Posts from 2017

15
Aug 17

The Sound Barrier Podcast: 8: The Phantom Carriage & A Ghost Story

Do You See + Sound Barrier Podcast3 comments • 34 views

phantom carriage ghostie storySpooky happenings over on Silent London this week, where the Sound Barrier Podcast dabbles in the supernatural, otherworldly and ectoplasmic. Or rather, a pair of meditative films which use death, and the afterlife, to dwell on the nature of existence. But if that feels a little dry, don’t worry there are madmen axing down doors, car crashes, poltergeist activities and the most unpleasant TB vector in all of Sweden. In the modern corner we have David Lowery’s oddity A Ghost Story, wherein Casey Affleck stand under a sheet for about an hour and a half. And in the silent corner, the Victor Sjöström starring Victor Sjöström film The Phantom Carriage, a New Years Eve ghost story about redemption and repentance (finally). Who will win, the director of The Wind, or the director of Pete’s Dragon?

The Silent London Podcast can be listened to here on Silent London and it is also available on iTunes and Stitcher. The podcast is presented in association with SOAS radio by Pamela Hutchinson and Peter Baran.

10
Aug 17

The Sound Barrier Podcast: 7: The Battles Of Coronel And Falkland Islands & Dunkirk

Do You See + Sound Barrier Podcast1 comment • 26 views

sound barrier 7 dunkirk battlesWe are back from our summer holidays, which we luckily didn’t spend off the coast of Chile, the South Atlantic or a beach in France. I’m sure all of those are nice places now, but as shown in this weeks two films, they had their moments of horror in war. In the modern corner we’ve placed the Christopher Nolan short Dunkirk, packing the cinemas at the moment with its big screen re-enactment of multiple parts of the pivotal World War II evacuation. On the Silent Corner we have Walter Summers’ 1927 World War I docu-drama The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands, depicting an early lost sea battle, and a triumphant round two in the Southern Hemisphere. We talk realism, action, and even soundtracks (since we all saw the same silent with the same score), to see what has changed in the depiction of war, and glorious defeats, in ninety years. Joining us in the studio was Nick Dastoor to help adjudicate.

The Silent London Podcast can be listened to here on Silent London and it is also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

26
Jul 17

21 Lists

New York London Paris Munich5 comments • 419 views

A list in which the descriptions match the wrong entries.

A list in which the order is determined drunk and the descriptions are written sober.

A list in which the order is determined sober and the descriptions are written drunk.

A list in which the reader’s task is to guess what is being ranked.

A ranked, definitive and fully justified list in which the contents have been selected by lot.

A list in which the descriptions are written by ex-lovers of the voters.

25
Jul 17

RONAN KEATING – “If Tomorrow Never Comes”

Popular13 comments • 1,293 views

#926, 18th May 2002

ronan tomorrow I have been playing a lot more country music than usual lately, thanks to recommendations by wise friends of foundational albums. It seems to me that listening to country is, inescapably, listening to tradition. Country artists emerge within a tradition and while they may modernise, criticise, expand, revive, reinvent or inherit that tradition, they do not reject it. Roberto Calasso, the Italian philosopher of tradition and ritual, was talking about Vedic seers and the Catholic Church rather than Garth Brooks when he waxed lyrical about how tradition confers a gauze of quasi-mystical legitimacy on individuals and institutions, but the point applies just as well.

Calasso is no idiot – a conservative via pessimism rather than conviction, he knows full well that legitimacy and tradition are just what happens when enough people have chosen to forget past thefts and usurpations. Country music isn’t really more authentic or sincere than all the other kinds, but the investment in tradition gives it an aura of sincerity, of straight-talking honest-truthing God-fearing realness, whose aesthetics and effects are visible enough even if the aura itself is often flimsy. (Calasso understands that the gauze of legitimacy is, by its nature, quite easily shredded – he just thinks that what happens after tends to be worse. What he makes of former Boyzone singer Ronan Keating is unknown, but may be guessed at.)

What makes country music great is that this aura is itself a gateway to expression and tonal play – once the tiresome question of “do they mean it, man?” is taken off the table, the music is opened up more to camp, schmaltz, vulgarity, corn, lust, metaphysical awe and dread, and yes, honest attempts to couple with thorny adult problems and emotions, of which, whether I actually like it or not, “If Tomorrow Never Comes” is one.

18
Jul 17

HOLLY VALANCE – “Kiss Kiss”

Popular16 comments • 1,494 views

#925, 11th May 2002

valance “Freak Like Me” is a rare case where hit covers and mutations keep building on the foundations of a song, finding new things in it. At this point in pop, the opposite was more often true. “Kiss Kiss” is a good single – in the context of the charts, its dipping and rolling Turkish rhythms are delightfully fresh, a showy flourish across a grey backdrop. But hearing the singles it was based on – Tarkan’s “Simarik” and Stella Soleil’s remake of it as “Kiss Kiss” – lets you hear possibilities this version closes down.

12
Jul 17

2017 Albums I Like Part 2

FT12 comments • 526 views

horseface I am still listening to a new-to-me LP every day! A lot – in fact, most – of those LPs come from this year. So here are 30 MORE albums I’ve enjoyed a lot, in some kind of ranking. Confusingly perhaps, these are not all records released in April-June, but records I heard for the first time in April-June. That pedantic point is of interest only to me: what YOU want to know (maybe) is what these good records are.

1. HORSEFACE – Jaakausi (Charming Swedish post-rock, like a lost Too Pure signing)
2. POLO & PAN – Caravelle (Summertime bubblegum house-pop from France)
3. HAUSCHKA – What If? (Bustling future visions, like Olaf Stapledon with player-pianos)
4. JLIN – Black Origami (Intense, brain-twisting footwork epic)
5. ANGALEENA PRESLEY – Wrangled (Smart, tuneful, country; part wistful, part kick-ass)
6. SZA – Control (R&B act achieves the near-impossible by making 20something relationship angst compelling)
7. OMAR SOULEYMAN – From Syria, With Love (Does what the title says, and you could dance to it)
8. PARAMORE – After Laughter (Big, bright pop move from perennial emo kid faves)
9. OCTO OCTA – Where Are We Going? (Sparkly, expansive house music)
10. KENDRICK LAMAR – DAMN. (Hip-hop monarch embraces the banger)

10
Jul 17

SUGABABES – “Freak Like Me”

Popular30 comments • 2,912 views

#924, 4th May 2002

sugafreak At The Disco

A scene from Phonogram III: The Immaterial Girl, by Gillen, McKelvie and Wilson, published in 2015. It’s the early 00s, at a disco somewhere in the south of England. A group of people who love music so much it’s become their life and the tools of their craft – magic in the comic’s world; writing, DJing and blogging in ours – have been brought together to scheme and to dance. One of them is Seth Bingo, a skinny guy in a T-Shirt saying “Mutya Keisha Siobhan”. The final name is crossed out, with “Heidi” scrawled underneath. Bingo, affected but handsome in a gaunt sort of way, is talking to another thin white man, a morose husk of a creature called Indie Dave. “What is your take – “ Bingo asks – “on the Babes Of Suga?”.

“My real take?” asks Dave, “Or my ironic one?”. And so Seth Bingo lays him out with an uppercut, the art exploding in colour around the punch.

26
Jun 17

Halfway House 2017

FT8 comments • 463 views

Wiley shot for the NME MagazineWe’re almost halfway through 2017 and the world hasn’t blown up yet! Well done us. Let’s make the most of our remaining time and have a nice chat about music: this year my personal favourites seem to be mostly house/techno rather than pop – the exact opposite to last year. This is despite (because of?) the fact that I’ve listened to quite a lot of pop this year, thanks to being seated much nearer the office radio for the last 6 months – Ed Sheeran-ocalypse and all. Grime has thankfully taken up the slack a bit and provided us with several out-and-out bangers.

Anyway, here are some selected tunes of 2017 that I have enjoyed:

15
Jun 17

The Sound Barrier Podcast: 6: Der Müde Tod & The Seventh Seal

Do You See + Sound Barrier Podcast2 comments • 105 views

18839828_10154680740586868_6737598035236876209_oAh Death. May your cold embrace be delayed, but when you grasp me at least do it with the humility and grace you do in this week’s Sound Barrier podcast. For this week Peter Baran and Pamela Hutchinson discuss the recently re-released Der Müde Tod and The Seventh Seal both of whom feature Death as a lead character. How do these personifications stack up, how do Fritz Lang and Ingmar Bergman deal with this heavy material and which one is a comic masterpiece (Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey obviously). Recorded in a makeshift studio, but with all the non-makeshift opinions you expect we pit these two movies together, and the conclusion may surprise you. Listen to it over on Silent London here.

The Silent London Podcast is also available on iTunes and Stitcher. If you like what you hear, please subscribe and leave a rating or review too. The podcast is presented in association with SOAS radio by Peter Baran and Pamela Hutchinson.

3
Jun 17

“the note that she hoped would say more”: sergeant pepper five decades on

FT4 comments • 449 views

Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released the week of my seventh birthday — to date my favourite (an affective fact unlikely to be challenged this year). Seven is the best number.

But it didn’t come into our family lives until a month later, my mum’s 32nd birthday, 4 July 1967. We were on holiday in mid-Wales, on a hillside farm owned by family friends (my godfather) a little up from Aberdyfi. Dad hadn’t joined us immediately — in those years he often had to travel to London from Shrewsbury for days on end, to attend work-related meetings. So he drove up a few days later — we were a two-mini family, very Italian Job in that one way at least — laden with presents for everyone, especially mum.