How did we miss this? And how will we survive??
My little exchange with Tig on the Burial thread suggested this. I hadn’t really given Burial a chance, so Tig suggested one particular album of his. It was agreed that if I didn’t like that then Burial probably wasn’t for me.
I tried it – on random, for 20 minutes – I didn’t like it. But I think we are still on speaking terms….
It was a good wee experience though, and I think now having given Burial this 20 minute test I’m quite satisfied I have a measure of what he’s all about and I’m content not to explore any further.
Anyone want to suggest similar exercises for artists? Not for me (necessarily) but just suggest an artist someone might not have given the time of day before (or heard at all) then suggest an album (even a playlist or ‘best of’) where you are confident that a 20 minute listen on random will be enough to convert them (or not)? Anyone can then take up the challenge and respond with their reaction.
In the hope I’ve made myself clear (possibly not…) I’ll suggest the Beastie Boys to get the ball rolling. I posit that anyone unfamiliar with » Continue Reading.
Year: 1965 Director: Robert Wise
I had a notion to re-watch this again last night. And I’m glad I did.
It’s not just the tunes that are brilliant. I had forgotten how well staged it all is. Massive, lush, widescreen exteriors make the most of the Austrian scenery. Creamy, rich interiors look like they’ve been painted in oil. The scene where timid Maria arrives at the Captain’s foreboding house, silence echoing around the marble entrance hall, reaches Hitchcock levels of suspense. It feels solid, a proper film you can relax into and feel you are in safe hands.
It also sidesteps the usual off-putting song-and-dance routines that are a key ingredient to most screen musicals. There’s absolutely no professional-looking dancing or synchronisation on show here. It all looks very natural (don’t laugh), maintaining a high-school level of choreography that lets the characters’ charisma and youthful exuberance shine through.
The story is the essence of finding genius in simplicity. A young woman finds her place in the world working as a governess for the children of a retired Captain, while the fingers of Nazi domination slowly tighten their grip in the background. There are no real surprises, but the dramatic arc » Continue Reading.
I noticed today Fopp are selling a range of (mainly) 80s movies on Blu ray, but packaged to look like video cassettes!
Doesn’t really appeal to me. But how long do you think before we go the whole hog and bring back the fuzzy, unreliable little buggers?
I’ve only just found out that one of my favourite films, Unbreakable, had a sequel and I didn’t even know about it. Apparently a film called Split starring James McAvoy came out a couple of years ago (it passed me by completely) and in a surprise ending revealed itself to be a sequel to Unbreakable.
I’m not spoiling anything here. The cat is out of the bag now and there is a third film, Glass, being advertised now which reunites the entire cast of both previous films, including Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson.
I’m slightly concerned… Unbreakable was such a perfect standalone film that I’m wary of sequels. In hindsight it did something that NONE of the subsequent mainstream superhero films have done, which is to treat the superhero genre with the subtlety and maturity it deserves. It’s so low-key it can hardly be called a superhero film at all.
Unbreakable also crystallised Shyamalan’s unique approach. At his peak (Signs, The Village) he was a master at recontextualising hokey, pulpy plots into quite emotional and spiritual experiences. Like Tarantino, he was a master of merging high and low art approaches. I’m a staunch defender of his peak films.
Crucially, » Continue Reading.
Year: 2018 Director: Brad Bird and Christopher McQuarrie
Two old franchises in a surprisingly healthy state. I’ve watched both this weekend.
There’s some weird parallels between the set-pieces in these two films… A motorcycle chase, helicopter crashes, people passing out at high altitude… were they both swapping notes, or are action tropes just becoming less unique in general now?
One other parallel is that both films mine some interestingly murky moral depth before abandoning such pretensions for more conventional action climaxes. The Incredibles 2 questions the fairness of an unequal world where superheroes are put on pedestals. Fallout casts doubt on whether the current world order is actually one worth saving. A shame these strong themes are glossed over in the end, but then again this is mainstream entertainment, not Watchmen. Even when a villain has something interesting to say, they still gotta get punched in the mouth.
Such criticisms are largely irrelevant, however, when the quality bar is set this high on the action front. Fallout probably contains the highest concentration of heart-pumping stunts since that last Mad Max film. Wince-inducing, boisterous brawling with a good dose of free-running, climbing, driving, kung fu, ticking timebombs…. everything is thrown into » Continue Reading.
Not breaking any posting rules, I hope (not intentionally anyway), but just wanted to share a mini album (26 minutes) I recently completed and I’m kind of proud of. This is sample-based music, so very much Avalanches/DJ Shadow inspired (and yes, cynics will say it’s just “stealing bits of other peoples’ music” but surely that argument is redundant by now). On the Avalanches Reddit page we quite often share amateur and homegrown music, and this is the first time I’ve been brave enough to do it. Feels good to actually finish something creative!
There’s a minute-long sampler for those who just want a flavour – https://soundcloud.com/arthur-cowslip/found-horizons-the-sampler
And a Mixcloud page if you can’t play Soundcloud – https://www.mixcloud.com/arthur-cowslip/found-horizons/
If we had to elect a Patron Saint (an honorary figurehead if you like) I’d vote Robert Plant.
– Unlike Kate Bush, he’s male, and a sizeable proportion of us on here are men. Sorry, but it’s true.
– unlike Bowie, he’s alive.
– He’s current AND heritage. Unlike Macca who even his most fervent fans would admit is probably purely a heritage act now.
– I think he’s less divisive than Dylan or Richard Thompson. A lot of people on here (including me) have respect and love for what he does and what he has done.
– But crucially, he’s not a bland favourite. He excites, but also repels people who don’t like him. You want a Patron Saint to be someone that not everyone likes, so the rebels can be happy to have someone to kick against.
So what do you say? Sir Robert Plant, Patron Saint of The Afterword?
List thread alert!
I overheard this as the phone in topic on a radio show the other day, and I thought it would make an interesting thread. So … artists who have chosen to do a completely new recording of the same song, for whatever reason.
(It’s such an obvious idea for a list thread I can’t believe it hasn’t been done before… so it probably has… but hey ho).
I’m not talking about: – live versions (too obvious) – acoustic remakes (because EVERYONE has done that) – remixes (too common) – bootlegs (I mean proper released versions only)
The two that spring to mind for me are: – Bowie re-recorded Space Oddity not once but twice. I believe there was an original version in ’67 or ’68 that sounded a bit twee and it bombed, then the classic ’60 one, then he did a complete reworking (which is terrific and sinister) in 1980. – Kate Bush wasn’t happy with her original “squeaky” version of Wuthering Heights (she was wrong, but it’s fair enough as she was probably about 16 or something at the time) so took the opportunity to re-record it for her Greatest Hits collection in the late » Continue Reading.
I’m not averse to a bit of dance music. I’ve never been to Ibiza. I’d quite like to go, at least once. I mean the full on, clubbing until dawn experience.
I’m 45? Am I too old? Am I going to feel like a fish out of water? Any old ravers in the afterword massive?
Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about!
I find this stuff really fascinating. I hear ‘laurel’ quite convincingly but I played it to my seven year old who heard ‘eeany’.
The brain is a weird thing and objective reality is more fluid than we thought….
Cafe Mono, Glasgow
My first time seeing a gig at this venue. By day it’s a record shop and vegan cafe, and a bit of a haunt for the more discerning of Glasgow’s hip crowd. (Not that I would know). But by night, as I discovered on Wednesday, it efficiently transforms itself into a cosy little live joint. The stage is underneath a big round skylight thing, so on pleasant balmy nights like this the place is bathed in nice evening sunshine. (Although in Glasgow that’s rare).
A brief word about the support act Kaputt first. A five piece art-rock outfit with the novelty of a female saxophone player, they wear their all-too-obvious influences (Beefheart and Talking Heads) on their sleeves. But they do it with such nonchalant arrogance, and with such obvious charisma (and enviable youth) that you can’t help but love them. They had an enthusiastic fan base of misfits moshing around up front, which really helped to set the scene. The most engaging thing about them is their sense of chaos and unpredictability. I can see them either hitting the big time by writing an accidental ear worm of a hit song that » Continue Reading.
I’m going to see Damo Suzuki at Mono in Glasgow tomorrow night with a group of married straight male friends. It made us ponder how much listening to CAN music is a bit of a solitary affair, in that we can only really do it when our wives aren’t present.
Which made us wonder, do any women actually like CAN?
Which made we wonder, what other music seems to be the sole domain of men?
I’m slightly worried that I’m actually sexist for even asking this.
Anyway, looking forward to the gig, and I’ll try and review it for here. I haven’t a clue what he’s going to look like or sound like or anything.
(Please no grumbling if you are just not a fan – unless you are constructive in your criticism!)
I thought it was excellent. As I suspected, the trumpeted ‘improv’ nature of this episode was almost unnoticeable. It was just the usual good natured rambling and easy bonhomie. Maybe a bit more rambling and aimless than usual, but still just as funny as ever.
Some great observations like ‘what’s the u in a club sandwich?’ and the wrong song to be playing while you are driving past an accident.
I was a bit puzzled by the continuity though. Is this meant to be a flashback before the emotions of that last episode? Or have we jumped on a few months? Or is it outside the normal continuity like a Comic Relief special or something? These kinds of things bother me.
But overall just good to be back on the daily commute with this pair. Can’t wait for the next one.
I’m not sure when this went up but I’ve only just found out about it and it might be of interest to some here.
The BBC have posted online 16,016 downloadable WAVs from their sound effects library. It makes for some fascinating, eclectic listening. If you were dedicated you could probably create your own Goon Show or Archers episode….
Hope the link works! Knock yourself out!
What does it sound like?:
I’ve raved about this film on these pages before, and I’m well aware it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It baffles, irritates and delights in equal measure. I think it was one of last year’s top movies.
Anyway, I was surprised and pleased to see this second volume of soundtrack music when I did my weekly lunchtime ramble to Fopp today. It’s got a lovely cover and looks like a really nice little package.
I love the soundtrack to Baby Driver, and the volume 1 CD was one of my top compilations last year. This mops up a lot of the tracks that were missed from it, from REM’s New Orleans Instrumental to Sky Ferreira’s version of the Commodore’s Easy. More importantly, the compilation style matches the film itself a lot more than before, so you get key snatches of dialogue and sound effects, along with remixed versions of the songs (by young upstarts like Dangermouse and Kid Koala) as they appear in the film itself (jumps and scratches, a drum machine remix of Tequila, ambient noises, Focus by Hocus Pocus with synchronised machine gun noises, etc) so the experience of listening to it » Continue Reading.
I know this probably isn’t the proper place to ask this, but I’m not a member of any audio forums and I suspect many people on this blog are hobbyist musicians like myself.
I’m toying with the idea of augmenting my modest home studio a little bit, and looking at getting a patch bay set up to finally cure the need to crawl behind things unplugging them all the time. But it’s only just struck me that this will end up multiplying my cables exponentially.
So I’d like to stock up on a load of XLR and TRS cables and patch leads. I usually just buy stuff in Maplin or somewhere similar. But they are pretty expensive if you are buying more than one or two.
Is there a cost effective way to do this? If you are a home musician, where do you buy yours? Is there somewhere online you can get a bulk deal?
Ok, here’s a question. And the trick here is I don’t want a technical answer, I want it in layman’a terms, an idiot proof answer that will make me go ‘aaaah! I see!’ after all these years.
I can just about ‘get’ how a mono record stylus would make sounds – the tiny bumps in the record vibrate the needle and those vibrations are then amplified into sound – check. That does me, I don’t want to hear any more about mono sound.
But how do you get STEREO sound, two completely different sounds, from a single needle on a single groove?
I need a snappy answer here, something I can pass off as my own knowledge if I need to at one of my many dinner parties.
I’ve had people talk to me about a river with two sides, I’ve heard talk of ‘sum vs difference’ and whatnot…. but can someone just EXPLAIN how it works?
Honestly I wish someone had just lied to me and told me there are actually two separate tiny needles, not one. I probably would have died happy and I wouldn’t even have bothered to check.
Can anyone put me out of my » Continue Reading.
Year: 2018 Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson is back. And it’s business as usual as he scratches another little odd corner of the twentieth century to see what kind of story he can unravel.
Daniel Day-Lewis is back on the roster as well, more than a decade on from There Will Be Blood. This is apparently his swansong. He’s Reynolds Woodcock, a society dressmaker in ’50s London (see? A little odd corner of the twentieth century) and a strange fish indeed. He’d probably be said to be on the autistic spectrum today. Fussy and petulant, he treats his models and clients (the rich and the royal) like mannequins – his detachment from them, his inability to relate to them, is probably the thing that allows him to craft them and sculpt them like works of art. His ladies, in turn, love him. Love the attention he gives them, objectifying and humiliating it may be. He’s handsome and charming, but quite sexless. He’s also obsessed with his dead mother and dominated by his sister (Lesley Manville – a fantastically fuming hard stare of a performance).
But this isn’t a film about Woodcock alone. The focus is his relationship with » Continue Reading.
I’m sitting at work just now, and this morning a colleague started humming a little tune – well, more of a riff or hook – “ba bara ba ba baba baraba….”
It was driving us made trying to work out what it was. Then she identified that it was the opening horn riff from a tune from the musical Hairspray – “You Can’t Stop the Beat”.
(I’d post a youtube link if I could – but I can’t, I’m sitting at work.)
I KNOW this hook, but I’ve never knowingly watched Hairspray or listened to the soundtrack. I’m absolutely SURE they’ve nicked this from an old song. From browsing the Hairspray soundtrack it sounds like a lot of the tunes are nicked from 60s songs, but changed just enough to avoid copyright.
So the question is: What is the song I’m thinking of?? I’m going out of my mind here. I have this little horn riff going round and round in my head and I can’t work out what it is. I’m sure it’s something Motown or similar? Some kind of driving, upbeat instrumental tune?
What does it sound like?:
Colin’s recent mega posts on the Pentangle have persuaded me to finally polish up this review and stick it here. I feel like a rogue pupil who keeps neglecting his homework, because I offered to review this weeks.. er… months ago. Sorry for the delay folks.
Anyway, consider Colin’s magnificent essay the official Pentangle story. This the short version, based on me dipping in and out of this box set over many weeks.
Housed in a beautiful little box (I’m reviewing a download copy, but I checked out the physical version in Fopp) this efficiently titled collection just might be the most satisfying way to get a handle on this most wayward of bands. It feels like every couple of years there’s a new Pentangle “best of” or anthology in ever more ugly sleeves (and this band NEVER had great sleeves even at the best of times), so it’s a joy to find them so lovingly packaged for once.
The booklet has a wonderful little “in their own words” history (which I found rather moving – you really get a sense of how much these were just five plucky youngsters making it all up » Continue Reading.
If you don’t dance to this you’ve got no soul.
I DARE you not to laugh at this. This has really made me chuckle this morning.
This might be of some interest to some people here! I found it quite engaging, but also quite sickly after a few minutes – like the Love album, it’s too dense with all the different songs mashed together.
It’s a fan project someone has put together (whoever she or he is, they deserve a medal for dedication alone), imagining what a Beatles album would sound like if they hadn’t split up. But instead of just putting existing solo songs side by side, they’ve remixed and mashed them up all together. So you get the horn riff from Admiral Halsey used as a hook for Im Losing You, that type of thing.
Essentially it is what it would sound like if you compared my twin obsessions of Beatles and Avalanches. The result is like a black mirror reflecting something that sounds good in principle but makes you woozy.
Odd, but worth a listen.
In the hope that I’m not misusing the Noticeboard feature, here’s my latest music show / mixtape / DJ mix on Mixcloud. Self indulgent, but fun – I told myself I would do this again if I got more than ten listeners last time, and I got 77 (and counting?) so someone must be listening somewhere out there.
Anyway, it’s a seamless mix of eclectic tunes which kicks off with the Allman Brothers, drops by to say hello to Lorde, allows Donovan a bit of Barabajagal and finishes by worshipping at the altar of The Greatest Guitar Solo Of All Time.
Well worth half an hour of your time I think!