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Friday, December 18, 2009

The Garden Of Mirrors

Bottom/ Rasa is a musical collaboration between German cellist and multi-instrumentalist Hans Christian, and American singer Kim Waters. The duo draws heavily on Indian devotional music such as Bhajan and Western classical music. They have released five full-length albums focusing on various themes in classical Hindu religion and mythology, including Devotion (Hearts of Space, 2000), Union (2001), Shelter (2003) and Saffron Blue (2007). Top/ A Midwinter Night's Dream (Quinland Road, 2008) is an album of the Canadian singer, songwriter, accordionist, harpist, and pianist, Loreena McKennitt. The album, recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios, is an extended version of A Winter Garden: Five Songs for the Season (1995). Loreena McKennitt is most famous for writing, recording and performing world music with Celtic music and Middle Eastern themes. Her first album, Elemental, was released in 1985 and attracted global attention with subsequent releases of self-produced work, including To Drive the Cold Winter Away (1987), Parallel Dreams (1989), The Visit (1991), The Mask and Mirror (1994) and The Book of Secrets (1997). McKennitt is often compared to Enya, but McKennitt's music is more grounded in traditional and classical invocations. An Ancient Muse, her first full-length studio album in nine years, was released in 2006.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Remember The Future

Top/ Requiem for an Almost Lady (Smells Like Records) is a 1971 album by musician Lee Hazlewood. It is considered to be one of his best albums. Lee Hazlewood (July 9, 1929August 4, 2007) was an American country and pop singer, songwriter, and record producer, most widely known for his work with guitarist Duane Eddy during the late fifties and singer Nancy Sinatra in the sixties. Hazlewood had a distinctive baritone voice that added an ominous resonance to his music. Hazlewood's collaborations with Nancy Sinatra as well as his solo output in the late 1960s and early 1970s have been praised as an essential contribution to a sound often described as "Cowboy Psychedelia" or "Saccharine Underground". Hazlewood is perhaps best known for having written and produced the 1966 Nancy Sinatra U.S./U.K. #1 hit, "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and "Summer Wine". He also wrote "How Does That Grab Ya, Darlin'" and many others for Sinatra. Among his most well-known vocal performances is "Some Velvet Morning", a 1967 duet with Nancy Sinatra. In the 1970s Hazlewood moved to Stockholm, Sweden, where he wrote and produced the one-hour television show Cowboy in Sweden together with friend and director Torbjörn Axelman, which also later emerged as an album. Hazlewood was semi-retired from the music business during the 1970s and '80s. However, his own output also achieved a cult status in the underground rock scene, with songs covered by artists such as Vanilla Fudge, Lydia Lunch, Einstürzende Neubauten, Primal Scream, Nick Cave, Beck and Slowdive. Bottom/ The Magician's Birthday (Mercury, 1972) is the fifth album by British rock band Uriah Heep. The original vinyl release was a gatefold sleeve, the front of which was designed by English artist, designer and architect Roger Dean. Dean is best known for his work on album covers for bands including the progressive rock band Yes, which he began painting in the late 1960s. The covers usually feature exotic, fantastic landscapes. His "retreat pod" chair design was featured in the film A Clockwork Orange, directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Slow Emotion Replay

Bottom/ Filles de Kilimanjaro (Columbia, 1969) is a jazz album by Miles Davis. The song "Mademoiselle Mabry (Miss Mabry)," while credited to Davis, is actually Gil Evans' reworking of "The Wind Cries Mary" by Jimi Hendrix (Davis and Evans had met with Hendrix several times to exchange ideas). Davis married Betty O. Mabry Davis in September 1968, and named "Mademoiselle Mabry (Miss Mabry)" for her. Betty Davis appears on the album cover, by renowned American photographer Hiro. Top/ The Divine Comedy (SBK, 1994) is American model, actress, musician, and fashion designer Milla Jovovich's first and only official studio album, and she was billed as simply Milla for this release. The album is titled after the epic poem by Dante Alighieri of the same name. The songs in this collection are partly inspired by Jovovich's Slavic background. She also credited Kate Bush, Sinéad O'Connor, This Mortal Coil and the Cocteau Twins as a musical influence. Painting by Russian artist Alexis Steele.

Friday, October 30, 2009

D'Ya Like Scratchin'?

Top/ Glee (Audiogram, 1997) was the first album from Canadian music collective Bran Van 3000 (also Bran Van and BV3), an electronica collective from Montreal, Canada. It was founded by the DJ James Di Salvio, collaborating on a number of songs with musicians, among them Québécois rock star Jean Leloup. The album contains the international hit "Drinking in L.A." Middle/ A huge inspiration to countless sound seekers including Music Curator Max Chavanne of, pop collage giant Beck towers above The Information (Interscope, 2006), produced by Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich. Yet another mind-bending release, the album includes the singles "Nausea", "Think I'm in Love" and "Cellphone's Dead", with an official video directed by Michel Gondry; the track samples Primal Scream's hit single "Loaded" quite prominently. Before its release, Beck said the album was not a "stripped down" record, in contrast with his previous Godrich collaborations Mutations and Sea Change. Bottom/ Single "Where's Your Head At" (2001) by critically acclaimed UK electronic dance music duo Basement Jaxx relies on a sample by electropop pioneer Gary Numan, of "Are 'Friends' Electric?" fame.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Boing Boom Tschak

Top to bottom/ "We had a vision: to make electronic folk music. To become the Volkswagen of pop music; accessible to a big audience, but still innovating." Kraftwerk (German for power station) is a Grammy award nominated, electronic music band from Düsseldorf, Germany. The signature Kraftwerk sound combines driving, repetitive rhythms with catchy melodies, mainly following a Western classical style of harmony, with a minimalistic and strictly electronic instrumentation. Kraftwerk’s releases in the 1970s and early 1980s, most significantly a quartet of albums that would exert a huge influence on popular music—Radio-Activity (1975), Trans-Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978) and Computer World (1981)— continue to inspire many popular artists from many diverse genres of music and artists, from David Bowie to New Wave, to Chicago House Music, to hip-hop, to current electronic acts, among them LCD Soundsystem and the Chemical Brothers. The band is notoriously reclusive, as they reject to accept mail and allow no visitors at the Kling Klang Studio. It is rumored that their label partner, EMI, does not even have the members’ phone numbers. Originally announced in 2004, Kraftwerk released eight of their albums in remastered versions on October 5, 2009. Kraftwerk is preparing a new album, the first without co-founder Florian Schneider.

Friday, October 23, 2009

One Hell Of A Party

Top/ The "Surfing On A Rocket" E.P. (Astralwerks, 2004) by French electronica duo AIR includes the Tel Aviv Rocket Surfing Remake by Nomo Heroes and Joakim's To The Smiling Sun Remix. The band's name is a backronym for Amour, Imagination, Rêve which translates to Love, Imagination, Dream. Middle/ In the Court of the Crimson King (An Observation by King Crimson) (Island Records, 1969) is the debut album by the British progressive rock group King Crimson. The album continues to be a classic and has been a tremendous influence on other artists. Including seminal pieces such as the title-track, "21st Century Schizoid Man" and the visionary "Epitaph", In the Court of the Crimson King is generally considered by many to be the launching point of progressive rock where blues-oriented rock was mixed together with jazzy and European symphonic elements. The Who's Pete Townshend was quoted as calling the album "an uncanny masterpiece". Barry Godber (1946–1970), an artist and computer programmer, painted the "Schizoid Man" album cover. Bottom/ Epitaph (Atlantic, 1997) is a live 4CD set of 1969 concert performances and radio sessions by King Crimson.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ley Lines To Glassdom

"This is a quiet, minimalist kind of groove with a shimmering luminescence. It's an acoustic, European variation on funk..." (JazzTimes). Influenced by Japanese ritual music, Bartók, and Stravinsky, Nik Bärtsch (born 1971) is a Swiss pianist, composer and producer from Zurich. He lives in Zurich and Berlin. Nik Bärtsch currently works in three parallel musical settings: as a solo artist, with the acoustic group Mobile and with the 'zen-funk' group Ronin. As a solo artist he performs his own compositions on prepared piano with percussion. Mobile plays purely acoustic music, performed in rituals of up to 36 hours, which include lighting- and room design. Ronin, by contrast, is more flexible and plays rhythmically complex compositions that contain elements of jazz, funk and acoustic rock. Bärtsch's earlier projects were released on Ronin Rhythm Records. In 2006 Bärtsch was signed to ECM and has released two albums, Stoa (2006) and Holon (2008).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Music Selector In The Soul Reflector

In Rainbows (XL, 2007) is the seventh album by the English alternative rock band Radiohead. Radiohead incorporated a wide variety of musical styles and instruments on the album, using not only electronic music and string arrangements, but also pianos, celestes, and the ondes Martenot. Days after announcing the album's completion, Radiohead released In Rainbows as a digital download that customers could order for whatever price they saw fit. Middle/ Featuring the tracks "Born of Frustation" and "Ring the Bells", Seven was the fifth album from James, released February 1992 on Fontana. Half of the album was produced by Youth. James are an English rock band from Manchester. They formed in 1981 and were active throughout the 80s, but most successful during the 90s. Their hit singles include "Sit Down" and "Laid". Top/ Insert from Björk's sixth full-length studio album, Volta (One Little Indian, 2007). It was primarily written and produced by Björk herself and features 10 new tracks, containing electronic, kora, pipa, and brass compositions. The disc features input from acclaimed producer Timbaland, Antony Hegarty and Sjón, among other artists.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Accept No Substitute

Savage Eye
(Swan Song, 1975) is the eighth studio album by The Pretty Things, a rock and roll band from London that caused a sensation in England. They pioneered a raw approach to rhythm and blues that influenced a number of key bands of the 1960s British invasion, particularly The Rolling Stones, and David Bowie, whose first hero was Phil May. Their early material consisted of hard-edged blues-rock influenced by Bo Diddley (they took their name from Diddley's 1955 song "Pretty Thing") and Jimmy Reed. They were known for wild stage behaviour and edgy lyrical content. In the U.S. they, along with The Yardbirds and Van Morrison's Them, were a huge influence on hundreds of garage bands, including the MC5 and The Seeds. After a flirtation with mainstream pop, they embraced psychedelia, producing the concept album S.F. Sorrow during 1967-68. This album, released in late 1968, is arguably one of the first rock operas, preceding the release of The Who's Tommy
in April 1969 by a few months.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Too Cool To Conga!

Bottom/ Kid Creole and the Coconuts are an American musical group created and led by August Darnell. Their music incorporates styles like big band jazz, disco, and in particular Caribbean/Latin American salsa. Their breakthrough came with 1982's Tropical Gangsters, which spun off three Top 10 hits with "Stool Pigeon", "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy" and "I'm a Wonderful Thing, Baby", written by musical director Peter Schott. Doppelganger (Sire) is their fourth album and was released in 1983. Darnell adopted the name Kid Creole (adapted from the Elvis Presley film King Creole) in 1980. The persona of Kid Creole is described as: "Inspired by Cab Calloway and the Hollywood films of the 30s and 40s, the Kid fills out his colorful zoot suits with style and grace, dancing onstage with his inimitable, relentless and self-proclaimed cool."
Come Dance With Me! (Capitol) is an album by American singer Frank Sinatra, released in 1959. It was the most successful album of Frank Sinatra's career, spending two and a half years on the Billboard charts. Billy May won the Grammy Award for Best Arrangement. Top/ Recorded in Los Angeles in 1958, Latin Fever by American percussionist Jack Costanzo was re-released on Capitol in 2003. Costanzo is best known as a bongo player, and was nicknamed "Mr. Bongo". He visited Havana in the 1940s and learned to play Afro-Cuban rhythms on the bongos and congas. He toured with Stan Kenton from 1947-48 and occasionally in the 1950s, and played with Nat King Cole from 1949 to 1953. He also played with Peggy Lee, Judy Garland, Dinah Shore, Xavier Cugat, and Frank Sinatra

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In Trance As Mission

Axiom Ambient: Lost in the Translation (Axiom, 1994) is a two-disc set that includes remixes of tracks previously performed by music collective
Material. Material frontman Bill Laswell is an American bassist, producer and record label owner. Laswell ranks among the most prolific of musicians, being involved in hundreds of recordings with many musicians from all over the world. Laswell's music draws upon many different genres, most notably funk, various world music, jazz, dub and ambient styles. In the mid-1990s, he released several albums in the style of Ambient dub, using the umbrella name Divination. Laswell continues to hybridize music styles of disparate world cultures. Tabla Beat Science is one such fusion, joining classical Indian instrumentation with modern electronic production. Middle/ The Altogether (Sire Records, 2001) is English techno duo Orbital's sixth studio album and was released in 2001. Featured track "Oi!" samples from the Ian Dury and the Blockheads song "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick". "Doctor?" is a version of the theme from the cult science fiction television series Doctor Who. Top/ Originally released on Virgin in 1974, Aqua is the first solo album by Edgar Froese. Born 6 June 1944, Froese is a German artist and electronic music pioneer, best known for co-founding the electronic music act Tangerine Dream.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Filigree & Shadow

This Mortal Coil was a musical dream pop project of Ivo Watts-Russell, founder of the British 4AD Records label. The project brought together key 4AD artists, as well as others not signed to the label, under an umbrella name. Among others, This Mortal Coil featured contributions from Howard Devoto, Colourbox, Dead Can Dance and, pivotally, Cocteau Twins. The gothic dream pop collective This Mortal Coil was one of the most representative bands on the 4AD label. Whether they played covers (of Watts-Russell's favorite artists) or originals, their material epitomized the haunting, ethereal sound that came to be associated with the label. Lush, swirling arrangements drenched in echo, reverb, and other effects were the project's stock-in-trade, often approaching ambient music. Whoever was performing, the music was united by its gentle surges of melancholy and by Watts-Russell's highly influential aesthetic. Between 1983 and 1991 This Mortal Coil released three albums—It'll End in Tears, Filigree & Shadow, and Blood—each of which consists largely of atmospheric interpretations of songs by 1970s artists such as Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Roy Harper, Gene Clark, and Tim Buckley. The name "This Mortal Coil" is drawn from William Shakespeare's Hamlet and is a poetic expression referring to the earthly condition.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In The Neon Forest

Bottom/ Shleep (Thirsty Ear, 1997) is the eighth album released by English musician Robert Wyatt, former member of the influential Canterbury scene band Soft Machine. In 2008, the Domino Records label, a large independent label housing such big indie stars as Arctic Monkeys, Pavement, Neutral Milk Hotel and Elliott Smith, re-released Wyatt's Drury Lane, Rock Bottom, Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard, Nothing Can Stop Us, Old Rottenhat, Dondestan, Shleep, EPs and Cuckooland on CD and vinyl. Recently the verb "Wyatting", named obviously after Robert Wyatt, appeared in some blogs and music magazines to describe the practice of playing weird tracks on a pub jukebox to annoy the other pub goers. Wyatt contributed the haunting "Masters of the Field", as well as "The Highest Gander", "La Forêt Rouge" and "Hors Champ" to the soundtrack of the acclaimed 2001 film Winged Migration. Top/ Hoy-Hoy! (Warner Brothers, 1981) is a collection of live recordings by American band Little Feat, released two years after the band's break-up following the death of founder Lowell George. Cover illustration by Neon Parks.

Monday, August 31, 2009

All Tomorrow's Parties

Rock icon and Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico employed images of power, cold, fear, dreams, terror, resignation, and loss (among others) on The Marble Index (Elektra, 1969). A gothic-folk album with neoclassical and avant-garde elements, the album, featuring long-term associate John Cale, has been described as a "nightmare in sound". It has influenced a wide array of genres in contemporary independent music. Nico (born Christa Päffgen, 16 October 1938 – 18 July 1988) was a German singer-songwriter, fashion model, actress, and Warhol Superstar. She is renowned for both her tenure in The Velvet Underground and for her work as a solo artist. Nico sang lead vocals on three songs ("Femme Fatale", "All Tomorrow's Parties" and "I'll Be Your Mirror") and backing vocals on another ("Sunday Morning") on the band's debut record, The Velvet Underground & Nico. Released in 1967, the album went on to prove influential to many future genres, including punk rock and New Wave. Nico had a short-lived romantic relationship with the main singer and songwriter, Lou Reed. Around this period she was also romantically involved with prominent musicians including Cale, Jim Morrison of The Doors, Jackson Browne, Brian Jones, Tim Buckley, Bob Dylan and Iggy Pop. While she is most prominently known for her musical work, she also had a small handful of film roles, including a bit part in Federico Fellini's acclaimed 1960 film La Dolce Vita. A close friend and artistic collaborator with Andy Warhol, she also starred in various roles in his experimental art films, most notably in 1966's Chelsea Girls, after which she named her solo debut album. Artists such as Coil, Jocelyn Pook and Dead Can Dance, as well as numerous contemporary goth bands have all cited Nico as a seminal influence. Top/ Lou Reed (RCA, 1972) is Lou Reed's highly anticipated debut solo album, released two years after he left The Velvet Underground, but the result was a commercial and critical disappointment.

Friday, August 28, 2009

It's Oh! So Quiet

An unexpected smash, selling over 4 million copies, debut album Garbage (Mushroom, 1995) by Scottish-American post-grunge rock group Garbage includes the singles "Stupid Girl", "Queer" and "Milk". Garbage was considered innovative for its fusion of pop melodies with alternative rock, trip-hop and electronica genres and its use of loops and sampling including, amongst other things, The Clash's "Train in Vain", the sound of torn sheets of metal, an air conditioning unit and a broken tape deck. Middle/ Platinum (Virgin, 1979) by Mike Oldfield features an excerpt from the Philip Glass work "North Star". Top/ Single "Cocoon" from Vespertine (One Little Indian, 2001) by Björk. Following the video for the album's previous single "Pagan Poetry", which brought Björk to a high level of controversy with MTV, the video for "Cocoon" also featured a seemingly naked Björk, this time with her nipples secreting a red thread that eventually enveloped the singer in a cocoon. The video was directed by Japanese artist Eiko Ishioka, and was not aired by MTV.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Through The Looking Glass

Bottom/ H.M.S. Donovan (Dawn Records, 1971) is the ninth studio album from Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan. It marks the second album of Donovan's children's music, after the For Little Ones portion of A Gift from a Flower to a Garden. For the majority of the songs on this album, Donovan wrote music for poems that were originally written by others. Many of the poems were from One Hundred Poems for Children compiled by Herbert Strang (Clarendon Press, Oxford – 1925). Other poems come from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Paul McCartney was present for some of the 1968 recordings ("Mr. Wind", "The Walrus and the Carpenter", "The Unicorn"), and there are bootleg recordings where Donovan plays these songs with Paul present. Top/ Au-delà du délire (Philips, 1974) is the third album by the French progressive rock band Ange, formed in 1970 by the Décamps brothers, Francis (keyboards) and Christian (vocals). They were initially influenced by Genesis and King Crimson, and their music is quite theatrical and poetic. Their first success was a cover of a Jacques Brel song, Ces gens-là, on the album Le Cimetière des Arlequins.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Travelling Without Moving

Top/ The cover of The Magical Sounds of Banco de Gaia (Six Degrees, 1999) evokes the black obelisk-shaped object on the cover and inside sleeve of Presence, the seventh studio album by English rock band Led Zeppelin, created by Hipgnosis. Flashbacks of the Monolith in Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey also come to mind. Banco de Gaia is an electronic music band from England, formed by Toby Marks (born 1964, South London) in 1991. The music of Banco de Gaia is best categorized as ambient dub, but Marks works to cross genres, often using Arabic and Middle Eastern samples against a bass heavy reggae, rock, or trance rhythm to produce deeply textured tracks that progress layer upon layer. Bottom/ Leftism (Hard Hands/Columbia) is the debut album by electronica musicians Leftfield, released in 1995. It was shortlisted for the 1995 Mercury Music Prize but lost-out to "Dummy" by Portishead. Leftfield were a duo of electronica artists and record producers, Paul Daley (formerly of the Brand New Heavies) and Neil Barnes, formed in 1989 in London, England. The pair were pioneers in the fields of intelligent dance music and progressive house, being among the first to fuse house music with dub and reggae. They furthermore were among the first electronic musicians to incorporate live guest vocalists, along with The Chemical Brothers and Underworld. Ultimately the duo have been influential on the electronic genre as a whole, with The Crystal Method's Scott Kirkland referring to them in 2005 as "The best electronic band, period!".

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Let X=X

Bottom/ "O Superman (For Massenet)" is a 1981 song by experimental performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson. "O Superman," a half-sung, half-spoken, almost minimalist piece unexpectedly rose to #2 on the UK Singles Charts in 1981. Prior to the success of this song, Anderson was little known outside the art world. Top/ Big Science is the 1982 debut album by Laurie Anderson and the first of a 7-album deal she signed with Warner Bros. Records. Best known for the 8-minute epic "O Superman", the album is minimalist and monochrome in sound, and like a great deal of Anderson's work is based largely on spoken word. It is a selection of highlights from her eight-hour production, United States Live, originally a performance piece, in which music was only one element. After Big Science, music played a larger role in Anderson's work. Laurie Anderson (born Laura Phillips Anderson, on June 5, 1947, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois) is an American avant-garde artist and musician who plays violin and keyboards and sings in a variety of experimental music and art rock styles. Initially trained as a sculptor, Anderson did her first performance-art piece in the late 1960s. Over the years she has also performed on recordings by other musicians such as Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, and Jean Michel Jarre. She also contributed lyrics to the Philip Glass album Songs for Liquid Days, portrayed Mary Todd Lincoln (wife of Abraham Lincoln) for a recording of the CIVIL warS: a tree is best measured when it is down by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson, and also contributed a spoken-word piece to a tribute album in honor of John Cage. Anderson was awarded the 2007 Gish Prize for her "outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to humankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life."

Friday, July 10, 2009

I'm So Laid Back, I'm Laid Out

Top/ Deceptive Bends (Mercury) was released in 1977 by rock band 10cc and featured distinctive cover art created by the Hipgnosis team. Lush, catchy pop songs abound. 10cc's biggest success came with the dreamy "I'm Not in Love", from the album The Original Soundtrack, which also included the jaunty single "Life Is A Minestrone". Bottom/ New Traditionalists (Warner Bros) is the fourth studio album by the New Wave rock band Devo, released in 1981. It features the minor hits "Through Being Cool" and "Beautiful World". The sound continued in the vein of the previous album Freedom of Choice, with synthesizers moved to the forefront and guitars more subdued. In addition, the lyrics are frequently dark and vitriolic. With the success of "Whip It" and its associated album Freedom of Choice, Devo attracted a new, more pop-oriented audience that was less interested in Devo's artistic theories and intelligent lyrics. In response, New Traditionalists was aimed to be a much darker, deeper and serious album. The lead-off track, "Through Being Cool," is a direct attack at Johnny-Come-Lately fans who didn't understand Devo's message. As with every Devo album and tour, the band developed a new look for the album, eschewing the Energy Dome headgear, and replacing it with the plastic "New Traditionalist Pomp," modeled after John F. Kennedy's famous hairstyle.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Being Bad Feels Pretty Good

Bottom/ You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into (Virgin, 2008) is the debut album from British electro-rock band Does It Offend You, Yeah? from Reading, Berkshire. Does It Offend You, Yeah? has been compared to acts like Daft Punk, Justice and Digitalism. However, NME has also compared them to bands like Muse and American dance-punk band !!! (pronounced as chk chk chk, to simulate mouth-clicking sounds) due to their heavier, more 'live' sound. The group is known for their raucous live shows, which often end in stage diving and broken instruments. Middle/ Chromeo is an electrofunk duo based in Montreal and New York City. The two have been best friends since childhood and they describe themselves as the only successful Arab/Jewish collaboration since the beginning of time. Fancy Footwork (Turbo/V2, 2007) is the second album by the Canadian Electronic / Dance Pop group. Top/ The Death Proof OST (Maverick/Warner Bros., 2007) is the soundtrack to Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino's segment of Grindhouse. It includes trademark audio snippets from various scenes in the film and the tracks "Jeepster" by T. Rex, "Down In Mexico" by The Coasters and
Chick Habit" by April March. Quentin Tarantino rose to fame in the early 1990s as an independent filmmaker whose films used nonlinear storylines and aestheticization of violence. His films include Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997) and Kill Bill (Vol. 1 2003, Vol. 2 2004). Tarantino often makes references to and features music from cult movies and television.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Boom, Like That

Dead Man (Vapor, 1996) is the soundtrack to the 1995 Jim Jarmusch western-themed film of the same name starring Johnny Depp as William Blake and Gary Farmer as Nobody, a strong and opinionated Native American who was forcibly raised by whites and later given the mocking name "He Who Talks Loud, Saying Nothing" or Xebeche by fellow natives. Neil Young recorded the soundtrack by improvising (mostly on his electric guitar, with some acoustic guitar, piano and organ) as he watched the newly edited film alone in a recording studio. The soundtrack album consists of seven instrumental tracks by Young, with dialog excerpts from the film and Johnny Depp reading the poetry of William Blake interspersed between the music. "Why Does Thou Hide Thyself, Clouds..." contains a version of a part of William Blake's poem "To Nobodaddy", while "Do You Know How to Use This Weapon?" contains a reading of part of "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell". Set in the American West and shot entirely in black-and-white, the film has been hailed as one of the few films made by a Caucasian that presents an authentic Native American culture and character. Although the film is set in the 19th century, Jarmusch included a number of references to 20th century American culture. Iggy Pop is featured in the cast as Salvatore "Sally" Jenko, a cross-dressing, Bible-reading fur trader at a campsite. Benmont Tench, the man at the campsite played by Jared Harris, is named after Benmont Tench, keyboardist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The marshals chasing Blake are named Lee Hazlewood and Marvin Throne-berry, after Lee Hazlewood and Marv Throneberry. Nobody's name ("He Who Talks Loud, Saying Nothing") is a reference to the James Brown song "Talkin' Loud and Sayin' Nothing".

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Shake Everything You Got

"Planet Of Sound" (4AD, 1991) is a song by the American alternative rock band Pixies, from their album Trompe le Monde. The song describes an Extra Terrestrial's search for the origin of Rock music he has received. In every planet he goes to, he is told that "This ain't the planet of sound". The Pixies' music was heavily influenced by punk and surf rock, and while highly melodic, was capable of being tremendously abrasive at the same time. Black Francis was the band's primary songwriter and singer and had a distinctly desperate, yowling delivery. He typically wrote cryptic songs about offbeat subjects, such as UFOs and surrealism. References to mental instability, violent Biblical imagery, physical injury, and incest feature in many of the band's songs. Top/ "Start Me Up" (Rolling Stones/Virgin, 1981) is a classic hit single by the Rolling Stones featured on the album Tattoo You. The song opens with what has since become a trademark riff for Keith Richards.