Review: Robot & Frank

Robot & FrankCan a movie about grand theft be heartwarming?  I wouldn’t have thought it, but Jake Schreier’s 2012 film Robot & Frank is.  Frank Langella plays Frank, a retired criminal with a knack for figuring out break-ins — who’s also suffering from a memory disorder.  It’s never revealed by name, but it looks like the early stages of Alzheimer’s.  His son buys him a caretaker robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard and physically acted by Rachael Ma) to keep his mind active and help ward off the problems he’s been having.  Frank’s not thrilled with the idea of needing a robot to take care of him, until he determines the robot’s use when it shoplifts a small item for him from the store that replaced his beloved restaurant Harry’s. Continue reading

Haley Pharo – Prisoner

Haley Pharo’s new music video for “Prisoner” from her self-titled debut is a great little slice of electronic pop music.  Her record’s produced by Andrew Dawson, and this song was co-written with King Logan. (Pharo and Logan have also co-written a two other cuts from the record.)

I love the sparseness of the track, and I’m always a sucker for space imagery as well. Space is magnificent.  If you’re in the mood for some cool pop music that’s a little bit different than the stuff that’s on the radio, but still undeniably pop, check this out! Continue reading

Crush On Radio – I Return!

Cover of "Oh No It's Devo"
Cover of Oh No It’s Devo

The new season of Crush on Radio is a little bit different, featuring a one-on-one format — but on this episode, I return to the show to talk about Oh, No! It’s DEVO!  The entire episode is about that album, so check it out!  Yay! Continue reading

Review: Basilisk

Legendary Pink Dots - Basilisk
Legendary Pink Dots – Basilisk

Edward Ka-Spel‘s brilliance with The Legendary Pink Dots is to introduce us to isolated characters and then immerse us in their world-view through expansive and mysterious soundscapes. He begins with the most restricted, infinitesimal point of consciousness and then slowly expands it outward towards a state of ‘cosmic consciousness’ (to use the phrase of 1960s psychonauts). Musically, he often follows this template of expansion, with simple melody lines repeating and layering in increased complexity of texture. Much of the LPD’s music is an undertaking to help the listener (and perhaps composer) escape his/her own head. Lyrical phrases, musical motifs, album titles and themes recur across decades, but tonal shifts between albums are slow and subtle.  Hopefully, The Legendary Dots Project, like the Residents and Sparks projects before, will provide the keen reader and listener with a giddy entry-point into the Legendary Pink Dots’ musical world. Fulfil the prophecy! Continue reading

Review: The Second Throne

April Larson - The Second Throne
April Larson – The Second Throne

My best friend Peter and I have radically different tastes. I tend to listen to music that is skittish and unresolved. I like choppy melodies, disorienting time signature changes and often, when I’m feeling boisterous, a lively skank beat. Peter, contrariwise, loves slow, immersive ambient soundscapes, with deep, vibratory drones and hidden, slowly-emergent intricacies. The music I like, you have to speed up to listen to. The music Peter likes, you have to slow down. We’re both deeply anxious people and while I like my music to mirror and reflect my inner-state of anxiety, Peter likes his music to reflect the outer-state of the world, in order to better harmonise his inner-state. Continue reading

Review: Street Fighter – The Legend of Chun-Li

Cover of "Street Fighter: The Legend of C...
Cover of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li

Back in the 1990s, the arcades were brought back to life thanks to a game called Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. The popularity of the game and its characters told anyone versed in the laws of business that spin-off media was inevitable. And it came in spades. There were several anime adaptations (some better than others), an American Saturday morning cartoon, action figures, comic books, customized game controllers, apparel and just about anything else you could think of. Continue reading

The Residents Project Supplemental Edition: Talking Light: Bimbo’s DVD

Talking Light: Bimbo's
Talking Light: Bimbo’s

I’m glad to report that the era of terrible Residents live videos is OVER!  I think I’ve talked about it before, but for the longest time, it seemed that we were doomed to not have a good document of a Residents’ live concert.  My go to is when I saw them on the Demons Dance Alone tour, and it was one of the best shows I’d ever seen in my life…. but when the Demons Dance Alone DVD came out, it was one of the worst DVDs I’d seen — terrible, muddy audio, grainy footage taken from backstage — so the main video of an amazingly theatrical show was of the backs of guitar necks.   Continue reading

Exploring Infinite Time Loops

Sarah Connor (Terminator)
Sarah Connor (Terminator) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are cases in many stories (usually science-fiction or science-fantasy stories) in which an infinite time loop is used. What is fascinating about this idea is the way a seemingly impossible premise is presented: the fact that certain events in time repeat endlessly, or that certain points in time serve as starting points for infinite events.

To explore the basics of the infinite time loop, what will be discussed are the two most common infinite time loop examples: The fixed infinite time loop and the unfixed infinite time loop.

A fixed infinite time loop is like a circle; it has no definite beginning or end, but repeats itself eternally. To explain a fixed infinite time loop, two different stories will be used as examples.

Example number one is the story told in the Terminator film trilogy. The first Terminator’s entire story pretty much revolves around an infinite time loop: Events cause other events that, in turn, end up causing the original events. Continue reading

Music: 8 1/8

Album photograph from Night of Desirable ObjectsThis is a piece I did out of loops from Snakefinger‘s “8 1/4″, itself a reworking of themes from Nino Rota‘s score for 8 1/2.  The version of “8 1/4″ I used was from the Live At The Vic album.  Each loop is the start of the next section of the song.  I was kind of in a Steve Reich mood when I did this.

Download mp3 here Continue reading

Review: From Straight To Bizarre

From Straight To Bizarre
From Straight To Bizarre

Sometimes with documentaries, length can be a hinderance.  There’s such a thing as too much depth, and they can tip from fascinating to boring.  Other documentaries, like From Straight To Bizarre about the other acts on Frank Zappa’s labels in the late 1960s and early 1970s, keep the interest up all the way through — in this case, through almost three hours.  In fact, when I saw how long it was, I was a little worried — but I needn’t have.  The release from Sexy Intellectual is very highly recommended to any Zappa fans, loaded with original music (and not weirdly lame knockoffs like the otherwise awesome David Bowie: Rare and Unseen) and interviews with the particulars. Continue reading