Amoeblog

Something Old, Something New: Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh's self-titled CD/LP out now on Drag City!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, September 18, 2008 12:39pm | Post a Comment

Helena Espvall and Masaki Batoh

 

When I first learned that Masaki Batoh, enigmatic frontman of the wondrously magical avant-psych band Ghost, and Swedish-born Helena Espvall, vocalist, guitarist and cellist of the equally magical folk-rock outfit Espers, were to release a record of their collaborative efforts, a wave of excitement swept me out of my shoes and into a frenzy of inspired musings that lead to an impulse purchase of a bottle of Framboise Lambic. After many repeat listenings of Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh, their simply self-titled releaseI can safely say that not only does the record pair well with the sweet, frothy drink, but also complements those early Halloween  decoration displays that are beginning to pop up all over town. The record and the drink spurred a flip through my battered old D&D Monster’s Compendium which led me to conjure a mental picture of a romantic tapestry woven by two modern day minstrels who, after recognizing their great esteem for one another, slipped away from their bands’ respective gypsy caravans silently in the night, running away together to the far reaches of the northern wilderness, making beautiful music together all the way. 

Candy Coated Life Lessons: Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, September 12, 2008 11:25am | Post a Comment
Faeire Tale Theatre DVD


Growing up a latch-key kid in the mid-eighties meant that I spent many hours every day after school in front of the tv. Adding up all that time well spent I estimate that had my pre-adolescent life been stripped of my cable network companions I might be a very different person indeed. That said, I’d like to direct a hearty “thank you” to Shelley Duvall and her quality family program Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre for instilling in me a healthy dose of common sense and propriety by way of deliciously thrilling fantasy entertainment. I’ll never forget my first viewing of this stellar program: Rapunzel starring Duvall herself as the o’er tressed damsel and Jeff Bridges displaying raw and regal sexual appeal in his portrayal as the ill-fated prince who happens upon Rapunzel’s secluded tower. I know that I squandered countless innocent daydreams pondering the exemplary portrait of Bridges’ male beauty while also wondering what the heck chocolate dipped radishes might taste like and why pregnant women risked the lives of their loved ones to procure them. I began to seriously consider future career paths ripe for the treading as a witch or princess or mermaid. Thanks to cable tv,  a VHS recorder and an insatiable appetite for all things fantastical, my life took on a weekly cycle of significance, punctuated at the ends by my favorite show. 

Hot August Nights: dog-days are the new spring break

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, August 28, 2008 02:52pm | Post a Comment

August currently occupies the number one spot on my top twelve list of favorite months of the year. Surely it has something to do with the fact that I’ve only just returned from a much-needed three week vacation; the dog days of summer are the new spring break. Also there’s something about the word “august” that really floats my boat. Really there is no other word that conveys a true and simultaneous sense of majesty and wisdom like the word august does: for example, “the jellyfish regulates its deepness by augustly changing the amount of gas in its float”-- how lovely. Still, with Autumn closing in on San Francisco with nary a thunderstorm nor scent of burning leaves wafting on the wind, the month of August has got me stunned, obsessed with the notion of slowing time until it stops. The easiest way to do this is to let the music take you to that magical spot where time stands still. 


I spent the last three weeks at home ---all three of them: the Atlantic coast of South Florida, North Carolina’s Outer Banks and my hometown, Richmond, Virginia. Each leg of the journey enjoyed its own specific soundtrack comprised of songs chosen because they serve to soften the blow of the kind of going home it is oft said one can never do, or, contrariwise, songs that heightened the potency of the nostalgia I felt at times like I was happily drowning in. These are essentially comfort songs, great candidates for the secret cache of music no one but you ever knows you have. Last night, for example, I caught a fellow coworker pouring over the inner sleeve of his new MC Hammer CD while waiting for the bus---not that I was looking to catch him looking at anything--- and yet he made at least two excuses for having it in his hands before I had enough time to inquire, “What’s up?” We shared a laugh and bonded over our so-called “guilty” listening pleasures. 

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