Voivod in the E-Force era released two proper albums. But they also released their first live album and this hybrid collection. So at this point, there were almost more albums with this in retrospect least popular lineup of the band.
Kronik, with the least inspiring album cover of all (the fact that Away doesn’t seem to have anything to do with it even calls into question the “realness” of the release) has eleven songs on it The first three tracks are remixes. It’s fascinating to hear these really really heavy songs remixed in a techno way. I know by this time there was a lot of really heavy techno bands, so this isn’t totally unusual, and Voivod has been experimenting with industrial beats on the last two albums as well. It’s just fun to imagine these as dance remixes and to speculate who these remixes were made for. “Forlorn” sounds a bit like Helmet here. E-Force’s voice is so manipulated as to be almost unrecognizable. The solo section is also manipulated in a weird way, making this song sound, if not very different from at least somewhat different. There also appears to be some throat singing thrown on to the end of the mix. “Nanoman” gets the royal treatment—skittery beats, sounds dropping out and a major techno drum beat placed on top of it. “Mercury” is given a very fast electronic drumbeat but not much else. But in this version it sounds very classic industrial.
The next three songs are outtakes from the E-Force era. “Vortex” has a pummeling guitar riff and some massively screamed vocals. “Drift” opens slowly with some spacey guitars and distant rumbles of drums. After 90 second the screaming noise kicks into high gear. “Erosion” has a some steady heavy sections in between the bludgeoning. They basically all sound like the could have come from Phobos.
The next song “Ion” appeared on the soundtrack to Heavy Metal 2000 the movie and was unreleased until this album. It has some very cool moments in it and is a little less brutal than a lot of their music from this era. I rather like it.
The final four songs are live. “Project X” and “Cosmic Conspiracy” are tracks from the E-Force era, and they sound very close to the studio versions. I actually prefer E-Force’s voice here, as it is more natural sounding. “Nuclear War” comes from the very first album. E-Force’s screams are not too dissimilar to Snake’s, although I miss Snake’s pronunciations. But the music sounds better than on the album. And then there’s “Astonomy Domine.” This is the first live recording of the band (and the only song form the pre-E-Force era that’s on a live record. So it’s exciting to hear them playing this more complex song. The recording quality is not great, sadly. But the problem (once again) is E-Force’s voice. The first verse sounds fine, but as the song moves along he starts screaming a lot more. And this song just doesn’t lend itself to screaming. It’s shame.
So this collection is for die-hards and for people who love the heavier period of Voivod (which is not a majority I would guess).
[READ: September 30, 2013] Room 237
This article looks at The Shining, the film by Stanley Kubrick. It briefly mentions the book by Stephen King, but only briefly. And actually this article doesn’t so much look at the film as it looks at a film about The Shining called Room 237. And, actually, Room 237 is more about the people who have obsessed over The Shining for years and who have come up with very detailed theories about the movie.
Some of the theories that these fans have (and which appear in the movie) include:
- The Shining is a confession by Kubrick that he conspired with NASA to fake footage on the Apollo 11 moon landing.
- The Shining is a metaphor for the genocide of Native Americans.
- The Shining is a commentary on the Holocaust.
- The Shining is really a vehicle for a series of pointless erotic gags.
Jay Kirk’s cousin, Tim, created the documentary Room 237 which was directed by Rodney Ascher. This article shows the origins of the movie, how Tim found some of these people in the first place and also how he went about piecing the film together.
Interestingly, there is a lot of talk about Fair Use (Room 237 uses extensive footage from The Shining as well as dozens of other movies). I would have assumed the whole thing would be safe under Fair Use, since it is a documentary, but director John Landis, during a screening Q&A said “You steal from everyone, from Universal from Fox, from Warner… You even use something from one of my films [An American Werewolf in London], and you recut it—if you’re going to use it, let it play!” Their lawyers suggested using more and more “samples” to show just what the nature of the film is–that it is important that so many clips are included. So the filmmakers and lawyers made a color-coded system for the clips: green was clearly fair use, yellow was maybe on the line and red was what they would have to license.
The article talks a little about some of the theories in the film (which are fascinating and true—in the way that any obsessive detail observer finds things true). And also how well it did in film screenings.
But Kirk also talks about why The Shining seems to generate such responses in people. I have seen The Shining a number of times, and it still scares me. I like Kirk’s analysis of why:
Unlike most scary movies, which are always springing out at you from the dark, or claustrophobically pinning you to the actor’s face with close-ups, The Shining shows you everything all the time, since Kubrick lights the place up with a million watts and sets you adrift in the seemingly endless depth of field. It is a wide-awake horror.
And that sums up the movie very well. I cannot wait to see Room 237.
Check out the trailer here.