All posts filed under: Music

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 …

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 …

The best Alternative Christmas songs. Part III

So by now you’ve bought all your Christmas presents and wrapped them. You’ve lost the scissors and screamed at a roll of Sellotape. Now all that’s left, is to enjoy the big day with a bottle of sherry and a stupid paper hat, whilst you watch people tread crisps into the carpet. So, here’s the final ten in the best list of alternative Christmas songs. 10. Santa’s got a brand new bag, Gary Walker Yes That’s right, even Santa gets presents, and this time it’s a brand new (man) bag and who better to describe it to us than Gary Walker in this 1965 (should be) classic. 9. Walking in the air, Smerins anti social club On 7th December 2010, Nemone asked her BBC 6 Music listeners to vote on a Christmas song for Smerins Anti-Social Club to record. In less than a week the band had arranged, recorded and produced a ska-influenced version of Walking In The Air, Howard Blake’s composition made famous by The Snowman animation of 1982. Here is a good example of Ska’s …

Alternative Christmas songs part II

Are you counting down the days until Christmas? Well, if your’e opening an advent calendar door each morning and popping out a fake chocolate that’s moulded into a solid effigy of the baby Jesus… Then you’ll be aware that it’s not long to go. Here is a countdown that doesn’t involve eating fake chocolate for breakfast. This countdown is the second part of the best Alternative christmas songs. 20. Ella Fitzgerald, Santa got stuck in my chimney No, it’s not a hideous Christmas double entendres – It’s a christmas song courtesy of one of the greatest singers of her time. Ella could punch energy into songs with a soulful voice and this is no exception. 19. Merry Christmas, Johnny Osbourne It’s a Jah Christmas with Studio one legend Johnny osbourne who takes a classic tune and hangs some tinsel on it. The outcome is some truly christmas roots goodness. 18. Vince Guaraldi Trio, Christmas Time is Here ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ is an album released in 1965 as the soundtrack to the ‘CBS Charlie Brown Christmas. It is among …