Functioning on Impatience (1998) by Coalesce

Categories: 1998 and Music.

This is some solid, mathy metalcore that manages a few variations on the what you might expect from the genre, including some a capella (which opens the album, so it really is a shock). It’s a little brief, which is a bit disappointing, but that does mean they don’t lack for consistent material (since there isn’t much material…). I generally prefer Converge, but I can see this band growing on me. 7/10 Read More

From Fear to Eternity: The Best of 1990-2010 (2011) by Iron Maiden

Categories: 1990, 1992, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2010, and 2011.

I accidentally picked this up thinking it was a compilation of their ’80s music. Ah well. I learned a couple of things from this record: First, Iron Maiden has a formula and they stuck to it (at least on the songs considered their “best”). Second, I should never get a live Iron Maiden album. It’s pretty clear from listening to this record that Maiden is just milking their sound for all its worth. Sure, some of these songs are pretty catchy and everything is very professional and competent, but so many of these songs follow the exact same formula. And Read More

Cross Country Tour: 1958-1961 (1998) by Ahmad Jamal

Categories: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1998, and Music.

This is an excellent survey of the live music of Ahmad Jamal and his trio in the late ’50s and very early ’60s. Jamal’s playing is so far from Monk – to my ears – that it’s rather incredible. His individuality in that sense is rather fantastic. Monk utterly changed piano playing and it must have been extremely tempting to play either in Monk’s shadow or to go back to pre-Monk playing. Jamal manages to do neither. And you can see the rather huge influence he’s had on other pianists, particularly cool jazz pianists. (And there’s an interesting chicken-or-egg question Read More

The Trouble With Harry (1998) by Bernard Herrmann, performed by Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Joel McNeely

Categories: 1955, 1998, and Music.

I haven’t seen this movie in probably close to twenty years and, well, maybe I was too young for it (though I saw it at the height of my Hitchcock mania). It didn’t grab me as a classic, the way it has so many others. But even this many years later I have a bit of a similar issue with the score. I know the score is good, at least it’s certainly very much above average, but it doesn’t really grab me in the way so many other of Herrmann’s scores do. In part I think that’s due to its Read More

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1998) by Bernard Herrmann, performed by Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by John Debney

Categories: 1958 and 1998.

The conductor, John Debney, would have you believe that this is one of the great film scores of all time. I don’t agree with that. It’s less inventive than many of Herrmann’s best. But it’s still way more interesting than most Hollywood film scores of its era, and it’s also very much a piece of music that can be listened to without any knowledge of the film. It reminds me of some late 19th century Romantic programmic pieces which were supposed to suggest a plot to you through music. It’s certainly good, it’s just not quite among Herrmann’s greatest moments. Read More

Garden of Evil / Prince of Players (1998) by Bernard Herrmann, performed by Moscow Symphony Orchestra conducted by William T. Stromberg

Categories: 1954, 1955, 1998, and Music.

This disc collects the complete score of the 1954 western Garden of Evil with the suite (i.e. the highlights) of Hermann’s score to the 1955 biopic Prince of Players, both movies which have been somewhat forgotten. The Prince of Players suite is a very classic Hollywood score. It’s exactly what you would think of and so it’s pretty underwhelming. I guess it’s well done, but hardly stands out from the scores (yuk yuk yuk) of other film music of the era. Garden of Evil is a far more ominous, interesting piece of music. It’s still somewhat conventional – it lacks Read More

The Best of James (1998)

Categories: 1998 and Music.

I’m not going to go into how I got my hands on this, but let’s just say it wasn’t a deliberate decision; it literally fell into my lap.And I had no idea who James was until I heard that hit single I remembered from my youth (“Laid”) and I was like “Oh, these guys.” And I wondered aloud about why I was bothering with them.But, funnily enough, after listening to it my requisite three times, I found myself enjoying a lot of it – not all of it, mind you, especially the sub-Smiths stuff – and being pleasantly surprised by Read More

The Sound of Summer Running (1998) by Marc Johnson

Categories: 1998 and Music.

So this is about as conventional, straight-head Metheny-esque jazz fusion as I could possibly imagine. And that’s just a little surprising given the presence of both Metheny and Frisell, who one would assume would push each other. Johnson does not in any way stand out to my ears as a composer, and the band, which should be awesome, never makes me sit back in wonder. I also feel like I have heard this way too much on Toronto’s jazz radio station Jazz 91, which plays jazz. Jazz! And I feel this way even though I’m quite sure I’ve never heard Read More

Songs We Know (1998) by Fred Hersch and Bill Frisell

Categories: 1998 and Music.

It’s hard to know what to make of this. I am not familiar with Hersch, but I am now very familiar with Frisell and I am sort of awed at how conventional this all is. Pretty much every song in this set has been done to death by various jazz bands throughout the last half-century or so. And the question for me is, why record them again? I know the answer, it’s because they wanted to. But that’s not enough for me. For the most part these don’t really go anywhere you wouldn’t expect, and though there are moments of Read More

Gone, Just like a Train (1998) by Bill Frisell

Categories: 1998 and Music.

This is an entertaining and pleasant record that had some really great moments, but on the whole is just what I said was it was, entertaining and pleasant. It’s certainly not going to make you re-think jazz guitar, as Frisell’s best stuff will. But it is provocatively all-over-the-place and relatively unconventional, for what we thought of as jazz guitar prior to Frisell’s early ’90s work. There is a definite roots vibe that can be found in much of Frisell’s ’90s and later work, but he does remind us that he is a jazz musician here and there, despite the non-jazz Read More

Women in Jazz (1998, Retro Music) by Various Artists

Categories: 1998 and Music.

The cheapie box set is an interesting phenomenon: Gather some recordings from major artists where the copyright has lapsed (or never existed), Put the recordings in any arbitrary order you choose, Use more discs than are necessary to convince the buyer they are getting a great bargain, Give it a catchy title. I have a Scott Joplin compilation with no credits (funnily enough, from a Quebec label, just like this set) but you can clearly hear differences in piano and recording quality. I have a Muddy Waters box set which is all demos, but nowhere on the outside does it Read More

The Larry Sanders Show

Categories: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and TV.

Having recently (re)watched The Larry Sanders Show: I think The Larry Sanders Show is one of the great American television programs and one of the great comedy programs of all time. Though it was certainly not the first TV show to parody TV, nor was it the first show to be about talk shows, it was the first laugh-track-less American comedy I know of (setting the stage for the numerous laugh-track-less comedies we have now) and it was about as dark and outrageous as anything then on television. The acting is so good that you sort of forget it’s a Read More

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] (Maverick 1998)

Categories: 1998 and Music.

It is befitting of a Tarantino knock off (albeit a very good one) that its soundtrack is also a Tarantino knock off. The problem is that it’s a transparent Tarantino knock off and, more importantly, that it lacks the main quality of most Tarantino soundtracks: the obscurity. Yes, there is some relatively obscure stuff here, but on most Tarantino soundtracks most if not all of the music (save usually for one old-timey radio hit) is obscure. This isn’t the case here. It’s also a little more stylistically coherent which, again, is something that a Tarantino soundtrack usually isn’t. So it’s Read More

90s Movies

Categories: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and Movies.

Again I need to warn you about my ratings. In many cases the one and only time I watched these films was in high school, when I was far less discerning. In other cases, I really liked a movie then, then watched it 5 to 10 years later and saw that it was mediocre or bad and got embarrassed and my rating is often a reaction to that feeling, meaning I am subsequently harder on a film if I liked it the first time and I now see it for what it is. I have added asterisks to movies I don’t Read More