Our favorite Bristolians, Massive Attack, are breaking molds again. They're curating this year's Meltdown Festival at the South Bank Centre in London (June 14-22nd), and are also participating in the highlight event of the fest: a live orchestral reinterpretation of Vangelis’ score to Blade Runner.
Tomorrow (Tuesday 17th in London) Massive Attack will perform a remix performance of the Vangelis soundtrack by the Heritage Orchestra. Remember Massive's classic "Blue Lines" that sampled and reinterpreted everything from reggae to soul to rock-fusion? And the dubbed-out "No Protection" remix album produced by Mad Professor. We're not sure how the Meltdown Vangelis show will work exactly, but the thought of Robert “3D” Del Naja conducting the Heritage Orchestra is intriguing to say the least.
More details from the Heritage Orchestra site to whet the appetite: "A rare live performance aiming to recapture the evocative and atmospheric sounds of Blade Runner using massive layers of live strings, synthesisers, orchestral percussion, live Foley work, ambient effects, vocalists, lighting, and surround sound...Whilst Vangelis turned synthesiser into orchestra, the orchestra will now become the synthesiser...”
The wait is over. This weekend sees the Los Angeles premiere of graffiti documentary, Bomb It. Anyone who considers themselves a hip-hop head or a street culture aficionado will need to see this. Running from June 6th-12th (click full interview link for all screening details), Bomb It is a study on graffiti and urban artwork, taking us from early cave paintings to its explosion in the late 70s and early 80s on the streets and subway cars of New York, eventually landing in galleries and influencing all aspects of pop culture.
Using interviews with artists around the world and footage of the artists in action, director Jon Reiss uses the film to take on the question of "what is public space and how should it be used to benefit the public?" Reiss shot Bomb It on five continents and immortalized some graffiti legends including Taki 183 (who's credited with being one of the first taggers in NYC), Stay High 149, T-Kid and Cope (NY), Cornbread (Philly), Revok (Seventh Letter crew), Mear One, and the prolific Shepard Fairey.
As shows like Lockup and Prison Break find their way into the evening time slots, our thirst for inmate violence, guard behavior, and prison culture is at a fever pitch. For Ben Harbert, director of the documentary film "In A Day's Time: Songs Of The California Men's Colony", he lays on us good tunes and honest characters for a more rewarding experience.
Shot in one day at the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo, Harbert captures an image of prison that reveals a thriving world of musical study. Whether playing for commercial success on the outside, or personal fulfillment behind bars, there is a captivating sincerity to each inmate filmed. Having the opportunity to speak with the director, Harbert explained to SEEN that for the CMC's residents, "music can create a separate space in prison, a necessity when there is a lack of privacy and personal ownership. Also, music can suspend the regular environment that a inmate might be wrapped up in." These inmates won't tell you that doing time is easy, but many of them in the CMC will agree that prison violence would get heavier if they had to sit in complete silence. Letting it go through music is what it is all about. Just ask MJ.
Irresistible characters, powerful performances, and a film that lets the music and inmates speak for themselves. Check out our exclusive clip featuring collaboration between a country guitarist and an RnB singer, and go see this film this summer.
As the Cannes Film Festival rages on, I thought I'd write about a movie that made the official selection last year and was released in the UK a couple of months ago and just about now in the US : Water Lilies by Céline Sciamma. I'll leave it to Steven Jenkins to leave it to the French:
"Leave it to the French to eschew the clichés of American “coming of age” dramedies, preferring instead to chart their tweens’ trials and triumphs through uniquely Gallic “age of possibilities” films, highlighted by such disparate studies as François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, Catherine Breillat’s Fat Girl and Pascale Ferran’s genre-defining The Age of Possibilities. To this list we must add Céline Sciamma’s astonishingly assured first feature, focusing on three schoolgirls of varying experience and élan who explore the alternately liberating and perilous possibilities inherent to their youth, burgeoning sexuality and fascination with synchronized swimming. Imagine a pubescent Esther Williams shipped overseas to a public school in the suburbs outside Paris, and you’ll have some idea of the alluring blend of teenage athleticism and ennui embodied by Marie (preternaturally perceptive lovestruck loner), Anne (zaftig party-crashing eccentric) and Floriane (sultry swim team tease), the titular water lilies who dive deep into the chilly waters of adolescence with only nose plugs, training bras and each other’s kisses and confessions for protection." —Stolen from the San Francisco International Film Festival
It's a splendid movie, fully realized by its soundtrack, produced by Para One.
Kneel before Zod, and the new soundtrack to the latest Grand Theft Auto. It's the greatest soundtrack to anything since...the last Grand Theft Auto. If you think these hyperbolic claims are unjustified, consider the fact that this soundtrack's lineup is better than this year's Coachella: Black Devil Disco Club, Kavinsky, Justice, Simian Mobile Disco, Femi Kuti, Roy Ayers, the Meters, Bad Brains, Black Sabbath, Heart, !!!, The Stooges, Buju Banton, Les Savy Fav, LCD Soundsystem, Whitey, Black Keys, UNKLE, The Rapture, Kanye West, Ghostface, Styles P, Nas, Gang Starr, Marley Marl, T La Rock, Aphex Twin, Philip Glass, Marvin Gaye, Bag Raiders and Goldfrapp are just a sampling of what you will be raping and pillaging to.
Here's a brief look into the process of assembling this madness, including sending out license requests for over 2000 songs before settling on the final 214 (50 Cent wanted to throw a song their way but didn't make the cut). Rockstar games, indeed.
Downtown LA's hip-hop scene is developing strong so we wanted to keep it local. On a recent trip to a new sneaker emporium we met E Reece who caught us up on his new music, college circuit tour (with his band Core Elements) and TV placements.
This east coast transplant has been making moves in LA and has caught the attention of reality show dons Bunim/Murray Productions, who've used his joints on "The Real World" (MTV) and "Old School" (VH1). But, as we're still in NCAA season we wanted to share E Reece's drum and bass-inspired rap tune "Just Move" Bautista remix that is featured in 2K Sports' College Hoops 2008 (available for Xbox 360, Xbox Live and Playstation 3). This game is for the real rap heads and features music from Deltron 3030, Dilated Peoples, J Dilla & MF Doom, Guilty Simpson, Jurassic 5 and Percee P. Check out full details on the OST here.
"Taking hip hop’s vibe back to its foundation, when it was fun and not so much about how much money you had in your pockets or how many girls you had." Check out his EPs here or on the Lyricist Lounge mixtape "The Legendary Lyricist Lounge International Mixtape Series Vol. 1". E Reece was also kind enough to offer 2 downloads to SEEN readers, including the aforementioned "Just Move".
If you look up music supervisor in the dictionary you will find a picture of Alexandra Patsavas (not really, but probably in Webster's next edition). She has made quite a name for herself and her company Chop Shop Music Supervision over the past few years, shaping the sound of a long list of hit shows including; The O.C., Grey's Anatomy, Gossip Girl, Mad Men, Rescue Me, Chuck, Carnivále, Without A Trace and Shark.
Jumping off from her success supplying a hip soundtrack to prime time TV, she recently started a label called Chop Shop Records as a partnership with Atlantic Records. Their first two signings are singer/songwriter Jade McNelis and indie rock six piece The Republic Tigers and this Saturday, March 15th at 4pm, Chop Shop Records are having their first public showcase at the West Tent, Brush Square Park in Austin. We were fortunate enough to catch Alex in a (somewhat) quiet moment while she was taking a break from the SXSW festivities to ask her some questions about her work, her label and her favorite soundtrack. She was also gracious enough to give us "Buildings And Mountains" by The Republic Tigers which we are passing along to you.
SEEN is a place to discover music and its boundary-pushing uses in visual media, including film, TV, ads, and pop culture. Unlike most of our RCRD LBL brothers and sisters, we are not a record label; if we have any music that you can download, it's because the artists and their labels were kind enough to provide it to us. We're simply a blog written by a small group of passionate individuals. If it's dope music that's been SEEN, you can read about it - and comment about it - here.
My Blueberry Nights is the English language debut film from renowned Chinese director, Wong Kar-Wai. Known for his highly stylized visual aesthetic and penchant for improvising shots and writing his movies as they are being filmed, Kar-Wai has established himself as one of China's top directors. Although Kar-Wai is relatively unknown in America, with Blueberry Night's that is likely to change. In addition to some big-time Hollywood talent (Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz), the film stars chanteuse, Norah Jones, in the lead. The film has been described as a road story meets epic love story, and is set in New York, Memphis, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. In addition to a new Norah Jones track, the soundtrack features cuts from Otis Redding, Ruth Brown, Cat Power (who also makes a cameo in the film), and Hello Stranger.
What has us excited about Blueberry Nights (besides Norah Jones, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, and Cat Power!) is that Ry Cooder composed the film's score.
The internets are abuzz with talk of Michel Gondry’s latest film offering Be Kind Rewind (opens tomorrow, Feb 22), and why shouldn’t they be? With a totally unique style that might be called surrealist-fantasy-science-fiction with a humanist bent, Gondry’s music videos, and more recently his films, have made him something of an icon amongst the MTV generation. For most of us, the first time we ever consciously saw Michel Gondry’s work was his video for Bjork’s tune, Human Behavior, in which a menacing teddy bear stalks a flannel clad hunter through a fairy-tale like forest world, while Bjork subsequently frolics, dances, and flies through said world. Gondry’s stunning visual imagery, although whimsical and somewhat arcane, conveys a level of complexity that highlights his ability to take seemingly childlike visions and turn them into sophisticated works of art. The DVD with his music videos from 1995-2003 is a must have for anyone reading this blog. Check out this sick video of Gondry making the classic White Stripes video for "Fell In Love With A Girl".
But we digress…
Following The Science of Sleep (2006), Be Kind Rewind is the third film written and directed by Michel Gondry. Mos Def stars as a hapless clerk in a mom-and-pop video store owned by Danny Glover. When his “lovable loser” best friend (played by Jack Black) decides to sabotage the local power station (it is after all, melting his brain) all of videos in the store become demagnetized and turn to static. When Black’s character realizes that his friend’s job could be at stake, he comes up with a plan to remake (or Swede) all of the videos in the store (including Ghostbusters and Robocop to name a few). Hilarity and Gondry’s trademark heartwarming sentiments ensue.
As in all Gondry’s films, the score plays prominently in Be Kind. All of the Sweded films have their own theme songs that pay homage to, or as is the case in the Rush Hour 2 knockoff “Chinese Bamboo”, parody the original tunes that they are based on. Gondry tapped frequent collaborator Jean-Michel Bernand, who first worked with Michel Gondry on the Charlie Kaufman penned film Human Nature and then again on The Science of Sleep, to write and conduct the score. His work on Be Kind fits amazingly with Gondry’s visual aesthetic and slightly off-kilter storyline.
In addition to the score, the soundtrack features music from Fats Waller, Booker T. Jones, and Billy Preston. Because Waller plays a major part in the storyline (we’ll let you find out why), his songs are featured, including a Mos Def cover of “Your Feets Too Big”. Sadly, the only Jack Black number on the soundtrack is a 9 second track called “Jerry’s Sweded Ghost Song”, but to be fair, it’s 9 seconds of awesome.
And as an extra bonus, here’s a video of Michel Gondry, Mos Def, and Jean-Michel Bernard performing “Your Feets Too Big” at this year’s Sundance awards...