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Neil Young & The International Harvesters "A Treasure" Proves How Young Has Always Been Ahead of The Curve

Posted by Billyjam, June 30, 2011 12:32pm | Post a Comment

Neil Young  'A Treasure' gallery interview from Chicago

Above is a great video clip with Neil Young being interviewed recently interspersed with classic mid 80's footage of him along with  The International Harvesters performing the previously unreleased "Amber Jean" taken from the 1984 television show Nashville Now TV. The rare recording, with the great back story to it, can be found on Young's new Reprise Records release A Treasure which was released this month and is available at Amoeba Music in stores and online.

A Treasure is just the latest gem uncovered in the seemingly never ending archives of Neil Young's musical legacy. Recorded in 1984 and 1985 when Young toured with the International Harvesters - a band comprised of both many of his regular sidemen musicians along with some of Nashville's studio heavyweights such as Rufus Thibodeaux (fiddle) and Hargus (Pig) Robbins (piano). What makes this recording so special, beyond the fact that it is simply great rockin' country music, is that Young, ever the musician true to his heart, ignored the naysayers who told him that no one wanted to hear him play this kind of music.  At the time Young was warned by his label that no radio programmer would touch this music. The fact that today this music would fit in the format of any alt-country station merely proves what a visionary Neil Young has always been. Buy A Treaure online from Amoeba for $13.98 with free shipping in the US.
 

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Horror, The Universal Language 4: Freedom vs. Conformity in Blind Beast (1969) & Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Posted by Charles Reece, October 17, 2010 11:52pm | Post a Comment
 blind beast poster french   invasion of the body snatchers poster

Halloween's coming, so why not continue with my horror double-feature suggestions? Although based on an early 1930s story by Edogawa RampoBlind Beast can be seen as Yasuzo Masumura's inverted take on John Fowles' abduction classic The Collector (made into a 1965 movie by William Wyler, which might've been recommended here if it were a better adaptation). Fowles' book is about class and the empty exercise of capital, in which an alienated office clerk moves up the economic ladder by winning the lottery, but remains on the outside looking in. His only passions are in the form of commodity fetishism: collecting butterflies and fantasizing about a beautiful young female artist whom he obsessively watches from afar. He uses his newfound wealth to kidnap and imprison her with the hopes that she'll discover who he truly is, you know, on the inside. But what he is is nothing more than a guy who collects things, with no more connection to those things than that they fulfill some mental checklist. His is a life reduced to reification where an emotional bond is seen as two stamps being placed together in a book.

In Blind Beast, the kidnapper, Aki, is a blind sculptor who poses as a masseur in order to get tactile inspiration for his art, surrealistic walls of female body parts. Being a sadist, Aki finds his perfect model, Michio, a woman who begins as his victim, but with the transgressive sexualization of pain (or, perhaps, the Stockholm Syndrome) is transformed into a willing masochist. As Luis Buñuel explained his attraction to surrealism:

For the first time in my life, I'd come into contact with a coherent moral system that, as far as I could tell, had no flaws. It was an aggressive morality based on the complete rejection of all existing values. We had other criteria: we exalted passion, mystification, black humor, the insult, and the call of the abyss. Inside this new territory, all our thoughts and actions seemed justifiable; there was simply no room for doubt. Everything made sense. Our morality may have been more demanding and more dangerous than the prevailing order, but it was also stronger, richer, more coherent. -- quoted here

Whereas The Collector's Frederick never sees his captive as more than an object, thereby reinforcing his own alienation, Michio's abduction is cause for an aesthetic release from objectifying social restrictions. In a spiraling dialectic of slicing and dicing, she and Aki achieve an intersubjective bond through sensuousness (more painful than I'd prefer, but you get the picture).

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