Monday, January 29, 2007

Favourite songs


  1. RIVER SONG - DENNIS WILSON : The sound of what happens when a Beach Boys finds god and cocaine simulataneously. Also he was the drummer, so this piece of ULTRAPURE (columbian) pop swings and rollicks in its epic glory. You WILL beleive.
  2. FINAL SOLUTION - PERE UBU : Flat chat white-soul-funk. Laughner's guitar solo is the great air guitar solo freakout ever.
  3. BLANK FRANK - BRIAN ENO : simulataneously acknowledge the Velvet Underground and Bo Didley, throw all meaning once the beat kicks in and the machine gun electronics take over.
  4. HOLIDAYS IN THE SUN - THE SEX PISTOLS : smash your head! smash the fucken!
  5. OH SWEET NOTHING - THE VELVET UNDERGROUND : more religious hand-holding, the song 'Hey Jude' never was!
  6. FOUND A JOB - TALKING HEADS : just for the last 5 minutes where they rip off Parliament.
  7. ROCKS OFF - THE ROLLING STONES : more mileage out of a high E chord than any band except the Velvet Underground.
  8. BOSS HOSS - THE SONICS : this song makes me want to get drunk in a good way.
  9. MOTHER SKY - CAN : a song that starts in the midlle of a song and never stops with the second best guitar wank lead break ever
  10. BONZO GOES TO BITTBURG - this song by the Ramones makes me cry.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

About a tree and a well

Painting a Quince

As you can see from my reviews, I like to mix the very high with the very low brow's of art, though my general orientation is towards the low-brow stuff...But every now and again I like to have my synapses massaged by some really slow, really artsy-fartsy Euro cinema, where nothing happens, landscapes are everything, psychology is thrown out the window and EXISTENCE is all that matters. Victor Erice is one of those Euro directors I describe as 'elemental'...His films ooze natural rhythms and colour, most of them being orange browns and dark greens, and the sounds are ambient winds and rains. I saw his 'Spirit of the Beehive' a few years ago in a cinema after smoking a few joints, and yes the slow languid arthouse pace was almost putting me into a coma, but there was something else going on, from the rustling trees to the endless landscapes to the slow shots of a young girl walking across a barren landscape – the whole spaciousness of the film riveted me. Erice's cinema's is organic and wide. So after having it sit on my shelf for some special occasion I pulled out his 90s film 'El Sol Del Membrillo' (the Quince Tree of the Sun), which is basically 2 and a bit hours of Spanish painter Antonio Lopez painting a quince tree (interesting to note that Lopez does lots of moderns urban landscapes). Yep, a movie about a guy painting a tree. Now this is no ordinary tree, a Quince tree is like a pear tree. The Quince has a firm, rounded texture and is is bright yellow. It is, by for all intents a purposes and very 'artistic' tree, in that is has lots of surfaces and textures. Erice doesn't miss a beat in capturing thought surfaces and textures, but then capturing the more important aspects that surround or enliven the tree visually – light, shadows, visual composition. This is a move as a painting and a film about making a painting. Erice takes the 'visuality' of cinema to the core of all visual art – painting – a makes it interesting in it's own right.

The jungle

In between Lopez battles with elements, talks with other artists about like and art, while the world around his changes in complex synchronicity with his emerging work. This is deep stuff without hitting you on the head with morality and psychology, it's a film that just happens – a tree grows, a painter paints it as it grows, and then the fruit falls, dies, decays until next season. Life.

Life is a rotten quince..

The DVD I got is a killer, it's a Spanish release with English sub-titles. It's not perfect hi-def quality , but image quality is nice, there are screen artifacts to keep it all real – the print is approved by Erice himself. There's also some great extras including s Spanish TV interview with both Eric and Lopes and a fantastic video sketchbook of Lopez painting done by Eric himself. All up a quality film and a quality, 'exotic' DVD package.

I finally watched the bootleg I've got of Budd Boetticher's fantastic western 'the Tall T'..Boetticher is quickly becoming 'the bloke' when it comes to American westerns in my headspace. His compact, violent and meaningful B-westerns are all worthwhile. The ones I've seen – 'Seven men from now' and 'Commanche Station' – are all A-grade stuff contrary to their status, but 'the Tall T' is what I'd call a killer. Randolph Scott once again plays the good moral guy Pat Brennan, who comes to a small outpost and promises the son of a friend some candy. On the way though he loses his horse, and hitches back with a newly web couple. Upon return to the ranch they find it taken over by ruthless thugs, his friend and son both murdered, and a hostage situation ensues when the pussy-husband uses his wealthy wife as a bargaining chip for their freedom. This is dark, violent stuff, especially for a 50s movie, but it proves that
even in violence and immorality you can still play tough but fair: Brennan shoots the motherfuckers in the front not back, which in todays fuckhead world is the norm.

Dont mess with Mr. T..!

It's also proudly politically incorrect, having one of the thug be a psycho Asian called 'Chink. Scott is once again solid as a rock, Richard Boone adds complexity to Frank Usher, the thug's leader, and Henry Silva, known for his roles in Italian poliziescos, like the classic 'Manhunt', plays the outta control 'Chink. It's a crime that such a great, brutal Western like the 'Tall T' isn't on DVD, and buggered if I know why it's called 'The Tall T'!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Turkish Delight!!!

This film looks totally fantastic. And that psych-guitar!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

On a faraway beach...

Sealers' Cove : 4th Jan, 2007, 7:41am

Heppy News Year! (well thats how my mum says it)..And according to my horoscopes this will be my best year in 10 years because Jupiter is in the way of Saturn blocking out the view of Pluto rising between the Sun and the moon and arrr, fuckit...Anyway hopefully they represent something good since 2006 was officially a grande annulus horribulus for this blogger... So I kicked off 2007 with a 20km round-trip hike that has left me awed and sore..As you can see the loverly beach I ended up at was called Sealer's Cove down a Wilsons Promontory, one of the most spectacular spots on this here lucky-Cunt called Australia. And it was all WORTH IT. This was one of the first decent hikes I been on for nearly 14 years. The last was in the early 90's, climbing Mt. Warning in Northern NSW, and before that, I went on a hike to the Dead Sea in Yeretz Yisrool on my birthday , to be treated to 'Biblical' views of some desert and Masada, coupled with soldiers graduating and F16's buzzing the joint. It was pretty kewl...

But back to the bizniss of this Blog, which is me talking shit about shit I like. 2006 was a Pathetic year for anything 'new'. No interesting music, a smattering of films and book. So I'll start:

BEST MUSIC 2006 : THE ZEN VISION:M 30gig multi-media MP3 player etc...I finally was bought of those new Walkmen things after 5 years too late, and after research picked the Creative anti-iPod. It sounds great, has a video player that I never use, displays photos, magazine, Podcasts etc... So basically I have been digitising my own records that I hardly have time to listen to and listen to them again. Rediscovering that Nick Cave is horribly dated and BORING and should be put out to pasture, indie-music of the 90s doesn't cut it with me at all for the most, though the first couple of Palace records could be genius. Yo La Tengo are another band with a serious law of diminishing return , up there with Dinosaur, Pavement, shit ANYTHING on Matador Dreckords. The first Teenage Fanclub record and SeaMonsters by the Wedding Present were the best two English records of the 90s, or even this decade for that matter. Techno music is as dated as Nick Cave. Hip hop has a great future behind it. BOOTLEGS ARE THE ONLY WAY> Unadulterated, shitty recordings of bands in their prime (or worse) never seem to date. Hence I been listening to bootlegs by the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Palace Music, etc..etc... But the BESTEST sonic adventure this year would hafta be the bootleg DTS-DVD 4.1 mix of Pink Floyd's DARK SIDE OF THE MOON...Yep, the ultimate drongo album, biggest selling record of all-time bootlegged off a SURROUNDSOUND mix done in the 70s by Alan Parsons or someone, and it sounds t-riffic, especially on my 5.1 surround system. In fact it's one of the very few 'surround' recordings thats worth the listen on this new format. And it's FREE via a torrent download which took me nearly three months to complete. Oh well, good things take time I guess.

BEST FILMS : a few goodies actually: 1. MIAMI VICE – coulda been better, and really it was just an episode of the TV series with a bigger budget, more explosions, blood and swearing, but boy was this film one of the nicest to look at this year, if anything else (and aint cinemah supposed to be a 'visual' medium?)
2. CLIMATES – Turkish arthouse film, also done on the HiDef digital. Like all decent arthouse films, the story of a love-affair breakdown, done with slow shots, landscapes and a pretty rough and ridiculous sex scene. It also looked really nice and moderne just the way I like to see movies.
3. THE PASSENGER – Antonioni's 'lost' movie got a cinema release before getting the 'budget' DVD
release. Jack Nicholson goes for an identity swap in an Arabian desert while getting to bonk Maria Schneider and then have something 'mysterious' happen.

4. THE RED DESERT – yeah so I been on a bit of an Antonioni trip this year, watching the Passenger, La Notte and L'Eclisse, this baby got a semi-decent DVD release here in R4/Australia. LURVELY and surreal movie and Antonioni's first in colour, so he's made everything pretentiously perfect and lurid and composed, but fuck, thats alright with me. But the RED DESERT is foremost seminal , esp. on the like of Tarkovsky, and sheeit, even the Turkish guy who made CLIMATES.

another faraway beach : The Red desert

5.SUCCUBUS - I also been on a bit of a Jess Franco trip. Yeah, that crazy Spanish guy who is compared to Ed Wood Jr, and made really bad pornos, but his late 60s/early 70s stuff is really, really good – shit I'd say 'great'. Geared specifically for the 'counter culture, Swinging 60s crowd', Franco's drug-fried kinky mod-sex sagas make little sense, over-use the zoom-in, but generally have great soundtracks, sexy-chicks, confused vampires and sex- demons and shots of exotic locales. If you have at least 3 seconds of time for say David Lynch, you'll have plenty for Franco. SUCCUBUS involved some woman who does a live S&M show, some guy who wants to bonk her, trippy soft-focus nude frolics and people namedropping Stockhausen and the Rolling Stones. I mean what's NOT to like?

6. THE PARTY GIRL – got this off a torrent. Nick Ray does it again. Hard-boiled story of a stripper and her links to the mob. Shot in Scope, it's as colourful and gay as a musical is supposed to be, even the bits where a mob psycho pistol smashes a guy in the face! Yep.

7. MATCH POINT – Voody Ellen does a good one. In fact he does a Chabrol film but with Scarlett Johansen's ass in it. This will prolly be the last decent film Ms. J does before she becomes the new Melanie Griffith or something.

8. THE RED QUEEN KILLS 7 TIMES – you know what, I can't get enough of these crazy European psychological ghost/vampire films. From the hot Euro babes, to the crazy stories of infidelities to the wonky mythologies of hauntings and vampires, to the classy Modish locations and decadence. Yep it's all so early 70s exploitation, grindhouse vernacular cinema and while some may pass these films off as camp and trash, well there seem to be heaps more going on (thematically, visually) than yr general arty-farty flick and they're FUN to watch to boot, well at least better than drunken fathers and gay cowboys – thats for sure!

9. THE DUST DEVIL – I had reservations about this flick and the guy who made it – uber goth-geek Richard Stanley – who made one of the worst, most rubbishy films I've ever seen (but a cult with heroin addicts and fans of industrial music like Ministry)HARDWARE..I read an interesting article with Stanley in a book a few years ago and he was crapping on about Leone and Tarkovsky, and how DUST DEVIL was him trying to be like that..Well sorta...More Leone than Tarkovsky, the film is really 90s pulp-kitsch, but it had enough moments to keep me in there, and the fact that it was a genre film that was creating it's own mythology made it a moire than interesting experience. I guess the fact that this was an el-cheapo release with 5 discs of doccos and interviews of varying quality prolly touched my inner schnorrer more than some other grander aesthetic thing, but in the end I enjoyed the sucker more than say the Departed....

10. MARY – Abel Ferrara is still one of the best directors in America, and seem to be the only director who knows how to get a performance out of Matthew Modine. MARY made PASSION OF THE CHRIST look like the bloated, gory, self-important and ultimately stooooopid film that it was. Unlike Gibson's chest-beating Fulci movie, Ferrara actually gets
religion and its inherent paradoxes, without actually having to preach it.

11. A SCANNER DARKLY – just. Not a great film, but still the most 'literal' and true PKD adaptation.. He coulda done just as good a job without the bullshit Macintosh animation crap.


Hmmmm....I really liked James Lee Burkes' TO THE BRIGHT & SHINING SUN, Jonathan Lethem's AMNESIA MOON, Burroughs NOVA EXPRESS & Artuads WATCH FIENDS & RACK SCREAMS..

...non-fictionally I dug FX Feeney's MICHAEL MANN coffee tabler, Legs McNeil's THE OTHER HOLLYWOOD, and Mikel J Koven's LA DOLCE MORTE about the giallo genre.. the very worst book I read was Bret Easton Ellis' LUNAR PARK. What a piece of shit.