All posts filed under: Culture

In The Words of Sparks …

In The Words of Sparks … Selected Lyrics Sparks – the long-running duo of brothers Ron and Russell Mael – are among the most respected songwriters of their generation, their songs ranking alongside those of Ray Davies (The Kinks having been a formative influence), George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim. Formed in Los Angeles in 1971, Sparks have issued over 20 albums and scored chart hits with songs such as ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us’, ‘Cool Places’ and ‘Never Turn Your Back on Mother Nature’. While their musical style has changed dramatically over the course of 40 years – embracing the British Invasion sound of the 60s, glam rock, disco (they teamed up with Giorgio Moroder for 1979’s ‘No. 1 in Heaven’) and even techno – their work has consistently stretched the boundaries of pop music and the song form. Sparks continue to break new ground: they are currently working on a project with filmmaker Guy Maddin and are soon to embark on a world tour. Now, for the …

Moon River and Buffalo 66 – what is it about Vincent Gallo?

One of our all time favourite films is Buffalo 66, one of our favourite songs is Moon River. So when last trawling the web, researching said Buffalo 66, it was an absolute pleasure to find this gem: For those of you who haven’t seen Buffalo 66, here’s a summary: having just served five years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Billy Brown (Vincent Gallo) kidnaps a young tap dancer named Layla (Christina Ricci) and forces her to pretend to be his wife. Layla allows herself to be kidnapped and it is clear she is romantically attracted to Billy from the start, but Billy all the while is compelled to deal with his own demons, his loneliness and his depression. The subplot of Billy seeking revenge on the man indirectly responsible for his imprisonment, Scott Wood, is a reference to a former Buffalo Bills kicker, Scott Norwood, who missed the game-winning field goal in Super Bowl XXV against the New York Giants in 1991. The balance struck between a haunting  vulnerability and dry …

Shamsuddin – Iranian food in Satwa

Originally by I’m Not a Fiend Aahh, meat. Sometimes I love the stuff. Sometimes I go weeks feeling completely ambivalent about it. Sometimes I read depressing articles and the thought of meat consumption makes me feel sick. Sometimes I eat Iranian food and remember just how beautiful meat really is. How could I ever have thought otherwise?? Those Persians know how to treat meat right. You haven’t experienced tender meat till you’ve had a good Iranian kebab. So I was excited to spot Shamsuddin on Satwa Road recently. It’s pretty bare bones, but that’s just the way I like it. Basic furniture. Tissue boxes. TV on the news channel. Two guys running the whole place. The guy working the grill must have been someone’s son, a baby-faced meat apprentice. Shamsuddin don’t even have a menu. Just decide if you want mutton or chicken, minced or pieces. Simple as that. The rest will come to you. In the face of such choices, we ordered a plate of everything. A housemade laban, heavy on the fresh mint, kept …

Cover Story – Part V – Westminster Records

Westminster Records was an American classical music record label, issuing original recordings until 1965. It was co–founded in 1949 by Mischa Naida (who later founded Musical Heritage Society, the owner of the Westminster Record Shop in New York City, businessman James Grayson (1897–1980), conductor Henry Swoboda, and Henry Gage. Its trademark was Big Ben and its slogan was “natural balance”, referring to its single microphone technique in recording music, similar to Mercury Records’ Living Presence series. Early on, its recordings were technically superior to most others in the marketplace, and the label became popular among the growing community of audiophiles. In the late 1950s the company began issuing stereophonic recordings, including a rare disc of the music of Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén (1872-1960), conducted by the composer. The “Westminster Laboratory” (W-Lab) series of classical recordings were technically superior to other brands and sold at higher price than the regular Westminsters. The company was sold in the early 1960s to ABC-Paramount Records, which at first continued to issue new material (as well as reissuing old recordings …

I Dream Of Wires; A modular synth Documentary

“I Dream of Wires” (IDOW) is an upcoming, independent documentary film about the phenomenal resurgence of the modular synthesizer — exploring the passions, obsessions and dreams of people who have dedicated part of their lives to this esoteric electronic music machine. IDOW is written and directed by Robert Fantinatto with Jason Amm (Ghostly International recording artist Solvent) serving as producer and co-writer. Inventors, musicians and enthusiasts are interviewed about their relationship with the modular synthesizer — for many, it’s an all-consuming passion. Established musicians such as Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Carl Craig and John Foxx show off their systems and explain why they opt to use this volatile but ultimately rewarding technology. Meanwhile, a new generation of dance and electronica artists including Clark, James Holden and Factory Floor explain why they’ve stepped away from laptops to embrace the sound and physicality of modular synthesizers. Innovative companies like Modcan and Doepfer, driven by a desire to revive modular synthesizers, discuss how they planted the seeds that have now grown into a major cottage industry. What started out as a “vintage-revival scene” in the ’90s has grown into an underground phenomena with a growing market …