Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Favourite Albums Of ALL TIME! #2Fever Ray Fever Ray [2009]
The debut album from Fever Ray is the solo project from one half of the Swedish electronic duo, 'The Knife'. The half i'm talking about is the singer, Karin Dreijer Anderson [that's a mouthful]. If you don't know her, or her previous music with her brother in The Knife, chances are you may recognize her voice if you listen to Royksopp, who she collaborates with on two of their albums. She's most well known on one of their more popular songs, 'What Else Is There?' [a personal favourite of mine].
If you're hearing her voice for the first time, you will remember it forever. Much like Bjork, she has a very distinctive way of singing. In fact, she sounds like a strangled baby. Trust me though, it works better than it sounds, especially with the style of music she makes.

It's a little hard to describe exactly what Fever Ray sounds like. Those who've heard her previous music with The Knife have an idea of what to expect, but if you're a Knife virgin, it may take a few listens before you completely get into the Fever Ray album.
It's a haunting and dark collection of music, that has an odd innocence to it. It's almost child like in places, like a kids nightmare, but not in a scary way. The album is eerily beautiful in places [Concrete Walls], a little more electronic in others [Triangle Walks], and it even has a slight David Lynch vibe at one point [Stranger Than Kindness]. There's even a track that has distorted baby sounds running through it, all while singing lyrics that sound oddly like they're about birth and re-incarnation [Here Before]. It can be very experimental at times.

The first time i heard this album, i was instantly drawn to it. It was interesting, but it didn't completely click with me until months later when i finally understood the album. It's a unique piece of work, very layered, and also very mellow, so you need to be in the right mind frame to let it works it's magic on you properly. Think of it as a darker version of Bjork's 'Vespertine' album. They both share a similar child like feel to them, in fact, listening to both albums one after the other is a really great experience.

I included this album in my list of favourites from 2009, but it only appeared in my 'Honorable Mentions' list, instead of my top 10. I only wish the album struck with me sooner, because it would have come in at #2 on my list. It still got a mention though, so oh well. It's now one of my top 10 favourite albums of the last 10 years.

If you want something interesting, and you like ambient electronic music, chances are you'll absolutely love this album. Even if it's not really your thing, it's still a good album to have a listen to, just so you can experience something that you may not be used to hearing. The album really takes you to another place. It completely transports you to another world, it's very beautiful.

It appeared on countless critics favourite lists throughout 2009, i can see why, it's amazing.

1. If I Had A Heart 4/5
2. When I Grow Up 4/5
3. Dry And Dusty 5/5
4. Seven 4/5
5. Triangle Walks 3/5
6. Concrete Walls 5/5
7. Now's The Only Time I Know 4/5
8. I'm Not Done 4/5
9. Keep The Streets Empty For Me 5/5
10. Coconut 5/5
11. Stranger Than Kindness 5/5
12. Here Before 4/5

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Favourite Films Of All Time! #14
Martyrs [2008]
Starring: Morjana Alaoui, Mylene Jampanoi
Directed by: Pascal Laugier

"They did not finish to be alive..."

You want to see some fucked up shit?.....My oh, my! some of you may have heard of Martyrs, it caused quite the stir when it was shown throughout Europe during film festival season in 2009/2008. Why was it so controversial? well, because it's violent as shit and disturbing as fuck!.

Martyrs follows the story of Anna and Lucie. They became friends many years ago at an orphanage where Lucie was sent after she had escaped from an abandoned industrial building where she was tortured by the people holding her captive. Over the years Lucie has struggled with flashbacks and inner demons, she can't cope, she can't get on with her life, and she sets out to find the people WHO did those awful things to her as a child.
Soon enough, the people are discovered. Lucie sets out for bloody revenge while Anna goes along for the ride to give Lucie support. However, Anna is unaware of just how far Lucie is willing to go, and soon enough they both find themselves surrounded by dead bodies and bloody murder on their hands.

That's pretty much the BASIC plot of the film. If i go any further i'll give too much away, and i don't want to do that because the movie takes some VERY big twists and turns, and you'll soon find yourself watching more than just a gory revenge story.
This movie isn't for everyone, for every person who loved it, i know just as many who hated it. There isn't any real message behind the film, but that wasn't the point of the movie anyway. The Director has said that he wanted to take the viewer on a journey, he wanted to give them an experience. Whether you end up liking the movie or not, there's no denying you'll have an "eye opening" experience watching it. I sure as fuck did.As i said before, there's no message behind the film, but that doesn't mean there isn't a POINT to all the violence we see on screen, there is. It just takes a whole lot of torture to get to the secret behind what's happening. If this sounds like something you're willing to give a shot, you'll get a lot out of it.
The movie left me feeling a whole mix of emotions. I thought it was confronting and disturbing, but i also thought it was really sad at times, especially during the middle portion of the story. I felt so much for one character in particular, it really threw me back. If you strip away all the violence, are you left with anything worthwhile? yes, most definitely. It's a story about survival, and how much one person can take mentally and physically. What does reaching the point of no return feel like if you completely detach your mind from your body?. It's like watching an exercise in human experience. It's gets you thinking.
When you actually find out WHY certain things in the story are happening, the movie takes an even more interesting turn. There's a slight "supernatural" vibe to the final section of the movie. There's strong links between questions about the afterlife. The makers of the film certainly took the word MARTYRS literally when they made this movie.

Credit needs to be given to the 2 lead actresses in this. Both roles required quite a lot of emotion with Lucie losing her mind and Anna being tortured for endless amounts of time. I can't imagine how you get to a place like that mentally and act out something so vicious. It's hard to watch at times, because the abuse is so relentless.
Even though the movie is very gory, the style of direction, the cinematography and the overall look of the movie are beautifully done. It's very slick in presentation. You can't take your eyes off the screen.

Martyrs has become one of my favourite horror films of all time. It still makes me think no matter how many times i see it. Every time i watch it i feel like i've just been dragged by my hair through some dirty bushes. It grabs you by the balls and rips them out. I love that people are so torn by it as well, it means it's doing what it's meant to.
I think it's a masterpiece! one of the best horror films of the last 10 decade.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Favourite Films of All Time! #13The Craft [1996]
Directed by: Andrew Fleming
Starring: Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk, Robin Tunney

"Relax... it's only magic"

In 1996, when The Craft came out, something happened. Girls all over the world started wearing black, buying crystals, and reading about witchcraft. The Craft had a MASSIVE effect on teenage popular culture for a good few years. Why? because for the first time ever on film, witches were taken out of horror movies and fantasy epics, and were actually depicted as modern and cool. Being a witch was sexy, it meant you could dress like a whore and be a badass without being a hook nosed green skinned troll with a pointy hat, It also meant you had "pussy power", because magic seriously connects girls with their inner sex god.

The Craft follows the story of Sarah [Robin Tunney], the new girl in school who has no friends, and feels like an outsider. She ends up befriending the "freaks" of her grade, Nancy [Fairuza], Bonnie [Neve] and Rochelle [Rachel True]. What Sarah doesn't realize is that these girls are witches. Sarah herself is also a witch. So when these 4 girls join forces, they start casting spells and making their mundane teenage worlds a better place. Sarah's one wish is to make the popular guy in school fall in love with her, Bonnie's wish is to make the scars on the skin of her back disappear, Rochelle wishes she would stop being bullied by a racist rich white tramp, and Nancy.........well......Nancy is a little power hungry, so she wishes to triple her power and become the strongest witch of them all.
They all get their wishes. Unfortunately, with power comes responsibility, and when you abuse that responsibility, you get some serious consequence. Things start going wrong. Sarah's spellbound new boyfriend becomes a stalker, Bonnie's become an attractive scarless bitch, Rochelle's powers are making her bullies life a living hell [bitch loses her hair] and Nancy is running high on magic and losing her mind to "the dark side".

Sarah see's the mess the girls have made, and tries to put a stop to it. Sadly for her, the other 3 girls are now off with Satan [not really], and all they wanna do is wreak as much magic vagina powered havoc as they can!
Sarah is left to fight against the girls and try to make things right. This ain't no silly little cat fight though. This is some serious flying witches cuntery, and Sarah is gonna have to get her magic mojo into gear because Nancy and her 2 minions want to whoop her ass with as much magic as they can throw at her.
Let's get one thing straight, this isn't any Bewitched for a 90's generation bullshit. There's no cutesy pie spell casting and sweetie pie girly special effects. This is serious!. These girls find some uber power, and they use the shit out of it.
The great thing about The Craft is that they've set the entire movie in a realistic world. There are many "witchy" moments, but it's all still grounded enough to not make it hokey. A lot of the "magic law" discussed in the movie is in fact based on real Wiccan texts. They had some witch from the biggest coven in America giving the film makers the information they needed to make the movie a little more authentic. In fact, the big group spell casting done during the beach scene IS an actual real life spell. Cool stuff.

The story also has some hidden themes about female power and the types of urges and changes girls go through during their tender teenage years. It's about control, it's about being something you want to be, about having those things during that time in your life to help you be happier and stronger. That doesn't mean guys can't get into this movie though. There's plenty here for boys to like. The story is entertaining, and of course, the girls themselves get shorter skirts everytime they're powers get stronger. You know how boys are, heh....

Another great thing about the movie is the cast. The girls themselves are very like able, even when they turn bad. Robin Tunny who plays Sarah, actually had a shaved head while filming this movie. She wore a wig the entire time. Sometimes, it's a little obvious with the sprouting like way her hair grows from her forehead. Neve Campbell sighs and buck tooths her way through her role as Bonnie. She also really needs a bra at one point, but we love her anyway. Rachel true as Rochelle is the one you root for the most, mainly because the racist shit she deals with gets on my last nerve. And Fairuza, oh Fairuza, she certainly has a face only a mother could love. Not that she's UGLY per se, but that girl has a mouth on her that could swallow a whole basketball. The gothed out, grunge trash make up doesn't help either, BUT.............she is pretty cool, and she plays the role like a fucking mental patient.

There's a handful of 90's teen films that have really stood the test of time for me. The Craft is one of them. If you were in high school in the late 90's, chances are, you've seen the movie 10 times. Maybe even more. And you most likely love it. I honestly haven't met anyone who hasn't enjoyed it. It's just too fucking kick ass!
If you haven't seen it, get your fat ass on a broom stick and fly somewhere to find it. You won't regret it. And if you watch it and hate it, i'll seriously hex your sorry ass!

Monday, January 11, 2010

[Kisses a tree]My first podcast adventure of 2010. This one is shared with a few other people, i'm in the last section of the recording, "Round 3" to be exact. We talk about all things AVATAR, so if you've seen it, give it a listen!.....

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Favourite Albums Of ALL TIME! #1 Madonna Ray of Light [1998]
A few years before Ray of Light was released, Madonna went through a bit of a career backlash. She took her sex filled image to new heights in her 'Justify My Love' video in 1990. Then she released her 'Erotica' album a couple years after, alongside her nude coffee table book called SEX. By the end of 1992, she'd gone from Madonna to Vagonna!, and the media was having a field day keeping their eye on her constant publicity stunts and over sexualized image. Once her 1994 album hit, 'Bedtime Stories', critics claimed her reign as Queen of pop may be over. Her record sales weren't as strong as they used to be, and people were getting sick of her.
Madonna took some time off, she had a baby [Lola] and eventually won back critics praises with her performance in the movie musical 'Evita'.

In 1998, 4 years after her last album, she was ready to make a comeback, so she unleashed what many fans and critics consider to be the best album of her career, Ray of Light!.
On ROL she joined forces with music producer William Orbit, and Madonna's love affair with electronic music was BORN!. The album was her most personal at the time. It deals with issues about the sacrifices she made for fame, motherhood, and her new found spirituality. The album goes between ambient synths [To Have & Not To Hold], heavy bass driven dance numbers [Skin], and rock light mid tempo tracks [Candy Perfume Girl]. There's also a couple ballads on this album that i consider to be some of the best songs she ever did, those being 'The Power of Goodbye' and my all time favourite Madonna song, 'Frozen'.
The album has a very strong ethereal and aquatic feel to it. You'd think Madonna was dipping her head in and out of the ocean while making this album, ha!.

The album starts off on a quiet note, but slowly builds into a beautifully produced electronic masterpiece. The track listing from tracks #5-#11 are perfect in every way. It's one mind blowing song after another. Then the album goes out on a quiet note again. The only track on the album that doesn't do all that much for me, is the last song, 'Mer Girl'. In saying that though, it fits well with the rest of the album, and is one of the most interesting songs she's done, so i wouldn't get rid of it, it's still an important part of the journey.

When people ask me what my favourite album of all time is, i usually say this one. There are a handful of other albums that could fit the #1 spot easily depending on my mood, but Ray of Light is the one i mention the most. You'd think i'd be playing the album every week since i love it so much, but that isn't the case at all. In fact, i only play the album as a whole a couple times a year. I've heard it so much over the years, that i need to be in the right mood for it. I do love it to death though.

Ray of Light seems to be the ONE Madonna album none fans own. I love that about it. Similar to 'Like A Prayer', it stands on it's own feet as a special project separate from her more fluffier pop albums.
It's honest and atmospheric. You haven't heard what she's capable of until you've heard this album. It's the best thing she's EVER done.

1. Drowned World/Substitute For Love 5/5
2. Swim 4/5
3. Ray of Light 4/5
4. Candy Perfume Girl 4/5
5. Skin 5/5
6. Nothing Really Matters 5/5
7. Sky Fits Heaven 5/5
8. Shanti/Ashtangi 5/5
9. Frozen 5/5
10. The Power of Goodbye 5/5
11. To Have & Not To Hold 5/5
12. Little Star 4/5
13. Mer Girl 3/5

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My music is YOUR music!Similar to my favourite movies of all time posts [which i'll still be doing], i'm going to start doing write ups on my favourite albums of all time too!!!!!!!. I'll post my first one tomorrow. There will be more to say about some albums than others, but each one i write about will be an album i TRULY love. I'd provide a download link for each album if i could, but i don't want my precious blog shut down, so i'll play it safe. You all know how to get that shit anyway..............fucking criminals!