Wednesday, March 30, 2005

life on over ride

Its off to NYC for a survey of the surrounding area-- various haunts in lower Manhattan and such -- and the meet some friend for dinner and off to the Knitting Factory to see Tuxedomoon play. I'll be back in Boston on Thursday afternoon.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Homage a Tuxedomoon - tonight

Tonight is my last radio show before the Tuxedomoon show at the Knitting Factory in New York City on Wednesday, March 30, 2005. Therefore, I will devote the 2 1/2 hours of my show to their music, including side-projects and solo careers. I realize I will barely scratch the surface of their output, but it will make for a lively show. I've heard excellent reviews of their recent live shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles. I've been playing their music on the air for about 11 years now but have never seen them live -- so the live experience is especially anticipated. I do hope you're able to tune in tonight, despite the fact that my show is starting at some time after 7:30pm. Access via the internet can also be found at:

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Isabelle Antena: Easy Does It


Apparently, this is Isabelle Antena's first full purely bossa nova album. It comes complete with covers of Henry Mancini and Tom Jobim songs. This is an extremely happy record. It is the work of a European who has fully assimilated the bossa nova sound. The songs she wrote sound like she overdosed on Jobim, and while hallucinating, started writing songs. A majority of the songs are in English however, there are songs in Portugese and a few in French. The album kicks off with the Henry Mancini composed song Nothing to Lose that was song by Claudine Longet in Blake Edward's movie The Party. It sets the tone for the whole disc. One of easy, relaxed melodies, emotional availability brought on by summery weather. Easy Does It was produced by Isabelle with husband and arranger Denis Moulin, and recorded at their own studio in the South of France in 2004. Life near the sea, sand and sun has clearly had an effect on her work. All the songs are about living near the water and the beauty of nature. My favorites have to include: Moonlight Dancer, Your One and Only, Easy Does It, Obrigada and La Pecheresse a la Lingue. Her vocals really shine on the latter two, the only songs sung in French, emerging as a perfect combination of latin rhythms and chanson francais.

Disc Two is a collection of remixes of this album by artists paying homage to Isabelle Antena's work. It is very solid remix project and complements the album well. Nicola Conte's verson of Omerta Bossa opens up and builds upon the sound of her original with an arrangement courtesy of an Italian Jazz Aficionado. The Belgian acid-jazz artist Buscemi adds more of an electronic-tinged edge to La Pecheresse a la Lingue. LaMalice's remix of Easy Does It, focussing on a sample of "is freedom another word for nothing else to lose?" highlights the political nature of one of the more socially conscious songs on the disc. She sings, "if Issy Does It then No Shooting, No Fighting, No War!" --quite impressive for a bossa nova song, she dicusses how her pacifist views are out of step with the realities of contemporary life. Yukihiro Fukutomi's remix adds electronic percussion and makes the overall tune more bouncy and dancefloor friendly. The Dr. Drak Mix of Stars called here The Star System, contains the lyrics of the original song as replicated by computer. Yes, that's right, to an electronic samba you hear a monotone voice speak all the lyrics to the original. This has the effect of an alien lifeform coming to earth speaking to you via a voice modulator. Needless to say, it is a curious and somewhat funny track. The Musiq for Pleasure remix of Your One and Only turns the bossa nova track into a fierce punk electro-rock style track that would fit well next to Playgroup's Make It Happen.

All in all, this set is a real pleasure to listen to from start to finish.

Full tracklist:
(disc one) Nothing to Lose, Moonlight Dancer, A Rainbow (Can't be Forever), O Sapo, So Tinha de ser com Voce, Omerta Bossa, Stars, Your One and Only, Easy Does It, Aguas Calmas, Fresh, Obrigado, La Pecheresse a la Ligne, Sweet Kiss;

(disc two) Nothing to Lose (Thievery Corporation remix), Omerta Bossa (Nicola Conte version), La Pecheresse a la Ligne (Buscemi remix), Easy Does It (La Malice remix), Fresh (Yukihiro Fukutomi remix), The Star System (Dr Drak mix), Your One and Only (Musiq for Pleasure remix), Spirituosi (Este Samba) (Shape version)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Harvard Film Archive - upcoming films

this is all from the HFA website -

Films of interest to be screened at the Harvard Film Archive:

full info on Alain Resnais series:

Screening on April 6 (Wednesday) 9 pm
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Directed by Alain Resnais
France/Japan, 1959, b/w, 91 min.
With With Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada, Bernard Fresson
French with English subtitles

Screening on April 13 (Wednesday) 9 pm
My American Uncle (Mon Oncle d’Amerique)
Directed by Alain Resnais
France, 1980, color, 126 min.
With With Gérard Depardieu, Nicole Garcia, Roger Pierre
French with English subtitles

Screening on April 15 (Friday) 7 pm
Not on the Lips (Pas sur la bouche)
Directed by Alain resnais
France/Switzerland, 2003, color, 115 min.
With With Audrey Tautou, Isabelle Nanty, Sabine Azéma
French with English subtitles

Screening on April 15 (Friday) 9 pm
Same Old Song (on connait la chanson)
Directed by Alain Resnais
France/UK/Switzerland, 1997, color, 120 min.
With With Pierre Arditi, Sabine Azéma, Jan-Pierre Bacri
French with English subtitles

Screening on April 16 (Saturday) 7 pm
Je t’aime, je t’aime
Directed by Alain Resnais
France, 1968, color, 91 min.
With With Claude Rich, Olga Georges-Picot, Anouk Ferjac
French with English subtitles
A poetic work of science fiction akin to Chris Marker’s La Jetée, Resnais’s film is a tightly wrought, mesmerizing exploration of memory and time. A man (Rich) is rescued from suicide by scientists and sent traveling in time, accompanied by a charming mouse who has been previously used in such experiments. The man becomes lost as fragmentary episodes from his past take over in a chaotic series of unordered events. Beautiful, tranquil, but increasingly menacing moments point to a love affair with a girl the man may or may not have killed.

Statues Also Die (Les Statues meurent aussi)
Directed by Alain Resnais and Chris Marker
France, 1950-53, b/w, 22 min.
French with English subtitles
This collaborative film, banned for more than a decade by French censors as an attack on French colonialism (and now available only in shortened form), is a deeply felt study of African art and the decline it underwent as a result of its contact with Western civilization. Marker’s characteristically witty and thoughtful commentary is combined with images of a stark formal beauty in this passionate outcry against the fate of an art that was once integral to communal life but became debased as it fell victim to the demands of another culture.

Screening on April 16 (Saturday) 9 pm
La Guerre est finie
Directed by Alain Resnais
France, 1966, b/w, 122 min.
With With Yves Montand, Ingrid Thulin, Genevieve Bujold
French with English subtitles
Directed by Alain Resnais and Robert Hessens
France, 1950, b/w, 13 min.
French with English subtitles

Screening on April 17 (Sunday) 7 pm
Directed by Alain Resnais
France/Switzerland, 1977, color, 107 min.
With With John Gielgud, Dirk Bogarde, Ellen Burstyn

Screening on April 17 (Sunday) 9 pm
Directed by Alain Resnais
France/Italy, 1974, color, 120 min.
With With Jean-Paul Belmondo, François Périer, Anny Duperey
French and English with English subtitles
Screening on April 9 (Saturday) 7 pm
Ripley’s Game
Directed by Liliana Cavani
US/UK/Italy, 2002, color, 110 min.
With With John Malkovich, Ray Winstone, Uwe Mansshardt
English, German, and Italian with English subtitles
Screening on April 12 (Tuesday) 7 pm
April 13 (Wednesday) 7 pm
In the Mood for Love (Hua yang nian hua)
Directed by Wong Kar-wai
France/Hong Kong, 2000, color, 98 min.
With Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung
Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles

anticipation technology

Regarding Katsushiro Otomo's new film "Steamboy".

This is an excellent film because it is not only visually impressive but also has an important debate at its core. There is a lot of action in the film, this is from Otomo after all the guy who brought Akira to the world, but that doesn't necessarily interfere with the overall concept of the film. The U.S. dubbed version gets a lot of things right. Perhaps the English voice actors used are actually an improvement on the original-- as it wholly concerns events in England. All the principal characters, with the exception of Miss O'Hara-- who is American, are from Manchester and are voiced with heavy Northern Accents by Patrick Stewart, Alfred Molina and Anna Paquin. (yes also another case where the young boy is voiced by a female actress) I was very pleased that they managed to get the accents absolutely correct here. The story takes place in 1866 (or thereabouts) around the opening of the Royal Exhibition in London. While working in Alaska, a grandfather and son (the main character's father) have created a new source of power that is pressurized steam. Upon the grandfather's return to Manchester, agents from the infamous O'Hara foundation appear at the family's doorstep (in working class Manchester-- the family scene prior to the arrival absent the father is especially appropriate, the first time you see the lead at home he is being reprimanded by his mother) looking after a parcel the grandfather sent ahead. The race is on to protect the parcel from these agents. Eventually the agents do capture the son and the grandfather and they are forced to work in this giant complex, the Steam Castle, funded by the American investor the O'Hara Foundation. This complex is the invention of the Grandfather and his Son. The O'Hara Foundation (read: arms dealer) wants it to be made ready for the Royal Exhibition, to display its power to various foreign investors. This sets the stage for what is to come.

It is significiant that Otomo, and typically most Japanese anime(with the exception of Miyazaki), who has always looked toward the future in his fims, decided to set this one in England during the Victorian period. The Industrial Revolution was at its height, and the British Empire was rapidly expanding. Otomo is very careful to get a lot of details right, he probably did extensive historical research to make sure the visuals were accurate. Into the mix, at the heart of all this opulence, he inserts the Steam Castle. The debate between the Grandfather and Son concerns the use of science and weather it should be used for the greater good of humanity (as exemplified by the Grandfather's use of the steam castle as an amusement park --- to make children happy) or for extreme commercial gain, (the Son's use of the castle as a militarized fortress complete with shock troops, tanks and flying bombers) to serve the profit margins of the O'Hara Foundation in the sale of its products to foreign investors. Many other questions are raised in the film but I think this is a good starting point for discussion. At the present time when the United States is largely viewed as an imperalist power (with its main supporters the United Kingdom and Japan), this film recontextulaizes the debate about the use of power at the beginning of the last great Empire of recent history. (the dates of the British Empire are roughly 1865-1965)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Ides of March

At home now, just had dinner, about to collect my thoughts in some manner-- so much seems to collect at once. I've been running into quite a few old friends recently. All with good recommendations-- Artikal Records for instance. Brilliant stuff so far, nice New Order like sound. Too bad i missed them when they played here at the end of February. Alas, one can only do so much.

Other things going through my mind, I've got some good tunes lined up for this Friday night. Perhaps I should mention that I do a radio show on WZBC 90.3fm ( Friday evenings from 7-10pm. I've had this gig for over 10 years now. I enjoy being able to turn people on to new music by playing artists that do not get airplay around the Boston area. For this Friday I have: (1) David Sylvian's new one "the good son vs The Only Daughter" -- its remixes from his album 'bemish'. However, they're hardly conventional remixes -- quite a few of them improve on the original. (2) David Kristian "Sweet Bits", these are some of his 'quieter pieces', from now on when he records in this style he'll be know as Gentle Bakemono check:, (3) Marc Leclair "musique pour 3 femmes enceintes" (music for 3 pregnant women), he recorded while his wife and two friends were pregnant. This is very good IDM style material. It really almost feels like one long track. (Marc Leclair also records under the name Akufen). (4) Coti "Lido/Lato", excellent ambient electronica from Greece, Coti, incidentially, helped to create and produce the last Tuxedomoon album ("Cabin in the Sky").

Another item of note is Hal Foster's "In Central Park" essay from the last issue of the London Review of Books - find it here: He really contextualizes the whole 'Gates' project well.

This just in as well:

Harold Budd farewell concert at the Brighton Festival...

Saturday the 21st of May will mark Harold Budd's last live
performance, before retiring from the concert arena.

Alongside Brian Eno, Harold Budd was one of the founding fathers of
what has since come to be known as 'ambient' (though Budd prefers the
term 'discrete') music. The Mojave desert landscapes of his childhood
and the formative influences of John Cage and Morton Feldman informed
Harold Budd's sparse, hypnotic and deeply atmospheric aural
soundscapes. However, it wasn't until his seminal ambient adventures
with Eno in the early 80s - "Ambient 2 : The Plateaux of Mirror", and
"The Pearl", followed by highly acclaimed collaborations with the
Cocteau Twins, that he came to the world's attention. Since then he
has made a profound impression on an eclectic British music scene,
from Big Chill artists Fila Brazilia to neo-classical minimalist
Michael Nyman.

Harold will be joined on stage by John Foxx (Ultravox), Jah Wobble
(Public Image
Limited), Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins), Bill Nelson (Be-Bop Deluxe)
and other special guests for a landmark celebration of over thirty
years of musical innovation.

Full details can be found at the "Brighton Festival" website :

I wish I could make it. Brighton is so much fun anyway.

That's about where things are at the moment-- I'll let you know if anything changes.

I'm off to buy some beer.

bonne nuit

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Sunny Days

Snow on the ground again but at least its nearly forty degrees. Spring is almost here!

I returned home from Philadelphia late yesterday afternoon. The Dali exhibit was brilliant, easily one of the most comprehensive exhibits I've seen. It took nearly two hours to see all of it (without doing the audio tour). Its amazing how accomplished Dali was as an artist from such an early age. The first two rooms of paintings are from age 11 to 21 or so. Once he gets the gig to attend art school in Madrid and is classmates with Luis Bunuel, things really take off. After this point works are thematically and chronologically grouped by room. I thoroughly enjoyed the exploration of his 'paranoiac-critical method' and the eventually progression towards 'nuclear mysticism'. As a whole, I am also very impressed with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, its collection is very good. I will have to spend some more time there seeing the rest of the museum. I regret only staying in Philadelphia for a little under 48 hours. I should say if you plan on going to the Dali exhibit you need an advance ticket or you will not get in. The entire day was sold out when I attended the show. You should visit the Museum's website ( and arrange for some kind of package with a hotel or some such. The packages allow for VIP tickets which are absolutely key, you enter when you want, no timed entry, no waiting in lines.

Lovely Philadelphia had no snow to speak of and sunny blue skies. It is very easy to walk around the entire city and many street signs encourage it. I stopped at Monk's for dinner and was plesantly shocked and amazed to find Saison Dupont on tap as well as a few Belgian beers I wasn't familiar with. Monk's is a priority stop on any visit to Philadelphia. The frites with mayonnaise are especially tasty. ( I walked from there down though the historic district and over to AKA Records to meet a friend.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

environment + art

A brief one. I saw Jose Bove give a talk at MIT Wednesday night. It was very good and informative. He is such an honest and endearing fellow. More about that soon.

The weather here has been incredibly cold and windy.

After the Lecture I saw "A Girl Called Eddy" perform live-- they were very good, the singer has an amazing voice.

I am leaving for the Airport now to go to Philadelphia for the first time. The Salvador Dali exhibit awaits!


Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Antena - Camino del sol (Numero Group 002)

Its funny writing this review in Boston on a typically rainy day. I imagine the weather was like this when Antena's mini-album 'Camino del sol' was recorded -- with the heavens opening up on Brussels. Antena was Isabelle Powaga, Sylvain Fasy and Pascale Moiroud, three friends from the South of France who finally found a home for their music on the independent Belgian label Les Disques du Crepuscule. Amidst the very old European buildings and typical grey weather, they dreamt of sunshine. I know its a bit cliche to say this but, listening to the album again, it strikes me as how timeless it is, the musical references are obvious but skewed in just the right way, to make it sound innovative. This disc transports you to a warmer climate through its Brazilian roots. Its as if they wanted to craft their own versions of Tom Jobim songs (they go so far as to create their own cover with "The Boy from Ipanema"). Neil Tennant, later of Pet Shop Boys fame, coined the term "electro-samba" while reviewing Antena for Smash Hits in 1982. Electro-samba it is. I love the production on this record -- it is rather sparse which complements the drum machine and vocal effects well. The songs are sung in French and English, lending the album an international feel as a whole. Europeans in Hot Weather. Numero Group's CD collects the entire output of Antena, the mini-album and singles, and re-arranges the tracks on this disc. Its hard not to love this disc, Antena took such care in writing songs, this is perhaps why there are so few of them, each is like sunkissed tropical cocktail, sweet and precious. They toured extensively in Europe with Tuxedomoon, 23 Skidoo, The Pale Fountains and Cabaret Voltaire. After that they were gone, the band expanded and Isabelle took over the musical direction of the group. It was re-named 'Isabelle Antena'. But that's another story.

Its hard for me to pick favorites on a release such as this. So I'll start with the beginning, "Noelle a Hawai", was my introduction to Antena, its their 'Christmas' song, which came out on Les Disques du Crepuscule's Christmas compilation 'Ghosts of Christmas Past', I love its vocals, where each girl seems to complete the other's sentence-- it also contains the line 'noel au crepuscule' (Christmas at Twilight). Then "Camino del Sol", which has to be the ultimate humid holiday song, its full of sea, sex, and sun. 'Camino del Sol' was also included on (the German label) Crippled Dick Hot Wax's compilation of erotic pop songs "Chansons des Perverts". It is an elegant, lush, vibrant track that conjures up memories of an escape to the perfect sunny destination. Last, but not least, their cover of the Michel Legrand classic "Les Demoiselles de Rochefort" (the song they cover is originally titled "Chanson des Jumelles"). This track is from French director Jacques Demy's 1967 film "Les Demoiselles de Rochefort" and was originally sung by Catherine Deneuve and her sister, Françoise Dorléac. The original track is admittedly, a bit more jazzy and produced, while Antena's version is a bit more spare in its production but every bit as cheerful and fun.

I love, I love, I love Antena. This CD should turn on a whole new audience to their happy sounds. Let it transport you to that humid tropical, clothing optional resort you've always dreamed about.

Track Listing:
1. Camino del Sol
2. To Climb the Cliff
3. Silly Things
4. Sissexa
5. Achilles
6. Bye Bye Papaye
7. Noelle a Hawai
8. Demoiselles de Rochefort
9. Spiral Staircase
10. Unable
11. Boy from Ipanema

Extra Tracks:
12. Seaside Weekend
13. Frantz
14. Ingenuous

Friday, March 04, 2005


The documentary is as they say a bit rambling but good in terms of bringing out the personalitites involved in the wine trade. It focuses on the business aspect and concepts of cultural identity. At 137 minutes it does seem a bit much, but I can sympathize with the director's objective of presenting a fuller picture of the industry. Apparently it was edited down from 500 minutes of footage and marginally shorter than the 3 hour cut that was shown at Cannes. It is all shot in DV so you needn't worry too much about seeing it on a smaller screen. I do think it will work better in televised form. A projected series for the BBC is in the works-- in smaller segments, the subject will be more digestible.

The post-film discussion with Jonathan Nossiter (the director), a professor of French, and Niall Ferguson, was exceptionally lively due to Mr. Ferguson's presence. Ostensibly he was on the panel due to his books on the history of the House of Rothschild. He primarily attempts to 'follow the money' and leave politics to the wayside-- but is it not impossible to seperate the two? Needless to say, Mr. Nossiter and Mr. Ferguson's agendas and viewpoints could not be further from each other. Mr. Nossiter was visibly irritated by Mr. Ferguson's presence as he failed to see the novelty of Mr. Nossiter's film. As far as Mr. Ferguson was concerned, this documentary presented 'business as usual' in the wine industry. He was not exactly denying the effect of globalization but rather explaining that there are historical parallels to it that should not be overlooked. Mr. Ferguson's contrarian tactics while on the one hand provided some balance to the evening's proceedings they also deeply infuriated the director, who claimed that after touring with this film in 15 countries, this has been the only place where he was verbally taken to task. I do think it is naieve for Mr. Nossiter to claim that his documentary doesn't present an argument, it shows how the wine industry has changed rapidly in the past 20 years primarily due to marketing-- and who is responsible for this. This film will encourage debate (as it already has in France) about the practices of this industry-- and how much people are willing to believe. How manufactured confidence manipulates the market. It is less an expose than a film that allows the general public to view and hear the personalities involved in the production and dissemination of wine. What really makes the film are the vibrant and dogmatic personalities involved.

(As a side note the French Professor mentioned Olivier Assays' film "Les Destinées Sentimentales", which is based on the book by Jacques Chardonne (who was a Fascist) which regards the forturnes of a family who is in the Congac trade during the First World War. Unfortunately I don't think his book has been translated into English.)

Mondovino is due to play at the Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston from April 15th onwards.


Niall Ferguson:,3604,891477,00.html

Les Destinées Sentimentales:

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


"This fascinating documentary about the impact of globalization on the French wine industry was a surprise hit at the recent Cannes film festival. See it before its US premiere and join us for a panel discussion afterwards featuring director, Jonathan Nossiter."

so the copy reads on the CES site. I'm going to try and check this out tonight. Full report later this evening. It sticks out in my mind because of the brace of articles in the Guardian ( around Cannes last May.

wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

pasting together older material


"Going on from here—going on from now. It’s better if its done quietly, while there is still time left. Look out to the corridor, look out to the street, ask yourself a lifetime of riddles, but in the end you cannot argue, you cannot escape this bliss. “I’ve never felt it before.”, you say. It’s new, its foreign, but its not going away and its so indescribably wonderful! You’re at a loss and drained of thought for the most part. You wait several seconds to find out what might happen next. It hasn’t subsided, the sensation is still there—you’re actually able to relax for what must be the first time in your life."

At this point i want to re-assess some older fragments in the hope of rescuscitating the whole. Its not as cold as it was here in New England. I've got "Gemma Bovery" (Posey Simmonds 'graphic novel' retelling of Flaubert in a contemporary setting) and Timothy Garton Ash's "Free World" to read. That is, apart from all the other books in my room. I watched another episode of SPACED on DVD before putting this together. What a brilliant show! I normally don't watch television but I have a soft spot for certain programs.

Alright-- I'll keep this short for the first post.