place to share enthusiasms
(Bertrand Tavenier, 1986)
This movie remains for me one of the best movies about the connection
between creator and creation, connecting the artists inner
and outer life in a way other popular films like Amedeus and Bird
do not. Jazz musician Dexter Gordons character, Turner, moves
through his last days wrapped in silence, almost totally isolated
even among friends and fellow musicians, suggesting that the most
profound music comes from a profound silence. The music is great
and I dreamed of taking up the sax again and blowing like I never
Bangs believes that the best rock is loud, crude and menacing. And
youll have to agree that the music of barely controlled excitement
has always made the best rock. Bangs writes some of the best ranting
rock coverage ever. Reading a whole book cover to cover, misses
some of the excitement of coming across his stuff in the midst of
otherwise timid writing. Nik Cohn is the only other author Ive
read whose writing is as exciting as the music.
lesson of wild thing was lost on stupid fuckers sometime between
the rise of Cream and the fall of the Stooges."
'n' roll may turn into a chamber art yet or at the very least a
system of Environments."
Kingdom (Lars Von Trier, 1994)
I was more
intrigued by the first two segments than the last two when the ghosts
became so literal and communicative. It was more plausible and creepy
when it was partially concealed. The finding of the girls body in
the specimen jar was a phenomenal moment. Von Trier has an amazing
ability to strike many contrary moods in short succession and make
it all cohere. The end segment when all the story lines are coming
to a head (nudge, nudge) and the inspection by the minister is happening
was hilarious. AS was that scene at the end when the evil father's
head is coming out of the woman, trying to be born. I was laughing
and cringing at the same time.
Confidential (Curtis Hanson, 1997)
LA Confidential again. It holds up really well. I
can't help but think of Chinatown when I watch it.
There are many elements that are similar: the background of a growing
city, the involvement of cops and politicians in this growth, the
real incidents and the plausible incidents all mixed together. One
of the reasons I find Chinatown such an amazing film is that there
is such a sense of menace, evil if you will, while everything is
filmed in bright California sunshine. LAC uses violence to create
that atmosphere. In CT, there is very little onscreen violence (at
least by comparison).
Fantastic, fluid martial arts scenes. Turn off the sound and put
on some music and watch the dance. In the "Making of Crouching
Tiger..." on that DVD, someone claimed that martial arts where
the Asian equivalent of classical music. I think he has something
"How limited a part reason plays in some of our most important
decisions." Robertson Davies
"Men are influenced more by their passionate illusions than
by their rational interest." Vizinczey
I got interested in this film because of what David Thompson said
about it in Salon. The subject is no longer a surprise, but it is
well done and doesn't try to explain the actions, it just shows
them. Pinter wrote the screenplay.
I was thinking about how most critics hated "Eyes Wide Shut."
It seemed they were mostly disappointed with having their expectations
dashed upon the cool attitude of that movie, (probably expecting
hot sex). They were not watching for what was there, but what they
expected. And it seems that the trend has been to believe the hype,
an Emperor's new cloths sort of thing. And I made a connection with
the art world: Since the dadaist era, advanced art has increasingly
relied on explanation to shape its meaning. People don't trust their
eyes anymore. They can't, because there's so little to look at.
So, who says art is irrelevant. It has lead us down a path of invisible
I've also been reading some letters from Capricorn, Henry Miller.
Not very exciting, but I'm sure every artist would love to have
such a friend. Always encouraging and at such great personal difficulty
(failing eyesight, bad hearing).
I don’t read much poetry these days but these lines reached
out and grabbed ma and won’t let go:
If you are Love’s lover and seek love
Cut modesty’s throat with a knife
The Whole Story
(J. and S. Consentino, 1996)
This 6 hour documentary was fantastic. Even though it is almost
entirely congratulatory, you really get a sense of how many people
he had to defeat to make it to the top and what a fucking beating
he took. It also gave me more respect for his opponents, both for
their skill and for what they suffered under his glove.
— 2 (Matador)
Most recording engineers spend many frustrating hours on a search
and destroy mission trying to eradicate the sounds that comprise
the backbone and surprise of this experimental dub record. The blips,
squibs, pops and static create a mysterious and charged rhythmic
atmosphere, replacing the standard drum kit with an electronic universe
of sounds that ricochet like super-charged particles across the
musical spectrum. The deep and slow bass lines and the reverb saturated
keyboard add up to an intriguing mix of sci-fi and lo-fi. And the
simple red cover only enhances the total effect future-world effect.
— 3 Song CD Single (Kill Rock Stars)
Bristling with nervous energy and edgy, highly caffinated vocals,
"Get Up" is another luscious bit of riot-grrrl aggro-pop-fizz.
From the newly released "The Hot Rock" album (title taken
from the1972 heist-film starring Robert Redford), the dual vocals
of Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein lay it on like a good-cop
bad-cop routine, first threatening and then soothing. Along with
angular guitar lines and snappy drumming, they make a lean and simple
sound that is more than the sum of its parts. The two other songs
included here, "By the Time You're Twenty-five," and "Tapping,"
are new tracks exclusive to this CD. While "Get Up" is
the star here, the other two hold their own and have been burrowing
into my cranium since I first put it on. Caterwauling has never
sounded so good.
— Psyence Fiction (Mowax/Island)
This project from DJ shadow and Mowax's James Lavelle has much of
the cut-up technique, the trance-groove feel and multiple voices
of Mezzanine but with a jazzier and very lush sound. 90%
of the record is right up there with a Massive Attack or
Portishead. It takes you on a journey, leaving the impression
that you've been somewhere, been given a piece of someone's melancholy
drama to hold in your hand for a while - but without the rock opera
pomposity. The many guest artists bring their own voices and lyrical
subjects to the mix, but DJ Shadow corrals them into a coherent
whole. The Verve's Richard Ashcroft, Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Metallica's
Jason Newstead, Atlantique, Alice Temple, Will Malone, Badly Drawn
Boy and more are here and you should be too.
& Sebastian — The Boy with the Arab Strap (Matador)
This album is a kind of pleasant dreamy
affair with a definite connection to the late sixties records of
Donovan, and when Isobel Cambell sings, Nico's "Chelsea Girls."
It's a perfect musical description of every "we're in love
and having fun in the park" movie montage - the light's always
dappled through the trees as they chase each other on the merry
go round. Its kind of the soft pink center of young love turned
out for the world - innocent beauty slightly tinged with doubt,
and has been growing on me with every listen.
— Moon Pix (Matador)
I'm so glad I gave this album a little
more time on the box than normal because its quiet power takes some
time to come through. The delicate beauty of Chan Marshall’s
voice can seem a bit standard in a country-folk sort of way, but
as she sings, the power of the songs becomes clear. They are served
up in plain straightforward way that builds in its intensity, not
depending on the drama of the delivery. There's no twang, no affectation,
no irony. They can be a bit wistful or world-weary, put never precious.
They have a naked kind of honesty that has no relation to the current
talk-show-tell-all style but instead is based on an older tradition
of folk ballads. My favorite tracks are "Metal Heart"
with a few lines ripped straight out of "Amazing Grace,"
and the traditional "Moonshiner." It's not all gold but
there's a definite wealth of riches for willing soul miners.
— Version 2.0
Sometimes I pine for the heyday of the
LP, when the music was separated into "a" and "b"
sides because even pop music this good loses focus after 50 minutes
... and this is my kind of pop music - sweet topping with a hard
chewy center. Choruses blossom and guitars grind vying with processed
sounds while the slower cuts cruise in an interior groove. There's
a lot to sing about here. Pick up a copy and keep your ears humming
and your feet thumping.
Ubu — Pennsylvania
For years now, since I first heard their
brilliant debut The Modern Dance, I've been regularly checking in
with Pere Ubu. Leader David Thomas has always been expert at teasing
out delicate moods against a noisy attack, but many of his forays
into his own headspace have found me wandering off again. Though
not as rockin' as early Ubu, this is a tantalizing thick sonic soup.
Here are 70 minutes of pounding, sneaky, moody, sometimes annoying
sounds and I love it. This is a very au currant record from some
Marley — Dreams of Freedom
Ambient translations of Bob Marley in dub
It took me a while to realize that there is not a single line sung
by Marley on this entire hour-long CD, making me question whether
these are remixes of the original tracks or remakes (the scanty
liner notes suggest remixes). Ambient seems to be the key word here
because there are no really exciting moments, no surprising juxtapositions,
no extreme sonic changes that made dub the original model for the
ever popular remix. That aside, it’s not bad but nothing to
sing about. It has a nice chill-out background feeling with many
of the great musical phrases from the Marley catalog.