Saturday, November 25, 2006

There's a time to f@ck, and a time to crave..

Welcome to the 'new life'

LA VIE NOUVELLE - Dir: Phillipe Grandrieux

..if there's one concept the French are really, REALLY good at it's nihilism. This is probably due to the fact that they're a pack of hypocritical cowards, that love to pick fights, but to not actually fight them..And when it comes to culture, they are 'experts' at nihilism. I've recently been reading the excellent 'Watchfiends & Rack Screams', a collection of the late-period writings of French nut-bar visionary, Antonin Artaud. An ex-surrealist, Artaud spent most of his life in mental asylums scribbling a feverish poetry that explored the boundaries of human-physicality, yet he despised sex, so instead or yr 'Salt, Saliva, Sperm and sweat' (asper Phillip Brophy's experimental short film), yr left with ;Salt, saliva, sweat and ...*cough,cough*, Kaka! Yep Artaud was a pretty out-there case, and he's poetry of self eruption, while at time hard to read, seems to get under yr skin. It's pretty powerful, abstract stuff, but reading it, it's undeniable to see how his work influenced the likes of Jim Morrison, Patti Smith, Bukowski, Arrabal, Jodorowsky, hard-core metalheads and self-headjob-giving performance artists amongst others. That he was kicked out of the surrealists for being anti-politics and Marxism adds to his enduring legend and their subsequent demise as a relevant creative movement..

..Artaud started his own movement called THE THEATRE OF CREULTY in which he used extreme performance relating to the body, sound and vision to 'shock and awe' audiences.. Mexican surrealists like Arrabal and Jodorowsky were heavily influenced by Artauds' THEATRE of CREULTY and recently watched a torrent-bootleg of the oh so very nihilistic and French and Artaud influenced movie LA VIE NOUVELLE by French experimental-nihilist film-maker Phillipe Grandrieux, which could be described as a CINEMA OF CRUELTY circa 2003. Now I been reading about Grandrieux for a while, especially here and here. And just like every other these uber-hip film that 'everyone must-see' that you read about (no different to the music of the same must I add), it's almost impossible for the average-schmo like myself (who is always curious to expand the parameters to these types of culture) to actually see (or hear). So after about a week of torrenting, I was able to download a bootleg of this film. Luckily the film has very little dialogue, it plays like a silent film, that gives it vastly more visual and experimental edge. Let me just stress now, if you like David Lynch you will love this film, if not, stop reading. The story basically revolves around a love-triangle that revolves around an Eastern European sex slave her captor and an American client. The film uses a very natural, modern visual style for the most, made up mainly of close ups, shaky handheld and natural light, as is the norm for contemporary Euro-cinema. But Grandrieux takes things an extra step utilizing blur, out-of-focus and night-vision to push the film into a really edgy, surrealistic realm. The film plays a lot like one of those really nightmarish Chris Cunningham videoclips where everything is based on extreme claustrophobic sensation, and the threat of extreme violence lingers at the edge of every frame, made even more powerful by the fact that no-one really says anything. Obviously the paradigm is sex and death, throw in the location of Eastern Europe - where life is cheap, nasty and very COLD - and you have a dark nihilism personified. Music and sonics play a big role in this film. The whole film has that dark-industrial drone through it that bedrocks the feel of pervasive thread, and the throbbing 'doof' of the sex-club makes the film come off like some post-decadent techno nightmare. Throw in Grandrieux's dizzying 'concrete' visual style and you've got the cinematic equivalent of a Jeff Mills Detroit-techno album. LA VIE NOUVELLE is a dark, modern, nightmare, where the human soul is bought,sold and pulverised at 125bpm. Eastern-Euro HELL!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

G.O.D in my backyard.

The Coloured Balls - Ball Power (Aztec Music)

Sometimes you get lucky living in the Lucky Country especially when it comes to popular-gulcha and music. I mean, I must confess, for such a little pisher country, we produce some very fine hedonistic, psychedelic rock n' roll music un-fettered by politics , Political correctness and bad artists in general. Another thing is that I was fortunate to be a city-slicker (well suburban slicker) in my up-bringing, as opposed to 95% of Farmer and Faygel nobs that make up the 'cultural elite' that gives Aussie art and culture such a snore inducing rep in the first place. Well anyway, as a kid, I remember once some family friends of ours son came over, he happened to be some sort of burnt-out drug-casuality who'd been in rehab and mental hospitals and the like, and somewhere along the line he mentioned this bloke LOBBY LLOYD, and was saying things along the lines that Lloyd made (Billy) Thorpie look like a Poonce. He was MENTAL, his guitar was louder than anything on earth, and he used to live in Centre Road East Brighton ( a reasonable, though not ostentatious upper-middle class suburb to boot!), which was around the corner from where I grew up! SO I had Aussie punk rock history in literally my own back yard! Now at the time I was getting into a lot of garage punk music via 80s bands like the PAINTERS and DOCKERS and COSMIC PSYCHOS, and LOBBY LLOYD's name useta get mentioned as he owned or had something to do with RICHMOND RECORDERS here in Melbourne, that was where all these shitty Melbourne punk bands used to record and end up sounding like rubbish. ANYWAY, in the late 80s and early 90s I used to see loud-garage rock bands from Geelong and Camberwell (funny how in Australia you had rich kid dropouts making music with poor drop-outs and they all rocked the same, I guess that's DEMOCRACY in the purest sense, eh?)...But this Lobby Lloyd influence would never go away. He produced the Aussie X, the Painters and Dockers, the megaultrahardcorethrashmetal DEPRESSION and I think a BORED! record or two. BORED! covered 'Human Being' in their live sets, and I was lucky to hear the Cosmic Psychos version of 'Guitar Over-Dose' in the studio, where it sounded great, until I heard the CD version. Then this mate of mine had an art teacher called Phil Brophy, who useta dress up like a 'sharpie' which was pretty much the main subcultural audience of the COLOURED BALLS. The 'sharpies' were this mutant working-middle class youth culture of the 70s here in Australia, that mixed the look of English 60s mods/skinheads and David Bowie Ziggy Stardust(!!!) into one. But instead of them being bisexuals, they'd drink beer and break each others noses and knife each other and shit. Initially the 'sharpies' meant the way you dressed, but this was quickly punched-in-the head, and came to mean the sharpness of yr flicknife you carried, or bottle you smashed to rearrange some bozo's face with. The 'sharpies' existed for most of the 70s until punk came along. The 'Sharpie' look is sorta trendy now, but alot of it moved to the country and mutated into the 'bogen' subculture, which the Cosmic Psychos cashed in on in the 90s. But it was the Psychos who kinda piqued my interest in this Lobby Lloyd bloke, as this 'G.O.D' track was awesome, amphetamine, motoronic pounding psychedelic ROCK. I said to myself meekly that Lobby Lloyd was a legend. And yesterday the stars aligned, the bank balance was in the black and a beautifully remastered, repacked and LOCALLY PRODUCED CD version of the long out-of-print, impossible to find BALL POWER album emerged. In my hand I had the new Bob Dylan record and BALL POWER, and I said fuck-it, I will support my own PRODUCT!!! Bought the bugger, popped it in the car CD abd floored it all the way home as 'Flash' blasted out of my quadrophonic-4 stereo system via the tunes' Who-meets-MC5 propulsive "yeah"! Then you get some so-so boogie-woogie numbers until the Sabbath rifferama of 'Human Being' and a really up-beat version of 'Whole Lotta Shakin' comes along, but Lloyd plays the chords in a higher key that makes it more psychedelic and droney than the usually chugga-chugga style. Album killer is the 10 minute plus neo-Pink-Fairies workout 'That's what Mama said' that features some very nice primal-electronics that sound like Sun Ra's Kahoutek mixed in via a rousing chant like chorus that'll get even the most drunken slob dribblin the words out in no time. There's a collection of six singles as extras, that vary from some dated boogie-woos Oz-Rock vomit, to prolly the best song on the whole albumand the best song the Who never did 'Love me girl' and the very Punk Fairies or High Time MC5 rocker 'Devil's disciple'... Album closes with a totally remastered to get blastered-to 16 minute version of 'Guitar Overdose' recorded live at Sunbury in 1973. You are unlikely to find a more transglobal, psychedelic, elevating, teeth gnashing, smash yr head more than an Islamic Mullah dose of energising rock anywhere in the known universe. And it makes me feel even better that G.O.D lived in my back yard! Amen!

Monday, September 25, 2006

another TEN on the ZEN

..a proper post soon to come, but here's some filler for the toilet break, random Zen shuffles:

  1. JANDEK - 28-8-05 LIVE @ AUSTIN bootleg - part of the Perplexed-one's on-going world tour. His guitar meanders down the fret board as he whines about wanting to be loved, really he's not that different to Elton John or someone, ya know.
  2. U2 - IN GOD'S COUNTRY - Christian rock, it even has that fucken tooty-flooty sort of sound that Briar-butt boys play. Gee the Irish are a pack of cunts.
  3. MUSIC MACHINE - TALK, TALK - Nuggets gold. Fuzzed out to shit with lotsa keyboards. This one reminds me of THE SHOWER SCENE FROM PSYCHO, that Melbourne 80s band. Could also sound like one of those Timbaland tracks.
  4. MY BLOODY VALENTINE - TREMOLO - this sounds like the Beatles when they went psychedelic, especially something George woulda done. There's even a timbla or whatever those Indian percussion things are called.
  5. WIRE - KIDNEY BONGOS - a mate of mine reckons this is perfect 80s pop. It's actually pretty shit.
  6. ROLLING STONES - SHAKE YOUR HIPS - The guitars on this sound like they were done a four-track. Bloody smart-arse limeys.
  7. HOWLIN' WOLF - HOLD YOUR MONEY - You can't go wrong with Howlin' Wolf. Sounds like it was recorded in a really small and really packed juke-joint with Negros high on speed. You see, this stuff, it just swings.
  8. KIM SALMON - YOU GOTTA LET ME DO MY THING - Salmon wishing he was doing soundtracks for John Holmes films, of course, there's a flute in there.
  9. THE GUN CLUB - GOODBYE JOHNNY - this sounds tinny and shit. It influenced a tinny and shit Aussie band of the same name as the track. Pack of fucken junkie alcoholics. Now there's a band called the Drones who sound even MORE similar, just not as tinny.
  10. THE MAGIC MARKERS - WE ARE THE MAGIC MARKERS - the youth of the SOnic Youth who have emerged as part of Thurston Morre on-going no-wave social-project. At least they're better than SOnic YOuth. Lots of angry young art-fuckers saying 'fucken' and over-distorted lo-fi blare, they remind me of Black Flag for some reason. It's alright.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Women drivers - DEATH LAID AN EGG


Run to the Vatican coz its back...!

My next two 'Best non-Argento/Bava' gialli, while don't really figure so much in the story/plot or boobs/blades and blood department, definitely do so in terms of there succinct visual style and to a large extent weirdness. The first is DEATH LAID AN EGG. Yep its premise is very fucken STRANGE to begin with, coz literally, it’s about eggs and death. There's this guy called Marco, played by IL GRANDE SILENSIO' Jean-Louis Tringitgnant. who owns a hi-tech poultry farm and is married to Gina Lollabrigida and has a hot sorta blonde secretary that he wants to fuck, and you sorta know the rest. But if sexual infidelities and murder are the basic templates, it’s the mind-fucked visual cut-up style that raises this film above the sum of its parts. Giulo Questi, who directed the great and very violent-and-off-its-head Spag-Western DJANGO KILL, IF YOU LIVE..SHOOT! tries his hand at the giallo genre (as did nearly every other director from Italy in the late 60s early 70s) and does a pretty diffracted, but no less interesting job. For one the premise involving a high-tech Poultry Farm is pretty weird, especially when you have some loopy subplot involving mutated chickens. But then you have this completely LSD flash-backed visual style with erratic jump shots and a completely acid-fried title sequence that makes everything feel a bit nisht. And the soundtrack. Well think of all that weird musique concrete stuff from the 60s that all theses sonic mathematicians were doing in European Universities, and yr pretty much there, in fact this whole film feels kinda musique concrete for that matter.. The visual colour scheme uses lots of yellow, keeping with the genre and maybe due to the fact that there's chicken and eggs and whatever in there somewhere. In many ways this film comes off like one of those late-60s acid-fucked Godard movies like WEEKEND or 2 or 3 THING I KNOW ABOUT HER but using the giallo framework, there's also lots of weird architecture and sexual violence like some sort J.G BALLARD novel, and Gina Lollabrigida shows some booty just to keep things nice and orderly.

Spinning out with the FIFTH CORD

Italo-cult legend Franco Nero stars in the FIFTH CORD as a shicker journo who becomes a suspect in a murder, done by some guy chopping off fingers of a glove that he leaves next to his victims (turns out he’s an Australian from Sydney). The film borrows heaps from BAVA's gialli like BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, and for most of it, is a bit of a snore-fest, but like EGG the film is redeemed by its visuals. In this case, the film was shot by uber-Italian-legend-cinematographer VITORIO STORARRO. Now I have a friend who is some-sort of cinematographer and he like many other people of this talent, swear by the work of STORARO. Some of his work includes film like APOCALYPSE NOW, ISHTAR, THE LAST EMPEROR, THE CONFORMIST, the mod-giallo THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE and *ahem* THE LAST TANGO IN PARIS. THE FIFTH CORD was one of Storarro's early efforts, and what an effort. In fact I think this is one of the first films I've ever seen where the cinematography is more interesting than the film itself. Storraro's sugar-shit-sharp lensing gives the film a cold-clinical look, and his usage of muted colours gives the film a relentless atmosphere, despite the fact that not much is really going on. In many ways this film works like an Antionioni-giallo (innaresting as Ant-o refers to LA'AVENTURA as a giallo in reverse!) with it's nice usage of space and architecture to create a cold environment and atmosphere of emotional dislocation. The Blue Underground DVD has been remastered off High-Def or something, so everything looks super-duper clear. The film is nowhere near as kinky or shocking as the liner notes say, but yeah, the cinematography is STUNNING, and probably the best seen on any gialli this side of an Argento one. But that’s the whole point of this list, ‘aint it?
Looks like the cover artwork of some band from THE WIRE magazine

Wednesday, August 23, 2006



With the miniscule fanfare of a GOLDBLOG post, Harry Crews recently released his last novella AN AMERICAN FAMILY via the small 'Blood and Guts' press, and distributed via Vagabond Books. Sure the Internet is shit, but hey, I would NEVER have known a new Crews book was out, let alone be able to buy it without the global 24-7 mail-order-catalogue that is the InterNerd (and if yr not an Americanski, buy it direct from Vagabond press, you'll get it cheaper and quicker than Amazon)..I can admit that like every other shmendrick my age, I 'heard' about Crews via that neo-riot-grrl 'project' that featured Lydia Lunch, Kim Gordon and some female wrestler(really?) called Sadie Mae. I heard the record once, found it to be nasty unlistenable dreck, but really enjoyed the liner notes by Byron Coley. I soon ordered an import copy of the only book I could get at that time A FEAST OF SNAKES, and was subsequently disturbed in the same way I was when I first heard a Jandek record (Telegraph Melts). Maybe I started in the wrong place, but I was convinced that this literature AND music was custom designed by and for seriously fucked up nihilist heroin addict art-punk motherfuckers. Yes. I started in the wrong place. Needless to say a FEAST OF SNAKES is a totally mind-fuckingly GREAT novel - truly the last great 'Southern Gothic' novel. At the time I'd just read AMERICAN PSYCHO, and FEAST not only kicked its ass, but probably punched it another asshole. It's nasty and violent and horrible, but you'll never forget it. But Harry Crews is more than some lame-ass transgressive motherfucker for the sake it, like so many 'hip' shitty one-trick-pony writers that really deserve Iranian Fatwas on them - Chuck Palahniuk, Irvine Welsh after 'Ecstasy', Poopy z Brite etc.. - are. Crews is a fantastic satirist, a moralist, a great yarn spinner, writer of 'dialogue' and really, really original. He's also horribly under-appreciated, and I still find it criminal that the God-awful Chuck Palahnishnook is one of the biggest selling 'counter culture' writers in America, and Crews can't even sell a limited run of 2000 books or something. ANYWAY, Crews latest is a novella that you'll probably read in under an hour. AN AMERICAN FAMILY has one of his typical consumed-by-self-loathing and loserdom characters stuck in a rut, and finding a way out via some comic, over-the-top scenario. The main character here is a bloke called Major Melton (yes Crews ALWAYS has fantastically evocative character names) who discovers his baby has a birthmark on it's dick(!!) and starts to lose the plot from there, meeting some hilarious characters along the way, including a Korean called Bac Bong Suc. Yep Crews is at it with his redneck-with-the-heart-of-Gold shtick once again. People are motivated by primal (generally sexual) urges, the guys are dogs the women are bitches - in fact all of America is pretty much a giant dog-pound. Yep, Crews is a bit of a neo-Con, yep, he's a total Greenie, yep he's a big Anarchist, and most importantly, he's a died-in-the-wool humanist. It's all in here and the book’s only 100-odd pages long. Don't believe the liner notes that claims it's Crews 'most savage and disturbing book yet’, far from it, but it is very FUNNY, and sweet. And don't worry; Crew's innate ability to make the simple incredibly profound is still intact. It 'aint a classic, but it delivers, like one of those 7inch punk-singles from back in the day.

Now it's interesting to note how the 'Harry Crews factor' has permeated the bobular-gulcha over the years. In music circles, besides his popularity with the Nu-York-Shitty junkie-art set, some of his fans have included more commercial college-rock types like Bob Mould and Maria McKee, and he appears in some documentary that features all these nu-cunt, I mean no-Depression nu-Country types like the Handsome Family. Obviously Crews has a reasonable 'indie' or 'college hipster' type following, and it's interesting to note his forays in the flim world. He had a cameo in Sean Penn's under-rated THE INDIAN RUNNER (blew my mind when I saw it in the early 90s since I was on a massive Harry Crews bender, and had no idea he'd be in the film!) and apparently wrote something with Michael Cimino, and also wrote bits of a Sean Cunningham (Last House on the Left, Friday the 13th) shlocker the NEW KIDS, which I still haven't bothered to see. I was recently lucky to see THE HAWK IS DYING, which I was terrified would be another Sundunce shitty American indie-film, and while it went down that way, turned out to be actually not such a bad film, and totally TRUE to Harry Crews work, especially in regard to his less comic and gnarled work (ie ALL WE NEED OF HELL)..I thought we'd be lucky to get a reprint of THE HAWK IS DYING, but so far no-dice, and the film has died an inglorious (and I reckon unfair) indie-film death. If there's one failing of the film, it's probably casting Paul Giamatti as the main guy, sure he tries his butt off, but he doesn't quite cut it as a Southern bum - I guess that's all part of the cruel-capitalist machinations of getting a 'small' film by a 'not so hip these days' writer like Crews off the ground - you need a fucken 'name' actor to get an 'audience' of fuckwits that wouldn't know better unless they were at an REM or Sicker Ross gig or something.

Anyway I couldn't finish this post without posting my Crewophile 'trophies', because really Crews novels are so rare that literally become them. I only have on hardcover, funny that, the book I just yakked about. My first was FEAST OF SNAKES, the one with the white cover, then I got THE KNOCKOUT ARTIST, one of those Simon&Shuster editions with the funky art-pulp yellow (giallo!) covers. Also in this series are editions of THE GOSPEL SINGER and ALL WE NEED OF HELL. My personal fave is SCAR LOVER. MULCHING OF AMERICA is a cracker; I reckon it was one of the best literary indictments of Capitalism in Amerikka written in the 90s, no-one else did so I must be a born idiot. The CLASSIC CREWS trilogy is all good, as is FLORIDA FRENZY. BODY is fucken dynamite, CELEBRATION was so-so. My rarest is the English run of KARATE IS A THING OF THE SPIRIT that has some Twiggy look-a-like doing a terrible karate pose on the cover. I've also got GETTING NAKED WITH HARRY CREWS and PERSPECTIVES on HARRY CREWS. To round it out I even mail-orderd that documentary HARRY CREWS: GUILTY AS CHARGED, I'm still trying to find a fucken NTSC video so I can convert the fucker to DVD for posterity! Shit I'm so sad I even photocopied all of BLOOD and GRITS from the library at the University I work at!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

1985 on Ice

MIAMI VICE - then.................... and now (if only it stuck to the sell-line more..)

MIAMI VICE (2006) - written and directed by Michael Mann

For some people the 80s was a cultural nightmare worse than Mao's 'Cultural Revolution: MTV, gated drums sounds, Neon, synthesisers, heroin addicts in Germany, 50s and 60s kitsch etc..etc... When it cames to TV shows in the 80s, the interesting thing is that TV shows were starting to become more and more like movies - Hill Street Blues, A-Team, Knight Rider etc.. - until now many TV shows are in fact better than the movies. One line of thought is that cinema is pretty much dead, TV is where it's at. At the top of this heap for Tv shows trying to be films , for me anyway was Miami Vice. It was my favourite TV show of the 80s, and watching it now, well, *cough,cough*, I guess I was only a teenager. But, still, when it worked, it was pretty hardcore for a TV show, and when it was shit, well just more 80s dreck then, eh? Part of the appeal was that at the time Brian DePalma's 'Scarface' was one of my favourite movies of that period, and well 'Miami Vice' was pretty much 'Scarface' every week.

FOOTNOTE: I was one of 4 people who actually liked Mann's follow up - the massive flop 'Crime Story' HEAPS better than 'Vice'

Anyway, Michael Mann, the man who directed and produced most of the series has finally made the TV-show-that-was-trying-to-be-a-movie into a movie. Over the years Mann has gone from being a pompous-stylistic bore - I remember seeing 'the Keep' at the legendary Valhalla Cinema in Richmond, one of those cienmas that had couches for people to smoke pot down the back, and thinking, what a slow, drawn out crock of shit - to some sort of 'master' that knows how to stage a suagr-shit-sharp modern gunbattle. And nu-MIAMI VICE has some nice gun-battles. In fact the gun battles in this film seem to be inspired by some of the footage from skirmishes in the Middle-east, and the HD-digital photgraphy makes them even more real and cracking. When it comes to violence as poetry or an 'artform' in the fillum-world I rank Mann up there with Kubrick and Peckinpah, some of the violent scenes in this nu-MIAMI VICE are that good. If you don't like any of that stuff, then don't see the film.

The first 40-minutes of nu-MIAMI VICE just fly. It's bravura film-making - guns, gadgets, girls, guts, drugs, spicks, butts, chinks, -Nazi white-trash, yids, bids, and skids. That's just content. Mann uses his mix of HD-digital and film, fast cutting, mad-modern landscapes, arhcitecture and fractured, mini-bite story telling to set everything up. It's relentless, it's confusing, but it cranks. And then...well, Mann being the trendy (hip?) type of 80s-yuppy-guy that he is, decides to try his hand at a Bong Car-Why move and the film falls into a duller than Miami canal-water conflicted luff story. Trust me it was BORING - but then I thought, 'this is just like how every 4th episode of VICE would be' - you'd have Crockett have one of his 'living on the edge of the night' sensitive-new-age-bozo story-arcs. I guess the film is ultimately arse-fucked by the Holly (Charra) Wood paradigm for mainstream idioten story telling - define yr main character, follow his 'journey', love interest, other action - etc.. In this case Crockett is fair and sqaure the main story and the rest are just cyphers. Mind you, Mann does his usual 'subversion' of the paradigm, as he did with the TV show (which I won't say coz you already know). Anyway, once the middle shit is over, action ensues with a great cracking Iraq-Lebannon video feed shoot-out. Farrell is pretty good, though ultimately a slobby bum(he almost seems to turn into Russell Crowe as the film goes on..), as Crockett, he lacks the Southern edge that Don Johnson brought to the original. Foxx is not-much as Tubbs, but who knows he might be moved to the front in the sequel if it emerges. Gina and Trudy are replaced by some butch hispanic J-Lo and a black chick with a great ass. Zito and Zwyteck are made into bigger shleppers than the originally were. And Castill has been replaced by Fat Albert. But don't worry, the Columbian drug-lords are as fantastic and deadly as they always were.

The film is B-grade dreck, pure and simple. It looks fucken GREAT on the big screen like it's supposed to, and credit must be given to Mann for sticking to his dull, downbeat style, than making the film into a camp ejaculation of rubbish like every other worthless TV adaptation.

One thing is certain, Michael Mann surely knows how to make every film he's ever made seem like it was made in 1985.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Lets art-fuck, shall we?

Found this innaresting link about Pommies pondering about modern stuff for a change, but really, I like the pictures!

Being there with Jandek

jandek : glasgow Monday- THE CELL

The worlds greatest ex-rock crit, Richard Meltzer accurately nailed Bob Dylan's shtick to a large extent, when, in his tome 'The Aesthetics of Rock' said something along the lines that 'Dylan frees us from meaning' rather than the other way around (which is the case for 95% of innerlectyul fuckheads, myself included). But there's something incredibly powerful, profound and perhaps transcendental about art that delivers us from meaning. In fact, maybe that’s the thing that makes music 'spiritual' - and in today's milieu, that is a very dirty word (though Terry Riley, in a recent tour in Australia was effortlessly waxing lyrical about the role of rock n roll and popular music being a way for young people to express their spirituality). You could say that it all goes back to that undefinable term "the shit's got SOUL", or if you are the modernist, non-believer - it's got FEEL. Either way if the music's got it, you'll get it somehow. Mr Sterling R Smith aka Jandek aka the Representative from Corwood Industries recently released I think it's his 48th record GLASGOW MONDAY : THE CELL. The disc is another whopping 2-CD set, immaculately recorded from one of his recent UK live shows, and is another bona-fide masterpiece from the man, as far as I'm concerned. A live 'concept' album no-less, in the great tradition of live concept albums, like FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE, TOMMY LIVE @ ROYAL ALBERT HALL , THE WALL live at Krakow or some other place of megalithic grande-gestureness. So Jandek, in his infinite jest gives us his own version of 'The Wall' in THE CELL.

Immediate thoughts: A jail. A holding cell. A good title for a Swans/Michael Gira party-tune, but THE CELL could also mean, a battery, one of those solar things or most importantly, the smallest known living organism. Jandek once again frees us from meaning with the simplest of terms. But let's not get too carried away with his royal Perplexed one here.. The album cover features another jaw-droppingly great example of minimalist art photography with a shot of an ancient looking, possibly Celtic in origin, stone-dwelling that gives some sort of visual representation of Jandek's 'Cell'. The thing that baffles me the most about this album cover is what appears to be a stone table in front of the rock-house:

..I mean, what the fuck is that thing? Is it another of Mr.Jandek's Photoshop tricks?

Anyway I listened to this album straight through this afternoon while cleaning the garden of my own 'Cell':

It was a really pleasant sunny day here in Melbourne-town, a nice break from the crisp but dry (and finger-and-toes-freezing) winter we've had so far and Jandek's hot new album went down a treat and ended just as I filled the green bucket with the last chunk of rotting, possum-eaten lemon that fell of the tree in my back yard.

ANYWAY, I'm gonna attack this album on two fronts, namely the MUSIC and the LYRICS.

THE MUSIC: Jandek on piano. Richard Youngs and Alexander Neilson as the main pick-up band doing Cello-ed Bass and ambient-pavement saw percussion (and I mean really ambient, so you don't think yr listening to Throbbing Gristle or Neubaten or Pussy Galore). Jandek plays a very luverley piano here. I mean the playing here is so staid and quaint you could play it to an old fart who listens to classic-FM and they'd probably like it. It's quite astonishing to hear this type of 'civilised' playing from a bloke who has sonically raped, tormented and psychotically-epsisoded hundreds, if not thousands of left-field brain-splattered listeners over the decades. I mean this record is of the cheese-and-wine and Government-grant 'produced' standard (FOR WHAT THAT'S EVER FERCUCKTEN WORTH)..Yep, it's mature listening for snobby adults. It's a fuckhead's aesthetic-circle-jerk-spunk-bubble-feltch. I could go on... But don't despair. Coz sonically this is another great avant-rock-piano album in the tradition of John Cale and John Cage and Michael Nyman - this record is the antithesis of the 3-Ben's Axis of Evil (Ben Lee, Ben Queller and Ben Fold Five, a sonic threat as truly diabolical as anything Iran/Korea/Syria, Al-Qaeda and Johnny Farnham and the Family First Party could muster). The album still has that rootsy, gnarled and beautiful edge that only Jandek can muster. In fact, on initial listening it sounds like chamber music taken from a Merchant Ivory Production about British noblemen and maidens. The piano aint new to Jandek - his sayonara to the millennium - the fantastic THE BEGINING album featured the magnum-opus that was 'The Beginning' 14 and-a-bit-minutes of Jandek passionately (nuttily, whats the diff?) noodling with his mother's grand-piano the piece being equal parts frustrated catharsis, infantile tinkering and introspective plinking. In GLASGOW MONDAY: THE CELL, Jandek sticks to the introspective plinking, and obviously has some pretty reasonable chops to display. But the real kicker that makes this record something beyond dull wine-and-cheese MOR-plonk is the fact that this record is a 'one riddim rekkid', just like all those old reggae records and the recent 'See Me Yah'/BASIC CHANNEL production. Yep. Jandek plays pretty much the same tune 10 times with slight and subtle variations on each while Youngs and Neilson chip in with their classy tutored-embellishments. Youngs seems to be playing a bowed-electric bass that drones, and slowly and deeply changes keys at specific moments. Neilson uses lots of feed backed-industrial sound washes, jingly bells and ever so slight rattles of wood or something of a similar timber. As a whole the thing has that elegiac feel that isn't dissimilar to rock-works like the recent Reed-Cale 'SONGS FOR DRELLA' or even Lou Reed's MAGIC & LOSS, or imagine a whole record that sounds like that spooky-otherworldly piano on Sonic Youth's 'Providence'. Also the piano sounds similar to the sort of thing you'd hear on some soundtrack to a serious-melancholy arty film. Right now I can only think of bits of EYES WIDE SHUT but there's prolly many others that might be familiar.

LYRICS: Jandek actually sings/talks quite nicely here. In fact he sounds remarkably like Robbie Robertson in parts. The main turn of phrase for THE CELL is: 'What do I have?’ In fact every 'Chapter' starts with the statement 'What do I have?’ which if you care to think about it, isn't that far off from the repeated verse-statement structure that many religious hymns use, and is also used in many of the great poems of the times. In many ways the lyrical content of THE CELL finds Mr.Jandek going from the material to the cosmic to the intergalactic. The whole thing feels like mediation on life/existence/death and his imminent passing from this 'material' world - hence 'What do I have?' coming off like the ultimate challenge to the physical/material paradigm. The stanzas vary from Part One where he talks about the Body/Mind connection, to part two where he talks about modern-life-banality: 'What do I have/Some ability to pay the bills/Well lets get them done!’ Each 'Chapter' gets more and more esoteric in the subject matter and phrases, but no less poetic. In fact as it goes on, it reminds me in FEEL to Goddard’s 'Eulogie De L'Amour' movie, who knows, maybe Godard will get Jandek to score one of his flicks, (or maybe they'll both leave this mortal-coil together in some sort of cosmic-existential-fractal boom?) But his lyrics here are rich with evocation: 'A ship without a crew', 'some bastion I guard', ‘Phoenixed (?) out of here', 'when it's all gone and black, the guardians step aside'.etc..etc..

If there's one film THE CELL reminds me of, it's Hal Ashby's BEING THERE. Maybe it's Jandek's cryptic, meaningful-but- meaningless phrases, the seemingly naive approach he has to making music, and the way at times that it all becomes so effortlessly transcendent. Jandek is like the character Chancey in that film, in that with his 'simple' manner he was able to see through all the complexities and manoeuvres and cruelty in life and see them for the bullshit that they are. Another quote from that film that might equally apply to Jandek is that 'life is a state of mind'. In BEING THERE, Chancy leaves his 'Cell' to embark on some sort of quasi-religious/symbolic journey, not much different to the story Jandek imparts in GLASGOW MONDAY: THE CELL.

Make no bones about it, this album aches, with age.

Peter Sellers in a Jandekian state of mind.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Time outta Joint

Inside the French brain machine

Je T'aime Je T'aime In my younger days I was very influenced by the splatter-brained journalism of FORCED EXPOSURE fanzine on a musical level, but running in tandem was a personal interest in cyberpunk and 'speculative' sci-fi literature. Then, I noticed that FORCED EXPOSURE gave big kudos to similar lit, so I started to become more interested in their coverage of similarly splatter-brain counter-culture lit. Some of the writers they championed were already big in my mental-verse - Phillip K DIck, and some of the Californian trippers like Rudy Rucker and K.W Jeter - two writers who incidentally got big coverage back in FE back in the day. Anyway, in recent times the splatterbrain-psychadelic-cyberpunk sorta genre has become popular in the cinema. Films like the MATRIX and now the adaptation of Dick's A SCANNER DARKLY, lesser know films like the confusing too-smart-for-its-own-boots PRIMER, the hoity-toity promised more than it could deliver DEMONLOVER (including a totally wasted Neu and Sonic Youth soundtrack!) have all tried and failed miserably except in the eyes a few Villgae-Voice/Filmfestival post-fuckstickist indie-cinemah tossers(I mean shit, BACK TO THE FUTURE, is truly INSPIRED compared to some of the recent hipster attempts)...But I digress..The film I'm gonna yak about that prolly set the agenda for the time-outta-joint mind-fuck genre as we may know it, I reckon, is a film called JE T'AIME, JE T'AIME by French Nu-Waver Alain Resnais. Now this film is totally unavailable in legit formats, so I was lucky to see it on a Torrent-seeded bootleg. Set in the late 60s or some other 'modern' time, the story centres around a suicidal bloke who gets selected for some strange top-secret science experiment that involves time-travel. The guy gets stuck inside a giant-brain type machine that suddenly makes him revisit his life in a sorta locked-groove. Scenes start to intercut and jump around, and we slowly learn about why this guy got depressed, but the device puts him into a loop that leads to a pretty bummered out and profound climax. Trust the fucking French. The title 'I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU' obviously mimicking the time-out-joint mind-loop this guy is caught in, and the 'emotional' nature of the loop..Sonically the film has a soundtrack by Krzysztof Penderecki, giving it that ambient-muzique concrete speculative wha? edge, though the sound quality on this boot was a bit like yr typical Velvet Underground bootleg. I'd heard Resnais name thrown around a bit, especially in recent times by Steven Soderbergh, whose last couple of films seem to be pretty much Resnais-by-the-book in terms of how he cuts-up the narrative and the diagenic sounds. JE T'AIME JE T'AIME's use of cut-up is very Burroughsian in it's execution, though it seems Resnais is trying to mimic the movement of a mind trying to piece together bits of experience to form some sort of whole, and yet that whole is never quite reliable (which reminds me I better stop pummeling the Brain cells). Of Resnais previous work I've only seen HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR, which I didn't mind but didn't love, I've still got the Holocaust docco NIGHT AND FOG and the other classic surrealist mind bender LAST YEAR @ MARIENBAD sitting on the 'to watch' pile, but JE T'AIME JE T'AIME seems to have well and truly sated my appetite. Another recent film-maker who seems to owe a bit to Resnais splintered-narrative would obviously be David Lynch, but a bloke here in Melbourne called James Clayden, seems to be screening a similar riff, either way I'm always up to watch these type of psychotronic curiosities, as long as I'm not too tired and narky. Dig the source.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Body Swerve

  1. So I'm back from an extended delay. Though my 'fans' out there prolly don't give a shite, considering the dearth of posted messages left on my Blog. Not much has been happening, and I have been HIDEOUSLY PROCASTINATIVE with this blog thing, prolly coz no-one gives a shit. Yes, I am motivated by positive re-enforcement, despite being brought up in the negative. Blabbing. Me and a friend are considering writing a book on 'shitty Aussie music'. Of the fourth biggest Ingrish speaking cunt in the world, we make some of the most HORRIBLE mainstream (yet obscure to the rest of the world) music known to humankind. I mean, we produce music here that is REALLY, REALLY popular amongst Orsies and them alone, such 'fantastic' bands like Something For Kate , Yo Am I, and 'legends' from the 80s like Uncanny X-Men , and the ultimate KING OF ALL AUSSIE DRECK MUSIC : JIMI BARNES . I have a great story about 'Barnsey'. One night coming home ripped off my tits, they played his track 'Ain't no second prize' on the radio. This was around 1990. The sound of the song, everything from the hysterical blare of his voice, to the wanky guitar solo and deadened chords, to the WAY OVERPRODUCED PLODDING MID-TEMPO GATED DRUM SOUNDS, was just too much. I pulled over and dutifully vomited out the door. So me and my mate are thinking about writing the first 'anti intellectual rock crit book', actually it's more like a mutated version of Meltzer's 'THE AESTHETICS OF ROCK' but for shitty obscure mainstream-Aussie music.

    Random nose-picks off the Zen, right here, right now, by resident rock-crit Failed Carcass:

    1. Jandek - The Cell: Part One , Glasgow Monday. Yep. His latest. Possibly very VERY best. Well at least most 'normal'. Jandek plays sad piano, in tune, with some sort of order, sounding like the piano off Sonic Youth's 'providence', while Lee Ronaldo does fucken pavement grinder ambiance in the background. Jandek says 'What do I have?' and sounds like Robbie Robertson. This one, really, really aches, with age.
    2. Hawkwind - Down through the night. From solemn death dirges to drug fucked ecstasy lurches. Acoustic guitar, shimmering wah-wah white noise, and echoplexed horns. It's kinda hippy, strummy, but it's on drugs, so I guess it's OK. '
    3. Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions - Untitled Track. More dirgey drone. VERY WARM. VERY TRIPPED. This is the best acid-folk record since the Nico one I yakked about. I fucken LOVE it, my favourite record on the 00s. I listen to this at night and levitate. Betcha yr new records can't get you to do THAT!
    4. Captain Beefheart - Her Eyes are a blue million miles. OK. I admit it. Part of the reason I haven't updated this blog is because I had alot of shit on my plate AND I been smoking a wee bit too much pot. I guess that's why the Zen is performing so well, randomly of course. Emmes!
    5. Sonic Youth - Providence (live CBGBs) - seriously I DIDN'T PLAN THIS IT JUST HAPPENED BY RANDOM, I JUST CLICK >. 5 minutes after I just typed the fucker. This is just phone messages and feedback. Not much really. But that random synergy just happened. WEIRD!
    6. Brian Eno - The Big Shit, I mean Ship - it's great how when Eno produced U2 it just musta been the easiest and best paying gig he ever did. I mean he just fucken said 'here you fucken dumb Irish cunts, sound like THIS'. And those dumb Irish cunts did. 'With or without you!'
    7. Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions - Bavarian Fruit Bread - so straight up I get it now. This sounds like Harmonia (Musik Von) with a hot chick with a great voice singing. No wonder its so fucken GOOD!
    8. The Scientists - Human Jukebox - OUCH! I better turn this fucker down. Suicide in a toilet. When Ossie music was interesting at least. More seminal than John Holmes cock. Alot of groovy young bands around Melbourne are sounding like this now. It's kinda cool when you see teenagers trying to sound like this.
    9. Palace - Oh how I enjoy the light. I must admit I really like this Palace stuff, 10 years or so after the fact. It's sounds so 'nice'. But I was never such a big fan of John Denver.
    10. Luna - Bewitched. Tone, tone, tone. This is actually a shitty track. Too twee. There's good tracks on this record. Sterling Morrison played on it too. And played quite well.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Real Wild Adult

Jandek. Someone's ripped a clip off the DVD. Fretless guitar. No chords.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Sun Ra Hendrix freak out:

..Alan Vega always freaked out...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Dicking Around with YouTube

Alot of the sites, blogs and fourms I spend my time not watching TV at, are plugging in some totally WILD and rare videos of great rock and the odd great film trailer. Here are some happy-pills of classic rock, shloch and other ephemera that might keep youse excited for the next five minutes, starting with uber-cult band 'The Sparks' a band who I always though were kinda queer and odd, until I had a good hard listen, but even better was finding my favourite track of theirs 'this town aint big enough for the both of us'..well.. well as ripping live performance by my favourite Pommy contemporary psych band..

And fuckaduck, they even had a fucken LAUGHING CLOWNS video, just top remind me how good AUSSIE POST-PUNK/NOWAVE/ARTROCK was at one stage..

..and the trailer to one of my favourite Spag-Westerns, Corbucci's kick-ass COMPANERO's starring Franco Nero, Thomas Milian and Jack Palance as a stoner!@$!

..arrrr fuggit, I can't help myself, being a kid of the music-video-age, i remember seeing this in many a late-nite-muzikvideo-marathon, the ultimate in 80s neon-cocaine-soft-pr0n dreck, Belois Somme's clip IMAGINATION.. Yo!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The ultimate anti-MOJO live DVD!!

JANDEK - Glasgow Sunday the DVD

From the hand of Corwood Industries themself, I was informed:

"...3. We EXpect The DVD IN September, but it hAs beeN delAyed beFORe.." (Note: Case mismatches were part of the handwriting)

My order from Corwood Industries biggest advertiser, Forced Exposure Industries, is in the WILL be informed....

Saturday, June 24, 2006

ZEN meditation

I was fortunate enough to get one of these spizzy Mp3 player Walkman things. Being the non-conformist that I am, I didn't get an iDop, I mean iPod 1. Because the are still too expensive 2. Because every other fuckstick has one 3. Because the i-Tunes software is the clunkiest piece of bullshit software out 4. Because you can't readily port your device into many other computer, the iTunes software only works per individual machine..etc..etc..Anyway I got this Zen thing coz the sound quality is better, it's got an fm radio and it records so I can use it as a tape recorder. The iDop might have a better design, but I'm a person who prefers FUNCTION over design, any day. Anyway, the notion of buying tape recorded songs off the Internerd to play on this machine doesn't gel too well with me, because ultimately, I like to have some tactile information in my hands like recording notes, lyrics, photos etc,, you know some sort of ARTIFACT. Basically I rip CD's off my own collection, and steal the odd track or twenty off SoulSeek and if I LOVE the music enough, I'll buy the CD and add it to my REAL collection..Anysway, I'm gunna post from time to time random ZEN JUKEBOX top 10s, see what ghosts pop outta the machine, like:

  1. Public Image Limited - Religion2 - not as 'out there' nor 'extreme' as I thought. At least Lydon still sings like a punk BEFORE he went to jail.
  2. Buffalo - Sunrise (Come my way) - Aussie re-issue label Aztec Records finally gave theses 'legendary' lost Aussie stoner rock classics the red-carpet treatment. This plods nicely. Sounds a bit like the Cosmic Psychos, Black Sabbath and maybe Blue Cheer. Only problem is the singer sounds kinda Christian.
  3. Le Sun Ra and his Arkestra - medicine for a Nightmare - nice finger popping be-bop jazz from the late Mr.Ra, offa his 'Singles Collection' which I initially ignored thinking it was too straight. What a fucken idiot I was!
  4. Chrome - All Data lost - The great thing about the Zen Vision is that it has enabled me to listen to music I haven't listened to in year. And it sounds fresher, even better now to my ears. Chrome must figger as one of the ultimate post-punk bands. I wonder if this stuff has dated better than the Butthole Surfers?
  5. Jack Nitzsche - Marie - Off the Rhino-handmade '3 piece suite' CD thats outta print. This is really, really nice West-Coast symphonic pop or transcendent pop for better more learned words. Kinda like a rawer, more down to earth version of the Beach Boys.
  6. Arik Einstein - Hayo Haya - this is something I stole off the Internerd. Israeli psychadelic pop, made sometime between the 6-Day and Yom Kippur war. It sounds Manfred Mann or something.
  7. John Lennon - Nobody told me - I remember this being a MASSIVE posthumous hit in the early 80s. The guitar sound reminded me of all those British power-pop bands of the time, esp. The Pretenders, did they rip him off?
  8. Leonard Cohen - Night comes On - This is off one of those budget Sony 'the essential' series. Sounds like something he did in the 80s. Great lyrics as always, but next...
  9. Derrick May - Wiggin (the remix) - Detroit tegno from the late 80s. Sounds a bit dated, but the thing I like about this stuff is the almost naive approach these guys had to using shitty 80s Roland and Korg synth instruments.
  10. Dragonforce - Through the fire and the flames - ultra-nerd neo-80s Dungeon & Dragons metal. Like Iron Maiden played at 45. Designed to drive you totally meshiger and make you laugh so hard you'll spray beer from nose (thx Ian Jane of DVDManiacs for that line!)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Velvets Influence

Gerard Malanga in the E.P.I

..while John Cale looks on..??!!

I just watched Mario Bava's rare psychedelic/psychological/(bi)sex? comedy FOUR TIMES THAT NIGHT, released by Italian-cult DVD label Raro, who also released that fantastic Velvet Underground/Vinyl DVD. Blog/Black2Comm maestro Chris Stigliano has a great theory about the 'Velvets Influence' on pretty much everything thats' worthy in modern rock music from the Stones to Alice Cooper, New Yawk ponk, heavy metal, Krautrock - EVERYTHING (except maybe hiphop and disco, though there have been acid-house/mash-up covers of HEROIN and VENUS IN FURS, and Edan the white-rapper has used scungy neo-Velvets type sample in his blunted rap, and you could argue 'Waiting for my man' and 'white light/whiteheat' as being floor numbers, and 'The Murder Mystery' and 'All tommorows parties' thump as beinf rap-like, but hey, didn't Lou brag about being 'The Original Rapper' in the 80s.!@#$!#$)..
Anyway it's interesting to note amongst cult-cinema aficionados that MARIO BAVA can be likened to the Velvet Underground in terms of his own influence on the modern-cult type cinema, especially all the Italian giallos, splatter horror films, and well beyond, made even more pertinent as Bava worked in may different genres (tho' not sure he did a Western, but I may be wrong..ANYWAY Tim Lucas of the VideoWatchdog has recently written a 10,000page BIBLE on Mario Bava, so everything will no doubt be explained there..But after watching FOUR TIMES THAT NIGHT, the (indiriect) VELVET UNDERGROUND INFLUENCE (or WARHOL for that matter) on BAVA (who might be perceived as the Velvet Underground of clut-cinema no less!!!_) could not be ignored to these eyes, especially in the scene where they go to that bar for
unusual people, complete with an all-female garage band noodling away in the background! Trust me, you'll NEVER wanna look at that terrible I SHOT ADNY WARHOL flick after seeing this!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Frisky in Frisco.

You reckon they could get Brad Pitt for the Charra-wood remake?

I’m repeating myself here, but I need to, to make this point. When it comes to the giallo, popular thinking immediately places Argento-Bava at the top of the pile, in much the same way the punk-think pleb puts the Velvet Underground or Stooges at the top of the musical pile. And sure these are MASSIVE cannons to fill, but like any well developed innerlectyool mind with a capacity beyond that of an inner-city-sharehouse-groopthink tank, there are just as valid, inspiring and FUN works to found outside the gucheral box. In the case of the giallo

The big problem with Fulci’s work is that too much of it is championed for its barf-bag extremist nature such as films ZOMBI2, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE BEYOND and NEW YORK RIPPER. As a result he has quite a big following amongst genetic-defective grunge-core self-flagellators and people who like watching ‘extreme shit cinema’. Still, Fulci’s cinematic career as a whole, rounds out as one of the most interesting in the Euro-cult world. It was tragedy in his personal life that would effect his work from the 70s on, but it would help create one of the most interesting and mind-bending career paths of any auteur in the modern-cinemah era this side of Roman Polanski. And that’s the big kicker, the fact that Fulci still hasn’t been given the ‘high brow’ kudos as a major European ‘auteur’.

But as in all GREAT ART time is the penultimate judge, and the clock and cultural payback has been very kind to the unsung ‘maestro’. Which leads me to my next ‘non Bava-Argento’ giallo you need to see…

NUMERO QUATRO : ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER (Una sull'altra, 1969)

Made at the arse-end of the swinging 60s, ‘One on top of the other’ doesn’t play like a ‘by the rules’ giallo. Sure there are black gloves and babes in there, but not much splatter and slashing for all you sick cnuts. In fact it plays more like a rip-off-type noir ala DOUBLE INDEMNITY, albeit with a trippy and swinging 60s edge. Popular Euro leading man Jean Sorrel plays George Demurrier (said De-moori-yay), a rich, but dodgy doctor based in a very frisky-Frisco, who has a nagging asthmatic wife and is having an affair on the side with a sexy photographer called Martha. So one night after a hot shtoop, wife happens to wind up dead, but to complicate matters she has left him a massive insurance payout. So all fingers are pointed in one direction…Then while trying to relax in an insanely fantastic strip joint, he becomes entranced by the mysterious stripper Monica Weston, played by the insanely hot Marisa Mell

(yep DANGER:DIABOLIKS’ partner in crime and quality time!), who just looks a little bit like his ex-wife..

Notice the black glove?

Can George prove his innocence? And who exactly ARE all these hot ladies screwing him and his mind? While it may not be a flat out giallo, Fulci’s ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER must rate as one of the seminal (literally, figuratively, and maybe physically for some!) ‘Erotic thrillers’ of the mod-era. Tapping into the late swinging-60s vibe, replete with a very burlesque Jazz-score, lotsa sexy-psych visuals and oodles and oodles of - as Joe Bob Briggs would say – garbonzas, ONE OPN TOP OF THE OTHER is top-shelf, classy cult-trash. But it’s Fulci’s clever twisty plot, his usage oh-so-fine visuals including the odd-jump cut, split-screens and some subtle rear-projections, that make this film more than the some of its parts. And despite some of the narky plot holes and clunky expositions, there is no doubt that Fulci was a fine narrative craftsman, especially in the last twenty minutes, where film gets kinda dark, without someone having to vomit up their entrails or get their eyeballs gouged out, or something similarly disgusting. Many Fulci experts rate the giallo he made after this one LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN – as his best, but I disagree. ONE ON TOP moves better and has a more ridiculous, but no less SATISFYING conclusion, and prolly works better than LIZARD as a whole. In many ways, the film can be seen as a precursor to that very popular American giallo of the 90s’ (also set in San Fran) BASIC INSTINCT, but really, would you rate Sharon Stone anywhere near Marissa Mell?

Soon to be used as an album cover by some shitty nu-punque act.

If you wanna see this film and can’t wait for the Anchor Bay Special Edition that was meant to appear late last year/early this year, you can buy a bootleg from Luminous Film Werks on the Internerd. It’s basically a video copy ported onto a DVD-R. But this film DESERVES the red-carpet treatment pretty soon…

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Giallo! Giallo! This aint the film called 'Vertigo'!

The giallo gloved hand of SLASH!!!!

These days I’m pretty big-time into that Italian-pulp-cinema genre from the late 60s and 70s called the giallo (and NOT the trendy womens' shoe-store chain here in Melbourne!) Personally, in my own head and no-one else's, I reckon it’s the most happening sorta obscure film-genre that the pomo-homos haven’t mined yet. I still don’t know why, since the giallo’s have plenty of themes ready-made for today’s trendies, like class-politics, repression, lesbianism and other kinks, cuckold men, sex, murder, rich people, trendy fashion and funky music, etc..etc..etc…For better or for worse the giallos paved the way for that Americanos genre the ‘slasher’ movie. In their own day, the gialli were pretty much the Italianos ripping off Hitchcock, although they weren’t uppity Poms, so they would show you more titties, more blood, and more sunny skies. The word giallo literally means yellow, and the genre named after cheap pulp-lit crime fiction novels that incidentally had yellow covers. There might be some other significant, deeper, meaning but I’ll leave that for the psych-minors. Oh and the killers generally wear black gloves and funny hats.

Part of my own innarest in the giallo stems from my love of Brian DePalma’s films, sexy Italian women, and probably not much else. Aficionados will automatically point you to the two kings of the giallo genre – Mario Bava and Dario Argento – and their films: Deep Red, Tenebre, Sleepless, The girls who knew too much, Blood & Black Lace and Twitch of the Death Nerve – while all landmark/dogma examples of the genre, aren’t always the best places to start (well in my opinion, anyway). So I’ve decided to pick out of my nose, the FIVE BEST NON-BAVA-ARGENTO gialli that are worth watching, starting with the best-early-De-Palma-movie-De-Palma-never made:


While many more overweight fans of the giallo genre don’t rate this film, I do. Within 5 minutes all the trademarks of the genre are established: gloves, girls, blood and boobs, the opening scene would be ripped off hook-line-and-stinker by De Palma is his sorta-legendary DRESSED TO KILL. It’s got an inherently stupid premise, whereby our heroine decides to move into an apartment block where two previous hot-chicks were slashered, just so the slasherer can attempt to slash her and give us a story. Another good thing about this film, we are introduced to the Numero-Uno sex-goddess of the genre in sexy-Algerian-Italian actress Edwidge Fenech. We immediately get to see her Edwidges and a few other things. Remember the name, as she’s the boss in many of the best non-Argento-Bava gialli.

The Edwidge sangwich!

ANOTHER feature of the giallo is the use of funky-op-art type architecture and visuals. The giallo while being partly pomo-rippoff also prided itself on its modernisma. So you got lots of pan-global settings, and lots of moderne-60s-70s architecture and settings. And also lots of drugs. But that’s another story…

This isn't the Starship Enterprise, nor one of those Yuppy-disco-bars

So in short, THE CASE OF THE BLOOD IRIS, while not delving deep into the mysteries of the human soul and condition, is a good place to start. Sure it aint got all the production values of some of the better films, but it’s got a lot of the basics of what the genre is all about. There’s only one problem though, the DVD is only available as part of the AnchorBay ‘Giallo Collection’ boxset. Bummer!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Jaki Leibzeit Drum Clinic

Rockin out wit Jaki

Life has been getting in the way of this Blog thing of late. Too many family duties, project thingoes, guitar fiddlings, ganjing, werking my gjerkin, and watching some funky Gialli has detracted somewhat. I just watched bits and pieces of the CAN DVD, mainly the CAN FREE CONCERT from the early 70s. One thing is quite clear early on in it - geez who wouldn't want Jaki Leibzeit to drum in their band? A gun, maestro, one of the wildest, loosest and tightest drummerz of all-time, I might even pip him over Ginger Baker or some other twats (that bloke from ROYDE?)...But DON'T DESPAIR! Coming up I have more fantastic toilet-break reading like : My 5 favourite non-Leone Spaghetti Westerns and non-Argento/Bava Giallos. Tasmanian/Melbourne band Keith's Yard: Aussie kids, are Weetbix Kids. Something possibly worthwhile on Vincent Nathali's kinda-whatever-sorta Cybperpunk flick CYPHER, a guided static virtual tour of my house, including shots of Sid my-pet Wolf-Spider, the skank Kubrick tunnel, and my sugar-shitsharp Tasmanian Oak floorboards from the 60s! Who are the important new American auteurs, and does anyone give a shit when Xbox 360 and Playstation3 are on the horizon? Why people ignore contemporary Australian culture (coz its SHIT and run by elitist snobs who have never worked an honest day, nor made an honest BUCK in their lives!) and some other shit I can pluck outta absolutely, positively nowhere, but might be of interest to YEW> Breaker>>Breaker 10-4...................................................................................@#$>...........!

Friday, May 12, 2006

LEGENDS of Country/blues guitar

Don't mess with Rev. Gary Davis - he's a religious man, you know.

Its interesting in these multi-media Internerd days that the best way to listen to music is to actually watch it. Many an innerlectyool goes on and on and on and on and on about the 'authenticity' of music like it's some sort of badge of honour to validate the totally shithouse, trendy, annoying and ultimately DATED music some of them blab on about. All you have to do is look at the LAMERS that write for Salon or Slate or the Villgae Voice or CMJ journal, or...., there are thousands of them out there (me too, but I'm too low-brow and lack diction) with sqaure glasses or fat arses getting paid good salaries to write about some fucking CUCK post-structuralist NOTHING treatise on the Fiery Furnaces or the Curried Arshole Party or the Ex or ...., it's all too easy, and I'm ranting.

ANYSWAYS, some of the best shit you can listen to is on DVD, especially now that is delivers bootiful STEREO or even better DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 or even DTS into your lounge room (if you can afford it).. But one thing the digital age does nicely is polish up the raw and the scungy - like BOOTLEGS, raw FAN RECORDINGS or heck, even old 50s or 60s 'documentary' type recording - like the beauties that appear on this DVD I borrowed from the public library 'LEGENDS OF COUNTRY BLUES GUITAR VOL.2 (Vestapol/Rounder)..Anyway, this DVD is the best ART MOVIE I've seen this year, no doubt. Raw footage taken in some of these blokes' houses or trailers, in fact in one scene you can hear the phone ringing in the background! Dunno how to describe it, but it really puts the 'meaning' of the whole Blues thing into perspective. These were just regular blokes, playing guitar in their own inimitable way - no pretence - and what seem quite clear as the origins of what the snobs call 'outsider' art, but ultimately reps. the DEMOCRITASATION of art in it's purest sense. Sure, we have that now with the fuggen GLOBAL IDOL reality-TV-George-Orwell-'60-minutes-of-HATE'-shite-no-talnet-shows, but this blues stuff was something else. Watch it, listen to it - the pure, raw, fluid, complex playing - and have yr mind blown in chunks. More observations and thoughts to come...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

NICO enrico


I've had this digitalised on my Zen thing for the past
week or so. An intensely beautiful and creative album, you had Nico having some of the best songwriters of her generation, if not all time ply their skills here: Reed, Dylan, Hardin, Cale maybe, and some might say Jackson Browne, but it aint forcken me unless I'm a total ignoramus or a fan of agit-plop (enlighten me otherwise if you could be frucked.) It could easily be pegged as a lost Velvets album, and Siren released that Velvets boxset in the early 90s that even chucked some track on it. Cale, Reed AND Morrison all play on it. ALL great stuff, a no brainer. As a youngerish adult I remember reading some bio on her, I can't remember the name exactly, but it was a total trag-comedy, the funniest part being her love affair with an over-weight biker in Western Australia only known as skvosher! Like Ed Kuepper, Brian Eno and a few others, many people are put off by Nico's monochromatic, Teutonic voice. It's really not that bad compared to say 95% of those indie-shmindie gelechters that get lots of press in the Village Voice and other yuppie lifetsyle rags.

In recent times I've been becoming a more hoity-toity pretentious cunt, epseically in regards to cinema, and got wind of the French drekteur Phillip Garrel, who I think had an affair with Nico, and she DEFINITELY became his muse, even to this day, espesh in one of his more recent flickers, SAUVAGE INNOCENCE.

Benchmark pose/attitude for inner-city boho chicks

Anyway her work with Garrel despite being quite arty, poetic, surreal and torpid, is also a good snapshot of where Nico was at, at that point in her life, which is the gothic, anorexic, junkie look, that incredibly is quite popular amongst some more glamorous sub-cultures of the wealthy mentally ill.

The Inner Scar - geddit?

I am digressing here. LA CICARICE INTERIEURE is the film for which the Nico album DESERT SHORE was the soundtrack, pardon my poor positioning of nouns. For those that haven't heard DESERT SHORE, it's a very folky, Celtic-Gallic, ancient sounding record, like much of the freaky folky shit going at the time. Getting back to CHELSEA GIRLS, well you have one of the truly genre busting freaky-folk indie-shmindie records of all-time right there and then. So for you freak-folk fuckers, get DESERT SHORE and CHELSEA GIRL and twiddle the night away. Getting back to filmic studies...

Nico: A good ad for heroin useage VS.

Emily, who came out of the grave (see Emilio Miraglia killer DVD boxset booty!)

So Nico wasn't in a good way, but she made these avant-garde art-films that have massive, innerlectyool clout amongst the hoity toities and the toitie hoities , and made some of the best freak-folk, post-Velvets third-album muzak of the time. But really it was Reed practicing for BERLIN and the like. So there you have it to chew on.