East Bay View (a blog about several things)

now 98% free of substantive content

Friday, April 30, 2010

Left Behind

I'm mostly here now BTW. Farewell post, in the form of a list of course, forthcoming.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Top ten: Lonely hunters

  1. Alicia Keys, "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart" Ewing
  2. Florence + the Machine, "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" TSJ
  3. Digital Primitives, "Love Truth" Derek Taylor
  4. Royksopp ft. Robyn, "The Girl and the Robot" TSJ
  5. Mini Viva, "I Wish" (Cahill remix) Pop Music Notes
  6. Florence + the Machine, "Dog Days Are Over" Anna Pickard
  7. Sonic Youth, "Antenna" SF/J
  8. M.I.A., "Space Odyssey" Weiner vs Rosen
  9. Dam-Funk, "Brookside Park" Jesse Serwer
  10. Digital Primitives, "Walkabout" [see #3]

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

200 favourite albums, 2000-2009

  1. M.I.A., Kala
  2. Franco, Francophonic Vol. 2
  3. King Sunny Ade, The Best of the Classic Years
  4. James Carter, Chasin' the Gypsy
  5. New York Dolls, One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This
  6. Franco, Francophonic
  7. Sleater-Kinney, One Beat
  8. Kanye West, Late Registration
  9. Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP
  10. Taylor Swift, Fearless (Platinum Edition)
  11. Bob Dylan, Love and Theft
  12. Franco, The Very Best of the Rumba Giant of Zaire
  13. PJ Harvey, Stories from the City
  14. Mekons, OOOH!
  15. Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
  16. Buck 65, Talkin' Honky Blues
  17. Gogol Bordello, Super Taranta!
  18. Ghostface Killah, Fishscale
  19. Brian Wilson Presents Smile
  20. M.I.A., Arular
  21. Youssou N'Dour, Nothing's in Vain
  22. The Coup, Party Music
  23. DJ Shadow, The Private Press
  24. Lucinda Williams, Essence
  25. K'naan, The Dusty Foot Philosopher
  26. Ornette Coleman, Sound Grammar
  27. Bob Dylan, Modern Times
  28. OutKast, Stankonia
  29. Mos Def, The Ecstatic
  30. The Best Best of Fela Kuti
  31. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
  32. Rilo Kiley, More Adventurous
  33. Amy Rigby, Little Fugitive
  34. The Best Bootlegs in the World Ever!
  35. Manu Chao, La Radiolina
  36. The Moldy Peaches
  37. Tabu Ley Rochereau, The Voice of Lightness
  38. OutKast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
  39. Johnny Cash, American IV: The Man Comes Around
  40. Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock and Roll
  41. Irene Schweizer, Portrait
  42. Daft Punk, Discovery
  43. Kanye West, The College Dropout
  44. Drive-By Truckers, Decoration Day
  45. Orchestra Baobab, Specialist in All Styles
  46. The Streets, Original Pirate Material
  47. Golden Afrique Vol. 2
  48. Mavis Staples, We'll Never Turn Back
  49. Brad Paisley, American Saturday Night
  50. Papa Wemba, 1977-1997
  51. Liz Phair
  52. The Avalanches, Since I Left You
  53. Lily Allen, It's Not Me It's You
  54. Radiohead, Kid A
  55. Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane, At Carnegie Hall
  56. Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, Vol. 4
  57. Nas, Untitled
  58. Sonic Youth, NYC Ghosts & Flowers
  59. Gogol Bordello, Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike
  60. Manu Chao, Proxima Estacion: Esperanza
  61. Leonard Cohen, Live in London
  62. The Rough Guide to the Music of the Sahara
  63. Jimmie Dale Gilmore, One Endless Night
  64. Todd Snider, The Devil You Know
  65. Le Tigre, This Island
  66. Miranda Lambert, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  67. N*E*R*D, In Search of...
  68. Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak
  69. Yo La Tengo, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
  70. Loudon Wainwright III, High Wide & Handsome
  71. William Parker, Raining on the Moon
  72. Wussy
  73. Wussy, Funeral Dress
  74. Drive-By Truckers, Brighter Than Creation's Dark
  75. Youssou N'Dour, Egypt
  76. TV on the Radio, Dear Science
  77. Lil Wayne, Da Drought 3
  78. Sonic Youth, Rather Ripped
  79. Sonny Rollins, This Is What I Do
  80. William Parker Violin Trio, Scrapbook
  81. William Parker, Double Sunrise over Neptune
  82. Randy Newman, Harps and Angels
  83. Pat Metheny & Ornette Coleman, Song X
  84. Amy Rigby, Til the Wheels Fall Off
  85. Sonic Youth, Murray Street
  86. Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra, MTO Vol. 1
  87. Tricky, Blowback
  88. Imperial Teen, On
  89. Steinski, What Does It All Mean?
  90. Sonic Liberation Front, Ashe a Go-Go
  91. Luomo, Vocalcity
  92. Basement Jaxx, Rooty
  93. Imperial Teen, The Hair the TV the Baby & the Band
  94. Ne-Yo, Year of the Gentleman
  95. Powerhouse Sound, Oslo/Chicago Breaks
  96. Public Enemy, Rebirth of a Nation
  97. Bjork, Vespertine
  98. The Klezmatics, Wonder Wheel
  99. Wu-Tang Clan, The W
  100. William Parker Quartet, Sound Unity
  101. Conor Oberst
  102. Sleater-Kinney, The Woods
  103. Warren Zevon, The Wind
  104. Gothic Archies, The Tragic Treasury
  105. Blackalicious, NIA
  106. Lyrics Born, Later That Day
  107. Atmosphere, Lucy Ford
  108. Rachid Taha, Made in Medina
  109. Orlando Cachaito Lopez, Cachaito
  110. Basement Jaxx, Kish Kash
  111. Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers
  112. The Libertines, Up the Bracket
  113. Serengeti, Dennehy (Lights, Camera, Action!)
  114. Lupe Fiasco, Food and Liquor
  115. New Order, Waiting for the Sirens' Call
  116. The Coup, Pick a Bigger Weapon
  117. Postal Service, Give Up
  118. The Go! Team, Proof of Youth
  119. Strictly Kev, Raiding the 20th Century
  120. Aimee Mann, Bachelor No. 2
  121. Kimya Dawson, I'm Sorry That Sometimes I'm Mean
  122. Mastodon, Crack the Skye
  123. Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
  124. The Wrens, The Meadowlands
  125. Lifter-Puller, Fiestas + Fiascos
  126. David Murray, Like a Kiss That Never Ends
  127. Kelis, Tasty
  128. Art Pepper, Unreleased Art Vol. 1
  129. Wide Right, Sleeping on the Couch
  130. African Pearls
  131. Cornershop, Handcream for a Generation
  132. Jon Faddis, Teranga
  133. Girl Talk, Feed the Animals
  134. Jon Langford, All the Fame of Lofty Deeds
  135. Jewels and Binoculars, Ships with Tattooed Sails
  136. Willie and the Wheel
  137. Northern State, Dying in Stereo
  138. Old 97's, Satellite Rides
  139. The Go-Betweens, Oceans Apart
  140. The Go-Betweens, The Friends of Rachel Worth
  141. Matthew Shipp, Harmony and Abyss
  142. Les Amazones de Guinee, Wamato
  143. Vijay Iyer, Reimagining
  144. Nellie McKay, Obligatory Villagers
  145. Todd Snider, East Nashville Skyline
  146. Spaceways Inc., Version Soul
  147. The Hives, Veni Vidi Vicious
  148. Lily Allen, Alright Still
  149. Lou Reed, Ecstasy
  150. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
  151. Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca
  152. Pink, I'm Not Dead
  153. King Kapisi, Savage Thoughts
  154. The Apples in Stereo, New Magnetic Wonder
  155. Missy Elliott, Miss E.. So Addictive
  156. The Vandermark 5, Elements of Style, Exercises in Surprise
  157. Tune-Yards, Bird-Brains
  158. The White Stripes, White Blood Cells
  159. Holy Modal Rounders, I Make a Wish for a Potato
  160. Mos Def, The New Danger
  161. Golden Afrique Vol. 1
  162. Wussy, Left for Dead
  163. Eminem, Encore
  164. Amadou & Mariam, Dimanche a Bamako
  165. Pink, Try This
  166. Dizzee Rascal, Boy in Da Corner
  167. Festival in the Desert
  168. Marianne Faithfull, Easy Come Easy Go
  169. Common, Finding Forever
  170. Art Brut, Art Brut vs Satan
  171. Primal Scream, XTRMNTR
  172. Missy Elliott, Under Construction
  173. Robyn
  174. Billy Bragg & Wilco, Mermaid Avenue Vol. 2
  175. Leonard Cohen, Ten New Songs
  176. Youssou N'Dour, Rokku Mi Rokka
  177. 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong
  178. Craig Harris, Souls within the Veil
  179. Jonatha Brooke, The Works
  180. Rancid, Indestructible
  181. Courtney Love, America's Sweetheart
  182. Nellie McKay, Get Away from Me
  183. The Mountain Goats, Tallahassee
  184. Shelby Lynne, I Am Shelby Lynne
  185. Rilo Kiley, Under the Blacklight
  186. Joanna Newsom, Ys
  187. Lil Wayne, The Carter 3: The Mixtape
  188. Amadou & Mariam, Welcome to Mali
  189. Buddy Guy, Sweet Tea
  190. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
  191. Frank London Klezmer Brass Allstars, Carnival Conspiracy
  192. Franco, Classic Titles
  193. Buck 65, Square
  194. Erykah Badu, Mama's Gun
  195. Britney Spears, My Prerogative
  196. Brakes, The Beatific Visions
  197. The Strokes, Is This It?
  198. Yo La Tengo, Summer Sun
  199. Oumou Sangare, Seya
  200. Barbershop 2: Back in Business

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The decade in Claire Denis

It's obligatory to mention that the career of Denis is difficult to extricate from that of Agnès Godard, her regular cinematographer for two decades (though Godard has worked with other directors); indeed, Beau travail might have the most incisive shots of male bodies ever, and there seems no point in dividing credit between the two of them. But too little attention has been paid to Denis's relationship with the other senses besides sight. Music is part of this – not so much the scores, which are middling, but the use of pop, most famously Corona's "Rhythm of the Night" and Denis Lavant's aberrant dance to it. But Friday Night seems to me to be a pretty straight-up-and-down movie about touch, and this is achieved through sounds – the matching of effects to actions. When we hear masking tape coming off the roll near the beginning we can feel it. Over-amplifying not the background buzz but the personal sounds your brain’s trained to block out – simply being able to hear the characters chew – gives a solidity that’s most notable for allowing the most physical sex I’ve seen on camera. Not sure which sound guy to credit, so I’ll take a stab: Jean-Louis Ughetto, I salute you.

The Intruder is certainly beautiful: most movies don't give us images as warm as Michel Subor drinking with a Pusan local or as vivid as a flashback to a boat's arrival at a French Polynesian island. But from Denis, that's not enough. Subor's character, Louis, is an intruder; various people are intruders in Louis's life (notably Béatrice Dalle); Louis even has an intruder inside his body - his transplanted heart. The heightening of Louis's condition, at first achieved through long looks at his huge chest scar, becomes absurdly literal when we see a bloody organ lying in the snow. All this is meant to make some vague point about rejection, and how communities and their outsiders relate to each other, but except in the Korean section and parts of the Tahitian one, Denis's use of photogenic isolated locations defeats her theme by not giving Louis enough human life to interact with.

35 Shots of Rum is Denis's variation on Ozu's Late Spring, except Ozu never had a chance to hear Lionel Richie. It's approximately as good as Hou Hsiao-Hsien's Ozuist Cafe Lumiere, which is pretty brilliant. Denis has complete confidence in Alex Descas (playing Chishu Ryu), and those of us who hadn't previously noticed he was among the most attentive actors around now wonder how we missed him.

SPOILER AHOY

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Brad vs classical music: Hits of the seventeen-aughts

Bach, Great Organ Favorites (performed by E. Power Biggs)

Early music is something qualitatively different, and the Baroque, aside from one-hit wonders like Pachelbel and Jeremiah Clarke, wasn't up to much before Bach, so 1700 is a convenient time to declare war on classical music (or art music, if you want to be a dick about it). The pieces on this album are believed to be composed by Bach in his twenties, except for the much later "Wachet Auf" and for the "Jig Fugue", which he probably didn't write and is kind of trite anyway. There's also some scholarship suggesting the horror movie staple "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" isn't his: the "Toccata" sounds pretty different from the rest of his organ work, but on the other hand, nobody over the following 250 years wrote organ music of this quality -- maybe besides Mozart's ditties for mechanical organ, but probably not. There's no shortage of recordings; here, Biggs is lively yet precise, without heaviness for its own sake. If you like this, the logical next step would be Bach's Trio Sonatas in an organ version, or in Biggs's pedal harpsichord version.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What would Brakhage have thought of YouTube?

Or DailyMotion? Or UbuWeb, for that matter?

Mothlight (1963):

What did he think of Kyle Cooper?

The only good part of Se7en:

(btw the Kael-Brakhage conversation doing the rounds is, like you might have expected, just them eloquently talking past each other: like the Kael-Godard except without the passive-aggressive sexual tension)

(BooTube edit: why you should host yr videos yrself)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The decade in Radiohead

It's as clear that Kid A is not the best album of its decade (or second, or third, or...) as it was that OK Computer was not the best album of its decade (or second, etc.), but shouldn't distract you from the band's achievement. It's difficult to recall how controversial Kid A was upon release: even before a decade of dubstep, its sonics seemed pleasant, not harsh, and the album was scarcely less tonal than their previous work ("What we're doing isn't that radical" -- T. Yorke). Having said that, "National Anthem" is a fun freakout and "Everything in Its Right Place" is a flicker of warmth amidst a freezing soundscape.

The soundscapes in Amnesiac, this time including a higher proportion of guitar, are uglier, and not always in a useful way. Colin Greenwood, as always, manages to hold the album together.

Hail to the Thief refocuses on writing, and Thom Yorke holds up his end of the job, even if his themes are limited (if not his concepts). "Sail to the Moon" is particularly simple and fetching.

The group rejuvenated themselves in public opinion by offering In Rainbows on a pay-what-you-wish download basis. In Rainbows is more of a band album, with Jonny Greenwood in especially fine form. And "I have no idea what you are talking about" is a definitive lyric one way or another.

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New Weerasethakul

I mostly like this for the sound. And the Hello Kitty balloon.