Archive | November 2014

Latest ‘Opium Traces’ feature article on popmatters…

My latest feature ‘Opium Traces’ article is on popmatters! A review of the new The Invisible Hands album Teslam, and interview with the band leader, the irrepressible Alan Bishop, aka Alvarius B.

http://www.popmatters.com/column/188468-the-noir-traveler-returns-the-evolving-sound-of-alvarius-b/

(AB photo credit: Georges Salameh)

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More from the ‘Kroncong General’ of Indonesia… Rudi Pirngadie and his Krontjong Beat!

Awhile back I posted a link [here] to two albums on my youtube channel on Evergreen Records, the love-child of Brigadier General Rudi Pirngadie. Now here’s two more amazing albums from this bizarre nook of Indonesian music. It’s more lounge than Martin Denny, more exotic than Les Baxter, more tiki-torch space-age than anything you’ve ever heard…and all wrapped with a political ideology that insists that kroncong music can unite Indonesia, especially if a Brigadier General funds the label… so kick back in your grass-skirt, sip that neon-pink mai-tai, and let yourself be swept away with the lush and mysterious kroncong beat…

Here’s Songs from the Minahasa in Krontjong Beat…

and here’s Songs from Tapanuli in Krontjong Beat…

L’Immortelle (1963) soundtrack

Last Year in Marienbad (1961) gets all the press, but my favorite Alain Robbe-Grillet film is L’Immortelle. It’s the first he wrote AND directed and while perhaps not as slick as LYIM, it’s got an exotic/erotic charm that gets under your skin. Suffice to say, if I could make movies (ie, if I had a budget), this is the kind of movie I would make (watch it and you’ll know why I don’t have a budget).

The film is already a critical darling, so I’m not going to explain why it’s so terrific. Here are two well written exegeses:

 http://cinapse.co/2014/03/31/limmortelle-1963-blu-ray-review-the-surrealist-sensuality-of-alain-robbe-grillet/

http://www.popmatters.com/post/180218-limmortelle/

 The film was shot entirely in and around Istanbul, almost by accident. As Wikipedia explains, “A Belgian producer agreed to let Robbe-Grillet direct a film from his own screenplay on the condition that the film be shot in Turkey, using ‘blocked funds’ (profits from an earlier film that could not be taken out of the country) owed to Cocinor, the French production company.”

One outcome of this production constraint is an amazing soundtrack, which no one really talks about in reviews. It features some minimalist compositions for strings and Eastern-inflected flute riffs by Georges Delerue, and also lots of mid-century Turkish pop music, which truly is a treasure trove. The internal soundtrack is also compelling, and reminiscent of radio plays.

Taken from a crappy video transfer I downloaded, here is a 35 minute cut of the soundtrack that can be enjoyed for the music and ambient effects. I’ve left in a little of the French and Turkish dialoge, but cut nearly an hour off the total film.

This is meant as a stand-alone soundtrack…so kick back, put on your headphones, and dive into the wicked aural sensibilities of the immortal Alain Robbe-Grillet.

Labu dan Labi (1962)

Labu dan Labi. Directed by Malay singer/actor sensation P. Ramlee, who also stars, this film is usually categorized as a comedy in which “two servants exchange stories of make-believe.” It should be called a baroque journey into a carnivalesque psychodrama. The film cuts across genres and styles, from Tarzan films to Westerns to a suave nightclub scene (in English) set in Kuala Lumpur. The stories are all pinned around the hackneyed device of a ticking clock-tower (it’s the Victoria Memorial Hall tower in Singapore).

The two servants, the titular characters, sleep and dream the improbable, usually stories of power and vengeance that they lack in the waking world. Yet each increasingly absurd dream episode collapses under the weight of the inherent illogic of the fantasy/genre itself, and they return to the unpleasant present. How far can you push the Tarzan genre? Find out here in ten minutes.

If Labu dan Labi were made by Chris Nolan it would be considered “genius”—it was made in Malaysia fifty years ago so it’s relegated to “classic world cinema.” Watch it all the same.

New Treated Soundtrack on Scat Trax!

Wow! Another DrG Supreme Midnight Grindhouse treated soundtrack is available on Scat Trax this month!

“Jungle Captive” is a never-before-released, totally exclusive soundscape made especially for Black Scat Books. And it’s totally free! HFS!

So you’ve got nothing to lose…except your objective correlative and sense of moral purpose! And who needs those?

Check it out RIGHT NOW!!!

http://blackscatbooks.com/scat-trax/

 

jungle captive

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