Recent comments

  • Favorite movies   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Lost Highway is knee-deep in the abstract story about our past that we tell ourselves that proves that one should not be jealous and greedy anymore. Despite this proof the jailed man follows in the footsteps of the young man or the other way around. The audience balances the two sides, the tradition and the revolution, by playing the side of the revolution that is bothered by what goes on in the movie. It is a spiritual movie (and that's where it exceeds a movie like Possession, which simply illustrates the jealousy/paranoia). The headaches of the main character symbolize the (theoretical) mental transformation. The poor psychological health of the character surfaces in a physical symptom. The noir atmosphere in which the mind remains cynical at the same time breathes life into the metaphysical quest for the solution to our problems: the movie makes us aware of the underlying assumptions of the noir world (that people stab us in the back all of the time and that we are in a never-ending competition with them, in which we should steal their women) and incites a hidden revolution of some sort. That is when we are supposed to change, when we notice we keep doing the wrong things. When we see the character's headaches we project our understanding of what it means to "expand" the mind, imagining that in another world he is more wise and doesn't succumb to the irrational. We are projecting the rational, whereas the character succumbs to the irrational for us. The pathos comes from the reelection of the jailed man into the movie as a younger man, and from the maxim that one should not make the same mistake twice. That parallels Henry Rollins' relationship with police in "Police Story" or the singer of King Crimson's relationship with civilization in "Epitaph": the movie gets its emotion from the relationship between the character's (hidden) rational, revolutionary side and the irrational natural forces that drive him away. I think of it not as a movie about intense sexual attraction/jealousy but about a mental transformation (that never really occurs). The tension between spirituality and sexuality. The darkness of the atmosphere marks both doom/confusion and ingenuity/scrutiny (two sides of the same coin in terms of human adventure). It's anthropological in its awareness of noir cliches.

    California latches onto poetry in the same way Lost Highway latches onto film noir. The singer is psychologically in a world shaped by the rock and pop aesthetics of California culture (as the film character is in a world shaped by the aesthetics and motivations of film noir) and he plays the rational side in the form of the tortured poet and "arrogant" compassion. He is playing the philosopher who is alienated by the mainstream culture but is also representing a needy generation ("Last Harbor"). He tries to hold both at the same time. The rational prevails in that we prefer the sophistication and intelligent realism of "Western Sky" to the simplicity of "Last Harbor" (we prefer the male compassion to the female empathy) but at the same time the irrational wins because the arrogant compassion is lost (because it can't survive) and all you get is empathy. The listener rescues the irrational artist by balancing both sides as the artist suffers for us.

    Sunset Boulevard is like Lost Highway but the character is under the fate of cinema as a writing process that is controlled by the demand of the needy generation. The woman is a motherly figure who herself thinks she is a sort of "spokesman for every tired thing." The screenwriter tries to write away and walk away from his fate but he fails to do so. His death doesn't come as a surprise. Compared with Lost Highway, it adds an innovative dimension to the cinematic fantasy (the writer develops the will to rise above his fate, above the cliches) and expresses the associated disillusionment (in Lost Highway the disillusionment is merely projected by the audience, or perhaps represented by the scary man with the camera). Eitzel writes himself into the story as a "spokesman for every tired thing" but he is still a vehicle that the irrational controls and time prevails over. Instead of the positive aspects of being the "private eye" in a film noir (scrutiny and introspection) contrasting with the negative aspects (fate that no one can rescue you from because you are going on privately) for an existential conflict, we get the positive aspects of being the poet (the rational communicator of the mind) contrasting with the negative aspects (saying what others want to hear, for example) for the existential conflict.

    A shorter way to put it is you add the destiny of the male-female relationship in Lost Highway with the destiny of the artist-generation (or artist-era) relationship in Sunset Blvd and you simply get the generational music of California that is attached to other people's problems but has to be detached too. The romantic poetry describes a noir (private) atmosphere and "California" (public) atmosphere. It is technically comparable to Moondance, which combines the private and the public. The detachment of the singer is another aspect of the "destiny": the male is detached, the female is attached. Psychologically all three works are about the existential conflict between realism (rational male) and idealism (irrational female). In artistic terms you get the conflict between innovation and imitation.

  • The Greatest Albums Ever   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Interesting convo you guys had going on here. I'm gonna take the middle ground here between the two sides.
    First off, Cyclops is definitely a more lively and enjoyable album than Revolver. Though I will admit it's definitely overlong, and the second half doesn't maintain the quality displayed in the first half. Second, I don't see how Revolver has a 'happy vision'. If anything, it's their 'coolest' album. Abbey Road, however, fits better, and I would argue it's the ideal pop album; the wide range of emotions on it are more deftly handled and linked. The Medley, in particular, is a masterpiece in manipulation.
    Now for the pros of Revolver. Diversity, obviously. The garage rock swagger of Taxman, the perfect jangle pop of She Said She Said (fit for The Soft Boys and the Stone Roses, who probably envy that euphoric beat), the entirely unique raga-rock of Love You To, the sympathetic Eleanor Rigby (the breathless tension in the strings! Definitely matches the intensity of Andmoreagain and other Love songs), the paranoid and desperate I Want to Tell You (that piano is a brilliant touch), the quiet beauty of For No One (highlight: the French horn), the dreamy I'm Only Sleeping (the backwards guitar portions are transcendent), not to mention the most amazing of them all, Tomorrow Never Knows (with such detailed production that it still sounds more fresh than pretty much any other 60's stuff). It's not perfect: Good Day Sunshine and Dr Robert are not quite as successful as the rest. But it's still a hell of a ride. Serious question: how do the likes of Delete Yourself, Dookie, Back in Black, etc. have more depth than Revolver? I love them; but compared to Revolver, they're superficially more energetic and emotional, despite which there's clearly much more going on Revolver. The bias against Revolver is simply weird.

  • Please Recommend Music, Films or Paintings to Me   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Oh, I just saw your latest comment.

    How about Morphine's Good, Babes in Toyland's Fontanelle, or Roxy Music's self-titled? I think any of them would be fairly easier for me to get; they seem straightforward enough.

  • Please Recommend Music, Films or Paintings to Me   2 weeks 5 days ago

    See if you prefer the other option I just mentioned, but yeah, whichever one you choose: say what you get out of it after the first listen.

  • Please Recommend Music, Films or Paintings to Me   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Alright. Will do. :) After I listen it the 1st time, do you want me to tell you what emotions I could detect, or do you want me to listen to it a couple more times before I say anything?

  • Please Recommend Music, Films or Paintings to Me   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Or, if you'd prefer: Which album from my greatest albums list do you most want to assimilate? Could be one that you've always wanted to take a shot at but never have, or that you've tried before but just dont get it. Either way, Ill see if I can assist you with it.

  • Greatest Pop, Hip-Hop and R & B/Soul Albums (Additionally includes critically acclaimed classic albums rated 7/10)   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Right on, it does relate a bit to that. The "but there are SO many of them" situation is an unfortunate thing that happens to almost every big phenomena. Even something like Trout Mask Replica isn't safe: the likes of you and I listen to it for pleasure, but there are millions of hipsters who rate it among the best albums of all time only to say that it's a blabbering mess of random ugly shit and that's exactly why it's great because no one has the balls and originality to do it. Every famous good thing has its share of pretentious supporters.

  • Greatest Pop, Hip-Hop and R & B/Soul Albums (Additionally includes critically acclaimed classic albums rated 7/10)   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Good project. It will serve the purpose, but the Scaruffi addition makes it unfair to avantgarde music. Pitchfork could be removed altogether.

    Let them start with Trout Mask Replica and Pet Sounds. Watch and laugh!

  • Music Ratings & Notes   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Keep in mind I'm only impressed by long suites if they're impressive (emotionally impinging/conceptually evocative). And although difficulty of playing it has little to do with my assessment of its worth, most of the suites I've listed undoubtedly required the most seasoned, extraordinary talents to play and compose. Artists like Mercury Rev, Roy Montgomery/Hash Jar Tempo, Mars Volta, Soft Machine, Hendrix, King Crimson, John Coltrane, Mingus, Pink Floyd -- to mention a few -- and most of the rest on there, are the most technically astounding musicians in music history and I find the idea dubious that they would have a harder time with their shorter, more "precise" (did you mean concise?) compositions, which if you examine some of their careers those who did so seemed to have a relatively easier time with those before moving on and throwing everything they had into their more extensive masterpieces.

    That said, it's possible I'm not fully getting what you meant by the comparison. But, as an example, I highly doubt, say, The Doors had a more difficult time coming up with and playing Break On Through (one of the most perfect short songs ever), relative to Light My Fire or The End. Or Bob Dylan with Blowin in the Wind compared to Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands. Or Mingus with the compositions from Mingus Ah Um compared to those on Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. Or the first 5 compositions from Bach's Partita for Violin #2 compared to the Chaconne. Or Beethoven's minuets compared to his 3rd Symphony. Or Mozart's early ditties as a kid genius compared to his Jupiter Symphony. Or...

  • Music Ratings & Notes   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Btw, I listened to Yeezus (only once) and am pretty sure I think Scaruffi significantly underrated it. Not that I think it's a masterpiece, but I did find it more emotionally interesting and compelling than I thought I would. First impression is 6.5/10 on my scale with a note in the back of my head that it could be better than that (though I reserve the right to change my mind if it has diminishing returns!) :)

  • Greatest Post-Punk Songs   2 weeks 6 days ago

    That's a helluva list.

  • Music Ratings & Notes   2 weeks 6 days ago

    They're fine. Piper is very impressive because the experimental music is used with purpose and very creatively. Sometimes they sound like the Sun Ra Arkestra trying their hand at rock music. And despite the whole thing sounding a bit archaic for today's ears, one can still feel the band's excitement as they go. Also, I don't think the seldom-mentioned songs (like Flaming or Poch R Toc H) are that fare behind the two longer pieces in terms of creativity and power. It's a very good album all the way but I'm still not sure it's superior to Sgt. Pepper's. It's close. And they're close in spirit.

    In Saucerful I mostly like Let There Be More Light, the rest is sort of boring with few exciting intervals.
    Plus I'm not as impressed with long rock "suites" as AfterHours is. As a mediocre pianist I can tell that it's much harder to come up with a succint, precise and melodic 3 minute song than with a long, dissonant, "transcendental", jam of sounds and note-patterns.
    Oh, and songs like Corporate Clegg and Jugband Blues are clearly the sons of Sgt Pepper.

  • Please Recommend Music, Films or Paintings to Me   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Re: # of listens, deep understanding ... It depends on the breadth and complexity of the album, but generally speaking for any significant work, usually multiple listens are needed to thoroughly assimilate its content ... It comes down to number of listens combined with one's experience with other albums and, while listening, interestedly and steadfastly assimilating the content, technical, emotional and conceptual as best you can.

    Lets start with some simple (but significant) more rock/folk oriented works and work our way from there. I'd recommend Nick Drake's Pink Moon.

  • Greatest Pop, Hip-Hop and R & B/Soul Albums (Additionally includes critically acclaimed classic albums rated 7/10)   2 weeks 6 days ago

    That could be a workable progression! Its not too far off from the progression I undertook (less Billboard and with fairly extensive experience in Classical to help "quality control"), though with Scaruffi I started with his 9s -- in the main -- before his others.

  • Greatest Pop, Hip-Hop and R & B/Soul Albums (Additionally includes critically acclaimed classic albums rated 7/10)   2 weeks 6 days ago

    No worries, it helped me realize it was a bit unclear so I added the note at the top of the list.

  • Greatest Pop, Hip-Hop and R & B/Soul Albums (Additionally includes critically acclaimed classic albums rated 7/10)   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Project I thought of: Suppose you're introducing a nonlistener to music. Start with Billboard's 100 best sellers. Then top 100 Rolling Stone mag albums not on the above list. Then the top 100 per Acclaimed or Pitchfork or whatever not on that list. Then all of the Scaruffi 7.5+ not on that one.

    Or just let them start with Trout Mask so it gets progressively easier to swallow..

  • Greatest Pop, Hip-Hop and R & B/Soul Albums (Additionally includes critically acclaimed classic albums rated 7/10)   2 weeks 6 days ago

    That relates a bit to what Christgau writes a lot about. He says 50's r&r and especially 64-68 rock was "mass bohemianism": teenagers were nonconformist with respect to the adult establishment, but there SO many of them.

  • Greatest Pop, Hip-Hop and R & B/Soul Albums (Additionally includes critically acclaimed classic albums rated 7/10)   2 weeks 6 days ago

    My bad, I thought you limited the critically acclaimed additions to pop/mainstream albums as well.

  • Greatest Pop, Hip-Hop and R & B/Soul Albums (Additionally includes critically acclaimed classic albums rated 7/10)   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Totally agree on London Calling. Its on here because its a 7/10 thats widely critically acclaimed ( along with many others I just added (read my new title for this list above).

  • Greatest Pop, Hip-Hop and R & B/Soul Albums (Additionally includes critically acclaimed classic albums rated 7/10)   2 weeks 6 days ago

    It is, with a big non-conformist twist. They use populism to celebrate the punks and outlaws and fight oppression and expose hypocrisy. I think part of the appeal is that it's designed to have the exact opposite effect of usual populist music on the same audience. As a whole it's a very smart fuck-you to the establishment that also greatly breaks the stereotype of punk rock as savage illiterate music. Rudie can't fail!

  • The Greatest Rock Band Poll   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Velvets and Boredoms were no-brainers. The three empty spaces were between Can, Faust, Pere Ubu, My Bloody Valentine, and Sonic Youth. Took off Pere Ubu and Sonic Youth. It was difficult

  • Top 200 critically acclaimed movies from the last 5 years   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Update 5/11-15:
    Out A Hijacking ("Kapringen") - In Steve Jobs
    Out The Lunchbox ("Dabba") - In Room

    Update 28/10-15:
    Out Into the Abyss - In Beasts of No Nation

    Update 10/10-15:
    Out Bless Me, Ultima - In Sicario
    Out Cloud Atlas - In The Martian
    Out Prometheus - In MacBeth

    Update 14/09-15:
    Out Searching for Sugar Man - In Straight Outta Compton

  • Greatest Pop, Hip-Hop and R & B/Soul Albums (Additionally includes critically acclaimed classic albums rated 7/10)   2 weeks 6 days ago

    Would you say London Calling is at least "populist"?

  • Greatest Pop, Hip-Hop and R & B/Soul Albums (Additionally includes critically acclaimed classic albums rated 7/10)   2 weeks 6 days ago

    I agree with seanseansean. I think London Calling isn't pop either. It transcends the genre like We're Only in It For the Money.

  • Please Recommend Music, Films or Paintings to Me   3 weeks 3 hours ago

    So, I'm getting the idea that experiencing something multiple times is one of the most, if not the most important factor with deep understanding. Is that correct?

    Favorite albums (some of them): The Doors (this one isn't really a favorite, but one I've listened to, fully, at least 5 times); The Piper at the Gates of Dawn; What's Going On; Loveless; Dummy; Endtroducing.....; Homogenic; The Marshall Mathers LP; The Cold Vein; The College Dropout; Madvillainy; MBDTF; Exmilitary; Old (Danny Brown); To Pimp a Butterfly (you didn't see that coming :P).

    Not all of these are necessarily favorites, but ones to which I could motivate myself to listen. The best bet is to assign me one that's fairly short.