And in high school, my school was about a 45 minute drive, so I didn't really get a chance to talk to any of my friends or do stuff that often because the few that did live near me had strict parents. So, more internet time. Lots and lots of internet time and just an abnormal ability to retain information about pretty much useless things in the grand scheme.
And for what I collect now, it's mostly stuff I have an attachment to in some way or just something really, really cool. Luckily a lot of my interests are Japanese stuff, so I tend to get both in the same package. Except for a lot of personal favorites that just don't have things for me to buy, a reason I was so excited over the S.H. Figuarts s-CRY-ed stuff.

How did that affect your toy collecting? Were you still even collecting toys throughout school? Or was that something you drifted in and out of? I know that there was a time for me when I didn't have the time or money to collect, so I drifted away from it all for a few years. I can only imagine your situation being a difficult one to buy things in.

Well, as a kid, I didn't really collect. I just had the cool stuff and a massive box full of stuff that a child could fit in, overflowing with toys. Most of them are probably still in a box somewhere in the garage.
I think the first thing I got as a collector was a Kaiyodo statue of Sachiel, an angel from Evangelion. It's basically a statue. I bought it in Disney World oddly enough. So anyway, I bought that, stuck it in this weird book case thing I had and the next year I went to the anime convention Otakon (which I have since gone to every year) and bought a bunch of blindboxes, gashapon and stuff and loaded up the little closet. Got some Revoltechs the following year and that's mostly what I was buying near the end of my high school years, then I went to college and I was still fairly small, but by the time I finished my first year, I needed a whole new box to carry the stuff I bought in New York during the year out of my dorm.
Slowly after that I got figmas and eventually got into S.H. Figuarts after I found out about them on /toy/.

So how long have you been posting on /toy/? Nowadays you're probably the best known poster and are practically furniture (in a good way, I mean). What's that like? Do you ever walk down the street and suddenly think about how many people from all over the world know of your existence?

Well I didn't used to. Until now.
And really, it's probably still not that many. /toy/ is not large. And I think I started around October of 09? Maybe a little earlier.

What kind of impact - if any - has that small online community had in your overall life? I know that people have sent you things just because they want their fifteen minutes of fame from Suri making a thread about getting something from them, and I know that people - myself included - have even drawn fan-art of you. You always seem like a very selfless person though. I guess the gist of the question is, don't you ever feel like a minor celebrity of sorts?

Not really. I honestly feel like I'm being more useful than anything else half the time. Like an encyclopedia that you'd have a little chat with. It's less like "I wanna be famous, even just a little" and more "I hope I was helpful."
...although the attention is kind of amusing sometimes. The girl thing can either be really funny or bang-my-head-against-a-wall annoying.

I was going to ask about that briefly, actually. I know that a lot of the "Suri is a girl" things are just in jest, but what sort of things have genuinely annoyed you about it? Have there ever been occasions where you've felt threatened or disturbed by someone's comments or emails?

Nothing like that, no. The most recent annoying thing I can think of was putting something up on the BST and the reply was "I will buy that but only if you rub it on your gentitals. I need Suri fap material". This was clearly a joke. I am going to keep telling myself that because if they seriously meant it, they'd have just e-mailed it quietly and asked nicely rather than post it outright (yes I thought about this, shut up, I overthink everything). It was just mildly annoying because that isn't funny to me. It's not offensive, it's just like "Gaah that's not a joke that's just stupid be original"

I think anyone would over-analyse that. I know I would.

It's just the occasional thing like that, when they're not funny.

You have made a point of not posting pictures of yourself on /toy/ in the past. You don't think that would clear up the whole business? Or could there secretly be a part of you that enjoys the perverse attention? We all have our own things, even if we don't realise it. That's not an attempt at psychoanalysis, I'm just curious if that's something you've ever given thought to.

I just don't think I'm that good-looking. :P

Moving on from Delicious Trap Suri-Chan, have you got any life goals? Do you see yourself climbing into the cockpit of a space shuttle by 35? How does toy collecting factor into anything like that for you?

It really doesn't. It's a thing I do and I happen to both like it and like the small community I've grown accustomed to. It's a thing to talk about that I enjoy. Passing aside the astronaut thing (Even if I wanted to really badly, for health reasons I'd never make the cut as an astronaut.), the only thing I really enjoy doing is writing in some capacity. Not sure if it'd be screenwriting or books, but I like fiction. My first year at college murdered my creative drive with a rusty knife and it's been a slow struggle to get it back. I still have all the ideas, just not the drive to actually write.

I've read some of your work, and you're a good writer. It's generally considered a highly unstable career choice, though. Do you consider yourself a spontaneous type of person, or more someone who prefers stability? You always seem like a reliable and steady person.

I'm fully aware that a career as a writer is not something to rely on. But as of yet, I don't exactly know what else I could do as a consistent career that wouldn't drain me mentally. I've yet to have a job that I didn't loathe with every fiber of my being, be it the work or the people.

I think that's an opinion shared by most writers.

I just wish that most of the hatred resulted in good stories at least. I don't even mean like "Writing inspiration" I just mean something to talk about. They're mundane and boring.

I guess what I was driving at with the whole "stability versus spontaneity" thing was, do you ever get that urge to drop everything and go on an adventure? I often start getting the itch to explore, but the logical and mundane part of my brain always reminds me how impractical it is, and the mood passes. Do you ever get that mad feeling when you want to do something totally different and new?

I do, but I never exactly know how to handle it. The simplest way to put it is, if I decided to just get in my car and start driving, how long would it take for me to get to something new? Would I go by myself? How do I get back? Shit, I have classes tomorrow don't I? Forget it.
Or something similar.

So the spirit is willing, but the sensible part of you is always there to reign it back in.

The sensible part is kind of a dick, but in a good way. I've got a friend, for example. I would definitely call him my best friend. He basically realized a long time ago that if he didn't have me, he would act on every single one of those urges he had to the point of destruction. (Which is entirely true. He would.)
So... I guess it's helpful in a way.

You have told me in the past that you're that guy who people go to when they have problems. You seem to just attract people to you with your general niceness! Is it ever difficult to be that guy? Similarly, you're always a nice person on /toy/ and the internet in general. Is that intentional? Do you find that you filter out all the negativity before you speak up?

It's not so much filtering out the negativity so much as "realizing when not to be an ass" which is much easier in text, when you have time to think, than in conversation. And sometimes, yeah, it's really hard to be that guy. I've had instances of a few friends ask for advice again and again, make the same mistakes over and over and never follow my advice, instead doing the same thing repeatedly and complaining when it doesn't work. Or a few occasions when people have insulted me, making it out that they have it harder than I do and should be pitied and felt bad for and get extra leeway.

Do you ever feel that people only get to see one part of you as a result, and never see the more Jungian "shadow" side? Have you ever met people from the internet in real life and felt like you should be only cheerful, lest you let down their perceptions of you?

Honestly? I have never met someone in person that I met first through the internet. Tried very hard several times during my first year of college, since I actually went to the same university as a friend I had known on the internet for... 7 years at that point?
Just... didn't happen.

I am genuinely surprised. I know it's a cop-out of a question, but how do you reckon you'd feel or react if you did?

I'd probably feel like I should be funnier. I talk very fast in person and trip over my words, over-explain things and generally am not as clever in person.
When it goes Words on a screen -> Eyes -> Brain -> Fingers it processes so much differently for me than Sound -> Ears -> Brain -> Mouth.

So are you a different person online than in real life? Or the same, but with more processing time, do you think? Which one am I talking to now?

I'm the same person, it's just... hm.
Is a Formula 1 Driver in a top of the line car the same driver when he's in a minivan?
Same driver, different vehicle.
One they don't operate as well.

That answer almost makes my question seem like a legitimate one instead of just philosophical wank. I could probably ask things like that for hours, but to bring it back to toy related things (with a healthy dose of philosophical wank), is there any kind of personal philosophy or guidelines that determine how you look at "collecting" something?
You're always acquiring new figures, but you just as rapidly sell and give things away to people. You can't be making a return on doing so or even breaking even, so there's a level of almost "zen materialism" there. Do you ever think about things like that?

I thought about that briefly and I think I got something that more or less sits right with me. Let's say I buy something for $20. I have it for a while, and then sell it for, let's say $15 and shipping. There are two ways to look at that.
1) I'm out $5.
2) Was the enjoyment I got out of having it for that period of time worth $5?

That's a very ephemeral way of looking at things. I can't do that. I wish I could, but there's always the overriding part of me that says, "what if I want it later?". Which I guess leads me into the last thing I wanted to ask. How long do you see yourself posting on /toy/ board? You've been there for three years, can you see yourself getting tired of it and moving on? What about at the age of 30? The age of 60?

First off, I will be massively impressed if Moot can keep 4chan running 30-40 more years.
And second, as long as it's fun. Every now and then I see people just being complete assholes, but not usually in droves (raids don't count) but it doesn't bother me all that much. But if it ever got to the point where that was unbearable, I guess I'd find somewhere else.

Spoken like a true level-headed person. That's all I had prepared, so is there anything you want to add yourself?

Nothing that wouldn't sound terrible or obscenely corny.

You can read some of Patrick's writing on his blog, and you totally should do so.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tron: Legacy review

Tron: Legacy was very good! It had the same atmosphere and charm of the original, which a lot of sequels (let alone sequels made decades later) don't manage to achieve. There were some flaws in places, and some flimsy logic here and there, but they were the same flaws and bits of flimsy logic as the original, so it actually feels okay! And very cohesive.

Sequel-ness aside, the visuals are amazing. I know Hollywood has a thing for "teal and orange" at the moment, but that really works well in the movie's favour here. I mean, that's the Tron colourscheme! The CGI was beautiful and smooth and had a real physical weight to it, while still keeping the same aesthetic as the original. It just looks glorious.

Jeff Bridges' de-aging was done extremely well, too! It's only a bit uncanny valley in one scene right at the start, and that's only because it's set in the real world. When you're comparing it to the rest of the CGI, you basically can't even tell. "Old" (by which I mean "actual age", I guess) Jeff Bridges is really well written, it really feels like Kevin Flynn from the original movie but with the wisdom that comes with age. His speech is littered with the occasional 80s-ism which is a nice touch.

The whole movie is nicely written, too. Not much more I can say about that without comparing it to the original Tron some more, but yeah: nicely written!

I still have mixed feelings about the soundtrack. Just like I thought it would, it works really well during the movie, setting just the right tone and mood for every scene. But by itself, just as a Daft Punk album? Very meh and boring. Without the movie around them, all of the tracks are just dull. Except for "Derezzed", that one's okay. Not great or anything, but fairly good.

Overall, I think this is worth seeing on the big screen! I don't see many films in cinemas, I prefer to watch in the comfort of my own home. But some films just need a screen the size of a house and bass speakers that make your chair vibrate, and this is one of them.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Toy Reviews: Blurr script

Because the review is hard to understand in places, here is the script I wrote for it so you know roughly what I was trying to say:

Today's review is Blurr, and in honour of his character I will be doing the review (fast) as fast as I possibly can!

Even though I know that Blurr is a repaint of Drift, I hate Drift and I like Blurr, so I like to pretend that Drift is actually a repaint of Blurr. While Drift was boring a white, Blurr is millions of different blues! The vehicle mode looks totally rad even though the paint applications are pretty shonky. I mean check out those scratches, and mine had the fewest in the whole shop! I get distracted from my annoyance by these beautiful dark blues, like the season 3 finale of Animated they just leave me wanting more.


The head looks really silly in pictures but it actually looks great in real life! I love his gun holsters, it gives him a real Sergio Leone feel that I just love. Normally it annoys me when a carformer's wheels go out on his forarms, but along with the blue it reminds me of the identity disk from Tron.

He's got a lot of kibbley bits, but why would you be looking at that when you could be looking at the ridiculous combining triple-gun!? No matter how you mix and match this thing it just looks hilarious and awesome!

Is that a little mini-matrix in his crotch? Insert obvious joke about Blurr Minor becoming Blurr Prime here...

In the end, Blurr reminds me of the entire female cast of Questionable Content because he's got problems, but overall he's actually really nice!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Transformers Prime" First Thoughts

So, based on "Darkness Rising" parts 1 & 2, what do I think of Transformers: Prime?

It's pretty good.

There is definitely some great potential there, but I am somewhat underwhelmed. The cinematography is great for a kids' show, and the robot design is a nice balance between the movies and Animated. So I like that. The writing, on the other hand, seems rushed and ill-paced; however so was the introductory miniseries to Transformers Animated and that ended up having the best writing I've ever seen in a Transformers production. So I'm not put off by that, since the dialogue seems well done. There are a few touches of humour, and they're well placed.

The voice acting is great for the robots, but the humans are quite boring. Here again I pine for TFA, possibly the only series where the humans were as interesting and important to the plot as the robots themselves. The world also feels generally empty and bland, with very little movement or activity beyond the central characters. Again, there is still scope for well-crafted humans, but I doubt it will be capitalised on.

If I had to pick my favourite and least favourite characters, they'd be Ratchet and Miko respectively. Jeffrey Combs as Ratchet's voice does great with the world-weary wry humour and steals every scene he's in. Miko is just plain annoying, and makes me wish for the charm of TFA's Sari even more.

The overall plot has only been hinted at, but looks to be somewhat interesting. The main aspect of this show, however, seems to be action, and while it's a bit of a culture shock coming straight off the story- and character-based workings of Animated, I reckon this could work. Imagine G1 except more balls-to-the-wall and better shot.

Putting the show itself aside for a moment; barring bad engineering choices we'll get some pretty rad toys from this series. I like the aesthetic of the robots and they should translate well into figures.

I should also note: the music is good and is used to great effect.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"You Know, For Kids!" Maturity and Darkness in Children's Media

Earlier today I read's review of the new children's show "Transformers: Prime". One thing that struck me was how much the reviewer praised the show for being "serious" and devoid of humour, seeming to believe this made it more 'adult' and "mature". He seems to have a different definition than me about what constitutes maturity, though; he informs us:

"...if you question whether or not the show is dark, just ask yourself this ... has the word 'cadaver' ever been used in an episode of Transformers before?"

I failed to see how the use of a perfectly normal medical term constitutes "darkness". In fact, all this suggested to me was that the reviewer was somewhat immature, giggling at "violence means it is for adults!". But then I started thinking, what DOES constitute darkness? And why is it such a contentious thing to have in works aimed at children? Do we consider anything less than a sugar-coating to be too much for children to handle?

I have always been a proponent of "darkness" in shows, films, and books for children. To me, "darkness" is a flimsy and somewhat indefinable term, but I view it to generally cover bittersweet endings, motifs that the average child might not have encountered in their everyday life before, and the refusal to talk down to children. To try and make my point clearer, I want to take an example and deconstruct it.

My Neighbour Totoro, brainchild of the amazing Hayao Miyazaki and one of my all-time favourite films, is on the surface a simple animated film for children about how things that are slightly scary are also enticing and can be full of wonder once we overcome our initial fears (eg, exploring the house full of soot sprites). To an adult, the film also explores the innocence of childhood, how we could find magic in everyday places through the powers of imagination and being inquisitive (eg, the disappearing Totoro grove in the backyard tree). I want to talk specifically about the ending, so there will be some spoilers if you haven't already seen it. If you haven't, what are you waiting for? Go and rent it and watch it right now. This blog will still be here when you get back.

We see the world through the eyes of Satsuki, a young girl, and Mei, her even younger sister, who move into a house in the country with their father so when their mother is discharged from hospital, she will be among the clean air and sunshine. The mother's illness is the driving force for much of the plot, but isn't touched upon very much directly. It is left to the audience to figure out the details.

Something I only noticed after repeated viewings was that we really do only see what the two little girls see. Their surrealistic interactions with the Totoro are preceeded by the implications of sleep, leaving the possibility that - maybe - it is all a dream. I also noticed that we only ever see Tatsuo (the dad) and Yasuko (the mum) interacting without the girls present once. Both of these things are important to the final scene.

The first time we see an interaction between Tatsuo and Yasuko alone, they have a discussion about their two girls, and about life in the new house. The dialogue here flows naturally, and sounds right. The illness, however, is only glossed over and not mentioned in this scene, meaning we are totally reliant on the young girls' interpretation of what it is. The final scene takes place after Mei and Satsuki ride the mythical Catbus to the hospital, and sit outside their mother's window to listen to their parents talking.

Here, the dialogue between the parents is completely different. Suddenly, they are speaking to each other like children, Yasuko promising she will "try her hardest to get better!". The dialogue is choppy and the language childish. This is totally at odds with their earlier scene alone, and somewhat jarring in tone.

It never sat right with me until I suddenly realised: we are still seeing this through the eyes of Satsuke and Mei. This is how two little girls would look at two adults having a conversation they don't fully understand and simplify it with optimism into something they could figure out. There's even the implication that due to the fact they travelled there on the Catbus, they might not even be literally present there, and that they might simply be dreaming it. Perhaps I am reading too deeply into this; but I suspect that this is the level of detail that Miyazaki would have given thought to.

When I first saw this movie as a child, I of course went completely unaware of these implications. I didn't notice any tonal shift, I simply took it at face value. As an adult looking back, however, I am very aware of the bittersweet undertones to the ending. This is an extremely rare and special type of maturity and - dare I say it - darkness in a movie for children. I have been taken on a journey with the film as I have grown up myself, and I feel like I have learned more from this than any kids' film with a black-and-white moral at the ending. I suspect that is one of the reasons why Totoro "is more genuinely loved than Mickey Mouse could hope to be", according to the Financial Times.

There is, of course, a series of still drawings over the credits depicting Yasuko coming to live in the new house, and of Satsuke and Mei playing with other kids while the Totoros keep watch over them. Based on nothing than my own love for the characters and my desire to see things turn out well for them, I like to think that these things are supposed to be true, even if they are shown in a highly optimistic postscript.

Given the rest of the movie, however, I don't think this is saying that everything is necessarily going to be perfect despite its optimism. Neither is it saying "okay is good enough", though. It's simply saying, that's life. "Life is good enough". And at the end of the day, that is a level of maturity to impart to kids which I have my doubts will be present in Transformers: Prime just because they used the word "cadaver".

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Short music reviews

I haven't been updating this blog as much as I would like to. Actually, I haven't been updating it at all! Which is terrible.

Anyway, there are about a thousand films I could be talking about right now, but instead I'm going to talk about some music I've been listening to recently. Because that's what should be in a blog called "Martin on Cinema"!


Fang Island - s/t (2010)
Even if Fang Island never release another album (although I really hope they do!), they can sleep easy knowing they have created one of the BEST debut albums ever. Seriously, this is "Slanted & Enchanted" level debut good (at least in my opinion).
The whole record is kind of like if The Polyphonic Spree suddenly decided to write a whole bunch of high energy math rock. At first glance the track "Daisy" is probably the best song off the A-side with its bright and playful off-kilter vibe, but I keep coming back to "Life Coach" with its pleasant vaguely Scottish sounding discordence. The entire B-side, especially the final track, is just killer.

Grails - Doomsdayer's Holiday (2008)
Very metal-inspired indie rock. I'm not sure if I should descibe this as "the Besnard Lakes being covered by Godspeed You Black Emperor", or just as "Dark Side of the Moon being played by a pod of whales", but either way it is spacey and dark and OH GOD I CANNOT STOP LISTENING TO THE TRACK "ACID RAIN".
Seriously, it's like someone took all the good bits from "Slow Riot for Zero Kanada" and compressed them together. Be warned though, the album cover art is pure unleaded nightmare fuel.

The Besnard Lakes - ...Are the Roaring Night (2010)
Why isn't this band more popular!? Seriously, go and buy both of their studio albums RIGHT NOW. I'll wait here until you get back.
Imagine if Sigur Ros decided to collaborate with Roy Orbison and got the Beach Boys to do the backing vocals. That is pretty much the sound on both of their albums, and I think they might even say something to that effect on the back of the album cover. If so then for once, a band's pretentious self-glorification is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ACCURATE.
The second album is kind of more of the same, but they've refined and improved their sound? This is something I am totally okay with, because their sound is terrific. I think the first album was about a spy and this one is about a spy who retires to become a musician? Anyway, you need to go and buy both albums right now, BECAUSE I TOLD YOU TO. You will not regret it.

Ben Klock - One (2009)
Extremely relaxing and fairly minimal techno, except the track "Goodly Sin" which is honest-to-god nightmare inducingly creepy. Heavy breathing used as an instrument, gently wooing female vocals over a otherworldly pulsating beat, this track is the perfect soundtrack to a nice evening's STALKING. It is uncomfortable in the best possible way. "Gloaming" is also pretty trippy, but pales in comparison.
But, the rest of the album is pretty chilled out and relaxing! If you would like to hear what Infected Mushroom would sound like if they used only synthesizers and chilled the hell out for once, this might be as close as you'll ever get.