Friday, October 01, 2010
such chunks out of my sonic brain of a type I haven't experienced for at least a decade! Deep, deep lo-tech fractal rhythms and sounds from Jamaica, South African, Niger and Syria. A whole untapped UNIVERSE, sheeeit, I feel like I'm working for British Petroleum of Exxon or some shit!
Notes will soon follow, but until then, shake yer bazbozeks!! NOTE: The word 'bazbozek' probably means the profanity you think it does!)
Friday, August 06, 2010
Returning from Gaspar Noe's latest mindfuck, I am sitting here, abuzz and 'a buzzed'. Starting off with opening titles that rock more than the whole 'Speed Racer' movie, Noe sets the audience up for his latest state-of-the-art ART movie ENTER THE VOID. A neon lit night-time panorama arcs to the sky where a 747 can be seen flying over the Tokyo skyline. As Linda (Paz De La Huerta) warns her brother Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) that he's becoming a junkie. Seen POV from here-on, said stoner lights up a pipe of DMT, and pretty soon the fun and games begin, with some of the most stunning 'Expanded Cinema' type 'visuals' seen in a recent movie. Part fairy-tale, part primal scream therapy, Noe delivers a trip that can at times get real bumpy. Great soundtrack by Daft-Punk's Bangalter and once again lensed by Benoit Debie, ENTER THE VOID is business as usual for Mr.Noe. Evoking Kubrick's '2001' and 'Eyes Wide Shut', as well as all the sleaze and crazy visual sexual tricks that litter Shu Lea Cheang rarely seen Jap sci-fi-art-porno IKU , ENTER THE VOID does nothing to dispel the hype that he is quickly becoming today's 'new Kubrick' albiet of more, how-you-say-it - (bodily) fluid variety? ENTER THE VOID puts Noe right up on the top of today's genre/grindhouse pile with say, David Fincher - it's a technological and artistic achievement that is certain to add to Noe's growing, respected and totally geniune 'cult'.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
2666 - Roberto Bolano
I started reading Bolano's first opus 'the savage detectives' around Hannukah time (fuck Xmas) 2008 and finished it around Purim time. I started 2666 around the same time and didn't finish it until Shavoo-us (May) 2010. I found out about Bolano just after I arrived home from a 2 month trek around Europe and America, being totally oblivious of his presence whilst in Barcelona and New York, the Global Financial Crisis, arriving back in Melbourne to discover the hype about him via the Internet in a New York Times article writen by a rapturous Jonathan Lethem. I am now a victim of the GFC, being 6 months and counting unemployed, so I had time to slog through Bolano's magnum opus and what most critics on the planet seem to agree is the first literary masterpiece of this new century. While I don't think it's a masterpiece, it will be hard work to beat in wake of the death of literature as we know it as fucking Internet retardedness takes over fucking everything and I throw this fucking computer down the toilet.....
What appealed to me initially about 2666 is it's title. it sounds like the title of a crazy sci-fi novel discussing a future world that is more than likely taken over by Satan. It presents itself as apocalyptic and modern, and to my depressive, dysthemic mind, sounds like a good time! Bolano himself is a fascinating character. Defintely a South American Kerouac, his nomadic, outsider life and tragic shortened lifespan, coupled with his apparent 'radical' Dadaist attitude seem to automatically put him the the line of literary 'legend'. But we may never know because he's dead. And like all 'the legends' he apparently created a 'movement' of writers called the 'visceral realists'. I'm not sure if it was a real movement, as the announcement of the movement kicks off the 'On-the-road-x10' that is Bolano's 'the savage detectives'. The 'visceral realists' concept is interesting to me as it evokes a South American version of the 'grunge' literature that became trendy in the 90s brought in by the likes of Charles Bukowski, Hubert Selby Jnr, Irvine Welsh et. al and while Bolano's literature isn't unlike those writers, his sheer density of storytelling nous takes that style into a totally different realm.
So back to 2666. It's a massive book told in 5 parts that all intersect into a giant pan European-South American-American epic:
1. 'The part about the critics' – talks about four fuckhead critics/academics who are brought together in search of an obscure 'Italian' poet called Archimboldi and end up into a love quadrangle before leading into..
2.'The Part about Amalfitano' – who is some some Chilean guy that had a baby daughter Rosa with a crazy woman called Lola who went off to screw some schizo gay poets, then Amalfitano goes crazy himself.
3.'The part about Fate' - concerns an afro-American journo Oscar Fate who interviews a legendary black boxer, then goes to the Mexico border to report on a boxing fight and learn about some murder in a town called Santa Teresa, where things go really dark..
4.'The part about the crimes' – well someone had to out CormacMcCarthy Cormac McCarthy
5.'The part about Archimboldi' – goes to Germany where we learn about the mysterious poet who started the whole journey off..
So what can I say about all this? Well it took me a slow 5 months to read, and it's definitely an ambitious work, and I guess it's a masterpiece of some sort, simply because of the nerve Bolano had to write such a sprawling work. It reminds me of Sonic Youth's 'Daydream Nation' or the Beatles 'white album' or the Velvet Undergrounds' 'sister ray' - long, intricate, fractal (repeating myself) works that have to be absorbed in their entirety to at least get some idea of what they're trying to do. In the case of 2666 it's to ultimately tell this big saga that seems to invert back to a town called Santa Teresa in Mexico, that could quite simply be the true portal of hell. (NOTE: It's too literal and large to be compared to Burroughs, and also too intellectual, as it doesn't have the canny pulp coolness of Burroughs or Boris Vian, and I guess thats why I didn't perceive it to be as such a masterpiece as some thought it to be)
One of the the sad things about reading a book like 2666 is the awareness that literature is dying a slow death, that there will be no renaissance, that the bogans are going to take over fucking everything while Rupert Murdoch, Exxon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook fuck everybody into infinity. Shit I'm contributing by posting this on this here blog. Bolano was totally into the pretentious, elitist nature of literature, and his books teems with an academic/critics knowledge of cultural minutiae, not unlike British author Stuart Home. It's like an awareness that the only people that read this shit are intellectuals that know and are learned in the art/literature movements in history, and I guess this is part of the challenge that Bolano tried to confront in order to keep literature alive. He must have been aware that readers of 'Twilight' and 'Lord of the Rings' would never read 2666, but then again, there's no reason they shouldn't. I really like how it's too massive to be a 'trendy' book, and I still only know one person who's read it, and I suggested it to her!
2666 was ultimately a book written by a guy knowing his time is running out, knowing that our time is running out, knowing that this is the sort of book that should be read when you are doing time, whatever that may be.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
In my last post I did the boring nerd thing and listed my favorite stuff of the passing decade. One of the movies I forgot to mention that I really loved was David Fincher's ZODIAC, which I saw in the cinema. While I like it at the time, it seems to have fit into my current state of mind/anxiety, for ZODIAC is a brilliant existential horror film about he passing of time, and the reality that closure often doesn't happen. Like the brilliant Junior Kimbrough album of the same name. There's little doubt that Fincher is one of the most influential film-makers of this era, his deft use of modern digital technologies, electronic image filtering has created a trademark style emulated to death the world over. Personally I was never a big fan. I found Se7en to be a lame copy-cat of Silence of the Lambs, and another log in the fire of the crummy 90s and 00s 'torture-porn' genre dedicated to the suburban boogie man, the 'serial killer'. FIGHT CLUB is a film I love more in theory rather than practice, it reminds me of a typical Dario Argento film where 'the good bits' far outweight the film as a whole. I never saw THE GAME, PANIC ROOM was just camera tricks and tech, and BENJAMIN BUTTON was trying to be some sort of MIRIMAX movies, while sad and romantic, wasn't really memorable.
But for me ZODIAC is Finchers finest moment so far. The first 30 minutes of this film are the most terrifying in recent memory. Fincher films murder scenes in a cold, clinical and hyper-real manner, immediately reminding me of Kubrick's THE SHINING and mosdef FULL METAL JACKET. People die in clinical and painful ways, numbing us. and then the film turns, we are introduced to the triumvirate of major characters - an obsessed cartoonist, a substance abusing post-hippie journo and a cops who doesn't need another murder case. ZODIAC then becomes a heavy, European style art movie about character locking into an obsession of catching the killer, following cryptic patterns, faulty bureaucracies, but mostly, the basic trudgery of life going on, relationships falling apart, age wearying passions and obsessions, but always chasing that final clue...death? Failure? Who-dunnit? No-one knows. As the world crumbles slowly, via corporate dogma, middle-class denialism, global warming, the killers get away, like in Bolano's 2666 or as Jnr Kimbrough wisely said "Most Things Haven't Worked Out". Not just 'scary' - terrifying.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
And so it is, my first blog for the year after a longish hiatus since I didn't really have much to write about since I wasted a hell of a lot of time cucking around on that Facebook thing trying to improve my popularity and fame and contribution to the world of aesthetics and other ephermamamia.
So in the past few days of this new year, I have been filling my void with much music of a droney/satanic/spacious variety, mainly due to the fact that I have been driving around in my car listening to long passages of noise and drone to fill the blanks. Starting off with SUNN 0))). Now this curiosity in this psychedelic metal stuff was piqued earlier in 2009 after witnessing the legendary Seattle grungers the MELVINS - a glorious cacophony of expertly wielded and intensely heavy, PUNK informed metal, as most of the best metal is. I never really got into the Melvins, I found them too bogan and one-dimensional for my sensitive tastes, but then I essentially go for the psychedelic/subtle movements in music, often revelations in art come to me unexpectedly rather than furiously mining for the new and fresh. So I downloaded some of the Melvins records and realised why I never got into them in the first place, the records all sound pretty one-dimensional and obvious, much like 98.999999789% of heavy-metal-grunge-punk stuff. Earlier this year, and as reported on this blog, I was blown away by Jim Jarmusch's latest Zen mind-bender movie THE LIMITS OF CONTROL. In that film, as in most of Jarmusch's work, his cinematic experience is informed by left-filed and experimental musics. Jarmusch often mines a classic hipster 70s stylee music field, concentrating on exotic and transcendental rock stylings, from 50s rock n roll to Neil Young psychedelics. Early in the 00s he collaborated with the WuTang's GZA for the soundtrack to his cool GHOST DOG fillum a seamless collaboration as GZA's droney triphop stylings met comfortably with Jarmusch's offbeat visions. Anyway, in LOC Jarmusch's has mined the psych-metal drone scene with music from the likes of Sunn0))), Boris and Texan shoegazers the Black Angels. I imagined these drone-metal groups to be kinda like Black Sabbath, and alas that is what they are, albeit with a more updated flavour that borrows heavily from New York art-minimalist composers like early John Cale, Tony Conrad and the intense trance drone of LaMonte Young (I was fortunate enough to sit in Young's 'dreamhouse' for about 40 minutes last year, imagine the sounds of a 50s sci-fi UFO blasted full bore through 4x4 rock speakers in a yoga practice/techno raveparty chillout room!)..Another band featured in LOC is OM, who I saw last year in Brooklyn, and whilst at the time wasn't totally blown away by their bass/drums harmonia, I was compelled enough to purchase their album Pilgramage, which has grown on me via my 'in car' listening ventures. The thing I'm finding interesting in these drone-doom bands is their investment into ancient Gnostic Middle Eastern /European religious thought and poetry. OM are Greek-Americans, and are probably the most rocking Greeks on the planet this side of J.Mascis, Vangelis and Jimmy Sfetsos. So the OM crew like to mumble about 'godheads', 'Lazarus', and blokes with crazy beards that wear black and still look Old Testament-like. Sunn 0))) I dunno what their religious/satanic affiliations are besides probably shooting heroin with fat hillbillies from Seattle. Their MONOLITHS&DIMENSIONS record come packaged in this nice slipcase. I was also interested to find that Aussie noise-legend Oren Ambarchi is a member of their nebulous collective. Opening bulldozer 'Aghartha' kicks off proceedings with a deliciously thick sound of an over-distorted guitar, so perfectly overdriven that it's almost like they are reminding you what was so exciting and terrifying about the sounds of an over-distorted electric guitar in the first place! These guys revel in the sound of an over-distorted guitar chord, and apparently their live concerts are the things of modern psychedelic-rock legend. It seems quite clear why Jarmusch used these guys, their sound isn't that far removed from Neil Young's 'live rust' and more pertinently WELD explorations. But that's where things stop. Sunn 0))) as I mentioned previously are informed by experimental sound-scapes, and I'd also throw in the crazy-junky hoity-toity New York art expermenta of Diamanda Galas and even the Swans. But where I hated the inbuilt nihilism of those 80s artists, these guys keep things kinda 'warm'. The grand-canyon guitars segue into some Eastern-European Vlad-the-Impaler lunatic grepsing in the lowest most evil sounding growl this side of Darth Vader. The lyrics are strange and expansive, singing about exploding universes and apocalyptic battles for chaotic reform ??? Yeah maybe I'm losing it! They sound like a death-metal band on 33. But then they throw in these Biblical choirs and MetalMachineMusic layers of textured noise so next thing you feel like you may have suddenly tuned in to a 3MBSfm classical music hour. Horns then crash in like some Biblical epic, but they don't remodel that shit into the lousy limp American-Judeo-Christian mainstream of 'niceness and lies that help you become rich materially if you follow our dogmatic rules'. They model it into the harsh, trugeoning, dirge across the Exodus that the Old Testament is. I mean if you don't believe, open your nearest copy of 'the Book'. But it don't stop there, the Eastern-Euro growler in Sun 0))) seems to be conjuring demons in some sort of middle-ages battle between pagan Earth Gods and the man made hell of the Crusade, its like the best soundtrack to a wonderfully satanic Lucio Fulci masterpiece like THE BEYOND or CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD!!!!!! AAAAAARRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!
So taking a break from all this pleasant synapse-feeding meshigarse I picked up this re-issue of Aussie-Adelaide noise-punk psychos GRONG GRONG. I used to read a lot about these guys in the pages of legendary Aussie underground-rock journal B-side, but like B-side bands, the artists involved were helpless drug-casualties and being under-aged it was difficult to sneak into gigs to experience these godhead punk compostors. GRONG GRONG are the sound the Birthday Party left behind. In Adelaide. Feral as all fuck their music makes me want to shave my bumfluff with a broken VB stubbie! The interesting thing about GRONG GRONg is their uber-hardcore trash-slash style. They inject amphetamine psychosis into the Birthday Party sound, and Charlie Tolnay's incredible slash-wash of noise and riff is the first to acknowledge the genius of Rowland S Howard's similar, yet more stylistic pioneering sound. Henry Rollins compared RSH's style to Antonin Artaud if he had an electric guitar, but it's probably wiser to give that title to Charlie Tolnay. His guitar kills, slashes, burns, cuts and absolutely fucken flies through the murk of most of the lo-fi noise on this CD, but it becomes clearer in the murky live footage of GRONG GRONG, that appears on the complimentary DVD. First and foremost, GRONG GRONG were a HARDCORE PUNK band, albiet of a more expansive and seminal kind.
Which brings me to contemporary Melbourne noise-punk heroes ZOND. I saw them earlier this year and they were a blast. The have this drug fucked girl on guitar who seems to be the Melbourne un-glammed version of New York's Julia Cafritz(pussy galore) and three nerdy blokes on other guitar and rhythm section. The other guitar bloke has a rack of around 20 shit noise boxes, basically switches them all on, until it's a bleeding surround-sound wash of white noise, as the rhythm section blasts away in motoritik precision. It was like watching My Bloody Valentine do their 'noise' section of 'you made me realise' cut up into discrete, Sex Pistols-like punk 'tunes'. And it was awesome. Happy New Year to you all.
.....It's the end of a decade so I'm trying to throw in my 'best of' list for this decade, and whilst I was listening to a lot of 'reissues' of glorious old shit like Bob Dylan and the La's and the Coloured Balls amongst many others, there was still time for new pleasures, books, films, comics, movies, books...
- VocalCity- Luomo (album) - Northern European luxurious techno house. Still holds up. Great neo-80s sequencing and set the tone of techno pop for the decade.
- Rhythm and Sound – album of totally awesome dubbed out neuvo krautrock that cracks, pops, hisses, depth charges and sends you into a very strange and sedate place..
- The White Stripes – Elephant – took me a while to take to these punks, but after seeing them live and do an incredible mash-up almost techno type gig, I understood why they were and may still well be 'the future of rock'
- The Drones live at the Tote – as part of this Spooky Records thing, at which my friends the Double Agents were playing. I heard the Drones do their scree by accident live on PBS fm and seeing them live, play the 'cockeyed lowlife of the badlands' was a totally modern Oz-rock experience. I felt like I was back in the POW circa late80s!
- Mullholland Drive – Lynch
- Paria – French movie shot on digital. about a young guy trying to get home.
- YiYi – Korean film
- Punch Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood (films)
- Discovering the cinema of Bresson, Chabrol, Rohmer, Antonioni, Giallo and euro cult cinema, Nicholas Ray, Tarkovsky, Larry Cohen, Sergio Leone, Robbe Grillet, Jodorowsky, Zulawski, anime and STAN BRAKHAGE.
- Collateral and Miami Vice – I grew up on Miami Vice in the mid-80s and rediscovered Mann's cinema work once again. HEAT is possibly the greatest American crime movie of the last 20 year. With Collateral and Miami Vice, Mann started using DV and Hdv in order to get better clarity on his tecture of skies, namely sunsets and clouds. The result whilst not totally mesmerising dramatically, is a gas for the other senses.
- A.I, Minority Report and War of the Worlds – Spielberg get back to his sci-fi roots, and whilst the films still had his daggy 'happy endings' were still state of the art.
- Discovering William S Burroughs – oh yeah. Esp. 'the ticket that exploded'
- Discovering Boris Vian – oh yeah oh yeah. Esp 'the dead all have the same skin' and the even just as totally nuts and wild 'I spit of your graves'!!!
- 100 Bullets comic – unbelievable comic artistry. Opaque, hardboiled and terrific saga about a war between ultra-crime gangs.
- MPD Psycho - an absolute mind bender. A cop has multiple personalities, tries to solve some bizarre murders, then finds he is part of a larger mind control conspiracy that includes cult-like rockstars, programmed assassins and some bizarre Government experiment that has become an all-out war between some sort of psychic freaks and something else. Includes some of the most amazing mindblowing action pieces I've ever seen in printed form. A hijacked 747 crashing into the bow of a massive cargo ship/drug laboratory anyone?
- Jodorowsky's THE INCAL, Technopriests and Metabarons intergalatic sci-fi epics. Totally and unremittingly mind-blowing and brilliant. Fuck Freud and Jung, and take Jodorowsky's intergalactic, brutal and beautiful sagas.
Curb Your Enthusiasm – I can't understand how brilliant this story of my fantasised life is! And funny too! The Pianist (Polanski) – the greatest Holocaust story ever told. The triumph of art over adversity has never quite been demonstrated in narrative form like this movie. Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch) – meditative and fantastic. The Savage Detectives and 2666 – Roberto Bolano. Hmmm, it's like literature is dead right? All pomo-homos and diary-keeping fucksticks that become rich and global. I didn't like Savage Detectives. Bolano just seems like a Kerouac for this era. But I persisted and getting to the end of his long psyhotropic road-epic it all seemed to make a totally unclear sense. Are aesthetics dead? I've only just started 2666, and whilst he seems to be mining similar fields, this time something weirder and stranger is going on. Is reality cracking at the seams? Is this James Joyce meets Philp K Dick. The attack on the simulacra of modern life begins! The Road (Cormac McCarthy) – it was devastatingly awesome. And now there's a film. Whatever. Platform (Michel Houllbecq) – French grump who was also devastatingly awesome, but funny too! Lou Reed live – well when he came out for 'Ecstasy'. The first 15 minutes were worth every cent. Shame it became dull whiny shit after that! Marilyn Manson – best American corporate American hard-rock show razzle dazzle. I find his music cheesy and lame, though I don't mind his single, but live his fantastic bands and wild stage show was probably like what glam rock was like back in the 70s. Synecdoche NY (Charlie Kaufman) – one of the great American art-films of the last decade. The WIRE – TV series. What can I say. Masterpieces never stop. So why complain? Sin City (Rodreguez) – the sexiest and best comic book adaptation of all-time. Easy. Children of Men – best sci-fi film of the decade. Best film as comic book too! Missy Elliot – live techno, hyper-media-multi-mix show, like a KISS concert but now. And I guess that's why it was only 45 minutes long! Finally seeing Spritualized live – the were fucken awesome, an ecstatic arsed-kicked shot of space rock. Seeing GEORGE CLINTON/Parliament live – unbelievable that a guy who is 60+ years old can play for like, what? 3 hours? Amazing. Seeing NEIL YOUNG live – Greendale which while being a bit hippy/Canadian and ODD, was fantastic. Sitting only 7 rows from the front was better. As was the spliff I had during the encore! And the sound was beautiful. A perfect night!
- Seeing the PIXIES live. My brother saw them in the late 80s and described them as 'thrashy' back then. I'd purged them from memory and was half-arsed about going but it was a worthy punt. They were more 'cow punk' and intense than I expected which was a surprised. But once is enough.
Gym and yoga – I love it. Not that I want to get massive. An Iggy Pop physique will do me nicely! Yoga, chill me out, and I get to perv on MILFs at the same time. Can't lose! Brendan Fevola, Eddie Betts, Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs, Jarrod Waite, Matthew Kreuzer, Mark Jamieson, Nick Stevens, Michael Jamison – all gave me hope for my footy team Carlton who experience the apocalypse this decade! Two wooden spoons, cheating, drunk bum president, going bankrupt and ..redemption! As much as other people hate them, a good, strong Carlton is still 'good for footy'!!
- Playstation 3 – I think this is the greatest 'toy' ever. Blu Ray, games, internet connectivity, can watch downloaded .avis, and umm CALL Of DUTY MODERN WARFARE etc...
- Oh shit where is the addiction/mental well-being therapist?