Saturday, March 24, 2007

some hot stuff around the traps

LAND OF LOOK BEHIND (Dir Alan Greenberg, 1982)For many years I used to tell people I liked reggae when I really didn't. When I was a kid the sound of it used to freak me out. Bob Marley used to freak me out. He looked weird, and at the time (very early 80s) there were all these sex-cults run by Rajneeshies and shit, and Bob Marley looked liked one of those guys who ran such a cult. And that wacka-wacka sound that is the reggae groove seemed weird since I'd never heard something sound like that before...SO I generally stayed away until I was a Uni student, via hiphop and that Gary Clail Tackhead On-U stuff. I sorta dabbled in dub, but still didn't get it..It was just, boring, and didn't really seem 'psychedelic' music. Then this dude I went to Uni with was telling me about all this reggae stuff, and took me to a boring gig by the Wailers, but he lent me this video that was really neat, it was a docco about the history of Jamaica as told by musicians and had all these wild interviews with guys like Lee Scratch Perry filmed in his studio, with dogs and cats and little kids running all over the place, and guys with teeth growing out of their lips smoking pot in cigar sized joints, it all seemed so scungy and raw, and started to seem more interesting. Also all these fucking Israelis and Jewish stoner bums who went to Habbo would be into it, especially the Bob Marley stuff, coz they wore Moogen-Doovids and didn't hate or want to kill the Jews, but all those creeps reminded me of the stoopid hippie love-cults I mentioned earlier... Bit I still didn't get reggae. About five years ago I went to this DJ gig run by that Soul-Jazz record label, and well, for some reason on that night I FINALLY GOT REGGAE! I guess it was hearing it in the right environment, and people playing the right tracks, and mixing it with hiphop and shit like that, but there was something that suddenly clicked. Suddenly this aimless, hippy, jockbonghead music seemed incredibly HEAVY. SO I started learning about the Studio-One and Wackies labels, and listening to records by Prince Far-I and Horace Andy and all this German techno on the Basic Channel label...and these days I pretty much can't get enough of the music from Jamaica. It's just played so well, and there's all these little subtleties and inflections in the guitars and keyboards, and the lyrics seem so positive and soulful...ANYWAY, my new favourite DVD label SUBVERSIVE CINEMA had this upcoming film called LAND OF LOOK BEHIND in their 'coming soon' list online. It was their first 'music' film, and the trailer looked interesting and really raw. The music by GREOGORY ISAACs and BOB MARLEY sounded interesting, but this whole package seemed to fit into that raw pre-digital Studio-One style Jamaican music that I have been hooked on the last couple of years. BASICALLY, LAND OF LOOK BEHIND is a documentary in the trippy-transcendent style of Kraut cinema-hero Werner Herzog. Directed by ALAN GREENBERG who worked with Herzog on HEART OF GLASS (and apparently friends with Dylan etc..etc..) and filmed by JORG SCHMIDT-REITWEIN who shot Herzog classics like THE ENIGMA IF KASPAR HAUSER, WOYCZEK and the awesome THE GREAT ECSTASY OF WOODCARVER STEINER (about a ski-jumper!), LAND OF LOOK BEHIND very much looks and feels like a Herzog film. Greenberg went to Jamaica in 1981 to film Bob Marley's funeral and ended up shooting hours of footage of the locals who live in a dense jungle area of Jamaica called the..LAND OF LOOK BEHIND..

You basically have eccentric characters describing their lives, talking about Jah, smoking lots of pot and thats about it. The film drags a little in the middle, but some great live footage of Gregory Isaacs brings thing back in line. The film was shot in 16mm, so has a raw, grainy feel which adds to it's rootsy ambience. The initial soundtrack music done by electronic muso K.LEIMER has that very trippy

Popul-Vuh synth type vibe that works really well with the surreal landscapes. Extras include some great interviews with Greenberg and Herzog himself, a commentary track and a nifty booklet written by director Greenberg talking about the difficulties making the movie. Also the first 5000 come with a soundtrack CD that has nice tunes by Marley and Isaacs amongst others. The soundtrack has been OOP for quite some time, so hardcore reggae nuts will probably want this pretty soon. All up a good night in with a joint and brew or two.

...I guess everyone in the whole world knows there's a new STOOGES album out. The STOOGES gig at the Big Day Out was one of the biggest disappointments in recent times for Moi. Stuck in a field with 25000 bogens, with the sound waffling through the air and watching Iggy via a video screen wasn't inspiring to say the least. I'd already seen Fat Ron Asheton blow my ears with DARK CARNIVAL and saw IGGY at his legendary BDO gig about 12 years ago, so I'd pretty much seen what I needed too..ANYWAY, I heard some tracks of the STOOGES new rec on the radio, and they made me wanna vomit. The song MY IDEA OF FUN sounded like a shit Sonic Youth song, with Iggy sounding like a male version of Kim Gordon, who any person with an IQ higher that 5 realises, shouldn't be allowed near a microphone. I downloaded the record, and initially it sounded like the last two shitty Iggy albums. Underplayed, over -emoted rubbish. Albini's production is underdone to say the least. The wanker can't record anything that isn't plugged into a wall. His recording of Steve McKays sax is pathetic. Albini really needs to be punched up badly. He's a smart arse dork who thinks he knows everything, but is really a one-trick pony when it comes to recording. His future is well and truly behind him...Pushing that simp Albini aside, though, the real winner here is RON ASHETON. His playing on the WEIRDNESS is FANFUCKINGTASTIC, his solos fly, he still has some weird riffs up his sleeve and the wah-wah still wah-wahs all over the place. Scott Asheton pounds mechanically away, and Mike Watt really pins down the rhythm section, though it'd be nice if Albini recorded it BETTER..and Steve McKay back on board is pretty cool, though I wish he played on more of the tracks..Iggy sings HORRIBLY on some tracks but really well on others, and I don't mind his idiot lyrics, I reckon they're funny. There's some really bad press going around about this record, but I think time will treat it better than well, the real let-down being Albini's uninspired production more than anything chronic...So far my fave tracks are 'Trollin', 'Free and Freaky' and 'Mexican Guy'..It's funny, the better tracks on this album sound like something CRIME woulda done back in the mid-70s, in fact a lot of the album sounds like CRIME, maybe the STOOGES shoulda got Eliot Mazer to produce it instead of Mr.Al-Weeny?

No comments: