Coming this Spring, Sir Christopher Lee’s symphonic metal concept album about the first holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne. If that sounds at all like an odd career move for the knighted actor, consider this:
The Carandinis, Lee’s maternal ancestors, were given the right to bear the coat of arms of the Holy Roman Empire by the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Through his Carandini ancestors, Christopher Lee has a direct link to Charlemagne, and has decided for the first time in his life to pay homage to his distinguished ancestor, who is credited as “The Father of Europe.”
The much-maligned Ed Hardy clothing company has simultaneously given the fashion-challenged, uh, idiot population a way to express their “uniqueness” to the world while giving the rest of us something to point at and laugh about (well “white people” at least, but I suspect it’s possible for persons of any race, creed or color to find the Technicolor vomit of Ed Hardy clothing absolutely insufferable). Now there are some new kids on the fashion block and they want to do for trust fund hipsters what Ed Hardy did for Jon Gosselin and the cast of MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”
Yes indeed, the Grammy award-winning Kings of Leon pop group are coming out with a new line of expensive prefab hipster togs which will be for sale in just one store on London’s trendy King’s Road. Starting this month, if you are so inclined, you can spend your parents’ hard-earned dough on a dozen overpriced items of the ?
Michel Chion’s 1973 composition “Requiem” is a noisy and surreal deconstruction/recreation of the Funeral Mass. In retrospect it sounds positively pre-industrial and is jam packed with grating, annoy-the-dog high pitched frequencies, snatches of actual church music and some genuinely scary uses of the human voice. Listen loudly in the dark if you dare.
from Modern Illusions:
Chion’s Requiem probably represents one of the defining moments of the musique concrete canon, a work all other pieces must be judged by and one of the few absolute masterpieces of the genre. Things begin with a high pitched tone soon joined by an electro-acoustic, echoing wind and then just after 40 seconds, silence, a man narrating a few lines in French and the start of a slow buzzing, chant-like humming, dripping water, echoes, reverbs and more French vocals repeating the words ‘Requiem Aeternam’. And all of this is only two and half minutes into this labyrinthine construction which comes close to nearly annihilating the standard structure of a requiem. Traces of the traditional Funeral Mass remain (largely through the titles of the various movements), but have been so brutally deconstructed that it’s very difficult to know exactly at which point in the proceedings you are experiencing. In fact, it’s almost as if Chion wants to create all moments at once, stopping time so that everything and anything can happen simultaneously, purposefully disorientating and confusing the listener.
listen to the opening piece here
And here are two more excerpts with great sound quality but not great (mostly lifted) visuals added by the kind fan that uploaded them.
Ahem, Radiohead? From Youtube user Kjd100:
Marvin, the manically depressed robot from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV series (were *you* old enough to stay up and watch it?) makes a special “personal appearance” on the BBC’s flagship Kids’ TV show to “perform” his first vinyl single release. (Don’t know what you think, but I reckon he’s miming!) As ever, Stephen Moore provided the voice, with a special recording for the part where Marvin speaks to the BP presenters.
“You’ve pissed off God, you’ll see what he’s got…”
Like a particularly bad case of herpes, the Phelps family are the comedy gift that just keeps on giving. Happy New Year!
Westboro Baptist Church prepares to protest Lady Gaga St. Louis concert
Sad news from Australia: Rowland S. Howard, the guitarist for post-punk legends, The Birthday Party, died of liver cancer on December 30th, 2009. Since the Birthday Party’s break-up in 1983 over his “creative differences” with Nick Cave, Howard’s distinctive, angular, “broken glass” style of guitar-playing has featured in groups such as These Immortal Souls, Crime and the City Solution, Nikki Sudden and the Jacobites and in collaboration with Lydia Lunch on their astonishing goth-tinged cover version of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood’s classic, Some Velvet Morning.
Howard told the Australian edition of Rolling Stone that he had liver cancer and was on the waiting list for a donor. “If you’re trying to write about the human condition there is only so many things you can choose from. Being told that you’ve only got a couple of years to live without a transplant is a pretty frightening experience and certainly changes the way you feel about your life, [it] makes things so much closer.” Howard was 50.
Below: The Boys Next Door (the original name of The Birthday Party) with a young Rowland S. Howard and Nick Cave, perform their cult hit Shivers:
I first saw Leos Carax’s Pola X back when it first came out in ‘99 and barring one truly amazing scene it has pretty much slipped my mind. That is until I was reminded of it while watching the wonderful Scott Walker doc “30 Century Man” the other day. In the fury of hype over its “un-simulated” sex scene, something that seemed to be sort of in vogue at the time, I had completely forgotten about Walker’s heavy-duty score, which in watching it again makes the film. Don’t get me wrong, I love the depiction of the tortured artiste giving up his considerable wealth and comfort to pursue a dark, forbidden muse (a love affair with his estranged half-sister) but these 3 minutes of film are some of the most striking, vertigo-inducing I’ve seen. Yes, it’s ludicrous to have a factory-dwelling cult playing huge industrial noise symphonies on expensive gear conducted by a charismatic leader in an X-rated French soap opera, but I like it. Alot.