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Jacques Tati's "Monsieur Hulot's Holiday"

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 15, 2017 07:42pm | Post a Comment

Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday

By Nazeeh Alghazawneh

Jacques Tati was quite the oddity for French cinema, especially for someone whose career began as Monsieur Hulot’s Holidayearly as the 1930s. Here comes a man standing at 6’3” who is creating absurd, French slapstick comedies in which he stars as a bumbling, gauche oaf who lumbers about society with as much subtlety as one can who is 6’3”. Yet he was an auteur, a man whose grasp of comedy functioned in this lovely space of purely good intentions despite his inherent tendencies to cause amok everywhere he set foot. One couldn’t possibly find a trace of malice anywhere in the droop of his large eyes that hang comfortably onto the prominence of his bulbous nose, which only furthers his overall demeanor through the wide-set stance of his incredibly long legs that can’t help but remind someone of those inflatable mascots outside of car dealerships.

Of course the man as a director and the man as an actor are two very different personalities, as one is who he actually is while the other is fictional; however, Tati’s decision to star in his own films as opposed to hiring someone else was a very bold artistic choice because nothing about the man’s physicality fit into the elegant sophistication that French society had based its identity on. It’s this stark juxtaposition of societal decorum subverted by benevolent incompetence in which Tati not only found and excelled at his humor, but absolutely reveled in. He constructed a world that allowed him to indulge in his many idiosyncrasies as a physical comedian and performer, while simultaneously poking fun just how seriously people at the time took themselves and their social hierarchies. It’s here that Tati’s most famous character, Monsieur Hulot, was born and forever ingrained into the bellies of anyone who laughed at the silly Frenchman.

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Remembering Experimental Music Artist and Amoeba Music Family Member: Jim Kaiser

Posted by Billyjam, January 11, 2017 11:55pm | Post a Comment

Recently a dark cloud has been hanging over Amoeba Music Berkeley since the sad news of the passing of longtime Amoeba family member Jim Kaiser who died last week at age 46. Experimental music fanatic, talented  and ever creative experimental music artist, and universally beloved guy Jim, who moved west to the Bay two decades ago, had worked at Amoeba Berkeley since 1997. In the years since he made quite an impression on those he met. "He was an incredibly special human being. [That's] why so so so many of us are in mourning," said Gregory Scharpen who performed with Jim in Thomas Carnacki, one of a few local experimental ensembles Jim had been a member of. Among those who worked alongside him at the Telegraph Ave. record store was Amoeba Music co-owner Marc Weinstein who today recalled how, "Jim was at once an uncompromising artist and a sweetheart of the highest order; everybody loved him. As a buyer at the front counter for over 15 years, he got to know a huge percentage of our customers. And as our experimental music buyer and expert, he was an unparalleled resource for people interested in unusual sounds. We will all miss him greatly."

Former Amoeba Berkeley employee Sam Lefebvre wrote an insightful and touching tribute to Jim in the current East Bay Express. Under the heading Jim Kaiser: Eccentric Champion Of Incredibly Strange Music Dies At 46 the article, which you can read here, noted how Jim's various experimental instruments included playing a bicycle wheel ("lithely bowed contact-mic'd bicycle spokes to absorbing effect") and how he had released limited edition solo recordings such as Blood Has Taste and Swept Through & Nullified on mini CD format via the Oakland Petit Mal label. In the comments of that EBX piece Steve Cain, an old friend of the artist's from his Kansas City days, wrote how: "He was the guy at the record store that could get me anything I wanted. Always a kind soul, almost always had a smile, even when things were rough. …He was a unique soul, one the world will miss." Below and above are a series of photos of Jim, courtesy of Amoeba's Lori Katz, taken in the store and at a bunch of different Amoeba events over the years with various co-workers and friends. Rest in peace Jim Kaiser.
 

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Legendary West Coast Rap Producer DJ Crazy Toones (WC and the Maad Circle) Dead at Age 45 Following Heart Attack

Posted by Billyjam, January 9, 2017 07:54pm | Post a Comment

Legendary West Coast producer / DJ Crazy Toones passed away earlier today from a heart attack as confirmed by several sources including Ice Cube. The artist born Lamar Dupré Calhoun, who was the brother and collaborator of WC (WC and the Maad Circle and Westside Connection) came to national fame initially via his membership of WC and the Maad Circle (along with Coolio, Chilly Chill, Big Gee, Sir Jinx, and his sibling WC). Crazy Toones had additionally worked with such other key 90's West Coast hip-hop figures as Kurupt, Mack 10, Daz Dillinger, Coolio, MC Ren, and Xzibit. But the DJ/turntablist and producer was perhaps most associated with both WC and  Ice Cube and Cube's Lench Mob Records whom he and his brother worked extensively with. Further the talented turntablist was Ice Cube's tour DJ in recent years.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Robert Glasper

Posted by Amoebite, January 9, 2017 06:58pm | Post a Comment

Robert Glasper What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

"'Off the Wall' actually used to scare me," says Grammy-winning pianist and record producer Robert Glasper. He's talking about the title track off of Michael Jackson's monumental record, which starts with eerie, building vocals and a sinister laugh. "I used to literally take the needle and skip it to, like, more in the middle of the song, 'cause I was so scared of the beginning." Glasper had plenty of personal anecdotes and insights into all the records he found on his recent visit to Amoeba Hollywood

Hailing from Houston, TX, Robert Glasper started his musical career performing at the East Wind Baptist Church, where his mother was music director. While attending the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York, Glasper met neo-soul singer Bilal Oliver and the two began collaborating on a series of musical projects that would lead them to work with J Dilla, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, Mos Def, Q-Tip, Meshell Ndegeocello, Talib Kweli, Jay-Z, Common, Slum Village, and Maxwell. Glasper released his first album, Mood, in 2004. A record for Blue Note, Canvas, followed a year later. Glasper's 2009 LP Double-Booked netted a Grammy for Bilal, who appeared on the track "All Matter."

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Reissue Alert: First Seven Chemical Brothers LPs Drop This Week

Posted by Amoebite, January 9, 2017 12:20pm | Post a Comment

The Chemical Brothers vinyl reissues

The legendary Chemical Brothers helped change the face of dance music, popularizing the big beat subgenre and fusing it with psych rock elements. Starting out in the mid-'90s, the duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons worked with some of the most beloved names in Britpop and alternative/indie music to create beat-heavy, star-studded, wonderfully cohesive electronic albums. On January 13th, Astralwerks is reissuing the first seven studio LPs in their dazzling catalog on standard black vinyl. On that date, we'll also have a very limited quantity of hand-numbered, indie exclusive color vinyl versions available in-store only -- while supplies last.

Here's why each album made an impact on the worlds of electronic, indie, and beyond.


Exit Planet Dust

Exit Planet Dust (1995)

Months after changing their name from the Dust Brothers, the newly-rechristened Chemical Brothers released their debut LP. (Exit Planet Dust is a reference to the name change; album track "Chemical Beats" inspired the moniker.) The LP epitomizes the big beat sound with which the duo's name would become synonymous. Also available on limited edition clear vinyl.

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