Mauricio Kagel (2003) by Alexandre Tharaud

Categories: 1969, 1972, 1976, 1982, 1984, 2003, and Music.

This collection is a little confusing in part because of the confusing nature of Rrrrrrr…, which can apparently be performed independently. The disc appears to be a compilation of his piano-based music. Calling “piano music” would be a misnomer, as there are lots of other instruments on a number of the pieces. The pieces from Rrrrrrr… are all over the place in terms of style, starting with ragtime and running the gamut of styles, through pretty traditional to really avant garde stuff (a prepared piano, a “raga”). I like how Kagel turns music on its here but here I have Read More

Vox Humana? / Finale / Fürst Igor Strawinsky (1991) by Mauricio Kagel, performed by Ensemble 2e2m, Lyon National Opera Chorus conducted by Paul Méfano

Categories: 1979, 1981, 1982, and Music.

This record collects three of Kagel’s longish “choral” pieces. Kagel was a weirdo is the best ways. Listening to Kagel’s work, rather than watching it, is a bit of a problem, because Kagel’s work is often “theatrical” not just in the sense of being influenced by the theatre, but of having the musicians act out parts. Listening to the music online you miss that aspect. (Something big definitely happens 10 minutes in, when there is a giant scream.) That being said… This piece sure reminds me of Berio at his most theatrical (in a good way). It is about a Read More

3rd From the Sun (1982) by Chrome

Categories: 1982 and Music.

My first exposure to Chrome; I’m surprised how melodic it is, as I was expecting a lot more of the noise side of things (though I guess that’s a different era of the band). There’s a strong krautrock influence filtered through an almost gothic sensibility (others have said “doomy,” which also feels appropriate). A number of the instruments are a little too treated for me, and I think that’s the barrier I find between seeing this as interesting music and classic. If the production had dated better, I might be a little more into it than I am. I don’t Read More

The Gift (1982) by The Jam

Categories: 1982 and Music.

The Jam go from ripping off post punk (particularly PIL and Gang of Four) and David Bowie (and the Beatles!) to ripping off soul. I don’t know Northern Soul, so I don’t know if this is derivative of that, but you can hear echoes of southern (American) soul as well as the usual Jam influences. Because this is the Jam, there are plenty of good songs. But this feels like a new set of clothes after they got tired of the previous set they donned for Sound Affects. I could take this or leave it. 6/10 Read More

Love and Dancing (1982) by The League Unlimited Orchestra

Categories: 1982 and Music.

This is a series of “instrumental” remixes of the Human League’s Dare which aimed to capitalize on that album’s success. It’s not really instrumental – the vocals are kept on some songs – and the songs don’t really sound that different (though I guess that’s most remix albums). It certainly doesn’t have a reason to exist. There’s nothing about this that is better than the original album, and there’s nothing about it that’s revelatory either. It feels like a cash grab and it’s boring. 3/10 Read More

Austeria (1982, Jerzy Kawalerowicz)

Categories: 1982 and Movies.

This is a Polish neo-realist film covering the first day of World War I as it affects a community of Jews. It breaks with realist tradition by having flashbacks, but those are treated in the same way as the present. (I believe it only covers 24 hours, outside of the flashbacks.) This is pretty unexplored territory, to my knowledge. And that makes the film rather unique. It is also believable and naturalistic, like the best realist films. It’s interesting that Kawalerowicz NARCed on his fellow filmmakers who were in the Solidarity movement because this film feels like a bit of Read More

Portrait of a ‘60% Perfect’ Man: Billy Wilder (1982, Annie Tresgot)

Categories: 1982 and Movies.

This is an interesting, if brief and slight, documentary about Billy Wilder. It’s mostly just an interview and it’s edited together in such a way that it sort of hops around between his films, his personal life, his hobbies, and, at the end, maybe a real bit of his true persona. Lemmon and Mathau show up for a bit too. Worth watching if you’re interested in interviews with old directors. Otherwise, it’s nothing you need to see. 6/10 Read More

Glassworks (1982) by Philip Glass

Categories: 1982 and Music.

Glass freely admits that he wrote this set in order to attract a more diverse, perhaps even younger crowd, and that it was geared towards people being able to listen to it on walkmans (i.e. it would have to fit on a single tape, which would be a major problem for much of his work). And you can really tell, as this is the most accessible work of his I’ve heard outside of some of his film score music. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, it’s an excellent entry point for anyone Read More

The Umpire Strikes Back by Ron Luciano & David Fisher

Categories: 1982, Books, and Non-Fiction.

The Umpire Strikes Back is entertaining and illuminating but certainly only on one level. Luciano excels at that traditional, yuk-yuk self-deprecating American humour of the pre-Lenny Bruce era that offends absolutely no one. He has numerous anecdotes which are mildly amusing and certainly informative about particular players’ idiosyncrasies as well. But Luciano never really makes any kind of greater assessment about baseball, refereeing, sport or life – and he fills the book with extraordinarily non-controversial stuff, which is odd, coming from a lightning rod like him – which might make this more meaningful to someone who did see these players Read More

Veronika Voss (1982, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

Categories: 1982 and Movies.

This seems to me to be Fassbinder’s Sunset Blvd., though I’m not sure if that conveys everything about this movie (certainly it doesn’t convey the third act). As usual, some of his camera moves are just bonkers (though more subtle than Lola) and the lighting is often beyond bizarre. I was spellbound and I think it might actually be the strongest of the three (though I would have to watch them all together to make that decision). A very strong final film. 9/10 Read More

Live at Bourbon St. by Lenny Bruce (True Noth 1995, recorded 1982)

Categories: 1982 and Music.

This is about as good as it gets for jazz guitar. Though it is fairly traditional (as opposed to anything free) given the era, that doesn’t matter as Breau’s technique is just absolutely amazing. He conquers both fairly traditional ballads and some relatively recent and more forward thinking (’60s) material. He manages to make it sound all of a piece, while constantly amazing with his abilities (like when he plays chords and lead at the same time). Young is no slouch either. Definitely one of the best jazz guitar albums I have ever heard. 10/10 Read More

80s Movie Lists

Categories: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, and Movies.

I’ve discovered that I am not always a good judge of 80s movies, as many of them I saw as a kid and they hold some kind of importance for me, whether they are any good or not. When I have rewatched them, the rating has no doubt dropped. But in many cases I haven’t seen these movies since I was in my mid-teens at the very latest, meaning that the ratings might not be so trustworthy. But how can I change the rating if I haven’t seen the movie in over a decade? Read More