Amoeblog

marking the beginning of a new venture -- or, my first post

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 26, 2007 11:49am | Post a Comment
I finally got around to watching the most recent 北野 武 Takeshi Kitano dvd the other night-- 2005's  Takeshis' ...

It concerns an established actor, Beat Takeshi, and his crossing paths with a struggling actor, Takeshi Kitano. A significant number of the cast play dual roles, which I was embarrassingly slow to comprehend, given the fairly confusing abstractions within film. As Beat Takeshi, Kitano plays himself as boorish and self-important and satirizes his own artistic conventions to comic effect. In his film-within-a-film, he plays a bandaged yakuza character. Annoyed by cicadas at his Okinawan hideaway, his character "unexpectedly" shoots his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself.

The second half of the film grows even less conventional. Sometimes it just seemed strange for the sake of being strange. It moved toward abstraction like David Lynch's last few films have, as if to bait the deluded fans into comparing their own narrative reconstructions. I started to lose a bit of interest at that point since that kind of "artistic innovation" became pretty cliché long before my parents even met.
One ingredient I quickly realized was possibly detracting from my enjoyment was the absence of longtime musical collaborator Joe Hishaishi (or, Hisaishi Joe, Mamoru Fujisawa's Nipponized version of "Quincy Jones"), whose moody, jazz and Japanese-influenced scores have always contributed to the tone of Kitano's previous films so complimentarily. I guess Takeshi Kitano and Joe Hisaishi got into it on the set of the amazing Dolls a few years back and lamentably ended their artistic arrangement. Apparently, Kitano saw Hisaishi walking in the rain with Hayao Miyazaki.

 


BLAST FROM THE PAST: SWEET POTATO PIE

Posted by Billyjam, July 26, 2007 09:20am | Post a Comment

Not to be confused with the East Bay based Hieroglyphics' producer of the same name, Domino the SoCal rapper with the Southern drawl that betrayed his real roots, who arrived in the rap world in late 1993, was the pop-rap artist who scored hits with "Ghetto Jam" and "Sweet Potato Pie." He was signed to Outburst but was picked up by RAL (Rush Associated Labels). Despite his LBC claimed roots and his Snoop Dogg affiliations, he sported a delivery that was less gangsta and leaned more toward the pop/RnB spectrum of hip-hop music -- a catchy sing-song style, I guess you could call it. Not too long after he arrived in December 1993 he scored his first hit, "Ghetto Jam," which garnered Gold status after six straight weeks atop the Billboard maxi-single charts. It was followed up soon after with an even bigger hit -- "Sweet Potato Pie" (see video above). The album's groove-laden production came care of AMG and Battlecat and would prove to be Domino's only real hit. His delayed sophomore follow-up album, 1996's Physical Funk, and subsequent releases, including 1997's Dominology and 2001's "D-Freaked It" all fell short of the mark.

the return of winona ryder...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 25, 2007 05:34pm | Post a Comment
So I was just talking about how excited I was that "The State" would be coming out soon on DVD a couple of blogs ago. If you forgot, you can look at it here. I finally got to tag my own blog! So I mentioned that the entire cast of The State was in David Wain's new movie "The Ten." My friend just happened to let me know about the special screening last night at the Lumiere.  I, of course, ran over there after work to meet some of my great special friends to go see it. The movie comes out August 3rd, so I was especially excited to see it early. I had already watched the trailer a bunch of times. And I am obviously a huge fan of the creator of the movie and not only the cast of "The State", but almost everyone else in the film.

 
I will just start by saying that the movie is unbelievably awesome. I really don't want to give too much away. So just watch the preview at the bottom of this entry and check out the website. It is better than any comedy you have probably seen in a while. Please go see this movie instead of the horrible movie that is "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry." Just like the world of sitcoms, they really don't make comedies like this anymore. The movie is basically broken into ten parts, with each part about a particular commandment from the bible. The cast pops up in multiple connected stories all put together by Paul Rudd, who narrarates in between each section. It is sort of like 10 skits from "The State" or "Kids in the Hall." But even better. In addition to Paul Rudd and the entire cast of "The State", the cast includes Jessica Alba, Gretchen Mol, Adam Brody, Liev Schreiber, Justin Theroux, Oliver Platt, and Winona Ryder.

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PAINTING BY MUSIC: FOREST STEARNS' INTERACTIVE ART

Posted by Billyjam, July 25, 2007 09:56am | Post a Comment

If you are a regular at Amoeba Music you may have already seen the silk screened poster art of Forest Stearns, who has done several pieces specifically for Amoeba events. Or maybe you've been lucky enough to catch Forest doing his art live at one of the interactive music-and-art Amoeba instores he has been a part of over the past year.

Instores Forest has been involved with include one with DJ Shadow (San Francisco Ameoba instore) and two with Cut Chemist (San Francisco and Hollywood Amoebas). He has also done live interactive art with hip-hoppers such as Z-Man and at other events such as Reggae On The River.

Additionally, the NorCal artist designed the poster for the Noisettes instore at Amoeba San Francisco, which reportedly everyone loved, including Universal. Forest says the label wants to take the poster and flesh it out to make an animated versions of the band based on the illustration for clothing and more. I recently caught up with the artist to chop it up about life and art, and art and life. For more information visit his website: draweverywheredotcom.

AMOEBLOG:
What inspires you to make art?

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what is coming out today 7/24...U.N.K.L.E...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 23, 2007 10:47pm | Post a Comment
I had almost forgotten about Unkle. It seems so long ago that "Psyence Fiction" came out. I guess 1998 was almost 10 years ago. If you remember correctly, this album was huge. These were the years when Electronica was breaking through to the mainstream. This was one of the albums that really put the genre on the map and made people start noticing electronica acts as artists. One of the reasons they got so popular is because they combined all these different genres into one album. With the help of DJ Shadow they incorporated sounds of hip hop with dance. Trip Hop had already been created and this had been done before. But Unkle also brought in major popular rock vocalists such as Thom Yorke from Radiohead and RIchard Ashcroft from The Verve. Like many new fans, this is what first made me check out the album. I was obsessed with Radiohead and The Verve. So I was obviously going to check out anything that they were attached to. I did not pay much attention to their second album out in 2003. But I am again finding myself listening to Unkle.

The new album is "War Stories." There is also a larger special version that comes in vacuum sealed plastic. I think they made it with one of those vacuum sealers that they advertise on infomercials. This time, we have vocals by Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Autolux, Gavin Clark, 3D of Massive Attack, the Duke Spirit, and Ian Astbury of The Cult. Ian Astbury is actually on two tracks. "Burn My Shadow" and "When Things Explode." So far they seem to be my two favorite tracks. Maybe this is because I have been a big Cult fan for a very long time. I sort of keep it a bit of a secret. But I really do love myself some Southern Death Cult, Death Cult, and Cult. His vocals, especially here, sound a lot like Jim Morrison. He has one of those voices that is very recognizable. I could not really imagine these songs working until I actually heard them. It ends up working beautifully. His voice fits in nicely with the orchestrated electronics on the album.

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