Product review: Lomography Sprocket Rocket

Sprocket  RocketAt first sight the Lomography Sprocket Rocket seems like a good buy. It has a cool name, it’s got a vintage design, it’s a 35mm format wide angle panorama camera that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and you can keep the sprockets in your photos themselves, which is an option that is pretty awesome.
Sounds like a great deal right?

Well, not so much…

Let me start by saying that there ARE people out there that are clearly amazing photographers with a Sprocket Rocket in their hands. The Lomography site proves that. But it’s not because they can do it, you’ll be able to do it.
The main issue with the Sprocket Rocket is stability. Unless you have a super stable wrist and/or a tripod, there’s going to be an issue, because the merest movement will make your photo completely blurry.

You need a reliable photo lab to get these rolls developed. Which means dealing with a proper photography store (or go via Lomography themselves, who are very reasonably priced when it comes to printing and developing photos), and that will likely be both pricy and a bother (unless you go via Lomo, then it’s just a bother unless you can drop it off in a Lomo store that handles development). The reason is that each photo takes up the space of two on the negatives sheets, which will likely confuse the hell out of lab technicians that have no idea what this concoction of a camera is.
Also: if you’re like me, and you use a negatives scanner, you can count on having to manually puzzle your photos together and you can kiss your sprockets goodbye. Of course, there may be scanners out there that play nice with this format, but mine definitely isn’t one of them (and it’s a good scanner, I love that scanner).

On the upside, it is very, very easy to load. But that, it’s cool looks, fun double exposure (if you can get it to work) and the sprocket feature are about the only positive things I have to say about this one.

In short, the Sprocket Rocket may look like a great buy, but in reality, it’s probably more trouble than it’s worth unless you are willing to carry a tripod and don’t mind bothering with the developing and printing of the pictures.

CD review – Victor Sierra “Go for the Strange”

Victor Sierra "Go for the Strange"Parisian steampunk ensemble Victor Sierra is back with their latest musical brain child “Go for the Strange”, a 12 song compilation of the band’s signature steampunk sound.
Said sound is exactly what sets Victor Sierra apart from other steampunk bands: their particular signature vocal sounds and their own blend of storytelling and new wave.

They have gone for a lot of consistency on this album, which is great, especially considering they sing in different languages, but sadly it’s just a little too consistent at times and it can be hard to tell where one song ends and the other begins.
Even songs, like Ostende, that are slightly different, fit in perfectly with the theme of the album, but again are not different enough to really stand out by themselves. There are differences between the songs, but they are often subtle and in the story told within the song.

This definitely makes it more of a focused listening album rather than something you play in the background and it serves more to listen when the mood strikes rather than something to put on whenever, which is not necessarily bad things.

Overall, Victor Sierra has shown they have evolved as a band, and have further developed their sound that sets them apart within the genre of steampunk music. But it is a very particular sound, that will either appeal to you or not, but is worth checking out on their website nevertheless.

Happy birthday Hedy Lamarr

Today Google is not just delighting people everywhere with their doodle dedicated to Hedwig Eva Kiesler aka Hedy Lamarr, classic Hollywood actrice and inventor. They are also telling the world about a female scientist, who, even though she died years ago, continues to be an important part of history, as her creations are still at the base of many things in our lives today such as bluetooth and GPS, amongst others.
So there was no way we could not share this doodle, for it is much more than an entertaining clip on Google’s home page today.

Google’s efforts when it comes to promoting science is to be applauded, and if this helps people check out Hedy Lamarr’s life, if only on Wikipedia, and get inspired by her accomplishments, all for the better.

CD review: Steampunk Stompers “Swamp Steam”

Swamp SteamSousaphones, bagpipes, valve trombone and ukulele, oh my! These are some of the extraordinary and unusual (for steampunk at least) instruments you can find on Swamp Steam, and let me tell you right now, if this is what comes out of the swamp, then sign me right up for a visit! It may all seem strange at first glance, but it’s a musical gumbo that not only works, it leaves you constantly wondering, wanting to move to the groove and wanting more. It’s the kind of CD to listen to when the fancy for a good mix of different genres strikes, or simply to play in the background. Both work, and that in itself is quite unique.

The Steampunk Stompers take you along to a musical trip on their 10 song debut album, featuring everything from shanties, ragtime, jazz, chap hop, highland tunes and ethnic melodies, each and every single on brilliantly performed and leaving you wondering what will come next. When it comes to diversity and awesome music, these guys have nailed it.

Of course, you have to be into this kind of thing, but if you like to be surprised by songs, and aren’t stuck on a set genre, then I would wholeheartedly recommend you allow yourself to be surprised by Mark Pettey and his ensemble of stompers and get immersed in their particular brand of musical madness and melodies.

Want to get your own copy?
Click here for digital and here for physical.
Just a word of warning, their homepage starts playing music when you open it, so you may want to take precautions in case you’re at work and your boss is a square and can’t appreciate good music ;)