Thursday, June 23, 2011

MIX - Shivers, Part I - Softly Scintillating

I was going to make a post today on The Chills in continuation of my intended theme, but instead I decided to make a mix of songs that GIVE me chills, and save the Chills and Flying Nuns posts for next week. This going to be hard because most of the songs for this particular mix were posted on a mix a while back Anyways, this is an epic 4 part mix entitled "Shivers." Here is part one, definitely the subtlest of the four. Expect the last 3 to be up by Sunday night.

Shivers, part I: Softly Scintillating


01) Simon Fisher Turner - Isles of Spice
02) Turner, Eno, & Jarman - Chapter 2 - Open your Eyes
03) Fripp & Eno - Wind on Water
04) Wim Mertens - Darpa
05) Michel Polnareff - Wandering Man
06) Robyn Hitchcock - Cathedral
07) Legendary Pink Dots - Home
08) The Durutti Column - Wheels Turning
09) Weekend - Nostalgia ('81 Demo)
10) Erik Satie - Trois Gymnopidies I
11) Cocteau Twins - Lazy Calm
12) Kath Bush - Watching you Without Me
13) Iron Curtain - Love Can Never Die
14) Berntholer - My Suitor
15) The Go-Betweens - Bachelor Kisses
16) Cleaners From Venus - A Mercury Girl
17) The Modern Lovers - Hospital
18) Judee Sill - The Donor
19. Linda Perhacs - If You Were My Man (Demo)


Happy Mondays - Loose Fit

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Clean - Selected Discography

Today is Tuesday and this week is going to be a theme week: Flying Nun and prominent NZ bands. After 30 years, The Clean are starting to get the recognition they deserve. A lot of modern bands are quoting them as influences (my old Roommates in LA, the up and coming band, The Soft Pack, being just one who appreciates, takes certain styles, and sometimes even covers their songs during sets). I've been meaning to write about these fellas for a while now, because alongside the Chills, and a few other Flying Nun acts, were really important in the underground Kiwi music scene during the 80's. Their debut release, the Tally Ho! single, was in fact the second record put out by Flying Nun, and played a major part in getting the gears turning for a unique style of pop that was entirely separate from what was going on elsewhere in the world. The most notable aspect of their early sound was the use of the the organ to create the main melodies in songs such as "Tally Ho!," "Whatever I do is Right," "Slug Song," and "Beatnik" with simple pop punk chord progressions backing them, as opposed to other bands of the era using the organ or keyboard to merely compliment the guitars and other more widely relied on instruments. This wasn't always the case such as songs like "Anything could Happen," "Point that Thing Somewhere Else" and a myriad of other guitar/bass/drum tracks, but organ was a instrument they did rely on quite occasionally at the forefront of their music. Definitively one of the best and most consistent pop bands to come out New Zealand, making music for the past 30 years, with their last album being released in 2009. Collection includes their early singles, early EPs, a live album, and a few anthologies, which are a great introduction to the band if you haven't heard them before.

What's included:

Tally Ho! (7" single, 1981)
Boodle Boodle Boodle (12" EP, 1981)
Getting Older (7" EP, 1982)
Great Sounds Great, Good Sounds Good, So-so Sounds So-so, Bad Sounds Bad, Rotten Sounds Rotten!! (12'' EP, 1982)
The Clean Compilation 1981-1982 (1985)
Live Dead Clean 1981-1982 (12" EP, 1986)
Anthology (2003)
Bonus album: David Kilgour - Sugar Mouth (1994)

Note: They have a plethora of other albums throughout the late 80s, 90s, and 2000s, but I chose to cherry pick the material they put out at their prime. If anyone would like to request some of their later albums, I'd gladly upload those as well, but disc 2 of Anthology does a pretty good job choosing the best from the mid 80's to the early 2000's.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Top 10 films I'm looking forward to, latter half of 2011

In order of excitement:

1. Lars Von Trier - Melancholia

After the neurotic, unnerving, and at time nauseating, but flawless Anti-Christ (I've seen it twice, never again), Von Trier follows up with a film titled Melancholia (God, the implications scare me) starring Kirsten Dunst. Not a big Dunst fan, but like Aronofsky did with Portman in Black Swan, I have a feeling Trier can sculpt Dunst into an academy award performance. My most anticipated film of the year.

2. David Cronenberg - A Dangerous Method

Another of my favorite modern directors, a great screenwriter, 2 of my favorite actors (Viggo and Cassel), and the pulchritudinous Ms. Knighley. I love directors who have the propensity to change their style and subject with every new film they make.

"A Dangerous Method is an upcoming historical film, directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Vincent Cassel. The screenplay was adapted by Academy Award-winning writer Christopher Hampton from his 2002 stage play The Talking Cure, itself based on the 1993 non-fiction book by John Kerr, A Most Dangerous Method.

The film marks the third collaboration between Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen (after A History of Violence and Eastern Promises). This is also the third film British film producer Jeremy Thomas has made with Cronenberg, after together completing the William Burroughs adaptation Naked Lunch and the J.G. Ballard adaptation Crash."

Seeing as both Naked Lunch and Crash are my two favorite Cronenberg films, this collaboration makes me very excited about this film. My second most anticipated film coming out this year.

In no particular order...some others

David Fincher - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Can't say much about this because I haven't read the books or seen the original, nor have I read anything about the plot, but Fincher is a very talented, diverse director who has proven time and again his craftsmanship for making inventive, thrilling and powerful films. Much like Cronenberg and Lars Von Trier he also has the innate ability to change his style and subject with each subsequent film. I can't say I'm fully excited about this, because I don't know much about it, but from the trailer, it looks to be quite a good movie.

Takeshi Koike - Redline

Nerd alert on this one: it's an anime. I'm into anime (well, -good- anime), so sue me for looking forward to this. Don't really know much about it but it seems like a Speed Racer for adults and 10x more badass. The trailer sold me immediately. The animation and style look to be the best Madhouse (one of the most prominent animation studios in Japan) has ever done. Really looking forward to this.

Gorō Miyazaki - Kokurikozaka kara

Another nerd alert. Coming from Studio Ghibli, veritably the greatest animation studio ever (suck it, Pixar), and the Hayao's son, Gorō's sophomore directorial film, this has some real potential to be a down to earth (think Whisper of the Heart) coming of age piece on par with Ghibli's best. Although his debut as a director with Tales of the Earthsea was somewhat mediocre, I have faith that he can live up to his fathers brilliance, who is overlooking and co-writing the film. Based on a Japanese manga series by Tetsurō Sayama and Chizuru Takahashi, the story is set in 1963 in Yokohama, Japan. The main character, Umi Komatsuzaki, is a high school girl who has to grow up quickly when her father goes missing. Sounds boring, but c'mon, it's Studio Ghibli. Fingers crossed this will turn out to be a classic.

Kelly Reichardt - Meek's Cutoff

IMDB tersely sums this up as "Settlers traveling through the Oregon desert in 1845 find themselves stranded in harsh conditions." But beyond that the trailer shows gorgeous cinematography, a suspenseful script, a suiting and dramatic score, and top-notch acting. It's also garnered very positive reviews by the press and has won a number of awards at various film festivals. Based on everything I've heard an seen about this film, it might turn out to be one of the year's best.

Monte Hellman - Road to Nowhere

Much like Wim Wenders' The State of Things, and Fellini's 8 1/2, this movie-in-a-movie-in-a-movie blurs the lines between fiction and reality. Again, I'll use IMDB's short summary: "A young filmmaker gets wrapped up in a crime while shooting his new project on location." I have a particular penchant for these type of films, and a slight crush on Shannyn Sossamon. Another potential great coming out later this year.

Wim Wenders - Pena

Speaking of Wenders, comes an exquisitely choreographed film about some of the most noted dance pieces by Pina Bausch in the Tanztheater ("dance theater") style.

"Bausch is a leading exponent of Tanztheater, and the film consists of her work, but she is rarely seen in the film, and died prior to the film coming out. The four pieces are titled Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring), Café Mueller (a café in the German town of Solingen, where Bausch grew up), Kontakthof, and Vollmond. These are complemented with interviews and further dance choreographies, which were shot in and around Wuppertal, Germany."

Not my usual style of film, but c'mon, it's Wim Wenders, one of my favorite directors. It's bound be a beautifully shot and compelling piece of work. Be on the lookout for this one, coming out in a couple months

Nicolas Winding Refn - Drive

Based on a 2005 novel by the same name, Drive is (I'm assuming) essentially one big thrilling chase film, starring up and comer Ryan Gosling. Hossein Amini wrote the screenplay for the adaption. And this is set to be released to select theaters later this year. Much like Meek's Cutoff, the film has gotten various positive reviews from festival showings, including the prestigious award of Best Directors prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Another highly awaited release for 2011.

I'm sure there are others, but these are just the main ones off the top of my head. If I think of anymore, or any of you reading this have any anticipated films, let me know and I'll add them to the list.

Edit: Oh, and how can I forget...

Álex de la Iglesia -The Last Circus

Friday, June 10, 2011

Justin Fornal - Canzo Empyrean and various works

My ex-friend of mine randomly stumbled upon the trailer for Canzo Empyrean several years back. I don't know how, but it only had like 17 views at the time and even years after it was posted it never rose above three or four hundred (this was before someone retitled it as "G.I. Joe movie trailer," jettisoning its views to over a million). Anyways, it was too elaborate to be an "art joke" and too crazy to have been made without the desire to show off its surreal and psychedelic brilliance, but we always had a good time getting baked out of minds and watching the trailer and showing it friends (scaring a few). But crazy is just what NYC underground filmmaker Justin Fornal might be.

We tried contacting him once about getting a copy of Canzo Empyrean because information on it outside of its incredibly ambiguous and somewhat unnerving website (, was non existant. Then one day a clip from the film came up on Youtube which caught our attention due to a mysterious phone number posted at the end. After much contemplation, and being really curious to see the film, we gave the number a shot. A man with a deep and brooding voice answered and we asked him how we could come by a copy a Canzo. He told us to give him an email address where he could send us instructions on obtaining a copy of the film. A few days later the email came, it was very professional, and consisted of a set of 'instructions.' We had to tag with spray paint the Canzo Empyrean logo on 20 items in our city, one of them being a police car (!), and document our graffiti with pictures. After that he said he would send us a unique watermarked copy, which he threateningly and austerely added that he would be able to identify if it popped up online anywhere and that "serious consequences would ensue." Anyways we never ended up tagging a police car (or anything else for that matter), but the point was made clear - this man was entirely dedicated to keeping his film very, very far underground (so far in fact, that out of the 2 screenings I've heard about one was done in the subterranean lairs of the sewers under NYC, shown to a group of dwellers who lived down there - the other in Monrovia, Liberia - "yes, this guy is definitely 'hardcore'")

Outside of Canyo, which I like to discuss further if I had the time, Fornal shows his lighter side, with the always bizarre and humorous, but eerily informative food show, Bronx Flavor.

"What are you wearing around your neck?"
"Where did you get it?"

and a few laugh-out-loud Bronx Flavor "commercials"

His Youtube channel is full of comic gems - spend an hour with'll be an hour well spent.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Since I'm running out of albums to post from my 'Very best" folder (and I wouldn't dare post anything less), I'm going to start expanding my posts to not just arts and culture, but science and global issues as well. Expect some philosophizing and mental masturbation, as well as genre themed weeks that tend to stray away from my usual obscure pop into other styles of music I enjoy. I have one and a half weeks left of school for the quarter, then a much needed month long break, so expect me to return to my usual daily posting schedule after that. Much love from BS

The end

In a sense, we've all died twenty trillion times. The you of yesterday is dead, as is the you of a millisecond ago. We're constantly dying and being least that's how I see time, which is a hard thing to quantify in a scientific sense, but a little easier to understand if you look at it in simpler, more linear terms. Still not even these musings can quell my trepidation towards the final death, the void, the end, la fin. You can either be a nihilist, take Kierkegaard's religious stance or (my own belief) you can live a fulfilling life full of dreams, ambitions, constant progression, close friends, family, and an abundance of love. "Love conquers, motherfuckers" - Cold Bleak Heat. "The spirit of progress never looks back" - Even As We Speak. I may expand and turn this into a thesis or some sort of self-help guide on overcoming the fear of death. Either way an existence of finitude and transience is a scary thing to most atheists like myself. I also have a pretty bad case of "only child syndrome" which brings about a lot of narcissism, which leads you to believe at an early age you are special and not some decaying piece of matter that will one day disappear. One final quote from Belle and Sebastian, "I always cry at endings." Me too.

Puro Instinct ft. Ariel Pink - Stilyagi

Felt + Cocteau Twins =

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Omd - Messages

Terrence Malick - The Tree of Life (2011)

Initial thoughts while watching TToL: ........................................................................... ........................................................................... ...........................................................................

Afterthoughts: I felt like an idiot

Thoughts after having some time to digest the grandness of what I witnessed: A 2 hr and 18 min convoluted, pretentious poem - and the most beautiful film ever made by man. The cinematography, camera work, editing, and production design were just insane. INSANE. I can't quite decide it was really actually plotless and pretentious or just absurdly ambitious. I can't decide if it was poignant and profound or a boring mess of grand ideas that were too great in scope to come together to make a coherent film. Although it never actually deeply affected me, I feel if I was in the right mind state and had a rewatch (which I most definitely will) it might be sincerely moving and transcendental, which I'm assuming was the result Malick was aiming for. A contradictory conclusion: Malick's best and worst film. It's a deep, involving, flawed masterpiece. Go see it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Chills - Oncoming Day (1982 version)

End of the week art round-up part V

Since the name of my blog pays homage to a classic piece by David Hockney, and that painting ("A Bigger Splash") is the header image of my blog, I figured it was about time to pay tribute to my second favorite modern artist. As an important contributor to the pop art movement, Hockney began painting in the early 60s and still paints to this day. Hockney's personal life is documented in the brilliant aptly titled cult 1973 film "A Bigger Splash" directed by Jack Hazan, which is centered around the break up of his at-the-time boyfriend, Peter Schlesinger, and how that split affected his work. It's a meandering and avant-garde little flick, but it captures Hockney's life poetically and genuinely and is worth a watch if you can track it down.

These are only a few of a vast multitude of works from Mr. Hockney. His complete (as far as I'm aware) collection can be viewed on his website, here

Finally, a scene from A Bigger Splash showing Hockney (playing himself) working on a piece in his apartment studio and then getting frustrating and tearing into another canvas with a knife, ripping it to shreds. The film, much like the similar and equally rewarding El Sol Del Membrillo by Victor Erice, is very subtle and lacking in action or plot, but full of depth and emotion, and captures the essence of the artist.

VIDEO ART: Afterwords Design

These guys (or guy, I can't seem to find much information on them) take some pretty neat obscure tracks and have made a couple really hypnotic, surreal music videos for them. My favorite is The Shadow Ring's "City Lights" (first vid), my favorite by Shadow Ring song.