Black Moon (1975, Louis Malle)

Categories: 1975 and Movies.

This is a bizarre, barely plotted, surrealistic fantasy/sci-fi French film that tests one’s patience with its attempts to say things as obtusely as possible and with its attempts to be shocking. It’s part of a grand tradition of obscure French science fiction/fantasy films about post-apocalyptic worlds (where the world-building the English-language world loves so much is barely a consideration) but takes a wild digression into adult Alice in Wonderland territory not long into the film. It’s one of those movies where there are memorable moments (as well as moments that are probably meant to be memorable but aren’t) but you’re Read More

High Voltage (1976) by AC/DC

Categories: 1975, 1976, and Music.

AC/DC’s first international release is actually a compilation of music from their first two records, released only in Australia. (Oh, the days when music was that regionalized…) I haven’t heard either of those records, so I don’t know if they did a good job of compiling this, but my guess is they did. This record establishes exactly what has been since: big, simple, sleazy rock music. And, for some reason, I don’t mind the misogyny as much from Bon Scott, perhaps because I think he didn’t know any better, perhaps because this is very much the template for all future Read More

Horses (1975) by Patti Smith

Categories: 1975 and Music.

Smith tries to do the same thing Jim Morrison did: combine rock music with serious poetry. I’d Smith’s far more successful as her approach is more musical than theatrical. However, The Doors were a much more versatile band than The Patti Smith Group. Anyway, musically this is basically just the kind of rock and roll that was common to New York at the time – where the emphasis was on energy over professionalism and idiosyncratic approaches to playing over traditional ideas of mastery – with some very good lyrics. I prefer Television and the Voidoids but Patti Smith was first Read More

Azimuth (1975) by Azymuth

Categories: 1975 and Music.

I have a problem. For the last 18 years or so, I have been keeping track of what music I want to listen to. The list is now gigantic. But that’s not my problem. I know I will never listen to everything on the list. It’s an aspirational list not a practical one. The problem is that I didn’t track [i]when[/i] I added particular albums to the list. So I might have added something last year or 17 years ago. And the problem with that is my tastes have changed. (I would say they’ve matured.) And so some of the Read More

Siren (1975) by Roxy Music

Categories: 1975 and Music.

I only know one Roxy Music album, For Your Pleasure. I like it, I don’t love it. But one of the things I like about – perhaps the thing I like about it most – is the artiness of it, provided primarily by Eno and Manzanera (to my ears). I assumed that when Eno left the artiness did too, but according to reviews, it didn’t leave just yet. Not until this album. And that makes me sad. This is certainly as mainstream as art rock gets without ceasing to be art rock. It’s accessible (as these things go), its often Read More

Ritchie Blackmore’s R-A-I-N-B-O-W (1975)

Categories: 1975 and Music.

Rainbow is like a combination of Uriah Heap and Purple. Or, if you prefer, Uriah Heap with a better lead guitarist, a better singer, slightly less ridiculous songs (both a plus and a minus) with better riffs but nearly as ridiculous lyrics. Some stray thoughts: It sounds to me like Blackmore is holding himself back and I don’t know why. Dio is an acquired taste, and I still haven’t acquired it yet, but I can’t deny that this is an influential record and that his approach to both singing and lyric-writing has been incredibly influential. Is “Black Sheep of the Read More

Al Green is Love (1975)

Categories: 1975 and Music.

I have heard so much about Al Green, I guess I was bound to be disappointed. This is very competent, able smooth soul. Green is undeniably a great performer. But I like my music with a little oomph behind it. As someone who values both grit and history, it’s hard for me to understand why this is considered such a classic (by critics anyway) when it glosses over and doesn’t appear to improve upon what went before it. Well, anyway, I’m definitely not the audience. Fine, but I’m not going to go out of my way to listen to more. Read More

Fleetwood Mac (1975)

Categories: 1975 and Music.

When I was a kid and a tween, I only listened to oldies. For reasons I may never know, the oldies station in Toronto played Fleetwood Mac songs from this album and Rumours, among the very limited amount of music it dared play from post-1970. This stuff was deemed acceptable. And so, when I actually developed taste in music, and spurned my childish likes and loves, I spurned the hits from this era of Fleetwood Mac. But a funny thing happened as I dove into more obscure music from the ’60s and ’70s: I discovered the original Fleetwood Mac. And Read More

Born to Run (1975) by Bruce Springsteen

Categories: 1975 and Music.

Full disclosure: I have avoided Springsteen much of my life because I grew up with a bunch of stupid TV shows telling me “Springsteen saved Rock and Roll from Disco.” These interviewees (boomers all) were apparently ignorant of Punk Music but, also, in retrospect, maybe Disco won? Anyway… I have only ever heard the title track enough to pay attention to it. (I feel like a few other songs sound familiar from classic rock radio.) Regrettably, this record is entirely as overproduced as the title track. Who exactly thought Springsteen’s songs and sound needed a glockenspiel or lengthy piano introductions? Read More

Tonight’s the Night (1973, 1975) by Neil Young

Categories: 1975 and Music.

Neil Young was a star for the first time in 1973. And yet even though he was star, and he was expected to pump out further “Heart of Gold” style hits, his life was a mess. Whether or not he may acknowledge it now, he had drug issues. And within a rather short span of time, the rhythm guitarist for one of his bands died, and then a roadie died, both of heroin overdoses. And he was expected to keep playing “Heart of Gold” and writing more stuff like it. Instead he made this record. I can’t remember why it Read More

Toys in the Attic (1975) by Aerosmith

Categories: 1975 and Music.

I grew up during Aerosmith’s reunion: I was eight when Pump came out and twelve when Get a Grip was released (which was apparently old enough to stay up to watch that SNL skit pointing out all Aerosmith ballads are the same). My introduction to Aerosmith was therefore Much Music (Canada’s version of MTV) and Wayne’s World 2. When I was young enough, they seemed cool. The older I got, the more like a caricature of the hard rock bands I was slowly discovering they seemed. And then they released “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” which may be Read More

Blues for Allah (1975) by the Grateful Dead

Categories: 1975 and Music.

This is kind of shockingly middle of the road, given what I know of the Dead. I am kind of tempted to say they sound like Steely Dan here, though I hardly know what Steely Dan sounds like. This is a little too polished and safe for me, though I appreciate the musicianship and their attempts at incorporating at least somewhat unusual musical influences (for jazz rock). Disappointing given the album’s reputation. 7/10 Read More

String Quartet; So You Want to Right a Fugue; Shostakovitch; Poulenc (1997 Compilation)

Categories: 1997 and Music.

I really like Gould’s quartet. I know it’s not the most forward-thinking piece for the time, but I think it’s among the second tier of its era and I really don’t mind listening to it. The fugue-song thing is a different story: I like it but it’s almost too clever. I like that it seems deliberately aimed at the establishment, but it’s still a minor goof of a piece. The rest of the disk is unfortunately fleshed out by excerpts of two nice pieces – a quintet by Shostakovitch and a kind of concerto thing by Poulenc. They feel reasonably Read More

Morawetz / Ginastera: Harp Concertos (1989) by Gianetta Baril, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra conducted by Uri Mayer

Categories: 1989 and Music.

I have long loved the harp. Ever since I first heard “She’s Leaving Home” sometime in my tweens I was enchanted. And yet I have done a piss poor job of ever seeking out harp music. I can’t really say why exactly, I guess I was just too busy looking for other sounds (that of the cello, for example). Ginastera’s Harp Concerto is flat out awesome. A work that manages to combine bot the late Romantic obsession with local folk music with developments that had occurred since the so-called “Crisis of Tonality”, the concerto is everything I hoped it would Read More

Miserere et. al (1994) by Henryk Gorecki, performed by John Nelson et al.

Categories: 1994 and Music.

This is a collection of Gorecki’s choral music, mostly performed by choruses from Chicago. (Yet another release where the performers differ from track to track! I really need to get over this.) Fortunately, I wouldn’t have known that, if they didn’t tell me. So that’s something. The “Miserere” is an incredible piece of music. I know choral music a lot less well than I know concertos, string quartets or piano sonatas, for example (so that means I really don’t know them), but this feels massively significant – in addition to it being greatly affecting – even without knowing the structure, Read More