Saturday, October 22, 2011
If Los Angeles is a woman reclining billboard model with collagen-puffed lips and silicone-inflated breasts, a woman in a magenta convertible with heart-shaped sunglasses and cotton candy hair; if Los Angeles is this woman, then the San Fernando Valley is her teeny-bopper sister.
Working for an online retail stores we occassionally get some remainders on special occassions, books, cds and dvds. Since this stuff is so varied, there is only rarely something that suits one's interests, or you pick what is absolutely new to you and hope for a rare discovery. Over 10 years I only made 2 such discoveries: Bright Eyes and: Pram. It was the latter's EP "Somniloquy" as promotional copy, which contained parts of their "Museum of Imaginary Animals" and remixes by different artists. 'Mother of Pearl' was the first song on the EP and was a big surprise to me: this was otherwordly and mysterious music that sounded like it came from a different era. Pram are often compared with Sterelab and Broadcast, but while they do share a very British quirkiness, Pram's music is much more surreal and even a bit creepy and sometimes sounds as if played under an aquatic bubble. Pram were founded in 1990 and still active today, and I haven't missed an album since.
An FBI agent takes on a plane full of deadly and poisonous snakes, deliberately released to kill a witness being flown from Honolulu to Los Angeles to testify against a mob boss.
Probably meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but made so straightforward that it's simply not good.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
My relationship to classical music has always been a bit complicated. Although I attended a better school, the music lessons were unsystematic, half-heartedly presented by overburdened and often very conservative teachers, and consisted of endless writing and practicing music scores. Believe it or not we didn't hear much music at all. My piano lessons with my great uncle didn't help much either, since he prefered German children and folk songs, and I prefered improvising wildly over practicing up and down scales. Nearly everything I know about classical music I picked up at a later age and all by myself. Therefore there are giant gaps in my knowledge and my preferences are very selective. There are not too many composers whose work I admire in its entirety, but Erik Satie is certainly one of them and he ranks high in my admiration. I came upon his work crabwise through his score for Rene Clair's classic short film 'Entr'acte' and his association with Dada. However, Satie's eccentricity as person and as artist was genuine compared to some Dadaists for whom Dada was just an attitude, and he was that way long before that artistic movement came to life. The 'Trois Gnossiennes' were actually composed as early as 1890 and published 1893. Satie composed quite a few series of piano compostions like the Gymnopédies, the Sarabandes, the Nocturnes, all worth listing here, but I'll put my attention on the Gnossiennes. The reason is that they are really the first of these compostions that I came across and, although I enjoy the Gymnopédies nearly as well, those have been misused so much in popular culture (even in advertising!) that I kind of avoid listening to them too often. And besides I still love 'Gnossienes no. 1' the most. The Gnossiennes are (as all the others) extremely short pinao compositions, and the scores have no barlines, therefore no time signature, I guess you can say no preconceived rhythm, and the instructions are often quirky as in "with astonishment" or "with doubt" or "tip in yourself", therefore the performer is quite free to interpret his version, and there are actually many quite differing performances. Basically there is consent to play them slow, and most controversy is about the tempo of a performance (to some the YouTube version I chose is much too fast!). The melodies are very simple and harmonious as if in an oriental key and their repetitiveness convey a sense of timelessnes and infinity and utter beauty. They are composed in a completely new manner, Satie was intending to reinvent classical music, and these compositions are considered today as the first true examples of minimal or ambient music. While preparing this note I have become newly enthusiastic of his music. If you have a chance do check out his eccentric orchesrtal works 'Parade' and 'Relache' and all the other piano miniatures I ighly recommend them! I also decided to start practicing to try and play these tunes.