Albums,Style Icons: Female »Comme à la Radio and Brigitte Fontaine

by Brigitte Fontaine (1969)

The strange and beautiful album Comme à la Radio by Brigitte Fontaine is like a marvelous magical mash up of some of my favorite things:

Take the sultry french vocals of Francois Hardy, add the discord of Morricone‘s jazzier scores, throw in the baritone tones of Nico at her most avant-garde and toss in the bizarre moodiness of Amon Duul II and you’ve got one album I simply cant resist getting excited about.

That such an interesting talent is not more well known is both a surprise and a fact that makes me happy with the world. If someone as cool and amazing as Fontaine was unknown to me, just imagine how many more gems are out there for my discovering.

This is another find I have my Pandora app to thank for. Le Goudron, one of the albums most universally listenable and fantastic tracks came on during a Quick Mix and I was beside myself.
Fontaine herself is fascinating. Not only was she a major figure in the French underground art scene of the 70’s, she’s relevant and active today incorporating electronic sounds into her music and collaborating with such artists as Sonic Youth, Jarvis Cocker and Grace Jones.

I might just be in love.

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Posted on August 19, 2011

Songs »Countdown at 6

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Nine: Best Use of Baby Babble:

Countdown at 6 by Perrey and Kingsley

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Posted on May 9, 2011

Movies »La Jetee

directed by Chris Marker (1962)

Chris Marker is a bit of a legend among art school film students for his stunning experimental La Jetee. A highly influential science fiction film made up entirely (except for one moving image) of black and white photographs and voice over. It’s a huge testament to how much can be achieved with so little.

I find myself now especially inspired and excited about the simplicity. Making movies is a long, exhausting, expensive effort and hard to do on your own. Jim and I have so many stories we’d like to tell, and a piece like La Jetee proves that typical film making isn’t always the only or the best way to tell one.

This fact is proven by Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys, which was adapted from this short. For all the big name actors, cinematography, long running time, and imaginative director, it wasn’t nearly as memorable and effective as the original low budget project.

The images, though fabricated by Marker, feel like photojournalism that has captured events as large as the end of the world and as small and personal as a smile.

Le Jetee can be seen on netflix instant and was released by Criterion with, no doubt, lots of interesting history and commentary.

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Posted on March 20, 2011

Movies »Alice

directed by Jan Svankmajer (1988)

With all the excitement surrounding Tim Burton’s new take on the Lewis Carroll classic, I was itching for a journey to the other side of the looking glass myself since I may not manage to get to a 3-D IMAX in the very near future. Netflix on demand was there for me with Jan Svankmajer‘s 1980’s stop motion dream/nightmare, Alice. His vision is distinct, stunning and not just a little bit frightening. All about the visuals and the technique, the movie is predominantly eerily silent which can make it slower viewing – so don’t watch it when you’re tired (especially if you want to enjoy a night of peaceful dreams).

If Svankmajer’s name is unfamiliar, perhaps you’re not up on the Eastern European legacy of experimental animation because in that world, his decaying surrealism is godlike. Alice is a wonderful introduction to the man who has inspired so many. I feel that Carroll would have been thrilled.

Click here for the rest of Alice

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Posted on March 14, 2010

Albums »I Hear A New World

by Joe Meek (1959)

Fascinated with the space program, producer Joe Meek made I Hear a New World as a pet project in the late 50’s. Comprised of various aural experiments, the result was ground breaking and would have been at home played on space stereos in the farthest reaches of the universe. I’ve been listening to it for days and it’s as beautiful as it is odd. One song in particular, Valley of No Return, has been teasing me with its familiar strangeness, calling to some other piece of music (I believe from a movie soundtrack) buried deep  in my mind – but the identity of the similar tune continues to elude me.

Mostly instrumental, a few songs include human voices but they’re creepy and Chipmunk-like which makes them feel like they come from a David Lynch meets Santa Conquers the Martians universe which, you may surprised to discover, is not such a terrible place to be transported to.

After a little bit of research, I was shocked and saddened to find out that this pioneering master musician (whose accomplishments are even more astounding once you learn that he was tone deaf) succumbed to a very tragic ending: after a decline in popularity and bouts of depression and paranoia, he killed his land-lady then turned the gun on himself. He was 37.
Click here for the rest of I Hear A New World

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Posted on March 14, 2010