I found myself being pleasantly surprised by Joe Jackson, a man I knew nothing about aside from “Is she really going out with him?” Read More
I don’t like synthpop particularly and I also really don’t enjoy the New Romantic stuff. I find much of it sterile. Read More
Imagine a faster, louder Judas Priest, or a faster Maiden with a little more diversity to their sound (if, say, Maiden were more rooted in earlier metal). That’s what Raven sounds like to me and it’s awesome. Read More
I prefer the original, bonkers Roxy Music. That’s much more my cup of tea. In fact, you might say I love that version of the band. And so I was expecting to hate this, without really knowing what it sounded like. Read More
This is the kind of record where I need the virtues extolled to me. Unless some Duranx2 Evangelist tells me why this is good, I will never discover it on my own. Read More
Junkyard is arguably every bit as loud, violent and theatrical as its predecessor. It is, perhaps, slightly more rooted in blues than Prayers on Fire but, beyond that, it’s pretty much equally unconventional. As fans of Cave and the Bad Seeds will discover, this band is much, much worse (in a good way). Read More
I did not enjoy Faith, this record’s predecessor and the first Cure album I ever heard outside of their singles collections. I found it lacking in songs and seemingly caught between two disparate impulses. And from the get-go, the reassuring thing about Pornography is that it is absolutely not Faith. It barely sounds like the same band. Read More
Everything I read tells me this is the best album Richard Thompson made with his wife Linda. Perhaps that’s why it’s taking a while for this one to sink in. Read More
The most Iron Maiden of Iron Maiden albums, this is practically a greatest hits collection. Unlike their first two albums, this feels a little more mature or developed, though it’s also less novel sounding. Read More
There is so much post punk that sounds like other post punk (specifically, like Joy Division) that it can get exhausting. The Fall are one of the few British post punk bands to have charted a truly unique course. This is the earliest record of theirs I’ve heard and so, as far as I’m concerned, it’s probably their essential statement. Read More
I kind of dreaded listening to this record; I don’t love “She Blinded Me with Science” and always thought it was a gimmicky novelty number. So maybe it’s because my expectations were so damn low as to why I really like this. Read More
The opening of “Shellshock” made me think I was in for a crazy, crazy record. The chanting seemed so far outside of what I was expecting from metal from 1982, that suddenly I had all these expectations. Read More
Reed abandons art and pretension (for the most part) for a series of earnest and honest songs about ageing, settling down, his feelings and the odd more obscure song. Read More
1969, 1972, 1976, 1982, 1984, 2003, Avant Garde, Chamber Music, Film Music, Impressionism, Modern Classical, Modernism, Music, New Music, and Piano 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
1979, 1981, 1982, 1991, Chamber Music, Choral Music, New Music, Orchestral Music, and Sonorism.
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
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 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
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
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
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
Seven Words; Silenzio; In croce (1995) by Sofia Gubaidulina, performed by Maria Kliegel, Elsbeth Moser et al.
This is just an awesome set of really challenging modern chamber music, sort of smaller versions of what Penderecki was up to, I guess. The set contains three works by Gubaidulina centered around the cello and the bayan, a Russian version of the accordion. “In croce” is a duet for cello and bayan, and ranges from almost horror-movie film score intensity to a sort of meandering exploration of space. And then that builds back – there is a really strong use of dynamics. And the cello really gets into its upper register. I have always had a thing against pieces Read More
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
So apparently this is the original album, which was rejected by their label and then re-recorded and released as the appropriate name. Then the original was released in the early 80s, or something like that. I haven’t heard the polished second version so I cannot judge whether or not it was the right decision by the record company but my personal bias would say ‘probably not’. What we have hear is catchy but odd-enough pop rock with utterly unique vocals and enough quirks to keep things interesting. It’s hard to know what a record company would have been expecting from Read More
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
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
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