Amoeblog

The Muscle Shoals Documentary: A Tale of Two Studios, One Sound

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, October 17, 2013 03:50pm | Post a Comment
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From Dave Grohl's Sound City to 20 Feet From Stardom there have been some really great music-related documentary films released recently, perhaps none so overwhelmingly transcendental as the story of a reliable hit-maker and an iconic sound rooted in a sleepy corner of Alabama called Muscle Shoals
muscle shoals welcome sign alabama soul music fame rick hall studios documentary

Between providing the most literal rendering of "I'll Take You There" and dabbling in discovering the metaphysical origins of what has come to be lauded as the "Muscle Shoals sound," Muscle Shoals blends reflective interviews of those who lived and tracked the music, bolstered by snippets and loops of the iconic sound itself, with layers of pastoral vistas and rustic rural vignettes of the surrounding countryside, playing like a gorgeous cinematographic back-mask. Combined with the fleeting highs and the tragic lows experienced by musician, songwriter and Fame Studios producer Rick Hall, his session players, The Swampers (who would later found a similarly nondescript recording studio across town in a former casket factory), among others still living in the glory of the Muscle Shoals nexus, the film also depicts the triumph of a phenomenon bigger than anyone can fully understand nowadays: the earthly crossroads of soul, country, funk and rock and roll at a time when "separate but equal" was the order of the day. 

Summer is Icumen In... Again: The Wicker Man: Final Cut now in theaters!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, October 1, 2013 07:05pm | Post a Comment
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Not an Autumn goes by that I don't indulge in the ultimate cinematic sacrifice to the regenerative forces of Spring by viewing the most excellent British cult classic The Wicker Man (not to be confused with the poorly-honeyed and over-the-top misogynist romp of a remake starring Nicholas Cage). This year's viewing, however, will be an extra special treat in that the film is celebrating 40 years of horrific pagan pageantry with the theatrical release of The Wicker Man: The Final Cut wherein director Robin Hardy's original vision is finally restored.

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For those who have never seen it, take warning. This film is unsettling in that it is a bit of a musical studded with weird sex scenes and even weirder segments debatably necessary nudity, often interrupted by non-violent horror elements and culturally-confused comedic spells all revolving around a central mystery thread: a child is reported missing from a remote Hebridean island and the stringent Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward), come from the mainland, is determined to find out what happened. The result is a very revisitable cinematic delight, though it ultimately leaves disconcerting and, depending on your moral compass, a horrifically distressful aftertaste.

Happy Oktoberfest!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, September 28, 2013 05:33pm | Post a Comment
 oktoberfest american style griswold family national lampoons european vacation chevy chase
September is nearly over which means that Oktoberfest, the world's largest fair, is in full swing in Munich, Bavaria, Germany (and pretty much everywhere else cold beer is appreciated). Now, I've never really fully indulged in the Oktoberfest thing but this year I'm going for it like a Griswold on vacation. Well, not exactly like the Alpen (or something like it) fever dream pictured above, but more like this:



Glücklich Oktoberfest! 

Sunday Plays: an Autumn Equinox mix

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, September 22, 2013 05:08pm | Post a Comment

black sabbath volume 4 snowblind bell book and candle soundtrack dead can dance aion staying alive travolta dance movie bee gees frank stallone vinyl record album wax sunday plays mix tape autumn equinox fall first day
Sundays are conducive to relaxed habitual activities like alfresco brunches, bible study and bingo.
However, I choose to spend most of my brunch money on records and my Sunday School days are behind me. Plus, I'm pretty certain I'm immune to the bingo bug thus I spend my Sundays catching up on the records I've acquired during the week or otherwise play curator to my personal wax museum. I usually get the coffee or tea brewing and then select four albums at a time, because that usually adds up to two and a half hours, and play them in the order seems to best fit the feel of the day's mood. Then you brunch or check your email or write your blog or roll around on the floor or whatever -- that's your business.

Anyway, the enjoyment that comes of listening to records on a lazy Sunday morning/afternoon is, for me, the very definition of creature comfort. This Sunday being the Autumnal Equinox I'm reluctantly ringing in fall with these selections:
finola hughes staying alive dance film laura devil woman satan's alley john travolta fire burn soundtrack red bob mackie franck stallone sylvester
Staying Alive - The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

This year my dumb ass didn't really get around to reveling in the splendor of Summer until it was almost over. Somehow, like magic, listening to this soundtrack is making it all okay. On the one hand I am so completely bummed to see Summer go, but I've also always been such a ho for Autumn, this film and the music that completes it. For me, right now, it's the remedy to all my Summer woes. Especially the breakdown part of "(We Dace) So Close to the Fire" where it claws it's way into a sexy, fragmented downtempo beat set against a corny gasping vocal, repeating "dance... fire... BURN!" signaling Finola Hughes' slinking she-devil entrance in the dance piece within the film, Satan's Alley (see the vid below). Who knew Sylvester Stallone's brother Frank was so musically gifted? I mean, "Moody Girl" is a criminally overlooked smooth soul jammer in my opinion. 

King Arthur lives (and procures a shrubbery) this Sunday at the Castro Theatre in SF!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, September 21, 2013 03:48pm | Post a Comment
 castro theater doubel feature film movie excalibur month python and the holy grail king arthur legend comedy drama
This Sunday the dark sensuality and brutal magic of John Boorman's Excalibur collides with Monty Python's excessively silly, low-budget quest for the Holy Grail as San Francisco's own Castro Theatre hosts a double feature comprised of two of the best loved interpretations of Arthurian Legend ever committed to memory...I mean celluloid film. With two showings of each film, the latter offering free coconut shells while supplies last, this cinematic concurrence is just one of many Castro two-fers that has really got me feeling thrilled to go out to the movies again (not to mention that these double feeches are two movies for one low price, dig). If you happen make it out to either of the late showings beware of yours truly, the geek that chants entire spans of dialogue in hushed tones (especially the Charm of Making) or otherwise forgets that Monty Python and the Holy Grail is not the Rocky Horror Picture Show (cue coconuts). 

Below I honor those who share my enthusiasm for these films by sharing not original, but rather very lovingly recut, fan-made trailers for both Excalibur and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. [huzzah]
 
EXCALIBUR shows at 1:45, 6:30...




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